January 9, 2021

Welcome to Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.


One big mistake people repeatedly make is focusing on proving themselves right, instead of focusing on achieving the best outcome. This is the wrong side of right.

— The Wrong Side of Right

Explore Your Curiosity

★ “The word quitting has negative connotations that might make us feel like we’re not “gritty” enough. So instead, frame it as pivoting or calling an audible. Every now and then we all need to call an audible. After all, if you’re setting ambitious goals, you’re clearly approaching your life with vigor, and you should feel good about that. Every time you engage in optimal quitting, you’re pivoting to something better. To do so should not be branded as losing—it should be viewed as winning a different game.”

— Knowing When to Quit

★ “At this point in my life, I’m comfortable in my body. I’m OK with things not being perfect. I don’t have to look right. My mind isn’t drifting to what people are thinking when I walk in anymore. It’s much less performative and conscious.”

— Will Smith is Done Trying to be Perfect


“I notice that when all a man’s information is confined to the field in which he is working, the work is never as good as it ought to be. A man has to get a perspective, and he can get it from books or from people — preferably from both. This thing of sleeping and eating with your business can easily be overdone; it is all well enough—usually necessary—in times of trouble but as a steady diet it does not make for good business; a man ought now and then to get far enough away to have a look at himself and his affairs.”

— Harvey S. Firestone (written in 1926)

Tiny Thought

Most problems come from our internal state.

When we are internally calm, we reason and then respond; we don’t just react. When someone slights us, we don’t lash out with angry words or angry fists. We turn the other cheek. When someone cuts us off, we give them the benefit of the doubt. When things go slower than we want, we wait patiently. When someone is passive-aggressive, we refuse to take the bait. At our best, we put behavior in perspective—both other people’s and our own. We do the right thing, not the easy thing, regardless of influence or pressure.

A calm mind is not the absence of conflict or stress, but the ability to cope with it.

Et Cetera

+ Being contrarian isn’t hard – anyone can say the opposite of what most people believe. But being contrarian *and* right is extremely difficult. Those who can both go against the crowd and be correct achieve outsized rewards. This is called Advantageous Divergence and it’s a mental model for thinking through ideas.

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Stay safe,— Shane

P.S. What an insane ski run.

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