The Wednesday Writeup - Issue #12

Welcome back to The Wednesday Writeup.

As you may have noticed, things are a little bit crazy in the world right now. With the George Floyd protests happening, on top of COVID-19, this truly feels like the most volatile and change inducing time that I have ever lived through. I will say, beyond the basic donations and signatures I haven't been quite sure how best to personally contribute during all this. As a white male, who is abled and was raised middle class, I recognize that I have a ton of privilege, and that just about anything I say or do is going to, in some ways, come from a place of privilege and may be unhelpful or possibly even harmful. So I decided for last week to skip releasing this newsletter and generally stop promoting myself or the things I do, because I figured the least I could do in this time is take a step back, listen, learn, and avoid distracting from the issues for a while.

I will be including a few links to things that I have been consuming, and valuable resources to check out if you want to help out. I know I still haven't done enough, but I'm working on building up the nerve to do more and try to be a more active participant in all this. Because black lives do matter.

What I'm Doing

I have been quite distracted these last couple of weeks for obvious reasons, but I have been getting some things done.

The next couple of videos of my series have gone live. I now have a mini-course that can take someone from nothing to a working gatsby-theme-brain powered website. The videos aren't perfect, I’m still finding my voice, but I'm happy about the compactness of the content. One difficult thing is that I don't know that my current twitter following is necessarily the right target audience for these videos. They are very much targeted at beginners who are interested in starting a gatsby site, which I don't believe applies to many of my followers. So I'm still figuring out how to get good feedback on the value of this content.

I believe I'm closing in on the launch of my app. I am in the final stages of testing and polishing, no additional features to add. The main thing I'm unsure of is how much marketing I should be doing. I kinda want to do a soft, not super wide spread launch so that I have time to work out any issues on a smaller audience first. Because I'm positive there will be problems. So I will probably try and make a basic website, and put some copy and screenshots up there, but otherwise mostly just tweet a few times and see how it is received.

Although it hasn't officially reopened, I was able to get in on the 30x500 course a few weeks ago. It is a course on how to launch successful internet products. I haven't made my way through the whole thing yet, and I put it on pause last week because I didn't want to be trying to publish and distribute educational marketing content at the time, but I'm going to start making my way through it again and hope to see some success from the tactics. I don't know if it will be the most valuable of things for my app because I hadn't applied the methods from the get go, but that certainly won't be my last attempt at making money online.

Recommendations

I just finished So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo a few days ago. It is a powerful book. Gave me a lot to think about, and definitely provided more than a few moments of reflection on why I felt the way I did about some of the statements and positions the author took. The whole thing is full of stories from the author's life, but all in the context of addressing specific issues that might come up when talking about race. Things like the model minority myth, affirmative action, and checking privilege. All the main talking points I can think of were addressed effectively. Highly recommend this book.

There are a couple of guides written by @TatianaTMac about making meaningful social change targeted at white men and white women. I can't say I will be able to follow all of the recommendations, but it gives me some things to think about and strive to. I also want to start making my way through a few more of the books in her list.

https://saytheirnames.carrd.co/ seems to be a good listing of a number of different charities to donate to and petitions to sign. If you are looking for something more to do to help, this seems like a good place to start.

Idea of the Week: Micro Systems for Macro goals

Many people try to change their life primarily through setting goals. They will decide that they will lose X amount of weight, or save Y amount of money, or get Z grade in school. Then, when they have a setback, when they step on the scale only to see the number has gone up, they feel like a failure, lose motivation, and fall off the wagon.

It also means you will approach life trying to optimize for specific metrics in a way that may not be healthy. If you focus entirely on hitting a goal weight, you could choose to just starve yourself to get there, but in the process end up without any muscle mass, poor nutrition, and worse health.

Instead, use goals as a high level target. Don't make them overly specific, so as to avoid the harmful feeling of failure. Instead, position them as markers giving general guidance of what direction you want your life to go. From those goals, set more specific and concrete systems, habits, and routines to get you there.

So, rather than setting a "lose 20 pounds" goal, instead you could set a goal to "trim down and put on muscle". And then to achieve that goal, you could setup systems along the lines of: "do x, y, z workout routine every other day" and "intermittent fasting 5 days per week". You can have the high level goal in mind to help influence your broader behavior, but the bulk of the change can be driven from these systems.

With this approach you can look at your goals to determine if they would lead to a better life, and then look at your systems to determine if they will help you reach your goals.

P.S This is inspired by Atomic Habits, which (as I mentioned last issue) has great info on how to establish these systems and habits.

Location of the Week: Isle of Skye, Scotland

Back in 2015 I visited Ireland and Scotland for the first time. Although my family was visiting as well, I decided to spend a couple of weeks of the trip solo traveling. The third week of the vacation I had a tour with Haggis Adventure Tours, and got to ride around in a bright yellow bus with a cool group of people for a week, traveling around the Highlands.

On day three of the trip we made it out to the Isle of Skye for the day. It was gorgeous. You get the impression there could be fey creatures living there, and an almost magical feel to everything. The entirety of the Scottish Highlands is gorgeous (and I will definitely be including more photos of it in future issues), but the Isle of Skye has something special about it.

Signing off until next week
- Aengus McMillin