This is the Monday Medley, a newsletter that goes out, you guessed it, every Monday. I republish it here for sharing and referencing, but if you'd like to sign up you can do so right here:
I'm currently in Colorado on my elk hunt, which you can see some updates from on my Instagram. I got my elk yesterday night, and I'll be writing up a reflection on the experience in the next week or two.
Since I've been out in the woods all week, this will be a short Medley, but here we go!
✖️🌇 Dror Poleg wrote a fascinating piece on "canceling the city." As he puts it, cities are a means of both removing individual differentiation, and of enabling people to express their most artistic selves:
"Mass-manufacturing reduced humans themselves into undifferentiated factors of production: Their input became measurable, and their roles became interchangeable... The city itself is a machine in which human activity is coordinated by the pricing mechanism and clocks. Without these, it could not function."
"A city in which people are indifferent to who you are is a city where you can be anyone you like. The metropolis, says Simmel, “grants to the individual a kind and an amount of personal freedom which has no analogy whatsoever under other conditions.”"
💻 But as he argues, the rise of the Internet and your ability to make a great living on it is removing that prime benefit of city life:
"It is wonderful that the internet now allows many creative people to choose a lifestyle that works them."
👎 Though it's also not without its consequences:
"The number of stable, unscalable professions is diminishing. Even jobs that seemed “undisruptable,” such as school teachers or strippers, are being disrupted by the internet, allowing a small number of stars to cater to an unlimited number of viewers."
🌾 One consequence of COVID is that we've seen a significant migration away from city life and in-person work, which may accelerate this growing gulf between those who are able to reach significantly more people with similar work, and those who are not. And now that you can do it from anywhere, the need to be in a city to find artistic freedom is diminished.
"But for big cities, the internet is not merely an irritant. It is also an alternative. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol could only emerge in a metropolis like New York. In the 2020s, he is much more likely to emerge on the internet itself."
So will we see the "canceling" of cities? I think to some extent, yes, though there are many other benefits that remain. Larger dating pools is a big one, as my friend Justin pointed out, as is greater differentiation of manual work.
👨💻 As someone who has the option to work from anywhere, though, I'd definitely prefer to be on the outskirts of a major city than in it.
📈 Patrick O'Shaugnessy has a great piece on "Growth Without Goals" that spoke to me as I'm working to integrate everything I've been thinking about on this trip.
"Success is about building a set of daily practices, it is about growth without goals. Continuous, habitual practice(s) trumps achievement-based success."
💡 It's a recurring idea that's popped up in tons of places, including James Clear's Atomic Habits. Growth and success based on habits and process is more sustainable than growth based on goals, both for your own happiness and for your long term persistence.
✅ I think that simply checking a few things off each day, based on what you're confident will compound into long term success, is a highly reliable means of achieving things you wouldn't expect over multiple years. The big challenge is figuring out what should go on that checklist, and how you can make sure that happens on a daily basis.
Patrick includes a few of his:
📝 I'd like to make a list like this for myself, especially as I start spending more time in creative mode.
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Have a great week,
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