Taking Inspiration From The Life of Marcus Aurelius’ Father

I want to be “most ready to give way without envy to those who possessed any particular faculty, such as that of eloquence or knowledge…, and he gave them his help, that each might enjoy reputation”

I want to work better to be someone ” who looked to what ought to be done, not the reputation which is got by [man’s] acts.” – Marcus Aurelius

Verses and Words of Encouragement I Am Holding Onto

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

Phillippians 4:13

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

 

A text:

“Hi,

This is []. I just wanted to pass a note of encouragement to you– tonight I was at a prayer and praise student gathering and a very which was proclaimed was that ‘God works all things together for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). Know that despite circumstances around you, God sees your heart and that is what He cares about. He finds that it is powerful and loving and filled with his presence ready to do his will. Since he cares about your heart and not the peripheral worldly things do the same, and look to him, and you will be radiant (Psalms 34). You are a light in a dark place and I totally hand it to you for living faithfully for Christ in the place that you are in!! Keep up the good fight, for the battle belongs to the Lord. Blessing and Agape,

Your brother,

[]

 

God is good.

AIA Center for Architecture

Morning meeting & tour with The American Institute of Architects team.


It is good to see them doing good work.
I didn’t know this about @aianational , but it puts much of its efforts into working to offer design education to as many students they can from K-12 highschool to college. Many of us, including myself are privileged to have access to education around art and design every day. Some forget how special it is to have the freedom of choice to pursue any dream.

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Tackling accessibility in all its forms is something I hope to work for and serve every day.

As I was heading back to my office, my thoughts went to a letter by President John Adams that says this:

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” 

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Wall murals on turquoise backdrop were installed as a result of a competition the AIA and the Housing Preservation and Collaboration collaborated on.

Wall murals on turquoise backdrop were installed as a result of a competition the AIA and the Housing Preservation and Collaboration collaborated on.

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This photo is an example of the kind of worksheets they use to educate the kids.

This photo is an example of the kind of worksheets they use to educate the kids.

I am glad to be working with them.

#urbanplanning #accessibility #community #designinnovation #architecture #atemliving

Science and Spirituality

“A walk down Arundel Street in London remains, after all, the best introduction to philosophy. Keep your eyes to the left as you descend toward the river from the Strand. You will observe that the Christian World is published at number seven, and a few yards further down, at number nine, the Feathered World. By the time you have reached the Embarkment you will find yourself involved in the most abstruse metaphysical speculations.

The Christian World, the Feathered World — between them a great gulf is fixed… The values and even the truths current in the world of number seven Arundel Street cease to hold good in that of number nine.

The world of Christians and the world of the feathered are but two out of a swarm of humanly conceivable and humanly explorable worlds. They constellate the thinking mind like stars, and between them stretches the mental equivalent of interstellar space — unspanned. Between, for example, a human body and the whizzing electrons of which it is composed, and the thoughts, the feelings which direct its movements, there are, as yet at any rate, no visible connections. The gulf that separates the lover’s, say, or the musician’s world from the world of the chemist is deeper, more uncompromisingly unbridgeable than that which divides Anglo-Catholics from macaws or geese from Primitive Methodists. We cannot walk from one of these worlds into another; we can only jump. The last act of Don Giovanni is not deducible from electrons, or molecules, or even from cells and entire organs. In relation to these physical, chemical, and biological worlds it is simply a non sequitur. The whole of our universe is composed in a series of such non sequiturs. The only reason for supposing that there is in fact any connection between the logically and scientifically unrelated fragments of our experience is simply the fact that the experience is ours, that we have the fragments in our consciousness. These constellated worlds are all situated in the heaven of the human mind. Some day, conceivably, the scientific and logical engineers may build us convenient bridges from one world to another. Meanwhile we must be content to hop. Solvitur saltando. The only walking you can do in Arundel Street is along the pavements.”

– Aldous Huxley, Meditation in Arundel Street

 

Complement with the Bible

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon

Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal, Notes on User Engagement

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Habit-making Phases for your website/product:

Trigger: What are your external or internal triggers that will have users come back to your product? How can you couple an external trigger as closely as possible to an internal trigger to optimize the push to user to action?

Action: The action a user performs with the expectation that there will be an immediate gratification of some kind or reward.

Variable Reward: The user payoff. Variable, because with an increase in predictability, users are less prone to be attracted to the pull, or the “mystery” of an object.

Investment: Concerning the anticipation of rewards in the future.

Fogg’s Core Motivators:

B= MAT

A given behavior will occur when motivation, ability and a trigger are present at the same time and in sufficient degrees.

  1. The user must have sufficient motivation
  2. The user must have the ability to complete the desired action
  3. A trigger must be present to activate the behavior.

6 Elements of Simplicity (Determinants of levels of user engagement/user acquisition):

Time: How Long it takes to complete an action.

Money: The fiscal cost of taking an action.

Physical effort: The amount of labor involved in taking the action

Brain Cycles: The level of mental effort and focus required to take an action.

Social Deviance: How accepted the behavior is by others.

Non-Routine: “How much the action matches or disrupts existing routines” – Fogg

 

Studies show:

The appearance of scarcity affecting one’s perception of value.

Despite the irrelevant information you get, you’re led to think an object has heightened value, with less of it.

Experiencing sudden abundance makes you value something less.

How does this influence buying/subscription behavior?

Heuristics (If you forgot what heuristics mean – related to the mental shortcuts taken to make decisions and form opinions):

“the mind takes shortcuts informed by our surroundings to make quick and sometimes erroneous judgements”

2007 study of price influencing one’s perception of taste of wine:

Same wine was used, but the testers were informed that the various wines they were drinking were anywhere form $10 – $90. As the prices rose, there was a rise in testers’ perception of the taste and value of the wine, despite all the wines being identical.

People often anchor to one piece of information when making a decision (what hook do people gravitate to when they look at my landing page or my product at first glance?)

Endowed Progress/Rewards Study:

2 test groups:

1st test group was given a punch card for coffee: There were 8 holes to punch, and the customer would have to punch 8 to receive a free drink.

2nd test group was given a punch card for coffee with 10 holes. 2 holes were punched already form the onset. Customers would have to punch 8 to receive a free drink.

2nd test group returned with higher engagement rate and also showed signs of increased motivation.

Behavior being driven by 3 core motivators:

  1. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain
  2. Seeking hope and avoiding fear.
  3. Seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection.

“Come to depend on the product as a reliable solution to their problem— the salve for the itch they came to scratch.”

“Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included.

Social learning theory, psychologist Albert Bandura:

People who observe someone being rewarded for a a certain behavior are more likely to alter their own beliefs and subsequent actions.

Persistence hunting = On long term roadmaps

“When the kudu must stop to catch his breath, the hunter begins closing in, not to catch it, but to run it to exhaustion.”

Optional solution for finding triggers:

The 5 whys – iterative interrogative process. Why is what you are making needed? Can you validate it?

Users’ search for variable rewards:

  1. rewards of the tribe: gratification from others (feeling accepted, important, safe)
  2. rewards of the hunt: material goods, money, or information (saving time, money)
  3. rewards of the self: mastery, completion, competency, consistency. (clearing out your gmail inbox, finishing a book, filing taxes 3 months in advance)

“Only by understanding what truly matters to users can a company correctly match the right variable reward to their intended behavior.

When you ask for favors, testing, or execute outreach to potential subscribers, giving an element of choice largely increases targets’ willingness to engage and comply: e.g. “But you are free to accept and refuse”

Leverage familiar behaviors users want to do, instead of have to do.

Companies that successfully change behaviors present users with an implied choice between their own way of doing things and a new, more convenient way to fulfill existing needs.

When you look at your product, would you have used it? Why or why not? What current elements would stop you from using it?

My 5 Favorite Books of 2017

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me. I took on a new job, learned of some big family news, and also confronted some health issues and personal demons of mine..
One of the biggest and most constant sources of joy to me this year was when I read.

I love books [really any form of great writing, short or long form]. I like them for the following reasons:

  1. I can escape into them: On a good, restful day, taking the time to read for myself helps me achieve an even higher state of zen, and on a crazy, tiring day, I can escape the traps of “my depressing life” thinking and jump instead into the world of the book I am reading, and this gives me deep solace and strength. Sometimes they even help me cry and grieve for the things I’ve probably been meaning to cry for, and they help me bring my guard down even if it’s for only a minute to feel what I have been feeling that day, that past week or the past year. Sometimes they bring a greater joy to the things I’ve been experiencing in my life by offering up similar and parallel scenarios that add more color and zest to the contexts of my real life stories.
  2. The authors help me live lives I’ll probably never have the chance of living with this one body. You can’t be in three places at once, but with books– you can! Limits to time, geography, and resources are blown away like “chaff from the wind” (sorry, I had to add in the Biblical reference – har har). I can imagine myself in the village of Combray, France, or find myself the next day in Middletown, Ohio on the suburban streets. I can bring myself back to post-war England in the 1940’s, where the last of true aristocracy habits were finally coming to an end. I can put myself in the shoes of the invisible black man of the early 19th and 20th centuries, of the white man experiencing discrimination from those that cry out “down with white privilege!” or even of the young Irish orphan in Tuam, relegated to a life of social marginalization and impoverished youth.
  3. Books elucidate thoughts I’m thinking and am grappling to understand better. They give me a deeper wisdom about the things out there and add another puzzle piece to the mental “map” I have about the kinds of people, lives, and thoughts I see co-existing in the world at large, from Chile to Cambodia, with time unbound. They tell me I really don’t know much, that I only know so much, and that I need to learn so, much, more in order to do the things I think I’m meant to do in this life (apparently according to the Social Security Administration, I have about 61.6 years, 739 months, or 22,484 days left to figure life out- time’s a tickin’). Every book, every line of well written prose gives me a deeper understanding for the human experience, of the brokenness amongst our global communities, of the complexities of our problems and our progress, and of the shared experiences we as humans all go through, sometime and somewhere on this Earth.

For those who’re not too much of a book reader, I’m sure you probably experience the same kind of things through a different medium. Maybe it’s art. Maybe it’s music or film. Maybe it’s through your career vocation, I don’t know.

Anyways, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2017:

 

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

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2. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

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3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

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4. Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming

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5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (recommended by friends Max and Sewon)

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If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been reading, feel free to check out my Reading List, with a list of the books I’ve read from 2016 to present, and Wordy Treasures, which includes my favorite excerpts and aphorisms.