Reflections: self-deception, romance, resetting, competition.

I send out a newsletter every Monday at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. To get my writing in your mailbox each Monday, subscribe to the mailing list. Much obliged.

This week’s entry is shorter than usual; I’m temporarily scaling back my weekend time on “projects,” including writing newsletters.

I typically write these entries on weekends, as it allows me an extra day of buffer for revisions.

But as I recently realized, I need to use Saturday and Sunday to recharge from the stresses of the weekday grind.

For this week, at least, I’m treating this entry as a “cheat week” — shorter and lighter on content.

I am, however, trying to write for an audience. If you prefer this style of quick update, let me know!

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

My mentor recommended this book to me. I quickly tracked down a physical copy in Shanghai and devoured its contents in a few days.

It’s a short, easy read with a meaningful message:

We deceive ourselves. When we do, we find ourselves “in the box.” The self-deception cascades into things we do and believe. The ongoing goal is to try and get “out of the box.”

But why do we deceive ourselves? When do we do it? And how can we be aware of whether we’re in the box or not?

These are the big questions; the book answers them using a series of practical and memorable examples.

Leadership is a game-changer and has caused me to re-examine my life and work in new ways. It is common sense and empathy packaged in an actionable framework.

Leadership also complements the other books I’ve read quite well.

I’d love to have a conversation about it. Reach out after reading, if you’re so inclined.

Chinese Valentine’s Day

I like these occasions — I’m not too cynical about it — as it’s a solid opportunity to do something for my significant other.

This week we went to a really nice Omakase joint in Shanghai. First post-lockdown Omakase experience, actually.

Valentine’s Day paired very well with “getting out of the box.” Love it when theory meets practice.

Re-experiencing the old as new

Although I’ve kept up various activities during the lockdown — cooking, fitness, podcasting, learning — there were other things that proved impractical to do.

I’ve slowly gotten back into basketball, running, real-life socializing and a host of other pursuits.

Maintaining a feeling of gratitude as I experience the old — as new — goes a long way. It’s fun to re-contextualize things that I’d taken for granted.

Last month, I purchased a pair of Bluetooth noise-isolating headphones (over-the-ear) with excellent sound quality for about $60.

My previous pair broke down and I’d been wearing lightweight bone conduction earphones for exercise/runs, for the past 2 years. They’re super handy for the outdoors, and are perfect for not falling off one’s ears in the heat of the moment, but the sound quality is lacking.

The new $60 headphones sound great, and I’ve gotten back into listening to new music. It’s hard to appreciate new sounds without a solid pair of headphones — glad to be back in the flow and discovering new tunes.

My biggest competitor = myself

Self-improvement and overall progress is the goal. Comparison with others is the thief of joy.

There is only one Michael Jordan, but other people can still lead fulfilling lives as basketball players.

Take care of yourself, and be well.


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One Comment

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  1. Those headphones look awesome, I may need to pick up a pair myself! Thanks for the tip, James!


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