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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 057 (Apr 18, 2021) — Lottery of Birth, Free Will, Emotional Intelligence, & More
Sloww Sunday is a free newsletter delivering the latest from Sloww along with the most interesting modern knowledge and timeless wisdom I discovered last week.
I always aim to respect your time and attention, so every newsletter can be read in under 5 minutes. Enjoy!
It’s nearly impossible to search for free will and not come across Sam Harris—he seems to be the “gateway drug to the free will debate” for many people. But, once you dive deeper, you realize that the free will debate is highly complex with many sides to it. And, of course it is! It wouldn’t be one of humanity’s ultimate questions for thousands of years if it wasn’t. This post is simply a collection of some of the latest Sam Harris thinking to get you started.
The “Ovarian Lottery” is a short thought experiment popularized by Warren Buffett. There’s an incredible amount of your life that you couldn’t control and therefore can’t take credit (or blame) for—much more than we realize on a daily basis. There’s also plenty of research out there that shows where you start in life has an overwhelming affect on where you end up in life. This is humbling and should be kept top of mind—in our relationship with ourselves and with others.
🧠 What is Emotional Intelligence?
(60 mins | YouTube)
Daniel Goleman is a psychologist, science journalist, and the author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence—which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The research on EQ has grown and evolved over the last couple decades, and this podcast covers some of the latest insights.
- Universal Emotions: Paul Ekman narrowed it down to: fear, anger, enjoyment, sadness, disgust, surprise, and contempt. Others cut it down to only four: fear, anger, joy, and sadness.
- Four Domains of Emotional Intelligence: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness (empathy), and Relationship Management (social skills).
- Two Kinds of Worry: Constructive Worry (when you think about something that’s upsetting you and you think of something you can do to change the situation for the better) & Destructive Worry (when you just loop something over and over).
“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection—or compassionate action.” — Daniel Goleman
👶 The Lottery of Birth
(17 mins | YouTube)
If you were to only take one thing from this newsletter, I’d say watch this TED Talk by Raoul Martinez—it should be required viewing for humanity. We do not choose to exist. As newborns, we’re endowed with genes that we didn’t ask for, and we’re faced with a world that we played no part in creating. By the time we’re old enough to contemplate everything, how we view ourselves, others, and the world is filtered through our prior conditioning. Our arbitrary starting points in life shape the lives that we lead and much of where we end up in life. This is the lottery of birth.
“If we’re to get beyond our conditioning, we need to question the forces that have shaped us.” — Raoul Martinez
🤯 Mind Expanding
Mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring content has the power to shift your perspective in an instant.
There’s mind-boggling complexity at every level of life. This is a 3D rendering of a eukaryotic cell modeled using X-ray, nuclear magnetic resonance, and cryo-electron microscopy. Some say it looks like a miniature city.
💭 Deep Quote
“If a problem can be solved, why worry?
If a problem cannot be solved, why worry?”
— Tibetan wisdom
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Have a worry-free week!