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Sloww Sunday Newsletter 079 (Oct 3, 2021) — Life Optimization, Effortless Action, Becoming, & More
Here’s the latest from Sloww along with the most interesting things I discovered last week.
To respect your time and attention, every newsletter can be read in under 5 minutes. If you enjoy it, please take 5 seconds to share it with some friends and family. 🙏
In Case You Missed It
How to Live is one of my surprise favorite books of the year. Each chapter gives a different answer to the question of how to live your life. But, they’re all (at least partially) true, so the big insight is how to reconcile them.
This Premium post explores how to integrate the book into your life—including how I turned “How to Live” into a “How I Live” perspective manifesto.
🔒 Sloww Society Community
• Sloww Sunday Surplus: 7 bonus links not in this newsletter
• Let’s Celebrate: What were your weekly wins?
• Lifelong Learning: What’s your go-to method for taking notes?
• Mental Mastery: 90 Second Rule + BRAIN Huddle
🧠 Modern Knowledge
How to Optimize Your Life — Brian Johnson
(2 hrs | YouTube)
There are few people out there as dedicated to truly holistic living as Brian Johnson of Optimize. This video is the first module of the Mastery Series from the Optimize Coach Program. I should mention that I’m not affiliated with Optimize in any way and have not personally taken the program—I’m just a fan of what Brian Johnson has built with Optimize over the last 10+ years.
“Start here. This is the best of what I know of ancient wisdom, modern science, practical tools. This is how we move from theory, to practice, to mastery. This is how we close the gap between who we’re capable of being and who we’re actually being.” — Brian Johnson
☯️ Timeless Wisdom
Wu Wei — The Art of Effortless Action
(13 mins | YouTube)
“Wu wei” has been defined in many different ways: non-action, non-doing, actionless action, and effortless action. However, don’t make the common mistake of thinking this is synonymous with passivity or laziness. Instead, it’s about aligning our actions with nature—not forcing the flow of nature. Alan Watts defined wu wei as “the principle of not forcing … the art of sailing rather than the art of rowing.”
In Stephen Mitchell’s version of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Mitchell explains:
“Nothing is done because the doer has wholeheartedly vanished into the deed; the fuel has been completely transformed into flame. This ‘nothing’ is, in fact, everything. It happens when we trust in the intelligence of the universe in the same way that an athlete or a dancer trusts the superior intelligence of the body.”
As an example, there’s a passage that says, “Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything.” What does that mean? Mitchell says:
“Her actions are appropriate responses. Thus they are effortless … She never has to make a decision; decisions arise by themselves. She is like an actress who loves her role. The Tao is writing the script.”
All in all:
“This is a paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance.” — Stephen Mitchell
🤯 Mind Expanding
(6 mins | Vimeo)
BECOMING is a short film by Jan van IJken about the miraculous genesis of animal life. In great microscopic detail, we see the ‘making of’ an Alpine Newt in its transparent egg from the first cell division to hatching. A single cell is transformed into a complete, complex living organism with a beating heart and running bloodstream.
“The first stages of embryonic development are roughly the same for all animals, including humans. In the film, we can observe a universal process which normally is invisible: the very beginning of an animal’s life.” — Jan van IJken
💡 Deep Thought
What is something you are absolutely certain is true? Try it.
Here are 30+ responses to ponder (Twitter).
💬 Wise Words
“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” — Plato
PS: The power of starting small (Twitter).
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Have a slow and steady week!
Synthesizer & Solopreneur, Sloww