Month: December 2018

Having a good day is an emergent property

Filling up your minute, morning, day, month, year and life with positive things lead to having an acceptably good life. A good day (and thus a good life) is an emergent property of the things you did during that day (and thus life).

In Why we make things and why it matters, Peter Korn mentions:

To master a craft is not to achieve a state of enlightenment, despite my youthful expectation to the contrary. Creative practice simply makes our lives richer in meaning and fulfillment than they might be otherwise. For some of us, creative practice may be among the few slender threads that bind our lives together.

Ch. 14 “A Good Life”, from Why we make things and why it matters by Peter Korn.

Korn’s obsession was to his craft (carpentry) and to enable those around him to master their craft, by building a school around the craft. He essentially argued that practicing his craft doesn’t offer an ultimate answer to a good life, but it’s a positive thing to be engaged in, which already justifies doing it.

Blogger Mr Money Mustache took the kaizen argument of improving your days: to take tiny steps of doing positive things to fool yourself into doing them. When asking yourself what to do with your day, he says seek not to be entertained:

It doesn’t matter what you enjoy. It matters what’s good for you. enjoy pumpkin cheesecake and key lime pie, but I only eat them a few times a year.

Mr Money Mustache

Psychologist Jordan Peterson has argued for this type of approach. To reduce your “suffering” ask “What is a list of things I’m doing that’s obviously hurting me?”. You accept humility and reduce at least just one thing on your list. And similarly you can ask “What is a list of things I can do that would improve my life?”. The answers will be simple and obvious, and now it’s up to you to start doing at least some of those things now.