The winter has come to Tyumen, and last week we had ground and trees covered with snow as the photo above depicts. However during the second half of the week the weather switched completely: on Thursday it was raining(sic), and by now all that show has melted or turned into ice crust on the sidewalks.
This kind of weather swings is not common for our latitudes. As for me I prefer a good decent frost rather that this melting mush on the ground. But here’s a lesson I learnt from the weather—as long as you can’t change that take it as is.
I realized that long ago, and since that I’ve never cared about the weather more than necessary. Sure, I put on a winter jacket if it’s -30°C, but I never complain about it. There’s no avail in that.
If it’s raining I put on a raincoat or take an umbrella with me(even though I hate umbrellas). That’s just how the weather is today and all I can do is to be prepared. The same goes for all the unpredictability and chaos in life. You can’t foresee all of problems and issues coming your way, but you can be ready to handle them and withstand the heat or the cold when it’s necessary.
So don’t go gentle. Go for a walk when it’s raining, snowing or when it’s a Mexican desert heat outside. Don’t postpone life just because something is not the way you’ve expected it to be. Harshness is necessary to handle discomfort and unpredictability down the road.
So don’t go gentle, take what’s out there and work with it.
We’re overdosed with knowledge. The worst thing is that we’ve decided that we’re obliged to know everything and be always aware. We are voluntarily agreed to have our attentional filters overwhelmed on a regular basis. We should leave some mental space for just being, instead. As we used to do 30−50 years ago.
I remember that even in my childhood that took place in 1990s we didn’t have this problem. On the contrary, people had to make a lot of effort to gain some knowledge, to get some information. To read up for exams you have to go to the library or ask a friend who had a PC to visit him so you could search something on the internet. You had to be creative to get information.
So much we didn’t know back then! And we couldn’t care less that we don’t. We didn’t consider whether it was a lack of knowledge or we were uneducated. We simply didn’t give a fuck about that. We were much more easy-going and didn’t put a pressure on us for not knowing. Things are different today, bad different.
So when I hear people say:
— Oh, there this ChatGPT thing. I have to learn more about it…
— Oh, there’s this Barbie thing, I should create a pic of me as a Barbie doll
… Oh. there’s a new program language I should learn to code in…
I think to myself, “Jeez, I am lucky not to know!” Because no matter how hard I try to filter the incoming flow of information, people still will bring it up and post it anyway. There’s literally nowhere to hide from it these days.
I prefer not to overload my brain with that information. I prefer not to know. 'Cause let’s be honest, 99% of news and information on our feeds is a complete bogus. It’s useless. So why bother? Why waste our energy, motivation, and attention on it? Why please interests of those who will not care back?
You don’t need to know everything that is out there. It’s hard to be good at one thing, and yet people try to be good at plenty. Instead of stuffing your brain with another new technique do what you already do well and perfect your routine. And choose wisely and thoroughly what you want to see on your feed, what you’d like to draw your attention on.
Know your drill. Keep your focus clear and steady. Prefer not to know.
Marketing is everywhere. Someone’s ad is targeted at you when you’re taking shit. Someone is trying to sell you their stuff right now while you’re reading this post. Brands have gone too far playing this marketing game. It stopped being funny. It has become more of a burden.
People are tired of marketing. Badly. Especially of the one that teaches how to live your life, treat your kids, or become a better version of yourself. They say, “You're imperfect. Do this and you’ll become that. Buy this thing and it’ll empower you to do those cool things.” All kind of bullshit like this is ubiquitous. It’s all over the place.
Brands keep selling magic pills when people know it’s a myth. Fuck them.
No surprise we’re so tired of marketing. No one likes to be taken for a fool. People have learned most of the marketing tricks they used to fall prey to. They don’t fall for them anymore. But most marketers are too short-sighted to see that. So they keep pushing.
People don’t want to be manipulated or be taken advantage of anymore. They seek respect, trust, and care. They look for help, support, and understanding. They have always been looking for those things, long before marketing was invented. People want to see they’re heard.
To put it simply, marketing is any communication between a brand and a customer. However, most of the time you don’t even know you’re a customer. Brands simply push something towards you without asking: an email, a message, a call, an advertisement.
You’re no longer taking an active part in this play. You’re an impersonal audience they sell to. You are to watch and choose between Y and N buttons. That’s your role when it comes to marketing today. No one give a shit what you need.
But marketing is not about selling by force. It’s about selling to the right people by fitting their needs and solving their problems the way they expect.
Marketing is not about bombarding people with calls and emails. It’s about talking to the right person as if it was a private meaningful conversation with a friend which is in need right now.
Marketing is not about deciding what is the best color for the CTA-button or if it should have an outline and a shadow. It’s about finding the right words and images to convey your message, to make others feel they belong.
Marketing is not about a bouncing popup-window that appears when you’ve just opened the website. It’s about letting people look through your page and make an informed decision on their own.
We need to remarket marketing. We need to have a clear and honest conversation with people we’d like to see as our customers and clients. That would be a great start.
One of the biggest truths about life is that we don’t own most of the things we think belong to us. Sounds crazy, but keep reading, and you’ll get there.
The money in your bank account doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the bank. If tomorrow it goes bankrupt, you’ll have no money. The lease car you’re driving doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to a leasing company. The money you invested in stocks or real estate doesn’t belong to you. They belong to the company you’ve entrusted them to.
Neither cool things nor expensive toys you buy belong to you. They are simply tools that provide comfort for you and your family. But they don’t belong to you. They are not a part of you. Even the clothes you wear, and the food you eat don’t belong to you. Those are just things you buy with money.
Money is the biggest illusion of power and stability.
Politicians own your money, and they screw up every goddamn day. One poor decision of theirs and you have less money than you had last morning. Trying to be in control and believing you’re in control of the things you own is probably the biggest self-deception in the world. Don’t fall into this trap.
Your real possessions are the money you’ve already spent and the experiences and skills you’ve acquired with that money. Choose wisely, spend more easily, and get richer.
It’s been three days since my wife and I returned home from a short trip to Ufa, the capital city of Bashkortostan. It was our first trip together in six months, so we were expecting it like never before.
We did all we could to make this trip joyful and pleasant: booked a good four-star hotel, asked our friends to recommend us good restaurants and cafes, and made a list of places to visit and local food we should try. However, everything that could go wrong went wrong on that trip.
The mishaps started right after we arrived. We planned this short vacation a month ago to get to the concert of Pompeya, a Russian indie-rock band that sings in English. The organization was so bad that there was a cram. As the gig started, soon my wife and I were squeezed between two flows of people like rye in the windmill. So, we had to leave and listened the rest of the show from the distance.
For the next two days, bad luck followed us. Everywhere we went we encountered indifference from waiters and baristas, rudeness from people in the street, and prying eyes of random passersby. In all the restaurants we visited the food was unsavory or cooked in some weird way. For example, in one place we were served an Italian pizza with dill, and in other cafe—a waiter brought eggs Benedict that were watery.
The city of Ufa is a nice place from an urban perspective: there are many parks and green cozy alleys, breathtaking landscapes, lots of old merchant houses, and unique local wooden architecture. But we didn’t have a chance to enjoy the city, because we didn’t feel welcome there.
Even though I can’t say our trip was a pleasant experience, we accepted it and tried our best to enjoy it anyway. As soon as we realized things weren’t going the way we wanted, we made up our minds to accept anything that would happen and live every moment as is, not trying to control the consequences of our choices.
We can’t control the outcomes
The only two things you can control in life are your perception of events and your attitude to the impact they have on your life. You have the power to make conclusions and decisions you think are best for you. But you can’t control the outcomes.
You can design a great process, tweak your mind to the right tune, thoroughly manage your daily routine, and still get the wrong result. It’s insane, but it happens every day. And when it does, it’s crucial to focus on the next attempt rather than the outcome you are aiming for.
There’s no 100% working solution that will lead you to success. There are no magic pills. The previous experience that worked in the past can become a letdown or another pitfall in the present. The only reliable tactic is to keep trying and not be afraid of failure.
Failures always come with stress, and it’s a good thing. Stress kept our ancestors looking for a better place to settle. Stress and hunger kept them seeking an easier and more reliable way to get food—that's how livestock and crop production emerged.
Stress and failures are the essences of life, without them, we’d be extinct. So if you’re feeling stressed right now, that’s OK. You can’t completely remove stress from your life, but you can change your attitude toward it. Legitimize failures, let them be.
Babies are best at failing, and they don’t give a shit about it!
Think of a baby boy who learns to stand and walk. He doesn’t care if he falls a thousand times before he can stand holding onto the edge of his bed. He doesn’t give a shit! He keeps trying, and, in the end, he gets there. We are no different from them!
Another great example is people who run marathons. Marathoners don’t run a marathon on their first attempt. First, they run 1 km, then 2, someday they run 5. Then they run 10, 20, and only after years of training—a marathon. They don’t care much about failures, because it’s OK not to be capable of running 42 km from scratch.
Legitimizing failures is the healthiest way to handle stress. By changing your attitude to setbacks you can greatly reduce the amount of stress in life. This will release more time for new attempts and ideas, and allow you to see solutions that were unavailable to you before.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. The same goes for failures and stress.
Accept failure when it comes your way. Never think you’d fail, but also never regret it when you do. Go forward, do your best, and never look back. Then it’ll be easy for you to start over as if nothing bad happened at all. That’s the best way to master the game. Any game.
There were times when I loved doing several things simultaneously. I could make a soup and at the same time discuss another website layout, write a newsletter and watch a TV show. Over time I’ve realized that multitasking almost always sucks, and here’s why.
Only few people in this world can multitask and deliver great results. There’re almost none.
The desire to complete two different things at one is a pathetic attempt to buy some time. Both are likely to be done badly.
Multitasking is often used in the wrong places. It leads to mistakes, sometimes fatal.
To figure out when it’s okay to multitask and when it’s not, I follow a simple method.
If the task doesn’t require thinking and analyzing new information—cleaning, washing dishes, walking through the park—it can be combined with another activity. For example, I make half of my calls and team meetings on the go, because I can move my legs without thinking about it.
However, if the task requires you to immerse yourself into the topic, to constantly assess the situation, to watch for safety—meeting with a new client, playing basketball, or driving a car—you'd better put everything else on hold and focus. Otherwise, you might miss a crucial idea of the talk or get hit in the face with a ball. And if you’re checking your phone while driving or crossing the street, you may die eventually.
I’m not a fan of multitasking, and I hate it when it is mispresented as a criterion for success. But at the same time, I love variety. I enjoy running several projects at once, meeting new people every day, and visiting different cities. The variety is in the spice of life! It inspires me and gives me food for thought. But doing several tasks at once — fuck this. It’s highly likely to turn out to be bullshit.
The hardest thing to do when you’re wrong is to accept that it’s only your fault and responsibility, but no one else’s. It’s incredibly difficult to admit when you’re wrong.
It takes a great courage to stand up and say, “Yeah, I failed. I am sorry for that. I was wrong.” Very few people are capable of taking such a step. If you can do that, you have reason to be proud of yourself.
The secret of happiness can be revealed with a simple thought. Life is always beautiful. No matter what shit may come and happen, life is good simply because being alive is better than being dead.
Our life is very erratic and inconsistent. You won’t have forever what you have now in your life. Someday it will end. All of it. And there will be nothing to enjoy, nothing to look at, and nothing to regret about.
Even though sometimes life puts us to the test it doesn’t make life less precious and amazing. To live is always good. Remember that both in the moments of joy and in the moments of grief.
The value of life is in life itself, not in how easy or hard this life is for you.