The kind you want.
Complexity is a drag.
It’s an unnecessary burden you can dodge.
We diminish our life with unneeded stress and risks we endure. Here are three easy decisions you can make to better your life.
The silly process of risk-taking
The news clip made me sit up out of my chair.
A woman had jumped into the lion exhibit at the Bronx zoo.
She was talking in a sing-songy voice to the lion. The huge male, with a thick mixed-black mane, looked around him and then at her, a bit confused by her audacity.
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Via TMZ News
This wasn’t even a suicide attempt.
This lady seemed to think she was dealing with a teddy bear lion. Behind the glass, people were screaming for her to get out. I even started shouting at my monitor, “Get out! Run!”
She cupped her hand, and waved, smiling at the lion.
My eyes were wide.
Fortunately, she was pulled out unharmed and later arrested. She’s luckier than many have been.
Jumping in a cage with a large predator is a transgression against our most basic calling and an egregious violation of our Darwinian code. This was obviously a case of mental illness and the lady needs help (she claimed she was a reincarnated lion).
Her incident reminded me of my childhood here in Florida; I periodically heard stories of people being attacked by alligators — after they’d swam in ponds with alligator warning signs all around them.
If you want to live a good life, remember your place on the food chain and respect it as such.
The same applies to nature. I don’t care how good of a swimmer you are, respect the power of the ocean and all it brings.
Protecting your fidelity
My ex’s father had just returned from a trip abroad.
He’d been taking mysterious and routine “consulting” trips to another country.
I knew things were fishy when his energy completely changed before these trips. He was way too excited to be going on a work trip. He had a vibrant, youthful energy that I recognized all too well.
By chance, I worked in the same industry. When I asked him questions about the consulting trips, he got very vague about what was happening. It made his behavior all the more fishy.
Long story short — he was caught having affairs with all sorts of women overseas.
His entire life blows up.
His wife briefly gives him a second chance until she discovers just how rampant the affairs were (he had a hidden side-chick phone he was using and hundreds of nude photos from different women).
For years, he grovels, begging for a second chance — to no avail. He loses his family and is on the hook for huge alimony payments.
His case was extreme — but I’ve known other men who cheated over the years. Sometimes, it was more explicit — with him telling me it was happening.
It has never ended well.
I haven’t always been wise enough to learn from other men’s mistakes — but on this front I have. This will seem like an obvious insight, but if you feel the raging desire to sleep with other people—save yourself the chaos and just end the relationship first.
You don’t just scar other people when you do terrible things to them. You scar yourself too.
And as a broader rule, I try to stay true to things I say I’m going to do, even if they are low-octane commitments. Holding a pattern makes life easier in the long run.
I can’t stand flakey people who casually say they’ll do things only for nothing to happen.
Do you have “The Secretary Problem”?
Two women are living two very different romantic extremes.
The first is in and out of short relationships in perpetuity. She’ll introduce a new great guy she’s been talking to. Then, “poof”. He’s gone.
The other will end a six-year relationship. Then, two weeks later? She starts another six-year relationship.
One could argue these outlooks aren’t just buggy but quite common. One is continuing her search for too long, foregoing potential great partners. The other cuts her search short, leaving great partners undiscovered, while also not giving herself proper emotional availability.
This is the nature of a stopping problem in data science.
The best example of this is The Secretary Problem. It’s a wickedly challenging math question that top academic minds have agonized over.
The basic premise: how long should you search for a secretary?
It isn’t logical to interview just one candidate. Nor is it wise to interview 500 candidates. So how do you optimize?
The scientists went to great pains, building huge charts, equations, and graphs. They argued at length — not because they needed a secretary, but because it speaks to a greater behavioral predicament: when do you stop searching?
They developed a solution you can use: adopt a “best yet” approach. After all, the “best ever” is not realistic.
Being the “best yet” after interviewing one candidate carries little weight. But after interviewing 3? You’re moving in the right direction. Still — that isn’t enough. How many do you interview?
Set a predetermined amount of time or quantity for your search. You will only gather data at this stage and disallow any decision-making. Suspend all judgment.
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After this search period, force yourself to choose.
In theory, the no-break serial monogamist would consider more candidates. And the wandering damsel would think more logically about finalizing a choice — or perhaps embracing flying solo for a while.
This applies to searching for cars, interviewing, and so much more.
Beware of overcomplicating your life and taking unnecessary risks that seem obviously foolish.
Recap for memory: 3 things to reduce risk and live a simpler, better life
Respect the power of nature and your place on the food chain. If you’re given an evacuation order — evacuate.
Practice the fine art of honoring your commitments — big or small. Be known for your reliability and people will want to know you.
With a search or difficult transition, set a planned quantity beforehand and allow yourself to search, grieve, or indulge yourself across that time period. It enhances your sense of control over your life and spares you from self-immolation.
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Contributed by Sean Kernan
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