- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated rethinking.
I read (listened to) Think Again by Adam Grant and listened to an interview with Andrew Yang, who has started a new political party after his attempt to run for Democratic candidate a couple years ago.
In 2003, Vicky Ward wrote a story about where Jeffery Epstein got his money. At the time, the Farmer sisters told her what happened to them
— heinous stuff. Because of a series of (poor imho) editorial decisions, their story was twice cut from Vicky Ward’s writing: once in the original piece, and again in a later blog.
I am currently listening to the last episode in a 12 part series Vicky Ward created that sets the record straight. To do so has meant that she needed to rethink the power structure in her life.
Rethinking is difficult — in the face of injustice, I often respond with despondence. I become dispirited. The character required to rethink can be daunting but can also lift others up, inspiring and perhaps conspiring to a world just slightly better off.
“The right thing is usually just what everybody don’t do.” ― Willa Cather, O Pioneers
“People are programmed for resource scarcity. They think, "Hey, there’s not enough to go around - you get it, I don’t get it and if we all get it it’s somehow gonna harm us.” And that’s what we have to overcome. We have to overcome this knee jerk sense of scarcity that is baked into in many ways the way we’re trained to perceive value and money.“ — Andrew Yang, Freakonomics Podcast episode #362
”…the damage was done. She (Maria Farmer) had gone from seeing me as someone she could absolutely trust to seeing me as some sort of enemy … I wanted to sit down with her; I wanted to make it right. It was very important to me and I wanted to check in on her. I felt absolutely appalling for her but I also wanted to explain that I had really done my best — you know, mistakes had been made, yes. But I had always been her advocate. I could completely see how she could have read that 2011 blog and been really upset but I wanted to tell her what had happened and I really wanted to say, “Sorry”.
So you know Martha, you asked me at the start why did I want to dig in to all of this. And the primary reason above all else is that I did want to take this moment to say to Maria Farmer in public that I am very glad that you got to see justice done and I also wanted to say to you that I am very sorry.“ — Vicky Ward, Chasing Ghislaine Podcast episode 12: Broken Trust
"This book is an invitation to let go of knowledge and opinions that are no longer serving you well and to anchor your sense of self in flexibility rather than consistency.” — Adam Grant, on his book, Think Again
One of the things I wasn’t super inspired by in “Think Again” was that it really did feel like just that: an invitation.
That’s all you need if by “thinking again” what you mean is that perhaps you’d rather eat less meat this year, or be less of an a–hole.
What I admire, and would love for you to consider, is the courage it takes to notice injustice and do something about it in a way that actually doesn’t benefit you as much as it benefits others, especially people who are voiceless.
That is my prompt for 2022, for this week, for today:
It needs to start with you (me, us) doing everything we know how to do to look after ourselves well, because this prompt isn’t easy. So eschew the meat, or alcohol, or curmudgeonliness (or whatever keeps you from running the race set before you) take up cold plunges or yoga or trail running or meditation (or whatever helps you train) and then:
What needs to be rethought in 2022?
I keep wanting to write “what small thing” needs to be rethought because it feels scary to consider anything larger than very small. But I believe all rethinking, done courageously and with the greater good in mind, is big.
A mantra that came to me over the last few days was “How do we foster living functionally in a dysfunctional world?”
Our family had the great good fortune and grace of literally creating a functional bubble :) for years. As we venture out more and more into the wider world, I think one thing that is most dispiriting for us is the shock of dysfunction in the wider world.
But, as Milton said so well hundreds of years ago and it still stands: “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”
We need to sally out :) this year and meet our adversary. Yes, there will be dust and heat. Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we must remain flexible and strong.
But I would like to challenge you to join me in imperfectly sallying out, doing our best, together, to meet our adversaries face to face and rethink this life we’re living, together.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
If you are in on this challenge, a small start will help entrench you — try this week to do one small thing that is a bit out of character, out of your bubble, but rights a small wrong, uplifts someone, gives voice to something that needs a voice. See what happens.