Eye-Opening Blogposts You Should Read
Blogposts that I re-read over and over again because the content is just THAT GOOD.
I was a bit late to the blog scene, stubbornly sticking to books and magazines that I deemed more ‘legitimate’. At the time, most blogs were in their infancy stages, with terrible neon colours and annoying animations.
Exhibit A: What blogs were like back in the day. Source.
I only started taking blogs seriously when I encountered some excellent, mind-blowing articles that helped me see things in a different light or helped me understand things in a more nuanced way. It made me realise that my snobbery was misplaced - it was not the medium that mattered (be it a bound book or html), but the authors themselves.
Since I’ve shared a list of books that changed my life, it only seemed fair that I give blogposts their due recognition as well. Below are a list of bloggers and their superbly written articles that really benefitted me, and will also, I suspect, benefit you as well.
Wait But Why
“It kind of feels like our lives are made up of a countless number of weeks. But there they are - fully countable - staring you in the face.”
By this, Tim is referring to the life calendar he made, in which each empty box in a grid represents a week of one’s life. Using that calendar, he charts out a typical life of an American, famous deaths as well as championships won by Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.
But the most interesting way to use the calendar, he says, is to reflect on your weeks and how you spend them.
Read this if you… want a reality check on how you’re using the time you’re given on this planet in a way that is visible and trackable.
A concluding piece following his series on Elon Musk, Tim tries to find out what makes Elon so remarkable compared to the rest of us. Is it his brains? His genes? His work ethics? In this incredibly long post that uses analogies from geology to softwares to tribalism, Tim finally lands on one that sums it up: the cook versus the chef.
“The words “cook” and “chef” seem kind of like synonyms. And in the real world, they’re often used interchangeably. But in this post, when I say chef, I don’t mean any ordinary chef. I mean the trailblazing chef—the kind of chef who invents recipes. And for our purposes, everyone else who enters a kitchen—all those who follow recipes—is a cook.”
A fascinating analysis on what makes some of us great and others mediocre.
Read this if you… want to be inspired to be more than you currently are.
“Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given.”
If you have ever struggled with insecurities and self-consciousness (and honestly, who hasn’t?), you should definitely read this raging, rallying call to stop caring so much about everyone and everything. Profanities aside, Mark puts forth a proposal for all of us to strengthen ourselves by being careful about, and putting a limit to, the things we choose to get all worked up over.
“Indeed, the ability to reserve our fucks for only the most fuckworthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier.”
Read this if you… want to escape the crippling, self-imposed anxiety over the smallest things. Also, check out his book with the same title.
Mark categorises life into four stages:
Stage One: Mimicry - where we copy everybody else.
Stage Two: Discovery - where we stop copying everybody else and start becoming ourselves.
Stage Three: Commitment - where we stop with all the self-discovery crap and start to focus on a few key things we want to commit our lives to.
Stage Four: Legacy - where we focus on making sure we leave something worthwhile behind before we die.
Not all of us make it all the way through, however. Some of us get stuck in Stage Three, while some of us continue to flounder around in Stage One till we die.
Mark explains how we change with each stage, and he is convinced that "developing through each subsequent stage of life grants us greater control over our happiness and well-being".
Read this if you… want to find out which life stage you’re stuck at, and what to do about it.
“The secrets to love, life and happiness can be unlocked with three simple words: Play. The Sims.”
Oliver shows how The Sims game applies in real life. If you don’t already know, The Sims is a game in which you control a digital character’s life, all with a push of a mouse button. You tell the person to eat, to walk to the right, to feed the digital pet cat, to go to the gym, to say hi to the cute person over there...
It’s easy to be successful at The Sims. And Oliver believes that if we treated life the way we play the Sims, we’d be a lot better off. He offers three main lessons from the Sims game on how to do this.
Read this if you… rock at the Sims game and want to have the same results for your life as well.
Still sticking with the theme of games, Oliver expands on the previous article in which he says life is like a Sims game.
He offers a few tips on how to win the game of life, from managing your resources to picking a career to finding a partner. You’d be surprised just how similar we are to the characters we choose to play with on our game consoles, and how important it is to figure out a strategy for our lives as we do for the games we play… “because by the time most of us have figured life out, we’ve used up too much of the best parts.”
Read this if you… are a gamer and can appreciate a well-thought out game strategy for your own life.
The Art of Manliness
“I have a friend who is endlessly lamenting that he wants his life “to be extraordinary.” But when I ask him what that means, he shakes his head, and says, “I don’t even know-it’s just this feeling that haunts me all the time.””
Perfectly capturing the vague dissatisfaction and restlessness that I think afflicts a lot of us, Brett & Kate McKay write at length about living in a world in which the norms and expectations are becoming more fluid and mixed up, leaving us all confused as to what we’re supposed to be doing to be ‘a real man’, or a ‘real woman’, or even a ‘real person’.
Back in the day, the definition of success was a lot clearer and more uniform: get a good 9-5 job, get married, have kids, buy a house - SUCCESS! Nowadays, it’s not quite as simple, and as a result, none of us feel like we’re ever truly ‘there’.
Read this if you… struggle with feelings of inadequacy and restlessness without knowing why.
Similar in theme to the previous one, Brett & Kate go into even more detail on this phenomenon they call ‘Neurasthenia’. They describe it best using the bookstore as an analogy:
“Sometimes I actually don’t like browsing a bookstore because there are so many books, and I can get to feeling overwhelmed by it. All of these books to read! I’ll never be able to read them all! It almost makes me not want to start. I just have to tell myself to pick one that looks interesting and simply start there. As it is in the bookstore, so it is in life. Often we feel restless and unhappy because there seems like there are so many things out there that we want to take hold of.”
Read this if you… answer ‘yes’ to any of the below questions:
Do you feel lost, restless, or shiftless?
Do you feel like there’s this great life you should be living but you just don’t know how to make it happen?
Do find yourself wishing that life would finally start for you?
Do you feel anxious about your life, sure there’s something else you’re supposed to be doing but you don’t have any idea what it is?
Do you feel like you’re life is generally going great and you’re doing the kind of things that you want to do, but you just have this sinking feeling that maybe you’re missing out on something?
Hyperbole & A Half
Allie writes and draws out her initial fall into depression, documenting her downward spiral into self-hate and gradual inability to feel anything in a series of comic-like illustrations.
“Some people have a legitimate reason to feel depressed, but not me. I just woke up one day feeling sad and helpless for absolutely no reason.”
Read this if you… are depressed / have experienced depression and want to relate / have no idea what depression is, but you know someone who is and you want to understand what they’re going through
A follow-up to her first post on depression, Allie goes on to describe what it’s like to be depressed to the point of being casually suicidal, how the people around her reacted to it, how she dealt with it, and eventually how she (sort of) overcame it.
An honest, straightforward and funny account of what would typically be perceived as a dark episode of one’s life.
“Why are you crying?”
“I don’t know. It’s just something that’s happening.”
Read this if you… enjoyed the first one because this one is even better and spot-on. If you have been depressed, you will laugh and cry along. If you have never been depressed, you will find out how to not treat your depressed friends in your well-intentioned efforts to help them.