A Gentle Reminder


Hey friends,

Greetings from the mill town of Cromford, Derbyshire in the North of England. I’m here with some of my university friends for a weekend getaway.

Firstly, apologies for a miss in last week’s email – I talked about a 4-step method for tackling limiting beliefs that I learned at a Tony Robbins business event. When he introduced the method, Tony did say several times that it was based on Byron Katie’s The Work but I completely forgot to mention that in last week’s email. Thank you to the various people who emailed back politely flagging the original source 🙂 I’ve since started reading Katie’s book Loving What Is and I’m slowly making my way through it.

Secondly… I’ve got to be honest. I have no idea what to write about this week. I’ve been sitting with this iPad open for an hour struggling to come up with anything. So instead of me trying to make something up, I’m going to share a few quotes from the book The Second Mountain by David Brooks.

Where is your ultimate appeal? To self, or to something outside of self? If the first mountain is about building up the ego and defining the self, the second mountain is about shedding the ego and losing the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition, the second mountain is about contribution. If the first mountain is elitist—moving up—the second mountain is egalitarian—planting yourself amid those who need, and walking arm in arm with them.
People on the first mountain have lives that are mobile and lightly attached. People on the second mountain are deeply rooted and deeply committed. The second-mountain life is a committed life. When I’m describing how second-mountain people live, what I’m really describing is how these people made maximal commitments to others and how they live them out in fervent, all-in ways. These people are not keeping their options open. They are planted. People on the second mountain have made strong commitments to one or all of these four things: (1) A vocation, (2) A spouse and family, (3) A philosophy or faith, and (4) A community.
I’ve written this book, in part, to remind myself of the kind of life I want to live. Those of us who are writers work out our stuff in public, even under the guise of pretending to write about someone else. In other words, we try to teach what it is that we really need to learn.
My first mountain was an insanely lucky one. I achieved far more professional success than I ever expected to. But that climb turned me into a certain sort of person: aloof, invulnerable, and uncommunicative, at least when it came to my private life.
But when I look back generally on the errors and failures and sins of my life, they tend to be failures of omission, failures to truly show up for the people I should have been close to. They tend to be the sins of withdrawal: evasion, workaholism, conflict avoidance, failure to empathize, and a failure to express myself openly. I have two old and dear friends who live 250 miles from me, for example, and their side of the friendship has required immense forbearance and forgiveness, for all the times I’ve been too busy, too disorganized, too distant when they were in need or just available. I look at those dear friendships with a gratitude mixed with shame, and this pattern—not being present to what I love because I prioritize time over people, productivity over relationship—is a recurring motif in my life.

Hopefully these quotes are a good reminder for you. They’re definitely a good reminder for me, to put the iPad down, and enjoy the rest of the weekend with friends.

Have a great week!

Ali xx

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✍️ Quote of the Week

“Later is where excuses live. Later is where good intentions go to die. Later is a broken back and a bent spirit. Later says “all-nighters are temporary until we’ve got this figured out.” Unlikely. Make the change now.”

From It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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