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2019 - The Not Overthinking Review

In (by far) our longest episode yet, we look back on 2019!

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

In (by far) our longest episode yet, we look back on 2019. First, we go through the Not Overthinking catalogue — we talk about the episodes that stood out to us (both good and bad!) and our key takeaways from each. Then, we reflect on how 2019 went for us personally — we each dig into 3 areas of personal growth that we had this year.

Episodes that stood out:

Why do we hate networking events?

This episode revolved around the idea of social optionality. In a networking event you have the ability to politely check-out and go and talk to someone else – this would be described as a high optionality setting – whereas, for example if you are on a holiday with a group of people, you cannot simply opt out and this would be a low social optionality scenario. Taimur argued that the high optionality setting isn’t conducive to meaningful human connection because it doesn’t force us to get past the uncomfortable/awkward moments. This is one of the concepts that has recurred throughout the podcast series.

Why you should invest in a good kitchen bin?

This episode introduced Taimur’s concept of measure. Different things in our lives contribute value in different ways. Some things give us a short burst of high value (high "magnitude", low "measure") — e.g. going out for a nice meal. Others give us less value, but which recurs over time (low "magnitude", high "measure") — e.g. having comfortable trainers. When we think about how to spend our time and money, we have a bias towards evaluating things according to their "magnitude". We have a bias towards spending money and time on events that have a high magnitude of value but don’t last very long. In the long-run, it's the things that provide recurring value — the things that are "high measure" — that are most valuable.

How much of our behaviour is status-seeking?

This episode came off the back of an article that examined how the different social networks are all designed and optimised to allow users to signal their status in different realms. In the article, the author discusses how we are all “status-seeking monkeys” – we all play status games in all stages of our lives. As adults this might revolve around cars or a house whereas for the younger generation, these status seeking games have become entwined with likes, retweets and followers on social media platforms.

Invisible Shackles and Life Scripts

The concept of invisible shackles is the idea that people go through life bound by invisible, default scripts that we’re not aware of but form a significant part of our lives. Personal growth or personal development are about noticing these different sets of invisible chains and recognising how we can liberate ourselves and lead our own lives. The way to broaden your horizons is not to think outside the box but expand the box to expose yourself to different ways of living.

Personal Reflections

  • Appreciating the power of repetition for developing confidence in societal conversations – both for business and personal issues. Taimur discusses how the repetition of speaking to new people through his business interests has made him more comfortable speaking with people in social situations. Whereas before he would rehearse his social conversations, he feels more comfortable being spontaneous in those situations, without the need to prepare.
  • Appreciating the field of personal knowledge management. The idea that we all read, watch, listen to some much stuff in our personal lives yet we struggle to remember much of this, but personal knowledge management is about taking notes on everything that you read, see or hear that resonates with you.
  • Appreciating the power of coaching.
  • Appreciating the importance and power of becoming more independent in our thinking.

Sponsored by Skillshare
This episode is kindly supported by Skillshare. Invest in lifelong learning - sign up up at www.skillshare.com/notoverthinking for a 2-month free trial. And check out Ali’s video editing class while you’re there :)


Listen to Not Overthinking for free

What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.


Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noverthinking.

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram

Podcast

Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.