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Should we attend the party?

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

This week's snippet of life advice comes from the most unlikely of sources - my brother and podcast co-host Taimur.

It addresses that classic decision-making conundrum in which we're torn between doing something vs not doing it. We could go to that party which we might not enjoy, or we could stay at home instead and watch Netflix. We haven't been to enough of these sorts of parties to figure out 100% whether we'd enjoy it, but we've certainly seen enough Netflix to know that there's plenty more to get through.

The issue with the party (and this can be extended to all sorts of other decisions as well) is that we have to make the decision based on limited data. We don't know how we'd feel when we get there, but we feel like we have to predict that in order to decide whether to go.

Taimur's solution in this context (and in many others) is to do the thing and see what happens. If we enjoy it, great - we enjoyed the party, and it's a data point for future reference that "we generally enjoy these sorts of things". If we don't enjoy it, great - it's a data point for future reference that "we generally don't enjoy these sorts of things". Either way, it's a win because at the very least, attending the party was a data-gathering exercise.

This feels like a more pretentious (and therefore more legit) way of framing the I'll try anything once philosophy that I'm a big fan of.

Have a great week!

Ali


This week's podcast

Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.

How would you spend your time if you knew you'd die in 2 years? | Not Overthinking

This week we tackle the conundrum of "how would you spend your time if you knew you'd die in 2 years?" We discuss some of the different ways of framing and thinking about this question, and to what extent it can help figure out what we're doing with our lives.

My Favourite Things this week

1 - Video -

Why I'm afraid of ageing on YouTube - An interesting and candid perspective of a 31-year old YouTuber and how she considers herself to be ancient by the standards of the platform. A lot of good lessons about ageing gracefully, and building a brand that isn't just about you. This is something I've started to think a lot about as I approach my 3-year anniversary of starting YouTube, and as my 26th birthday fast approaches.

2 - Video

- My Five Year Plan & How to Create One - I've also been thinking a lot about life goals recently, as I approach the junction in my life where for the first time ever, I'm not following the path that's laid out in front of me. My new friend Hannah's video about her 5-year plans and how they've changed over the years was therefore very interesting, especially the focus on driving the economic engine forward (a topic my brother and I touched on in this week's podcast).

3 - Audiobook

- I've just finished listening to book 5 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan on Audible. As usual, the finale was a masterpiece that had me on the edge of my seat, not wanting it to end. Onwards to book 6. Can't wait.

Quote. of the Week

We can’t blame others for doing what we would most likely have done if we found ourselves in the same circumstances. If we had been that annoyed, or that protective, or felt cornered or scared to the same degree, we would have done the same thing. It doesn’t matter if we think the other person has reacted over and above how we would; the point is that we, under the same psychological conditions, would have very likely done the same. It might have taken more to provoke us, but we know that we have the capacity, given the right circumstances, to be just as unpleasant or untoward.

From Happy by Derren Brown. Resurfaced with Readwisee.

This week's videos

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Ali Abdaal

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