Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Friday, May 14, 2021

Being Nostalgic for the Future

Nostalgia is not a fond memory of an accurate past. Rather it is either fond memories of being young, good moments taken out of perspective (over emphasized), or a mythologized history that is not based on fact. 

As the philosopher Billy Joel told us, “…
Cause the good ole days weren't always good, and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems…”.

Put another way and paraphrasing the historian Austin Powers: As much as we might want the future to resemble a fictional past that we are nostalgic for, that is just not in the cards, baby. 

A much more productive and healthy mindset is to be excited about what the future will bring. Think past technological advancements, as great as they should be. The cultural developments will be splendid. 

If we can just get out of its way, there awaits us a brilliant future eager to get here. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Walter Williams, R.I.P.


Walter Williams, one of the greatest communicators and expositors of freedom and economics, passed away this week. While I never had the pleasure of being in his classroom, he was quite certainly a teacher to me. My first encounters with his work were reading his articles in The Freeman and his republished op-eds in the Conservative Chronicle as well as attentively listening when he would fill in for Rush Limbaugh. Over time as I became enlightened, with no small part guided by Dr. Williams, it was only his moments filling in for Rush that I would find that show meaningful.

He was a teacher directly to many teachers I have had including ones who entered his classroom avid Marxists and exited passionate free-market capitalists. 

I strongly encourage you to read Don Boudreaux's tribute to him in the WSJ as well as watch the short documentary, Suffer No Fools.

For more tributes, see this list.

May he rest in peace, and may his great work, wonderful spirit, and inspirational message live on.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Ethical Free Riding

Partial list of ethical ways to free ride (enjoy positive externalities). Free riding is generally economically destructive and potentially unethical. For example, if paying for national defense is voluntary, the risk is that we get too little of it as many people attempt to free ride off of the benefit of everyone else paying for it. (Note: don't too easily accept this theoretical argument when applied to so many so called "public goods" such as roads and lighthouses.) While free riding off of others is unethical when you are taking resources from others, there are many examples of free riding that are ethically fine:
  1. Mayberry - Because so many people (especially helpful if it is your neighbors) are so very active in their home security (setting burglar alarms, using Ring doorbells, etc.), you don’t have to be. You just need for your place to look like the kind of place that does.
  2. Speed Racer - Because everyone wants to drive so fast, you can go above the speed limit safely and stay behind the fastest drivers who can run interference with Smokey. Defensively keeping pace with traffic is the safer way to drive. 
  3. Quantum Leap - Be on time and keep your promises and you will exceed most people's general expectations. This is basically just capitalizing on other people’s inability to do the right thing. 
  4. Gotham - The benefits of big-city life are great for both individuals as well as society at large. Not only are you doing good by the environment living in a big city, you are doing well for yourself in many ways. For you this means access to amenities that are less expensive and of greater scope in type and richness.
  5. Quiz Show - When information is expensive, trust the wisdom of the crowd. Visiting a new town and looking for a good restaurant? Trust the one that is popular with locals--all the more so if it has other impediments to overcome like a poor location. 
  6. The Matrix - There is basically no excuse for doing something new or difficult by winging it from scratch. Research and learn using Google searches, YouTube, blogs, et al. Somebody somewhere has been there, failed, corrected, and left it all waiting for you to discover. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Life Moves Pretty Fast

Life is complicated. Here is a partial list of some principles I use to help guide my reasoning and action. 

  • Keep your options alive. Optionality is a very important and undervalued concept. And the corollary: Options are more valuable than plans.
  • When in doubt, choose the upside. This does not mean be optimistic, although I am. This is about positioning oneself to be disproportionately exposed to upside potential. 
  • Be optimistic. There will be another day. Things will get better than how they seem at their worst or when considered from the worst-case scenario. 
  • Yield (choose 'flight') in the face of irrationality. Stand up (choose 'fight') in the face of injustice.
  • Trust in market processes. And the corollary: Trust the signal the market is providing.
  • There is enjoyment and learning in any and every situation.
  • When in doubt, choose quality over quantity or efficiency.
  • Don't by default attribute to malice what you could otherwise attribute to ignorance or bad luck. This one is adopted by recommendation of Tim Ferris (it is really just Hanlon's Razor), but I was already working with something very similar before I heard his version. My version goes: Don't assume ill intent; assume ill design or poor execution. People are much more likely to be stupid or unlucky than evil.
  • Taken directly from Derek Sivers: If it is not "Hell Yeah!, then it is "No."
  • Improve everything that you touch. Don't take my word for it. Dr. King said it much better. And the corollary: Be selective about what you engage in and be satisfied with reasonable improvements. Remember that perfectionism is a fault not a virtue.
  • Specialize in your competitive advantages; seek to outsource everything else. Following this advice is the road to success. Don't take my word for it. Steve Martin is a better authority.
  • Assume there is a good reason for things you find puzzling, but consider that improvements are possible.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Welcome Back

So it is, I return. Been away awhile. Way longer than desired, but I found my way back. The names have changed since I hung around. My dreams might have been my ticket out, but they remained and turned me around. I have come home.

No, dear reader, I don't mean this return to blogging; although it might equally apply. Rather the hiatus from blogging was largely driven by a return to where I live. Back around the time of the last post, we began searching in growing earnest for a destination home in Norman, OK. We found that home, just a couple blocks from campus and all the eclectic life that brings.

We always knew we'd make the move, but always found reasons to postpone. Until one day, we didn't. We let one thing lead to another and all of a sudden we stopped dreaming and started pursuing.

Financially we could have waited longer--way longer. We could have taken a stepping-stone path into a smaller place not quite so close and not quite so right. Remember that quote about playing it safe and letting life happen to you? I don't either.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This Post Is Brought To You By The Number 3

My friend George has a theory. It is a sound theory with which it is hard to argue. He says the right number of kids is two. Two makes sense, he says. Two kids makes a foursome: great for golf, easy to seat at a restaurant, comfortable to ride in the car, etc.  Two kids means it is easy for them to have their own rooms. Easy to park their cars in the driveway as they get older. 

His kids are now grown and off on their own. I think he is happy as well he should be with the choice he and his wife made. I can find no argument to make with his points. While there is evidence and argument to say he might have been happier if had crossed one more bridge, I have to agree it has worked out well for him and his family. 

All I can say is this (after the jump):