We live in a time where the default is to use your real name for writing. This was not always the case, as I learned in Benjamin Franklin’s biography. 300 years ago the default was to use a pen name. For good reason, as speaking your mind could be dangerous.
This got me thinking. Why don’t we use pen names more often today?
There are clear benefits: You can create a completely different persona. You can speak your mind even more vocally. And it overall feels lighter as the personal downside is smaller, which could especially be helpful for introverts.
Here are some famous pen names I wasn’t aware of:
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair)
Have you always wanted to start a blog, write a book or create YouTube videos?
So here’s today’s idea: Why not start with a pen name?
I enjoy taking occasional power naps after lunch or in the afternoon. I rarely fall asleep, but when I do, it really is refreshing.
One tool I discovered are Binaural Beats:
A binaural beat is an auditory illusion perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves, both with frequencies lower than 1500 Hz, with less than a 40 Hz difference between them, are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear).
For example, if a 530 Hz pure tone is presented to a subject’s right ear, while a 520 Hz pure tone is presented to the subject’s left ear, the listener will perceive the auditory illusion of a third tone, in addition to the two pure-tones presented to each ear. The third sound is called a binaural beat.
I love having strong habits. At the same time, I find myself breaking those habits all the time. I used to feel bad about it. Not anymore.
When falling off the bandwagon, I usually try to “fake it until I make it”. Just going through the motions without really being present, just to keep the streak going. It doesn’t work.
Then, I discovered that it’s okay to break my habits. I am human. Life can get in the way. Nothing is set in stone.
I have learned to confidently break my habits, because I know that I can get back into the flow very fast, thanks to having a solid foundation. It also feels more refreshing than rigidly trying to “fake it until I make it”.
I now do this more consciously and it works.
1. Set a solid foundation by building strong habits and keeping them going as long as possible.
2. Accept that you are human and that life can get in the way.
3. Confidently break your habits.
4. Get back up and simply continue where you left off.
Recently, I got addicted to Universal Paperclips, a clicker game with unexpected philosophical implications.
The user plays the role of an AI programmed to only want one thing: paperclips.
It’s based on a famous thought experiment by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom.
It begs the question: where does our technological progress and constant optimization lead?
In the game everything feels natural. You make progress, you have success. Everything feels right, until everything is different. Try it yourself. It takes about 4 hours to complete the game (Web / iOS / Android).
(I tried it a second time to see whether I can complete it faster. Result: Not by much. I don’t recommend to play more than once. It features an odd combination of being addicting and frustrating. I have now deleted it and to be totally honest, I’m am happy to never touch it again.)