"I'm every...
“Envy is ignorance.” —Emerson
The (bountiful) five:
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  1. I couldn’t stop reading today. I crashed my browser I had so many tabs open. So, let’s dive in. I had a date with this manifesto on slow thought this evening. It paired wonderfully with my hot bowl of ramen. Speaking of thinking slowly, here are 31 journal prompts for building greater self-reliance (enough to get you through a solid month ... or you could just read Mozart's journal) and 10 principles for living an anti fragile life, 6 morning habits that will help you focus all day, 3 secrets from research on how to work smarter, not harder, and 5 common mental errors that sway you from making good decisions. Perhaps they’ll help you navigate these 13 things that will happen to you when you level up. Or you could just skip all of that and check out these secrets to living longer and better. If all of these tips make you want to pass out, here’s what we know happens to your brain when you’re unconscious, and there’s a “contentious” study out saying adult brains don’t make new neurons. Oh, before I go, here’s advice from a futurist on how to read less news and stay more informed: "Learn how to look and listen deeply,” Watson recommends. “Stop talking. Start listening. Be curious all the time.” Okay, one more: this podcast from Shane Parrish's The Knowledge Project, which I have been trying to make time to listen to for a while, and the latest episode makes me glad I finally got around to it.
  2. It was International Women’s Day this past week (some amazing photos here). In celebration, allow me to direct you to Melanie Cristol, the creator of Lorals — lingere to help women enjoy oral sex. “There are so many terrible things happening in the world, but good sex makes our lives better,” she tells Fast Company. Indeed. Then there’s the story of this adorable couple at a Jane Austen conference. Oh, here are a bunch of dumb reasons why folks used to say women couldn’t be astronauts. Then there’s this long read about how a con man got taken down by the women he targeted. Also, when it comes to women and work-life balance, we need to stop ignoring women of color. Then there’s this from the The New York Times, "you can’t deny the particular power of today’s women writers”. No, no, you can’t, because it’s about time we started seeing art made by women with the same level of attention to detail and appreciation as we do that of men. Finally, the Times has added 15 obituaries of notable women that they had previously overlooked. (Oh, for bonus points: here’s why putting a pair of tights on your vacuum cleaner is so darn smart.)
  3. Every once in a while I land on an article I wish I had read 10 years ago; this one on keeping your identity small is it. Then there are pieces that hit me at exactly the right time, and this one from April Rinne (who is an incredibly fascinating person) on why the career of the future looks more like a portfolio than a path is that piece. Her references to using prototyping as a means to start building out your portfolio is gold (Bonus: here are some tips on how to design a design doc). Speaking of jobs, this story about the teacher walk-out in West Virginia is an important read.
  4. Brass Ring Daily’s Kara reminded me of two things I need to do more often: a weekly audit and pinning down the things that make you happy (things like working out, maybe, or having just the right amount of friends?). "What I've learned: I’m much happier when I write Monday’s newsletter on Friday (instead of waiting until Sunday), afternoon meetings are trouble unless I get my writing done in the morning, and that reading a bit of a play or novel when I wake up makes a happier start to my day. Among many other little tidbits.” Yeah, if I can write the newsletter on Friday — even part of it -- the weekend is remarkably better. That being said, apparently, motivation is overrated, but if you can bring yourself to do it, give someone a hug, we're apparently in a crisis of touch
  5. You don’t know you very well, do you? Nope. Or maybe you don’t know who the real enemy is in Black Panther. No sweat, here’s a guide to walk you through how to grow the f*ck up despite all of that, and here’s one on figuring out how to handle your will if you don’t have kids, the things lawyers wish you knew, and how to be happy with always being a pixel in the grand tableau of your life.
How to make mistakes 🤦🏾
Last week, if you read closely, you probably noticed I made one of the more basic errors in writing — the one/won error. One is a number. Won is the past tense of the verb “to win”. I know this. I know it now as I knew it then, but I still made the mistake (and so many other basic errors before it). Why?  

The brain is complex — far more so than I will ever understand in this lifetime, so all I’ll say is this: mistakes happen. The second I caught the one/won mistake, I immediately felt a sense of dread. Everyone will think I’m an idiot, I thought. What kind of a writer could I ever consider myself to be if I am making second grade errors? Then I started to think I should quit writing and dedicate my weekends to adult coloring books. I was really good at coloring when I was a kid... 

But that’s not how to make mistakes. Making mistakes is how we learn, even if it means making mistakes over and over again. Some would argue you should only make mistakes once and then never make them again because it’s a waste of time to make the same mistake twice. Those people should never learn to play a musical instrument. It would take me numerous tries on the piano before I could correctly play a particularly tricky run in a classical piece. I have sensitive ears, so I hated making mistakes on the piano — the sound of the same error over and over and over again made me crazy. My fingers would get twisted, because I would use my ring finger when I should have used my middle finger to play a note. It was agony. I hated hearing each wrong note; it was torture. I didn’t want to make mistakes — I wanted everything I did to be perfect.  

I’m not alone. Girls and women, by and large, are often raised with memes and messages signaling to us that everything we do must be perfect — that includes our hair, our nails, our face and our bodies. It keeps us from taking risks, and not risking failure prevents us from learning. In order to learn, after all, you have to make mistakes. If you get it right the first time or even the second time, then you won’t learn nearly as much as getting it right the fourth, fifth, sixth or even tenth time.  

The secret to making mistakes isn’t to see a mistake as a reason to quit. It’s quite the opposite: mistakes are the reason to keep going. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn, and it is one of the lessons that is the most poorly taught in school. The grading system, instead of grading perfection in answering questions or solving problems, should reflect improvement. 

For example, if you take the first test in a class and get an F, and then you take the last test and get an A — you should get an A for the course. If you take the first test and get an A and take the last test and get an A … dare I say it, maybe you should get an F for the class, or be told to transfer to something you’d find more challenging. Then college admissions officers, future employers and graduate programs would be forced to see Fs differently as grades given for things a student was really good at doing from day one, and see As as a sign that the student really improved over the course of the class, sticking with a challenge. Not bad, huh? 

I can already see academics’ heads exploding. Don’t worry about it, folks, I’m not running an academic institution anytime soon. But I do find the idea of weeding people into a challenge, rather than out of it, very inspiring and energizing.  

Grading systems and piano practice aside, the best way to make a mistake is to see it, acknowledge it, learn from it and enjoy the ride. 
Thank you to my awesome supporters!
Thank you, as always to my two largest supporters: Natalya Pemberton & Tim Karu!

Natalya is a culture and design enthusiast learning Sustainable Systems at the innovative Presidio Graduate School.

Tim runs the Mercury Inn in Portland, Maine.

These folks have generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about both them and their projects.
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Do you wish I'd shared something else? Please send me recommendations via Facebook, Twitter at @emikolawole, on Medium or reply directly to this e-mail. I will always and whenever possible give credit where it's due for great recommendations and inspiration. Have a great weekend!
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · Palo Alto California 94306 · USA
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