Wanting What Others Want and Running Your Own Race

💌 Roundup // 028

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Friends,

Over the past few months, I’ve been going deep on crypto and web3. From DAOs to DeFi and play-to-earn gaming, it’s clear to me that this technology will transform the way humans work and earn money. For those who are curious about this space, there are a lot of entry points including:

I’d recommend picking a topic that interests you and diving in. If you’d like some specific content recommendations, feel free to drop me a note.

If you still need a reason to get excited about the space, I’d recommend starting with The Sovereign Individual. Despite the fact that this book was published in 1999 (well before blockchain was even a term), it does an excellent job of identifying the societal changes that crypto is instigating.

Given my growing interest in this space, don’t be surprised if you find me writing more about it in the months to come.

Okay, let’s get into it. In this issue of the Roundup, I’ll be riffing on:

  • 💭 Wanting what others want

  • ✌️ The two jobby problem

  • ❓ Why “killing uncertainty” is good for your career

  • 🚪 When it’s time to withdraw

  • 🏃‍♀️ Running your own race

Riffs & Recommendations

Some reflections on the best content I’ve been consuming lately.

💭 Wanting

53-minute listen from Ben Hunt and Luke Burgis

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting what others want.

An Instagram of your friend’s vacation pops up in your feed and you suddenly want to drop a few thousand dollars to vacation in Fiji. Minutes later, you get a notification on Linkedin that your friend just got a new job. You start to wonder whether it’s time you start your own job search.

Wanting what others want can make us miserable. Not only does it create feelings of jealously and competitiveness with others, but it also convinces you to construct a life that doesn’t actually fit your preferences.

✌️ The Two Jobby Problem

6-minute read from Ed Zitron

Remote work isn’t just changing where people work or how long they spend commuting, it is fundamentally altering the relationship contract between companies and their employees. So, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that a number of remote tech workers are juggling two full-time jobs at different companies.

Back in December 2020, Packy McCormick predicted this trend, and called it Liquid Employment:

Pre-COVID, showing up to the same office every day made it hard to work for a second employer. But when another job is just a Slack workspace away, it becomes much easier to work multiple part-time jobs.

This flexibility will significantly increase the opportunity cost of choosing an exclusive employer. Every decision to spend four years vesting at one company will mean shutting off hundreds of other opportunities.

Investors would never choose to invest in just one company; the risk is too concentrated. Instead, they build portfolios. Over time, workers will invest their time in a similar way. 

This trend seems to be arriving right on schedule.

Want to Improve Your Career? Become an Uncertainty Killer

6-minute read from Nick Maggiulli

Uncertainty kills your productivity by creating open loops in your mind that prevent you from focusing. One easy way to add value at work is to look for ways to reduce uncertainty for your coworkers.

You can start by keeping coworkers regularly informed about critical projects. Do this enough, and you’ll develop a reputation for “being on top of things.” Once others see you this way, everyone will know that assigning you a project means they no longer need to worry about it. Now you’ve become indispensable.

🚪The time to withdraw

5-minute read from Justin Murphy

Is sustained social media engagement compatible with original thinking?

Those who read my recent post on the hidden dangers of Twitter may be able to guess where I come down on this question.

It seems I’m not the only one who’s concerned that these platforms are derailing our cognition.

When you're in the rhythm of bouncing between podcasts, Youtube videos, Twitter, and all the rest, the decision to stop in favor of reading and writing is more devilishly difficult than any educated person wants to admit. It is perhaps the most underestimated social harm afflicting the literate classes today, in part because it's embarrassing to admit it.

The question we are all grappling with is whether being active on social media inspires enough good ideas and relationships to make up for the way it deteriorates our attention spans.

🏃‍♀️ Run your own race

3-minute read from Ava

As a relationship-oriented person, I find it hard not to seek validation for my choices. Relationships give life a sense of meaning, and validation serves as a reminder that those relationships are real.

But, taking the validated path can come at the cost of long-term happiness. Ultimately, regardless of how others feel about your choices, you are the person who must live with the consequences.

While seeking validation is tempting, life is much sweeter when you are running your own race.

Friends of the Newsletter

Here are a few great pieces of writing from friends of the Jungle Gym:

Stuff from me you may have missed

Here’s what I wrote about since the last Roundup:

You can always search the back catalog of this newsletter by topic, or find a curated list of the best essays I’ve written.


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Until next time,

Nick