Love Everything In The Way

Plus: How to Human Updates, De-Biasing Strategies, Why Books Don't Work, Indie-Travel Reflections & More!

👋 Oh hi there!

Today is a glorious day to be alive.

There are (many) days when this is less obvious. I feel like my life could be charted as an infinite loop of remembering–forgetting–remembering–forgetting this sense of gratitude 🙈

I recently asked this eloquent 12 year old girl to share her thoughts on curiosity and advice to grown-ups hoping to reclaim theirs and left the conversation feeling like just perhaps our future is in good hands after all ;)

🙋‍♂️Please Introduce yourself // there are now over six hundred of you fellow curious humans! I’d love to experiment with Substack’s new comment thread feature to introduce some of you to each other by way of answering the question: ‘What are you currently scared / excited about in your life right now?

📚How to Human // After this tweet went a bit crazy (seen over 150,000 times), I’m now actively flirting with the idea of embarking on a big project to turn this into reality (more on this below).

🎙️Podcasts Are Go // 16 months after recording the first episode, Season One of the Curious Humans podcast has now been submitted to iTunes… so stay tuned for this.

🎧Experimental Meditation // I recorded a short (10 min) experimental gratitude meditation which you’re welcome to download (with some binaural beats in the background).

🇺🇸Summer Travel Plans // Tomorrow I fly to Boulder, Colorado for a couple of weeks before heading on to Portland for the annual WDS event. Do drop me a line if there’s a chance of us crossing paths.

🙏Appreciation // to Alice, Andy, Mike, Martin and Paul for casting a vote of confidence in my direction and generously becoming paid subscribers. I really appreciate you.

❤️A Personal Note // This coming Tuesday, would have been the 27th birthday of my partner Sophie. More than almost anything else in the world, she loved being in great outdoors… so I’m inviting you to join me in spending some time this week appreciating the wonder of nature and giving someone you love a giant hug.

I’ll leave you with a thought from the poet Mark Nepo:

"To have any chance of knowing joy, we must love everything in the way.”

I hope that you enjoy reading this month’s edition and sending good vibes to wherever you are in the world!

Stay curious,

– Jonny

🙋‍♂️psst. do you have friends who are also Curious and equally Human? Then why not forward this link (or tweet) inviting them to join.

🚀 Let’s Make the How to Human Manual

I recently shared this tweet... and it seemed to resonate (over 150,000 people saw it!)

The question I’m sitting with is what would the most radical and interesting take on this project look like? Spending 2020 finding and speaking with expert ‘humans’ in diverse fields from all corners of the globe for a podcast or book? What does idea want to become?

There are two things I’d love to ask for your help with:
  1. Contribute your idea here for what could be a mini-chapter in the manual—the aim is to gather hundreds of thoughtful submissions (before organising & ranking them)

  2. Suggestions for who else I could share this with? People, organisations, communities? Who else might have interesting thoughts on this? Please reply to this email add any thoughts to this substack thread.

😲 Three Mind-Expanding Ideas

🧠 1 // What We Can Do About Our Biases?

As humans our we’re still running on operating software that was initially built for when we were cavemen. So let’s upgrade right? Alas no (at least until Neuralink arrives).

In the meantime, Mr. Buster Benson has spent the last three years researching and wrestling with the question of what to do with our inherent cognitive bias? This is his conclusion:

We can’t avoid our biases. The best we can do is maintain an honest dialogue with our blind spots and commit to identifying and repairing inadvertent damage caused by them as efficiently as possible.

He shares three core conundrums that our brains need to contend with (and create biases as mental shortcuts):

1. There’s too much information (so we must filter it)

2. There’s not enough meaning (so we use stories to make sense)

3. There’s not enough time (so we motivate towards action).

I thoroughly recommend you dive into this post and at least start thinking about ways you might work with his suggested four steps to developing a more honest relationship with our unavoidable biases.

📚 2 // Why Books Don’t Work

Have you ever had a non-fiction book—one you’d read—come up in conversation, only to discover that you’d absorbed what amounts to a few sentences?

Yep, I’m guilty too… 🙋‍♂️

One of my all time favourite phrases, that originates with a Papua New Guinea tribe is

“Knowledge is only a rumour until it lives in the muscle.”

This is at the heart of the important case Andy is making, that essentially non-fiction books ‘lack a functioning model of how people learn—instead, they're (accidentally, invisibly) built around a model that's plainly false’.

Yikes! The same is sadly true of lectures and basically all forms of passive learning. As a reader wishing to learn deeply, you cannot just inhale words. You need questions to sit with, projects to chew on… maybe write a short book summary or even better try to explain to a 5 year old in simple terms.

🌎 3 // How Indie Travel has Changed

Rolf Potts is the adventurous author of Vagabonding, a book that ended up quite literally altering the course of my life—it spurred me to embark on an 11 month trip through South East Asia (aged 19), which in turn, sparked my love for travel and later led to me starting a travel magazine and then Maptia with two of my closest university friends.

Rolf begins with the intriguing question:

“Is the way we travel today really all that different than the way we traveled two decades ago?”

My initial thoughts were that surely yes! Even 10 years ago when I travelled without a smartphone, Google Maps, Instagram… it was a very different experience to the way many of us choose to travel today.

Here are Rolf’s main reflections (that also re-ignited my desire to spin the globe and head off somewhere new!)

  1. It has gotten easier: in ways that can both enhance & limit the journey

  2. Photos have become an irrevocable part of how we travel (and that’s OK)

  3. It’s still crazy cheap (if you go to inexpensive places)

  4. Most places in the world have not been “discovered”

I very much recommend either listening or reading Rolf’s essay in full.

🤔 Et. Cetera

💬 Advice that works

🙏 Every act a ceremony

💚 Tattoos for your health

💀13 enemies of curiosity

✈️ Useful flight-buying tips

📝 Great guide to deep work

🎨 Poem portrait experiments

🤕 How to grow from your pain

🤣 Living the ‘fully optimised’ life

👨‍🏭 Secrets to a curiosity-driven career

💰How to write your own money rules

🎨Refreshing take: not wanting a legacy

📱Think of your phone like your toothbrush

🤔Crowdsourced decision making strategies

📚The story of an adventurer becoming a dad

🥑Myth-busting centuries of sloth-based slander

Thanks for reading! If you’re feeling exceptionally generous and willing to invest in my future ramblings, you can also become a paying subscriber of Curious Humans here.