A Time Travel Paradox

be radical Briefing | June 6th, 2022

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Dear Friend,

Having attended a bunch of events recently here in the US (and thus also travelled a fair amount), it is remarkable to see how quickly the pandemic seems to have become a thing of the past. Few people wearing masks, people happily mingling in tight spaces. In many ways an interesting reminder how resilient humans are — we tend to forget fast (for better or worse).

And now, this…

Practical Futurism // Decode. Disrupt. Transform.

We’re big fans of science fiction at be radical, and I — Jeffrey — have a particular soft spot for time travel films. I’m always struck by one of the sub-genre’s defining obsessions: the idea that some tiny change made in the past could have produced a dramatically different and preferable present for the hero or even the world at large. This is an obsession not limited to the protagonists of time travel films. Many of us imbue past decisions — metaphorical paths taken or more often, paths not taken — with tremendous, transformative power that could have led to wildly different lives, more fulfilling careers, better performing investments, etc. Setting aside the fact that a good chunk of this second guessing depends on magical hindsight-thinking that projects causal chains that might never have materialized, we can ask (more fruitfully) whether we see comparable transformative power in the small actions that we might take today to shape a dramatically preferable tomorrow for our future selves.

There’s a whole body of behavioral economics literature on present bias and time discounting that suggests the answer, sadly, is no (this is why you should automate retirement account contributions). But it doesn’t have to be. We can engage in a bit of time travel ourselves to envision in detail that preferred future and identify the small, smart bets that might move us even incrementally in that direction today — but yield strong returns over time. We can also envision our future selves looking back and then ask which of the possible actions we could take today would that future self likely be most glad to have taken. Future You can actually be a powerful advocate for discovering and activating your agency in the present. And if you wondered, my top time travel flicks are Primer (the most mind-meltingly serious) and Palm Springs (the most fun). You — and Future You — are welcome. ;) (via Jeffrey)

What We Are Reading

😶‍🌫️ 3 Strategies for Leading Through Difficult Times After two years of a global pandemic, leaders are also struggling with their stress and burnout while motivating their teams and having to pivot frequently as conditions change. Here are three practical strategies for leaders to take care of themselves, all centering around understanding and managing one’s own mind. JaneRead

🏭 Why more businesses are considering ending the 40-hour workweek Why businesses are considering reevaluating the 40-hour workweek: burn out and a recruitment tactic. MafeRead

🛒 America’s Need for Speed Never Ends Well In addition to being dangerous to gig workers and potentially undermining neighborhood economies, the idea behind 15-min delivery apps won’t make users happy. JeffreyRead

🏖️ Goldman’s Move to Unlimited Vacation Is Good for … Goldman An established company culture, a new direction and policies, and actual commitments all seem to clash in the recent move of Goldman Sachs. JulianRead

💎 Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets Not an article but a film documentary, Diamond Hands is a fantastic look into the craziness that let to the Gamestop meme stock craziness. Super relevant in today’s crypto and NFT world. PascalRead

Tidbits

🖥️ The end (and beginning) of Big Data

☕ The mighty story of the humble Robusta coffee bean

📱 30 years ago: The Apple Newton was born. And if you are curious, you can run Newton OS on your computer.

🎵 Record Labels Dig Their Own Grave. And the Shovel is Called TikTok.

Internet Finds

Ever wondered why the pepperoni on your pizza curls? No? Well, regardless — now you know! 🍕

In Case You Missed It

🏴‍☠️ The Heretic: To Commit, Let Go

🧨 Disrupt Disruption: Listen in on our fascinating (and super fun) conversation with David Siegel, CEO of Meetup.com — we talk about failing, culture, pivoting, and many other things.

Radically yours, take good care, friend!

— Pascal, Mafe and the three Js (Jane, Jeffrey, and Julian)


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