The path of least offense

The lower half of a person's body, in a bowling alley.

I’m coining this new phrase.

It’s the path with the lowest likelihood of offending anyone in your group.

A corollary is that this path also has the lowest likelihood of exciting anyone.

The path of least offense is ordering boxed sandwiches for your all-day workshop. (Rather than spicy Indian food.)

The path of least offense is going bowling for team building. (Rather than go karting.)

And the path of least offense is playing Monopoly at a party. (Rather than Cards Against Humanity.)

Large corporations have a particular knack for identifying the path of least offense. Heaven forbid anyone gets excited or impassioned, because that might offend others.

I’m not out to offend anyone. But if the choice is between excitement—at the risk of turning some people off—and playing it safe, I know what I’m choosing.

“As you get older, you realize that adults are making it up as they go”

A man holding a hammer while forging on an anvil in a workshop.

False.

There is a massive difference between someone who is competent and someone who is not.

Try talking with a customer service person who does not understand the product. Or getting a hair cut from a barber who hasn’t practiced enough.

When someone tells you adults are making it up, they’re trying to motivate you. But their message is, “fake it until you make it”.

Faking it until you make it not only feels bad; it also doesn’t work.

Instead, get competent. Develop your craft. Work persistently and consistently to get better.

It happens slowly, over time. But eventually, you’ll be competent, and the right people will recognize you for it.

Is escaping from your problems a bad idea?

A boy running through nature towards a city.

We can think of a life as a never-ending series of problems for us to solve. How do you like to handle these inevitable problems?

Roughly speaking, I see three ways to deal with problems:

First, you could ignore your problems. I try not to.

Second, you could escape from them. Some ways I do this include visiting the sauna, reading before sleeping, watching a TV series, or playing a video game on my tablet. When you choose to escape, you deliberately distract yourself. You fill your head with something else than your problems.

Third, you could meet your problems head-on. Some ways I do this include meditating, going for walks, thinking while I ride my bike, and talking to friends or family about the problem.

Sometimes people suggest that I meet all problems head-on, rather than escaping. But as far as I can tell, temporarily escaping from your problems, in a limited way, can help me stay relaxed and relatively stress-free.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe the key to happiness is acknowledging and addressing all problems, without any running away. What do you think?

Yours,

— Peter