#18: In a Time of Bears with Honey on their Head

3 x Insights to help squeegie your perspective: 


1. Back to the basics: Character is what, exactly? And why do some of us bother? 

You can devote your energy to knowing things, and discovering how stuff works. Science is all about this. 

And/or you can focus your inquiries toward the question "How should I live?"

If the second question resonates, you're interested in Character, which requires you to also care about the following:

A) how to move beyond self-interest
B) how to treat others
C) how to cultivate patience
D) how to use your energy and on what
E) how to see through your own mental filters
F) how to understand the truth of impermanence and interdependence of all things. 

There's a happy upshot to developing character, though: it's not all hard work and discipline and eating porridge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. People who have Character tend to be less like Eeyore above, and more like this:

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Happy New Year to all my favorite Character Designers! 


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May this be you in 2018, in spirit and in practice

2. Here's a story for you: 

A student asked her teacher, "How long should I meditate for?" 

"Half an hour is fine." 

"But I'm too busy to meditate for half an hour!"

"Then you need to meditate for two hours." 

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3. Want to be Happy? Think like an Old Person

Older people report higher levels of contentment or well-being than teenagers and young adults. The six elders put faces on this statistic. If they were not always gleeful, they were resilient and not paralyzed by the challenges that came their way. All had known loss and survived. None went to a job he did not like, coveted stuff she could not afford, brooded over a slight on the subway or lost sleep over events in the distant future. They set realistic goals. Only one said he was afraid to die.
Continue reading the main story

Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age: that as people’s minds and bodies decline, instead of feeling worse about their lives, they feel better. In memory tests, they recall positive images better than negative; under functional magnetic resonance imaging, their brains respond more mildly to stressful images than the brains of younger people."

Read entire article here

4. Book #2 of Beer + Book Club is simmering in a pot of winter stew. The nominees are:

A Tale For the Time Being ~ Ruth Ozeki
Lincoln in the Bardo ~ George Saunders
Leonardo Da Vinci ~ Walter Isaacson
Walden ~ Henry David Thoreau
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst ~ Robert M. Sapolsky

The votes are still coming in and you're not too late ! If you're interest in reading + beering with us starting in mid- January, send me a email with the order in which you would want to read the above candidates. 

Click here if you missed last week's Insights. 

Did any of this stuff matter to you at all? Which things and why? Comment here.  Or send an email to cxd@characterbydesign.org and speak your mind one on one. 

Do people still give a shit about character? Please forward this newsletter to anyone who wants to be less of a dick to others, to the animals, to the planet or to themselves.