Links for August 14, 2022
What to Read
🤔 Making the Impossible Possible — The Prepared (title mine)
Long time readers know that changing the stories we tell ourselves is a primary topic around here. The first step to doing something you think is impossible: Decide that it might be possible.
But what happens if you never buy in to the impossible story to begin with? The Prepared shares a couple amazing examples of people who solved problems while unaware of the fact that no one had ever found solutions before:
In the early days of electric lighting, robust frosted light bulbs were considered impossible and were occasionally assigned to new General Electric engineers as a fool’s errand. Marvin Pipkin didn’t realize this and created the first commercially viable frosted light bulb in 1925. Similarly, in his first year of grad school George Dantzig solved two unsolved statistics problems after arriving late to class and assuming they were homework.
Economists must get more in touch with our feelings — Financial Times
In recent decades, economic inequality has risen sharply. Perhaps, then, we shouldn't be surprised that a similar bifurcation shows up at the extremes of people's self-reported wellbeing:
Jon Clifton, the head of Gallup, which has been tracking wellbeing around the world for many years, notes a polarisation in people’s life-evaluations. Compared with 15 years ago (before the financial crisis, smartphones and Covid-19) twice as many people now say they have the best possible life they could imagine (10 out of 10); however, four times as many people now say they are living the worst life they can conceive (0 out of 10). About 7.5 per cent of people are now in psychological heaven, and about the same proportion are in psychological hell.
Tweets of the Week
A brief, must-read story about creative problem solving: