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Selective Comparisons

If you tell someone who is into personal improvement that you compare yourself with others, his kneejerk reaction will be to tell you not to. This advice comes with no contemplation, and is offered because it sounds so noble that no one argues with it-- except for me. I think that it's valuable to compare yourself with others, if it's done habitually and strategically.

On a daily basis I internally compare myself to people less fortunate than myself as a way of remembering how incredibly lucky I am. I'd like to think that I'm responsible for the good in my life, but at the same time I know that if I was born in Liberia when it was caught in civil war, my life would have been far worse. While some comparisons may serve to pat myself on the back, mostly I gain appreciation for the opportunities that have been presented to me, and am reminded how important it is to seize them.

This is the only way in which I compare myself to those I don't envy. I don't rest on my laurels because I feel as though I've exceeded some people's accomplishments in some areas. I filter out those comparisons, and only derive gratitude.

Welcome to the Jungle

On Isaac Lewis

OK, three reasons for this post's title.

First, I've seen the number of subscribers to this blog double over the last few weeks. It's up to around 80 now. Still nothing impressive, but it's at least getting interesting. So I first want to welcome all you new readers to your regularly scheduled dose of Isaac's Meaningless Scribblings (tm).

It's been about six months since I started this blog, and I figured the half-birthday was a good time to take stock, and start identifying and developing certain themes that have started to emerge.

There's a huge variance in the popularity of posts here. Some are duds, some rocket up to thousands of hits, and it's impossible to predict in advance how a new post will do. But I now have some evidence on what people like to read, and I'm going to start writing up sequels to some of the better posts: both the crowd-pleasers, like this, and my unloved personal favourites, such as this.

One of the emergent themes is metaphorical thinking; analogies and mental models. Though they're very different in style and content, both this and this are good examples.

Rendering New Theme...