Successive Approximations

AUTHOR: Ben Berry

Choosing contentment

The only way to be wholly content and happy doing something is if you have considered your alternatives and decided that doing this thing, right now is the highest possible use of your time.

Skipping the consideration spoils it. Harboring resentment spoils it. Feeling forced to do it spoils it. Feeling guilty spoils it. Rushing to just get it over with spoils it.

It does not have to be something other people would praise you

Father's Day 2021

It's natural that learning to do something yourself gives you a greater appreciation for those that have already done it. Building your own bookshelf makes you realize all the non-obvious challenges of carpentry and gives you respect for everyone else that has undertaken the same challenge before you.

In parallel, one of the surprising things I've learned becoming a father is realizing how very much it is a choice, at least in the modern era.


When you experience discomfort, your natural response will be to ask "How can I stop this most quickly?"

Instead, challenge yourself. "What would it take for me to reach my limit of this? Am I already at it? Can I go five minutes without showing a sign of weakness? Five minutes after that?"

Never pass up a chance to admit being wrong

I spent the better part of an hour today in a Slack discussion with coworkers about how to implement a feature ticket. We went back and forth, and fundamentally saw the issue two different ways. I didn't really see any way we could reconcile the two views. Either one of us or the other would have to just accept the opposite perspective to move forward.

We kept drilling down into examples and use cases, and

The Power and Danger of Identities

Part 1

I was talking to a friend recently, and discussing the fact that he's managed to stick with one hobby (learning Japanese) while having another hobby that used to consume much of his time go untouched for years (recording music).

What I realized as we talked, and what I said to him, was that we don't really do things because we want to, or because we have goals. We do things because we want