“Chronos” is measured and counted, while “kairos” is lived and experienced

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Here, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is saying that if we don’t have language to describe something, we can’t talk about that thing — we can’t even think about it. So learning new words to describe aspects of the human experience can help us grow.

One of the most important words I’ve learned over the last decade is kairos.”

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, and kairos was the second. The first was Chronos, which we still use in words like chronological and anachronism. …

Are you an “Interviewer” or a “Volunteer”?

An Interviewer and a Volunteer having an awkward conversation over coffee
An Interviewer and a Volunteer having an awkward conversation over coffee
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

There are two kinds of conversationalists. I call them ‘Interviewers’ and ‘Volunteers’.

Everyone knows about Interviewers. All networking and dating advice is pitched at pleasing Interviewers. These are people who like to be asked lots of questions about themselves. And if they like you, they’ll show it by asking you lots of questions.

I’m not an Interviewer. I hate being asked a tonne of questions — it makes me feel like I’m being interrogated. Instead, I like my conversation partners to offer up information about themselves, and then leave a pause so I can offer up some info about myself…

How to get around the algorithm and get eyes on your work

Person blowing confetti, demonstrating your writing being shared far and wide on twitter
Person blowing confetti, demonstrating your writing being shared far and wide on twitter
Photo by IIONA VIRGIN on Unsplash

Do you struggle to get any traction on social media, even when you know you’ve written great content, with a grabby headline and a compelling image?

You’re not imagining things.

There’s a very simple reason why:

Twitter hates external links

When you share your Medium article on Twitter, you’re asking readers to leave Twitter and go to a different website. You think Twitter, Inc. wants that? They do not. So, the algorithm deprioritizes any posts that link to non-Twitter sites.

I have a pretty engaged audience on Twitter, and a very popular newsletter, but whenever I shared an issue of my newsletter to Twitter…

My phone habits got healthier when I applied classic stop-smoking techniques that have been proven to work.

Two phones in a basket on a table in front of a man and woman talking.
Two phones in a basket on a table in front of a man and woman talking.
Image credit: tataks

Like many people, I used to check my phone basically any time there was a lull in activity of more than 30 seconds. If I was having dinner with my partner and he went to the bathroom, my phone would be out in an instant. If I was waiting for a train. If I was waiting for the kettle to boil. If I was listening to a podcast and it got a bit boring. If I was listening to a friend and they got a bit boring — well, I wouldn’t actually take it out then. …

Once you understand them, you can supercharge any productivity system

post-its for a kanban wall
post-its for a kanban wall
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

At its most basic, a kanban is three vertical columns — To Do, Doing, and Done — with tasks moving across as you progress. Simple.

But as with every other methodology that gets popular, people adopt the surface-level practice without understanding the principles underneath it, and so miss all the value. It’s cargo-cult productivity.

If you know why kanbans have the structure they do, you can apply the same principles to whatever system you use and get more calm, more focus, and more things done.

The point of the ‘Done’ column: Make your tasks separate and finishable

Teams need a Done…

Do you remember how magical they were, how much promise they were filled with?

Manual for the NES game Faxanadu, pulled directly from my childhood and somehow on the internet. Click to see every page. Image by Bucky on Flickr.

I used to be a huge gamer, and I’m not anymore, but I still read a lot of video game news and reviews for some reason. I don’t know if the games have got worse (probably not) or my ability to be enthralled has just waned.

I used to get up at 5 am to try and beat my brother to the Nintendo > Super Nintendo > PlayStation in order to get an hour or two of full, uninterrupted play. I can’t imagine being that excited, that compelled, now. Maybe twice a year, I come across a book that’s good…

This little-known term will help you understand the patterns of how you connect

Photo by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash

I’m going to tell you about an incredibly useful linguistic concept — one of those things where you’re like “oh there’s a word for that, that’s so useful! Now I have a way to talk about it.”

You know how when you say something, sometimes you want the other person to literally hear the content of your message (“pass the salt”) and sometimes it’s a social action that happens to use words — but the words themselves don’t matter (“you’re welcome”). And a whole lot of awkwardness comes about when people can’t gauge whether they’re supposed to listen to the…

(And some more challenging ones)

Photo by POR7O on Unsplash

Scroll down for the alternative dilemmas

Today we are talking Trolley Problems, only we’re not, because I am sick of them and they’re boring. Trolley Problems are basically, you’re a train driver, your train is about to kill five kids, do you divert it so it kills a rail worker instead. Since it’s obviously better to for one person to die than five, the question is around whether you can actually make that decision when it involves pulling the trigger yourself.

But they really jumped the shark and now it’s all “is it better to kill one doctor or five…

Hint: It’s not, “tell them it’s easy and they’ll pick it up no problem”

Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash

I’ve noticed that if someone wants you to try badminton or a party game or trivia or whatever, and you tell them “I’m not good at sports/boardgames/improv” or whatever it is, 9 times out of 10 they will respond, “Nah don’t worry, it’s easy, you’ll pick it up.”

And if you insist, “No, seriously, I’m REALLY clumsy / bad at thinking on my feet” or whatever, they’ll double-down: “It’s basically impossible to fuck up, you’ll be fine.”


The more you sell how easy it…

Today’s unsolicited advice is that no one likes unsolicited advice, and most people are very bad at giving it usefully.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

I probably have less tolerance than average, but no one likes it.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “is it more important to tell them this thing I know, or more important to not make people feel really annoyed that I exist right now?” (For example: If they are describing the symptoms of ovarian cancer and don’t seem aware of it, then it’s more important to tell them the thing. Or their job application has spelling mistakes in it. But it’s probably not something as important as that, right?)

On social media, most of the time when someone shares a problem or mishap, they’re actually sharing a story

It might be a low-key joke of the “look what over-the-top…

McKinley Valentine

Full-time writer based in Melbourne, Australia. I make cult-hit newsletter The Whippet: Science, history, weirdness, and non-cliched advice | thewhippet.org

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