More Significant 1% [Friday Flow #6]

Locus, Luck, Life, Live action, Lack


How’s your week been? Remember how I talked about rain last week? Well, this week’s been different and the weather’s making up for its behaviour—it’s like, go-out-in-a-tee-and-shorts sunny.

Which was probably just as well, because it’s nice to have good weather when you’re making big transitions: I’m changing jobs—I left my last one this week and got an offer for my next. There’s a bit of space in between to work on other stuff, though, which is cool. But change is stressful anyhow you cut it, so please pray for me if you’re a praying person, or else wish me luck—I’ll need both! (More on luck later, by the way.)

Here’s what’s up in today’s Friday Flow:

1️⃣ The Significant 1%
🗣 Locus in language
🌍 The whole beauty
🎮 Live action gaming video
👩🏾‍💻 TOSDR (this week’s tip)
🤠 Head & hat (Nigerian proverb)

Let’s get to it.

Share Being Human with Doc Ayomide

1️⃣ The Significant 1%

My essay this week was about something I call The Significant 1%. It’s based on this idea:

There’s very little in life, and in our own lives, that we’re in control of—but that little matters.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my best parts of it, on the difference between responsibility and blame:

The two might seem similar but they’re very different—and lead to very different outcomes.

Blame is about the past. Responsibility is about the future.

Blame wants to know who created the problem. Responsibility wants to know who will take charge of it.

Blame focuses on all that has gone wrong. Responsibility is interested in what can be made right.

And so, while most of us will (rightly) refuse blame for what we’re not responsible for, we can always take responsibility for what we’re not to blame for. Heck, we do it every time we take on a new job, which often involves taking up whatever was messed up—or just left undone—by the previous employee.

The Significant 1% is about taking responsibility—while also relinquishing control.

Check out the entire essay here: The Significant 1%

🗣 Locus in language

This didn’t make it into that essay, but I thought I’d share it with you. A key idea in it was something from psychology called locus of control—where you locate the source of your life events—and which can be external or internal.

As I wrote it occurred to me that the idea of external locus of control is already embedded into Yoruba as the word, “ayé”. It’s a word that’s often loosely used to mean “the world”, but it more precisely means “the cosmos and forces therein”. The ancient Greeks had an equivalent term in the goddess Tyche, the Romans, Fortuna (from which we get our English “fortune”), the Hebrews saw it all as Yahweh’s handwork, and in English there’s “luck”. Have you any in your language?

I have a few more thoughts on this that I’m developing for a future essay, but thought I’d share how fascinating this was. That these names existed at all give us a sense for how the ancients engaged with existing in a world they recognised as largely out of their control. It’s all the more interesting considering, as COVID as shown us, we’re much less comfortable with that fact, even though it’s as true as it ever was.

Somewhere along the line, we came to believe our own hype.

🌍 The whole beauty

Speaking of engaging with the world, my main July read was very much about that: Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. It’s such a great book, about life on two planets, one run on an aggressively capitalist system that’s all too familiar—the other just as militantly socialist. But Le Guin masterfully shows how the problem with both, in the end, isn’t just the systems, but human nature itself. And yet, amid the brokenness of it all, there’s beauty—which is what this quote is about.

The beauty in life.

“If you can see a thing whole,” he said, “it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…. But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need distance—interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

What do you think?

🎮 Live action gaming video

This was hands down the most delightful thing I’ve seen this week. I watched it and found myself laughing out loud at just how realistic it was but also how hilarious gaming behaviours look in real life.

I love it when stuff is thoughtful, and the level of detail in this—whoo! Very thoughtfully done: from the camera work and game-realistic lighting to the interactions with NPCs (non-playable characters) and things like jumping to test that secondary characters were properly connected.

Even if you aren’t into gaming, this is delightful—I’ve not gamed seriously in years and it was still a joy to watch. But if you yourself don’t get anything out of it, go on and pay it forward to someone who loves gaming. Because the next best thing to enjoying stuff?

Making it possible for others to.

👩🏾‍💻 TOSDR (this week’s tip)

TOSDR means “Terms of Service; Didn’t Read”. You know when you sign up for Facebook or Twitter or any other online service and they come at you with those terms of service agreements and you just click “Agree” because no way you’re not about to read all that mess.

Well, there’s a website for that: I’ll let them say it:

Terms of service are often too long to read, but it’s important to understand what’s in them. Your rights online depend on them. We hope that our ratings can help you get informed about your rights.

Go check it out, it’s cool.

🤠 Head & hat (Nigerian proverb)

My parents often quoted this one when we were growing up when we complained about stuff we didn’t have:

“He who has a head lacks a hat to put on it, and the one with a hat has no head to put it on.”

Do you resonate with that proverb? And like I asked earlier: have you any words in your language for the concept of external locus of control? Hearing from you always makes me happy. As always, thanks for sharing these words. Being Human is where it is today because of you.

Talk soon,
Doc Ayomide