43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Self-Help. Commentary

Real Advice Hurts

In the wonderful Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about the incredible, ripping pain she felt after having her tonsils removed. All she wanted to do was chug pain killers and let the stupid thing heal, but, Anne's doctor gave her some advice that she found as unbelievable as it was painful: he told her to chew some gum.

Turns out that, as with a lot of injuries, the entirely sensible impulse to protect and baby a wounded area was the opposite of what Anne actually needed in order to fix the problem. So, by enduring the excruciating pain of chewing gum for just a few minutes, the muscles in her throat suddenly unclenched, and Anne's pain went away forever.

The advice Anne wanted wasn't the advice she needed. And, like we all eventually learn, the best advice you'll get in life hurts like hell at the time. Because it has to.

And, maybe that's part of what what bugs me about all the "tips."

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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