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.


Tracking Down the "Embarrassing Memory" Noise

Compelled to Blurt... | Ask Metafilter

Like a lot of people in this Ask Metafilter thread, I thought I was the only person in the universe who made an unconscious little noise when remembering something stupid I did or said.

It's not especially loud, in fact it's often under my breath. The sound is usually just a quiet grunt, or a word/syllable or two. If I remember an embarrassing conversation, I tend to blurt out a random word of the conversation (as in, I'm replaying the dialogue in my head but then all the sudden one of the words pops out of my mouth). If it happens while I'm reading, I tend to blurt out one or two of the words that happen to be under my eyes at the moment.

For context, my tic (which can also be heard when someone near me does something dumb) sounds a little like the noise Leo Bloom makes after he falls on his keys (00:34). "Ooooooom...."

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Self-control running low?

Why is it so hard to say no? Why the heck do I find myself doing things I don't really want to do?

In the newsroom where I ostensibly work, I sit right next to that table - the one the people from other publications call "the table of perpetual indulgence." It usually features baked goods and junk food - great vats of candy, tubs of animal crackers, a living sea of bite-sized 3 Musketeers and Special Dark bars. It is, put simply, bad for me to be sitting here. I'm always walking off to the printer then realizing that somehow I've wound up in the opposite direction, lifting syrup-filled brownies toward my mouth. Well, I think I just found out the reason why.

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Jeff Bigler's "tact filter" theory

Drawing by lonelysandwich
drawing by lonelysandwich

Tact Filters

In 1996, Jeff Bigler observed that there appeared to be a "tact filter" that was operated in different directions by "nerds" versus "normal people:"

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »