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Better Humaning

Overthinking Everything So You Don’t Have To

A how-to listicle for aspiring overthinkers

Overthinking Everything So You Don’t Have To

I have a confession to make: I’m an Overthinker.

I think I’ve always been this way, but my condition has worsened with age. And my chosen profession didn’t help.

I overthink as a matter of work, often. And I always overthink my work. Not just the things I make themselves, but how to describe what I do, and what unites it all.

Lately, I’ve come to think that the best way to describe my job is “overthinking everything so you don’t have to.” That’s no surprise, I’m sure, if you’ve popped around this site, or read my books, or seen anything else I’ve made.

But, ironically, I’m also driven, fundamentally, to empower people to not need me, via my work. I always endeavor to remove myself from the picture. Making myself irrelevant is one of my primary goals in everything I make, and it’s often the question that leads to the improvements or further work: “How can I create something that is freely available to prevent a person from needing to hire me to do it?”

That’s why, for example, I released my copyright on my work back in 2013: I didn’t want people to have to keep asking me to use it, license it, or reprint it. I removed myself from the middle.

So this creates a bit of a conundrum. No surprise: me finding a conundrum. That’s Overthinking 101.

Recently, I’ve been [over-]thinking about that conundrum a lot. And I’ve felt a growing urge to reconcile it, which brings us here. To the how-to I never suspected I would write: A list of ways that I overthink everything, for those of you who want to DIY (OIY?).

Following is the process I generally follow as I overthink everything in my life and work.

I apply it to everything I create, to the social justice and human rights advocacy I engage in, to how I organize and operate on a “business” level, and even to how I do things in my “personal” life (relationships, puppy training, cooking, etc.).

This is the not-so-secret sauce.

But I suggest you proceed with caution. Overthinking is addictive. I wonder why that is.

Continue reading → “Overthinking Everything So You Don’t Have To”
Better Humaning | Status

Policing Voting vs. Nuance

You can complain about politics if you don’t vote.
You’re not a bad human if you don’t vote.
You can still be my friend if you don’t vote.
And voting is an exceptional way to complain.
And it’s a perfect way to stake a claim in your humanity.
And it’s a wonderful way to show up for your friends.

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Better Humaning | Quote

Mistakes don’t guarantee learning, but learning requires mistakes.

Work dot Com

After 7 Years Doing this Work, I’m [Re-] Branding. Here’s how I’m making decisions.

Are you considering creating a "brand" for yourself or a project? Maybe this will help.

After 7 Years Doing this Work, I’m [Re-] Branding. Here’s how I’m making decisions.

I got thrown into this. Two-fold.

I got thrown into the work I’ve been doing. And I got thrown into a situation that’s led me to question everything, rethink and restructure, and make decisions that feel like an overall “brand.”

While I’m happy I’m here, one of the strongest forces that’s guiding what I do next is precisely avoiding how I got here: no more being thrown into stuff. Seem easy? Maybe. Probably not.

I’ll get to that in a second, but first the back story.

Continue reading → “After 7 Years Doing this Work, I’m [Re-] Branding. Here’s how I’m making decisions.”

Updates | Status

Totally new site. Slightly new direction.

Howdy! Today marks two turning points: the design of this site has changed (from this to this), and the name has changed (from “Dear World” to “Sam Killermann’s Blog”).

From here on, in addition to things I’ve been writing about before (like happiness & technology), I’ll also be writing about how I DIY (do it myself) in all things social good & online platform related, and posting more personal updates about my work/life.

And totally new: I’ll be creating members-only content! So 🤞to a new experiment.

Better Humaning

I can’t stop thinking about the “Social Justice Dogma,” or keeping quiet.

It’s time for me to break the first rule of the social justice dogma: don’t talk about the social justice dogma.

I can’t stop thinking about the “Social Justice Dogma,” or keeping quiet.

Last spring, I got to spend a couple weeks in rural Ontario giving a few dozen (!) talks, assemblies, and shows at schools and organizations around the province. Every time I visit the Ontario countryside, I’m struck by how much it reminds me of my now-home state of Texas, in ways that are equal parts comfy (lots of hospitality) and uncomfy (lots of camouflage and usage of the word “lifestyle”). But this trip was different.

In years past, the ideas I was presenting (i.e., social justice and anti-oppression concepts, centered around gender) were mostly received as new. And the questions aligned with that. But this year, a lot of the questions I was hearing weren’t responding to what I was saying on stage, as much as they were addressing things that were already bouncing around students’ minds before I got there. I just became the first “spokesperson” for social justice they were able to confront IRL.

For example, in years past I got a lot of questions about things like “What do you mean gender and sexuality aren’t the same?” Or “What do you mean a woman can’t ‘oppress’ a man?”

But this year, a bunch of times (double digits) during Q&As I was asked something that amounted to “So gender is a social construct, and so is race, so why are we accepting of Caitlyn Jenner but not Rachel Dolezal?” By high schoolers. In rural Texas Ontario.

Hold that thought. I’ll return to it, but first I want to take a step back. Continue reading → “I can’t stop thinking about the “Social Justice Dogma,” or keeping quiet.”

(Un)Happiness

The Road Away From Email

A long and winding path with a pot of gold at the end. If I can get there.

The Road Away From Email

I wish I never had to read another email.

This is something I’ve said thousands of times, aloud and in my head (mostly in my head). I’ve said it in anger after opening another death threat. I’ve said it in frustration when an email sent me down a rabbit hole that took me away from a project I had planned for the day. It’s been an underlying sentiment for years, but it wasn’t until recently that it turned into a concrete plan:

I am going to stop reading emails.

But how?

Continue reading → “The Road Away From Email”
Updates

2016, A Brief Review of Creativity

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” - Bill Gates

2016, A Brief Review of Creativity

2016 was, well, quite the year.

All in all, I side with what appears to be the consensus that it was, if given only one descriptor, a dumpster fire. That said, it was also more than a dumpster fire, and I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the things I made this year — something I basically never do.

So, with that said, following is what I finished, published, and/or created in 2016.

Continue reading → “2016, A Brief Review of Creativity”
Better Humaning

A Fix: Politics Not Reminiscent of Sports

Moving from our current play field into something better for all of us.

A Fix: Politics Not Reminiscent of Sports

Political discourse is at a place where it’s hard — if not impossible — to see it as productive. Most times, it doesn’t even seem like folks who are arguing have a vision for anything being accomplished by that argument, other than hearing words yelled.

Facts have been weaponized and are lobbed as projectiles, not used as tools to build a bridge from one perspective to another. Opinions are worn like armor, used to protect ourselves from the bombardment of facts. We scream for our ideas to drown out the screams of others for theirs.

If sports are modeled after war, as many people say, our political discourse has taken a form modeled after the way we talk about sports.

Continue reading → “A Fix: Politics Not Reminiscent of Sports”
Building a Daily Meditation Habit

Maintaining a Daily Meditation Habit

What it's going to take for me to stick with 100 days of mindfulness

Maintaining a Daily Meditation Habit

I’m on day 9 of 100 in my quest to making meditation an integral part of my daily routine. At just shy of 10%, I have already learned a lot that will inform the next 90. I’m going to walk through what I’m planning to draw upon, from most concrete to most abstract.

1. Tools matter.

meditation-progress-sam-killermann

There’s this famous Audre Lorde quote that gets tossed around a lot in the social justice activism spaces I occupy: “For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Folks generally take it to mean that you can’t undo a harmful system using components that support that harmful system, or by working within that system.

There are lots and lots of debates about that quote, and you can read them (or we could get into them another time), but for now it’s the second part of the quote that I am appealing to (the part that is often omitted): “They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”

It’s this idea, that the master’s tools may temporarily allow us to be him at his own game, that I’ve found to be particularly salient this past week. Indeed, I’ve managed to turn just about every thing in my life that led me to mindlessness into a tool to help me practice mindfulness.

Continue reading → “Maintaining a Daily Meditation Habit”