J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

Month: April 2011

Easier Life Maxims

Take a long walk down Easy Street.

Some people relish hardship.  Others get a sense of satisfaction out of enduring difficult and painful situations.  There are even connoisseurs of suffering, who appreciate different flavors and textures of misery.

I’m in the opposite camp.  If life presents itself as easy and enjoyable, I don’t ask questions.  I don’t mind working hard, or experiencing discomfort, if there’s a clear reward to be had (or a worse fate to be avoided).  But overall, I like to look for the shortest line between two points.  It’s just the way I’m wired; a little lazy and more than a little hedonistic.

Still, I’m conscientious — I don’t like to let things slide.  I don’t like feeling out-of-control, or disorganized, or discombobulated.  Obviously, to avoid entropy, a person has to stay motivated and get stuff done.  So where’s the balance?  Are there ways to save enormous amounts of energy and effort in life, but not be a slacker?  To be effective without gritting your teeth or losing sleep?

I’ve been compiling the list below for a few years, but I haven’t added anything recently.  It’s as good a time as any to publish it.  Let me know what you think.

Easier Life Maxims

1. It’s easier to forgive than it is to hold a grudge.

2. Apologizing and making right is easier than trying to justify or cover-up a mistake.

3. Learning new things is easier than defending your intelligence and expertise.

4. It’s easier to do what you want rather than to do what you think other people want you to do.

5. Helping and loving other people is easier than trying to control them.

6. Working smart is easier than working hard.

7. Working hard is easier than procrastinating, worrying, or evading work.

8. It’s easier to socialize and network with people that you like, and easier to love people who appreciate you.

9. Learning from your mistakes is easier than constantly repeating them.

10. The easiest way to get what you want is to visualize and expect it (radical slack).

11. Doing only what you enjoy is easier than slogging through life.

12. It’s easier to change the trigger than it is to change the behavior.

13. It’s easier to find inspiration and refocus than it is to curb vices and distractions via self-discipline.

14. It’s easier to reach a big or difficult goal than an average or mediocre goal (less competition).

15. Easier doesn’t necessarily mean easy.

Most of the ideas on the list were borrowed (or stolen) from other writers and thinkers, but I’ve enjoyed putting those ideas into my own words so that the maxims would better resonate with me when going back to them.  I look at the list now and then to help me decide if it’s time to dig in and grind it out, or coast and look for the path of least resistance.

All Your Guts Are Belong To Us (What's Your Enterotype?)

Your intestines circa 1900.

A recent study published in Nature and noted in the New York Times has discovered the intestinal ecosystems of human beings fall into distinct types.  While we all host many different varieties of bacteria, our guts are apparently dominated by one particular type, or family, of microbes, while other varieties are less abundant.

For example, what the study calls Enterotype 1 consists primarily of Bacteroides, while Enterotype 2 hosts high levels of bacteria from the genus Prevotella.

Different bacteria “do” different things in the intestines.  For example, the Type 2 bacteria synthesize enzymes that produce vitamin B1 (thiamine).  Type 1 synthesizes enzymes that produce vitamin B7 (biotin).  I would speculate that other vitamins that are synthesized in the gut, such as vitamin K2, are also produced at differing rates by different enterotypes.

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How To Spin It (Turn All Luck Into Good Luck)

View from the Kalalau Trail, on the north shore of Kauai.

I’ve just returned from a week of vacation in Kauai, a fact which will likely lessen the depth of pity you feel for me when you hear my sad story.  At the end of this post, you may even find yourself wishing that the “bad” luck I encountered while traveling had found you instead.

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