How Jeff Bezos deals with stress

Avthar's Weekly Wisdom #30 (11/22/2020)

Hello fellow learners, doers and curious people!

It's a pleasure writing to you from sunny New York City. Welcome to edition #30 of Avthar's Weekly Wisdom.

🔥 This newsletter is where I share practical wisdom about self-mastery, startups, health and happiness, all to help you live better. My goal is for you to discover one thing that can change your life, in a big or small way, every week.

ICYMI: You can read all previous editions of Avthar's Weekly Wisdom here and find more useful writing on my website.

Life-changing Links

Here's what I want to share with you this week:

🏆 On Self-Mastery —

Jeff Bezos on Stress: After some tough work weeks, I've been pondering the question of what exactly stress is and why we get stressed? This explanation by Jeff Bezos is perhaps the most concise explanation for why we get stressed and how we can alleviate it:

"Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over.

So, if I find that some particular thing is causing me to have stress, that's a warning flag for me. What it means is there's something that I haven't completely identified, perhaps in my conscious mind, that is bothering me, and I haven't yet taken any action on it.

I find as soon as I identify it, and make the first phone call, or send off the first e-mail message, or whatever it is that we're going to do to start to address that situation -- even if it's not solved -- the mere fact that we're addressing it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.

So, stress comes from ignoring things that you shouldn't be ignoring.

Bezos' conception of stress reminds me of this Naval Ravikant quote, which echoes the idea that our self-conflict is responsible for much of our misery:

In any situation in life, you only have three options. You always have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. Those are your three options.

What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it. So it’s that struggle, that aversion that is responsible for most of our misery.

🚀 On Business —

The most useful sales advice I've ever seen: I dug up this gem while putting together the post on marketing and sales for my Startup Founder Resources series. It will be the first thing I send to anyone who wants to learn about sales.

Funnily enough, it comes from a HackerNews thread on How to market yourself as a freelancer

💪 On Health —

Dangers of poor sleep:

“There is no physiological system in the body, and there is no operation of the brain that isn’t wonderfully enhanced by sleep when you get it, or demonstrably impaired when you don’t get enough.”

That's the main takeaway from this wonderful interview of Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley. My favorite quote comes from the host, Dr Peter Attia, on how his friend talked him out of the "I'll sleep when I dead" mentality during his medical school days:

"So let me get this straight. You just decided that you’re going to sleep half of what is evolutionarily programmed?

… Does it strike you as odd that evolution would have designed us to spend a third of our life, not mating, not watching out for predators, not hunting for food, but doing this thing for some other purpose?

Do you think that thing must have been important?”

🙏 On Happiness —

An upcoming guest for my podcast guest invited me to a discussion group on meaning and purpose in life. We began this week's session by reflecting on this wonderful question:

Personally, what do you need to be fulfilled on a weekly basis?

It provided a welcome interrupt to the momentum of week and forced me to do something I've never done before: reflect on what a good life looks like during the course of an average work week. We can easily get caught up in measuring our weeks by productivity or pleasure, but what about fulfillment?

I encourage you to reflect on this question and challenge you to make next week as fulfilling as possible.

Wishing you a fulfilling week ahead,


🐦 @avthars


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