Choose Your Pond

Many gurus advise keeping expectations realistic, as if you could simply choose this. They do sometimes suggest tactics, the best of which don’t involve directly changing your thoughts, but your environment: “choose your pond” wisely, as Sarin and Baucells put it, since the place where you live, the work you do and the people you socialise with are all potential sources of exaggerated expectations. In the end, though, I suspect “happiness equals reality minus expectations” is one of those insights you can’t translate into tips. You just have to remain aware of it.

Oliver Blankeman, The Guardian
This column will change your life: the truth about happiness
‘How can happiness be influenced by things we don’t have, were never going to have, and wouldn’t have missed, if the thought hadn’t occurred?’

Never underestimate the power of the environment you work in to gradually transform who you are. When you choose to work at a certain company, you are turning yourself into the sort of person who works in that company.

David Brooks
The Two Mountains

How much do you think the quality of your education, your extracurricular opportunities, your health and your options after high school are tied to where you live? How do you think your life would be different if you grew up in another neighborhood where you had more or fewer opportunities?

In “‘Without Fixing Inequality the Schools Are Always Going to Struggle’,” Lora Kelley shares the responses of eight teachers to the question: Do children’s ZIP codes at birth determine their futures?


I have read somewhere, and I do not remember where, a shrewd bit of marriage advice credited to F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Don’t marry for money,” he is supposed to have said, “go where the money is, then marry for love.” What charmed me about this statement when I first read it was the whiff of unabashed immorality that surrounds it. What has come to fascinate me about it since then is that it seems to epitomize much of the advice that good lawyers give their clients, advice that consists of shrewd stratagems surrounded by the whiff of unabashed immorality.

Leo Katz
Ill-Gotten Gains: Evasion, Blackmail, Fraud, and Kindred Puzzles of the Law