Frank Chen

Frank Chen

email newsletter #8

france, suffering


I visited the south of France, Lyon, and Paris from March 8th to the 21st. I've been recounting my experiences on Instagram. You can catch all the stories here: I'm posting quite frequently until I get through my backlog, and then I'll probably ghost for another year. (/s) 🤗


I'm re-reading Paul Millerd's "The Pathless Path" again, reflecting on my year of doing random shit.

This time around, I'm paying close attention to emotions that I ignored the first time.

Paul writes, "[people] stay in their jobs because [the] suffering is familiar."

The potential for the unknown suffering outside of a job is so great that they would rather stay in a familiar suffering and come up with all sorts of coping mechanisms:

  • avoiding hard responsibility at work
  • changing jobs every couple of years
  • planning vacations
  • staying "busy"
  • getting drunk during the weekend

I've been guilty of all of these. Way less on the last one since there's not much appeal there for me from a health perspective, but the essence is still there - it's some form of escapism, addiction, or obsession.

Paul continues - "people are willing to tolerate consistent levels of misery for long stretches of time given they have a coping mechanism. How do we override this?"

His answer was "a sense of wonder", which he describes as "the state of being open to the world, its beauty and its potential possibilities".

One of his friends described his experience: "I have a suspicion that a whole bunch of energy will get unlocked. I'll just start doing things, creating things and talking to people, going to places that I can't fundamentally imagine right now, and that will be the stuff that shapes my life going forward."

This hit for me because I completely did not experience any of this during my time off from work. I didn't feel like I had any large bursts of energy. If anything, I was more down for different reasons. My schedule had some changes, and although I did meet new people, there wasn't the dropping of the other shoe, some come-to-hither moment that drastically altered the course of my life. It felt rather normal to me, a quiet fizzling and subsequent reluctant stumbling back into the slipstream of what was "normal".

I fucking hated it, but it had to be done. And at the core, it hurt. It was admitting failure. I had tried, but it didn't yield the results that I had hoped for.

My attention now turns to how to avoid the same fate again when I inevitably try again. I suspect it's less about doing and more about "being".

quote of the week

"For bootstrapping products, real professionals ship ... tempo design is more important than organizational design. Make sure you get a good understanding as to what good looks like from a tempo perspective." - Patrick Campbell

This quote is talking mostly about the benefits of moving fast in business. It doesn't really matter what your organization looks like, what your title is, or how many people you manage. Get customers, ship a product, even if imperfect, and do it again, and again, and again. You'll learn faster by doing.

I published past versions of the newsletter on my website, so there's some history. Check out the email newsletter archive.