Tangential Tuesdays #60

Progress, snow, overcommitting

hi. I hope this sunrise over Donner Lake makes your Tuesday 1% better.


Full disclosure: I'm starting this at 10:30 on monday night, typing on my phone in an uber. Not every newsletter goes as planned 🤷.

But that brings me to the first topic of the newsletter: overcommitting. I’ve been feeling a bit overcommitted recently. It's the ultimate 1st world problem: too many fun things to keep up with. Travel, planning my next trip, skiing, minds matter, watering plants, watching the bachelor, you know the deal.

But for real, I've been a bit overwhelmed. And although it’s frustrating at times, I think overcommitting - and following through is one of the best ways to be productive.

Humans are capable of so much! Sometimes it just takes a forcing function to get us there. Take the avalanche class for example. If I hadn't dropped like $2k on the course plus all the gear already, I might be tempted to just stay home this weekend.

But I know once I get there it will be an absolute blast. Its something I've been dreaming about for YEARS… And it’s happening this weekend :).

Come to think of it, the avalanche class is actually a pretty bad example. Tahoe is supposed to get like 2 feet of snow this weekend and I’d want to be up there no matter what.

This newsletter, however, is a better example. If I wasn’t committed to writing every Tuesday, I’d definitely just go to bed right now. But here I am…


On the nonlinearity of progress:

Last year over Presidents day weekend, we were lucky enough to wake up to about 18” of fresh snow at Squaw. It was only my 2nd day of the season, and I had only been snowboarding a smattering of times since starting school in Pennsylvania.

Despite being a bit out of practice, it is to this day it is without a doubt the craziest terrain I’ve skied in my life (hoping to change that this season).

When you combine the right people, with the right conditions, in the right place, good things happen. Sometimes that’s more important than showing up every day.


That same weekend of skiing, I invited Nathan to come on the trip. At the time, we had never hung out outside of work. I felt awkward and overbearing asking him to come on a 3-day overnight trip.

One concussion and almost a year later, we’ve become good friends. We’ll head to Japan together in about 3 weeks.

It is absolutely wild how much small decisions impact our lives.


On small decisions and randomness:

The identical twin studies in The Gene are interesting. I’ve never really thought about it, but why do twins with the same genes, and exact same upbringing sometimes turn out so incredibly different?

I think a huge part of it is that seemingly inconsequential or random decisions shape our lives more than we think.

I’m convinced that 99% of kids that go to college in the U.S essentially chose what school they went to at random. If they think otherwise, they are probably fooling themselves. When you are 18, you have no idea what you want or value in education.

Yet this decision has a massive impact on the rest of our life.


A quote that made me think twice:

“Empathy, altruism, sense of equity, love, trust, music, economic behavior, and even politics are partially hardwired.”


If you read on a kindle, you should start using readwise. It’s really helpful for remembering more of what you read. And if you sign up I get an extra free month :).

More to check out

The end of the beginning

Why older people should be allowed to change their legal age

What Trees Teach Us About Belonging and Life


Thanks for reading. Expect some snowy pictures of mountains next week ❄️.

- Taylor