Tuesday , January 19 2021
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My New Year’s resolution

Summary:
I occasionally listen to the oddly-named but excellent “Art of Manliness” podcast, and a recent episode brought me up short. It was an interview with Gregg Krech, author of “Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese art of self-reflection“. Krech suggested a practice of self-reflection through three questions. First: what have I received from others? Second: what did I give to others? Third: what trouble or inconvenience did I cause others? There are obvious similarities here with the practice of gratitude journals, but there is no action required: you don’t have to write a thank-you note or scribble in the gratitude journal. But you might well feel impelled to. Instead, it’s a kind of spiritual accountancy: reflecting on the credits and the debits as

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I occasionally listen to the oddly-named but excellent “Art of Manliness” podcast, and a recent episode brought me up short.

It was an interview with Gregg Krech, author of “Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese art of self-reflection“.

Krech suggested a practice of self-reflection through three questions.

First: what have I received from others?

Second: what did I give to others?

Third: what trouble or inconvenience did I cause others?

There are obvious similarities here with the practice of gratitude journals, but there is no action required: you don’t have to write a thank-you note or scribble in the gratitude journal. But you might well feel impelled to.

Instead, it’s a kind of spiritual accountancy: reflecting on the credits and the debits as you roll through life, and perhaps altering your actions based on what you notice.

Gregg Krech suggested this practice within a relationship. What did I receive from my partner yesterday? What did I give to him or her? He also pointed out much wider applications: what do I receive, and what do I give, when – say – I order take-out?

I loved the questions, so my resolution for 2021 is to ask them of myself every day.

Meanwhile: happy new year to you. If you’re reading this, I am receiving your time and attention. I am grateful for it.

My new book, “The Data Detective” is published in the US/Canada on 2nd February.

“Nobody makes the statistics of everyday life more fascinating and enjoyable than Tim Harford.”- Bill Bryson

“This entertaining, engrossing book about the power of numbers, logic and genuine curiosity”- Maria Konnikova

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Tim Harford
Tim is an economist, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of “Messy” and the million-selling “The Undercover Economist”, a senior columnist at the Financial Times, and the presenter of Radio 4’s “More or Less” and the iTunes-topping series “Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy”. Tim has spoken at TED, PopTech and the Sydney Opera House and is a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.

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