In this episode, we talk about a few different things — how to think about giving money to those in need, whether it's helpful to view our lives as stories, and how Taimur has been trying to develop more empathy with old people.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

Giving money can be a morally testing problem in relation to who we give money to and, if we give money to one person, who else should we give money to. This comes after Ali had received requests from abroad for money and, although we all like to imagine ourselves as being generous and wanting to help, it is difficult to determine who deserves money or where the money can have the greatest effect. This leads Taimur to take the approach of helping those immediately in front of him although he does concede that even that can have its issues too.

Living our lives through the prism of stories can be a helpful metric but shouldn’t be the only guiding force. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller made Ali reflect on his own life and consider as to whether he is living a life with a story that he would want to tell. Miller writes that for a life to have been worth living, it must be storyworthy which, for both Ali and Taimur, feels like a yardstick that is somewhat artificial.

“The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person’s story is about, just ask them what they want”.

Eliminating, automating and delegating various aspects of household management can bring more margin into your personal life. Very few people need a full time housekeeper but if you can extract away the time-consuming tasks, it can be beneficial in relation to the time it creates to pursue more valuable tasks.

However, the mindset of treating your personal life as a business can go too far when you are constantly evaluating how you are spending your time. There is something to be said being able to appreciate and get value from various things in life that are, on the face of it, quite dull. In this way, it's valuable to try to have a frame of mind to get value from things that you otherwise wouldn’t think as valuable.

Links:

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.

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Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, InstagramTaimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram