Caffeine Hacking, Joker, & Human Conformity – Thoughts & Learnings #8

Hey y’all!

Hope you’re having a good week so far! Please send any articles/topics my way that you think I’ll find interesting.

Five Things To Share

1. Movie: Joker is a thought-provoking film: when things go wrong in our own life should we blame society or ourselves?

If you haven’t seen Joker yet, I definitely recommend it. Although it is certainly one of the darkest films I’ve seen.

It made me think about an interesting topic and one that is somewhat divided across political lines: do we blame the system or ourselves if we aren’t living the life that we want to be living?

It’s a highly complex topic and issue but I sit somewhere in the middle. I believe that we should take full ownership of the outcome of our own life despite whatever hurdles we face but that we should also work towards changing systemic issues.

Curious to hear your thoughts on this! I do believe that blaming the system makes an individual powerless but I’m not ignorant to the fact that people have different advantages and disadvantages in life.

2. Caffeine Hacking: I’ve never really been a caffeine drinker but I am now thanks to a tea I found!

I’ve started drinking Runa, a super high caffeine tea that tastes delicious. I’ve gone from consuming 0mg of caffeine per day to 300-400mg per day. I’m an addict.

Coffee has always made me a bit jittery but I’ve found that this¬†guayusa tea gives me a clean caffeine experience without side effects. It’s $10 for a sampler pack through the link I shared! Highly recommend.

Runa, if you read this, please send me a free case :).

3. Major Event: LeBron James poured gasoline on the NBA/China feud by taking a pro-China, anti-democracy stance (video)

I’m trying to think of a more controversial statement from a superstar athlete in my lifetime and I can’t think of one. It was pretty clear he did this to protect his business interests in China and that this is his number one priority.

But speaking in defense of a communist government that’s actively committing genocidal acts is beyond reckless and he was rightfully skewered across the internet for this – especially since he takes pride in trying to enact positive social change in the U.S.

He has long been one of my least favorite athletes due to his antics, hypocrisy, and pseudo-intellectualism. At the least, I’m glad to see that these traits are harder to ignore now!

Funny t-shirt from Barstool Sports below:

4. Observation: Helmets and what they say about the conformist tendencies of humans

As someone who is fascinated by conformity (especially as it pertains to people making choices that negatively impact their own lives), the fact that less than 1% of people in Austin on bikes and e-scooters wear helmets is interesting to me.

It’s not just an American thing though. I have a friend who taught elementary school kids in Thailand and the statistic at her school is that by the time kids graduate from high school, ~10% of the class will have died in scooter accidents.

And despite the kids being aware of this fact, and despite her giving out free helmets, very few of them wore helmets because it isn’t a cool thing to do!

People prioritizing looking cool to other people more than staying alive is human conformity at its absolute worst. Every time I walk outside, I’m reminded of how conformity shapes the decisions of 99+% of people in the world.

5. Quote: David Goggins

“When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re actually only 40% done.”

Fascinating quote from a guy who lost ~100lbs in 30 days and went on to become a Navy Seal. I believe in his overall concept that we’re all operating at a fraction of our potential and that we can turn it up a lot.

Thanks for reading mis amigos! Until next week!


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I started Need Change to write about important issues regarding society, politics, media, climate change, COVID-19, psychology, and racism. My work has been featured by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. & U.K. Governments. Keep reading to hear the perspective of someone who grew up in America, has lived in 15+ countries, and is deeply passionate about uniting humanity and improving the world. Feel free to click the chat in the bottom right if you ever want to talk! I'm friendly :).