Volodymyr Vasylyna Blog

A digital marketing analyst based in Kyiv, Ukraine 🇺🇦
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Why Is It So Hard to Be Truly Happy For Others?

I find it extremely hard to be genuinely happy for others, to watch other people succeed. Even though most of the time I am actually not feeling good seeing somebody succeed, I acknowledge it’s rude to behave like I’m not happy about it, therefore I am doing my best to at least look like I’m happy when a person — especially a friend — is achieving something valuable. But internally I understand it’s not an honest reaction. And that bothers me because it often happens in situations when, interestingly enough, there’s nothing to be jealous about.

Here’s what they say in The Daily Stoic book:

Watching other people succeed is one of the toughest things to do — especially if we are not doing well ourselves. In our hunter-gatherer minds, we suspect that life is a zero-sum game — that for someone to have more means that we might end up with less.

What I have to teach myself is to actively cheer for other people — even in cases where that might come at my own expense — and to put aside jealousy and possessiveness. It’s in our nature to show our friends affection and to celebrate their advancement.

 54   2 mo  

Acceptance

There are times when we are getting annoyed by someone’s weaknesses. A friend can be unable to quit unhealthy relationship, which is driving you crazy. Relatives can be toxic enough to make you cry. A girlfriend can lack energy and resilience to work under pressure and uncertainty. A classmate’s mind can be taken over by propaganda.

These things might make us feel angry and powerless. When feeling that way, it’s super hard not to blame these people and not to start offering unsolicited advice. The problem here is that 99% chance it will not work. On the contrary, this stuff would only drain our energy and make it worse for everybody.

I believe the root of the problem here is actually in ourselves struggling to accept our own weaknesses in the first place. If unable to accept and appreciate ourselves to the full extent, we do the same to the others. If we’re intolerant to our own vulnerabilities, we’re treating everyone else alike.

The solution is nothing but to first embrace all that we are. By embracing our own weaknesses we will learn how to fully accept others – and help them instead of expressing our anger and irritation.

 69   3 mo  
 75   4 mo  

Taking a One-Week Break from Social Media Improves Well-Being, Depression, and Anxiety

The researchers gathered 154 volunteers with a mean age of 29.6 years old. They randomly divided them into an intervention group, which was asked to stop using social media for one week (with a focus, in particular, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok), and a control group which was given no instructions.

At the end of this week, the researchers found “significant between-group differences” in well-being, depression, and anxiety, with the intervention group performing much better on all three metrics.

Why Digital Minimalism

The researchers further found that they could obtain smaller, but still significant improvements in depression and anxiety by having users simply reduce the time they spend on Twitter and TikTok. The biggest effects, however, came from full abstention.

 103   4 mo  

I ordered a Starlink kit to be delivered to Ukraine

Just after the war started, I decided to order a Starlink kit. I had no idea whether Starlink is actually shipping their kits to Ukraine for the residential use. At that time I was only aware of the shipments happening for military purposes. Nevertheless, I decided to go for it and eventually placed my order on March 12, 2022.

Long story short, I received the kit in May. Below I wanted to outline the timeline and the process behind for those who are interested.


March 12


March 16

You placed a deposit of $99 for a Starlink kit. The remainder of the kit cost is $500 including taxes. Please respond to this ticket with “#orderPaid” if you would like to complete your order for Starlink and pay in full.
If you are unable to afford the remaining kit cost of $500 right now, respond with “#orderDiscount” and we will waive the remaining cost. At this time we do not offer partial refunds or payment plans.
You can also choose to cancel your order for a full refund of your deposit on your account page.

So I asked to waive the remaining cost. I’ve paid $99 so far.


March 18


April 20


April 30

I changed the delivery address to the nearest Nova Poshta depot.


May 11

Got a delivery by Nova Poshta.

The end.

 127   5 mo  

Why I stopped reading fiction books, and why I actually shouldn’t do it

I feel like I’ve been struggling with reading fiction books lately. Over the past year or so my preferences in literature have gradually shifted to self-development, biography, business and other genres.

And it seemed to be that whenever I tried reading fiction, I was imminently failing for some reason. In some cases, I thought the book was really not interesting. In other occasions, I was coming to a conclusion that it’s just not the right time, and I was not in the right mood for that.

Now I assume it was not only that.

Recently I visited one of the book stores here in Lviv, and ended up buying a beatiful edition of The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, in Ukrainian. I really loved the design of the series so I got super excited to read it and enjoy the process just through holding the book in my hands.

Unfortunately, the design didn’t help much. When I started reading it I couldn’t really enjoy it or have a good time. It was hard for me to follow the plot as I was struggling to dive deep into the context. I couldn’t keep my focus long enough blaiming the genre of fantasy for its “fantasiness”. In short, nothing was making sense to me. At one point I even almost gave up trying to keep up. Just as it happened lots of times before.

But today I nevertheless gave it one more try and put extra effort to concentrate for longer periods of time. Luckily, it finally paid off. I found the flow, I got indeed carried away into the fictional world. It felt good, you know. It felt so good I started thinking that maybe because we are sometimes lacking this small extra effort into focusing and concentrating, we end up not being able to enjoy fiction books. What if fiction literature may just be a bit more demanding in this sense? Unlike non-fiction, you can’t skim the fiction text, looking through it quickly and easily. On the contrary, you must stay there for longer time, reading and digesting, taking deep dives into a made-up world of an author.

 2 comments    53   5 mo  

Five ways in which social media and tech are harming our attention

  1. Social media and tech are designed to train our minds to crave frequent rewards. They make us hunger for likes. This craving will drive you to pick up your phone more and more. You’ll break away from your work and your relationships to seek a sweet, sweet hit of retweets.
  2. These sites push you to switch tasks more frequently than you normally would—to pick up your phone, or click over to Facebook on your laptop. When you do this, all the costs to your attention caused by switching kick in. The evidence there shows this is as bad for the quality of your thinking as getting drunk or stoned.
  3. They get to know what makes you tick, in very specific ways—they learn what you like to look at, what excites you, what angers you, what enrages you. They learn your personal triggers—what, specifically, will distract you. This means that they can drill into your attention. Whenever you are tempted to put your phone down, the site keeps drip-feeding you the kind of material that it has learned, from your past behavior, keeps you scrolling. Older technologies—like the printed page, or the television—can’t target you in this way. Social media knows exactly where to drill. It learns your most distractible spots and targets them.
  4. Because of the way the algorithms work, these sites make you angry a lot of the time. Scientists have been proving in experiments for years that anger itself screws with your ability to pay attention. They have discovered that if I make you angry, you will pay less attention to the quality of arguments around you, and you will show “decreased depth of processing”—that is, you will think in a shallower, less attentive way. We’ve all had that feeling—you enrage, and your ability to properly listen goes out the window. The business models of these sites are jacking up our anger every day.
  5. In addition to making you angry, these sites make you feel that you are surrounded by other people’s anger. This can trigger a different psychological response in you. Imagine that one day you are attacked by a bear. You will stop paying attention to your normal concerns—what you’re going to eat tonight, or how you will pay the rent. You become vigilant. Your attention flips to scanning for unexpected dangers all around you. For days and weeks afterward, you will find it harder to focus on more everyday concerns. This isn’t limited to bears. These sites make you feel that you are in an environment full of anger and hostility, so you become more vigilant—a situation where more of your attention shifts to searching for dangers, and less and less is available for slower forms of focus like reading a book or playing with your kids.

(Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari)

 70   5 mo  

Context Switch Consequences: A Drop in the IQ

... So if you check your texts often while trying to work, you aren’t only losing the little bursts of time you spend looking at the texts – you are also losing the time it takes to refocus afterwards, which can be much longer. This means that if your Screen Time shows you are using your phone four hours a day, you are losing much more time than that in lost focus.

... A small study commissioned by Hewlett-Packard looked at the IQ of some of their workers in two situations. At first they tested their IQ when they were not being distracted or interrupted. Then they tested their IQ when they were receiving emails and phone calls. The study found that ‘technological distraction’ – just getting emails and calls – caused a drop in the workers’ IQ by an average of ten points. To give you a sense of how big that is; in the short term, that’s twice the knock to your IQ that you get when you smoke cannabis. So this suggests in terms of being able to get your work done, you’d be better off getting stoned at your desk than checking your texts and Facebook messages a lot.*

*James Williams, Stand Out Of Our Light (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), p. 69.

(Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari)

 63   5 mo  

Why skills are more important than passion in getting the work you will love

There is a long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. But it actually might be just a flawed cliche. It can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic hopping from one job to another.

Background and problem

Preexisting career passions are rare. Most passions (like reading) cannot be translated into a career. They have little to do with how most people end up loving their work.

Steve Jobs who was well-known for “follow your passions”, didn’t start off loving computers, instead, he only saw it as an opportunity to earn quick cash. There was no doubt his love for Apple computers in the later stages of his life, but he surely didn’t start off because he had a passion for the computer.

But how do people end up loving what they do?

Theory

The passion mindset The craftsman mindset
Makes you hyper-aware of what you don’t like about your job, and creates confusion on constantly questioning whether this is the right job: “Is this who I really am?” or “Do I love this?”. And you might irrationally jump into a field where you don’t have any skills to leverage, but you think that you have passion in (e. g., yoga). Becoming better and improving the quality of what you produce. It focuses on becoming so good they can’t ignore you, regardless of what you do for a living. You approach your work as a true performer on a daily basis. You simply do whatever you are doing really well.

The solution

Adopt the craftsman mindset first, and then the passion follows. If you want a great job, you need to build up rare and valuation skills (aka career capital) to offer in return. When you have developed skills that are too valuable to be ignored, then you get to choose a great job, the one that is rich with creativity, impact, and control.

So, your goal is to acquire as much career capital as possible, then more opportunities would come.


This summary is inspired after reading and based on the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

 72   8 mo  

Some things about flags

I was reading a new book by Dmytro Dubilet. Here are some interesting facts I found worth sharing.


1 – Nepal
The national flag of Nepal is the world’s only non-rectangular flag.

By the way, the Nepal time zone is unusual, too. Their UTC+05:45 is one of only three time zones with a 45-minute offset from UTC.


2 – The UN and the Nuremberg Trials
The flag of the United Nations was designed by Donal McLaughlin, an American architect. Interestingly, it was his team that created the design for the courtroom used in the Nuremberg Trials as well as the visual displays that were used by the prosecution that helped obtain convictions of Nazi war criminals.


3 – Hawaii
The flag of Hawaii is the only US state flag to include a foreign country’s national flag. The inclusion of the Union Jack of the United Kingdom is a mark of the Royal Navy’s historical relations with the Hawaiian Kingdom.


4 – Ethiopia and the Star of David
The flag of Ethiopia contains a star very much resembling the jewish Star of David.

The reason behind is quite vague. Ethiopia is one of the two African countries which have never been colonized, alongside with Liberia. Since the XIII century the Ethiopian Empire was ruled by a dynasty the members of which claim lineal descent from the biblical King Solomon. Hence, the resemblance with the symbol of Judaism.


5 – Côte d’Ivoire
Not related to flags, but also interesting: the largest catholic church is situated in Côte d’Ivoire, a country located on the southern coast of West Africa.

 110   8 mo  
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