The Election, A Mindfulness Technique, My Content Rating System

Nov 2020 - Evergreen Thoughts

What’s on my mind…



Voting is a privilege. It’s an opportunity for individuals to have a voice and shape the future of where they live. It’s a right that came out of countless efforts and sacrifices. One that is still not available to many around the world. If you are lucky enough to be able to vote, please do. If you or anyone you know has any issues, check out or call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.



As if 2020 hasn’t been hard enough, the next few days (or potentially longer) will be an emotional rollercoaster as votes are tallied and the future of our country is decided. While it’s far from a silver bullet, here’s a short breathing technique to help you navigate these anxiety provoking times. It’s called the 4x4 Breathing Exercise and can be done in as little as 16 seconds. While closing your eyes:

  1. Breath in through your nose for 4 seconds

  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds

  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds

  4. Hold your breath for 4 seconds

Source: University of Michigan Health Blog

Repeat these steps as much as you’d like. I personally find that even just a couple rounds helps me meaningfully reduce anxiety and be more present.


How I Decide What to Read and Watch

We live in an era with an insane amount of content. I’ve recently developed a couple techniques to help me decide what books and TV shows to consume.

For books, I lean on Goodreads. Unlike most online star rating systems, I find their ratings to be accurate and useful. Especially for non-fiction books.

Through a combination of AI and machine learning, I’ve developed a highly scientific and proprietary rubric to interpret these ratings:

  • 4.50+ drop what you’re doing and read this right now

  • 4.25+ really f’ing good

  • 4.00+ solid book

  • 3.75+ likely good

  • 3.50+ likely disappointing

  • 3.50- buyer beware

For TV, I lean on IMDB:

  • 9.0+ drop what you’re doing and watch right now

  • 8.7+ really f’ing good

  • 8.5+ solid show

  • 8.0+ likely good

  • 7.5+ likely disappointing

  • 7.5- watcher beware

A couple related thoughts:

  • For books, I rarely use Goodreads for discovery and almost exclusively use it to help me decide between a bunch of books I’ve discovered elsewhere.

  • For TV shows, I commonly use IMDB’s Most Popular TV Shows section to discover new shows to watch in addition to using it to help me decide between TV shows I’ve discovered elsewhere.

  • As with any rating system, scores will be less accurate when review counts are low. This is especially true for new releases or more obscure content.

  • For those wondering about Rotten Tomatoes, I tend to use it for movies, but find it less useful for TV shows. I still like it for movies, but find myself watching and enjoying mostly TV shows these days.