take what you need, leave the rest

i recognized a pattern last week that i’m curious to explore here (and i’m very much open to feedback, challenges, or affirmations if you have them so feel free to leave a comment!).

i love to consume information (mercury in taurus, learner in strengthsfinder): articles, podcasts, and books mostly. and i love sending them to friends and/or people i think would that particular resource valuable.

but it often happens (it’s happened with deep by work by cal newport, james clear’s productivity blog, the asian efficiency productivity blog, etc.) that i send something to someone and the response is some version of “wow, i wish i could like this but i can’t because [insert identity-based issue].” it’s most often something like “wow, all these white dudes white dude-ing makes me question the validity or applicability of this content.”

and those responses are totally right every time.

but somehow i seem to miss that stuff when i read it so i started being a little curious. how is it that this response keeps coming back to me?

and now i’m thinking two things:

  1. i probably have a highly-tuned filter for skimming out systemic bs. for example, any time anyone cites warren buffet, bill gates, steve jobs, or the other wealthy cis-hetero white males, i generally just ignore the example. generally speaking, author cite people like that as a validity boost but it’s not core to the point they’re making. the point stands on its own, but the book’s audience might find it extra meaningful if a billionaire said it.
  2. maybe i’m just blind to those things because i grew up in pretty white spaces.

there’s probably more, but to get to the point of this post, there is a mantra that someone gifted me way back in elementary school. i can’t actually remember who or from where it came, but i know i knew this lesson pretty early. i remember it as:

take the best, leave the rest.

more recently, i’ve seen chani nicholas say the same thing in a way that i find even more helpful:

Take what works for you, leave the rest.

i think that’s often what happens when i read or consume pretty much anything.

and, honestly, sometimes i feel like my ignorance or filter or whatever it is that’s happening when i take things in is like a sort of superpower. i feel like it allows me to learn things from people from centers of power that have created the world we live in, see how those things work, take what’s useful for liberatory work, and leave the rest behind. i sometimes feel like this ability is like the harry potter’s invisibility cloak. it lets me sneak into places, see and learn things, and then bring them back to fight voldemort.

is that problematic? maybe. let me know!

words / writing / post-processing
439w / 14min / 9min