Heyo! 👋 I'm flying back home to California this month to officiate my best friend's wedding and celebrate the holidays with my Phamily.
Before I go, I put together the best articles, books and links that I've found/published in 2021 around living a more meaningful life with a special P.S. at the bottom.
🖥 From Tam's Desk
- How to Have Deep and Meaningful Relationships When You Can't See Anyone In-Person
- How To Support A Friend Who Is Suffering From The Pandemic
- How to Play Taboo Online With Custom Cards (Free Template)
- You Don't Have To Find Your Life Purpose Through Work
- Make Major Life Decisions With Confidence By Answering Three Simple Questions
- How I Solved My Low Self Esteem And Low Confidence Problems Through Self Love
- How to Build Your Perfect Body Without Needing To Look Like a Model
- High Leverage Kindness: low effort and big impact things you can do to make someone's day
- Year in Review 2021 - Some of the links from previous years were broken in the last email, sorry about that. I'm sharing the past editions again here: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.
😸 Tam's Jam Archive
- Tam's Jam (March 2021)
- Tam's Jam (April 2021)
- Tam's Jam (May 2021)
- 🔆 Tam's Jam: Breath, Light Therapy, and Giving Up On Your Dreams (June 2021)
- 🥊 Tam's Jam: Solving my Low Self Esteem Problems, Training for MMA, and Living Life in The Arena (July 2021)
- 💵 Tam's Jam: Psychology of Money, Laziness and Eviction (August 2021)
- 🚲 Tam's Jam: The "Perfect" Body, 80,000 Hours and Not Just Bikes (September 2021)
- ⛰ Tam's Jam: Making big life decisions, new friendship pyramid, how to stop languishing (October 2021)
- 😇 Tam's Jam: High leverage kindness, foreboding joy and high-speed career sampling (Nov 2021)
🤓 Top five books I've read in 2021
📚 Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It
I found this book to be extremely helpful in working with the monkey mind that's in our heads. One practical tool that I used right away was distanced self-talk.
"When you're trying to work through a difficult experience, use your name and the second-person 'you' to refer to yourself. Doing so is linked with less activation in brain networks associated with rumination and leads to improved performance under stress, wiser thinking, and less negative emotion."
I would literally talk to myself and say, "Tam, do you really think it's a great idea to eat the ENTIRE pizza?" or something as simple as "Come on Tam, you got this" before a big meeting. It sounds strange at first but it really works.
👃 Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
You probably have been breathing wrong your entire life.
But once you change how you breathe, you can change your life. You will live longer, sleep better, reduce, lose weight, improve performance, and so much more.
This isn't another meditation book. The author, James Nestor, argues convincingly that your breath is so important that your life depends on you paying attention.
♦️ The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova
This read chronicles the full story of Maria Konnikova going from not knowing anything about playing poker to winning hundreds of thousands of dollars, getting sponsored, and earning a major title.
Konnikova apprenticed under poker legends who I grew up watching like Erik Seidel and Phil Galfond. Konnikova applied everything she learned and competed in tournaments while being afraid almost every step of the way.
More important than her new poker expertise, I admire Konnikova for dropping her ego and stepping into the arena. It takes a ton of courage to do something completely new and fail repeatedly as she figured out her path.
Konnikova stuck with it and surprised herself with not only her poker winnings but her ability and confidence to master herself.
💵 The Psychology of Money
I loved reading The Psychology of Money not just because it's about money but it focuses on WHY we spend.
We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences. What might seem crazy for you might be perfectly “normal” for me, and vice versa.
Reading each chapter gave me more insight and context to understanding human behavior. It makes me want to judge people less and seek to understand more.
😴 Laziness Does Not Exist
I used to grow up believing that I should never give money to lazy homeless people. They are just going to use it to buy drugs and keep making bad choices.
But I never stopped to put myself in their shoes. What is it like to actually be homeless?
- It's cold and uncomfortable all the time
- You don't have a strong support network
- You don't get great sleep
- You don't eat much healthy food
- You have little access to medical care to deal with injuries or chronic pain
- The majority of homeless people are victims of trauma and abuse
- Many chronically unemployed adults have at least one mental illness
...and the list goes on. So wanting a drink or some cigarettes makes fucking sense.
When people (like my old self) judge them for "not trying hard enough", I never stopped to think about all of the unseen barriers they are facing.
I've learned from this book that it’s really helpful to respond to a person’s behavior with curiosity rather than judgment
My favorite quote from this read:
"If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, it is because you are missing a part of their context."
👀 Top clicked links
❤️ how the f*ck do i take care of myself?
I read through this Google Slideshow (yes, you read that right) at least once a year when life hits me hard and I need some gentle guidance. I opened it again after going through my stressful move up the border and have always found a slide that was exactly what I needed to hear in that present moment.
My friend Jennie does not get enough credit for creating such an insanely valuable resource - bookmark and read it here.
📍 80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good
This is the most in-depth career guide that I've seen on doing meaningful work and making an impact
"You have 80,000 hours in your career. That’s a long time. Spend one or two of those hours on this guide, to help you work out how to use the rest. We believe you might be able to find a career that is both more satisfying and has a greater positive impact."
Devote a weekend to think deeply about your career. It will be worth it. ☕️
Besides a very small Amazon commission from recommending books, selling my own books (that I never promote here), and a brand new promo code in the P.S. below (look ma, I'm an "influencer" now), I don't make any money from doing writing these emails every month.
I actually lose money since it costs a few hundred dollars a year to pay for my website and email services. But it is so much fun to discover new things and share with people like yourself who are interested in living a better life.
Thank you always for reading and being here on this journey. I sincerely hope you have an amazing holiday season—See you again in the next year! ☺️
Tam "jamming out" Pham
P.S. If you're looking for a great gift for yourself and your loved ones, pick up a copy of The Five Minute Journal, a gratitude journal that I've been using for over five years and have gifted to over three dozen people (you can read my honest review here). Beyond their gratitude journal, Intelligent Change also produces beautiful productivity planners, best year journals, connection cards and more. I finally became an ambassador and their team gave me code "TAM10" to save you some moolah. Enjoy—Happy holidays! 🎁