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⛰ Tam's Jam: Making big life decisions, new friendship pyramid, how to stop languishing (October 2021)

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
4 min read

Heyo! In this issue, we have my new article on making big life decisions with confidence, my review on three books I loved reading last month, the Arabic friendship pyramid, a new TED talk by Adam Grant on languishing and more goodies below the fold.

Let's dive in.

⛰ Make Major Life Decisions With Confidence By Answering Three Simple Questions

I've dropped out of college, quit my job to play chess full-time, moved to a new country and have made many other "big" decisions without much hesitation.

While my distant cousin or old high school friend would question my life choices, I've always felt at peace.

The same themes surfaced often whenever I'm at a crossroads. I've distilled these learnings down to three questions that I live most of my life by. You can read what those questions are along with my answers in my new article.

This framework is obviously not for everyone but if you are a geek about lifestyle design like me, I think you'd find this perspective to be interesting.

➡️ Read the article

📚 Three books I loved reading last month

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by B.J. Fogg

This epic read was written by a Stanford Professor has helped me meditate twice a day consistently and go to sleep on time which was IMPOSSIBLE for me just one month ago. I'm not sure how sustainable this will be but with the spirit of starting small and aiming for consistency... I'm feeling very optimistic. Also, this book was published long before Atomic Habits by James Clear was cool... 😛

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

This book has been recommended to me for years and I finally read it over one weekend. The biggest takeaway is asking yourself this question: What's the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? If you ask that question to anything you want to accomplish, you will quickly realize what is the single most important thing you need to do and eliminate almost everything else.

This One Wild and Precious Life: The Path Back to Connection in a Fractured World by Sarah Wilson

I knew nothing about the author when I stumbled upon this book at my local book store but I am now one of her biggest fans. Sarah Wilson argues (with love and care) for everyone to wake up and "reclaim your one wild and precious life." Go to your edge. Practice wild activism. Become a soul nerd. Get full-fat spiritual. #buylesslivemore. Hike. Just hike... and many more life lessons. What strikes me the most is how authentic she lives out her values that she preaches. This book truly inspired me to simply be a better human and I think you will feel her passion for life and service as you read each chapter. (For context, you might know Sarah from her more popular book, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety)

👭 The Arabic Friendship Pyramid


I love how language can help us better communicate what we really mean. In this case, the word "friend" can be much more nuanced. The most interesting one to me is the bottom section "a fellow of the same age" - talk about being lower than an acquaintance 😂

Adam Grant: How to stop languishing and start finding flow | TED

Organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant popularized the term "languishing" during the pandemic and LinkedIn influencers couldn't shut up about it...

Languishing basically means that you feel "meh." You're not depressed, but you're also not energized.

You're somewhere in the middle of staying up late, joylessly bingeing TV shows, doomscrolling through the news, or simply navigating your day uninspired and aimlessly.

I've felt this several times throughout the pandemic and similar to the Arabic friendship pyramid. I am grateful that there is language to point to a feeling that resonates.

Grant breaks down the key indicators of languishing and presents three ways to escape that "meh" feeling and start finding your flow. Like most TED Talks, it's pretty cheesy, but I found it to be a nice pick-me-up to go find my flow states again.

➡️ Watch the TED Talk

👇 Below the fold

  • 🍜 My good friend Candace relaunched her keto cheesecake business, Wunder Monday, and is shipping her next batch next week. Congrats on the relaunch - can't wait to try it. 🙂
  • A new life/career coach that I've started seeing earlier this year is amazing. If you're looking for clarity and living your life in alignment, I highly recommend you check out Melissa Wong!
  • 👀 Last month's most clicked: 80,000 Hours Career Guide - If you really enjoy the idea of doing work that makes a big impact, you might also like The Life You Can Save: How To Do Your Part To End World Poverty by Peter Singer.

🙂 Final Thoughts

My hope with Tam's Jam is that you (1) learn something useful and (2) live a happier and more meaningful life.

If you dug this, I'd love it if you shared this issue with a friend. You can forward this email or send them here to sign up for the next edition.

As always, let me know what you're reading (or watching). I'll share my favorites in the next issue of Tam's Jam.

With gratitude,


Tam's Jam

Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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