In today’s edition of the newsletter I’m sharing Ozan Varol’s thoughts on guilty pleasures, a mini-list with a few of my own guilty pleasure books, and some great links for your week. Let’s get to it.
Something I’m Thinking About: Let Go of the Guilt
Ozan Varol is one of my favorite thinkers in the realm of work and creativity. Last week he wrote a short piece about guilty pleasures that really resonated with me and I wanted to share a good chunk of it here. Be sure to read the whole thing and check out Ozan’s books and newsletters as well.
One of my guilty pleasures is reading Dan Brown novels.
I love the startling plot twists, the cliffhangers, and the adrenaline rush produced by his over-the-top plots.
Reading thrillers isn’t “productive,” so I’d call it my guilty pleasure.
But then I started to question the term “guilty pleasure.”
The implication is clear: If it feels good—and if it’s not intellectual or doesn’t serve some clear productive purpose—you better feel guilty about doing it.
We’ve been conditioned to attach guilt to pleasure.
We’ve been told that we improve ourselves by fighting ourselves, distrusting what makes us feel good, and denying ourselves what we desire.
This is the entire premise of the prevailing hustle culture: If you’re not in pain—if you’re not constantly grinding, hustling, and struggling—you’re not doing it right.
This mindset is so prevalent—the sacrifice of personal desires for external rewards is so persistent—that people lose touch with what they really want.
What do you think? What are some of your favorite diversions that you shouldn’t feel guilty about, but sometimes do?