You don’t have to be a completionist
Dial back the pressure
Hey there —
Before we get to today’s newsletter, I have a bittersweet announcement.
After two years and over a hundred issues, I’ve made the difficult decision to bring Snail Mail to a close. Our final issue will be Monday, November 6th. 💌
We’ve loved bringing inspiration to your inbox every week. Seeing your feedback to Snail Mail has been the best part of making this thing. But creating content at this level (investing in the best writers, editors, and designers) is really expensive! And unfortunately as much as we’ve tried, we haven’t been able to reach a place of profitability.
We’re so grateful for each and every one of you, and have been touched by all the emails you’ve sent us over the years. Thanks for making us a part of your weekly routine.
If you want to download or revisit any Snail Mail issue, you can find them all here. And if Snail Mail has helped you then hit the reply button on this email and share some love with our team. We’d love to hear from you!
❤️ Matt & The Snail Mail Team
Now on to today’s newsletter…
Imagine this. You’re on a 28-day habit streak. You’ve successfully read a chapter of a book, meditated, or completed a French lesson every day for four weeks straight. ✅
Then on day 29, something happens. Time gets away from you or you’re feeling under the weather, and you crawl into bed exhausted only to wake up the next morning and realize…your streak is broken. ❌
How do you feel?
If this scenario is likely to leave you devastated, demotivated, and in danger of beating yourself up, we have some good news for you.
You don’t have to be a completionist.
(No matter how much that owl from Duolingo tries to bully you into thinking otherwise.)🦉
In the gaming world, a completionist is someone who fully finishes a video game — not only beating the boss on every level, but winning every side quest and collecting every single bonus or item along the way.
Whether this sounds thrilling or mind-meltingly stressful to you, the reality is, many of us walk through life trying to do it all — and do it all perfectly — from school to our creative passions to our habits.
While the quest for perfection is very human…it can quickly veer toward unhealthy. And it’s important to strike a balance between doing the best and doing our best.
Perfection will try to stress you out, sap your energy, and convince you that you need to do more or be better.
But let’s be real. You’ll probably never finish your TBR stack, get 100% on every test, reach banger status with every video upload, or make it to the gym every single day of your life.
And that’s okay! Because you don’t have to upload constant bangers to grow your YouTube channel, ace each test to pass the class, or workout every day to be healthy.
Just like you don’t have to be a completionist to have a satisfying video gaming experience, you don’t have to check off all of life’s boxes or max out your accomplishments to find happiness, fulfillment, and meet your goals.
There’s so much in life that’s out of our control. When it comes to the stuff that is, throw your passion, dedication, and best efforts forward — but make sure you’re not holding yourself to an unattainable standard.
Dial back the pressure and focus on the big picture wins. You don’t have to be perfect to progress to the next level (or ultimately be a champ). 🏆
The law of reversed effort: The harder you try, the harder you fall
by Jonny Thomson
If you’ve ever laid awake at 3 a.m., staring at your ceiling, then you know the futility of trying to will your body to go to sleep. 😣
Jonny Thomson, writer and former teacher of philosophy at Oxford, uses this example to illustrate the law of reversed effort — the truth that trying too hard can actually make it more difficult for us to do whatever it is we’re trying to do.
Combining this with the much older Deoist idea of Wu Wei — a sort of intentional inaction — Thomson encourages us to step away, stop overthinking, and recognize that some things require patience and space.
Calm Business Encyclopedia
by Jason and Caroline Zook
Over the last month, creative business owners (and husband and wife team) Jason and Caroline Zook have been releasing an incredible free resource on their coaching site, Wandering Aimfully. 📓
The Calm Business Encyclopedia — a collection of 26 articles paired with videos — is your digital A to Z guide for running a business that’s predictable, profitable, and peaceful.
From creating an effective homepage to weekly budget meetings to trusting your inner compass, learn how to optimize your business for more calm — not just more money.
How to start a book club: the complete guide
By Sarah Jinee Park
Did you know that October is national book month? 📚
If hanging out with your fellow bookworms to discuss your latest literary, fantasy, or self-help reads sounds like your idea of a good time, you don’t have to be an award winning actress or talk show host to start your own book club.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding your people, organizing your meetings, and planning an engaging discussion. (And if you’d rather read solo, the article is still worth checking out just for the plethora of suggested book lists!)
Written by Ashley Martin
Edited by Matt D'Avella