Why Snapchat added Snap Map

The reason is simple — Snapchat added Snap Map so that you’ll use Snapchat more often.

If you use Snapchat more often, you’re more likely to see the advertisements that will eventually be embedded into the map. More advertisements seen means more profit for the company. More profit isn’t bad, but it’s worth pointing out that it is the primary motivation for companies to add new features to social media apps. Your well-being is a secondary concern.

Every tech company in Silicon Valley is at war for your attention. Your attention is your most precious resource, directly determining your well-being.

Be less concerned with stalking. Be more concerned with what you do with your attention.

Before swiping right

Understand that swiping isn’t about you at all. In fact, for many of us, swiping right can only lead to more pain.

The legendary Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh explains in his book, How to Love:

“Often, we get crushes on others not because we truly love and understand them, but to distract ourselves from our suffering. When we learn to love and understand ourselves and have compassion for ourselves, then we can truly love and understand another person.


Sometimes we feel empty, a great lack of something. We don’t know the cause, it’s very vague, but that feeling of being empty inside is very strong. We expect for something much better so we’ll feel less alone, less empty. Because we feel empty, we try to find an object of our love. When we realize that all our hopes and expectations of course can’t be fulfilled by that person, we continue to feel empty.

So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person.”


Commenting on her weight

You could complement her on all the weight she lost, but you might not know that she’s suffering from major depression. It’s not uncommon for a depressed person to lose twenty pounds in a matter of weeks.

You could complement him on the muscle he gained, but you’d also be reinforcing the harmful stereotype that to be a man is to look a certain way. What happens as he ages and inevitably starts losing muscle?

It’s probably best to avoid commenting on how someone looks altogether. A better question might be, “how are you doing today?” Then listen.

Maybe then, over time, the person will want to talk about how she looks. Maybe much more.

Three ways to spend your summer money

1. The normal way: rent, utilities, cell phone bills, car payments, beer, and Starbucks Frappuccinos.

2. Long-term goals: college tuition, opening a retirement account, saving for a down-payment on a house, planning a vacation.

3. Giving: giving money away to a person or organization that really needs it.

We tend to spend our money in this order, 1-2-3. Ironically, personal happiness tends to come from spending money in exactly the opposite order.

A more important metric than ‘Likes’ or ‘Retweets’

Because of what you posted to social media, how many people told you that they were changed — even in the smallest way — for the better?

Change is the real metric we’re seeking. It’s hard to quantify, and even harder to define, but worth thinking about for the person who desires a meaningful life.

‘Likes’, ‘Retweets’, occupations, salaries, prestige, sales, wins, and losses don’t matter if there’s no change.

Leadership happens around the edges

It happens in the locker room: “Hey, coach isn’t mad at you. Don’t take it personally.”

It happens on a bus trip: “Why are you so mean to Abby? I really think you need to apologize.”

It can happen anywhere: “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do for you?”

The rah-rah cheerleading on game day might be the least significant form of leadership there is.

On feeling like a failure

We all have a voice in our head talking every moment of the day. We think that voice is ours, and we’re tempted to believe what it says. But neuroscience tells us otherwise, because it turns out that each thought originates in the brain milliseconds before we’re aware of it.

The implications of this are profound.

Consider what happens when you’re deciding what to have for dinner. Should you cook? Should you have leftovers? Should you order out? Every thought about what to have for dinner came from another part of your brain before you were aware of it. In a very real sense, you’re not deciding what to have for dinner. Another part of your brain is making the decision. You don’t control it.

Now consider the case of imposter syndrome, feeling like a failure no matter how good you are at something. Imposter syndrome works the same way as deciding what to have for dinner. The voice that tells you you’re a failure originated in your brain before you were aware of it. You can’t help but think you’re a failure.

This blog post from the author Neil Gaiman tells the story beautifully:

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

We can’t hope to control our thoughts of failure, but we can dance with them.

[More on free will]