How do you remain rational while studying, being aware of, and mitigating your threat model?

So, on a personal note, I am no one of interest. I am not worried about the government coming after me or someone trying to get my info for corporate espionage.

My interest in data privacy is purely driven by personal interest rather than necessity. I am however struggling to retain a level of rationality in what I do. General example: I installed linux on my laptop and I have no problem trying to fix something that isn’t working for the most part, at least til this laptop and the brightness doesn’t go off of max on any distros I’ve tried. After a while I give up and install windows in defeat because I can’t stand max brightness. Looking to the coming year or so I plan on upgrading my phone but in trying to remain privacy conscious I am starting to feel like my only option is whatever the latest model pixel is with Graphene OS.

I don’t particularly want a pixel… but I also don’t want that nagging feeling of, “Well I should degoogle it.” Leading to, “okay so I am running x rom on y hardware” wondering how much I am expanding the surface area that can be attacked and questioning what am I vulnerable to and how many of the updates just give me a false sense of security once the phone is no longer getting updates from the carrier.

I like things like Proton, Signal, etc because they work in a fairly easy fairly straight forward manner and add a level of privacy (when others use similar software) which is great. The problem is I am no security expert but I can think of off the top of my head so many ways everything I do would be rendered useless. How do you differentiate between meaningful choices and spinning your wheels in the mud? Whether you’re just cutting off options you may even really want or see value in to uphold what slowly just sorta becomes it’s own personal dogma?

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