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Act as if you were absolutely perfect

“Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage… Behave as best you know. Do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them. Only intentions matter. The shape things take is […]

Hard work, hardly working

“What you choose to work on, and who you choose to work with, are far more important than how hard you work.” –Naval Ravikant Hard work overrated? Yes, especially if the “what” and “who” are undervalued. Hard work and efficiency are actually detrimental if you’re heading in the wrong direction with the wrong people. Get […]

The function and duty of a quality human being

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.” –Bruce Lee You never arrive. But keep going nonetheless. “To be what we are, and to become what we […]

Work and play

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” –Arnold Toynbee Flow states are the blissful blur that line is calling for. “Happiness is absorption.” –T.E. Lawrence

Kurosawa on peaking at 80

I make a point in a talk I do for student groups that there’s no hurry to make your mark or to “hit it big”. There seems to be more pressure than ever for young people to not only have their career figured out right out of college, but to be rich and famous by […]

Happiness happens

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” –Victor Frankl Happiness happens. You don’t catch it. It catches you. Pursue, instead, a cause bigger than yourself. Focus on what you have to offer, not on what you want to receive. Aiming to bring happiness to others is a more direct path to your own happiness than […]

Choices

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” –Jerzy Gregorek? Choose wisely.

The only competition that matters

“Oh my soul, do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible.” –Pindar “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” –Seneca “To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” –Robert Louis Stevenson The only competition that […]

Only you

You have to live with the notion of, “If I don’t write this, no one’s going to write it. If I die, this idea dies with me. –Lin Manuel Miranda What potentially great idea are you keeping trapped within by your hesitation, caution, or fear? What problem can you help solve if only you’d take […]

How the world works

“What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.” –Joseph Tussman […]

Big picture thinking

“Without a meaningful, believable story that explains the world we actually live in, people have no idea how to think about the big picture. And without a big picture, we are very small people.” –Nancy Abrams I need the big picture, the “Why”, the zoomed out view, before I can drill down into the “What” […]

Making excellence a habit

“Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives —choice, not chance, determines your destiny.” –Aristotle Plan to be excellent. Winging it only takes you so far. Craft routines and habits that obligate you to take action regularly […]

Energy crisis

“To preserve hope in our world makes calls upon our intelligence and our energy. In those who despair it is frequently the energy that is lacking.” –Bertrand Rusell The know-how may be less crucial than the want-to and the get-up-and-go. The will to action can be tough to summon. But it’s often the first step—the […]

Change happens

“Change leads to insight more than insight leads to change.” –Milton Erickson We overestimate, especially in January each year, how much we can, or, more accurately, will initiate change. Best intentions of a new and better you usually remain merely intentions. But some kind of change is going to happen—likely change you can’t foresee, much […]

On noticing when you’re happy

From a 2003 speech to college students by the author Kurt Vonnegut: And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other […]

By-the-way happiness

“Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.” […]

Purpose

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.” –Robert Louis Stevenson The only competition that matters is the competition between the version of who you are now and the version of you that you can become. How is the you one year from […]

Good Government

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.” –Michel de Montaigne Good for Montaigne. He certainly had the right idea, and I don’t doubt that he had more success than the average person in governing himself and avoiding the futility of worrying over things outside his control. How simple it is to understand that […]

Baffled, amazed, undone

“If we are not sometimes baffled and amazed and undone by the world around us, rendered speechless and stunned, perhaps we are not paying close enough attention.” –Ben Marcus Perhaps we are sleepwalking through life, trudging obliviously through the pattern we’ve grooved and smoothed to protect ourselves from the unevenness, from the surprises of reality. […]

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