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Lines of excellence

In a press conference just weeks before his death, President Kennedy was asked by a reporter if he liked his job. Kennedy’s response: “Well, I find the work rewarding. Whether I am going to stay and what my intentions are and all the rest, it seems to me it is still a good many, many […]

The Journey is the Thing

“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” Tal Ben-Shahar in Happier It’s about pointing […]

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 […]

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 […]

A calling

My wife has a knack for making things beautiful and making beautiful things. It’s her gift and a noble calling. Even her handwriting is artful. You should see the cakes she decorates. She cares about the small details and delights in delighting others. I love that about her. Making things beautiful is her calling. It’s […]

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 […]

Delete yo’ self: Aziz Ansari’s unconnected life

This recent GQ interview with Aziz Ansari highlight’s the comedian’s unconventional approach to the Information Age. The interviewer seems incredulous as he comprehends just how much of an outlier Ansari is: I heard you deleted the Internet from your phone. And that you deleted Twitter and Instagram and e-mail. No way that’s true, right? It […]

Make something wonderful

I’m a sucker for an Apple product announcement. Yesterday’s event inaugurated the Steve Jobs Theater at the new Apple campus. The theater looks stunningly gorgeous, as you would expect from the world’s most prominent design-centric company. The products announced were almost overshadowed by the venue and by the touching tribute that opened the keynote. The […]

Darwin’s plodding path to brilliance

I filed away this Farnam Street article and just now read it. It’s a great take on what made Charles Darwin such a transformational thinker. In short, Darwin wasn’t gifted with an off-the-charts IQ. He was no Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein. But he could focus intently on minute details and stick with an idea for a very […]

Do something amazing

I just discovered this message above the exit of my daughter’s middle school. As you exit this week today, do something amazing before you go.  Make a connection that you’ve been meaning to make. Be that person that lights up the room, that summons smiles even from strangers.  Solve a problem. Get started on that […]

Cal Newport: Quit social media

Cal Newport has a knack for counterintuitive insight. His book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, was a compelling challenge to quit trying to find your elusive vocational passion and instead focus on obtaining the kind of mastery that leads to genuine career fulfillment. (Pick a career path you wouldn’t mind getting really good at […]

Mike Birbiglia’s excellent advice

The comedian and filmmaker offers his unsolicited advice, ostensibly to those who want a career as a performer. But these tips apply to anyone who wants to make something meaningful on their own terms. Here’s his final tip: 6. CLEVERNESS IS OVERRATED, AND HEART IS UNDERRATED Plus, there are fewer people competing for heart, so […]

Career goal: Spark more smiles

There was a person in my meeting that everyone was looking forward to seeing because they make everyone smile. That is my career goal. — insooutso (@InsoOutso) August 3, 2016 I laughed with delight when I first saw this tweet.  It made me think fondly of people I know who light up a room with […]

Relax already: David Letterman on ego and perspective

David Letterman reflects on no longer having his television show: “We did this television show—my friends and I—for a very long time. It’s probably like anyone else’s professional pursuit. When you are doing it for so long, and for each day—I have always likened it to running a restaurant—because you get response to the day’s […]

Lin-Manuel Miranda on leaving college with “stuff” already created

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the man of the moment with Hamilton’s incredible success. This Rolling Stone feature sheds some light on his drive. He has written his way to the top. Like the character he portrays on stage, Alexander Hamilton, Miranda is a prolific writer. Here’s Miranda in the Rolling Stone interview talking about his creative […]

Showing my work: The Good Life, San Diego

I’m giving the opening talk at my professional association’s annual conference in San Diego next Tuesday. I’m not ready. Yet. I’ve had a theme in my mind for a few months now, but the ideas are just now coming together. When I’ve been asked to do these kinds of conference talks, I’ve been fortunate to […]

Showing my work: The Five C’s of Leadership

I was asked recently to guest lecture in a leadership class at my university. My original plan was to do a very informal talk without slides. I was going to base it on my Five C’s of Leadership post. The morning of the class, though, one of the students who works for me and is […]

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