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Tag / wisdom

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 […]

“If you’re polite and if you read…”

“If you’re polite and if you read, I think you’ve got the first 75 steps down the path to success.” –Tom Peters Be kind. Be curious. Love and knowledge. “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” –Bertrand Russell

Miles Davis, So What, and being in accord no matter the chord

This story that opens jazz great Herbie Hancock’s memoir, Possibilities, is profound: I’m onstage at a concert hall in Stockholm, Sweden, in the mid-1960s playing piano with the Miles Davis Quintet. We’re on tour, and this show is really heating up. The band is tight—we’re all in sync, all on the same wavelength. The music […]

John Gardner: Life is an endless unfolding

From the writings of John Gardner (ht John Maeda), who served in LBJ’s administration as secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare:  One of the enemies of sound, lifelong motivation is a rather childish conception we have of the kind of concrete, describable goal toward which all of our efforts drive us. We want to believe that […]

Sunday morning Stoic: The shortest route

Meditations 4.51: “Take the shortest route, the one that nature planned—to speak and act in the healthiest way. Do that, and be free of pain and stress, free of all calculation and pretension.” No games. Don’t overthink. Just say what is essential. Do the right thing.

Choose kind 

My 7-year-old daughter came by my office after school on Tuesday. It’s the last week of school, and she was lively and lighthearted and spent some time, as usual, writing on the whiteboard in my office. When I left work I noticed she had written this on the board:  “When given a choice to be […]

Stoic Zen: The glass is already broken

Kottke shared this paragraph from Mark Epstein’s book Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy From a Buddhist Perspective: “You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master. “For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful […]

Ordinary laziness

From the @AlanWattsDaily Twitter stream: A certain amount of ordinary laziness would lend our culture the pleasant mellowness which it singularly lacks. — Alan Watts (@AlanWattsDaily) April 12, 2015 I’m torn between the desire to get big things done and make a dent in the universe and the inclination to chill out a lot more […]

Tim Kreider’s manifesto on the merits of idleness

Tim Ferriss is featuring an audiobook version of Tim Kreider’s book, We Learn Nothing, on his podcast. He posted a sample of the audiobook with a free chapter, Lazy: A Manifesto. The sample chapter is a terrific essay on the crazy obsession our culture has with being “busy”. When you ask someone how they’re doing, “Busy” […]

David Malham on dying: “Let’s not save our affection”

Yesterday there was an essay on the New York Times opinion page by a retired grief therapist, David Malham, who has been diagnosed with A.L.S. and is facing his imminent death. It’s a thoughtful and light-hearted reflection by someone well acquainted with the grief of others. It’s a worthwhile read in whole. He highlights the absurdity of […]

Alan Watts: Hurry is fatal

I found these thoughts on the @AlanWattsDaily Twitter stream today: This is a first principle in the study of Zen and of any Far Eastern art: hurry, and all that it involves, is fatal. — Alan Watts (@AlanWattsDaily) March 10, 2015 A hurried feeling is a good sign that I need to pause and reflect. […]

Upgrading your life “operating system”

I listened to this Tim Ferriss interview with entrepreneur Peter Diamandis recently. Diamandis is promoting his new book, Bold, which is a challenge to aim higher, dream crazier dreams, and take bold action. The podcast is a solid interview, filled with perspective shifting insights and stories. I was particularly struck by Diamandis’s notion that we […]

Live immediately

Seneca, possibly the most eloquent of the Stoic sages, from the work most consider his masterpiece, On the Shortness of Life (via BrainPickings): “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs […]

The invincible human being

I had previously filed away this article, “Why Stoicism is one of the best mind-hacks ever“, and just dug it up out of Instapaper. It’s a good summary of some basics of Stoic philosophy. And, at the center is this, beautifully explained by the author: What the whole thing comes down to, distilled to its […]

What not to do

What can I eliminate from my life to enlarge my life? I’m more aware of the clutter around me at the end of all the holiday excess than at any other time of year, and I need to use this season to propel me to hone in on the essentials. I’ve already stopped some monthly […]

Alan Watts: Spontaneity is total sincerity

via @alanwattsdaily This is from Watts’s brilliant The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are: “Living, loving, being natural or sincere—all these are spontaneous forms of behavior: they happen ‘of themselves’ like digesting food or growing hair. As soon as they are forced they acquire that unnatural, contrived, and phony atmosphere which everyone deplores—weak and […]

Joseph Campbell’s samurai tale

I first saw the TV series, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, when it was first broadcast on PBS in 1988. I was a young Congressional staff member living in D.C., trying to figure out adult life. That series changed the way I think about my place in the universe. It […]

Less, but better

“Less, but better” was the design philosophy of the iconic Dieter Rams, whose work has inspired some of our greatest creators, including, and especially, Apple. Focus on the essential. Eliminate the inessential. In your work, in your relationships, in your life. Go for quality over quantity. (Of course, quantity can lead to quality.) Emptiness has […]

Kindness is invincible

Meditations 11.18 ix This from a man who had more power than anyone alive at the time, the emperor of Rome with armies and riches and total authority. Easy for him to say, I suppose. Of course, this was written in his private journal for no one’s benefit but his own. Marcus was the man. […]

How we spend our days

We wake up to a gift every morning. No matter the worry and heartache, here we stand each day, surrounded by wonder and found joys and mystery enough to fill a life of days. I want a good life, a life I can look back on with gratitude and satisfaction. A good life, though, is […]

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