April 2023

A simple and easy approach to decision-making that prevents us from manipulating ourselves. First, understand the forces at play. Then, understand how your subconscious might be leading you astray.

“The great scientists often make this error. They fail to continue to plant the little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow. They try to get the big thing right off. And that isn’t the way things go.” — Richard Hamming

A question to ask yourself: What seeds are you planting today for next month? Next year?

If you wait until you’re motivated, you’ve already lost.

If you let motivation dictate your actions, inertia conspires to keep you in place.

Action creates progress. Progress creates momentum. Momentum creates motivation.

When we watch people make small choices, like ordering a salad at lunch instead of a burger, the difference of a few hundred calories doesn’t seem to matter much. At the moment, that’s true. These small decisions don’t matter all that much. However, as days turn to weeks and weeks to months and months to years, those tiny repeatable choices compound. Consider another example, saving a little money right now won’t make you a millionaire tomorrow. But starting to save today makes it more likely you will become a millionaire in the future.

The biggest generator of long-term results is learning to do things when you don’t feel like doing them.

If you let excuses or emotion drive behavior, you’re cheating your future self.

Put aside the excuses and start doing what you need to do.

The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves — Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way

The only guarantee, ever, is that things will go wrong. The only thing we can use to mitigate this is anticipation. Because the only variable we control completely is ourselves — Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way

When you put all your energy to create peace with others, you create a war inside of yourself.

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

— Maria Robinson

Do my expectations match the level of effort I’m giving?

“The biggest obstacle to increasing your self-awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are.”

— Travis Bradberry

Once people stop making excuses, stop blaming others, and take ownership of everything in their lives, they are compelled to take action to solve their problems. They are better leaders, better followers, more dependable and actively contributing team members, and more skilled in aggressively driving toward mission accomplishment. But they’re also humble — able to keep their egos from damaging relationships and adversely impacting the mission and the team — Jocko Willink, Extreme Ownership

Things you control:

Your effort. Your beliefs. Your actions. Your attitude. Your integrity. Your thoughts. The food you eat. How kind you are. How reflective you are. How thoughtful you are. The type of friend you are. The information you consume. The people you surround yourself with.

See the thing for what it is, not for what your mind is telling you it is.

Become a ninja at letting go — guiding yourself again and again to the path of least resistance, which is to accept and move on.

Not all distractions are external. We probably keep our most distracting stuff in our heads.

“Reading isn’t important because it helps to get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given.” – Matt Haig

“Any talent, wisdom, or insight you have that you don’t share becomes pain.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

No one cares about your excuses as much as you do. In fact, no one cares about your excuses at all, except you.

Just because something happened that was outside of your control doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility to deal with circumstances the best you can.

The cliche goes like this: live each day as if it were your last. The best way to take this advice is to do exactly the opposite: live each day as if you would live forever.

Why are American cities so ugly and indistinguishable from each other? Why is the vast majority of what’s been built in America over the past 80 years so depressing, and soul-sucking? This book(The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape) answers these questions, walking through the history of American architecture. It begins with the first pilgrim settlements and eventually explores the car’s impact on cities and suburbia. My biggest issue with car-centrism is the inequality and atomization it produces. Cars destroy community. Long distances between work and home lead to long commute times for the poor. When people are always in their cars, they stop valuing the kinds of public spaces that make Western European cities so delightful. The book can be summarized in one lyric from the Counting Crows: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”


Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, throughout your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.


“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

​— Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

“As soon as you’re not trying to have one part of experience win out over the other, the mind becomes quiet—because there’s no struggle.”


Loneliness has more to do with our perceptions than how much company we have. It’s just as possible to be painfully lonely surrounded by people as it is to be content with little social contact. Some people need extended periods of time alone to recharge, others would rather give themselves electric shocks than spend a few minutes with their thoughts.

You can outwork someone by outsmarting them.

The person who digs a hole with their hands is quickly passed by someone who uses a shovel. Outsmarting is a form of leverage.

The combination of smarter and harder makes you unstoppable.

If you say no to a thing, then you’re saying no to one thing. If you say yes to a thing, you actually say no to every other thing during that period of time.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” — Steve Jobs

In the short term, you are as good as your intensity. In the long term, you are only as good as your consistency.

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” - Kurt Vonnegut

To get to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper than what they just did. Then again, and then once more. The third time’s answer is the one closest to the truth.