“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body, ”- Richard Steele.
Choose your role models carefully.
Those with the loudest voices rarely offer the wisest insights.
The best advice often is to just “find someone who has what you want, and ignore the rest.”
“I wonder what it is that the more we have, the more we become prisoners at the thought of losing it, rather than setting us free.”
There’s no quicker path to misery than conditional happiness.
When the high dissipates, we seek the next one, finding happiness only when we achieve a goal; everything in between is just filler.
If you can’t find happiness during the pursuit, it won’t last long when you reach the finish line. Find joy in the journey, and if it eludes you, reassess your mission.
It’s really easy to get stuck. Stuck in your current way of seeing and thinking about things. Frames are made out of the details that seem important to you. The important details you haven’t noticed are invisible to you, and the details you have noticed seem completely obvious and you see right through them. This all makes it difficult to imagine how you could be missing something important.
The direction for improvement is clear: seek detail you would not normally notice about the world. When you go for a walk, notice the unexpected detail in a flower or what the seams in the road imply about how the road was built. When you talk to someone who is smart but just seems so wrong, figure out what details seem important to them and why. As you learn, notice which details actually change how you think.
Memory is an intrinsic part of our life experience. It is critical for learning, and without memories we would have no sense of self.
Understanding why some memories stick better than others, as well as accepting their fluidity, helps us reduce conflict and better appreciate just how much our memories impact our lives.
“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” — Lao Tzu
Often injustice lies in what you aren’t doing, not only in what you are doing.
“The student as a boxer, not a fencer.” Why?
Because the fencer has a weapon they must pick up. A boxer’s weapons are a part of him, he and the weapon are one.
Same goes for knowledge, philosophy and wisdom.
It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.
Kindness isn’t always easy or obvious, because the urgent race to the bottom, to easily measured metrics and to scarcity, can distract us. But bending the arc toward justice, toward dignity and toward connection is our best way forward.
Kindness multiplies and it enables possibility. When we’re of service to people, we have the chance to make things better.
“The wise man knows exactly what value should be put upon everything.” — Seneca
“The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.”
It is easy to connect over mutual dislike, but it is a toxic practice.
Work on talking about books, or ideas, or travel, or anything else you find even mildly interesting.
I think it’s fair to assert that sometimes, our moods are handed to us.
But it’s also clearly true that we can do things to improve our mood. Morning pages, meditation, exercise, positive thinking, the right audio inputs, who we hang out with, the media we consume–it’s all a choice.
And if it’s a choice, that means it’s a skill, because we can get better at it.
What was true 5 years ago may not be true now, and yet, both were true for you at some point in time.
Embracing the paradoxes of life — that often, conflicting ideas can both be true in their own ways — will save you a lot of stress.
“The dangers of prolonged sitting in an earlier study that showed that, compared with sitting for under 6.5 hours per day, sitting for more than 10 hours daily was linked to a 2.5 times greater risk of premature death.”
“Truth is a pathless land”.
Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique.
He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection.
Man has built in himself images as a fence of security—religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these images dominates man’s thinking, his relationships, and his daily life. These images are the causes of our problems for they divide man from man. His perception of life is shaped by the concepts already established in his mind.
The content of his consciousness is his entire existence. The individuality is the name, the form and superficial culture he acquires from tradition and environment. The uniqueness of man does not lie in the superficial but in complete freedom from the content of his consciousness, which is common to all humanity. So he is not an individual.
Most of the activities we care about in life are infinite games. Businesses don’t “win” the market and quit. Health isn’t over once you’ve reached your weight-loss goal. Even knowledge decays and renews as you learn more things.
Conversely, if you can keep going you haven’t lost. Apple was on the brink of disaster just over two decades ago. Yet the game kept playing and they wound up as the most valuable company in the world. At least for now.
Stamina is the central virtue in a world full of infinite games.
“You can’t always choose the path that you walk in life, but you can always choose the manner in which you walk it.” — John O’ Leary, On Fire
“Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.” — Shawn Achor, the Happiness Advantage
A group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant’s body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their limited experience, and their descriptions of the elephant are different from each other. In some versions, they come to suspect that the other person is dishonest, and they come to blows.
The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true.
“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” — Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Do less, do what you do better, don’t get distracted along the way.
If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.
What matters is going out there and doing it, not thinking about it, not worrying what others might think, not even being attached to a result, just doing it. - Andy Puddicombe
There is a high chance that 50% of what we know is not true.
And the best part is that we don’t know which 50%.
Most people fool themselves by saying they’ll be happy once they have something or once a certain situation changes.
The truth is that your happiness doesn’t depend on things.
It depends on your inner world and your ability to focus on the things you’re grateful for, even when difficulties arise.
When people reflect on what it takes to be mentally fit, the first idea that comes to mind is usually intelligence. The smarter you are, the more complex the problems you can solve— and the faster you can solve them. Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn.
Mental horsepower doesn’t guarantee mental dexterity. No matter how much brainpower you have, if you lack the motivation to change your mind, you’ll miss many occasions to think again. Research reveals that the higher you score on an IQ test, the more likely you are to fall for stereotypes, because you’re faster at recognizing patterns. And recent experiments suggest that the smarter you are, the more you might struggle to update your beliefs.
The curse of knowledge is that it closes your mind to what you don’t know. Good judgment depends on having the skill— and the will— to open your mind. A hallmark of wisdom is knowing when it’s time to abandon some of the most cherished parts of your identity.
— Adam Grant in Think Again
“At 20, you are constantly worrying about what other people think of you. At 40 you wake up and say, ‘I’m not going to give a damn what other people think anymore.’ And at 60 you realize no one is thinking about you at all.”
The most important piece of information there: “Nobody is thinking about you from the very beginning.”