“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.” — Marcus Aurelius
“You are scared of dying, but tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?”
Almost everything in the external world is constantly changing according to forces beyond our control, and yet we invest our hopes into them as though they’re forever. We seek validation in other’s opinions of us, which are as fickle as the wind. We pour our pride in garments that are always falling out of fashion, and in beauty that is always fading. We judge our worth by our cars and homes, which are crumbling atom by atom, and in trinkets that are always losing their luster. We base our moods on the weather, or the stock market, or the success of our favorite football team, all of which follow a fate we can’t comprehend. We seek happiness in that which is momentary, and thus our happiness becomes momentary.
Seeking validation in that which we can’t preserve prevents us from owning our own well-being. By focusing on what we can’t control, we lose control.
Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.
Instead of focusing your energy on “fixing” those who anger you, which is impossible, instead focus on fixing yourself.
A huge obstacle to success is a fear of appearing foolish.
When we learn to walk, we fall over and over again until we can do it. We look foolish until the minute we don’t. That is how we learn. As adults we often tell ourselves that failing in front of other people is bad, so we don’t try things that might make us look foolish.
So much advantage in life comes from being willing to look foolish in the short term.
“Not wanting something is as good as having it.”
‘If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot that you don’t.‘ –Chuck Palahnuik
“If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.” — Leslie Lamport
Reality always moulds to the shape you’ve chosen.
Most of the world does this when they feel a twinge of discomfort: they try to fix it at the surface level.
Fearless people know that short-term pleasures are like spraying gasoline to douse flames.
Instead, they address the root and go for a walk.
All the greatest creations and thoughts from mankind have come from long-term projects or thought processes. The current state of the world, with the prevalence of short-term content, is trying to prevent you from engaging in just that.
“There is no greater fool than he who thinks himself wise; no one wiser than he who suspects he is a fool.”
— Marguerite de Valois
Clear writing gives poor thinking nowhere to hide.
“The problem isn’t that you’re too busy. You are too busy, but that’s not the problem. If you view being busy as the problem, there is no solution. You will always be too busy, and that will never change. As Andy Grove once noted: “A manager’s work is never done. There is always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done.” The problem is that you’re acting like a firefighter instead of a fire marshal.” — Ed Batista
“When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength, and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you.”
- Ruby Bridges
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process, is its own reward.” — Amelia Earhart
“People’s confidence in their intuition is not a good guide to their validity.”
Eventually, everyone loses the battle with willpower. The only question is when.
What do you think future you wishes present you were doing more of? Some universal answers show that you’re currently using willpower for desired behaviour. Future you hope you’d sleep more, drink less, exercise, and eat better.
When you find yourself using willpower to make the choices your future self wants you to make, try creating an automatic rule instead.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Exaggerated planning constrains your freedom of action and leaves you less time to get things done. Complicated planning paralyses. So let simplicity and common sense guide your planning.
When you see someone doing something that doesn’t make sense to you, ask yourself what the world would have to look like to you for those actions to make sense.
Simplicity is a fine tradition among us. Simple routines mean greater impact. Simplicity in our behaviour gives us strength. Simplicity and humbleness characterise us in our relations with each other, with our suppliers and with our customers. It is not just to cut costs that we avoid luxury hotels. We do not need fancy cars, posh titles, tailor-made uniforms or other status symbols. We rely on our own strength and our own will!
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” — Louis L’Amour
Trying to do interesting things in the future is a status violation because your current status right now determines what kinds of images you are allowed to associate with yourself.
When we’re unsure if we’re ‘allowed’ to do something, we seek permission from others before we even try. We wait for the world to tell us it’s okay.
In order to defy the social norms and unspoken rules, you’ll need to dig deep within yourself.
The best place to start?
That thing you secretly want to do.
I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe. —R. Buckminster Fuller
“Follow your enthusiasm. It’s something I’ve always believed in. Find those parts of your life you enjoy the most. Do what you enjoy doing.”
- Jim Henson
“Great work tends to grow out of ideas that others have overlooked, and no idea is so overlooked as one that’s unthinkable.”
“One of the difficult things about making decisions is it reduces opportunity in the short-term, but that’s the only thing that really creates great opportunity in the long-term.”
The most practical skill in life is learning to do things when you don’t feel like doing them. Anyone can do it when it’s easy, but most people drop out the minute easy stops.