I’ve been collecting wisdom using digital notes since 2015. I’ve dumped them all here for the public good. Most have no citations as I cut and pasted while on the go. (Updated 3 June 2024.)

Self-Awareness

Remember Rule Number 6!
(Don’t take yourself so goddamned seriously.)

– Benjamin Zander

What you pay attention to – expands.

-Brandon Stanton

Most people don’t lead their own lives—they accept their lives.

– John Kotter

The greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing.

– Dick Biggs

Don’t get caught up in what you have to do, but get caught up in what you want to do.

– Clement Chow

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.

– Lao Tzu

I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

-Frederick Franck

If you absolutely can’t tolerate critics, then don’t do anything new or interesting.

– Jeff Bezos

Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.

– George Orwell

Risk is about being beholden to someone or something.

– Chris Davis. (Eg. being completely beholden to one job or employer is high risk)

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

– Mark Twain

It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.

– Clayton Christensen

Clarity isn’t about knowing what you want to do with your life, it’s about knowing what you want to do this week.

You don’t need to have it all figured out. You just need to know your next step.

– James Clear

Look, the fire’s coming. Are you ready for the fire? We’re firemen. Okay. We are firemen! The heat doesn’t bother us. We live in the heat. We train in the heat! It tells us that we’re ready. We’re at home. We’re where we’re supposed to be. Flames don’t intimidate us. What do we do? We control the flames. That’s right. We control them! We move the flames where we want to. Let’s go, let’s go!

– Teddy Atlas, boxing coach to Tim Bradley. YouTube video at time 28:41min

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

– George Bernard Shaw

Who can say if the thoughts you have in your mind as you read these words are the same thoughts I had in my mind as I typed them? We are different, you and I, and the qualia of our consciousnesses are as divergent as two stars at the ends of the universe.

And yet, whatever has been lost in translation in the long journey of my thoughts through the maze of civilization to your mind, I think you do understand me, and you think you do understand me.

Our minds managed to touch, if but briefly and imperfectly.

Does the thought not make the universe seem just a bit kinder, a bit brighter, a bit warmer and more human? We live for such miracles.”​

– Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie

Clear Writing

No Dumping

-Roy Peter Clarke

Whoever tells the best story wins.

– John Quincy Adams?

If you can’t read and write, you can’t think. Your thoughts are dispersed if you don’t know how to read and write. You’ve got to be able to look at your thoughts on paper and discover what a fool you were.

– Ray Bradbury

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.

– Stephen King, sharing what his editor John Gould told him.

A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

– Jorge Luis Borges

What? So What? Now What?

– Matt Abrahams on how to communicate clearly and precisely to audiences.

You never get in trouble for what you don’t say.

– Dick Cheney’s favorite rule, attributed to Sam Rayburn

I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT? ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.

IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT. IF YOU’VE GOT ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME UP.

– John Mamet, in his memo to the writers of “The Unit” TV series.

Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.

A statement endowed with these five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people.

– Aṅguttara Nikāya, Book of the Fives, 5.198

I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything unless I know the other side’s argument better than they do.

– Charlie Munger

Memory is the residue of thought. (In other words, we remember what we spend a little time thinking about. Prediction provides an excellent spur for thought).

– Daniel Willingham

Remember that two elements divide the world, inviting you to compare and contrast them. Three elements encompass the world, offering a sense of the whole.

– Roy Peter Clarke

True words are not fine; fine words are not true

– Lao Tzu

I just look at some things and go, “Why is that? Why does it work that way?” Oftentimes, the people most entrenched in a system have no idea why.

– Nick Kokonas

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

– James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.

– Richard Feynman

Your network wants to come on your journey, not listen to your wisdom: The natural tendency of most accomplished professionals is to share their lessons, but few of us enjoy listening to smart people sharing wisdom from the mountaintop.

It’s far better to share bits and pieces of your journey, including stumbles and falls as well as victories.

– Bruce Kasanoff

Writing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth living.

The faster the word sticks to the thought, the more beautiful is the effect. (ie. write it down asap, get it done asap). Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction.

No, read in order to live.

– Gustave Flaubert

The adverb is not your friend.

Adverbs … are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind. … With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.

Consider the sentence: He closed the door firmly.

It’s by no means a terrible sentence (at least it’s got an active verb going for it), but ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you’ll get no argument from me … but what about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before He closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?

Someone out there is now accusing me of being tiresome and anal-retentive. I deny it. I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day . . . fifty the day after that . . . and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.

‘Put it down!’ she shouted.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said.


In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:

‘Put it down! she shouted menacingly.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded abjectly, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said contemptuously.


The three latter sentences are all weaker than the three former ones, and most readers will see why immediately.

– Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)

Contentment

Health lies in action, and so it graces youth. To be busy is the secret of grace, and half the secret of content. Let us ask the gods not for possessions, but for things to do; happiness is in making things rather than in consuming them

– Will Durant

If we can forgive what’s been done to us… If we can forgive what we’ve done to others… If we can leave our stories behind. Our being victims and villains. Only then can we maybe rescue the world.

– Chuck Palahniuk

A person cannot live a full life under the shadow of bitterness.

– Ben Zander.

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

– Ben Zander’s dad.

No one in the world leads a smooth life.
– JD Rockefeller

A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.
– Winston Churchill

Quiet.
Focus on the now.
Find beauty in simplicity.
Harmony.

– 4 Japanese principles in making tea.

This is a way of life for a man of virtue: to cultivate his character by keeping a peaceful mind, and nourish his morality by a frugal living.

Only freedom from vanity can show one’s lofty goal of life; and only peace of mind can help him to achieve something really lasting.

To be talented, one must learn; and to learn, one must have a peaceful mind. One cannot develop his talent without learning, and one cannot accomplish his learning without peace of mind.

Frivolity will prevent one from going deep into learning, and impetuousness will prevent one from moulding a noble character. One’s age will flee with the time, and one’s ambition will wane with each passing day.

If he does not exert himself in time, his mind would wither away like flowers and he would become a good-for-nothing in the world. And in the end, he could only perch in his humbling dwelling, lamenting for his lost prime that will never come back to him again.

诫子书(诸葛亮): 夫君子之行,静以修身,俭以养德。非淡泊无以明志,非宁静无以致远。夫学须静也,才须学也。非学无以广才,非志无以成学。淫慢则不能励精,险躁则不能治性。年与时驰,意与岁去,遂成枯落,多不接世。悲守穷庐,将复何及

-Zhuge Liang, An Admonition to My Son

Success

Replace “Why is this happening to me?” with “What is this trying to teach me?”

– Nate Kawasaki

Life is struggle

– Karl Marx.

You can’t TRY to do things. You must simply DO them.

– Ray Bradbury

Success is peace of mind, which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.

– John Wooden, from the book Today Matters by John Maxwell.

The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.

– John Foster Dulles, Former US Secretary of State

One today is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be, I am now becoming.

– Benjamin Franklin

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

– Mark Twain

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.

– Mark Twain

The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.

– Amos Tversky

Make each day your masterpiece.

– John Wooden

Some of you guys will come out here and you won’t be serious. You’ll get here and start shooting the shit, talking shit, bullshitting, not doing shit and just want to look good in your football shit. Turn your shit in.

– Coach Mendoza

If you’re going to eat shit, don’t nibble. We might as well take all the pain now.

– Unknown

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.

– Steve Jobs

In order to get the results we desire, we must do two things. We must first create the space to reason in our thoughts, feelings, and actions; and second, we must deliberately use that space to think clearly.

Once you have mastered this skill, you will find you have an unstoppable advantage. Decisions made through clear thinking will put you in increasingly better positons, and success will only compound from there.

– Shane Parrish, Clear Thinking

“Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”

– Henk Kraaijenhof, coach of Merlene Joyce “Queen of the Track” Ottey, who won 23 combined medals at the Olympic games and world championships.

Reframe things – when you feel discomfort, reframe it as growth.

– Angela Duckworth

Good iron does not fear being struck 好铁不怕锤敲

– I found this online somewhere.

Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask. After all, conscious thinking is largely asking and answering questions in your own head. If you want confusion and heartache, ask vague questions. If you want uncommon clarity and results, ask uncommonly clear questions.

– Tim Ferriss

Talk does not cook rice.

– Chinese proverb

Closed mouths do not get fed.

– Chinese proverb

Remarkable People have GRIT, GRACE, and GROWTH.

– Guy Kawasaki

Get the main trend right. Study the trends. Simplify your formula. Be flexible like music.

– Chris Davis?

“Anybody who has gotten braces or who has lifted weights understands this concept,” he says. “If the amount of money you’re saving each month doesn’t hurt a little, you’re not saving enough.”

– Dogen?

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.

– Gustave Flaubert

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments.

– Gustave Flaubert

Don’t let planning get in the way of doing, in business and in life. Predicting the future’s impossible. Enhance your skills, put in the time, and make tactical plans for the next few steps. Then, based on what happens, look one more move ahead and adjust the plans.

– Michael Bloomberg

Until you make the effort to get to get to know someone or something, you don’t know anything. There are no shortcuts to knowledge, especially knowledge gained from personal experience. Following conventional wisdom and relying on shortcuts can be worse than knowing nothing at all.

– Ben Horowitz, The Hard Things About Hard Things

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge

Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it.

Just because something has been a lot of work or consumed a lot of time doesn’t make it productive or worthwhile. Just because you are embarrassed to admit that you’re still living the consequences of bad decisions made 5, 10, or 20 years ago shouldn’t stop you from making good decisions now.

– Tim Ferris

And to make a long story short, after lots of statistical tests, there’s only one explanation for that, that really, the way we scientists work is that every single paper we write, every project we do, has exactly the same chance of being our personal best.

That is, discovery is like a lottery ticket. And the more lottery tickets we buy, the higher our chances. And it happens to be so that most scientists buy most of their lottery tickets in the first 10, 15 years of their career, and after that, their productivity decreases. They’re not buying any more lottery tickets. So it looks as if they would not be creative.

In reality, they stopped trying. So when we actually put the data together, the conclusion is very simple: success can come at any time. It could be your very first or very last paper of your career. It’s totally random in the space of the projects. It is the productivity that changes.

– Albert-László Barabási

There are two types of mistakes: mistakes of ambition and mistakes of sloth.

The first is the result of a decision to act—to do something. This type of mistake is made with incomplete information, as it’s impossible to have all the facts beforehand. This is to be encouraged. Fortune favors the bold.

The second is the result of a decision of sloth—to not do something—wherein we refuse to change a bad situation out of fear despite having all the facts.

This is how learning experiences become terminal punishments, bad relationships become bad marriages, and poor job choices become lifelong prison sentences.

– Tim Ferriss

Vocational skills can be taught: You’re not born knowing engineering or copywriting or even graphic design, therefore they must be something we can teach.

But we let ourselves off the hook when it comes to decision-making, eager participation, dancing with fear, speaking with authority, working in teams, seeing the truth, speaking the truth, inspiring others, doing more than we’re asked, caring and being willing to change things.

We underinvest in this training, fearful that these things are innate and can’t be taught. Perhaps they’re talents. And so we downplay them, calling them soft skills, making it easy for us to move on to something seemingly more urgent.

– Seth Godin

A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”

– Newt Gingrich, as quoted by James Carville and Paul Begala, Buck Up, Suck Up… and Come Back When You Foul Up: 12 Winning Secrets from the War Room. Newt uses a brilliant illustration to explain the need to focus on the big things and let the little stuff slide: the analogy of the field mice and the antelope.

Creativity

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.

– Howard Aiken

Over the years, we’ve noticed from teams we’ve worked with that when people are insecure, they’re not at their best. If they don’t feel like they have the respect of their peers or their boss, they try to boost themselves through self-promotion. Instead of focusing on their work and feeling good about what they produce, they get sidetracked worrying about what other people think.

Teachers, parents, business leaders, and role models of all kinds have the power either to support or suppress creative confidence in those around them. At the right age, a single cutting remark is sometimes enough to bring our creative pursuits to a standstill.

– Tom and David Kelley, IDEO

How does Rick Rubin help artists who feel stuck?

“Usually, I’ll give them homework—a small, doable task. I’ll give you an example. There was an artist I was working with recently who hadn’t made an album in a long time, and he was struggling with finishing anything. He just had this version of a writer’s block. But I would give him very doable homework assignments that almost seemed like a joke. ‘Tonight, I want you to write one word in this song that needs five lines, that you can’t finish. I just want one word that you like by tomorrow. Do you think that you could come up with one word?’”

– Tim Ferriss

Education

The core aim of teaching “is to get students to learn the skills of teaching themselves – to self-regulate their learning”.

– John Hattie

You cannot teach if you give everyone a B, C, D grade when you get disheartened by them. You cannot expect people to learn if they are bored or uninterested. It’s your job to excite and make them joyful about learning.

That comes with creating curiosity and wonder. Students must be in wonder.

– Benjamin Zander

“The hardest thing to teach a student—and the hardest thing to believe consistently—is that there is nothing ‘out there’ to go and get.

There is no part, no career, no opportunity for which you should be searching and scrounging and coveting. All of the preparation is within, and you keep yourself mentally and physically fit; you remain generous with yourself and others; you stay deeply in study about your craft.
Whatever is yours will then arrive.”​

– Marian Seldes

Summarized Wisdom

Slow Productivity by Cal Newport

1. DO FEWER THINGS

Strive to reduce your obligatons to the point where you can easily imagine accomplishing them with time to spare. Leverage this reduced load to more fully embrace and advance the small number of projects that matter most.

2. WORK AT A NATURAL PACE

Don’t rush your most important work. Allow it instead to unfold along a sustainable timeline, with variations in intensity, in settings conducive to brilliance.

3. OBSESS OVER QUALITY

Obsess over the quality of what you produce, even if this means missing opportunities in the short term. Leverage the value of these results to gain more freedom in your efforts over the long term.

3 Things Resilient People Do – Lucy Hone

Resilient people get that shit happens. They know that suffering is part of life. The real tragedy is that not enough of us seem to know this any longer. We seem to live in an age where we’re entitled to a perfect life.

Resilient people are really good at choosing carefully where they select their attention. They have a habit of realistically appraising situations, and typically, managing to focus on the things that they can change, and somehow accept the things that they can’t.

Resilient people ask themselves, “Is what I’m doing helping or harming me?” Asking yourself whether what you’re doing, the way you’re thinking, the way you’re acting is helping or harming you, puts you back in the driver’s seat. It gives you some control over your decision-making.

7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
3. Encourages active learning
4. Gives prompt feedback
5. Emphasizes time on task
6. Communicates high expectations
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

德心 – A Virtuous Heart

(Found on a A4 printout at a Toa Payoh hawker centre)

做人要孝心 (Be filial)
對人要愛心 (Be loving)
説話要細心 (Speak thoughtfully)
做事要專心 (Work with focus)
修學要恆心 (Study with perseverance)
幫人要敬心 (Help others respectfully)
逆境要耐心 (Endure adversity with patience)
煩惱要靜心 (Stay calm when frustrated)
時時要觀心 (Reflect constantly)
日日要覺心 (Stay mindful daily)
改過要耻心 (Repent sincerely)
一念要誠信 (Have honest thoughts)
福慧要修心 (Cultivate wisdom)
行善要慈心 (Be kind when doing good deeds)
時事要一心 (Do everything mindfully)

Everything I needed to know I learnt from kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  • Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
  • Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
  • Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.
  • Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
  • And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.⁣

⁣2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.⁣

⁣3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.⁣

⁣4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.⁣

⁣5. Start as close to the end as possible.⁣

⁣6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.⁣

⁣7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.⁣

⁣8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.⁣

The Habits Manifesto

by Gretchen Rubin

  • What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.
  • Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong.
  • Focus on actions, not outcomes.
  • By giving something up, we may gain.
  • Things often get harder before they get easier.
  • When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.
  • We’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.
  • It’s easier to change our surroundings than ourselves.
  • We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.
  • We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.
  • We manage what we monitor.
  • Once we’re ready to begin, begin now.

Life Advice from Bjarne Stroustrup

“Yeah it’s hard to give advice. At least as hard as to take advice. Don’t over specialize, don’t be too sure that you know the future. Be flexible and remember that careers and jobs are a long-term thing.

Too many young people think they can optimize something and then they find they’ve spent a couple of years or more specializing in something that may not have been the right thing and in the process they burn out because they haven’t spent enough time building up friendships and having a life outside computing.

I meet a lot of sort of “junior geeks” that just think that the only thing that matters is the specialty of computing programming or AI or graphics or something like that and well it isn’t and the rug might be pulled under them but for that. And if they do nothing else, well if you don’t communicate your ideas you can just as well do Sudoku.

You have to communicate and a lot of sort of caricature nerds forget that. They think that if they can just write the best code they can change the world but you have to be able to listen, you have to be able to communicate with your would-be users, and learn from them, and you have to be able to communicate your ideas to them.

So you can’t just do code you have to do something about culture and how to express ideas and I mean I never regretted the time I spent on history and on math.

Math sharpens your mind, history gives you some idea of your limitations, on what’s going on in the world, and so don’t be too sure. Take time to have a balanced life and be ready for the opportunity. I mean a broad-based education of odd-based skill set, which is what you build up when you educate, you’re patiently building a portfolio of skills, means that you can take advantage of an opportunity when it comes along.

You can recognize it sometimes, we have lots of opportunities but a lot of them we either can’t take advantage of or we don’t notice.

It was my fairly broad education, I’ve done standard computer science and compilers, I’ve done multiple languages, I think I knew two dozen at the time, and I have done machine architecture, I’ve done operating systems, and that skill set turned out to be useful.”

John C. Maxwell

From The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication:

The Law of Credibility…Your most effective message is the one you live.

  • Be transparent
  • Be consistent
  • Be a good example
  • Be competent
  • Be trustworthy

People listen to you because:

  • Requirement level: People have to listen
  • Relationship level: People want to listen because they like you – relationships
  • Remarkable level: People like to listen because you’re good – skill
  • Reason level: people seek to listen because you add value to their lives – giving
  • Return level: People are eager to listen because of who you are. (moral authority)

Never stop working on your skills, and improving yourself on the inside. Good communicators know themselves, connect with themselves, and accept themselves. Connect your thoughts (content), feelings (your delivery), actions (your credibility). Keep all three in alignment.

You are the message you speak. The most effective message is the one you live.

Today Matters

  • Attitudes – Choose and display the right attitudes
  • Priorities – Determine and act on the right priorities
  • Healthy guidelines – know and follow
  • Family – Communicate and care
  • Good thinking – Practice and develop
  • Commitments – make and keep
  • Finances – Earn and manage
  • Faith – deepen and live out
  • Solid relationships – initiate and invest
  • Generosity – Plan for and model it
  • Values – Embrace and practice
  • Improvements – seek and experience

Nike – Principles

  1. Our business is change
  2. We’re on offence. All the time.
  3. Perfect results counts — not a perfect process. Break the rules; fight the law
  4. This is as much about battle as about business.
  5. Assume nothing. Make sure people keep their promises. Push yourselves push others. Stretch the possible.
  6. Live off the land.
  7. Your job isn’t done until the job is done.
  8. Dangers – Bureaucracy, Personal Ambition, Energy takers vs Energy givers, Knowing our weaknesses. Don’t get too many things on the platter.
  9. It won’t be pretty.
  10. If we do the right things we’ll make money damned near automatic.

Anne Morriss – 5 steps to fix any problem at work (TED)

MONDAY: Identify your real problem

Turn your problem statement into a question. Talk directly to the other people who have a stake, and have courageous conversations.

TUESDAY: Solve for trust

What can you do tomorrow to build more trust than you did today? Create a “good enough” plan to get started.

WEDNESDAY: Make new friends

Describe your “good enough” plan to people who are different from you to help shape your plan into an even better one.

THURSDAY: Tell a good story

We need stories to catalyze action and make sense of change. Communicate your plan, sharing why you want to change things and mapping out the future in vivid, specific language.

FRIDAY: Go as fast as you can

Enact your plan with a sense of urgency, making it clear you take the problem seriously. Don’t tolerate bureaucratic hurdles. You can move fast when you’re less likely to break things.

Deep Work – Cal Newport

Rule 1 – Work Deeply

  • Where you’ll work and for how long
  • How you’ll work once you start to work
  • How you’ll support your work
  • Make grand gestures
  • Don’t work alone
  • Execute like a business

The 4 Disciplines of Execution

  • Focus on the wildly important
  • Act on the Lead Measures (not the lag measures)
  • Keep a compelling scoreboard
  • Create a cadence of accountability

Be Lazy

  • Downtime aids insights
  • Downtime recharges the energy needed to work deeply
  • The work that evening downtime replaces is usually not that important. Shutdown ritual

Rule 2 – Embrace Boredom

Once your brain has become accustomed to on-demand distraction, it’s hard to shake the distraction even when you want to concentrate. Don’t look at phone even when waiting.

Don’t take breaks from distraction, take breaks from focus.

  •  Be wary of distractions and looping
  •  Structure your deep thinking – memorize a deck of cards

Rule 3 – Quit Social Media

Don’t use the Internet to entertain yourself

Rule 4 – Drain the shallows

  • Schedule every minute of your day
  • Quantify the depth of every activity
  • Finish your work by 530pm
  • Become hard to reach
  • Don’t respond
  • Make the people who send you email do more work.
  • Do More Work when you send or reply to emails

Shallow work – Noncognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted. These efforts tend not to create much new value in the world and are easy to replicate.