Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014


"In prosperity, caution; in adversity, patience." - Dutch proverb
"On the whole, it is patience that makes the final difference between those who succeed or fail in all things. All the greatest people have it in an infinite degree, and among the less, the patient weak ones always conquer the impatient strong." - John Ruskin 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

On happiness

"If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are." - Montesquieu 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

When to relax

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it." - Sydney Harris

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Anxiety vs. Happiness

"A superior man is the one who is free from fear and anxieties." - Confucius 
As Adam Smith noted, the pursuit of success involves much anxiety. So then one way to be free from anxiety may be:
"Where ambition ends happiness begins." - Hungarian Proverb
I'm not saying we shouldn't have goals. We should, however, recognize that ambition has costs.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Failure vs. Success

"The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it - so fine that we often are on the line and do not know it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
A lot of ways to think about this statement. Have we already achieved success? Are we very, very close but we don't know it? Perhaps a tweak will push us over the top? Success and failure are simply what we choose to believe?

Consider what Thomas Edison said:
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

Friday, May 2, 2014

Who do we worship? Who do we despise?

"This disposition to admire, and almost worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, neglect persons of poor . . . condition . . . is . . . the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages."
From Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Do you really want that job?

"Since there was a recession at the time, I thought I probably couldn't get a really good job and should try to settle for a lesser position.  I found that even though I interviewed for positions for which I was unusually well qualified, I couldn't seem to get any job.  I finally realized that I couldn't get these jobs because I didn't really want them."
"I discovered that it was easier to get this better position because they could tell I really wanted it.  I learned that if you shoot for what you want, you stand a much better chance of getting it because you care much more."  
Both quotes are from an interview with Michael Marcus, a successful trader who was interviewed in Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager.

Of course many times you can show how much you really want the job and still not get it.  Then there's the advice that says you shouldn't appear too needy because nobody likes desperation.

I think the larger point is that you should pursue what you really want (job, self-employment, project, art, etc.), and work to improve your chances of success if at first you don't succeed.  


Friday, April 25, 2014

"Wasting" time

Consider these two statements:
"Doing nothing is harmless, but being busy doing nothing is not." - Eric Hoffer
"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." - John Lennon.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just start

It's been said many times but it's worth saying again: there will never be the perfect moment to start a challenging task.  We always have things to do, obligations to meet, time to waste, and excuses to point to. So just start whatever it is you're trying to do.  Do one push up.  Write one sentence.  Walk one block. Make one phone call.  Action helps defeat fear and doubt   Or, more eloquently:
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." - William Shakespeare in Measure for Measure.
 "Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius and power and magic in it." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.