Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yoda and C.S. Lewis on fear

"Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering." - Yoda.
"[H]atred is best combined with Fear.  Cowardice alone of all the vices, is purely painful - horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures.  It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear.  The more he fears, the more he will hate." C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters (emphasis in original).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why we should read: reason number 1,527,342

"The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity." - Thomas Carlyle
Many people think that only "serious" and "difficult" books can and should have a life-altering impact.  No.  Explore topics that you are curious about, and read the books that you want to read.  Read anything.  Read a "cheesy" self-help book if that is what you want to read.  And read another self-help book if you want more cheesy advice.  Just read.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Start with what you have

"The Young Man's Best Companion, The Farrier's Sure Guide, The Veterinary Surgeon, Paradise Lost, The Pilgrim's Progress, Robinson Crusoe, Ash's Dictionary, and Walkingame's Arithmetic, constituted his library; and though a limited series, it was one form which he had acquired more sound information by diligent perusal than many a man of opportunities has done from yards of laden shelves."
 From Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Adam Smith on where you are more likely to enjoy your meals more and sleep better

"[Why do people] imagine that their stomach is better, or their sleep sounder, in a palace than in a cottage?  The contrary has been so often observed, and indeed, is so very obvious, though it had never been observed, that there is nobody ignorant of it." - Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One way to approach work

"[I]f we go down the list of behaviors that are highly valued because of their scarcity, almost all of them are related to bringing a conscious and generous mind to the work, instead of indulging our lizard brain's reflexes of fear, revenge, and conquest."
"Art is anything that's creative, passionate, and personal."
"Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another."
"Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient."
From Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Looking for that "big" idea?

Instead, think in terms of practicality and usefulness:
"A marketable idea doesn't have to be a big, groundbreaking idea; it just has to provide a solution to a problem or be useful enough that other people are willing to pay for it.  Don't think innovation; think usefulness."  
That's from The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.

I think we throw away our ideas because we feel they are not "big" enough and simply don't have the wow factor that we think good ideas should have.  But it's getting started, actually doing something about even a simple idea that is difficult and the step that almost all of us don't take.  The idea you have is probably not original and many others have likely come up with the same thought, but acting on your idea will make you a rarity.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

If you are afraid of something . . .

Consider what Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
"Always do what you are afraid to do."
Also consider Seth Godin in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? -
"When you feel the resistance, the stall, the fear, and the pull, you know you're on to something.  Whichever way the wind of resistance is coming from, that's the way to head - directly into the resistance."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's how you play the game

We will never be completely free from fear.  Consider Michael Lewis in Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life
"He was teaching us something far more important: how to cope with the two greatest enemies of a well-lived life, fear and failure.  To make the lesson stick, he made sure we encountered enough of both.  What he knew [. . .] was that we'd never conquer the weaknesses within ourselves.  We'd never drive the worst of ourselves away for good.  We'd never win.  The only glory to be had would be in the quality of the struggle."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Adam Smith on why we pursue fame despite its high costs

"It is [the public's attention and approval], which, notwithstanding the restraint it imposes, notwithstanding the loss of liberty with which it is attended, renders greatness the object of envy, and compensates, in the opinion mankind, all that toil, all that anxiety, all those mortifications which must be undergone in the pursuit of it; and what is of yet more consequence, all that leisure, all that ease, all that careless security, which are forfeited for[ever] by the acquisition [of fame and success]."
From The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Could helping others be just an excuse for not going for it?

"How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!" - Eric Hoffer in Reflections on the Human Condition
It's not that helping others isn't important or worthwhile or even all important depending on the situation.  It could be that self-sacrifice is just easier than going out on your own, facing failure everyday, and pursuing your goals.