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.

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

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."