Some “life” insights collected over the years. Ideas that have resonated with me.

  • Engaging collectively in negative talk about others is a cheap form of intimacy. We might do it socially with gossip or as a family. It is an attempt at closeness, in the absence of knowing how to be close. Don’t do it. Real intimacy builds, draws closer, and/or creates special moments and memories. Negative talk about others does none of that.

    • It is sad if the way to show connection, love, and intimacy is through put-downs and disparaging remarks of other people.
  • Three stages of thinking:

    1. Too simplistic (It is easy)
    2. Too complicated (It is hard)
    3. Simple (It is simple, but not easy)

    We tend to avoid the hard work needed to make it simple. See also Simple vs easy

  • [..] attention can occasionally distort our knowledge of things. We’re all familiar with the experience of overthinking something. If you’ve ever been engaged in a long and complicated project, you’ll know what it’s like to spend all of your attention on one thing, and be left with a vague feeling that you now understand it much less than when you started.

  • One way to spot a poor thinker is to see how many of their decisions boomerang back to them. If poor thinkers make poor decisions it stands to reason those decisions will eventually create more problems. More problems consume more time, leaving them even less time to think about new problems. The time used to correct poor thinking comes from the time that could be used for good thinking. Good thinkers understand a simple truth: you can’t make good decisions without good thinking and good thinking requires time. Good thinking is expensive but poor thinking costs a fortune.

  • “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why ships are built.” “But that’s exactly why harbors are built.”

  • No extent of artistry can solve a problem you’re unwilling to admit.

  • Choose the beliefs that help you live a meaningful, ethical life. Don’t get too caught up on what’s real or true, you’ll never know for certain anyway. Why worry about being wrong, when you can be happy? Why worry about being right, if it prevents doing what you love?

  • Systems are far more important than goals. Systems differentiate the winners and losers, not goals. Both winners and losers have the same goals. The person winning Olympic gold and the person coming last have the same goal of winning an Olympic medal. With the right systems, the goals will come. - James Clear, Atomic Habits

  • Burning out isn’t just about work load, it’s about work load being greater than the motivation to do work.

  • Focus on the controllable inputs (for your career or business)

    • e.g. Amazon focused on price, selection, and convenience (rather than sales and profits)
    • For career, focus on doing high impact work (not busy work, clearing inbox etc.). Then titles and salary will follow
      • Think about what actually makes a difference and find time to do those things
    • Control your network: How many people you know and how you relate to them, what value you provide to the people in your network before you need them.
      • People struggle to make this investment, because on any given day there is no apparent cost to skipping networking.
    • Ongoing learning, staying current, learning new skills
    • Quality of your work
  • “If you go shopping, and take a tube of toothpaste from a shelf then you all think, when you go to the checkout, that you are paying for this toothpaste. That is an error. Because the tube of toothpaste that you are taking from the shelf is already paid for, else it couldn’t be on the shelf. What you are paying at the checkout, is that you are enabling the creation of another tube of toothpaste. That’s how you have to see it. Payment is never backwards-oriented. Payment is always forward-oriented. Payment doesn’t balance out, but when you are buying something, you are ordering its continued production and sale.” –Götz Werner #insightful#

    •’s easier to recognize the importance of Universal/Unconditional Basic Income as enabling work instead of rewarding work.
    • “.. income isn’t the payment for the work, but the prerequisite. That is our mistake in thinking. Our error in reasoning is, that we think, through the work, the income is generated. The reverse is true. Because we have the income, we can work.”
    • The basic income is saying: “we grant to you, that you can live humbly but with dignity, and now you can show what you can do”.
    • income is not the fruit born from the seed of work, but instead work is the fruit born of the seed of income.
    • Not understanding this is one of the primary reasons people assume that once provided basic income, people will choose to work less, because they see income as a reward for prior work. But when you recognize that income is the fuel that makes work possible, it’s easier to see that basic income will enable far more work for multiple reasons.
    • That tube of toothpaste already exists when you buy it. Your purchase of it does not in any way impact the fact it was created. All your purchase does is function to signal that you want more of that toothpaste made. All that money does is provide you the permission to take that toothpaste home with you and vote for more.
  • Everybody has heard the cliché, “you are who you surround yourself with” …be the person someone wants to be around in order for them to be their best self. Elevate the average of everyone around you, which in turn, will elevate you.

  • Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. - James Clear, Atomic Habits

  • A smart person is able to talk about a complicated thing in a way that makes you feel like a genius, rather than making you feel dumb.

  • Finding your own meaning involves both a high degree of exploration and a low degree of certainty. When you find it, you’ll know because you will feel a low degree of exploration and a high degree of certainty. Exploring what you need is a process of making hypotheses, trying them out, and evaluating their effects on yourself. Do they make you feel satisfied with your life, or do they leave you wanting more? If they leave you wanting more, keep exploring.

  • There is a difference between Hard Work and Difficult Problems. Something is hard work if you hawe to put a lot of time and effort into it. Something is a Difficult Problem if you have to put a lot of skill or thinking into it.

  • When feeling stressed/emotional ask, “Would it be okay if we just made space for [the emotion you are judging or fighting at the moment] to be here right now?” The self-compassion and peace that comes from dropping the fight gives so much goodness.

  • Spend the best hours of your day on the biggest opportunity, not the biggest problem.

  • Things that aren’t your fault can still be your responsibility.

  • To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “Everything in my life is completely fine.”. Notice what objections arise.

  • Personal epiphanies feel great, but they fade within weeks. Upon having an epiphany, make a plan and start actually changing behavior.

  • Some types of sophistication won’t make you enjoy the object more, they’ll make you enjoy it less. For example, wine snobs don’t enjoy wine twice as much as you, they’re more keenly aware of how most wine isn’t good enough. Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment.

  • Production usually comes before perfection. 80% of success is just showing up as Woody Allen says. So, often, it makes sense to just get things started.

  • How you spend every day is how you spend your life.

  • Follow your passion is easily said but often hard to follow. A useful alternative when deciding what to lean into: finding what gives you energy. What is easy for you, but hard for everyone else? That’s your unfair advantage.