No. 439 — September 26, 2021
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“You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. There is no ethos, in my opinion, that is better for any lawyer or any other person to have. By and large, the people who have this ethos win in life and they don’t win just money, not just honors. They win the respect, the deserved trust of the people they deal with, and there is huge pleasure in life to be obtained from getting deserved trust..”
“If you watch the finals or … championship in any sport, every team goes through a moment where they want to quit. Every time. That is indescribable. How about not quitting? How about you keep doing your job and matter of fact, let’s do it even better. Let’s turn it up a notch when it gets hard”
Explore Your Curiosity
“There’s a companion quality you’ll need to be the leaders you can be. That’s the willingness to take risks. Not reckless ones, but the risks that still remain after all the evidence has been considered. … Certainty is an illusion. Perfect safety is a mirage. Zero is always unattainable, except in the case of absolute zero where, as you remember, all motion and life itself stop. … the biggest risk of all is that we stop taking risks at all.”
“An initial period of concentration—conscious, directed attention—needs to be followed by some amount of unconscious processing. Mathematicians will often speak of the first phase of this process as “worrying” about a problem or idea. It’s a good word, because it evokes anxiety and upset while also conjuring an image of productivity: a dog worrying a bone, chewing at it to get to the marrow—the rich, meaty part of the problem that will lead to its solution. In this view of creative momentum, the key to solving a problem is to take a break from worrying, to move the problem to the back burner, to let the unwatched pot boil.”
“We have been fighting on this planet for ten thousand years; it would be idiotic and unethical to not take advantage of such accumulated experiences. If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”— General Jim Mattis
“It is inevitable if you enter into relations with people on a regular basis…that you will grow to be like them. Place an extinguished piece of coal next to a live one, and either it will cause the other one to die out, or the live one will make the other reignite. … If you consort with someone covered in dirt you can hardly avoid getting a little grimy yourself.” — Epictetus
We unconsciously become what we are near. If you work for a jerk, sooner or later you will become one yourself. If your colleagues are selfish, sooner or later you become selfish. If you hang around someone who is unkind, you will slowly become unkind.
Few things are more important in life than avoiding the wrong people. It’s tempting to think that we’re strong enough to avoid adopting the worst of others. But that’s not how it typically works. The changes are too gradual to notice until they are too large to address.
Over a long enough timeline, bad people eventually destroy themselves. They ignore relevant data because it doesn’t agree with them, they take unwarranted risks, they end up alone, without any friends. They might achieve external success, but they lack inner calmness and clarity.
Just as you watch what you put into your body or your mind, closely look at who you spend your time with. Are they kind? Are they honest? Are they thoughtful? Are they helping you or pulling you down? Are they reliable? Are they clear thinking? In short, are they the things you want to become? If not, don’t tempt fate, cut bate.
Distance yourself from the people you don’t want to become. Cultivate people in your life that make you better. People whose default behavior is your desired behavior. If circumstances make this difficult, choose among the eminent dead.
“Your first impulse should always be to find the evidence that disconfirms your most cherished beliefs and those of others. That is true science.”
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
I wouldn’t call these laws as much as I’d call them tendencies. We are emotional. We think too highly of ourselves. We have an ego. We don’t see all there is to see. We look for confirming evidence. We have a dark side. The Laws of Human Nature offers a revealing look at human nature and our tendencies. You’ll never look at yourself or others the same.
+ The Housing Theory of Everything.
+ Lem’s 1964 story, published in English for the first time, tells the tale of a scientist in an insane asylum theorizing that the sun is alive.
+ Attention isn’t free.
P.S. Moms always expect the best.