Success and Failure as teachers

The downside of success is hubris. Hubris tricks intelligent people into thinking there’s no downside or chance of losing and that luck didn’t play a big role in their win.

The downside of failure, other than failing, is that it tricks smart and persistent people into thinking they made dumb decisions and don’t factor in bad luck and shitty timing.

Annie Duke’s book called Thinking in Bets is the best book about how to learn from success and failure.

Be kinder

I remember acts of kindness. I remember the moment, the person, and the way I felt.

Whether it was someone checking in on me when things were touch and go or a small gesture that unlocked doors in my life, the moments imprint on me and make me want to be better.

Could you pay it forward and be kinder? 

Photo by Lisa on

Mining for Unobtainium

You learn priceless stuff about yourself and get a unique perspective that only other immigrants and explorers know about when you leave your place of birth and arrive on distant shores with a suitcase, no family, no network, and no context.

Photo by Syed Andrabi on

Boxing Day

Back when I was at an all-boys high school, if a fight broke out at the school and judged a fair fight, the boys would tie on some boxing gloves and settle their beef in the school gym. The gym teacher would referee the fight, and nobody else was allowed into the gymnasium. After a lot of huffing, puffing, and amateur boxing  – the fight was over, and two exhausted boys would stagger out of the double doors, clean up, and got back to class. Shaking hands at the end of part of the ritual. It was time to move. Hopefully closure. 

This might sound barbaric, but it dealt with young boys’ emotions head-on, and it buried the hatchet then and there.

What destroys relationships is not fighting, it’s festering. These days we can’t and won’t get into a boxing ring with each other, but the lesson here is don’t bear a grudge, clear the air and say your piece. Holding onto anger is exhausting!

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Finding a brick and mortar community

Some things look for when deciding where to live:

  1. High walkability scores with food, schools, and friends all within walking distance.
  2. Public transport hubs like trains, ferries, and buses.
  3. Gathering spots like a main street or village square where people congregate, shop, and socialize.
  4. Accessibility to pensioners. Pensioners are tribal leaders and carry the history of the place in their heads. It also means it’s a friendly place to grow old.
  5. Open gardens and no walls. High walls cut people off from their neighbours and build distrust.
  6. Characters makes up the neighbourhood’s character – Urban density like apartments and multi-unity buildings. This signals housing affordability, giving teachers, artists, young families, and students the chance to live where they work.
  7. Local businesses like pharmacies, doctors, and professional services owned by people who live in the community and send their kids to the same school.
  8. Bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly footpaths. Too many housing communities are surrounded by a sea of roads and highways.
  9. Public access areas like parks and green spaces. Getting some fresh air and a walk shouldn’t cost you anything.
  10. Dog friendly.
  11. Renters are welcome. The renter today is the buyer tomorrow.
Photo by Leah Kelley on

The annual question

Each year you should ask yourself these two questions about your job:

Why am I still here?

Would I apply for a job here?

The answers will reveal if you are making fear based decisions. Be honest and don’t bullshit yourself. Make a conscious decision to stay or leave. Maybe you love your gig and it sparks joy. But own it if you are too scared or unable to leave for whatever reason. Make a choice, acknowledge the choice and then get on with it.

Clearing the air

If you want to avoid bad blood in a relationship then always clear the air the next time you see the person. It take guts to put things on the table, but there’s no better antidote after tempers have flared, or a heated debate.

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I believe that animals can sense impending earthquakes and tsunamis. Maybe it’s because they are attuned to different frequencies or changes in air pressure, temperature or sounds.

When I’m swimming in the ocean I can feel when a storm is coming. The currents are different and the swell changes. The water moving around my body is more powerful and sweeping. The fish go deep, and still beneath rocks and kelp.

If you listen carefully, you will see and feel change coming.

Photo by Lachlan Ross on