“The knowledge I have is not my own. I just know the way to the well.” –@KapilGuptaMD
All our stories and ideas are connected. Nothing is original.
There are different paths to the well. Some trails are well trodden and wide open, some are narrow, hidden and hardly used. The source of the knowledge is the same, we all just get there on a different track.
We end up saying the same thing in a different way.
If you start to think that you are the smartest person in the room, then it’s time to move on and try new things. You are either surrounded by sycophants, or you’ve stopped learning altogether.
You are only as smart as the people you talk to. Work with people where you sometimes have to resist the urge to pick up a pen and start transcribing what they are saying because it’s so thought-provoking. Work with people who question you and push you to go beyond a simple yes or a no. Work with people who challenge your assumptions and sometimes make your brain ache. That’s learning.
Getting rid of the sycophants is a little harder because you’ll first have to deflate your ego and face up to who you are.
People say they want to change things, but what they mean is that they want things to change.
If you want to learn something new, then start.
Want to learn to surf? Drive to the beach, borrow a wetsuit and a surfboard, and get wet. On some days you’ll get out of the water, and your hands will be so cold that you won’t be able to unzip your suit or hold your keys. Everyone sitting on their boards just beyond the shore break did the same thing at some point. You won’t learn by watching Instagram videos of big wave surfing. The answer is in the water.
Want to learn to write? Start writing, publish something every day. Get used to feedback, good and bad. The stuff will only start to resonate when you turn up in your writing. People can spot authenticity a mile away, and they’ll connect with you through your book.
Don’t take the act of starting something for granted. Most people give up before they even begin. If you’ve started and come back the next day, then you are in the one percent already.
If you want to change something, then you’ve got to change yourself.
Look for the best in people and assume they will do the right thing. I believe that people aren’t out to screw me over every time I leave the house. Living in fear and expecting the worst from the human race takes a lot of energy and will probably kill me before anything else does.
I’m not saying don’t be cynical. A healthy dose of cynicism and cunning is a necessary ingredient in this world. Just don’t be a slave to it.
Put your trust in God but keep your powder dry.
Sometimes the best way to start writing the next chapter of a book is to sit down and write. That sounds obvious, but it’s scarier to do when nothing is waiting to pour out on the page. Sitting down, creating space and time is sometimes the only activation energy required to break through the writer’s block.
It’s the same with exercise or getting some long overdue work project completed. Upfront activation energy is sometimes all you need to break through. A run around the block turns into a couple of blocks. Composing a response to one email you’ve been ignoring frees up energy for other things that need your attention.
Put on your oxygen mask before helping others. An essential air safety trip and a useful metaphor for everyday life.
In other words look after yourself first. If you are taking care of yourself, spiritually, mentally and physically, then you will be much better placed to listen and assist others.
Work hard every day. Turn up and go deep on stuff, but don’t ignore what brings you joy and what you are proficient in. Listen for feedback. Do people want to work with you again, is it satisfying, is it valued, are you proud of the product?
Double down where your proficiency and joy intersect. There’s no point working away at something in a mediocre way that makes you miserable.
Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang there except those who sang best – Henry Van Dyke
The most important two steps to a successful career is to make sure you choose the right parents and country of birth!
I love working with people who acknowledge timing and luck as part of their story. They are the first people to pull others up and take a chance on someone who doesn’t have the pedigree or connections.
Vampires suck on you constantly. The more distracted you are the better it is for them.
It’s the monthly subscription you pay for but never use, the unread book that sits on your bedside table, and people with their own agendas requesting time and attention. These things drain you over time and suck up your energy. The constant pull builds up resentment in you and the result is anger and frustration.
It’s hard to say no to people when you don’t have a yes to something else. Free up space to spend time on your own goals and dreams. Once you’ve simplified and clarified “your way” then it’s easier to see the vampires because the clutter is removed.
Taking time out, sitting still and breathing is like garlic and silver bullets. Do it every day.
Humility is the key to new ideas. Smart humble people change their minds all the time. Being smart is not enough if pride is a blocker.