Work with clever people who are kind. Look for them, stay close to them, and learn from them.
Be weary of clever people who are unkind. Keep your distance and handle with caution.
Clever and kind people nurture and grow powerful communities of trusted friends who in turn connect and amplify those connections. Be part of that community. It’s powered by kindness and it’s evergreen.
Twitter is an endless source of inspiration and guidance for creators and artists. Here’s a pearl of wisdom from Brian Koppelman on writing:
Change the question from ‘what can I get?’ to ‘what can I offer?’ Do it every morning you wake up and try to start every interaction in this frame of mind.
When I go for a hike in new territory I take a map or consult a guide. When I’m driving to a new location I pull out my phone and turn on navigation. It makes no sense to get in the car and start driving before I have directions.
When it comes to a spiritual journey most people do the opposite. Maybe they read a book, watch a film or speak to someone who inspires them. They make a decision to investigate and explore which is awesome, but they forget to pick a guide.
If you’ve woken up and are searching for answers, the first step is realizing that having a guide will keep you on track when you lose your way. This path has already been trodden by poets and mystics – take someone’s hand and follow. If you reach out, someone will hold your hand.
During my school years I played in a tennis league on Saturday afternoons. I remember being paired up against a 60 year old opponent. As a 15 year old with youth, energy and infinite wisdom on my side I thought this would be an easy match. The game plan was simple…out power and run him ragged. An easy match…and I’d be walking home in no time.
From the very first game things didn’t go according to plan. The old fox was all about small chop shots to my backhand and drop shots that died on impact. He hardly moved around the court and every time I increased the power he responded with a sliced lob that took the power out of the rally.
Frustrated and four games down in the first set I needed a change in strategy. I made the decision to beat him at his own game. My game changed from hard serve and top spin forehands to unfamiliar sliced back hands and top spin lobs. The whole game slowed down and I ended up getting thrashed love and love.
My mistake was changing my game to match my opponent’s strengths. In hindsight I should have raised my own game and gone back to core principles that worked for me. The old fox was playing to his survival strengths of low tempo, precision shots and unforced errors…not the best style for a 15 year old opponent.
Next time you are confronted with an opponent or competitor in your space, try raising your game first. Resist the urge to morph into and replicate what is beating you. Work harder and focus on your strengths.