Quotes for "Ikigai"

Sebastian Marshall

  • I like trying to make money for other people. Scratch that, I don't like the trying, I like the doing of it.
  • I quit video games a while back. I try to build things now, that's my video game.
  • You know what's strange? 80% of the people I draw up plans for–plans that would clearly work–don't act on them. It's like everyone fantasizes about … whatever … but once their fantasies start to become reality, they piss their pants and self-sabotage.
  • I suppose everyone's unique, but y'know what? I think most people aren't that unique. They have perhaps a unique mix of interests, but none of their interests are so crazy.
  • It sure is nice out here. The people here broadly understand each other. If you start trying to be really enterprising and expansive, very quickly no one understands you.
  • For instance, make an amazing brochure with what you know in week 4, and then in week 5 print it on super high quality glossy paper at $30 per brochure. (High quality paper is a super hack to come across as ultra-professional.)
  • He said, "Sebastian, you're crazy but your logic works, the math works." Yeah. I wonder if I'm crazy sometimes. A lot, actually. Why aren't other people trying? I keep layering success on top of success. My life is so weird and interesting and cool and crazy, but I don't have any particularly rare talent. I just do a bunch of stuff that might work, and won't hurt too bad if it doesn't work.
  • "But will you do it?" He cringes and says … "No. I won't." "So, that's the million dollar question. Why won't you?" He replies, "I don't know. I don't even like thinking about it really, but I'll try to. I don't know, fear? I have to confront my potential and the fact that I'm not living up to it? It doesn't feel right? I don't feel ready? I don't think I deserve that much? I think I'd have to study for longer first? I don't know." I nod. I'm the same way. I also see opportunities like this, but have a hard time going for them.
  • A few months ago, a guy I'd been corresponding with for a while wrote to me.
  • You know what I think it is? You won't be understood once you step off into the abyss. The more you do it, the more people won't understand.
  • But I arrived here and I hear the birds and cicadas, and I see all the wonderful green land and clean air, and I see these wonderful, nice, kind people living their lives, and who all really harmoniously truly understand each other. And I got it. It clicked. I don't get to have this. I don't get to have this. I get something else. Something pretty amazing. But I don't get to have normal life. And it looks really, really nice. A lot less neurosis and conflict and striving and fighting forwards.
  • And the more you do that, the more people don't understand. If you keep taking all those edges that no one else will, pretty soon your neighbors don't understand you, can't understand you. It's just you.
  • I've done a lot and I'm really just getting started. But the more you do, the further away you get from being understood, from the joys of normal life, from being understood by your neighbors and backing each other up and living together harmoniously.
  • I want $40 million before I slow down. $40M is enough that you can drop $2 million on building something–a school, a bridge, an orphanage, a shrine, a monument, a massive work of public art–and it's only 5% of what you've got.
  • The Weakest of the Great Men of All Time Me.
  • I don't get to have a normal life. I don't get to be fully understood by everyone around me. Okay. Stop crying. Start smiling. Keep building. The train arrives. I get on.
  • Suddenly I was not doing excellent; in fact, I was behind schedule. In fact, I realized entirely that the path I was on did not lead to where I was capable of going.
  • "I'm not going to compare myself against people my age any more. I'm going to start comparing myself to the greatest men of all time."
  • I think it's easy for people who are doing great to get complacent. You look at the general sloth and laziness and complacency of most people, you see that you're achieving greatly, and you feel like you're so far above that. You give yourself a pat on the back. "Ah, yes, I'm doing great!"
  • Yes, I will become excellent. Because, why not become excellent?
  • Most young people these days have no real dreams, no strong ethics, no strength. They stand for nothing, they want nothing, they do nothing. Just by trying, even a little bit, you wind up better than most of them.
  • I draw up specs and plans for improving security. I'll have to get better at presenting, but I think I can recruit civilians to work undercover and make themselves look like easy targets for street criminals, draw them out and then crush the criminals.
  • I study social sciences, economics, governance. I am a strategist. I am trying to turn off emotions and sentiment and be rational when I study strategy. Yes, this particular policy is appalling to me as someone who believes in freedom, but it does help achieve XYZ goal. I must be neutral, study even successful people I don't like. My mind should not become an echo chamber.
  • I classify and reclassify things. I work out and try to combine different branches of social science. There's so much information available for free! How could anyone not dive into it?
  • I study charity and philanthropy. How can it be made to work? I draw and re-draw specs for a charity I might build. I publicly commit to giving a percent of my income to charity. Why not? I am strong, it would be trivially easy for me to spend some of my time helping the weak. Originally, I was not going to do so. Then, I decided I would, because why not do so? The aggressively mediocre, though, I am no friend to them.
  • I have much to do. Who am I? No one in particular. But I'm working on things that matter. No losing sight, no getting comfortable nor complacent. Successful for my age? Bah! To hell with that.
  • How can I stimulate great thinkers who have minor blocks to write more, to build more, to produce more? If I could inspire 1 out of 100 people I meet to produce at higher levels, then there will be a cascading effect through all of humanity. Everyone will be pulled up.
  • There are problems and opportunities all over the place, the world could be much different than it is. Most people either do not see these at all, or see them and accept it as the way things are. Not me. I build. I try.
  • Would someone who reads this call me arrogant? Perhaps, but they are mistaken if so. There is no arrogance. I know who I am, what I am. Greatness is not something you are, it's something you do, it's something you work towards.
  • Studying history to learn what's possible
  • Starting to study and develop your own ethical system
  • When I was younger, I knew I didn't want a normal life, but I didn't know what I did want. I thought about it, and I decided I'd start building skills, resources, experiences, and mobility. I figured that I'd eventually figure out what I wanted, and then older me would be happy that younger me got cash and skills and resources and contacts.
  • if you take up this road, you are welcome to call on me as your counsel and strategist from time to time. I serve the strong and virtuous. I turn my focus to things that matter.
  • Go to Wikipedia once a week, and put in a historical leader or era of history, and start reading.
  • Get the book Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. This is one of my favorite books, and it should help you develop some of your ethical system and learn about how to channel raw potential. It's also a really good and fun read.
  • Becoming very fit and healthy
  • Learn how to negotiate. Read 4-5 books on negotiation. I think Critical Conversations is probably the best one to start with. Get comfortable haggling, but realize that good negotiation far transcends haggling.
  • Start learning general social skills. I recommend you read How to Win Friends and Influence People—but don't read it cover to cover. Instead, read one chapter per week, and then practice the ideas from it. That's what I did, and I saw massive increases from that.
  • You really want to be able to do relatively large numbers fast in your head… when you see food for sale, divide the price by the weight to see the cost per unit of larger and small containers. Stuff like that.
  • If you take on debt, absolutely no buying toys or partying with your money until your debt is paid off. Debt cripples a man's ability to do what he wants with his life. Stay away from it at all costs.
  • If you try to become excellent, normal people will judge you. Fuck them. Seriously, I said it and I meant it. Fuck 'em.
  • Study the sections on losing fat and building muscle, so you understand how to do it. Gradually improve your physique. Every morning, I stretch and do situps. I usually take a long walk, swim, hike, or lift weights 3-4 times per week, and sometimes every day. The time it takes to exercise is more than made up by needing to sleep less, having higher energy, and thinking more clearly.
  • Go to the bodybuilding.com forums, and start reading everything about nutrition and training.
  • Consider taking up a martial art. We had a thread on the site recently with feedback about which is best, you can refer to that. I still recommend Krav Maga, but there's lots of good discussion and feedback on other arts.
  • I strongly recommend tracking your time for a while, to see where it goes.
  • drink…"—I still can't explain exactly why people do it, but I think it's to protect their own identity. As you become excellent, you show them what they could be, and it hurts them. Viscerally. So don't be too upset, your excellence hurts people to some extent. Expect constant discouragement from normal people. Eventually you'll build a social circle of high-achieving, ambitious, expansive, cool, worldly, giving, encouraging, awesome people, and then you'll be successful and normal people will envy and hate you, but you won't care because you'll have transcended it.
  • Take a few deep breathes once per day.
  • I'd recommend Brian Tracy's "The Luck Factor"—probably my all-around favorite program for re-listening ability. Tony Robbins is good. There's some good podcasts out there—37Signals has some good podcasts.
  • Definitely start listening to audio if you don't yet. This is huge, you can pick up massive lessons in no addition time for it. Audiobooks, audio programs, podcasts.
  • It's not easy to pick. It's not like a 10 minute exercise. It's something you go to a cafe with a notebook and pen and sit there staring at the page with a coffee, thinking for an hour. Even one hour isn't enough. You do the think-with-coffee thing dozens of times, hundreds of times if you need to, trying to discover what matters to you, what you can dedicate yourself to, what's important, what works… .
  • There's many ways to live a good and meaningful life, but I think one of the most important steps is to think on what a good and meaningful life would be to you.
  • Personally, I want to change some things in the USA, but right now I'm not strong enough, not wise enough, don't have much in the way of resources, am not educated and learned enough …
  • 1.) How do you determine which values are the ones to live your life by? Slowly.
  • I was really stubborn about that one for a long time. It took me forever to change my mind. It was only when I learned about Nash Equilibriums that I changed my mind. Learning about Nash Equilibriums was a crazy paradigm shift for me. It turned the whole world on its head. It answered so many questions.
  • I used to believe that marketing was wrong, was evil, was a bad thing, and that substance should win out over style and hype and nonsense. I mean, I really used to believe that strongly, passionately.
  • So, marketing—marketing happens, it exists, and someone's going to do it. Now, there's things I won't do because of my personal opposition to them, but in a world where marketing and advertising exists, you need to do it because that's the equilibrium. If you fight against equilibriums, you lose.
  • Thus, I don't think "respecting isolationism" can really be a viable position to take, because the end outcome will be the same … if not your merchant company, then another one. And if only the decent, well-meaning companies refrain from opening closed ports, then it's the most vicious that succeed in doing so and come to power.
  • When someone's goal is to get more serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine pooled in their brain, I think … wow, that's it?
  • But to answer your question of "Why not be a hedonist?" I answer—because really, who gives a shit about having more serotonin and dopamine in your brain?
  • Ah, so I haven't mentioned my core ethic yet. My core ethic, my overwhelming goal, is expansion of the human race as a whole. I think we should turn all the unalive matter in the universe into live, settle other planets in the Solar System, then other systems, then other galaxies if possible.
  • Low happinesses like contentment, sensory pleasure, etc. I don't think those are important to pursue. High happinesses—triumph, camaraderie, epiphany, wisdom—those I think are worth pursuing.
  • So, don't put off building good stuff because you're not sure why you're building. Build now, and I promise you'll be really happy with yourself later for having built.
  • I try to do things that I find meaningful, ideally on the largest scale I can. I'm not there yet, but I'm trying. I still need to get stronger in other areas, get more disciplined. But I'm working on it.
  • And—so what? You've got more happiness chemicals in your brain so you bliss out? How could anyone in their right mind think this is the meaning of life?
  • I see such an obsession with happiness these days. It's sad. There's different sorts of happiness, but the one people seem after the most is the lowest, saddest form of happiness—a pleasurable mix of biochemicals.
  • I'm on Team Human. I want to see our species thrive and grow.
  • That's exactly what I'm trying to do. I fall short a lot of the time, I still waste probably around 3-5 hours a day on average, but I'm getting better.
  • Sakon doesn't understand, can't understand Itto. He thinks Itto is motivated by money—but he's not. The money is a tool for Itto to complete his quest. The same as his sword, or a club, or a shard of rock.
  • I'm really, really grateful to the scientists and engineers and inventors and builders and artists that came before us. We'd be living in forests and jungles and caves if it weren't for them. And I'm grateful for the long line of my ancestors that survived and thrived to lead to me. I figure some of them must have lived under really desperate circumstances, gone through all sorts of struggle and strife and misery, but they still were able to have and raise their children that eventually became my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, and so on. If one link in that chain isn't there, I'm not here. So, wow, I'm so grateful for my ancestors doing that.
  • By doing an action repeatedly, eventually you become the kind of person who does that action. If you repeatedly ask, "What can I do to come across as helpful?" and execute on that, then you become a helpful person.
  • So I'd like to pay it forwards. I'll build some stuff that will be used in our lifetimes, and then will help all generations henceforth. I'll have some children and help build the next line of humanity, and all lines after that. I like building. I like humanity. I'd like to see us grow and thrive and expand. I can't really think of anything else I'd rather do with my time.
  • "imperator"—Napoleon, I think, would quality as an imperator, and indeed, he took the title "Emperor" later in his life but never "King."
  • If you were going to build an empire, how would you do it?
  • If conflict started today, who would be on my side?
  • This is really a "barest elements" sort of analysis. It leaves out some of my core philosophies. For instance, "Out-compete by out-serving" isn't written explicitly,
  • You have to do things correctly and consistently in order to become wealthy or powerful and hold on to it for any significant amount of time. People can become wealthy or powerful through evil means in the short term, but it's unsustainable in the long term.
  • The first difference between low born people and high born people are their attitudes towards wealth and power. To put it bluntly, high born people generally pursue wealth and power, while low born people do not.
  • High born people don't look to get paid back immediately. They know that you help people who seem friendly with a good character, and a lot of them will do right by you someday, sooner or later.
  • High born people generally are more friendly, giving, and helpful than low born people. I understand this goes against what you see in movies, but it's true. Generally speaking, someone who is successful or was raised by successful parents is more likely to do you a favor, introduce you to someone, or otherwise help you out.
  • high born people are much more comfortable getting compensated for their skills, ability, and contribution. A girl born to a wealthy family will go to a cafe and say, "I made some paintings. Can I hang them in here with price tags on them?" A girl born to a poorer family will be more shy about trying to sell her work, despite the fact that she could use the money more. This is really a shame. High born people are more comfortable asking for money or compensation in exchange for providing value. People of high birth do more nice things for free with no expectation, but are also more comfortable selling themselves and their work.
  • Low born people often try to do too much in one generation, and wind up over-expanding because of it.
  • But I still have many of the low born mentalities, so I'm going to be careful not to go too far. A captain, not a general, not a king. If one of my sons has the ability, drive, and desire to be a general or king, so be it. He'll be learning lessons at age 5 that I started learning at age 19. When he's 14, he'll know much of what I knew at 24. But not me—no over-expanding, no going too far and losing it all. I'm fit to be a captain, an advisor, a high-ranked servant, but I don't aim to rule. There's still too many screwed up low born ideas in the back of my head.
  • Don't define yourself by money and possessions. There's an unlimited amount of wealth and power available, you can gain it by building, inventing, innovating, cooperating, trading, and doing other virtuous things. Don't be stingy and scramble for the last penny, leave something on the table.
  • 7.) Be careful about over-expanding—you don't have to do it all in one generation. Have children, raise them well, have your son take over where you left off. There's only so much a person can accomplish in one lifetime, whereas even a modest dynasty can accomplish much, much more.
  • Don't be modest—ask people how you can help them, introduce people to each other, look to do good things. Make book recommendations, buy people small gifts, hell, even wash the dishes if you're a guest in someone's home.
  • Consolidation isn't sexy. They usually don't build statues to great consolidators. But it seems like the ability to consolidate, reinforce, and hold your gains and make them permanent is the key to lasting success.
  • Brilliance is brilliant, but brilliance without consolidation gives you empty entries in the history books. There's many examples of companies that led great innovations, but were unable to capitalize on them. Tesla was a brilliant scientist, but Edison was better at consolidation. Of course,
  • cultivate brilliance in your field if it appeals to you. But also think about how to consolidate after successes, so that the good changes and gains you've made become permanent.
  • You know, the victors—the ones who build the really enduring victories—they're often not the most brilliant or charismatic or brave. They're the ones who are most patient, who are most rational, who have the most self-control. You can win 10,000 battles, but have it all undone in one rash misstep. You could perhaps lose 10,000 battles, but still win at a decisive moment and then consolidate intelligently.
  • Of the common virtues, the successful seem to have an immense amount of loyalty and reverence for the people that "got them there," revering and celebrating them even as they bring more and more people to their banner. The people who break from their early friends and supporters usually end poorly, in an isolation of their own making.
  • I think the overall strategy of avoiding exchange-based relationships when doing business is to give such a great deal that the person doesn't feel like they're paying for a deal. If it's obviously a ridiculously amazingly good deal, it almost feels more like a favor than a transaction.
  • If you want to stay away from exchange-based feelings, be very enjoyable to work with. Figure out what your client or provider's highest-level goals are, and help them get it. Pay well if you're buying, over-deliver to a ridiculous extent so it's clear you're above and beyond the call if you're selling. And make it enjoyable, really enjoyable, so it doesn't seem like work.
  • "I'm hiring you because you're an expert and know more than me. I have loose guidance, but I want you do to this your way and I'll give you free reign to do your thing and express yourself."
  • Those little details go a long, long ways. Does a guy getting his kitchen remodeled care more about the kind of countertop used, or how his wife thinks about him? Make people look good to the people they really care about.
  • If the manager there recognizes him and comps him, Judd tips 100% or more of the price of food for the staff, making everyone look good and feel good. Looking out for people outside of the scope of the deal can help make it about more than just the deal.
  • One of my good friends helped me finish an important business deal once that made me a lot of money, and I bought him a plane ticket to Japan to say thanks.
  • So I'm starting to see—some liberality, some magnificence—doing beautiful things, taking care of people. Constantly improving the environment around me. Building wealth, taking a small fraction of what I build, making every interaction along the way positive with everyone friendly—yeah, I can do that.
  • We all say that. I'm not being friendly and gracious and helpful out of altruism. No, no, no. I'm doing it because it brings into existence the kind of world I want to live in,
  • A tip—I make connecting with people part of my entertainment time. You know, when most people are watching TV, I'm reading email, writing email, hopping on the phone with people, answering questions, helping other people do strategy.
  • Have I always been this way? Nah, it's all learned behavior. All learned. Learned and trained. I added a note to my daily checklist for a while, "Reach out to someone" or something like that. So I'd try to send one nice or thankful email per day, or offer to help someone, or ask quickly what their favorite book is. Baby steps.
  • I realized for a long time it was a good thing to do, but I was still shy about doing it. Dunno why. I think it's a normal human thing. What I did was I started slowly emailing people very short emails to say thank you if a piece of work helped me. The key is to be short and overwhelmingly gracious. "Hi person. I saw (x thing) and it (meant y to me). I am really grateful for this. Thank you. Sebastian"
  • How did I come to be this way? Slowly.
  • …and yeah, I have 5-10 embarrassing or annoying moments per week. I say something stupid or write something stupid or get a fact wrong or some random anonymous bozo insults me or whatever. It happens. And you know? I think 5-10 moments like that per week is considerably higher than the normal person has happen to them.
  • Make connecting with people part of your entertainment time. Don't make it work time. Do it to relax, to cool off, enjoy it. Think of it as a nice privilege. I really enjoy it.
  • Thank some people, do some art, drop a line to an old mentor or teacher or to your family or whatever.
  • I never realized what a magnificent thing people choosing to spend their time with you is. There are so many good places to spend your time—getting entertainment, learning, connecting with good people, building things, inventing, relaxing, thinking, working. When someone spends their time with me, whatever the medium, that's a tremendous honor.
  • I'm trying to really live 24 hours per day the way I want to be living them. Do you know how much time there is in 24 hours? It's a lot.
  • 3.) Do something prominent and solicit people to reach out to you
  • On #1, I refer you to the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, who covered all of this much better than I could.
  • Most people do not do things for reasons. They do things "because that's the way it's done," or they go with their first impulse.
  • Reflecting today on the nature of the world, I believe I have come to the core tenet of strategy. The one from which all other tenets flow, the quintessential, alpha-omega principle of strategy, which is - Do things for reasons.
  • Out of the 10,000 options available to you, the naive impulse is unlikely to be the correct one. The same is true in negotiations. The same is true in the buying and selling of securities. The same is true in choosing how to market your product. The same is true in dealing with crime. The same is true in maximizing tax revenues without destroying commerce. The same is true in dealing with being insulted. The same is true in dealing with criticism. The same is true in choosing how to spend your money.
  • You can plan around lack of skill or ability in many areas, or avoid those areas and key in on virtues.
  • Winning Ugly is Superior to Losing Beautifully
  • I'm writing this largely as a reminder to myself.
  • "After victory, tighten the straps on your helmet."—Tokugawa Ieyasu,
  • Nope. Being right isn't enough. You also have to do everything else.
  • But other times, I do something that I think is pretty cool and useful, and I get some feedback that seems to indicate a complete lack of getting-it on the part of the other person. Y'know, like, really really quit ignorant shit sometimes. The worst is when I'm writing something and I get ignorant nitpicky shit that incorrectly summarizes the point I made—even though I wrote the exact opposite point a little bit later in a piece, for instance. My first reaction—"Blah. What an idiot. They don't get it." False! No, it's on you, if you're creating, to make sure people get it.
  • Some people aren't your target market, and you can shrug it off. I think it would be a fantastic idea to conquer North Korea, for a whole lot of reasons. Yet, I likely won't be able to persuade Kim Jong-il of that, and that's okay. He's not my target market and won't be convinced.
  • If you're writing, people will skim your work. You need to take that into account, and make good transitions, sub-headlines, intelligently use bolding and links, and otherwise make sure the people of your target audience get the message. If they don't get it, that means YOU didn't get it.
  • Most people don't distinguish between observing and judging. They say, "It's bad that it's raining outside." Well. Maybe, yeah. But there's two things going on there—first, it's raining. That's either true or false. Then there's that "bad"—which is an opinion, a moral judgment on the situation.
  • It's maybe impossible to completely remove judgment from observation. But I'd recommend you try, because you're more likely to figure out what's actually happening to do that. To do that, look for what effects are actually happening, and then try to figure out the causes. Refrain from judging whether the causes/effects are good or bad until you've figured out what causes produce what effects.
  • Research – Facts are actually useful.
  • How do I improve my energy level? Turns out that knowing about nutrition is useful.
  • I always think to myself, "I can do anything except the things I can't do yet, and I could learn those and do them if I want to." Most successful people I know think the same way.
  • "Greatness is something you do, not something you are." —Sebastian Marshall
  • A lot of people give up. You can reduce the chances of this by making the environment more supportive of your success, getting emotional support, and the old fashioned "burn your boats behind you."
  • So maybe you can't be an NBA player. Because there's somebody that'll work just as hard as you but also might have been born taller, or put on denser muscle mass, or has a higher vertical jump even after you've trained like crazy on it.
  • I think envy and schadenfreude and hatred are usually a detriment to people feeling them. This is obvious enough when you're playing a positive sum game—because positive sum games don't require natural talent and have a near infinite opportunity for success.
  • And it's cool to admire Kobe Bryant's massive work ethic, and his skills and fluidity playing basketball. Seriously, he's more graceful playing basketball than most figure skaters are. The guy is a joy of an athlete to watch.
  • Almost everyone sucks at almost everything when they first try it.
  • This is admittedly hard to do. But I think it's good. It's not always possible, but I think it's healthy to start to want everyone to win.
  • For instance, you could reread a part of Elements of Style or On Writing every week. Then you could go through and edit and rewrite a piece that's already written to try to make it better using the newly learned rules you're adapting.
  • If you write 52 iPhone apps per year, I reckon one of them is going to be good. (Ideally more than one)
  • I run this through my mind again and again–what kind of checklist could be built here?
  • I don't think it's very hard to do genius-quality work, if you decide to try. Most people don't try. But if you did try, I think you could do some.
  • 1.) Constantly improve fundamentals 2.) Look for synergies in other fields 3.) Regularly complete attempts to do significant work (and ideally ship them) I think if you do those three regularly, you're pretty likely to produce some genius-quality work.
  • Large, permanent impact on important fields? I think we're in the easiest era of history to do that. There's so much low hanging fruit available–just cross-reference two important disciplines that haven't talked to each other enough yet, BAM, genius-quality work.
  • Then "consistency/persistence". I think you've got to be working on your long term objectives almost daily, or at least weekly. If you put them off until some undetermined date in the future, it's very likely they never happen. So, the ability to consistently put in time and persist when things suck (and keep putting in time, even if you're sick/tired/demoralized/whatever), I think those are all important. Intelligence is maybe #4? I'll take an
  • If you want to fail at life, expose yourself to high-downside no-upside probability. This is short term gain at long term expense type stuff. Cigarettes. Unsecured debt for consumption. Most TV.
  • Read books, reach out to people, try to get projects working, keep trying to write and build things, keep learning new skills, keep treating people well.
  • Life is a series of probabilities. Every day, there's a chance that a given set of things will happen. If you want to have a successful life, expose yourself to as much high-upside low-downside probability as you can.
  • I've got a belief, a value, a way of living. Everything is my responsibility. I got mugged by a psycho criminal? I should've been trained in martial arts. Some idiot crashes their car into me? I should've been paying more attention and had faster reflexes. My bank suspends my only credit card in a foreign country? I should've had a backup card, enough cash, and notified them beforehand that I was traveling. It's hailing outside? I should've moved somewhere warm if I didn't want to deal with that.
  • Everything is my responsibility. I was born without the opportunities that would've been nice? Well, suck it up and build those opportunities for myself and my children. Someone did. We evolved from being apes—we crawled out of jungles, forests, and caves with nothing. All civilization is the result of building the world. I can do that. You could do that. Anyone could do that. It just takes trying, really. I don't think it's even all that complicated.
  • They can threaten you, beat you, whip you, chain you, insult you, mock you—but they can't break you inside unless you let them.
  • Don't get me wrong. It sucks. It's hard. It's really, really hard sometimes. It's neurosis-inducing sometime. I hate to lose as much as anyone, and I've lost a lot. I push myself to the edge of what I think I can handle, and sometimes I lose and get beaten down.
  • long nights burning midnight oil trying to turn ideas into reality.
  • I don't know. I'll do something. What else is life, but doing things?
  • All those guys got bitten by a mosquito from time to time and had to scratch the itch and were aggravated. Sometimes they'd be walking and step in a muddy puddle and they'd curse. What's the difference between them and us? Nothing. Except they tried.
  • Want to write a great book? Free yourself to write a bad book first.
  • "Real artists ship." —Steve Jobs
  • Producing isn't always enjoyable, especially while it's happening. Afterwards, it's a tremendous joy, but oftentimes it sucks, especially when you're having a hard time connecting the dots.
  • It's hard to feel passionate about it when it's like that, and it's often like that. To be successful, you kinda sorta have to claim that you loved it the whole time, but y'know what? It's bullshit, man. I know lots of creative people doing interesting stuff. They like their line of work as a whole, but there are times it sucks, everything sucks sometimes.
  • Finally, an exercise that might be worthwhile: I would go to a cafe a lot with a blank paper notebook, a pen, and I'd order a black coffee. I'd get my coffee and I'd write at the top of the page, "What do I want?" I'd underline that, and then sit and drink coffee, stare at the page, and write everything I want, no holds barred, not examining, not judging, just writing.
  • A lot of "effortless passion" you see is kind of an illusion. There's a component of working-through-suck in being successful at almost anything, but most successful people kind of mask that.
  • … I think I've got it. I love thinking on paper. In this case, I'm not going to go back and edit this essay so it looks like I had it all along. No, I'd rather show you my thought process.
  • This is what I see with people who are uninspired—they think they're going to fix that problem by doing a careful search of what might inspire them. Then, once they find it, they'll take lots of action. Nope. That's backwards.
  • Writing did resonate with me with me when I started, but more importantly, I also enjoyed the process of improving my craft and skill at writing.
  • I remember coming across a lot of literature that encouraged doing things faster—especially in business. Shaving off the shipping time from 7 days to 4 days. Things like that.
  • One of the problems a lot of people have is that they don't fail enough.
  • Augustus realized this. He was patient until he could move decisively, but then he did—oftentimes, the circumstances that would have allowed for a war or a treaty were very temporary, and would have faded if he didn't move fast.
  • Celerity. Speed. Haste.
  • It's like, not much has changed. My life is the same life I had last month, except now I'm making more errors, and I'm also accomplishing a lot more stuff.
  • My essay "A Lot of Victory is Just Walking Around" turned out to be a huge hit and got hundreds of visitors from people Facebook-liking it, when I just typed it up on the spur of the moment.
  • If you want to make excellent stuff, you need to make a lot of stuff. If you want to make a lot of stuff, you'll make a lot of crap. If you want to make excellent stuff, you need to make a lot of crap. And my personal opinion here: And that's okay, because you get judged by your best work, not your bad work.
  • I think as long as you're not doing life-or-death stuff, it's okay to put out low quality work. Well, not really. I'm kind of a perfectionist. What I actually mean is you're going to be a bad judge of how good your own stuff is, especially if it's creative work. Don't put out anything wrong or terrible or lazy, but if something is okay and you gave it your best, put it out. People might like it, or might not, but you probably won't be able to know in advance.
  • My audience is whoever likes it—the site is written for me. If someone doesn't like it at this point in their life, they're not my audience for now.
  • I commit to doing it every day, every single day no matter what.
  • the peasants never actually take control of the government, instead one elite uses the peasants to kill off the other elite, but the peasants themselves never take power.
  • Have fun. I mean, really have fun. When I wrote an essay titled "Arguing With Peasants Shows a Lack of Self-Discipline," I thought to myself, "Do I really want to write that?" Am I going to get asked on some news interview sometime, "So, you think you shouldn't argue with peasants, do you?" in a really sanctimonious, judging tone that makes me look bad? I don't know, maybe. Probably? Whatever. It's actually how I think.
  • On the tactical level, I'd strongly recommend committing to writing every day. Every single day, write something. Even something small.
  • He's a writer, and I'm guessing quite a solid writer—he reads a lot, writes a fair bit, and is a clear thinker, and that combination lends itself to solid writing.
  • There's no real risk to trying a high upside no downside endeavor. I emailed Steve Jobs once. No reply. I emailed Larry Ellison once. No reply. I admire both those guys a lot. So I sat and put together an email, took about 15 minutes of thinking what I wanted to put down, and I sent it. No reply. What'd I lose really? Nothin'. Nothing at all.
  • If you're looking to do any kind of selling or anything where you face personal rejection, I'd recommend Brian Tracy's The Psychology of Selling audio which has some excellent insights.
  • We all spend plenty of time with activities that give us a guaranteed zero.
  • Motivation is fleeting, but a general, slow trending upwards gets you there. There's no magical potion, you just kind of scrap and scratch and claw forwards, get a little better regularly, and that translates to being a lot better in not-too-long.
  • I bet you don't want to look stupid, so you spend an extensive amount of time doing everything you can to not look stupid, and that's why everything takes so long.
  • 2.) You accept that you'll make more errors overall if you do more things. 3.) You know that'll feel bad for a while, because humans are usually more loss-averse than gain-oriented. 4.) You realize that your error rate will actually go down.
  • Increase your schedule or move up your deadlines so you must get things done faster, and you will.
  • this is why executives and big companies hire consultants. So someone less emotionally attached can tell them what to do. It doesn't always work, but that's a big part of why they do it.
  • You're suffering from an insidious problem. I know, because I've been there. Here's the score—most of our day-to-day actions are a result of custom, habit, and environment. There's very little thinking/reflective decision making on a moment to moment basis.
  • do. I've found that deleting or moving around my "Most Visited" sites goes a long ways towards changing my internet usage. Crazy as it sounds, just by adding that tiny bit more friction to hopping on an entertainment site, you spend less time on them.
  • I call the process of getting it down "scratching and clawing forwards"—which I'm aware isn't the most inspiring or glorious way to describe it, but I think it's pretty accurate.
  • when I wanted to start spending my mornings planning my day instead of just signing online, I'd turn off my laptop, unplug it, and turn it upside down. I did that as a reminder so I couldn't just turn it on and mindlessly surf. I'd see my laptop upside-down in the morning when I was tired, I'd think, "That's weird, why is—oh, right." And then I'd spend the morning in my planner.
  • Ramit Sethi wrote a great post about this—"Barriers are your enemy"—worth reading for more examples on eating healthier and managing finances.
  • Environment matters. A lot. You can get pretty big pushes from moving your environment around to suit your goals and life.
  • Who really cares if you follow the social rules given?
  • All our lives, it seems that talking to strangers is the wrong thing to do. It only is the wrong thing to do if you think that. How do you combat years and years of being told it is totally wrong and out of line? You let go of your ego. Nothing beats first-hand exposure. Even if the first thing you do is just say "Hi" and nothing else, you are now one step closer to breaking the routine of your life.
  • A year or two, absolutely you can almost completely re-wire yourself.
  • I say—give it to me! But not so fast that it will break me. I must be pragmatic. We must be pragmatic. We have our limits. We can expand them over time.
  • THERE'S NO SHAME IN THIS, IT'S NO REFLECTION OF YOU—WE'RE ALL BUILT WEAK, YOU'RE ONE OF THE FEW WHO ACKNOWLEDGES IT AND TRIES TO BECOME STRONG.
  • You're fighting some of your deepest, instinctual defense mechanisms to keep you alive. You've also got your toolbox of good instinctual mechanisms limited by society, so you're needing to create new tools. Basically, you've got all the disadvantages a caveman had (fear, nervousness, pressure), but you lose a lot of the advantages (unbridled, raw power, no rules, etc). You've got to make new tools—calmness, focus, intent. It takes a while.
  • Every week I want strife and struggle. I want challenge. I want to be always falling short of what I could be, and that is the way forwards.
  • But I want to suffer, I want to be bathed in strife, I want conflict, I want challenge, I want it to be hard—but just barely easy enough that I can make it through.
  • "I would rather die than be average." It almost killed me.
  • I believe in EXCELLENCE, and IMPROVING, and if you believe in excellence and improving, you're going to wind up better than people who do not. I don't believe in equality. What sort of cowardice would you need to feel to wish for everyone to be the same?
  • Bad Stuff That's Happened to You = Expensive Lessons You've Already Paid For
  • Even if you never set foot in a gym your whole life, you owe it to yourself to read "The 80/20 Rule of Lifting":
  • And heck, even if it wasn't worth it—the price was already paid. There's usually a lesson to be learned from that sort of experience. You already paid for it. Might as well claim it now, it'll probably be useful later.
  • I know that sounds simple and obvious, but I think a lot of people don't realize that. I didn't fully realize it. Your broker or money manager recommends a purchase to you—look into it, he doesn't care about your money as much as you do.
  • Lifting: Go to the gym Complex lifts with good form Eat well Enough rest Everything else is details
  • There's a time for details.
  • Everything else is details.
  • I'm not a believer in "free lunch" and I don't think the universe vibrates things to you just by thinking about them. But the closest thing to a free lunch getting vibrated to you by the universe is writing things down as they happen.
  • Action. Then details. Remember that. Action first. Then details. Action.
  • Forcing yourself to write down areas where you're not taking action and want to be lights a fire under your ass.
  • For instance, I pay attention to who is talking about and linking to me, so I can thank them, connect with them more, and write on the topics that suit them: You can set this up easily, for free, at Google Alerts.
  • I realized a few things: 1.) "Expansion"—doing creative or enterprising work—won't happen automatically unless it's prioritized, and it's the thing with absolutely the most positive impact on life. So I prioritize it, and aim to do it first.
  • How do I prioritize? Six months ago, my answer would have been "haphazardly"—I
  • Whenever anyone tells me they're building a time/goal-setting/etc app, I advise against it until they're doing it for non-business
  • I might say I'm heading out at 4PM to go play around out in the world and I'm done working for the day unless I get inspired (I often do get inspired and work a few more hours at night, but explicitly stopping work unless inspired is good—and perhaps conducive to inspiration anyways)
  • I think most people are at, maybe, 10% of their max capability. Probably more like 2%. That's where most of my life I've been. Lately I'm near 40-50%? It's intense.
  • One thing I've started doing lately is spending a lot more money—keeping myself in the nicest surroundings, taking taxis even short distances, etc. I've been meaning to write about this, but I was hyper-frugal as my dominant strategy for years. I'm getting away from that, because I need to spend more to keep myself going at the rates I'm going.
  • I try to prioritize expansionary activities, because they just don't happen if they're not prioritized. After that, the next thing I prioritize are things that are a "dependency" for someone else—if I don't get it, it hoses someone else.
  • I'm treating burnout the same way. On a day when it seems the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I finish any critical dependencies so no one else is hosed, but then maybe I reschedule everything and take the rest of the day off. I could theoretically grind out a few more low quality hours when feeling early burnout set in, but you risk giving up weeks of higher productivity if you do.
  • Simplicity often lacks detail and nuance. That's why we build and do more complex things—to get more precise, specific outcomes. Choose simplicity unless there's a good reason not to.
  • I do weekly review of all my top priorities. It only takes 20 minutes to make a quick list.
  • "Key habit" is my newest addition, and it filled a little hole I had in my template. Before, I had something like, "Most important thing to be achieved today," or "Most important objective," but those frequently fell short. Some days I didn't have any key thing to be achieved—I just had to deal with a lot of little loose ends and work to have a good day.
  • I used to have a "Research" category and a "Learning" category on my time tracking. They're slightly different, but I combined them to "Research/learning"—I lose a little bit of fine grain detail, but gain simplicity. And simplicity is good.
  • 2.) Start with the hard stuff.
  • WTF? I don't know, man. Us humans, we're kind of defective and stupid in some ways. We identify something that's really, really good for us. We do it for a while. It works really well, increasing quality of life, happiness, productivity, and gets us closer to our most important goals… …then we stop doing it for some damn fool reason.
  • Did I only check email when I was ready to write back immediately?
  • If you decide to make a big change in your life, like starting a daily life tracking routine, your best chance of success is to start with a small change and slowly expand it into something bigger. If you disrupt the status quo too much too quickly, you probably won't stick with it.
  • During the first two or three weeks of tracking, I wanted to make changes to my tracking sheet almost daily. "Include this… don't include that." Resist the temptation to change it daily.
  • 8.) Focus on one big change per month
  • During bad times, re-double on fundamentals and try to avoid doing anything stupid.
  • When you're having a highly creative day, run it out as much as you can. Resist the temptation to say, "Well, that's enough" and just go chill out or whatever. Max inspired time is rare. Milk that cow when you're max inspired.
  • When you're low creatively, this is a great time to do tedious consolidation. Clean the kitchen, clean all your gear up, clean up the files on your computer, get taxes and licenses or whatever filed and renewed, deal with bureaucracy and nonsense—this will free up your time to milk the cow more when you're max creative.
  • For productivity slumps, focus on re-gearing the fundamentals. It's almost always the following things - How's your eating? Are you drinking enough water? How's your sleep schedule? Are you deciding the most important things to do for the next day before going to sleep? Are you reviewing and working on the most important things right away the next day?
  • "Auctoritas" translates almost to authority, but not quite. Wikipedia gives this nice definition: "The 19th-century classicist Theodor Mommsen describes the "force" of auctoritas as "more than advice and less than command, an advice which one may not safely ignore.""
  • Your manager sounds like a bonehead, and boneheads are afraid of giving authority over to competent people who will likely replace or obsolete them quickly if put in charge. It's a bad thing.
  • It's easy enough to deal with people who are malicious, petty, selfish, greedy, corrupt, or controlling. All those people's motivations can be understood and worked with (though not necessarily enjoyably). But idiots? You can't work with idiots. You can't appeal to their interest, because they're too stupid to have interests.
  • But if you bargain hard and you're willing to handle the stress, you could gradually take over where you're at. And realistically, that's what you're going to have to do. You're going to need to officially or unofficially take over.
  • I think that's fair, do you? Are you nodding? I think that's fair.
  • I have basically zero regard for non-virtuous authority, I have minimal respect for stupid traditions, and I don't believe that kissing the ass of someone you don't like and blindly hoping things are going to get better will result in a good life.
  • Only one definition of "worth" has stood the test of time. In Rome in the year 100 BC, Publius Syrus said, "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."
  • We should note that going extreme-primadonna is what you'd call a high variance strategy—meaning, it will produce huge wins or spectacular failures. It's not something to jump into.
  • Read "Winning Through Intimidation" by Robert Ringer, or "Pitch Anything" by Oren Klaff if you don't believe me. These are entire books devoted to theme of dealing with power-craziness.
  • That's the world. People, even good people, like to wield arbitrary power over others, and 90%+ of people in power aren't really qualified or virtuous to be there.
  • The good news is, you're probably better than you think. Read Derek Sivers's "Obvious to you. Amazing to others" post for a shot of inspiration.
  • Point #3: You need to be good if you're demanding. Really good. Like, the top 10% of your craft at least, if not top 1%. So, work on your craft.
  • the vast majority of people don't treat people who "soldier on" very well, but will pay you if you're both highly competent and highly demanding.
  • Point #4: A strong code of conduct can achieve 90% of the good results without the stress. I'm comfortable doing battle with people. It's my makeup. Someone attacks me, I get up and get excited to fight. When someone escalates, I escalate more. Always. Never put me in charge of a nuclear arsenal. But that might not be you, eh? In fact, it's not most people, which is why most people don't get what they're worth.
  • If you read my last week of entries, I'm a man on fire. My output has been nuts. I've built an insane amount of wealth and been compensated for it. Why? I largely abandoned strategy and have been acting on principle. My main principle? Everyone will value my time extremely highly, treat me very well, I'll deliver the highest level of service and ability that I can to them,
  • Don't play games with game-players. Skip negotiation and contracts.
  • So state that. "Sorry, I don't understand contracts. I only sign one page contracts that are very simple."
  • Quick glance? It looks fine. Look closer—it's a crock of bullshit. You can't win that game. I can't win that game, and I actually know how to play it.
  • "I will give you my price, and you will say yes or no. It will be fair. I don't like to negotiate, haggling is cheap and ruins art, and makes both parties uninspired and destroys trust. I will give you a very fair quote, and I will deliver extensively more value. You just say yes or no. 'No' won't hurt my feelings. Okay?"
  • this comes from being principled instead of chasing down any money. Do you really want to work with someone that is going to paper-fight you? Look, if someone thinks you're a star, they'll re-write their contract for you.
  • The strategic designer says, "I'm going to understand your fundamental goals for this piece, and make this piece work hard for your goals." (Note: Being strategic is enough to get paid a lot and live well.) The philosophical designer says, "The nature of art is art, and the nature of commerce is commerce... I can make a beautiful and amazing piece of art, that will serve all of your strategic and commercial goals, and will also be a timeless aesthetic. I can do this if you treat me with the highest levels of respect and dignity, give me the resources I ask very promptly, and so on. I am an eternal devotee of this craft, and I can fuse art and commerce into extreme practical beauty, for you, if you are enlightened enough to work with."
  • Again, the hierarchy is something like, Not thinking < Tactics < Strategy < Philosophy
  • You are hiring me and paying me a lot because I am an expert and very good at what I do. If you don't believe I'm very good at what I do, you shouldn't hire me. Once you do hire me, you'll trust me and my recommendations. I'll ask you for feedback in the areas it's necessary, but with a very high level professional, you can't just mess with their work randomly unless you've got a very good reason. I will understand your goals and make you look very good, and make everyone look very good, and be pleasant to work with—so long as you understand how to work with a skilled professional artist."
  • Pre-frame and set expectations correctly. Then, deliver on expectations.
  • I'm not a designer. You probably know more about this stuff than me. Lots of negative space? Harmony of colors? Good fonts and typesetting? Yeah. I don't know a damn thing about that, and neither do the vast majority of your clients. So, educate them beforehand.
  • Study and use anchoring. This would be its own thousands-of-words post. Just throw out a lot of huge numbers.
  • Point #12: Use some multiplication and bullshit charts. I don't know why this works and I think it's ridiculous (it doesn't work on me), but it does work.
  • Most people are idiots, and don't think like this. You need to try to get them to. It's hard. Maybe just find people who are smarter to work for.
  • Second, if you want $2k per month, after you've done some free work successfully, then say, "My end goal is be making $15,000 to $18,000 per month, and to deliver far beyond that… but I love working here, I'll take whatever you offer. Seriously—I won't negotiate, whatever you say, I'm going to say yes. So, say whatever number you think would be a fantastic deal for you, and I'll say yes, because I love it here. Take a few minutes to think about it if you want, I'll go get an ice cream and come back." Give them 10 minutes. If they think you're good at all, you'll get more than $2k doing it that way. If you ask for $2k, maybe you'll get $2k, or maybe not.
  • Imagine that! I can just do cool shit. So I'm throwing money around, and more seems to be coming in. It's interesting, isn't it?
  • But if you're freaking out about some contract you're going to get, just remember, "I can always spend this on a bunch of cool stuff, and my friends, and do some charity, and sponsor some cool art" and then do it. It's just money, y'know? It's nothing to make a big deal out of.
  • When you present your work, add in touches like chocolate or little gifts. Whenever I pay someone for a creative work, I try to wrap the cash in a nice letter addressed to them, and include fine chocolate with it. People remember the chocolate more than the cash.
  • There need to be consequences for breaking their word. Immediately escalate and fight. Also show that that's costing them and setting them back.
  • Point #17: Use numbers that are hard to divide, like $777 or 22%. You want to put a mental break in so it can't get transactional.
  • It's up to you whether you want to ask for a token gesture or more cash, whether you want to contractually require it, or just throw a fit if someone screws up in paying you. But you can't let it go unnoticed.
  • *If you can, make them pay for you to present to them, unless you love them, in which case do it for free and make it very valuable. Don't go halfway and do something uninspired.
  • When they (inevitably) complain about their problems and make excuses, "I understand. I also have problems. I could tell you that I've bought supplies for this project on a credit card and need to pay it off, I could tell you I need to feed my kids, I could tell you my father has leukemia and I'm paying for his treatment, but I won't, because it's irrelevant to you. I'm a professional and you're a professional. That means you pay on time, or you talk about in advance if there's going to be a problem and we work something out. I'm very happy to try to work something out if you let me know far in advance that there's going to be problems."
  • "Don't you trust me?" "Oh I trust you, however, you've just failed to deliver. That destroys a good working relationship, and you need to remedy it."
  • *Tell people to give you all kinds of tools and nonsense. You'll get paid more, and you'll get what you want. Demand food, drinks, coffee, music, assistants, whatever. This is absurd, but you'll actually get paid more. I'm being ridiculously demanding lately and people are giving me what I want.
  • *Draw things on paper that are smart, leave them around when you're gone.
  • The rule—no arguing with peasants. What's a peasant? Or, to be more precise, who is a peasant? A peasant is someone who is: 1.) Ignorant, 2.) Tribal, 3.) Has no power, 4.) has a strong opinion, and 5.) refuses to consider alternative opinions or change their mind.
  • It'd be undisciplined of me to argue with this guy. So I didn't! I stopped myself and read a good book for a little while before doing some work and going to bed. Hurrah for self-discipline!
  • I'm not going to learn anything insightful by arguing with him except maybe getting a pulse on how people who don't think very much think. But I could do that by just doing some google searches and reading blogs in that space.
  • *If you don't ask for money periodically, you're likely to be underpaid.
  • Steve Friedl's "So you want to be a consultant…?" is one of the definitive essays on that consulting. He describes how it's crucial to give whoever is paying you "the warm fuzzy feeling." Part of that is letting them know what you're working on -
  • If you're doing work your boss doesn't understand, how does he know how well you're producing? Answer: He doesn't. Unless you tell him. The person who describes what they're doing and why it matters regularly will seem much, much more productive than the person who doesn't.
  • *Non-technical people frequently don't know the value of technical things. The more specialized the world gets, the less we understand roles outside of our own. There's a very, very good chance you understand your job much more than your boss, especially if he's never done your exact kind of work.
  • Which of these two line item details would you rather see from somebody you're paying real money to? Consultant #1—Email system administration … 3.25 hours. Consultant #2—Investigated email system problems per Martin; found that MS Exchange required a patch to deal with the latest Outlook IMAP queries; re-optimized all the message stores and tested with several email clients. … 3.25 hours.
  • Don't just mention the work by itself. "Did maintenance on a machine." Instead, describe the maintenance, and then add a benefit—"Did XYZ specific maintenance, which should lead to a longer life and higher output from the machine. That should save costs and increase production, as well as keeping operators safe and happy, and making us all look good."
  • Have I stressed enough that you should read many books on negotiation? I feel like I write that in any article on business. But again—go read 3-4 books on negotiation. Really, it might be one of the best things to ever happen to you.
  • Generally speaking, don't expect loyalty or pay or compensation for things you did in the past. You get loyalty and pay and compensation for things you're going to do going forwards.
  • Judd says, "Sebby, no. It's not a 'what have you done for me lately' kind of world. It's a 'what are you going to do for me going forwards' kind of world."
  • Even when someone really should "owe you one" for something you did, you'll still get much more goodwill by saying, "Nah, you don't owe me anything, it's really a pleasure working together."
  • Stress what you're going to do going forwards, not what you did in the past. If you just did something monumental for the company or your boss and you want to ask for something, ask for it right away. So if you saved the company $200 million, then you might say, "Hey, I'm really happy and honored that I was able to do that, that was really cool… boss, I was wondering if we have any bonuses that are available for people who do such massive savings? That'd be cool and I think would help inspire others to innovate and invent for the company."
  • clarification—"I don't even want to be compensated much more for it—I'm going to be bringing in lots more value/assets/sales/cash/whatever, but a moderately small raise is enough for me because I like working here so much."—you can actually ask for a lot of money after that. Say modest raise, then ask for whatever crazy amount you want to. You can also ask for non-monetary things.
  • as with anything, the easier you can make it, the more likely it is to work.
  • the non-mainstream path isn't so well-illuminated. There's not so much advice on how to walk it.
  • I barely figured out my calling in the last year or two. All I knew before that was what I didn't want, which is what normal people have. I looked at the normal person's life and was horrified, and wanted nothing to do with it.
  • all of the following are useful to more or less extent: Starting to study and develop your own ethical system Making good friends, advisors, and mentors who are strong and decent people Learning universally useful skills A few credentials Putting money in the bank Getting your credit up Studying history to learn what's possible Establishing good habits that'll carry you through life Becoming very fit and healthy Learning how to think
  • I defend my humility violently, rejecting immediately most praise I receive. That entire beautiful post you wrote, I can't stop the voice that counters, he is not describing you. He is describing the archetype of you in his mind, that only exists in the faintest inkling of your potential. What a blessing that you are able to hold such a high position in the life of such an awesome person. That is an excellent accomplishment to be proud of. What a gift to be able to give, to have the ability to call that figure to the mind of another person. I will strive to continue to make you feel that way, because I know it will strengthen you, deepen our trust, and bring about a better world. But I don't believe it.
  • You say people like me? To be a compliment, that implies one of my goals is to be liked. It is very much not, and I have had to fight to make it so.
  • So, if you really want to compliment me, please, don't call me smart or wise or strong or talented or successful. I do appreciate your support and the gift of your words, but I cannot fully accept them, ever.
  • I share this philosophically, in normal conversation I never would, and think the expression in anything but plain honesty is ugly… but truly I feel it, and would rather it stayed that way, with only me feeling it.
  • To accept myself as wise, talented, or able in any way can ONLY serve to make me defend that, which can ONLY hide the ways that I am not.
  • But make no mistake. I may make the playfully Japanese statement that my success is but a salute to your greatness. The language plays with the Japanese self abasement, which I enjoy, and the sentiment is true. But don't take that to mean that I see you as a mystical "great man", above what I myself can achieve.
  • Greatness is not something that you are. Greatness is not something you do. Greatness is something you are doing.
  • You are not alone my friend. You face your battles alone, but the war is being fought all around us. Consciousness is striving everywhere to break free of the rules that bind it. It is not important what you do or achieve. But that you do and achieve them is critical.
  • Perhaps I do not speak of how I want to be one of the greatest strategists of our age. Perhaps I should. That is a branding and marketing and communication consideration.