“Ramon Van Meer (@RamonVanMeer) joins Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) to discuss why he prefers to buy businesses rather than build them, his best tools for new business research, how to make sure you’re not buying a lemon, learning to code in a week, and much more.”
I am continually fascinated by buying internet businesses. This was a great discussion on how to start, different resources and specific companies like Centurica that can be helpful in the due diligence.
Podcast – Tim Ferris: #541: Eric Schmidt – The Promises and Perils of AI, the Future of Warfare, Profound Revolutions on the Horizon, and Exploring the Meaning of Life: #541: Eric Schmidt
I am going to listen to this one again. It is a great overview of the different phases AI has gone through and what we may expect. I particularly appreciated the part on how AI can be used to benefit society. A lot to digest and think about.
A deep dive into the Metaverse economy. This is a great listen for those trying to understand the developing world that pays users to play. Helping me understand what are truly digital assets and how to value/think about going forward.
“The Practice: Shipping Creative Work”
Review and highlights
most recent book, “The Practice: Shipping Creative Work” captures a
central theme in all his writings, podcasts, presentations, and blogs. The
professional becomes a professional only when consistently putting themselves
on the line by creating consistent content and sharing it regularly with ship
This is a
helpful guide, reminder, and motivator to anyone looking to start a practice in
creating their own art. When re-reading my highlighted sections I was quite
inspired to do “something”. It is a call to action like many of his works.
Seth breaks his
work into 219 specific thoughts, each its own point but all supporting
the overall credo.
Some of my
highlights and thoughts:
Shipping, because it doesn’t count if you don’t
Creative, because you’re not a cog in the system.
You’re a creator, a problem solver, a generous leader who is making things better by producing a new
Seth is clearly
calling EVERYONE to action and making us accountable to the lives we have been
gifted and the responsibility we have to make our work matter.
I think the
following is the most crucial reminder for anyone embarking on creative work:
practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the
output, because the practice is all we can control.
practice demands that we approach our process with commitment. It acknowledges
that creativity is not an event, it’s simply what we do, whether or not
we’re in the mood.
We are all conditioned to only focus on
the outcome. That defines our success and the drives us to hide and supports
our fear. This way of thinking is very freeing. Seth is reminding us of the
freedom we have to not worry about the outcome. Our commitment, consistency,
and sharing are all drivers of our true impact.
the work we’d like to do, the reward comes from the fact that there is no
guarantee, that the path isn’t well lit, that we cannot possibly be sure it’s
going to work.
This is Art
painting, but art: the act of doing something that might not work, simply
because it’s a generous thing to do.
make change happen. You’re an artist as soon as you announce you are.
is what we call it whenwe’re able to create something new that changes
you want to change your story, change your actions first.
Another key to understanding Seth’s
work is to understand that we are all “artists”. He refines the definition by
explaining that art is about creating anything that can change someone. If we
think of our work, our passion, our voice as “art” we can be free to be more
generous in being our natural selves. It is not something forced, it not
something of perfection. It is something we create because our voice needs to
create and share ourselves in some small way.
Finding Your Passion
passion is simply the work we’ve trusted ourselves to do.
strategy of “seeking your calling” gives you a marvelous place to hide.
what you love” is for amateurs. “Love what you do” is the mantra for
Passion is an excuse, something we do
to delay doing the work or “practice”. This is revealing of human nature. It is
so easy to wait for your passion to find you. We are obligated to start the
work and passion will follow. This can be really counterintuitive and not
something we were naturally made to practice in formal education settings.
practice has nothing at all to do with being sure the work is going to be
successful. That’s a trap.
Start Where You Are
only choice we have is to begin. And the only place to begin is where we are.
Simply begin. But begin.
goals aren’t based on the end result: they are commitments to the process.
of planning, simply become.
earns you patience, because once you trust yourself, you can stick with a
practice that most people can’t handle.
world conspires to hold us back, but it can’t do that without our permission.
The first take-away from this book is
“just start”. It reminds me of a book I read of the same title. Many
“overnight” successes are people who started small with experiments. They got
feedback from these small starts and adjusted their journey. Too much planning,
trying to minimize risk holds us back from doing anything. Seth suggests that
by just committing to one small practice will ensure we eventually hit a
Hoarding Is Toxic
multiplies. Scarcity subtracts.
The Best Reason to Say “No”
might be that the most generous thing to do is to disappoint someone in the short
doesn’t always mean saying yes to the urgent or failing to prioritize.
impossible to be appropriately generous to everyone. Change someone. And, as
Hugh MacLeod said, “Ignore everyone.”
Shun the Nonbelievers
to make work that matters a great deal to someone.
Selling Is Difficult
what if you recast your profession as a chance to actually solve someone’s
Where Is Your Hour?
difficult part is becoming the kind of person who goes to the gym every day.
manage to find an hour every day to bathe, to eat, to commute, to watch
Netflix, to check your email, to hang out, to swipe at your phone, to read the
news, to clean the kitchen.
least once you’ve said or done something insightful, generous, and original.
least once you’ve solved a problem or given someone a hand by shining a light.
practice simply asks you to do it more than once, to do it often enough that it
becomes your practice.
Setting a time is the key to starting a
practice. Put it on your calendar and keep it sacred. If you miss once, don’t
Generous Doesn’t Mean Free
often, we come to believe that giving it away, removing money from the
interaction, is the most generous thing we can do. But that’s not the case.
supports our commitment to the practice.
is how our society signifies enrollment.
person who has paid for your scarce time and scarce output is more likely to
value it, to share it, and to take it seriously.
Choose Your Clients, Choose Your Future
please the masses, you must pander to average.
clients demand better work.
clients want you to push the envelope, win awards, and challenge their
clients pay on time.
clients talk about you and your work.
I could not agree
with this more. No matter who your clients are, what your product is, or what
your market is, people are people. Choosing who you want to serve will help
drive your art. Great clients give you more than stable cash flow. They can
challenge you, teach you, and help make your work even more powerful.
Who Can You Reach?
find ten. Ten people who care enough about your work to enroll in the journey
and then to bring others along.
You Can’t Reach Everyone
More and More Specific, Please
What’s It for?
Consistency Is the Way Forward
sameness. Not repetition. Simply work that rhymes.
sounds like you.
make a promise and we keep it.
Where Do We Put the Tired?
only difference between the tens of thousands of people who finish the marathon
and those that don’t is that the finishers figured out where to put their
tired. And the same goes for our art.
motion is the only sort of motion that we’re interested in.
we stop worrying about whether we’ve done it perfectly, we can focus on the
don’t write because we feel like it. We feel like it because we write.
Write until You’re No Longer Afraid to
about your audience, your craft, your challenges.
about the trade-offs, the industry, and your genre.
about your dreams and your fears.
about what’s funny and what’s not.
to challenge yourself.
on a regular schedule.
isn’t the same as talking, because writing is organized and permanent.
puts you on the hook. Don’t you want to be on the hook?
This is a great place to start! Take
one bullet above each day and start writing daily, at a given time, and share
everything. These are great prompts and will help keep you going.
Chop Wood and Carry Water
do the work without commentary. Chop wood, carry water. Anchor up. “Yes, and.”
the parts you can’t control.
You Don’t Need More Good Ideas, You
Need More Bad Ideas
focus on making something worth sharing. How small can you make it and still do
something you’re proud of?
who will draw up plans. People who will go first.
promise to ship, we don’t promise the result.
will I tell my friends? Begin with genre. Understand it. Master it. Then change
A Roundup of Tips and Tricks for
the work every single day.
daily. Write daily. Ship daily. Show up daily.
your streak and maintain it.
about your streaks to keep honest.
the smallest viable audience. Make it for someone, not everyone.
shortcuts. Seek the most direct path instead.
and embrace genre.
out desirable difficulty.
talk about your dreams with people who want to protect you from heartache.
The best swimmers bring a different attitude to their training. They choose to
find delight in the parts that other swimmers avoid. This is their practice.
the powerful, horizontal organization, each of us decides what to learn next,
who to talk with next, and what to move up on the agenda.
new freedom requires us to find a habit that will lead us to share our voices,
even when it’s inconvenient or frightening.
Overall, this book is a calling for
everyone and anyone. Setting the practice consistently without excuses and
providing a structure for success. Seth is an inspiration not because he writes
about his success or others. He is an inspiration because he looks at the world
in a unique way and reminds us that we are all humans who have a responsibility
to be generous with our true selves.
of Money (Morgan Housel) – Brief Book Review (February 2020)
Morgan Housel’s “Psychology
of Money” is easy to read and typical to his style in sharing his point of
view through specific stories. This is a compact book on behavioral
finance; however, not relying on new ground. One of the main themes is that
financial success is not a hard science that relies on complex math-based
skills. It is a soft skill where success relies more on our behavior than what
we know. He explores behavioral biases humans have when it comes to money,
overreliance on studying extreme examples of success and failure, how humans
assess risk, and several others.
The stories are
meant to re-enforce the role our behavior plays in investment and life success
and outlines ways we can better frame decisions we make. Some of the more
useful discussions were discussions on compounding, “The first rule of
compounding is to never interrupt it unnecessarily.”; the role that “tails”
play in outcomes, “Tails drive everything.”; and timely, “Bubbles
form when the momentum of short-term returns attracts enough money that the
makeup of investors shifts from mostly long-term to mostly short-term.”
Also, what we learn when we are surprised by something, we want to make sure we
don’t repeat that “mistake”. However, “…the world is difficult to
anticipate. That’s the correct lesson to learn from surprises: that the world
is surprising. We should use past surprises as an admission that we have no
idea what might happen next.”
is no new material in this book. However, Morgan does a great job of breaking
down some of the key behavioral limitations all people face and how we can make
better decisions in regard to investing, saving, and succeeding. This is a
great book also for a teenager or those just learning about finance/investing.
These are my favorite parts of this insightful look into how we think and make decisions:
In life and business, the person with the fewest blind spots wins.
This book is about avoiding problems.
Contrary to what we’re led to believe, thinking better isn’t about being a genius. It is about the processes we use to uncover reality and the choices we make once we do.
First, we’re so afraid about what others will say about us that we fail to put our ideas out there and subject them to criticism. This way we can always be right. Second, if we do put our ideas out there and they are criticized, our ego steps in to protect us. We become invested in defending instead of upgrading our ideas.
Most geniuses—especially those who lead others—prosper not by deconstructing intricate complexities but by exploiting unrecognized simplicities.
What you need is to understand the principles, so that when the details change you are still able to identify what is really going on. This is part of what makes the Great Mental Models so valuable—understanding the principles, you can easily change tactics to apply the ones you need.
The map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect.
In order to use a map or model as accurately as possible, we should take three important considerations into account: Reality is the ultimate update. Consider the cartographer. Maps can influence territories.
A circle of competence cannot be built quickly.
Three key practices needed in order to build and maintain a circle of competence: curiosity and a desire to learn, monitoring, and feedback.
First principles thinking is one of the best ways to reverse-engineer complicated situations and unleash creative possibility.
Socratic questioning generally follows this process: Clarifying your thinking and explaining the origins of your ideas. (Why do I think this? What exactly do I think?)
Challenging assumptions. (How do I know this is true? What if I thought the opposite?)
Looking for evidence. (How can I back this up? What are the sources?)
Considering alternative perspectives. (What might others think? How do I know I am correct?)
Examining consequences and implications. (What if I am wrong? What are the consequences if I am?)
Questioning the original questions. (Why did I think that? Was I correct? What conclusions can I draw from the reasoning process?)
If they end up with a “because I said so” or “it just is”, you know you have landed on an assumption that may be based on popular opinion, cultural myth, or dogma. These are not first principles.
Second-order thinking is thinking farther ahead and thinking holistically. It requires us to not only consider our actions and their immediate consequences, but the subsequent effects of those actions as well.
Two areas where second-order thinking can be used to great benefit: Prioritizing long-term interests over immediate gains. Constructing effective arguments.
Probabilistic thinking is essentially trying to estimate, using some tools of math and logic, the likelihood of any specific outcome coming to pass.
Think about not only what you could do to solve a problem, but what you could do to make it worse—and then avoid doing that or eliminate the conditions that perpetuate it.
Simply invert, always invert, when you are stuck.
“Anybody can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” Charles Mingus
Simpler explanations are more likely to be true than complicated ones. This is the essence of Occam’s Razor, a classic principle of logic and problem-solving.
With limited time and resources, focusing on simplicity when all others are focused on complexity is a hallmark of genius, and it’s easier said than done.
Hanlon’s Razor – We over-conclude based on the available information. We have no trouble packaging in unrelated factors if they happen to occur in proximity to what we already believe.
“To be steady while the world spins around you. To act
without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude –
exterior and interior – on command.”
I finished this book in late February and the irony of its
timing was not lost on me. It provides a clear insight into the unharnessed
power of being still. Not something I am very good at, so caught
my interest from the beginning. How can being still enhance our individual
effort and help me get the most out of my life and work? In today’s confusing
time of semi-isolation from our routines and daily systems, the message was
well appreciated. I have already introduced several of these ideas into my new
quarantine routine and hope they will become permanent habits.
Below are a few of my favorite passages, highlights and
“All of humanity’s problems,” Blaise Pascal said in 1654,
“stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room lone.”
“People don’t understand that the hardest thing is
actually doing something that is close to nothing.”
“Remember, there’s no greatness in the future. Or
clarity. Or insight. Or happiness. Or peace. There is only this moment.”
“Make what you can of what you have been given. Live
what can be lived. That’s what excellence is.”
LIMIT YOUR INPUTS
“A wealth of information creates a poverty of
attention” – Herbert Simon
In his mediations, Marcus Aurelius says, “Ask yourself
at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?”
EMPTY THE MIND
philosophical predecessor, was in fact speaking about sports when he said, “If
we’re anxious or nervous when we make the catch or throw, what will become of
the game, and how can one maintain one’s composure; how can one see what is
We’ve all experienced
that—Don’t mess up. Don’t mess up. Don’t forget, we say to ourselves—and what
happens? We do exactly what we were trying not to do!
Wisdom is a sense of
the big picture, the accumulation of experience and the ability to rise above
the biases, the traps that catch lazier thinkers.
Put yourself in tough
situations. Accept challenges. Familiarize yourself with the unfamiliar.
Confident people know
what matters. They know when to ignore other people’s opinions. They don’t
boast or lie to get ahead (and then struggle to deliver).
Confidence is the
freedom to set your own standards and unshackle yourself from the need to prove
insecurity. Don’t feed delusions of grandeur. Both are obstacles to stillness.
Be confident. You’ve earned it.
Set thy heart upon
thy work, but never on its reward. Work not for the reward; but never cease to
do thy work.
What we need in life,
in the arts, in sports, is to loosen up, to become flexible, to get to a place
where there is nothing in our way—including our own obsession with certain
We’ll get the
stillness we need if we focus on the individual steps, if we embrace the
process, and give up chasing.
We’ll think better if
we aren’t thinking so hard.
The essence of
greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.
Virtue, the Stoics
believed, was the highest good—the summum bonum—and should be the principle
behind all our actions.
Virtue is not
holiness, but rather moral and civic excellence in the course of daily life.
When we’re going into
a tough assignment, we can say to ourselves over and over again, “Strength and
Virtue, on the other
hand, as crazy as it might seem, is a far more attainable and sustainable way
Give more. Give what you didn’t get. Love more. Drop the
old story. Try it, if you can.
“When you realize
there is nothing lacking,” Lao Tzu says, “the whole world belongs to you.”
If you believe there
is ever some point where you will feel like you’ve “made it,” when you’ll finally
be good, you are in for an unpleasant surprise.
You will never feel
okay by way of external accomplishments. Enough comes from the inside.
ACCEPT A HIGHER POWER
Because Step 2 isn’t
really about God. It’s about surrender. It’s about faith.
You have to believe
in something. You just have to. Or else everything is empty and cold.
It’s not that we need
to believe that God is great, only that God is greater than us.
Being close to and
connecting with other people challenges every facet of our soul.
We have to be active
for the stillness to have any meaning.
THE DOMAIN OF THE
biographers, would write, “The balance he maintained between flat-out work and
creative and restorative leisure is worth study by anyone holding a top
“Every night,” he
said, “I try myself by court martial to see if I have done anything effective
during the day. I don’t mean just pawing the ground—anyone can go through the
motions—but something really effective.”
Epicurus once said
that the wise will accomplish three things in their life: leave written works
behind them, be financially prudent and provide for the future, and cherish
“The advantages of
nonaction. Few in the world attain these.” —THE DAODEJING
“No, because if I
said yes to you, I’d have to say yes to everyone.”
When we know what to
say no to, we can say yes to the things that matter.
TAKE A WALK
Life is a path, he
liked to say, we have to walk it.
Get lost. Be
unreachable. Go slowly.
BUILD A ROUTINE
The greats know that
complete freedom is a nightmare. They know that order is a prerequisite of
excellence and that in an unpredictable world, good habits are a safe haven of
Discipline, then, is
how we maintain that freedom.
GET RID OF YOUR STUFF
“For property is
poverty and fear; only to have possessed something and to have let go of it
means carefree ownership.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“If a man can reduce
his needs to zero,” he said, “he is truly free: there is nothing that can be
taken from him and nothing anyone can do to hurt him” (Seneca)
It’s difficult to
understand yourself if you are never by yourself.
BE A HUMAN BEING
Good decisions are
not made by those who are running on empty.
GO TO SLEEP
FIND A HOBBY
Leisure is not the
absence of activity, it is activity. What is absent is external justification –
you can’t do leisure for pay, you can’t do it to impress people. You have to do
it for you.
Leisure can be
When we take
something relaxing and turn it into a compulsion, it’s not leisure, because we’re
no longer choosing it. There is no stillness in that.
We must be
disciplined about our discipline and moderate in our moderation.
“To see people who
will notice a need in the world and do something about it…Those are my heroes.”
– Fred Rogers
Action is what
ON TO THE FINAL ACT
The prognosis is
terminal for each and every person and has been from the moment we were born.
Our heart beats without fail for an uncertain amount of time, and then one day,
suddenly, it is still.
interesting book which explores how talent is developed. The author (Daniel
Coyle) illustrates using examples and studies done that suggest talent has less
to do with your genetic and that it’s actually born through the biological
process of building and strengthening the biological structure, Myelin.
is a mixture of proteins and phospholipids that form a whitish insulating
sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are
conducted. As described in the book, the more we fire a particular circuit, the
more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent
our movements and thoughts become. “Skill is myelin insulation that wraps
neural circuits and that grows according to certain signals.”
studies “talent hotbeds” to find out what creates these specific areas of
greatness; whether soccer players in Brazil or women golfers in Korea. How they
seemingly come out of nowhere and produce amazing hotbeds of talent. He uses
specific examples of how greatness can be grown through “deep practice”.
order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the
circuit suboptimally, this is the essence of “deep practice”. This is
how talent is grown; through specific highly targeted, error-focused process.
best example of deep practice is the game of “futsal”, popular among Brazilian soccer
players. Futsal is played with a ball half the size of a regulation soccer ball
and is twice as heavy; and played on a field that is much smaller. This allows
the players to experience deep practice in two important ways.
smaller field provides greater interaction; and requires greater precision of
movements. The heavier ball requires players to become more creative and
skilled with their ball skills. When the players play on a regulation filed,
their deep practice shows because they feel like they have much more room.
practice requires lots of energy. This leads us to the second element of the
talent code, “ignition”.
only way to develop talent is to make tons of mistakes, and correct mistakes
throughout practice, mistakes need to be embraced. Without making mistakes, you
cannot build enough or strong enough myelin, and you cannot be truly skilled.
supplies the energy, while deep practice translates that energy over time into
forward progress. Ignition is typically a response to a signal that arrived in
the form of an image.
book suggests that talent requires deep practice, deep practice requires vast amounts
of energy, and primal cues trigger huge outpourings of energy.
KIPP school is used as an example of how the ignition can be triggered. The
primal cues the school provides immediately to new students helps them fall
into three categories: You belong to a group, your group is together in a
strange and dangerous new world, that new world is shaped like a mountain, with
the paradise of college at the top. The only way to reach them is to change the
way they see themselves.
book highlights some examples of “master coaches” that have mastered methods
for providing the ignition in their students. The examples don’t fit the
stereotypical behaviors of what one may think of when they think of effective
coaches. Coyle highlights, John Wooden (UCLA) who uses an “error-centered,
well-planned, information-rich” approach. Wooden would tailor his message in
short, pinpointed specific instructions, “crisp passes, really snap them.”
Importantly, he listened way more than he spoke and was not known for giving
loud impassioned speeches.
“talent whisper” Coyle compared to Wooden was a piano teacher, Mary Epperson. She
was a good teacher because she could create and sustain motivation. She did
this by treating children as miniature adults and doesn’t shy away from pointed
truths. She praises just enough, provides specific instruction and keeps the
students engaged in doing it until it is perfect.
book provides good support for the author’s thesis that the development of
myelin through specific deep practice can lead to talent development. The
“ignition” needed for this type of deep practice is something I believe needs
further study; how it develops in some and how we can use it to develop talent
for specific people. It would also be interesting to study how much genetics
play a role if myelin development is truly the key to mastering talent.
Marketing has long been synonymous with “advertising”. This mispresents
the true responsibility of marketing. Real
marketing is genuine, generous and about true connections.
Seth’ book highlights the importance for everyone (and everyone is
truly a ‘marketer’) to make this shift in how they think about the responsibility
Here are some of the most impactful ideas from the book and what they
mean to me:
going to spread the word because it’s important to you. They’ll only do it
because it’s important to them.”
I am not aware of a more important statement about the key to
successful marketing, networking, selling, influencing. This is a key reason
why people fail in marketing. It is against human nature to shift the focus
from “me” and focus on “someone else”. I believe that the closer you can get to
truly understanding the person you are trying to market to the more successful
you will be. It seems the most effective way is to market something worth
feelings, status, and connection, not tasks or stuff.”
This is the
essence of understanding who you are looking to serve. Understand how they want
to feel and what will make them feel that way. Give them that! Don’t market leveraging
lower prices, or products that are easy for you to leverage to the masses. Start
with how you want people to feel and work backwards on trying to find out how
you can make them feel good, give them a higher sense of status, and connect
them more genuinely.
up—regularly, consistently, and generously, for years and years—to organize and
lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make.”
in the book Seth connects marketing to making change. If you can make real
change, you can effectively market. Showing up consistently is key because it builds
trust. When people trust you, they want to be influenced by you and they want
to follow you.
makes more sense to begin with a hurdle you can leap.”
else, marketing takes practice. Starting with a huge obstacle can be counterproductive.
Better to start with something you can build early success and confidence with
and build from there. The more important part is to start. Start when you are
position on the map where you, and you alone, are the perfect answer.”
This is key,
the combination of unique and something valued gives you the strongest marketing
starting point. This is the work, finding this position. Spend your time exploring
where you can find your unique position on the map.
“Your work is
not for everyone. It’s only for those who signed up for the journey.”
This is related to the last quote, find a unique spot where you can be
the perfect answer for the perfect few. Making something wonderful for just the
“few” is more rewarding, more generous, and definitely more genuine.
instead of talking about prospects and customers, we could call them your
Teaching without expecting anything back can be a very effective marketing strategy. Teach what you want to learn, chances are these people you seek want to learn something similar. These small changes in our mindset, how we define our work (students vs. prospects) can create real changes in our success.
I could not wait to finish this book so I could share with as many people as possible. Our society has over emphasized someone’s “natural” talents and has not given enough credit to “effort”. Most importantly consistently applied effort through struggle, something referred to as “grit”.
I strongly recommend this book for anyone. The principle of “grit” is a mindset that anyone can accept as soon as they accept its powerful effect.
This helped me see more clearly why I have always seen the best results in my life from something I have always referred to as “consistency”. This can be described as the principle of “just keep showing up”; no matter the task or what you were trying to accomplish. Any success I have had has been directly related to how committed to doing something consistently; it has never been because I was born with some specific skill.
Here are some highlights, my full book notes attached:
Talent is no guarantee of grit.
Society’s focus on “talent” distracts us from something that is at least as important, and that is EFFORT. Effort counts twice.
Talent is how quickly your skills improve when you invest effort. Achievement is what happens when you take your acquired skills and use them.
Will Smith: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me. You might be all of those things. You got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple.”
Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.
Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.
There’s no single gene for grit, or indeed any other psychological trait.
Imperative that you identify your work as both personally interesting and, at the same time, integrally connected to the well-being of others.
Without experimenting, you can’t figure out which interests will stick, and which won’t.
So, parents, parents-to-be, and non-parents of all ages, I have a message for you: Before hard work comes play.
If you’d like to follow your passion but haven’t yet fostered one, you must begin at the beginning: discovery.
Unlike the answers to crossword puzzles, there isn’t just one thing you can do that might develop into a passion. There are many. You don’t have to find the “right” one, or even the “best” one—just a direction that feels good.
Type of practice matters:
(Spelling Bee study): Deliberate practice predicted advancing to further rounds in final competition far better than any other kind of preparation.
Spellers rated deliberate practice as significantly more effortful, and significantly less enjoyable, than anything else they did to prepare for competition.
Grittier kids reported working harder than other kids when doing deliberate practice but, at the same time, said they enjoyed it more than other kids, too.
When you have a habit of practicing at the same time and in the same place every day, you hardly have to think about getting started. You just do.
However they say it, the message is the same: the long days and evenings of toil, the setbacks and disappointments and struggle, the sacrifice—all this is worth it because, ultimately, their efforts pay dividends to other people.
Grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life.
“Imagine yourself fifteen years from now. What do you think will be most important to you then?”
There’s an old Japanese saying: Fall seven, rise eight.
How do grit paragons think about setbacks? Overwhelmingly, I’ve found that they explain events optimistically.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
If you experience adversity—something pretty potent—that you overcome on your own during your youth, you develop a different way of dealing with adversity later on.
When kids are playing sports or music or rehearsing for the school play, they’re both challenged and having fun. There’s no other experience in the lives of young people that reliably provides this combination of challenge and intrinsic motivation.
But only for kids who participate in activities for two years rather than one.
Following through on hard things teaches a young person powerful, transferable lessons.
In our family, we live by the Hard Thing Rule.
This brings me to the second part of the Hard Thing Rule: You can quit. But you can’t quit until the season is over, the tuition payment is up, or some other “natural” stopping point has arrived.
In other words, you can’t quit on a day when your teacher yells at you, or you lose a race, or you have to miss a sleepover because of a recital the next morning. You can’t quit on a bad day.
And, finally, the Hard Thing Rule states that you get to pick your hard thing.
A fourth requirement will be added: each girl must commit to at least one activity, either something new or the piano and viola they’ve already started, for at least two years.
“That there’s a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity—the basic human drive to fit in—because if you’re around a lot of people who are gritty, you’re going to act grittier.”
“Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”
Supportive and demanding parenting is psychologically wise and encourages children to emulate their parents.
“Motivation is more like a skill, akin to reading or writing, that can be learned and honed.”
“To motivate ourselves, we must feel like we are in control.”
“I hand out a number of compliments, and all of them are designed to be unexpected.”
“We praise people for doing things that are hard. That’s how they learn to believe they can do them.”
on Optimizing Teams….
“‘Psychological safety’, how do you convince people to feel safe while also encouraging them to be willing to disagree?”
Individual intelligence didn’t correlate with team performance.
It was the norms, not the people that made teams so smart.
Two behaviors that all the good teams shared.
• First, all the members of the good teams spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as “equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.”
“As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,
• Second, the good teams tested as having “high average social sensitivity”—a fancy way of saying that the groups were skilled at intuiting how members felt based on their tone of voice, how people held themselves, and the expressions on their faces.
“Leaders should not interrupt teammates during conversations, because that will establish an interrupting norm.”
Making a decision and moving on to the next question feels productive.
A high need for closure has been shown to trigger close-mindedness, authoritarian impulses, and a preference for conflict over cooperation.
Even the plants’ senior executives, the consultants found, had fallen prey to an obsession with achievable but inconsequential goals, and were focused on unimportant short-term objectives rather than more ambitious plans.
“You get into this mindset where crossing things off your to-do list becomes more important than asking yourself if you’re doing the right things
If you’re being constantly told to focus on achievable results, you’re only going to think of achievable goals. You’re not going to dream big.
If you do know how to get there—it’s not a stretch target.
We spend hours answering unimportant emails instead of writing a big, thoughtful memo—because it feels so satisfying to clean out our in-box.
on Decision Making…
The paradox of learning how to make better decisions is that it requires developing a comfort with doubt.
Losers, Howard said, are always looking for certainty at the table. Winners are comfortable admitting to themselves what they don’t know. In fact, knowing what you don’t know is a huge advantage—something that can be used against other players.
Creative papers had at least one thing in common: They were usually combinations of previously known ideas mixed together in new ways.
Within biology, this has become known as the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, which holds that “local species diversity is maximized when ecological disturbance is neither too rare nor too frequent.
Second, recognize that the panic and stress you feel as you try to create isn’t a sign that everything is falling apart. Rather, it’s the condition that helps make us flexible enough to seize something new.