You

“Meaning is what’s left when everything else is stripped away.”

Cool quote from this TED talk about almost dying and then living.

Meaning is not found in the material realm; it’s not in dinner, jazz, cocktails or conversation. Meaning is what’s left when everything else is stripped away.

There are lots of way to interpret that quote, of course.

One way I look at it is this: life is about who you are. If everything in your life suddenly disappeared and you were dropped into an empty field in an unknown country, what person would be standing there?

I’m not talking about some crazy Naked and Afraid survival scenario. Suppose you have some money and some clothes. But not much else. Who is that person standing in the field? What does he know? What does he want? How does he move forward? How will he impact the world around him? That’s who you are.

I’m not actually sure if that’s what that quote meant ☝️, but there’s my take. 😆

This goes with Aristotle’s idea that the meaning of life is what you do — how you impact the real world. As humans, we are uniquely gifted with smart brains and “rational faculty”. We are happiest when we use these minds for some purpose in the world.

A poet should write, a teacher teach, and a doctor heal. Not only should each person do their thing, but they should do it well.

I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty inspirational. 😊

You

5 Things You Don’t Need to be Happy, Fulfilled, and Successful

This Medium post has lots of juicy points.

👉 5 Things You Don’t Need to be Happy, Fulfilled, and Successful

It’s so good that I am just going to summarize it and quote it a lot right here per my own goals, but you should read it for yourself.

You Don’t Need A Bunch of Money – But making money encourages personal growth and gives you freedom and peace of mind. And the personal growth keeps you away from bad jobs, bad bosses, and bad commutes.

You Don’t Need to “Find Your Passion” – Just be good at something. Passion comes from being good at something, not the other way around. Being good at decent job can get you autonomy, a sense of meaning, and a positive work environment.

If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).

Cal Newport

You Don’t Need Everyone to Like You – “The best way to get other people to like you is to learn how to like yourself.”

You Don’t Need (Or Even Want) to Be Famous – “What can you pursue if fame isn’t the answer? Pursue building a tribe instead.”

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.

Jim Carrey

You Don’t Need Your Life to be a Movie – “You want a feeling of accomplishment, growth, and the pride that comes from following through with your goals.”

The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.

Seth Godin
creativity · You

Doing Great Things is Boring 🤷🏻‍♂️

It’s all about consistency, process, and patience… I know, yawn. But also, wow!

Interesting story here about how this guy changed his life in one year.

👉 How I Changed My Life’s Trajectory in Only 1 Year

For him, it came down to a few simple behaviors applied consistently.

  • Being curious
  • Meditating
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Saying no
  • Deemphasizing external approval
  • Doing these things consistently

I’m trying to do the same, but I would add exercising, playing music, and goofing around with the kids to the list as well. 😛


See also

This article about going slow and sticking to the process.

The moment you start enjoying the process, you’ll realize that this is what life is all about.

And this article about consistency.

The world is brimming with ideas, but few act as vessels.

Creating is not simply laying out the concept, but adapting through implementation as many times as needed until it finally works.

You

The Spacing Effect: Forgetting Makes It Stick

I love this simple idea about learning: information sticks better if you learn it in smaller chunks over time and forget a little bit in between.

It’s the exact opposite of cramming like we did in college. 😆

👉 Teach Yourself How to Learn Better

As it turns out, forgetting the information for a while helps makes it stick for longer if you revisit it later. 🤯. It may seem odd, but it make sense.

If you force your brain to bring back knowledge it’s starting to forget, then it puts a sticker to remind itself it shouldn’t forget.

This same idea came up here a few months ago in a different post. And seeing it again now, fittingly enough, really solidifies the concept for me. 🙃

creativity · You

Genius Happens When You’re Not Thinking

I love the idea that your brain makes its most interesting breakthroughs and connections when you’re not actively thinking. It is well stated in this article.

👉 Your Unconscious Mind Is a Supercomputer. Use It to Achieve Breakthroughs.

With really interesting problems, you usually don’t need to think harder. You need to relax and let you mind do its thing while you sleep or do errands. That is when genius strikes. ⚡️

Creativity is all about making interesting connections. Albert Einstein called it “combination play.”

In my experience, this unconscious combo play is important for figuring out what do to and not so much how to do it. Once the what is clear in your mind, it can be followed by all the conscious thinking and hard work to get it done. Unfortunately, that part does not happen in your sleep. 😉

As a side note, there is also a beautiful space when your mind is so immediate and present that is simply doesn’t have time to think. This is what I like about improv. And also baseball.

You can’t think and hit at the same time.

Yogi Berra (maybe)
Music · You

MGMT and Buddha Agree on Solutide

With a little more time to myself right now, it’s good to have reminder that this is not a bad thing. So say two opposing forces: MGMT and Buddah. 🤷🏻‍♂️

I don’t love all the hedonistic fantasy of the MGMT song Time to Pretend, but the song does rock, and this line stands out:

I’ll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone.

And apparently Buddha had given being alone even more thought. 🤔 This video is worth three minutes if you’re feeling lonely.

You

Get Ready For The Roaring 2020’s

I’ve been saying for a few months that I really want to make the most of this awful pandemic. Stuck at home with time on your hands, it’s a great chance to focus and reinvent yourself. So I loved seeing this post touting the idea that we’re just getting ready for the next phase of our lives individually and collectively.

Prepare for the Golden Age: Why The Next Decade Will be Awesome

This post says that people will thrive in the coming years if they have the right attitude and beliefs, or dwindle if they let the changes in the world beat them down.

Many of us have spent the past year not just coping with the present moment, but getting better. When the conditions are back to normal, we’re already going to have momentum. The golden age is upon us.

Is this just wishful thinking? Maybe so, but your beliefs tend to become your reality, so this is a good starting point.

And as more people believe this, the more real it will be for everyone.

The world has been through much worse than the current situation and come out better on the other end. Make the most of it.

I just feel something in the air. I feel an awakening. I have this strong conviction that a large portion of society is just done with the pessimistic outrage culture nonsense. We’re ready to take control of not just the discourse, but our own lives.

Happy roaring 2020’s.

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You

The Smarter You Become, the Less You Speak (Keanu Reeves Edition)

With Keanu Reeves as an example, this post explores the power of being purposefully quiet.

👉 Be Aware of the Quiet Ones like Keanu Reeves — They Are the Ones That Actually Make You Think

Quiet people make you think.
Thinking brings clarity.
Thinking can lead to change.

I actually didn’t know Keanu had this side to him. But it is helpful to be reminded by a Hollywood star of all people that being quite and thoughtful is a good thing.

Being quiet: brings people closer, breeds curiosity, interrupts the pattern, and allows time for reflection.

Not bad, Keanu. Maybe he is the cooler, calmer alter-ego to Russell Brand?

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