Archives for January 2017

January 27, 2017 - Comments Off on Commonplace #0046

Commonplace #0046

Write the book you want to read.

The brain works in mysterious ways. By stepping aside, finding other projects and actively ignoring something, our subconscious creates space for ideas to grow.

Diversity is insurance of the mind.

While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.

Mindless activity is the enemy of deliberate practice.

Deliberate practice always follows the same pattern: break the overall process down into parts, identify your weaknesses, test new strategies for each section, and then integrate your learning into the overall process.

You are not beaten until you admit it.

Do your duty as you see it, and damn the consequences.

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

Never stop being ambitious. You have but one life, live it to the fullest of glory and be willing to pay any price.

Always do more than is required of you.

By perseverance, and study, and eternal desire, any man can become great.

January 15, 2017 - Comments Off on Commonplace #0045

Commonplace #0045

Don’t invest too much time engaging with the wrong people. When approaching someone, begin with a litmus test. Similar to those color-changing strips from science class, these social tests quickly tell you about a person’s personality. Organizational psychologist and famed Wharton professor Adam Grant suggests asking people, “How much does the average employee steal from a crash register in a year?” The higher the number the more likely they are to be dishonest. The reason, Grant explains, is that people assume others are like them, and will act as they would. This is of course not definitive but suggestive. If you want to find out if a person is adventurous, ask them: “What’s the wildest thing that you have done on a dare?” If you wave at someone from across the room and they wave back, they’re friendly, you can approach. One way to tell if someone’s self-centered is to ask them to draw an E on their forehead. According to Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino, author of Sidetracked, if the E faces you, they focus on others, if it faces them, they’re probably self-centered.

January 1, 2017 - Comments Off on Commonplace #0044

Commonplace #0044

Is that a dream or a goal? Because there’s a difference.

A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in first.

Curiosity is anti-fragile, like an addiction it is magnified by attempts to satisfy it.

Our libraries are not cloisters for an elite. They are for the people, and if they are not used, the fault belongs to those who do not take advantage of their wealth. If one does not move on from what merely amuses to what interests, the fault lies in the reader, for everything is there.

Personally, I do not believe the human mind has any limits but those we impose ourselves. I believe that creativity and inventiveness are there for anybody willing to apply himself. I do not believe that man has even begun to realize who he is or what he can become. So far he has been playing it by ear, following paths of least resistance, getting by — because most others were just getting by too. I believe that man has been living in a Neanderthal state of mind. Mentally, we are still flaking rocks for scraping stones or chipping them for arrowheads. We simply must free the mind from its fetters and permit it to function without restraint. Many of us have learned to supply ourselves with the raw materials and then allow the subconscious to take over. This is what creativity is. One must condition oneself for the process and then let it proceed.

Imagine how our coffee situation might change if there was a public list where each person wrote their name when they took a cup of coffee, and maybe put a star next to it when they made a pot of coffee. Then you would know who left this last bit of black goo (and think a bit less of them) or who made that gleaming new potful (and think a bit better of them). The solution lies in aligning self-interest a little more closely with the community interest.

The leaders who make the biggest difference in office, and change millions of lives for the better, are the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate—the ones who recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.

Redefining leaders radically change the political landscape, not by seeking centre ground but by moving the centre in their direction.

Transformational leaders go a step further by fundamentally transforming the political or economic system itself. They are the ones who leave their country a completely different place than they found it.

Tell me something I don’t know.