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Life & Philosophy

Be wary of advice

The fallacy of giving advice is that what works for one person rarely works for another.

Advice is unique and personal, a collection of warnings we tell ourselves about how to avoid past mistakes, synthesized and abridged for a recipient.

“Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.”

Bernard Williams

The best advice we can give someone is to encourage them to develop their own opinions of the world. Our experiences are neither guides nor answers; everyone deserves the freedom to their own way.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Visualizing the practice

Visualize the practice, not the result.

Actions have goals built into them, giving you a better chance at achieving what you want.

Success happens to the idea, not at the force of aim. Because it’s all about the sustained head work and heart work it takes to get there.

“Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greaterthan oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Effort necessitates results. It is a trigger for experiences.

“As you travel through life, let this be our goal: keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.”— Steven Pressfield

Everything is practice.

art via giphy

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Quotes Writing

The World According to Garp

Below is an excerpt from John Irving’s 1978 novel The World According to Garp:

Garp threw away his second novel and began a second novel. Unlike Alice, Garp was a real writer—not because he wrote more beautifully than she wrote but because he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.” Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions. Garp did not write faster than anyone else, or more; he simply always worked with the idea of completion in mind.

Finish what you start, or throw it away and start something you’ll finish. Ship it.

On the other hand, you can put it aside and let it marinate.

Everything comes to use, eventually. You can only connect the dots looking backward after the experience.

art via giphy

Categories
Life & Philosophy

We need the prodding

We need the prodding, we need Mom’s extra push. If it weren’t for other people like Mom, Dad, a coach, brother, or teacher advising us what we should do, important experiences and future cues would go missing.

This is not to say that following advice is a prerequisite to success. For one, instructions are subjective — everyone’s life trial is unique. As thought leader Steve Garguilo chimed:

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. 

Steve Garguilo

But without the extra context learned from having taken someone’s word and followed through, we wouldn’t know whether something was good or bad.

Sometimes we need to listen first, act, and then deduce. It is only then can we say with confidence what we really think. Experience works like a muscle: the more sets we over time, the stronger our intuition gets.

By using our heads and shoring up our gut, we can make future decisions that enable us to meet our maker. And provide our best judgment to other important folks along the way.

gif via @lookhuman

Categories
Books Productivity & Work Uncategorized

‘Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you’

Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.

— Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Categories
Books Quotes Writing

Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan shares her three rules for writing

In her book Why We Write, 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan shares three writing tips for aspiring writers:

Number two is my favorite piece of advice.

Writing is like a muscle that needs to be worked out again and again, kind of like brushing your teeth. After you establish the habit, you should feel a bit empty when you don’t do it. Make a schedule and stick to it.

1. Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do. If what you really love to read is y, it might be hard for you to write x.

2. Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.

3. You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.

Jennifer Egan, Why We Write