Filed under "Life Lessons"

In recent years, we’ve lost the feeling of mystery and wonder at the world around us. Other than the deep oceans, we’ve seemingly discovered every piece of the natural world.

I’ve often felt that there are no more grand secrets to be found in the world, and that the only remaining mysteries are left to the most brilliant scientists, thinkers, and engineers among us.

Peter Thiel describes this feeling in his book, Zero to One:

Why has so much of our society come to believe that there are no hard secrets left?

It might start with geography. There are no blank spaces left on the map anymore. If you grew up in the 18th century, there were still new places to go. After hearing tales of foreign adventure, you could become an explorer yourself.

Today, explorers are found mostly in history books or children’s tales.

But as Peter goes on to say, we’re not done finding secrets in the world around us. We haven’t yet solved all of the great mysteries and problems in the world.

From a business perspective, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp discovered the secret that people are eager for affordable and accessible ways to get where they need to go. This discovery led to the founding of Uber.

When secrets are found, what we’re discovering are opportunities for change and continued innovation.

We can’t let ourselves become cynical at our surroundings. When we open our minds to physical, mental, and spiritual ideas, we just may uncover new secrets.

What will you do with the secrets you discover?

Filed under:

February 17, 2016

You have to be wrong

Sometimes, for true change to happen in our lives, we have to face the thing many of us fear the most.

Let’s consider a quote from Mark Twain:

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

I generally hate being wrong. In fact, I’ve worked hard to weed out most of the wrong ideas and behaviors that I’m aware of up to this point in my life. At this moment, I can only think few small things that I might be wrong about.

And yet, in reality, I’m still wrong about over half of everything I know.

You don’t grow as a person, improve your mindset, refine processes, or become in any way better by being right all the time. It’s not until we realize our mistakes and admit them to ourselves that we can begin to make improvements in our lives.

Take pleasure in realizing you’re wrong, even when it’s difficult.

When someone calls you out on your mistake, they deserve your thanks.

Revel in your wrongness, and earn your ability to be right.

Filed under:

February 16, 2016

Certainly I Can

Here’s a great rule to adopt in your own life.

A quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

The heart of this message is in showing the confidence necessary to accomplish something difficult. Whether or not you believe in your ability to carry it out, it’s important to realize that, given enough time, anyone can solve almost any problem.

But it begins with confidence.

Never before have we lived in a time when we’re most equipped to gain the knowledge necessary to accomplish almost any task. Having access to Google is one of the key tools of some of the smartest people I know.

Want to learn to change your own oil? There’s hundreds of YouTube videos for that.

Want to learn a new language?

Want to learn to code?

Next time you’re faced with a difficult task and the question of whether or not you can do it, there’s a simple answer.

Certainly I can.

Filed under:

I’m going to say something that you might not like, but you need to hear it.

Most people don’t care about your life.

With the rise of social media, we’ve become increasingly self-centered. Look at your Twitter timeline, and you’ll regularly see dozens of “look at me and what I’m doing and what I like!” tweets. I’m guilty of it, too.

If you too join in on this trend of constant self-promotion, you’ll often be greeted with the same amount of attention you give the majority of those other self-promoting folks – silence.

It’s not just a social media problem. Look at most of the conversations we have with one another, and you’ll see how often we instantly jump into talk about ourselves as a way to fill the silence. Most of us don’t know any other way of carrying a conversation. When you continuously attempt to build connections and friendships this way – totally devoid of interest in others – you’re doomed to start making enemies out of people over time.

There’s actually a very simple solution to this problem. It takes the form of becoming truly interested in other people, and showing this in our behaviors and conversations.

Dale Carnegie describes this in his famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. As Mrs. Charles Northam Lee puts it: “To be interesting, be interested.” Ask questions that the other man will enjoy answering. Encourage him to talk about himself and his accomplishments.

Remember that the man you are talking to is a hundred times more interested in himself and his wants and his problems than he is in you and your problems. His toothache means more to him than a famine in China that kills a million people. A boil on his neck interests him more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that next time you start a conversation.

So if you want people to like you, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Taking interest in others is one of the healthiest social behaviors that you can develop in your own life. When we train ourselves to truly look at things from other peoples’ point of view, work towards understanding these views, and maintain a genuine interest in them, you’ll learn more about yourself and the world around you.

Filed under: