Stuff about method are why I love this page

Some of the best conversation starters are “what would you do” scenarios. Ask a hypothetical question with friends, and you’re guaranteed some interesting answers.  The goal here is to enjoy each other’s company while letting others see more of the way your mind works.  To that end, enjoy our hypothetical questions list. You’ll see them …

Read more99 Of The Best Hypothetical Questions Ever

The post 99 Of The Best Hypothetical Questions Ever appeared first on Live Bold and Bloom.

Important Post !

Step 1: Ignore every step-by-step system for success, including probably this one

Look, I know you want to be that big badass with the sweet ass house and all the fancy letters after your name, but let’s be honest for a second. Insane, spectacular success is achieved by doing something exceptional and extraordinary.

To achieve something exceptional and extraordinary, you must—by definition—do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do. Therefore, wild, insane, spectacular success can only be achieved by actively going against what others have done and/or believing you can do things that others believe they cannot do. Therefore, anything that can accurately be codified into a step-by-step system on the internet is full of shit and not going to help you achieve this kind of success.

Do you think Steve Jobs ever sat around Googling, “How to revolutionize the way everyone communicates?” Fuck no. Do you think Thomas Edison went to the library looking for books titled, “How to build things that can change the world?”

No, they got to work on things that felt important and things that few to no other people could conceive, much less think about.

Steve Jobs pop art

The problem with a lot of these paint-by-numbers systems that you come across in these articles is that they suffer from what’s known as the “narrative fallacy.” The narrative fallacy is the human tendency to weave explanations of cause/effect into sequences of events that don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other.

For example, if you read a biography about Warren Buffett or Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt, you will inevitably spend much of the early chapters learning about their childhood. These early chapters are filled with cute and profound-sounding vignettes about their parents, their teachers, and a series of events that “caused” them to later become the kind of genius that they were.

There are two problems with this though:

  1. Whatever happened to little Albert Einstein, there were millions of other little boys who experienced the same shit, yet they did not become Albert Einstein.
  2. Just because two events in a notable person’s life appear connected does not mean that they are connected. The biographer connects them because they form a great narrative. Not necessarily because they reflect reality.

Think about it, for every event that makes it into someone’s biography, there are thousands of small, private events that are, in sum, likely just as influential, if not more than what you actually see. Therefore, these narrative devices, while they make for great books and cute articles like this one, they don’t actually help us suss out what drives incredible levels of success.

If there really is a first step to achieving wild success (and there’s probably not), then it would be this: ask yourself, “What is something critically important in the world that few people are aware of or not working on?” Then… get to work on that! 

But understand that even that is no guarantee. Because, let’s be honest, our definitions of “success” are a bunch of fairy godmother, made-up bullshit. Oh yeah… I went there. Fuck your dreams. Fuck your dreams with a cherry on top. Let’s get real…

Step 2: Understand that “success” is just something you and everyone else made up—it’s not even real

Look, most of your dreams aren’t really dreams, they’re merely imaginative over-compensations for the feelings of inadequacy you are trying to avoid in yourself.

People with an overwhelming desire for wealth or fame aren’t motivated by the pure joy of having wealth or fame. No, they have a hole in their psyche that they are trying to fill with enough stuff to not make them feel so inadequate anymore. Maybe they got pushed into too many lockers as a kid. Maybe Mom was an alcoholic and Dad was never around. Maybe they always felt like the stupid kid in class and had that one teacher who was Satan incarnate.

Whatever it is, none of us get through childhood without emotional scars (or, if you’re one of the lucky few who did, then please eat a dick casserole). Those scars cause us to see the world in a skewed, unbalanced fashion—as though everything is magically tilted against us in some imaginary way. They cause us to overestimate the value of things like sex or money or adulation or prestige to the point that our behavior becomes compulsive. These biases then cause us to suffer because they make us do stupid shit.

Ultimately, our definitions of “success” become skewed based on this funhouse mirror view of the world. Daddy was always broke and spending his money at the casino, so you grew up with an unconscious over-emphasis on money and material wealth. You feel like unless you’re bringing down at least eight-figures, then you’re a broke, miserable failure and no one will love you. As a result, you screw your own grandmother out of Christmas money because interest rates are low and you can get a better ROI if Granny cries herself to sleep at night. Congratulations, you have become a grade-A dick casserole.

(We’re just going to run with the casserole thing until it starts to get weird.)

Stylish wealthy couple on a luxury yacht
Dude, stop pretending you’re hot shit, you’re on a fucking pirate ship.

And while it may feel like your definition of success—lots and lots of money—is objective and reasonable, it’s really just you playing make-believe in your head. Plenty of people have definitions of success that have nothing to do with money—they lead happy and healthy lives. Many people who are rich feel as though they are miserable failures and that it’s never enough. There is nothing inherently “successful” about money or fame or love or anything else. It’s our minds that make it so.

That’s right, we each make up what “success” means for ourselves, and then we spend our lives measuring ourselves against that definition. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t actually define success for ourselves, we simply adopt the definitions that are handed to us by our family, environment, and culture.

When you’re a kid, you see everyone around you obsessed with honor or prestige or education or self-indulgence and you kind of just go along with it. Meanwhile, so many years go by that you forget that you went along with it. You start to believe that this is how the world operates—this is what success is.

And when you’re confronted with people who have different definitions of success, or people who point out all of the ways that your precious little definition actually doesn’t make much sense… well, it kind of freaks you out. I mean, if this thing by which you’ve measured yourself for so many years doesn’t really exist, what the hell have you been doing all your life?

That thought is often too much to bear…

Step 3: Succumb to the existential despair that comes with the realization that your self-definition is completely arbitrary and self-invented

Most people resist this realization—that their definitions of “success” are made up and largely motivated by their emotional dysfunction—for a couple reasons. One, it potentially invalidates a lot of what they’ve spent most of their adult life pursuing. Two, it’s really fucking upsetting to realize that the thing you cared about so much might not actually matter. And three, because if the things you’ve spent your whole life caring about may not actually matter… holy shit, what if nothing matters?

Yes, coming to the realization that your definitions of success were simply arbitrary and made-up by either you or the people around you can throw one into an existential crisis.

Historically, most middle-class yuppies hit Step 3 around middle age. So many have this experience in their 40s and 50s that it has become known as the “mid-life crisis.”

You spend your whole life defining success as a good job, a nice house, 2.5 kids and a dog. You work for twenty-plus years to get there and then one day you wake up and realize that you have achieved everything you ever wanted… yet you’re still the exact same sloppy, smelly motherfucker that you were twenty years ago. You don’t feel successful. You don’t feel anything different. You still get just as annoyed and anxious as you used to. You still question and doubt yourself constantly. You still feel frustrated and insecure… it’s just that those frustrations and insecurities have changed shape.

“Fuck, all that work… and for what? What do I do now?”

When you ask this question there may not be a right answer, but there certainly is a wrong answer.

The wrong answer is: “way more of what I did before.”

couple under money rain

A lot of people who have defined success as money their entire lives hit middle age, wake up with a shitload of money, have an existential crisis, and come to the conclusion that the answer must simply be more money. This is how you end up with millionaires who live in permanent emotional poverty—a sense that no matter what they do, that it’s never enough. Don’t be this person.

This “never enough” conclusion follows pretty much every worldly definition of success—money, status, prestige, fame, power, accolades. There will always be more to achieve. Therefore, it will never feel as though it’s enough. It’s like living on an extremely exhausting treadmill… except that the treadmill is stuck on an elevator to hell.

Step 4: Eat some popcorn. Drink a beer. You’re going to be okay

When thrown into the maw of an existential crisis, it’s easy to feel as though the world is coming to an end. This beautiful ideal that you spent so many years holding up as the bastion of purity and sanctity has fallen and revealed itself to be yet another illusion of your own fantasies. As a result, you feel directionless. You begin to question everything. You fall into despair. You feel as though there may be no point to anything at all.

But then something happens. Life goes on. That bonus check from work comes through, and while you still recognize that, on some cosmic scale, money is meaningless—it feels kinda good. Birthdays come and go. Vacations are still fun. That new show you watched with your partner was pretty awesome.

Hold on a second… life is actually, like, pretty good.

Slowly but surely, you begin to realize, “Wait, I don’t have to define success to have a good life!” And this epiphany is soon followed by another, more profound epiphany, “I can adopt whatever values I please!

And then your mind gets to work. What is your definition of success? What is the yardstick by which you will measure your life?

For some, it becomes some ideal—being a good parent, having integrity, practicing honesty, treating others with dignity.

For others, it’s a perspective—success is being fully engaged and appreciating each moment as it arises. There is joy and excitement to be found in any experience, and success is choosing to orient oneself towards it.

For others, the definition becomes incredibly mundane—waking up and going to work each day, cooking meals for friends, being a nice person. And amazingly, these mundane definitions of success somehow seem more effective than the ambitious world-changing definitions of your old self. They are easily achievable. They are enjoyable. And when repeated indefinitely week after week, year after year, incredible things start to happen.

Step 5: Focus on what matters now

Great achievements happen not just through grand visions of the future, but rather doing what feels most significant and important in the current moment.

Let’s return to the Steve Jobs example, as he’s a paragon for what most would consider “wild success.” Jobs didn’t sit around thinking, “What will make me as famous and successful as possible?” No, he got to work on devices that would improve his life today. The focus was on solving day-to-day problems for people.

We think of huge leaps in innovation or creativity as these massive moments of inspiration. But, in reality, they are actually a simple questioning of assumptions that are in front of us all.

Scientific breakthroughs often happen in this way. As Thomas Kuhn discusses in his famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the biggest breakthroughs in science rarely come from veterans within the academy. That’s because scientists who have built their career and prestige on the current paradigm of understanding are less likely to challenge it.

The biggest breakthroughs come from outsiders—people who have no career or prestige, people like Einstein—who look at the current assumptions and simply say, “What if this wasn’t true? What could be a better explanation?”

What we generally perceive as “wild success” after the fact, typically begins as something small, something unexpected in the moment. And, as Jobs once said, while we can look back and connect the dots, at the time, the way forward is never clear.

Ultimately, people who adopt terrible definitions of success usually do so because they are trying to give their life a sense of meaning and purpose. But, it turns out, the way to give your life a sense of meaning and purpose is to simply be engaged with the problems of the now, to work tirelessly on what stimulates and excites you today, without lofty visions of what prestige might exist for you in the future.

Because not only is this a more emotionally healthy definition of success, but it’s the definition that actually gets shit done.

Anything related to mindset is so important

WorkingHard

“Our greatest fear should not be failure but succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

Last year, pre-pandemic, I went to a three-day yoga retreat in Arizona. I’d never done such a thing before and was thinking of signing up for a longer one, so this seemed like a safe introduction.

The yoga itself was good. I enjoyed the classes and met a few nice people.

Among the group of one-hundred or so attendees, I noticed that several of them spent a lot of time working on their selfie game. Some even had a pro photographer in tow, who documented their poses, attempts at acro yoga, and bikini collections.

I got to talking with a few of the others while one extended photoshoot was taking place poolside. “Do you know who that is?” someone asked. “It’s so-and-so … they’re really famous.”

And they were famous, at least sort of. So-and-so had half a million followers on Instagram, where she posted photos of herself in swimsuits every day—and nothing else. That was it. For this, brands paid her real money to show up at their hotels and … post another photo of themselves.

Nice work if you can get it, maybe?

***

If it sounds like I’m critiquing the professional Instagram crowd, well, it’s an easy target. I’m not going to get caught up in taking hundreds of poolside photos in search of that one shot that will get maximum “engagement”—but I worry that I’m not immune from the greater problem.

The greater problem is working hard at the wrong things, getting good at something that doesn’t really matter.

The internet makes it extremely easy to devote yourself to the craft of useless work. There are entire industries and occupations that consist of nothing but useless work.

That’s why filtering can be a real challenge. I’m willing to work long and hard at something that matters, but I don’t want to spend my limited time and energy on everything else.

So that’s why I’m questioning everything these days. Beware the danger of working hard at something that has no real value!


P.S. The quote at the top has various attributions: I found it on GoodReads attributed to Francis Chan, but when Googling I saw numerous other usages going back to the 1800s, so I’m not sure who first came up with it.

Tremendous post very interesting I <3mindset

Have you ever brushed your teeth for 90 minutes straight?

Of course not. Because it doesn’t take that long to get fresh breath and a sparkling smile. Two minutes twice a day is plenty.

What if taking care of the rest of your health –– mental, emotional, and physical –– could also be that easy?

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, resident BBC Breakfast doctor and author of the internationally bestselling book Feel Better in 5, is on MarieTV today to tell us that “Yes, great health really CAN be that simple.”


It’s not repetition that wires new habits –– it’s emotion. @drchatterjeeuk
Click To Tweet


From reducing anxiety and pain to upping your energy and focus, Dr. Chatterjee shares simple, effective ways you can transform your health in 5 minutes a day.

In our conversation Dr. Chatterjee breaks down decades of medical practice into digestible “health snacks” you can use today:

4:40 — The Motivation Myth debunked.
9:01 — When to set new health goals (& why most people get it wrong).
10:16 — Amazon’s 1-Click formula for massive results with minimal effort.
19:08 — The Toothbrush Method you *must* follow for change that lasts.
25:48 — Want to raise healthier kids? The actual chart Dr. Chatterjee uses with his family.
26:17 — The crucial “health snacks” that have nothing to do with food.

If you’ve ever thought you need more time or motivation to be healthier, please watch this. A healthier mind, body, and heart is closer than you might think.

Hit play to watch now or listen on The Marie Forleo Podcast.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Try this one simple habit to fast-track the life you want and learn Todd Herman’s 5 Ways To Change Your Life & Make It Stick

Now it’s your turn. What’s one small daily habit you have that makes you feel better every day? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Remember, it’s not willpower or motivation that makes the difference. Like Dr. Chatterjee says, “Absolutely everyone can make lasting change and improve the quality of their life. Starting small works.”

You are worth it. You deserve to feel your best.

All my love 💖,

XO 

The post How to Feel Better in 5 Minutes with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee appeared first on .

Valuable Post !

WorkingHard

“Our greatest fear should not be failure but succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

Last year, pre-pandemic, I went to a three-day yoga retreat in Arizona. I’d never done such a thing before and was thinking of signing up for a longer one, so this seemed like a safe introduction.

The yoga itself was good. I enjoyed the classes and met a few nice people.

Among the group of one-hundred or so attendees, I noticed that several of them spent a lot of time working on their selfie game. Some even had a pro photographer in tow, who documented their poses, attempts at acro yoga, and bikini collections.

I got to talking with a few of the others while one extended photoshoot was taking place poolside. “Do you know who that is?” someone asked. “It’s so-and-so … they’re really famous.”

And they were famous, at least sort of. So-and-so had half a million followers on Instagram, where she posted photos of herself in swimsuits every day—and nothing else. That was it. For this, brands paid her real money to show up at their hotels and … post another photo of themselves.

Nice work if you can get it, maybe?

***

If it sounds like I’m critiquing the professional Instagram crowd, well, it’s an easy target. I’m not going to get caught up in taking hundreds of poolside photos in search of that one shot that will get maximum “engagement”—but I worry that I’m not immune from the greater problem.

The greater problem is working hard at the wrong things, getting good at something that doesn’t really matter.

The internet makes it extremely easy to devote yourself to the craft of useless work. There are entire industries and occupations that consist of nothing but useless work.

That’s why filtering can be a real challenge. I’m willing to work long and hard at something that matters, but I don’t want to spend my limited time and energy on everything else.

So that’s why I’m questioning everything these days. Beware the danger of working hard at something that has no real value!


P.S. The quote at the top has various attributions: I found it on GoodReads attributed to Francis Chan, but when Googling I saw numerous other usages going back to the 1800s, so I’m not sure who first came up with it.

Stuff like this are why I like this page

Step 1: Ignore every step-by-step system for success, including probably this one

Look, I know you want to be that big badass with the sweet ass house and all the fancy letters after your name, but let’s be honest for a second. Insane, spectacular success is achieved by doing something exceptional and extraordinary.

To achieve something exceptional and extraordinary, you must—by definition—do something that few or no other people are doing or willing to do. Therefore, wild, insane, spectacular success can only be achieved by actively going against what others have done and/or believing you can do things that others believe they cannot do. Therefore, anything that can accurately be codified into a step-by-step system on the internet is full of shit and not going to help you achieve this kind of success.

Do you think Steve Jobs ever sat around Googling, “How to revolutionize the way everyone communicates?” Fuck no. Do you think Thomas Edison went to the library looking for books titled, “How to build things that can change the world?”

No, they got to work on things that felt important and things that few to no other people could conceive, much less think about.

Steve Jobs pop art

The problem with a lot of these paint-by-numbers systems that you come across in these articles is that they suffer from what’s known as the “narrative fallacy.” The narrative fallacy is the human tendency to weave explanations of cause/effect into sequences of events that don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other.

For example, if you read a biography about Warren Buffett or Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt, you will inevitably spend much of the early chapters learning about their childhood. These early chapters are filled with cute and profound-sounding vignettes about their parents, their teachers, and a series of events that “caused” them to later become the kind of genius that they were.

There are two problems with this though:

  1. Whatever happened to little Albert Einstein, there were millions of other little boys who experienced the same shit, yet they did not become Albert Einstein.
  2. Just because two events in a notable person’s life appear connected does not mean that they are connected. The biographer connects them because they form a great narrative. Not necessarily because they reflect reality.

Think about it, for every event that makes it into someone’s biography, there are thousands of small, private events that are, in sum, likely just as influential, if not more than what you actually see. Therefore, these narrative devices, while they make for great books and cute articles like this one, they don’t actually help us suss out what drives incredible levels of success.

If there really is a first step to achieving wild success (and there’s probably not), then it would be this: ask yourself, “What is something critically important in the world that few people are aware of or not working on?” Then… get to work on that! 

But understand that even that is no guarantee. Because, let’s be honest, our definitions of “success” are a bunch of fairy godmother, made-up bullshit. Oh yeah… I went there. Fuck your dreams. Fuck your dreams with a cherry on top. Let’s get real…

Step 2: Understand that “success” is just something you and everyone else made up—it’s not even real

Look, most of your dreams aren’t really dreams, they’re merely imaginative over-compensations for the feelings of inadequacy you are trying to avoid in yourself.

People with an overwhelming desire for wealth or fame aren’t motivated by the pure joy of having wealth or fame. No, they have a hole in their psyche that they are trying to fill with enough stuff to not make them feel so inadequate anymore. Maybe they got pushed into too many lockers as a kid. Maybe Mom was an alcoholic and Dad was never around. Maybe they always felt like the stupid kid in class and had that one teacher who was Satan incarnate.

Whatever it is, none of us get through childhood without emotional scars (or, if you’re one of the lucky few who did, then please eat a dick casserole). Those scars cause us to see the world in a skewed, unbalanced fashion—as though everything is magically tilted against us in some imaginary way. They cause us to overestimate the value of things like sex or money or adulation or prestige to the point that our behavior becomes compulsive. These biases then cause us to suffer because they make us do stupid shit.

Ultimately, our definitions of “success” become skewed based on this funhouse mirror view of the world. Daddy was always broke and spending his money at the casino, so you grew up with an unconscious over-emphasis on money and material wealth. You feel like unless you’re bringing down at least eight-figures, then you’re a broke, miserable failure and no one will love you. As a result, you screw your own grandmother out of Christmas money because interest rates are low and you can get a better ROI if Granny cries herself to sleep at night. Congratulations, you have become a grade-A dick casserole.

(We’re just going to run with the casserole thing until it starts to get weird.)

Stylish wealthy couple on a luxury yacht
Dude, stop pretending you’re hot shit, you’re on a fucking pirate ship.

And while it may feel like your definition of success—lots and lots of money—is objective and reasonable, it’s really just you playing make-believe in your head. Plenty of people have definitions of success that have nothing to do with money—they lead happy and healthy lives. Many people who are rich feel as though they are miserable failures and that it’s never enough. There is nothing inherently “successful” about money or fame or love or anything else. It’s our minds that make it so.

That’s right, we each make up what “success” means for ourselves, and then we spend our lives measuring ourselves against that definition. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t actually define success for ourselves, we simply adopt the definitions that are handed to us by our family, environment, and culture.

When you’re a kid, you see everyone around you obsessed with honor or prestige or education or self-indulgence and you kind of just go along with it. Meanwhile, so many years go by that you forget that you went along with it. You start to believe that this is how the world operates—this is what success is.

And when you’re confronted with people who have different definitions of success, or people who point out all of the ways that your precious little definition actually doesn’t make much sense… well, it kind of freaks you out. I mean, if this thing by which you’ve measured yourself for so many years doesn’t really exist, what the hell have you been doing all your life?

That thought is often too much to bear…

Step 3: Succumb to the existential despair that comes with the realization that your self-definition is completely arbitrary and self-invented

Most people resist this realization—that their definitions of “success” are made up and largely motivated by their emotional dysfunction—for a couple reasons. One, it potentially invalidates a lot of what they’ve spent most of their adult life pursuing. Two, it’s really fucking upsetting to realize that the thing you cared about so much might not actually matter. And three, because if the things you’ve spent your whole life caring about may not actually matter… holy shit, what if nothing matters?

Yes, coming to the realization that your definitions of success were simply arbitrary and made-up by either you or the people around you can throw one into an existential crisis.

Historically, most middle-class yuppies hit Step 3 around middle age. So many have this experience in their 40s and 50s that it has become known as the “mid-life crisis.”

You spend your whole life defining success as a good job, a nice house, 2.5 kids and a dog. You work for twenty-plus years to get there and then one day you wake up and realize that you have achieved everything you ever wanted… yet you’re still the exact same sloppy, smelly motherfucker that you were twenty years ago. You don’t feel successful. You don’t feel anything different. You still get just as annoyed and anxious as you used to. You still question and doubt yourself constantly. You still feel frustrated and insecure… it’s just that those frustrations and insecurities have changed shape.

“Fuck, all that work… and for what? What do I do now?”

When you ask this question there may not be a right answer, but there certainly is a wrong answer.

The wrong answer is: “way more of what I did before.”

couple under money rain

A lot of people who have defined success as money their entire lives hit middle age, wake up with a shitload of money, have an existential crisis, and come to the conclusion that the answer must simply be more money. This is how you end up with millionaires who live in permanent emotional poverty—a sense that no matter what they do, that it’s never enough. Don’t be this person.

This “never enough” conclusion follows pretty much every worldly definition of success—money, status, prestige, fame, power, accolades. There will always be more to achieve. Therefore, it will never feel as though it’s enough. It’s like living on an extremely exhausting treadmill… except that the treadmill is stuck on an elevator to hell.

Step 4: Eat some popcorn. Drink a beer. You’re going to be okay

When thrown into the maw of an existential crisis, it’s easy to feel as though the world is coming to an end. This beautiful ideal that you spent so many years holding up as the bastion of purity and sanctity has fallen and revealed itself to be yet another illusion of your own fantasies. As a result, you feel directionless. You begin to question everything. You fall into despair. You feel as though there may be no point to anything at all.

But then something happens. Life goes on. That bonus check from work comes through, and while you still recognize that, on some cosmic scale, money is meaningless—it feels kinda good. Birthdays come and go. Vacations are still fun. That new show you watched with your partner was pretty awesome.

Hold on a second… life is actually, like, pretty good.

Slowly but surely, you begin to realize, “Wait, I don’t have to define success to have a good life!” And this epiphany is soon followed by another, more profound epiphany, “I can adopt whatever values I please!

And then your mind gets to work. What is your definition of success? What is the yardstick by which you will measure your life?

For some, it becomes some ideal—being a good parent, having integrity, practicing honesty, treating others with dignity.

For others, it’s a perspective—success is being fully engaged and appreciating each moment as it arises. There is joy and excitement to be found in any experience, and success is choosing to orient oneself towards it.

For others, the definition becomes incredibly mundane—waking up and going to work each day, cooking meals for friends, being a nice person. And amazingly, these mundane definitions of success somehow seem more effective than the ambitious world-changing definitions of your old self. They are easily achievable. They are enjoyable. And when repeated indefinitely week after week, year after year, incredible things start to happen.

Step 5: Focus on what matters now

Great achievements happen not just through grand visions of the future, but rather doing what feels most significant and important in the current moment.

Let’s return to the Steve Jobs example, as he’s a paragon for what most would consider “wild success.” Jobs didn’t sit around thinking, “What will make me as famous and successful as possible?” No, he got to work on devices that would improve his life today. The focus was on solving day-to-day problems for people.

We think of huge leaps in innovation or creativity as these massive moments of inspiration. But, in reality, they are actually a simple questioning of assumptions that are in front of us all.

Scientific breakthroughs often happen in this way. As Thomas Kuhn discusses in his famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the biggest breakthroughs in science rarely come from veterans within the academy. That’s because scientists who have built their career and prestige on the current paradigm of understanding are less likely to challenge it.

The biggest breakthroughs come from outsiders—people who have no career or prestige, people like Einstein—who look at the current assumptions and simply say, “What if this wasn’t true? What could be a better explanation?”

What we generally perceive as “wild success” after the fact, typically begins as something small, something unexpected in the moment. And, as Jobs once said, while we can look back and connect the dots, at the time, the way forward is never clear.

Ultimately, people who adopt terrible definitions of success usually do so because they are trying to give their life a sense of meaning and purpose. But, it turns out, the way to give your life a sense of meaning and purpose is to simply be engaged with the problems of the now, to work tirelessly on what stimulates and excites you today, without lofty visions of what prestige might exist for you in the future.

Because not only is this a more emotionally healthy definition of success, but it’s the definition that actually gets shit done.

Who else? <3self-improvement ?

WorkingHard

“Our greatest fear should not be failure but succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

Last year, pre-pandemic, I went to a three-day yoga retreat in Arizona. I’d never done such a thing before and was thinking of signing up for a longer one, so this seemed like a safe introduction.

The yoga itself was good. I enjoyed the classes and met a few nice people.

Among the group of one-hundred or so attendees, I noticed that several of them spent a lot of time working on their selfie game. Some even had a pro photographer in tow, who documented their poses, attempts at acro yoga, and bikini collections.

I got to talking with a few of the others while one extended photoshoot was taking place poolside. “Do you know who that is?” someone asked. “It’s so-and-so … they’re really famous.”

And they were famous, at least sort of. So-and-so had half a million followers on Instagram, where she posted photos of herself in swimsuits every day—and nothing else. That was it. For this, brands paid her real money to show up at their hotels and … post another photo of themselves.

Nice work if you can get it, maybe?

***

If it sounds like I’m critiquing the professional Instagram crowd, well, it’s an easy target. I’m not going to get caught up in taking hundreds of poolside photos in search of that one shot that will get maximum “engagement”—but I worry that I’m not immune from the greater problem.

The greater problem is working hard at the wrong things, getting good at something that doesn’t really matter.

The internet makes it extremely easy to devote yourself to the craft of useless work. There are entire industries and occupations that consist of nothing but useless work.

That’s why filtering can be a real challenge. I’m willing to work long and hard at something that matters, but I don’t want to spend my limited time and energy on everything else.

So that’s why I’m questioning everything these days. Beware the danger of working hard at something that has no real value!


P.S. The quote at the top has various attributions: I found it on GoodReads attributed to Francis Chan, but when Googling I saw numerous other usages going back to the 1800s, so I’m not sure who first came up with it.