Tribe of Mentors

... This leads us to look for paths of most resistance, often creating unnecessary hardship in the process.

... what happens if we frame things in terms of elegance instead of strain?

it worked enough to matter, and that’s what matters.
Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.
... things you initially swatted away like a distraction can reveal depth and become unimaginably important.

... correct your course that all-important one degree.

... you’re not really allowed to get unfocused.

The disease of our times is that we live on the surface.

staying there for a long, long time.

Suffering is a moment of clarity, when you can no longer deny the truth of a situation and are forced into uncomfortable change.
... so many bad ideas that lead to authoritarian consequences begin with good intentions.
Integrity is the only path where you will never get lost.

The crisis with all creative work is that it requires us to trust that generative voice inside us while also silencing the negative ones. ... It’s so easy to mix them all up and end up quietly abandoning our ambitions.

Closing the day by reading the same thing that I did when I was young gives my life a semblance of beautiful sense and order.

And, inevitably, because I’m committing to maximum quality, better opportunities arise to replace the ones I’ve passed up.

... either my blood’s trapped in my head and I need to go exercise, or, more likely, I’ve overcommitted myself and my brain knows there’s no way I can reasonably get done everything I’ve set out to do.

... that most things that are universally accepted are mediocre and boring.

The first no is by far the easiest and cleanest.

One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity. ... It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.

Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.

I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.

... a dialogue that we all have running inside our minds between the fatalist and its opposite, the master. ... 1 percent tipping point often comes through a bit of trickery on the part of the master.

What I really wanted was a spiritual house, a place inside me where I could feel fulfilled at any time.

... think the first time you go through something like that you don’t know how to emerge. And when you finally do, it gives you a perspective you could never have [otherwise]
you always do the best you can in the moment, and then it either connects or it doesn’t.
By having to explain it to a “reader” with no prior knowledge, I’m forced to identify and parse all the elements and nuances of what’s really going on.

... if I can’t tell which one is the better choice, then for all intents and purposes, they’re equally good choices.

The fact is that when two extreme opinions meet, the truth lies generally somewhere in the middle.
Just because I lose doesn’t mean I failed, and just because I won doesn’t mean I succeeded—not when you define success and failure around making good decisions that will win in the long run. What matters is the decisions I made along the way, and every decision failure is an opportunity to learn and adjust my strategy going forward. By doing this, losing becomes a less emotional experience and more an opportunity to explore and learn.
... a language is a doorway to another world—its culture, sensibility, aesthetic, and humor. ... 
Language is intimate, and there is no way I could do the work I do if I had to communicate in translation.

I seek out people to help me regain my focus, my confidence, and my clarity. ... In moments when you don’t believe in yourself, you need other people who believe in you.

What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt—it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

The principle: the power of empty space—or responding to aggression with a void.

Just like you walk through the air and you swim through the water, you work through your attention. ... Full attention is where you do your best work, and everyone’s going to be looking to rip it from you. Protect and preserve it.

... nothing refreshes me like walking in a new direction, toward something or somewhere I haven’t headed before.

There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

Macro patience, micro speed.

I’m not worried about my years, because I’m squeezing the _ out of my seconds, let alone my days.

It is this ability to wait quietly for the right moment, rather than rushing about aimlessly, that can lead even an ambitious success-hunter to capture the biggest game.

Execution is strategy—it’s all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory.
Excellence is the next five minutes or nothing at all.
... not to follow the cows of life who drift aimlessly and suck purpose and joy out of the journey.

Hold tight, focus the effort, dig deeper, and never give up. It isn’t rocket science but it is hard, as most people, when it gets tough, start to look around for an excuse or a different tactic. Often, though, when it starts to get tough, all it requires is for you to get tougher and hold on.

It feels uncomfortable to spend time and resources trying to figure out exactly what the problem is—we want to jump to fixing way too fast.

Embrace uncertainty, groundlessness, and fear as the place where you’ll really learn and grow. Go into that place, rather than shrinking from it.

If you continue to optimize your mastery, you’ll eventually arrive at your passion.

... realize we are all just standing on piles of collective fiction.

Newness is seen as a liability.

Your instinct, your inner child, your soul, all of those know what’s good for you and the world.

The best kind of teaching is an articulation of what we already know, but don’t know how to put into words or, most crucially, how to live.

It comes from feeling whole, which is innate to us, hidden underneath our fears and cultural conditioning and self-judgments.

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise, instead, seek what they sought.

“The great majority of that which gives you angst never happens, so you must evict it.” Don’t let it live rent-free in your brain.

A failure is a collection of small mistakes that haven’t been identified or corrected along the way.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.

Either you’re in, or you’re in the way.

Things to ignore: what other people or businesses are doing. When you’re not looking at what’s in front of you, you could have a very tragic misstep. That’s why racehorses have blinders on. If they look to the left or right, not only will they end up hurt, but everyone else will, too.

When you make a little progress four times a year over 28 years, you’re going to be pretty good at what you do.
They don’t realize that if you make the whole body strong in every aspect that you possibly can over a period of just three years, you’ve created an impenetrable machine that won’t get hurt, that won’t break down, that you can have for the rest of your life because you followed what you’re supposed to at the beginning.
I tend to think of [things] as a big whole and get overwhelmed. If I break it down, put it down on paper, then look at it a half hour later, all of those smaller things don’t seem like a big deal. ... When I write it down on paper, it looks so much easier, because the fear in my mind is externalized.

... differentiating my sense of self from my busy, driven, and chronically dissatisfied mind.

The trick will be balancing that expertise with fresh out-of-the-box thinking.

Find a little courage and reach out to a mentor you admire.

I will always be better off consuming a smaller amount of high-quality information than trying to consume it all.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I complain to my wife about it. After listening patiently for about 30 seconds, she generally tells me to STFU. Then I meditate or work out.

Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.

Ignore pessimistic thinking and pessimistic thinkers.

The less you need positive feedback on your ideas, the more original design regions you can explore, and the more creative and, in the long term, useful to society you will be.

... people fear or at best ignore what they do not understand.

... the loss of the opportunity to possibly impress someone is far outweighed by what I learn when I ask more questions.

But originality only happens on the edges of reality. And working on that line is always dangerous because it’s only a short step to disconnected insanity. So resist temptations and advice to play to the middle. The best work always comes from pushing the edge.

We create or co-create our experiences in life, and each day is a new opportunity to be fully engaged in the present moment. It’s the present moment where glimpses of our potential are revealed and expressed. A living masterpiece is not drawn on a canvas or etched in stone or inked by pen. It’s the pursuit and expression of applied insight and wisdom.

There are no radical creative choices that do not carry with them an inherent risk of equally radical failure. ... There is nothing more powerful than failure to reveal to you what you are truly capable of. Avoiding risk of failure means avoiding transcendent creative leaps forward. You can’t have one without the other.

Mastery is the mysterious process by which those challenges become progressively easier and more satisfying through practice.

Though it seems as if we’re making no progress, we are turning new behaviors into habits.

Life tends to shift events around so that everything you want to accomplish can be accomplished.

Huxley’s genius consists in showing that you could control people far more securely through love and pleasure than through violence and fear.

The power broker in your life is the voice that no one ever hears. How well you revisit the tone and content of your private voice is what determines the quality of your life. It is the master storyteller, and the stories we tell ourselves are our reality.

What would this look like if it were easy? In a world where nobody really knows anything, you have the incredible freedom to continually reinvent yourself and forge new paths, no matter how strange. Embrace your weird self.