Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know. We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.
But the true value of telling stories, of being able to share a human experience, is not being interesting – it is the joy of sharing itself, of participating in a conversation and being less alone. This is what the Internet and its users should be aiming to do. A good medium isn’t about sounding interesting – it’s about sharing stories and traveling places you never knew existed.
I grew up with the notion that if you scored the most points or received the highest grades, it meant that you were the best or the smartest. What I didn’t realize was that I was just competing against others, trying to appease my coach or please my teachers. I wasn’t learning to compete with myself.
I’d rather not discuss how many times I’ve been on the receiving end of “too late.” It stings. It’s painful. I’ve missed some amazing opportunities sitting right in my email inbox because of fear. They were served on a silver platter and I couldn’t, and didn’t, respond. Even worse, I’ve had the great ideas, sometimes, years before others. However, fear has held me back. It’s prevented me from pursuing those dreams and I get angry when I see others achieving the successes I felt were mine
Let's start with memory, and put off procrastination for the time being. (Appropriate, right?) There are a number of ways that your memory can get in the way of a good writing session when you're in the middle of a project, mostly because you've remembered too much. But when you're just starting out on a project, when you're in that early stage where you're still trying to figure out what you want to write in the first place—at this stage, it's the frailty of memory that causes problems.
Don’t dismiss creative pursuits for fear of failing at them. You almost certainly will at first. Practice is the only way to improve, so if you enjoy a form of expression, do it and do it often! Don’t be limited by a fear of failure. Instead, be motivated by a passion for expression and betterment.
We now live in a world of infinite information. Most of our systems weren’t designed for this world. Even if you had the best recommendation system ever, and everyone stopped published interesting stuff tomorrow, you’d never get through all the content you’re interested in. You need a place to start.
It’s not necessarily how much you consume, but how you consume that makes the difference. Instead of fighting to win the battle to consume all the information you can, come to terms with the fact that you lost the war. This will make consumption much more enjoyable and coincidently, help you do better work.
Ignorance was once the enemy, the challenge now is to carve out a place in your life for an autonomous ‘you’. Discovering how to do this will itself challenge your capacity for focus, the resilience of your stretched attention, as a meta-dilemma over which gods somewhere must be chuckling in their presumably app-free condition…
Think of culture as a cofounder that is present when you are not. You are decisive, communicative, and respectful but its your culture that that helps everyone know how to act when you are out of the room. Give that voice clarity and authority.