10 Quotes I’m Pondering On And Revisiting
Some quotes strike a chord immediately when you read them. Others don’t make sense in the beginning but change your perspective when you return to them later.
I’ve read quotes that fall in both brackets. And they’ve changed the way I look at life and at myself. Here are 10 quotes I’ve pondered over and revisited, and a few reflections on them.
“Reading after a certain age diverts the mind from too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into the lazy habit of thinking, just as the man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.” — Albert Einstein
Reading is the cheapest form of education.
But only reading makes us lazy in that we start assuming that thinking is the same as doing. We build a world that looks great in our heads but is disconnected from the real world. We start living others’ experiences instead of making our own.
It’s good to read; it’s better to mindfully apply what you read.
Learn new things. Then turn those learnings into stories worth reading for others.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it’s low and we reach it.” — Michelangelo
Many people swap challenges that scare them for goals that are easy to achieve, even if they don’t enjoy them.
They’re convinced they cannot achieve great things, so they settle for mediocre (or ‘realistic’) goals. As Tim Ferriss points out, this makes competition for ‘realistic’ goals the fiercest while it stays lonely at the top.
Here’s another thing about scary goals: they’re a sign of what’s important for you.
Use what frightens you as your North Star. Let it guide you towards building a meaningful life.
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” — Archilochus
The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in combat. Conversely, the less you sweat in practice, the more likely you are to bleed in combat.
The results you experience are less of an outcome of your expectations and more of an outcome of how well you trained your mind and body.
Train yourself to be able to perform at the level you expect. Maybe you won’t use all your skills when you enter the arena. But it’s better to be overprepared and not have to use your skills than be underprepared and get caught off-guard.
“I will have to remember ‘I am here today to cross the swamp, not to fight the alligators.’” — Rosamund and Benjamin Zander
It’s easy to lose sight of the real reason for doing something and focus on everything else. Such a state of mind is compulsive (it keeps running in circles).
We open Instagram to check a friend’s post but can’t stop scrolling. We get trapped in writing futile emails and attending pointless meetings instead of doing the best work we can do.
The only way to achieve your goal is to maintain a conscious mind, one that thinks about moving forward.
Stay conscious. Keep your eye on the prize. Fight only as many alligators as you have to for crossing the swamp, no more.
“Most people need more consistency than they need intensity.” — James Clear
Intensity is writing a book manuscript in a month. Consistency is writing two pages every day. Intensity is killing it in each workout for a month. Consistency is not missing a workout for six months.
Intensity is good once in a while. But try to keep it up all the time and you’ll run out of it.
A better approach is to be consistent. Show up regularly, do it for the long term, and reap the rewards of compounding.
Consistency is the best investment you can make in yourself.
“When we’re faced with a bunch of choices, sometimes it makes sense to act like we have none.” — Seth Godin
An abundance of choices leads to a scarcity of decisions. Analysis paralysis is a popular term for this condition. And it’s this analysis paralysis that gets in the way of us starting our journey or giving up early.
The simplest way to make progress is to identify what’s important and work on it like a donkey. Treat your other choices as if they’re not available.
“The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a fad.” — President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Company.
I don’t know whether Ford’s lawyer heeded this advice, but we all know whether the automobile remained a fad.
If you’re dead sure that you know how the future will play out, bright chances are you’re wrong.
Have strong opinions, but hold them weakly. You’ll do well if you don’t listen to your ego.
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” — Marie Curie
Leaving the world slightly better than it was when you arrived is the mark of a life well-lived.
You can earn a lot of money and enjoy every luxury, but the satisfaction that comes from being useful eclipses all that.
You have it in you to make a difference. Don’t let the ability go to waste.
“You cannot convince someone to see something that they do not want to see, no matter how much you know it would improve their lives. You have to love and accept them exactly as they are today. If you cannot do that, you have to let them go and find their own way, in their own time, if they ever choose to do so. Otherwise, you’ll be giving them the power over your happiness, too.” — Doe Zantamata
You can help people win their battles, but you can’t fight their battles for them.
We all embark on our own journeys. Let people travel on their journeys while you travel on yours.
Not losing your sh*t when people cannot see your perspective even if it will help them doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or you love them any less.
“It’s more important to study success than failure, since you’d like to replicate only the former.” — Richard Hamming
Studying failure tells you what not to do, but it’s not necessary that doing the opposite will guarantee success.
Instead, it’s better to learn from the experts, to study their success. They’ve worked out the process, the 20 percent tasks that yield 80 percent of the results.
Replicating their processes won’t just fast-track your learning, it’ll also shorten your time and effort to reduce your goals.
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