Time of Death

If it were possible to know the exact timing of my death, I think I would. While being diagnosed with terminal cancer would be terrible news, I’d welcome the certainty of having 2 weeks to say my goodbyes and secure closure.

So the idea of setting your own death timetable in advance was interesting to me. I imagine that this clarity allows greater appreciation for the days leading up to the fixed date, and greater peacefulness and acceptance afterwards.

Nevertheless, I don’t see this as a plan for me. I can follow the logic of why the author made the decision for himself — he’s saying living longer isn’t necessarily better, especially if it’s for a life of elevated pain and decline. What I can’t understand is why make a decision of how long he wants to live without knowing the circumstances around the quality of life he’s giving up.

Ideally, I wouldn’t need prompts to live life to its fullest. But I do believe being mindful of my mortality is an effective reminder not to waste my time on this earth. That’s something I do believe in.

Getting Closer to Certainty

Every day, I see the disappointment on my kids’ faces when they don’t get the result they want out of life. The allure of a guarantee is particularly strong for them, especially when it comes from a parent. I get it — being told something will 100% happen is comforting.

As much as I want to ease their pain of doubt, I’m careful to avoid those type of promises.

Instead, I want to them in the habit of gathering options and selecting the one that is likely to lead to the outcome they seek. Analyze, predict, then decide.

I hope my kids someday realize that most guarantees are illusions, and it’s better to focus on increasing the odds in their favor through smart decision-making.

Creating and Consuming

I like to think of creating as taking what you have and arranging the parts to make something new. You arrange words when writing, lines when drawing, and instructions when programming. It’s both beautiful and personal.

I view consuming as an experience enabled by a thing that was made. Whether it’s your own creation or someone else’s, the triggered feelings can be powerful and lasting.

My preference is to do both creating and consuming daily, but not at the same time. I enjoy total immersion, coming up for air, then switching activities fueled by a burst of inspiration.

It’s an awesome feeling.

Is There a Drawback to Being Kind?

Maybe there are people who take advantage of that generosity, by giving very little or nothing in return. That seems like a downside.

I hope most people believe best reward of kindness is the act itself, not what was reciprocation. There’s no judgment of whether the beneficiary is deserving or not. There’s no expectation of what will be received back.

You just do good and feel good, all the time.

Earning Tomorrow

Having the trust of customers and sufficient cash flow enables a company to stay in business.

When both sides put effort into a relationship then the partnership is more resilient when problems arise.

Proper sleep, exercise, and diet leads to a longer, healthier life.

Yes, we all want to excel. But sometimes just focusing on the right things is enough to keep playing the game.

Going on Tilt Is Not Helpful

Within poker circles, money not lost is as good as money won. Put another way, you have to avoid bad decisions in addition to making good decisions.

Useful advice at the card tables, but also in stressful situations where frustration can override rational thinking.

How to Not Feel Good

I’m wondering if the most dangerous thing I can do for my self-esteem is measuring myself against other people’s standards of success.

I get to decide what matters. So do you.

Counterproductive Behavior

Criticizing others and draining their motivation with harsh words.

Punishing someone out of anger.

Throwing a fit when people perform short of expectations.

An alternative? Give others the space to share their perspective, and to approach a solution based on common ground.

Empathy and collaboration takes hard work, but produces far better results than personal attacks.

Being Right Is Overrated

Especially when you cause someone to lose face.

Positive change requires allies, not enemies. Getting on the same side isn’t possible when oversized egos are in the way.

Showing Your Work (As You Go)

Until recently, I held the belief that getting better at something is best done in private.

After all, making public mistakes is embarrassing. Performing in front of others increases anxiety while inviting criticism. Who wants to deal with that?

When I learned piano as a kid, I would practice either by myself or with my teacher, until I was ready to play my songs at a recital. That was my approach. Minimal witnesses until I achieved a certain level of competence.

I think the internet changed my perspective. These days, media content from videos, podcasts, and blog posts are produced by both experts and beginners. Any passion or interest can be shared digitally online. No matter who you are, making your work public has a number of potential benefits:

  • Your work could end up being helpful to someone else, right now.
  • You can receive useful feedback that will improve your future work.
  • You become accountable, which can elevate both your work’s quality and quantity.
  • Your work might lead to more attention, trust, and connection. Or an unexpected opportunity.

Kudos to everyone with the courage to show their work. You’re an inspiration.