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Wednesday Wisdom #25: Distraction

Wednesday Wisdom #25: Distraction

This is from a blog post by Andy Lark that I came across serendipitously via an article linked to from Hacker News. Andy also says in the same post:

Improving the quality of decision making doesn’t require we completely banish the computer – but rather we put it to good use when and were we need it, and then recognise the conversation can’t happen with its glow present. Or at best, the quality of the conversation wont be what we want.

Wise words indeed. Choose your tool/weapon carefully!

I think that the drift towards distraction can be mitigated by mindfulness – as well as things like #ScreenFreeSunday and my #BelshawBlackOps. It’s about living intentionally, I guess.

The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #23: Clash of Mythologies

Wednesday Wisdom: Clash of Mythologies

This quotation is taken from Joseph Campbell’s Myths to Live By. Although written around fifty years ago, I think he’s making a good point that’s extremely applicable today. Mythology, rituals and rites are important parts of culture. I very much enjoyed the novel American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which is a modern take on all this.

The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #22: Have Double of Life’s Necessities

Wednesday Wisdom #22

This maxim, #134 in Baltasar Gracián’s The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence, could be read in an unhelpful way. But instead of reading this as a celebration of selfishness, I see this (especially in the light of his other maxims) as an exhortation to be what Nassim Nicholas Taleb would call Antifragile. Have options. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #21: Born in the right century

Wednesday Wisdom #21

I’ve decided to resurrect a series I started and then abandoned five years ago called Wednesday Wisdom. You can see the previous posts in the series here. This one is actually a lengthier version of #12.

I’m a big fan of Baltasar Gracián’s The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence. In fact, it’s the only dead-tree book I carry when I’m travelling. People wax lyrical about Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and other Stoic philosophers, but I’ve found none so applicable to modern life as the words this 17th century Jesuit priest.

The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set. All of the existing ones are quotations from Gracián, but going forward, I might mix things up a bit!

30 things I’ve learned in 30 years.

I turned 30 last month. Not only that, but I’m now a father to two children meaning that, at some point, I’ll need to pass on what some might call ‘wisdom’. Here’s 30 things I’ll be telling them based on my experience:

  1. Don’t be the first person to leave a gathering. Don’t be the last.
  2. Try not to burn your bridges, you never know when you might need to return to them. But if you do decide it’s necessary, make it spectacular with proper fireworks.
  3. In the long run, people will always spot substance over style.
  4. Alternate alcoholic drinks and soft drinks for an enjoyable night and productive morning after. Do the same when drinking coffee to avoid dehydration.
  5. Find what you like, including brands. Narrowing down your options in any given situation saves time and frustration.
  6. Ask. People can only say no, and are usually polite about it.
  7. Focus on routines and rituals. Nail these and you’re sorted.
  8. Women really do like all of that romantic stuff.
  9. Practice eloquence. People like listening to those who can put difficult concepts in layman’s terms.
  10. At the end of it all, the only person who stops you doing something is yourself. Confidence is a preference.
  11. Most people care less than you think about almost everything that you deem important. Avoid echo chambers.
  12. Don’t let your school years define you.
  13. Nobody knows what goes on inside your head until you say it or write it down.
  14. 90% of ‘success’ (as other people define it) is being in the right place at the right time, the other 10% is extremely hard work.
  15. Just as your tastebuds are renewed every 7 years, so you are not the same person throughout your lifetime. Don’t be beholden to people who would tell you otherwise. Be ruthless in separating friends from acquaintances.
  16. Exercise more than you think you need to. When you’re young you think your body will be in peak condition forever. It won’t be.
  17. Make your first experience or attempt at something the best it can be. It will usually affect how you conceptualise that thing or person from then on.
  18. Don’t believe what someone tells you because of their personality or good looks.
  19. Never trust people who smoke or gamble regularly.
  20. Endeavour to be the least knowledgeable person in the room at any given time.
  21. Learn another language (including music). It’s not only a means of expression but a different way of thinking.
  22. Find somewhere that is completely quiet and you can be undisturbed. Visit it often.
  23. Defer to authority, but only if it doesn’t mean compromising your principles.
  24. Develop a firm handshake and look people in the eye when you meet them.
  25. Seek out liminal spaces. Although sometimes times of turmoil (moving jobs, waiting for confirmation of results, etc.) they encourage both reflection and future planning.
  26. Try and explain complex things to very old and/or very young people as often as you can. It’s a valuable process for both parties.
  27. Money is important but only in the way that it flows (both in society, and at family/individual level).
  28. You are a collection of interactions and experiences. Ensure that the collection is the best it can be.
  29. Let other people boast about you and big you up (but don’t believe everything you see/read/hear)
  30. Read inspirational things often, especially quotations and proverbs. Dwell upon them.

Image CC BY-NC 96dpi

Wednesday Wisdom #20: Disreputable occupations.

This is the last in my ‘Wednesday Wisdom’ series. :-p

You can purchase an inexpensive copy of The Art of Worldly Wisdom book from Amazon or read it online for free via Google Books. The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #19: Be a person of integrity

It’s easy to swim in the same direction as the rest of the fish or to follow the wishes of the mob. What takes integrity is making a stand, drawing a line in the sand, and clinging to integrity. 🙂

You can purchase an inexpensive copy of The Art of Worldly Wisdom book from Amazon or read it online for free via Google Books. The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #18: Be common in nothing.

Fashions change and people change their colours like chameleons. Stick to what you want to do. Be original. Go against the crowd. :-p

You can purchase an inexpensive copy of The Art of Worldly Wisdom book from Amazon or read it online for free via Google Books. The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

Wednesday Wisdom #17: Prize intensity.

Seek out excellence, but also make sure you exhibit it in everything you do. Don’t settle for second best. The quickest way to excellence? Intensity. 😀

You can purchase an inexpensive copy of The Art of Worldly Wisdom book from Amazon or read it online for free via Google Books. The whole set of Wednesday Wisdom images can be found in my Creative Commons-licensed Flickr set.

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