“Never sell.” That’s the motto Carter Thomas wishes he had adopted 20 years ago.
In 2003, Carter took all the money he’d ever made from his summer jobs as a lifeguard — a respectable $18,000 — and bought Apple stock. That was a smart decision.
Looking back on the experience, Carter has learned a simple but profound lesson most people — like him — initially gloss over as they try to build…
Life isn’t fair, and that’s a good thing.
Volatility is your friend, because volatility means change — and only if there is a capacity for change can there be a capacity for growth.
Often, we don’t want the volatility because we fear the change will be negative. What we don’t realize is that by wishing for stability, we also wish life would limit our potential — and that’s not a sensible thing to wish for.
Rarely in life can you have it both ways, and while it’s natural to focus on protecting your downside, it’s easy to forget the upside altogether — but the potential for upside is always there. …
On any given day, your brain is either growing or deteriorating. There is no such thing as “maintaining” your mind.
When you don’t challenge your brain, that day, your mind will shrink a little. When you solve a problem or entertain a new idea, your mental ability will grow.
If you do the crossword every day, at first, it’ll make your brain sweat. Eventually, you’ll have memorized all the coded prompts, and it’ll only be a rote memory exercise. So how can you keep stretching your mind?
The answer is not to read a book a day or work crazy hours. Your brain would soon overload and demand a long break. Neither complete stagnation nor excessive learning is the answer. …
In 1957, US lawyer James B. Donovan received the most thankless task of his career: Defend Russian spy Rudolf Abel at the height of the Cold War.
Donovan was an esteemed insurance attorney and partner at his law firm. He was 41 years old, married, and had four young children. The last thing he needed was the publicity of defending the most hated man in the country — and thus becoming a close second.
Unlike the many other lawyers the government had asked before, however, Donovan did not shy away when duty came knocking on his door. …
There are two ways to be smart: One is to have a high IQ, the other is to be good at getting what you want.
The former contains an element you don’t control — genetics — and while you can read many books to make up for it, maximizing intelligence alone has little use in the real world. Being street smart, however…
In 1862, Mark Twain was stuck in a silver-mining town in Nevada. A notorious slacker, he was quickly fired from the only job available: shoveling sand. His buff roommate, however, hadn’t found work, and so Twain sent him to the mine, telling him to ask for work without pay. …
Right now, there is a journalist sitting on a panel somewhere, getting pummeled with audience questions. Unlike the panel’s discussion topics, he did not receive the questions on paper beforehand, and so he is utterly unprepared, stumbling from “umm” to “uhhh” and from poorly worded expression to hastily assembled phrase.
Meanwhile, his counterpart sits in an office, poring over a well-executed but scientifically demanding report on global warming. If only the undersecretary could explain it to her while she asked for some clarifications! With the document as her only counsel, she stands little chance of making the right decision.
If you don’t want to end up as either one of the two, according to Peter Drucker, you must answer a simple yet career-defining question: “Am I a reader or a…
The more you advance in your career, the easier each working day should become.
Not easier in the sense that you won’t make hard decisions or accomplish big goals, but easygoing in the sense that each day is straightforward, calm, and devoid of pressure.
If your workday gets harder the more you achieve, you’re trading your expert status for the wrong rewards.
A partner at a big consulting company, for example, might work even longer hours than an associate. She may constantly fret about her partner status, the high stakes in each deal, and the ill-will among her peers. That’s not independence, that’s a shark tank: You get out or you get eaten. …
Self-awareness rules productivity.
How much you can work is not determined by how hard you try, it is determined by how well you know yourself.
Hardworking people constantly fight their limitations. Smart people work with those limitations instead of against them.
The only way to maximize your output and creativity across your entire life is to do the most you can on the most number of days. …
“If you’re so smart, how come you aren’t happy?”
That’s Naval Ravikant’s challenge¹ to everyone bathing in the misery of their own intelligence. “Happiness is a choice,” he says; something you can work on, like your fitness, nutrition, or career.
Naval knows it’s a choice because he too had to make it for himself: “I was born poor and miserable, and I’m now pretty well off and very happy — and I worked at those.”
Naval also knows that’s an unpopular statement to make for two reasons:
In 1902, Remington advertised its breakthrough appliance — the first commercial typewriter — with the following slogan: “To save time is to lengthen life.”
It’s a powerful phrase, and for years, Richard Polt thought it was true. Polt is a typewriter collector, but he’s also a professor of philosophy. Eventually, he came to the following realization: “The more time you save, the more time you waste, because you’re doing things that are only a means to an end.”
I don’t like email. For years, I’ve layered hack upon hack to minimize the time I spend in my inbox. I’ve disabled all email notifications. I’ve set up filters so certain emails never show up as unread messages. I’ve created snippets I can copy and paste. I even made a rule to never check email before 11 AM, and I try to batch-process it whenever possible — and yet, I still spend time in my inbox every day. I waste less time, but I’m still stuck doing something I don’t enjoy, because none of my measures got to the heart of the…