Sixty 8 advices by Kevin Kelly

  1. Learn how to learn from those who disagree with you, or even offend you. See if you can find truth in what they believe.
  2. Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.
  3. Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out extraneous and the ordinary and that prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is much better.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of that same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.
  5. Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them is there more? Until there is no more.
  6. A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.
  7. Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at.
  8. Treating a person to a meal never fails and is so easy to do. It’s powerful with old friends and it’s a great way to make new friends.
  9. Don’t trust all-purpose glue.
  10. Reading to your children regularly will bond you together and will kick-start their imaginations.
  11. Never use a credit card for credit. The only kind of credit, or debt, that’s acceptable is debt to acquire something whose value will increase over time, like a house. The exchange value of most things diminishes or vanishes the moment you purchase them so don’t be in debt to losers.
  12. Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.
  13. Extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence, to be believed.
  14. Don’t be the smartest person in the room. Hangout with and learn from people smarter than yourself. Even better, find smart people who will disagree with you.
  15. Rule of 3 in conversation: to get to the real reason ask a person to go deeper than what they have just said. Then again. And then once more. The third times answer is close to the truth.
  16. Don’t be the best. Be the only.
  17. Everyone is shy – other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they want you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. So, go ahead.
  18. Don’t take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are just like you – occupied and distracted. Try again later. It’s amazing how often a second try works.
  19. The purpose of the habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth, to flossing.
  20. Promptness is a sign of respect.
  21. When you’re young spend at least six months to one year living as poor as you can, owning as little as you possibly can, eating beans and rice in a tiny room or tent; to experience what your worst life style may be. That way, when you have something in the future that you want at risk, you won’t be afraid of the worst-case scenario.
  22. Trust me there is no “them”.
  23. The more that you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. So to be interesting – be interested.
  24. Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving away too much.
  25. To make something good just do it. To make something great just redo it, redo it, redo it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.
  26. The Golden Rule will never fail you. It is the foundation of all the other virtues.
  27. If you’re looking for something in your house and then you finally find it, when you’re done with it, don’t put it back where you found it. Put it back where you first looked for it.
  28. Saving money and investing money are good habits. Small amounts of money invested very regularly for many decades, without deliberation, is one path to wealth.
  29. To make mistakes is human. To own your mistakes is divine – nothing elevates a person higher than quickly admitting and taking personal responsibilities for the mistakes that you make and then fixing them fairly. If you mess up – fess up. It’s astounding how powerful this ownership is.
  30. Never get involved in land war in Asia.
  31. You can obsess about serving your customers, clients, audiences or you can obsess about beating the competition. Both work, but of the two, obsessing about your customers will take you much further.
  32. Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful once said: 99% of success is just showing up.
  1. Separate the process of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start the creator mind must be unleashed from judgment.
  2. If you’re not falling down occasionally, you’re just coasting.
  3. Perhaps the most counterintuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you’ll get. Understanding that is the beginning of wisdom.
  4. Friends are better than money. Almost anything that money can do friends can do better, in so many ways. A friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.
  5. This is true: it is hard to cheat an honest man.
  6. When an object has lost, 99 percent of the time it is hiding within arm’s reach of where it was last seen, so search in all possible locations in that radius and you’ll find it.
  7. You are what you do – not what you say, not what you believe and not how you vote, but what you spend your time on.
  8. If you lose or forget to bring a cable or adapter or charger check with your hotel. Most hotels have a drawer full of cables and adapters and chargers that others have left behind and probably have the one that you want. If you can – claim it after you borrow it.
  9. Hatred is a curse that does not affect the hated – it only affects the hater. So, release a grudge as if it was a poison.
  10. There is no limit on better. Talent is unevenly distributed but there is no limit on how much we can do with what we start with.
  11. Be prepared – when you are 90% done any large project, like a house, a film, an event, an app, the rest of the myriad details will take a second 90% to complete.
  12. When you die you take absolutely nothing with you except your reputation.
  13. Before you are old, attend as many funerals as you can bear and listen. Nobody talks about the departed’s achievements. The only thing people mentioned is what kind of person you were while you were achieving.
  14. For every dollar you spend purchasing something substantial, expect to pay $1 in repairs maintenance or disposal by the end of its life.
  15. Anything real begins with a fiction of what it could be. Imagination therefore is the most potent force in the Universe and a skill you can get better at. It’s the one skill in life that benefits from ignoring what everybody else knows.
  16. When crisis and disaster strike, don’t waste them. No problems – no progress.
  17. On vacation go to the most remote place on your itinerary first, bypassing the cities. You’ll maximize the shock of otherness in the remote and then, later, you’ll welcome the familiar comforts of a city on the way back.
  18. When you get an invitation to do something in the future ask yourself: Hm, would I accept this if it was scheduled for tomorrow? Not too many promises will pass that immediacy filter.
  19. Don’t say anything about someone in an email that you would not be comfortable saying to them directly because, eventually, they will read it.
  20. If you desperately need a job you are just another problem for a boss. But, if you can solve many of the problems the boss has right now, you are hired. To be hired, think like your boss.
  21. Art is in what you leave out.
  22. Acquiring things will rarely bring you deep satisfaction but acquiring experiences will.
  23. Rule of 7 in research: you can find out almost anything if you’re willing to go seven levels. If the first source you ask doesn’t know then you ask them who you should ask next and so on, down the line. If you’re willing to do that to the seventh source you will almost always get your answer.
  24. How to apologize? Quickly. Specifically. Sincerely.
  25. Don’t ever respond to a solicitation or proposal on the phone. The urgency is a disguise.
  26. When someone is nasty or rude or hateful or mean with you, pretend that they have a disease. That makes it easier to have empathy towards them which can often soften the conflict.
  27. Eliminating clutter makes room for your true treasures.
  28. You don’t really want to be famous. Read the biography of any famous person.
  29. Experience is overrated – when hiring, hire for aptitude, train for skills. Most really amazing and great things have been done by people doing them for the very first time.
  30. A vacation + a disaster = an adventure.
  31. Buying tools? Start with buying the absolute cheapest tools you can find. Upgrade the ones that you use a lot. If you wind up using something as a tool for a job buy the very best you can afford.
  32. Learn how to take a 20 minute power nap without embarrassment.
  33. Following your bliss is a recipe for paralysis if you don’t know what you are passionate about. A better motto for most youth is to master something. Anything. Through mastery of one thing you can drift towards extensions of that mastery, that bring you more joy and eventually you’ll discover where your bliss is.
  34. I’m positive that in 100 years much of what I take to be true today will be proved to be wrong, maybe even embarrassingly wrong. And I try really hard to identify what it is that I am wrong about today.
  35. Over the long term the future is decided by optimist. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore the many problems we create. You have to imagine improving our capacity to solve those problems.
  36. The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This would be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.

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