I feel like I’ve witnessed more callus and harmful human interactions in the last several days than I have in the last year.

Name-calling, shaming, shouting — online and offline.

While we can’t change the behavior of those around us, we can always choose how to respond.

Choosing to be kind and compassionate may not subdue all the conflict around you, but it has a good chance of making at least one person’s day brighter.

And maybe that’s enough.

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In his 112-page manifesto titled Do the Work, Steven Pressfield writes “when an idea pops into our head and we think, ‘No, this is too crazy,’… that’s the idea we want.

A perfectly reasonable person might ask the perfectly reasonable question: “why on Earth would someone pursue an idea so crazy that most people wouldn’t bother giving it the time of day?”

Rory Sutherland, who serves as Vice Chairman and head of the behavioral sciences group at Ogilvy, writes the perfect response in his book Alchemy: “the fatal issue is that logic always gets you to exactly the same place as your competitors. Our mantra [at Ogilvy] is, ‘Test counterintuitive things because no one else ever does.”

To be the same, do the thing that everyone will.

To be different, be willing to try the thing that excites you that no one will.

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The problem isn’t how to build a model, it’s figuring out how to keep your customers happier so they’re less likely to churn.

The problem isn’t poor prioritization or a cluttered calendar, it’s figuring out how to achieve a result or level of performance that you aren’t achieving yet.

The…

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agitation isn’t always a negative trait; acceptance isn’t always a positive trait.

the kind of person willing to move mountains to make a change isn’t going to be the one comfortable sitting still — it will always be the one who physically can’t.

your restlessness may not be something to contend with, but rather something to leverage.

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In an investor panel that I recently attended, every panelist emphasized two pieces of advice on succeeding in an endeavor:

  1. Don’t try to do all everything at once: when you have 20 things to do, figure out how to pick 10; from 10 figure out how to pick 1 or 2.
  2. Picking what to do can be painful: in an ideal world, 1 thing will stick out as the obvious thing to do first. But in most cases, you’re saying ‘yes’ to 1 opportunity and reluctantly saying ‘no’ to other exciting opportunities. Saying ‘no’ to the things you want to do sucks, but without infinite resources (which no one has), this is the only practical thing to do.

Effort is the wrong paradigm for progress. It matters, but not nearly as much as being able to consistently focus on a few important things.

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Marie Forleo wrote a great book titled ‘everything is figureoutable’.

I love the title because it captures the punchline of the book perfectly:

However intimidating or confusing something might be, you can figure it out.

When you can approach a problem with full confidence in your ability to find a way forward, you’ve already won half the battle.

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We have some foresight.

We can think about and anticipate some problems and address them.

We can’t, however, anticipate everything.

Trying to do the latter is easily one of the top reasons why a) we take too long to try something or b) worse — we never try at all.

When you try to know everything, you will think your way out of doing anything.

When you recognize that you can’t know everything, you realize that your only option is to do something.

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William Liao

William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)