Category: Ramblings


education“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” -Gandhi

Let’s start with how we learn
Education theory says that to learn anything new we must hear it at least 200 times. In learning anything, first you imitate, then you identify, and then you internalize. Exposure is more important than knowledge

Don’t just learn… apply

There’s a great quote from Napoleon Hill, “knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when and if it is organized into definitive plans of action and directed to a definitive end.” “If we aren’t careful, ‘learning’, becomes endless avoidance of the work in front of us.” Ramit Sethi, “learning and changing are two different things… it is better to apply one book than read 20”

Some better ways to go about it

Read as little as feasible about the last 20 years… time can act as a cleanser of noise of overhyped work.

Before choosing something that requires you to dedicate years of your life to school for training (like a doctor), volunteer (at a hospital if a doctor) and see if you like the atmosphere/people first. I personally know many people who got their law degree only to hate being a practicing lawyer and give it up after spending years toiling away.

Combining disciplines can make you more unique/creative.: Software + biotech, EE + MBA, etc. there is also less competition when you combine disciplines… you can be an expert with only 500 hours of work instead of 10,000.

If you want to learn French, you will learn 10-20X faster if you move to France and get a French girlfriend…motivate yourself to learn.

Use the 5 Why’s to continually ask questions and learn more deeply.

To avoid just having a 40 year gap between college and retirement with nothing to show, work on: skills, relationships, character, hustle… these will always translate to something new.

Instead of teaching kids to suppress natural urges (aggression, sex, etc.) teach them how to better deal with them. If you suppress them they usually come out later even uglier.

Think about your 20s as you being in charge of your own education system

A few stats

At one point, 80% of Americans were farmers… now that number is 2%. Always keep learning as jobs of today will be replaced by jobs of tomorrow.

By about 8th grade kids start saying they aren’t good at this or that (I can’t draw, I can’t do math, etc.)…always be learning!

Other ideas

The Future Project” is a program that puts a “Dream Director” in schools… kids dream it and then they help them try to achieve it. I’ve never worked with these folks, but heard about it through someone else and really like the idea…helping kids make their dreams come true.

Looking for some inspiration for something greater? Hear are some good YouTube videos to learn from with Richard Feynman and Elon Musk…fun stuff (I guess that depends on your idea of fun, but to each his own.)

Keep after it, kids!


Some Rules Were Made to Be Broken

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one tries to adapt the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man” -George Bernard Shaw

The world has a need for consistency. If someone says something but does another, we call them: unreliable, hypocritical, flaky, wishy-washy. “Change the rules, but learn them first”, James Altucher.

One has a moral responsibility to obey just laws and conversely to disobey unjust ones. St. Augustine says an unjust law is no law at all. An unjust law is one that a powerful group compels another group to obey but does not make binding on itself. If you choose to break an unjust law, do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty… this is expressing the highest respect for the law.

“Ask for forgiveness, not permission. People will be fast to stop you before you start, but hesitant if you are moving”.

The Learning Process: from Novice to Master


The Learning Process: from Novice to Master

If you want to get great at anything there are a few hacks (see my ultimate hack at the bottom), but there is no way around putting some time in. If you follow the below path, you may be able to shave off some time and achieve a higher level of mastery when all done. So you have to put in your time, but doing it in the right way makes all the difference.

Step1: Find your life’s task: What are you good at and what do you enjoy:

This can be the hardest part of the process, but it needn’t be. Two good ways to start this: 1) Make an x-y grid of all the things you’re good at and all the things you enjoy… where do they intersect  2) Ask others… they will tell you what you are uniquely talented at

Step 2: Find a mentor/apprenticeship:

This is the single greatest hack… finding a mentor who has already been down your chosen road can save you years of needless toil and frustration (unlearning the wrong thing can take more time and be more frustrating than trying to learn it the right way to begin with), but it does depend on finding the right mentor

Step 3: Clean slate: Allow yourself to be molded

Step 4: Lay the foundation/learn the fundamentals

Step 5: Practice:

Here comes the famous 10,000 hour rule…10,000 hours is only a guesstimate, but it does take time and practice if you really want

Step 6: Internalize: Unconscious processing

Somewhere during this 10,000 hours things will become natural and no longer forced… breakthrough!

Step 7: Growth

Step 8: Plateaus and dealing with pressure:

It’s not all roses and isn’t easy, otherwise everybody would do it

Step 9: Experiment:

Push the boundaries. This step is critical… just rehashing the same things everyone else has done is not the goal… we are looking for the blue ocean and to breaking new ground. Don’t even let your mentor hold you back here

Step 10: Form opinion:

Start to find your own path

If you do this, you will be one of the few… it is too much work for most people and they will give up early on. Still too much for you? Don’t have 10,000 hours? A shortcut possibility is to learn say 1000 hours at two separate disciplines and marry them together (first heard this idea from Peter Thiel) where nobody has done so previously. Now no one knows more than you at this intersection. This works amazingly well if you can find demand at this intersection, but predicting demand is your challenge… maybe the world just doesn’t know it needs this yet!

Some great books that I borrowed liberally from for this:

Mastery by Robert Greene

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin


Exploration, Pursuit & Perseverance

Muhammad Ali“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare!” – Muhammad Ali  …and it’s complement… “the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible” -Arthur C. Clarke

Just get started! (Read another post I have on this: Take Action: Get started. A little every day. Inertia is key). While beginning with the end in mind is important, don’t let that paralyze you from taking that first step… you will never see the finish line if you don’t begin. Having a finish line set at the beginning of your quests can also be good… it gives you a sense of accomplishment that allows you to move on to what is next. Just get started… once you start, momentum will build, but you have to do a little bit every single day… soon you will have amassed a nice set of work and others may want to jump in and help… let them in and show them how. Try to visualize things not as they are, but as they really should be…”while others skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it is GOING TO BE” -Wayne Gretzky

If you are having challenges, try these exercises:

  • Practice visualizing that which you would like to achieve in full color and 3D
  • Do the opposite… practice visualizing nothing at all (a clear mind)… sometimes you will amazingly see more
  • Burn all the bridges and safety nets behind you (scorched earth)… now you have no choice but to go forward
  • Try Tony Robbins’ ultimate success formula:
    • Decide what you want
    • Take action
    • Notice what is working or not
    • Change your approach until success

“We are more in need of a vision or a destination and a compass and less in need of a map” -Stephen Covey. Once you have set this priority, your awareness will amazingly change to help you achieve.

Once you are started, the key is unrelenting persistence. I know this is hard sometimes… other things in life pop-up, some people may scoff at you, some throw up roadblocks, and some just plain want you to fail. Some are happy with the status quo and terrified of the unknown, but the unknown is where great things happen. Here are some ideas from Napoleon Hill on persistence:

  • Have a finite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment
  • Have a definite plan, expressed in continuous action
  • Have a friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage you to follow through with both plan and purpose

Persistence overshadows even talent in achieving goals… persistence also is the magical creator of LUCK! Visualize your end goal and work backwards. Get started! Experiment. Persist. Be flexible in your path but unrelenting in chasing your vision. SUCCESS!!

“That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only which gives everything its value” -Thomas Paine

“We must not cease from exploration and the end of all exploring will be to arrive where we began and know the place for the first time” -T.S. Eliot

Stand Up for What is Right/Dealing with Bullies

goliathI am ashamed at how many times I’ve sat silently and seen or heard things being said, done, etc that I knew deep down were not right. I promise to do better. So, rather than stating my own approach, here is a barrage of quotes by a number of folks (an overwhelming number by Martin Luther King Jr. who I’d say is the ultimate model of what to do) that say how I feel…

“Please don’t mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness” – Carson Kolhoff

“Bullies prey on the weak, but… there is always a small kid who fights like hell (thrashing and swinging)…he may not win but the bully will go elsewhere. Be that kid” – Tim Ferriss

This may sound like a stupid way to introduce this, but this quote from Cinderella’s mom made me think: “have courage and be kind”… why is it so easy to be mean-spirited and yet it takes more effort to be kind to each other? For my kids I place one hand on their heads and one on their heart…”live as your heart and head lead you”… one may lead you astray, but thinking with both will never misguide you…

Seeking Change, Truth…
Gandhi says, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”…”first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. “Truth goes through three steps: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, then finally it is accepted as self-evident” -Arthur Schopenhauer

Being bold privately is nice, but for change to happen it must be public and in the light of day…
These words from Martin Luther King Jr. explain much,” we are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open where it can be dealt with”…” we are here to say to the white man that we will longer let them use their clubs on us in dark corners. We are going to make them do it in the glaring light of television”…“the Negro’s great stumbling block is not the White Citizen’s Council or the KKK, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension, who consistently advises the Negro to wait for a more convenient season”.

Realize that it may be far easier to confront your enemies than your friends…
”It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends” -JK Rowling. “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy”…” in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” -MLK

When you pick sides, good versus evil must be glaringly apparent…
”People will choose good over evil, but the choice must be undeniably clear. Good must stand apart… untainted, unblemished”…” meet physical force with soul force”…” we shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer” -MLK

Sometimes justice seems blurry and there can be a fine line between justice and injustice, but look in your heart and think it through in your own head…
”One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws… an unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself”…” one who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty”…” privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may give up their unjust posture, but groups tend to be more immoral than individuals” -MLK

Before you ever start pushing for change, decide how far you’re willing to go… is anything worth Death?…
“If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he is not fit to live”…” we had an understanding in our movement that if you let people stop you from doing something through death, it only encourages them to kill you whenever they wanted you to stop doing something” – MLK, “I will not fight, but I will not comply. I am not willing to kill, but I am willing to die” -MLK on nonviolence

My quote: “Please don’t mistake my easy-going nature for weakness… I have resolve like a M—–F—–! I am a force to be reckoned with”

This book was a great reference: King Remembered by Flip Schulke