How to be useful to others

Derek Sivers has a brilliant take on this:

  1. Get famous: Do everything in public, for the public. To do less is hiding.
  2. Get rich: Money is neutral proof that you’re adding value to peoples’ lives.
  3. Share strong opinions: People undecided can adopt your opinion; people who disagree can argue against yours, solidifying their own opinion.
  4. Be expensive: People value expensive things over cheap things. They’re more likely to use something that’s expensive than to use something that’s cheap.

Someone developed an accompanying video:

Comparing yourself to others

Lil Wayne doesn’t walk into Tim McGraw’s recording studio and say to himself, “Boy, this McGraw fellow really has it figured out. I need to more like him.” No, Lil Wayne just makes his art.

Sure, he studies what came before him; he steals from others what will work for him; but Lil Wayne doesn’t pretend to be a country singer.

He doesn’t pretend to be anything.

You don’t need a gym

Homo sapiens have existed for 200,000 years. Gyms have existed for 200.

Modern medicine has drastically increased our lifespans, yet we’re at our lowest level of physical fitness, ever.

We have a problem, and more exercise equipment won’t solve it.

I found a bat in my apartment

Your first reaction to seeing a bat inside your living space is fear: “Holly hell, a bat!” You lock yourself in your room; you call someone; you start Googling “bat in apartment.”

And even though you know the bat is just trying to get back outside, and even though you know bats are a protected species, and even though you know that the odds of getting rabies is extremely unlikely, all you want to do is kill the damn bat. In the moment, fear dominates your every thought.

But it’s worth noting that superheroes tend to take on the personas of that which they most fear:

Fredonia is not your home

We have housing, sure, but Fredonia is not your home, and it’s dangerous to think of it as such.

You will be challenged here, physically and mentally; you will be made to feel uncomfortable, intentionally and unintentionally; you might even be offended, because professors will intentionally provoke you. That’s their job, to provoke you to better thinking.

A home makes you feel safe; an educational institution exposes you to stepwise danger. I wouldn’t pay for an education that didn’t.

If you’re looking for a home you probably shouldn’t go to college.

Firework stories

If you don’t want to see peoples’ stories of fireworks, then don’t open them.

If Instagram makes you feel badly about yourself, then stop using Instagram.

If you don’t like what someone tweets, then don’t read their tweets.

People have always insisted that the universe conform to their beliefs and expectations. It’s really nothing new:

Scrolling through my Twitter feed

I notice that the vast majority of the content is not from people I follow, but from the people those people follow.

This is, in part, what social media is for: to find content you didn’t know existed. But mostly, I follow you because I want to hear from you.

I want to know what you think, not what someone else thinks; I want you to be funny, not to know what you think is funny;

I want you to be brave.

The danger of a low GPA

Has less to do with getting into graduate school and more to do with how you see yourself.

If a low GPA reinforces the idea that you’re not smart enough, then you’ll certainly not be smart enough.

“Smart” is a skill that can be improved, which is impossible until you believe it’s possible.