This is the third and final part of our "68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice" series, where we go through an excellent blog post by Kevin Kelly, offering his life advice after turning 68.
Here are the highlights from the blog that we discussed and some of our thoughts:
Optimise your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.
To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.
- This is the classic advice given to anyone in any sort of creative fields – quantity and iteration will usually lead to faster, more sustainable progress than an obsession over quality and perfection. This can be applied from larger projects to those projects occurring on a more granular level.
The Golden Rule will never fail you. It is the foundation of all other virtues.
Saving money and investing money are both good habits. Small amounts of money invested regularly for many decades without deliberation is one path to wealth.
To make mistakes is human. To own your mistakes is divine. Nothing elevates a person higher than quickly admitting and taking personal responsibility for the mistakes you make and then fixing them fairly. If you mess up, fess up. It’s astounding how powerful this ownership is.
- Owning up to mistakes is not only valuable in elevating a person in the eyes of others but mistakes are always easier to resolve and move past if we own up to them quickly and look to solve the problem efficiently. The longer we take to own up to our mistakes, the greater the consequences are more likely to be.
Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.
Separate the processes 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 judgement.
- Ali discusses an acronym that he came across in a podcast that he has adopted for his writing. The acronym, F.B.R, stands for Fast, Bad, (W)Rong and refers to the first draft of any bit of writing. Adopting this mindset can prevent the inner critic / perfectionism from hindering our progress on a particular piece of work.
Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.
- Taimur argues that there are gains to be made from sharing things. He uses the example of the private but communal garden in the small gated community where he lives. Everyone can benefit from it at no extra cost to anyone else.
- On a more macro scale, one of the interviewees in Ali’s Deep Dive interviews, Tynan, has set a series of home bases around the world in cities such as Tokyo and Budapest. You can see him discussing this here.
Hatred is a curse that does not affect the hated. It only poisons the hater. Release a grudge as if it was a poison.
- There's a trap that we can fall into wherein an event which is, overall, affecting you negatively, has a small part of which you are getting a kick out of – a satisfaction that is typically some sense of righteousness or self pity. These kinds of satisfying slivers within a negative emotion can trick us into wallowing in that negative emotion because it feels good in a perverted way when actually it’s just doing us harm.
There is no limit on better. Talent is distributed unfairly, but there is no limit on how much we can improve what we start with.
1. "68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice" — the blog post we're talking about for the whole episode...
Sponsored by Brilliant
This episode is kindly supported by Brilliant, the best way to learn maths, science, and computer science online. Brilliant focuses on helping you learn how to think, rather than just memorising methods and facts. Sign up at https://brilliant.org/notoverthinking — the first 100 people get 20% off an annual subscription.
Leave us a Review
If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. Here's a link that works even if you're not on an iPhone :)
Send us an Audio Message
We really want to include more listener comments and questions in our episodes. If you've got any thoughts on this episode, or if you've got a conundrum or question you'd like us to discuss, send an audio file / voice note to email@example.com.
For any non-audio comments, drop us a tweet or DM on Twitter - https://twitter.com/noverthinking