Imagine being a freshman in college and finding out in the newspapers that one of your classmates (allegedly) locked herself in her dorm room and set it on fire. The death of Elizabeth Shin was a horrific reminder of the ongoing mental and emotional health issues faced by MIT's student body. Her (apparent) suicide served as a cautionary tale to other students that were either 1) white-knuckling their way through the pain or 2) unable to find the help and support that they needed.
Before iPhones, I used to wear my backpack wherever I biked in Boston because my brain would never stop, and I wanted to have everything necessary (laptop, notebook, and camera) to quickly capture these curiosities before their vividness because as foggy as a forgotten dream.
Not every idea was useful. Most ended up in the trash can. But many did serve as a substrate for something more. Maybe a poem. Maybe a hobby. Maybe some new creative endeavor.
Kevin is a MacGyver-like technologist. During our five years of working together, he had this knack of pulling rabbits out of hats and coming up with solutions and workarounds that blocked others. When describing him, I would tell people that if someone were to drop him off on a deserted island, he'd find a way to build a server by the close of business that day. Now, of course, there was no real way for him to melt sandy beaches into silicon chips. Still, it was more a statement about the overall resourcefulness and tenacity by which he attacked problems.
What we choose to look for can significantly improve our moment to moment experience.
The ordinary person searches for and points out defects.
The effective person searches for and discovers the occasional diamond.
The extraordinary person is constantly seeing the diamonds in the defects.
Ducking Siri! If you get the joke, then you are probably used to the wonderful world of autocorrect fails, which can range from annoying to hysterically funny. Autocorrect fails can also offer little gems of insight for self-reflection. Take the title of this article as an example...
Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, right? Wrong. And this includes me. I have a certain level of paranoia that things I believe with 100% conviction will turn out to be utterly wrong in a decade. Only hindsight will confirm whether my sure bets were not delusional gambles. Until then, I try and live by the philosophy of Marc Andreessen of "strong opinions, weakly held." However, I'm human, and I have my blind spots. Maybe my belief systems have already been invalidated, yet I'm still unknowingly and unwittingly living on the wrong side of history.
10,000 hours. This is the number made famous by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. The claim is that it's the (minimum) time necessary to achieve mastery in a subject matter. The bad news: it's not a guarantee. Without proper knowledge, strategy, and natural talent, it can be a lot of effort with minimal results.