Zuihitsu: 2021-01

Collecting these little sayings has turned into a major focus of mine. I’m going to aim for a year of monthly posts of them.

  1. It’s always new and astonishing when it’s yours.
  2. The center defines something differently than the periphery.
  3. “Act with zest one day at a time, and never mind the rest.” –Ode 11 of Book I of Horace’s Odes
  4. Faction is integral to dissatisfaction. A life of us vs. them is a life at war with itself.
  5. What would it take to be contentment in this moment, just as it is? Changing our minds; both the hardest and easiest thing we can do.
  6. Always aspire to act in a way that cancels out someone else’s cruel or stupid behavior.
  7. Be an astute judge of character, and learn to judge quickly.
  8. The dreamer is in no position to judge what is real or who is awake.
  9. Fooling people only requires telling them what they want to hear, over and over again. People love hearing how right they are.
  10. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.—Norwegian saying
  11. Reality is a hard master.
  12. Nothing in this world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.—Teddy Roosevelt
  13. It’s not the action; it’s the reaction.
  14. Be a presence that comforts or transforms.
  15. Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.
  16. The wealthy play the stock market with each other, the middle class goes to the casinos, and the poor play the lottery.
  17. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — Robin Jones Gunn
  18. A foreign accent is a sign of bravery. — Amy Chua
  19. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing. — Picasso
  20. The reward for good work is more work. — Tom Sachs
  21. The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. — Paul Virilio
  22. If all I’d ever wanted to do was make money, I’d probably be really poor by now. — Brian Eno
  23. Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. — Rumi
  24. On average, bad things happen fast and good things happen slow. — Stewart Brand
  25. What I cannot create, I do not understand. — Richard Feynman
  26. Find out who you are and do it on purpose. — Dolly Parton
  27. There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity.—Big Daddy
  28. Thinking about theories and concepts outside the mainstream can help us grow until we believe them. Belief is the death of intelligence and opposes growth.
  29. Pay attention to anomalies.
  30. “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”—Voltaire
  31. Eventually politics creeps into everything.
  32. The license never belongs to the licensed.
  33. The world doesn’t owe you happiness.
  34. Always look for the silver lining.
  35. What lessons are you refusing to learn?
  36. On some level, oppression requires cooperation.
  37. To believe is to know you believe and to know you believe is not to believe.
  38. Seriousness closes itself to open possibilities. Playfulness allows for possiblity at a cost to self.
  39. History must always be reforged in the present, and imagination expands the boundries of possible pathways of the future.
  40. Training prevents surprise; education is preparation to be transformed by it.
  41. Education is discovery. Training is definition.
  42. Die before ye die.
  43. Sometimes the key comes before the lock.
  44. The more you want, the more you get.
  45. You can control the conversation, and if you can’t, you can always walk away.
  46. Violence has a long tail.
  47. We are not what we know, but what we are willing to learn.—Mary Catherine Bateson
  48. Bad performance isn’t self-correcting.
  49. Chunk book reading into 30 minutes or more.
  50. Things tend to get worse before they get better.
  51. Develop an epistemology that takes unusual ideas seriously without falling for them all.
  52. True expertise requires tight feedback loops and a close connection between the outcome we care about (e.g. “truth”) and the metric that generates prestige.
  53. The division of labour is limited by the extent of the market.—Adam Smith
  54. Comparison is futile, and it is the thief of happiness.
  55. “Focus on remedies, not faults.”—Jack Nicklaus
  56. Time is a checking mechanism on market activity.
  57. Too much and too little doubt leads to dysfunction; impotence to fanaticism.
  58. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win. The main thing is to get up the next day and try again.
  59. Kindness multiplies and it increases the universe of the possible.
  60. What is the bounding scenario, i.e. the goals of the project, discussion, etc.? Creativity requires friction and limits.
  61. A future is a world, a timespace, and the human way of relating to space is exploration.
  62. Heaven is just another kind of hell, and hell can be a heaven, depending on your place in it.
  63. Learn how to plan strategically under a fixed set of rules. What makes game play educational is the game’s creation of stakes for decisions and not fidelity to reality.
  64. “No one wants a lecture. Everyone wants a story.”—Morgan Housel
  65. When you think: I’ll just do this and then I’ll stop, stop then and leave it as the first thing for next time.
  66. Fame is like a razor-sharp scalpel with no handle; it easily cuts both ways.
  67. “We are not to be saved by the captain, but by the crew.”—Frederick Douglass
  68. “A lie is a fiction made up to take away someone else’s power.”
  69. Don’t let past trauma’s control your life.
  70. Sometimes setting yourself on fire sheds light on the situation.
  71. Relevancy is the only currency.
  72. It’s easier to predict what will happen, it turns out, than when it will happen. —Ahmed Elbakari, Tom Macky, and Igor Vasilachi
  73. Save like a pessimist and invest like an optimist.—Morgan Housel
  74. Regret can be more painful than loss itself.—Phil Pearlman
  75. If pure collective will can create a valuable financial asset, without any reference to cash flows or fundamentals, then all you need is a collective and some will. 
  76. “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.”—Mary Tyler Moore
  77. Slogans cloud the mind and sap the resolve.
  78. It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.—Paul “Bear” Bryant
  79. Given high enough stakes, no one is your friend. Best to know where those limits are.
  80. Assume positive intent.
  81. States win in the end.
  82. Is something special just because it is rare?
  83. Don’t get caught up in the sociology of the last five minutes, cf. Michael Mann.
  84. Mistrust is expensive.
  85. Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.—Feynman
  86. I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!
  87. Search for happiness where you are likely to find it.
  88. “The practices that carry the greatest potential for transformative change are usually counter-instinctual.”—Bruce Tift
  89. One way or another, change is going to feel bad.
  90. Have a high degree of tolerance for everyone’s nonsense.
  91. Don’t relish conflict, but confront it. Get it out in the open and reduce it.