This was an interesting question. Is there any line you heard recently that left you in awe?
Normally, I don’t remember any outstanding phrases. I take what I hear, read or see and try to make sense of it altogether. While I am drawing my own conclusions, I may miss statements that carry their own significance.
Maybe some of you are opposite and remember key phrases first? Everyone learns and perceives information in different ways.
Nonetheless, here are 10 lines that I do remember.
#1 – If an opportunity is ‘too hard’, then that IS the opportunity! – MJ DeMarco
This is an answer to all those who say they can’t get started on their dream because – while an opportunity is right in front of them – the execution is too difficult.
Actually, it is simple to move forward. You don’t need an endless supply of talent to build your own business or make your dream come true.
All it takes is hard work. And that’s the hard part.
Yet hard work is something every one of us can do – that’s the beauty of it.
Check this video (from 0:55 onwards).
#2 – Just don’t fuck up. – Aaron Clarey.
While you are working hard on realizing big goals (see #1 above), you can already enjoy life if you think about what is really important to you and avoid spending money on items you don’t need or decisions you can’t afford:
- an expensive car when a smaller car would transport you just as well;
- a big house that requires you to keep your high-profile job to finance it;
- having children without a stable financial base;
- a liberal arts education that makes you Starbuck’s wittiest coffee brewer;
Often, people don’t have the means to afford these items and thus take up loans that will then literally enslave them for decades of their life.
The monthly leasing rate of $400 for a nice BMW may not look like such a steal anymore when you could have spent the money for a nice weekend trip instead.
If you are ok with living in the countryside and taking trips with your friends, appreciating the simpler things in life, you can live very well on $30,000/year.
As long as you don’t “fuck up”.
When I look back 35 years, as a 5 – 6 year old kid, I was happy with seeing my friends, reading when it was raining, having food on the table and a roof over my head. Nothing fancy!
Of course, as an adult, I enjoy different activities than when I was a kid – but how much different is my lifestyle really? Not that much.
Just Don’t Fuck Up and you can enjoy a life in happiness.
#3 – If you have to think about it, you can’t afford it. – MJ DeMarco
Another quote from MJ DeMarco, this time from “Millionaire Fastlane”.
It’s a brilliantly simple rule of thumb to determine what you can afford – and how much you would have to earn to be able to buy something without a headache.
If you decide to buy a coffee, you simply do it. There is no thought on how that could fit into your budget.
Buying that electronic gadget? Or shelling out the loan for that fancy car? Hmmm… maybe if I switch off the air conditioning a little earlier? Or skip eating out for lunch?
If you have to search for ways to fit a payment into your budget, you can’t afford it.
I think there are more items that we can not really afford yet think we do, thanks to the credit card industry. To afford a $50,000 car without worries, a yearly income of $200,000 may not even be enough. But you will probably not lose much sleep about paying up to $5,000 for a used car when you make $50,000 per year.
#4 – People think the glass is half-empty, while in reality, it’s 70% full. – Gary Vaynerchuk.
Brilliant, brilliant line. Because we live in such great times that we can do anything we want.
Yeah, sitting back and waiting for something to happen will not do the trick either.
However, nowadays – with blogging, YouTube, social media connecting us and our work to billions of other people world-wide, we don’t need to ask anyone for permission and can completely do whatever we want.
I also like that line because there are often so many unseen forces underneath our fabric of reality… but why should we assume they are negative?
There is this notion to work against all odds and “beat the system”, so that we automatically assume the system is bad. Why?
The system gives us amazing opportunities. Every environment we work in has useful as well as non-conducive parts.
We have to figure out how we can leverage our strengths best in the current environment we are in.
For example. If you have learnt to work in an academic field like life sciences where job positions are not easy to come by, you could use social media and eMail to collect a weekly newsletter about advances in cancer treatments, as suggested in James Altucher’s Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth.
That brings us directly to the next part:
#5 – Be like water. – Bruce Lee
Instead of pushing through the wall to get to your goal, you can just flow around it.
Find a way to align yourself with the possibilities in your environment.
Accept reality and find a way to make it work for you.
#6 – A system can never be more than the sum of its parts and their interactions. – Sydney Brenner
Can we ever understand the reality we are in, or is there an element of mystery that is beyond our reach?
When I grew up in the 80ies and 90ies, there was one statement en vogue: that something is “more than the sum of its parts”. That statement always seemed like a silent resignation. It says that we will never be able to fully understand a system, because even if we add all the parts together, there is something lacking.
Then, I heard Brenner’s lecture, and I had hope again. If it is just a matter of finding the parts and learning how they function together, then we can understand any complex in life. Thus, do we eventually remove any ‘mystery’, metaphysics or notion of ‘God’ from the equation? It all depends whether we can ever realize how the parts interact with each other. This may or may not be the case.
But Brenner’s statement basically says that we can still use a reductionist view to understand scientific phenomena.
#7 – It’s easier to fix a boat than to calm the ocean. – Justin Garcia, “Master Chim”
This sentence illustrates that the best solution to a problem is often the one that involves changing our own behavior rather than trying to fix the whole environment we are in.
I find this a relief. We are only responsible for that what we can directly change. The impossibility of changing the environment also means that we can’t expect anyone else to behave in a certain way.
The universe does not owe us anything, but if we get our stuff together, it will allow us safe passage.
#8 – The past is an illusion, your future is real. – Mike Cernovich
This has helped me in many instances to reframe my problems and see them in a different light.
What we remember is very subjective. Depending on our emotional state relative to the situation we are in, we regard the past as helping us or standing in our way. We made it “against all odds” or we did not make it because the odds were against us.
And if we are not careful, we let the odds define us. We often “wish we could go back in time”, but without a time machine, that’s not easy to do.
Can’t we go forward instead? and imagine how our own excitement and optimism will shape all the things to come? Time moves forward, and we are just along for the ride, with all the power we need to make what we want happen.
#9 – And your gravity fails, and negativity don’t pull you through… – Bob Dylan
First of all, this line is from one of my favorite Dylan songs – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”.
Like so many of Dylan’s songs, the meaning of the lyrics is a bit cloudy. Maybe intentionally so.
What it means to me personally is that sometimes you can not rely on anything – not even negativity. How freeing!
It would be depressing indeed if negativity was that what ultimately anchors our fantasy in reality.
Instead, Dylan basically says that if you have a negative mindset, you won’t be any more solid in life than with a positive one.
So I might as well see things in a good perspective!
It also means when something unexpected happens, the default state is not “Downfall”.
#10 – The United States are a story. – James Altucher
Maybe the greatest story ever told.
This sentence has impressed me, because it shows you – very similar to Mike’s sentence in point #8 above – that nothing in our past has happened under guarantee. History is always written by the victor.
It also shows you the power of good storytelling. It can create nations and keep them alive. Does that mean that those whose story is not strong enough will be outlived by history? Or will the best story always come to those who stay around?
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
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