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Understanding your weaknesses & blind spots

Do you know what your weaknesses are? Not in a “my only weakness is I try too hard” or “chocolate” kind of way. I mean in a real, gut-level, “mistakes I tend to make,” “environments I’m not good in,” “alcohol and video poker” kind of way.

We hear a lot about knowing our strengths and playing to our strengths. That’s fun too. But there’s something special about knowing our weaknesses, something human and honest and raw.

As I think through the big questions — what do I want to do with my life? What will I do next? What’s important to me? Should I enter into this partnership or not? Put everything on hold for this or that or not? — it helps to know what mistakes I tend to make, what weaknesses and blind spots typically affect me.

So I’ve started keeping track of them. They’re on my whiteboard right now. They’re things like, “I’m afraid I don’t know enough,” and “I don’t know enough,” and “women in superhero costumes,” and “I get flustered/overwhelmed when all the little things aren’t organized or I can’t hold the whole project in my head/hands,” and “alcohol + video poker.”

Oddly enough, naming your weakness, doing the work of figuring yourself out, can build a kind of confidence. You’re digging down and seeing the roots a bit, which ones are strong and which aren’t, which are sensitive, which have been there so long you forgot about them.

Doing what little work I have on this has reminded me to get out from under the burden of trying to please everyone, be everything, and build everything myself.

Now back to this here video poker.

Alan Watts’ vocational counsel

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living — that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

Alan Watts

gonna be a big deal

I’m gonna be a big deal some day.

The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”

Arnold

There’s a few things my brother is responsible:

  • my love for buffalo wings
  • my love for house/trance music
  • my love of the not Leo guy’s clothes in Inception
  • my love of Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • my love of Arnold™

To that last point, I came across this lil’ number with nothing but a 4 year old’s sense of joy. Make fun of the motivation as much as you want, giggle at the simplicity and cheesiness. But you gotta dumb down to get big, boys.

Vonnegut on who we pretend to be

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

Kurt Vonnegut via AV Club

Vonnegut has some of the best lines on internet. And they didn’t even start there.

“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” How good is that for the distillation of thousands of years of human thought on ethics into a one-liner?

“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, ‘Why, why, why?’ Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.” Remember this next time you say to someone, ‘I understand.’

The zen of changing lanes

Everything I need to know about Zen I learned from changing lanes.

Or, more accurately, not changing lanes.

My onramp to the freeway is a long, two lane stretch with a traffic light at the end.

Everyday I’m a-fluster when I decide which lane to move into. There’s the truck up front on the right side—that’s worth two cars for sure. But the left has two vans. Quick, left!

This happens everyday in the echo chamber in my head. It’s a weird thing to worry about. We all do it.

It’s silly–honestly–to think of how scared we are of picking a lane. Choosing wrong. The finality of it. It’s 37 seconds—I timed it. It’s 37 seconds in the slower lane. 28 in the faster one.

And for what? To get my turn to merge into the bulging freeway so I can wait and worry there about what lane’s best? (more…)

There’s something I like about this.

Notice what you fear

There’s a saying about comedians, something about how they become funny people because they’re afraid of others laughing at them, so they spend their lives controlling when and where those laughs happen.

There’s underlying fears we’re really afraid of. These fears aren’t easy to talk about, they’re actually scary. They’re raw fears, like the fear of a lost 4 year old who really believes he’ll never see mom again. (more…)

Things that matter, things you can control… via the wonderfull Behavior Gap.

Milton Glaser – Ten Things He Has Learned

  1. You can only work for people that you like.
  2. If you have a choice never have a job.
  3. Some people are toxic avoid them.
  4. Professionalism is not enough or the good is the enemy of the great.
  5. Less is not necessarily more.
  6. Style is not to be trusted.
  7. How you live changes your brain.
  8. Doubt is better than certainty.
  9. On aging.
  10. Tell the truth.

This article is great, truly. Such class and charisma and home-cooked, ruddy wisdom. Milton Glaser – Ten Things I Have Learned.

How To Beat Futility

It really doesn’t matter who you are, Sarah Silverman is pretty funny.

Sarah Silverman - The bedwetterAnd, although her memoir The Bedwetter started out kinda slow, it’s getting good because she’s talking about how she started developing her act, her voice. This is the part I love to learn about.

Here’s the setup: At this point in her life, Sarah was just starting out – young, eager, hopeful, chumming about with other comedians working on their acts in NY (people like Luis C.K., Ray Romano, John Stewart). One sentence jumped off the page at me: (more…)