Monday, April 29, 2013

Today's deep thoughts: Growing wiser

From the "When your relationships could use a reboot ... " chapter of Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now:

I caught singer Justin Timberlake on an airing of Ellen as he was about to turn thirty. When she asked him how he felt about entering his next decade, he said, "I'm excited about my thirties. Yeah, I'm excited about it." Then he paused and smiled. "Well, I don't really have a choice, so I might as well be excited."

[ ... ]

How can you possibly be excited about, say, turning one year older? Well, ask yourself this simple question: What's one good thing about it? Here, I'll help you. One year older may bring another gray hair or wrinkle, but those are marks of a life well earned, with nicks and scars and moles and spots that signify every single day you've lived. One year older is one year more of life experience, smarter decision making and far more confidence. And one year older means you're still living, and that's miraculous. We can all think of a former classmate, coworker, or friend who didn't make it on this earth as far as we have today--and really, what would they give for another year, another birthday? Here you are, alive and heading forth into your future.

Very good advice, Amy!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today's deep thoughts: "I was very lucky."

From the ninth chapter and the epilogue of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell:

Outliers are those who have been given opportunities--and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.

[ ...]

Bill Gates could accept the title of genius, and leave it at that. It takes no small degree of humility for him to look back on his life and say, "I was very lucky." And he was. The Mothers' Club of Lakeside Academy bought him a computer in 1968. It is impossible for a hockey player, or Bill Joy, or Robert Oppenheimer, or any other outlier for that matter, to look down from their lofty perch and say with truthfulness, "I did this, all by myself." Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don't. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky--but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.

How can you seize your opportunities today to develop yourself into a successful outlier?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Today's deep thoughts: If you can read this, you should be thankful.

From the "$30,000 an hour" chapter of Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun:

 ...the average adult on planet Earth earns $8,200 a year (U.S. dollars), and the average American makes about $50,000 ... Almost half of the world's population doesn't have clean running water or reliable electricity, no matter how well they are paid. From a planetary view, if you're reading this book indoors, under an electric light, within walking distance of  a stocked refrigerator or a take-out delivery menu you can afford to order from, and rarely find yourself worrying about malaria or dysentery, you are doing quite well. 

These are true words, readers, but when times are tough, it is not always easy to remember how fortunate we are.