Published in: 2014
The book is about the choices we make in life and how we make them. Your life is a product of your choices – good choices equals good life equals bad choices, bad life. The book is inspired by Poor Charlie’s Almanac and Lawrence Enderson’s goal is to help young people to not have to grow old in order to become wise.
LEARN TO KNOW YOURSELF. To take time for reflection and self-awareness is well-invested time. By understanding ourselves, we can understand others and with greater confidence go after our goals. By that, it gets easier not to live someone else’s life.
CURIOSITY AND LIFELONG LEARNING. The best way to learn is to approach a subject with a child’s curiosity and a questioning mindset. Curiosity leads to better questions, which in turn leads to better answers. By asking open-ended questions, we improve our chances of increasing our understanding and the answers can lead to new questions.
“Choosing lifelong learning is one of the few good choices that can make a big difference in our lives, giving us an enormous advantage when practiced over a long period of time”
THE FEYNMAN TECHNIQUE. When we have a subject or a concept we are trying to learn, we can use the Feynman technique. We produce a blank piece of paper and write the name of the subject at the top. Then we assume that we will teach someone else about the subject and fill the paper with information. If we can do this in a clear and pedagogical way, we will master the subject in question.
NOTHING HAPPENS IN A VACUUM. We should always keep in mind that everything is about what perspectives we have. If you go too far west, you end up east and vice versa. Nothing happens in isolation. Everything is affected by its context. Perspectives and contexts are different for everyone and change over time. See things from all angles and adapt to the current situation.
LOSS-ASSOCIATED FEAR. Loss is something natural and to be expected. But the consequences of a loss will not be as bad as we imagine, especially if we live a varied life. We never lose our ability to learn, our ability to love and above all our ability to choose. Fear is mostly a thought-based construction. It disappears when we stop comparing ourselves to others and accept the situation as it is right now.
“Another helpful analogy is that of a ship. We are each the captain of our own ship. Fear of the future is the anchor that holds us in the harbor. Fear-ruled ships stay in safe harbours. But what use is a ship that won’t set sail?”
ADVERSITY IS NATURAL. Assuming that we will not suffer adversity is naive. An adversity is often more frightening in advance than when it comes. According to Endersen, there are three things that can make us overcome adversity and even come out better from them: (1) a reflection of the nature of adversity with a view to understanding, (2) a recognition of adversity in order to accept the situation and (3) to be able to mentally re-write our life history, now with adversity and its lessons. A common reaction to adversity is to deny it. Our goal should be to face adversity when it comes. To ask: what does life expect of me now?
FOCUS. If you ask someone successful about the secret behind their success, many will answer with just one word: focus. It’s hard to get good at something without giving it a disproportionate amount of time. The focus is on controlled applied energy. When we have something important to do, we should eliminate all other distractions and just do it. Before that thing is done, everything else is distractions.
LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. By leaving your comfort zone, you accept that you will fail. By welcoming failure, you will be able to grow. The most comfortable place for an animal is in the middle of a herd – where it is warm and safe. But the view from the middle of the herd is not very exciting.
”How will you ever be polished, if you are irritated by every rub?”