SSS #34: 32 Bits of Unsolicited Advice


This week, I'm taking a page out of Kevin Kelly's book. Kevin is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review.

In some circles he is known as the real life "Most Interesting Man in the World".

Anyway, Kevin recently turned 68 years old and published a long list of unsolicited advice on his blog. It's actually quite good.

If you're in a time crunch, I'd suggest you read his list before you read mine.

Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t switch places with in that domain.

  1. Never test the depth of a river with both feet.
  2. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with; choose your company wisely. If you don’t have access to world-class performers: read their books, listen to their interviews, attend their seminars.
  3. Go first. Most people are more shy than they lead you to believe.
  4. Early is on time, on time is late, late is unheard of.
  5. Optimism is better than pessimism. When you are a pessimist and the bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.
  6. Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
  7. Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
  8. Ask yourself often: How am I complicit in creating an environment I say I do not want?
  9. When making a decision, the answer should be “Hell Yes” or "No".
  10. Avoid using the word ‘very’ because it is lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Do not use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.
  11. If you can’t buy it twice, you can’t afford it.
  12. To whom much is given, much is required.
  13. Write down everything you do: then delegate, eliminate, and automate as much of that list as possible to liberate yourself.
  14. Those who have a “why” to live can bear with almost any “how”.
  15. You are responsible for everything that happens in your life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It may not be your fault, but you are 100% responsible.
  16. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.
  17. Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.
  18. To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.
  19. The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.
  20. Resulting is judging the quality of a decision by its outcome. Don’t do it.
  21. The quality of your thinking largely determines the quality of your life. Be solutions-oriented. Think in terms of what can be done right now.
  22. Rich is measured in dollars. Wealth is measured in time.
  23. What got you here won’t get you there. The knowledge and skills you have today is rapidly becoming obsolete.
  24. Mental fitness is similar to physical fitness in that you must work at it consistently to see any results.
  25. Find out what successful people are doing and then copy it.
  26. The best revenge is to not be like them.
  27. You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you say, do, and think.
  28. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
  29. Always remember failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. Don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket.
  30. Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.
  31. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.