WORDS OF WISDOM

Idea

The sooner you do something, the more of your life you get to spend with that thing done even though it takes less effort than it will later. The ultimate sure-thing investment.

Never regret working out. We can’t count the number of times we’ve negotiated to work out the next day instead of today because we're worried it will be a “bad workout.”

Whenever we're playing with a smartphone, we're only shortening our life. A smartphone is only useful if you have a specific thing you want to do, but ninety per cent of the time the thing we want to do is avoid doing something harder than surfing the web.

Nothing makes us more productive and in-the-moment than a clean house. There is mind-clearing magic in cleanliness. Waking up in a house where everything is put away is a glorious feeling. There seem to be more possibilities in the air, and things seem more useful.

Minute-for-minute, nothing we do is more rewarding than meditation. Even after just a very short session, it reliably makes us better at everything, especially making decisions. It lets us do our best.

Creative work is something that can be done at any time. It’s no different than any other kind of work. Inspiration is nice but completely optional. We’ve almost completely come around on this one, but sometimes the Four Horsemen still trick us.

Acting the way you want to feel usually works. When er feel crappy just before we have to go do something, if we decide to act as if we're happy for a while, we usually end up feeling happy after not too long, or at least much less crappy. This is straight out of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and it’s an extremely powerful thing to experiment with.

Ninety-five per cent of happiness comes from having a home, a functioning body and something to eat. If we're unhappy it’s because we’ve lost perspective about the other five per cent.

Our minds are geared to manage much less than we typically end up managing. Modern people have so many options they conflict with each other in almost every area. The fewer things we have, the more we enjoy things. The fewer goals er have, the better we do them. The smaller the portion size, the better food tastes.

The quickest and most reliable path to personal improvement is to do the things on the list that we resist most. Internal resistance should be taken as a big red sign guaranteeing rapid growth and new capabilities. Given the experience with the ecstasy that comes with overcoming resistance, logically we should be attracted to it by now.

All you need to do to finish things is keep starting them until they’re done. The idea of doing something in its entirety always seems hard. But it’s easy to commit to simply starting on something, and then you’re past most of the resistance. Continuing is just as easy. Thanks to Leo Babauta for this one.

Whenever we think we are angry at a person, we're really just mad at a situation, or because suddenly life requires something new and it’s easy to implicate a person who contributed to that situation. We want the situation to be responsible for fixing itself, so we attribute it to someone's moral failing, and then we don’t have to feel responsible for this new problem.

Ultimately, to get something done you have to forget about everything else while you do it. The mind is always telling you that 85 things are on fire and you need to do everything now. However you respond emotionally to it, to move things along you have to pick one to deal with, and let the rest continue burning while you do.

Some of the most consistently joyful activities are visiting with other people and reading. Aside from earning a living and a bit of travel there isn’t much else we need in life. Somehow these two things are still not crystal clear priorities. What are yours?

If we're in an argument, we’ve made a mistake. It doesn’t matter whose position makes more sense, because by the time it’s an argument any real communication has ended. Marshall Rosenberg’s brilliant method of Nonviolent Communication is a far more useful default response than argument, but we often forget it completely.

Few things matter long-term other than health, family and friends, finances and personal growth. Crises in almost every other area turn over so quickly there’s not much reason to get upset at them. Interestingly, those are the areas that probably contribute most to happiness in the short term... Food for thought.