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Tom Belskie

It’s all about creating value, duh

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While the letter is worth reading in its entirety (it’s only about a 20-minute read) there was one point that he…

A quick reminder about the importance of humor from Viktor Frankl

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I am not a comedian. I wouldn’t necessarily reach for funny when compiling a list of adjectives with which to describe myself. But I can make my friends and family laugh and I consider myself to have a pretty solid sense of humor. I especially enjoy it when other people make me laugh. Therefore, I think I’m more than qualified to make some generalizations about the state of humor in America.

From where I sit, it seems we’ve completely lost our sense of humor and have regressed into a country of pissed off, overly sensitive whiners who take themselves way…

So before you start burning bridges…maybe don’t

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At some point, if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself staring back into a past that stretches across several decades. For those counting, that’s a lot of years. It’s a great many days comprised of hours that tick by fast and slow. Minutes spent bored or enthralled, engaged or checked out. Seconds flashing in a pan before burning out and passing us by, gone forever. It’s quite simply, a vast expanse of time. Relatively speaking, of course.

A human life is an extensive portfolio of memories and emotions. Weddings and funerals. Birthdays and holidays. Love lost and love won. Triumphs and…

A thought to contemplate

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History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes, as the saying goes. And while human history is certainly ugly and replete with too many instances deserving of repudiation and condemnation, it is nonetheless chock full of lessons worth learning and pitfalls worth avoiding.

In other words, we shouldn’t simply try to erase it and make the mistake of believing we’ve reached the pinnacle of progress and have nothing left to learn. We should instead grapple with every unpleasant inch of it and practice acceptance because there are things worth remembering. Things that might just save us from ourselves.

With that…

The indispensable value of maintaining a low time preference

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There’s a famous psychology experiment from the 1960s where a Standford professor and his team tested hundreds of children on their ability to delay gratification. The researchers would bring each child into a room, sit them down at a table, and place a marshmallow in front of them. At this point, the researcher would inform the child that they were going to leave the room and that they were free to eat the marshmallow if they wanted. …

A small shift in perspective is all it takes

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In his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport discusses approaching your career with what he calls the “craftsman mindset” vs the perils of approaching it with the “passion mindset.” Newport defines the two terms as follows:

“The craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset instead focuses on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives.”

I’d like to take that one step further and say the passion mindset is how most people approach their lives. Period. And it’s dangerous. …

Spoiler alert: do it anyway.

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Here’s a key fact of life almost everyone knows by heart: 90% of it is just showing up.

90% of life is just showing up. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s a nice saying. It’s meant to take the pressure off. It’s meant to say: Hey man, this isn’t all that hard. Minimal effort is required here. You can do this thing!

And it’s true.

But what they don’t tell you, is that 90% of the time you won’t feel like showing up. The times you just don’t feel like it are going to greatly outnumber the…

Protect it with everything you’ve got

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Everything you have can be taken away from you. Life is cruel and mean and twisted and unfair. And there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re all victims of circumstance. Some more so than others.

But again, there’s nothing we can do about it.

The only thing we actually have complete and total control over is what Viktor Frankl called, “the last of the human freedoms”:

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered…

Warren Buffett even uses it for an investment framework

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Warren Buffett often refers to the advice Ted Williams gives about hitting a baseball in his book, The Science of Hitting, as a kind of investing framework. But in truth, it’s a disciplined philosophy that can be applied to any kind of decision-making process.

In the book, Ted Williams shows a picture of a strike zone divided up into 77 sections denoted by tiny baseballs. The graphic shows on each baseball what his average would be if he only swung at pitches in that location. To make a long analogy short, his average was much higher (around .400) swinging at…

“It is only a short step to arguing that the suppression and distortion of known facts is the highest duty of a journalist.”

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In a 1945 essay entitled, Through a Glass, Rosily, George Orwell offered some prescient thoughts about the temptation for journalists at the time to avoid levying any criticisms of the Russian Army after it had liberated a significant portion of Europe from Nazi control. Orwell was responding to that insidious human tendency for what Christopher Hitchens called, “invitations to passivity or acquiescence,” out of concern for “giving ammunition to the other side.” …

Tom Belskie

technical writer by day | indie author & blogger by night

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