I just finished reading Tina Seeligs book What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World. It was a fast read for me (I think I finished it in a day) but I really liked it a lot. Here are a few of my favorite insights.
- Seelig quotes Carlos Vignolo, a professor at the University of Chile, who says that students should sign up for classes “from the worst teachers in their school because this will prepare them for life, where they won’t have talented educators leading the way.” At a time where I am pulling my hair out with my University education (I feel like the ‘curriculum’ I’ve purchased is watered down and stays in a safe, theoretical cage where it never has to face the real world of application), this was a great ‘silver lining’ for me. I need to positively spin my education in such a way that it starts to benefit me, where I can take the disjointed lessons from a classroom and try to practice them in the real world the best I can. Sure, I get the feeling that some of my teachers wouldn’t even know how to do this, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try. Also, this could potentially teach me how to seek out my own resources.
- Larry Page of Google was quoted and told his audience to “have a healthy disregard for the impossible.” He also shared that big goals are easier than small goals, which makes sense in a weird way. We view smaller goals as less important, and when opposition comes, we are more likely to let smaller goals slip by us with the thought, ‘eh, well, it wasn’t really that big of a deal anyways.”
- “Rules are often meant to be broken. Most rules are i place as the lowest common denominator, making sure that those who don’t have a clue what to do stay within the boundaries.” I think that their is wisdom in determining which rules are ‘principle based’, or are based off a true guiding principle of the universe so that by keeping the rule the person is more successful and happy, and which rules were created to give the left-hand side of the bell curve a chance for survival. These rules can and should be shirked when they stand in the way of a good decision.
- My father and I recently spoke about self imposed prisons. For that reason, I found this quote interesting. “New Yorkers are both guards and prisoners and as a result they no longer have the capacity to leave the prison they have made, or even see it as a prison.”
- Love this quote “The primary barriers to success are self-imposed. The corollary to this is “the biggest ally of superachievers is the inertia of others.” The secret to success is to move when no one else is. To make big decisions when everyone else is content to go with the flow. I like this because it doesn’t say that success comes from being contrarian; success comes from moving and doing and being when everyone else is afraid to roll the dice.
- Good story from the book. ”It seemed like a pretty plum position. He had a huge office and a big staff. But after two weeks David walked i Jeff’s office and quit. He couldn’t stand the bureaucratic environment. Everything was painfully slow and David was impatient to make things happen. Jeff took David outside for a walk and told him the following joke: There was once a man named Goldberg who wanted nothing more than to be rich. So each day he went to the synagogue and prayed to God to win the lottery. This went on for days, weeks, months, and years, but Goldberg never won. Eventually, Goldberg was at his wit’s end. Praying to God, he said, “You have really let me down.” SUddenly the silence was broken and God responded in a booming voice, “Goldberg, you’ve got to help me out here. You could at least buy a ticket!” Jeff reminded David of something he already knew – he wasn’t going to ‘win the lottery’ in Washington if he didn’t engage. Nobody was going to hand him the tools to be successful. So David went back to his office and tapped into his natural instincts to make things happen, as opposed to waiting for someone to show up with a game plan. He quickly realized that there were endless holes to be filled and tremendous resources at his disposal.”
- Also, Seelig quotes Elisabeth Pate Cornell, an expert in risk management, who explained that there is a process to analyzing risky situations. First, define all possible outcomes. Second, determine the possibility of each outcome. Third, develop a plan for each outcome. Then here is the gold: If you can handle all of the potential outcomes well enough, then if makes sense to pick the riskiest decision. IS THIS NOT BRILLIANT??? When the worst possible outcome is something you are prepared for, then pull the trigger. That, combined with Tim Ferriss’s Stoicism thoughts he’s shared makes for an adventurous person. Tim says to make sure you really, REALLY, frame your fears. Don’t let it be nebulous, give it a face and a name. And if you can handle that, then you need to swing for the fences.
- The idea that acting and directing is the same, no matter the size of the audience or stage. When you start something on the small stage, take a look around, because the gap between the small stage and the big one is a lot easier to clear than you think. Just look for the opportunity to clear the gap.
- Don’t take on too many responsibilities. The army has the rule of three (three direct reports to each officer) for a reason. 3 is optimal for things we can have on our plate at once.