Advice

If you stop to listen to a musician or street performer for more than a minute, you owe them a dollar.

There is no such thing as being “on time.” You are either late or you are early. Your choice.

~ Kevin Kelly from, https://kk.org/thetechnium/103-bits-of-advice-i-wish-i-had-known/

Alas, though I’ve provided you a link, it has already rotted. (I lamented this just a few weeks ago too.) You’re welcome to click through, but it leads now to a teaser version of the original piece… and links to the it’s-now-a-book on Amazon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m all for people making money off their own work. It’s just weird to me, because it was only just 5 months ago that I marked that URL for later reading (my read–things–later tool saved me a copy of the page) and yet now it is no more.

Pro-tip: If you have the URL to something (as I’ve given you above) the Internet Archive probably saved you a copy. For example, here’s 103 Bits of Advice… from May, 2022.

As for the specific bits of advice, above I’ve chosen just two to quote. The bit about being late or early is my favorite; The world would be infinitely better off if everyone learned that bit. And the bit about owing money to street musicians is one I learned later in life, but to which I strictly abide; If I stop to listen, I will contribute.

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There are no laws

There are no laws. You have to be in the moment. You have to understand the circumstances you’re in. Learning to adapt to each new circumstance means seeing events through your own eyes, and often ignoring the advice that people constantly peddle your way. It means that ultimately you must throw out the laws that others preach, and the books they write to tell you what to do, and the sage advice of the elder.

~ Robert Greene

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Success

To be a successful creator, you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, clients, or fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only 1,000 true fans.

~ Kevin Kelly

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Specific

In fact, some of the best advice comes in the form of clichés. Be yourself. Seize the day. Fake it till you make it. Despite how trite these phrases sound now, they are still deep, paradigm-shifting insights about being human. They’ve undoubtedly changed countless lives, which is how they became trite. Precisely because these principles have been discovered and expressed many times, in many contexts, they’ve become too general and too familiar to revolutionize how someone does something.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2021/11/advice-gets-good-when-it-gets-specific/

Everyone knows by now that the ‘S’ in SMART goals stands for “specific.” I completely agree with Cain. My experience has been that magic happens if I can—when appropriate, when asked—give both the generic cliché and a specific example. For example, “Fake it ’til you make it. People can detect confidence. So work to overcome your nervousness and self-doubt by keeping your communication as simple as possible. Simplify until you have clear, simple statements and clear, simple requests.”

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Note from future self

In a weekly team discussion, where we start with someone leading with a prompt, we were asked what we’d like to tell our past self if we could pass a note. My response was…

I think I’ll go with a short note intended to shake my foundations, rather than convey particular information. Presuming I’d be certain to believe the note was from future-me, please pass this note to ~18-year-old me:

There are no perfectly correct answers.
There are, however, perfectly wrong answers.

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You know what you should do?

Years ago, I would often say, “you know what you should do?” followed by some suggestion. When I started reading various things in the, “having skin in the game,” vein, I realized how useless—annoying even—my suggestion were. (For example, to a café owner, “you know what you should have on the menu?” is not going to be useful.) Over time I came to understand that it’s only in areas where one has deep knowledge are suggestions going to have any chance of being useful. (Don’t confuse that with observations—”the door to your bathroom is broken,” is definitely useful to that café owner.) By paying close attention to when I heard myself say, “you know what you should do,” I slowly learned to keep such comments to myself.

Aside: I wedged in a new behavior, as a sort of software interrupt. When I feel the urge to say such things, instead I find a compliment, swap out that text, and then resume speaking. If you’ve ever heard me seemingly-randomly whip out a compliment—to a waiter, to a shop keeper, a manager—that’s often, (but not always,) what just happened.

Unfortunately, although I made great strides in reducing the advice-giving all I’ve actually done is narrowed the area where I give advice. In too many instances I’m still trying to exert my influence. Then when things invariably, (since it’s not my thing it’s someone else’s that I’m giving advice about,) don’t turn out as I wanted I get frustrated. Go figure.

Note to self: Continue to root out the urge to exert influence.

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We have precisely the same number

First and obviously, I have precisely the same number of minutes of the day that you have. Second, I am ruthless about spending my time appropriately. An individual practice above might only save me 10 seconds, but that’s 10 seconds multiplied by completing that action a thousand times in the next month. That’s around 160 minutes. That’s just under three hours of my life.

~ Rands from, http://randsinrepose.com/archives/rands-information-practices/

Sometimes Usually Rands can really wax loquatiously which is a terrible habit for one to indulge in because it wastes one’s readers’ most scarce resource: Time.

Why do you tolerate the thousand paper-cuts that waste your time each day?

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