How much harder is it to do the right thing when you’re surrounded by people with low standards? How much harder is it to be positive and empathetic inside the negativity bubble of television chatter? How much harder is it to focus on your own issues when you’re distracted with other people’s drama and conflict?
~ Ryan Holiday
I consider myself lucky that I’m surrounded by such a terrific group of people: loving, supporting, listening, encouraging– just so many ‘ings.
Also, I’ve built upon my intial luck (parents, gender, skin color, country of birth, the century, etc) by working hard to seek out people who require me to improve. I don’t particularly like the old adage, “you are the average of your five closest friends,” because it’s so trivial as to be of little help. I prefer…
People are like goals in that they pull (or push, this is a choose-your-own metaphor) you in some direction. Sometimes, one person pulls you in several directions at once. Each person pulls you in “lurches” and “yanks”; The more time you spend with them, the more of a concerted effect they’ll have. Some people you cannot choose (to add or remove them from your life, to change their behavior or innate qualities). So you best think very carefully, and act very intentionally, to choose those whom you can.
As we get older, failure is not so inconsequential anymore. What’s at stake is not some arbitrary grade or intramural sports trophy, but the quality of your life and your abiity to deal with the world around you.
Don’t let that intimidate you, though. You have the best teachers in the world: the wisest philosophers who ever lived. And not only are you capable, the professor is asking for something very simple: just begin the work. The rest follows.
If you don’t understand what all the hubbub is about Google Reader, RSS, free services… here are three bits to get you thinking:
The Customer Is the Product
Ryan Holiday, in Our Regressive Web:
What if someone invented a service where, instead of having to check all your important blogs, instead of having to check Twitter and Tumblr a million times a day, you could get all the updates in one place? Great idea!
Marco Arment, in Free Works:
Free is so prevalent in our industry not because everyone’s irresponsible, but because it works. … In other industries, this is called predatory pricing, and many forms of it are illegal because they’re so destructive to healthy businesses and the welfare of an economy. But the tech industry is far less regulated, younger, and faster-moving than most industries. We celebrate our ability to do things that are illegal or economically infeasible in other markets with productive-sounding words like “disruption”.