What I'm Reading...

Everywhere I have sought peace…

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro. – Thomas a Kempis

Everywhere I have sought peace and not found it, except in a corner with a book.

Each of us needs to put ourselves, physically, in the position to do that kind of deep work. We need to give our bodies, as Virginia Woolf put it, a room of our own—even if only for a few stolen hours—where we can think and have quiet and solitude. (…) It’s hard to make that time. It’s hard (and expensive) to get away. We have responsibilities. But they will be better for our temporary disappearance. We will carry back with us the stillness from our solitude in the form of patience, understanding, gratitude, and insight. – Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key (p. 218)

Focus on the habits that precede results

James Clear on goals:

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there. This year, spend less time focusing on outcomes and more time focusing on the habits that precede the results.

goals habits james-clear systems

The Touchstone of Friendship

The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life: a diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence. (…)

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self; the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone. – David Whyte

(From Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday newsletter.)

How to cultivate genius

Paul Graham writing about great work and genius in The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius:

(…) the most exciting implication of the bus ticket theory is that it suggests ways to encourage great work. If the recipe for genius is simply natural ability plus hard work, all we can do is hope we have a lot of ability, and work as hard as we can. But if interest is a critical ingredient in genius, we may be able, by cultivating interest, to cultivate genius.

As most things Paul Graham writes, it’s worth reading the whole article.

genius great-work growth-mindset learning