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Posts tagged "advice"

Aug 29, 2014
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Jeffrey Tambor’s acting workshop at SXSW 2010 and 2012

My friend @MattThomas tweeted from Jeffrey Tambor’s talk in Iowa last night:

Tambor’s morning routine: - wakes up and drinks a cold cup of coffee that’s next to the bed from the night before - reads for a half hour

Tambor: “You wanna have a good life? Work, love, and thrive with people who get you.”

Tambor: “If you’re any good, you’re going to be fired.”

Tambor talking about how he used to, in his darker moments, destroy his projects with worry.

His notes reminded me how much I liked Tambor’s speaking and that I never scanned my notes from SXSW 2012.

Aug 23, 2014
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We hear “do what you love” so often from those few people who it did work for, for whom the stars aligned, and from them it sounds like good advice. They’re successful, aren’t they? If we follow their advice, we’ll be successful, too! […] We rarely hear the advice of the person who did what they loved and stayed poor or was horribly injured for it. Professional gamblers, stuntmen, washed up cartoonists like myself: we don’t give speeches at corporate events. We aren’t paid to go to the World Domination Summit and make people feel bad. We don’t land book deals or speak on Good Morning America.

Aug 13, 2014
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When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.” Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult. I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewelry. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson. She kept touching me as she talked. I forgave her for that. I didn’t reveal a single detail about myself, including my name. Eventually someone pulled me back into the party. The celebrity jewelry coordinator smiled and grabbed my hand and said, “I like you!” She seemed so relieved to have unburdened herself. I counted it as a great accomplishment. Maybe a hundred times since I’ve said, “wow, that sounds hard” to a stranger, always to great effect. I stay home with my kids and have no life left to me, so take this party trick, my gift to you.
— Paul Ford, “How to Be Polite”

Aug 12, 2014
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Aug 10, 2014
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What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.
— Victor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

Jul 22, 2014
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It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction! “And this, too, shall pass away.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1859

Jul 19, 2014
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Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.

Jul 03, 2014
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Jun 26, 2014
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If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical, man you’ve got it half licked.
— Henry Miller on aging

Jun 17, 2014
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Seneca, On The Shortness of Life

I really love the Penguin Great Ideas series of nicely designed skinny paperbacks. (I particularly like the Montaigne edition.)

I didn’t finish this one, only read 2 out of the 3 essays. (One of the promises I’ve made myself this year is that I won’t continue on with a book if it’s become a chore reading it.) But I liked the title essay (well, not really an essay, but a letter to Seneca’s friend, Paulinus).

On guarding your time (“Nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing.):


  Men do not let anyone seize their estates, and if there is the slightest dispute about their boundaries they rush to stones and arms; but they allow others to encroach on their lives — why, they themselves even invite in those who will take over their lives. You will find no one willing to share out his money; but to how many does each of us divide up his life! People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.


This is followed by a passage that haunts me, when Seneca says to “hold an audit of your life”:


  Call to mind when you ever had a fixed purpose; how few days have passed as you had planned; when you were ever at your own disposal; when your face wore its natural expression; when your mind was undisturbed…


On not mistaking age for wisdom or a well-lived life:


  You must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.


The case for reading:


  [Those who read] not only keep a good watch over their own lifetimes, but they annex every age to theirs. All the years that have passed before them are added to their own…. We are excluded from no age, but we have access to them all.. why not turn from this brief and transient spell of time and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the past, which is limitless and eternal and can be shared with better men than we?


On climbing your own family tree (realizing now I basically plagiarized Seneca for Steal Like An Artist):


  We are in the habit of saying that it was not in our power to choose the parents who were allotted to us, that they were given to us by chance. But we can choose whose children we would like to be. There are households of the noblest intellects: choose the one into which you wish to be adopted, and you will inherit not only their name but their property too. Nor will this property need to be guarded meanly or grudgingly: the more it is shared out, the greater it will become.


On worrying about your “legacy”:


  Some men, after they have crawled through a thousand indignities to the supreme dignity, have been assailed by the gloomy thought that all their labors were but for the sake of an epitaph.


And some good one-liners:

Life is long if you know how to use it.
We are not given a short life but we make it short.
You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.
Learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die.
The man who… organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day.
The present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain.
Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.
They lose the day in waiting for the night.
Filed under: my reading year 2014

Seneca, On The Shortness of Life

I really love the Penguin Great Ideas series of nicely designed skinny paperbacks. (I particularly like the Montaigne edition.)

I didn’t finish this one, only read 2 out of the 3 essays. (One of the promises I’ve made myself this year is that I won’t continue on with a book if it’s become a chore reading it.) But I liked the title essay (well, not really an essay, but a letter to Seneca’s friend, Paulinus).

On guarding your time (“Nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing.):

Men do not let anyone seize their estates, and if there is the slightest dispute about their boundaries they rush to stones and arms; but they allow others to encroach on their lives — why, they themselves even invite in those who will take over their lives. You will find no one willing to share out his money; but to how many does each of us divide up his life! People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.

This is followed by a passage that haunts me, when Seneca says to “hold an audit of your life”:

Call to mind when you ever had a fixed purpose; how few days have passed as you had planned; when you were ever at your own disposal; when your face wore its natural expression; when your mind was undisturbed…

On not mistaking age for wisdom or a well-lived life:

You must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.

The case for reading:

[Those who read] not only keep a good watch over their own lifetimes, but they annex every age to theirs. All the years that have passed before them are added to their own…. We are excluded from no age, but we have access to them all.. why not turn from this brief and transient spell of time and give ourselves wholeheartedly to the past, which is limitless and eternal and can be shared with better men than we?

On climbing your own family tree (realizing now I basically plagiarized Seneca for Steal Like An Artist):

We are in the habit of saying that it was not in our power to choose the parents who were allotted to us, that they were given to us by chance. But we can choose whose children we would like to be. There are households of the noblest intellects: choose the one into which you wish to be adopted, and you will inherit not only their name but their property too. Nor will this property need to be guarded meanly or grudgingly: the more it is shared out, the greater it will become.

On worrying about your “legacy”:

Some men, after they have crawled through a thousand indignities to the supreme dignity, have been assailed by the gloomy thought that all their labors were but for the sake of an epitaph.

And some good one-liners:

  • Life is long if you know how to use it.
  • We are not given a short life but we make it short.
  • You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.
  • Learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die.
  • The man who… organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day.
  • The present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain.
  • Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.
  • They lose the day in waiting for the night.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

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