Nobody tells this to people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one piece. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through. (Ira Glass)

That’s an incredibile feeling, to know that you can plant something in the world and it’ll grow, and change the world ever so slightly. (Steve Jobs)

It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that. (Mark Twain)

Dreams always come from behind you, not right between your eyes. But when you have a dream, it doesn’t often come at you screaming in your face “this is who you are, this is what you must be for the rest of your life”. Sometimes the dream almost whispers. And I’ve always said to my kids: the hardest thing to listen to – your instinct, your human personal intuition – always whispers, it never shouts. Very hard to hear. See, you have to, every day of your life, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear; it very rarely shouts. And if you can listen to the whisper, and if it tickles your heart, and it’s something you think you wanna do for the rest of your life, then that is going to be what you do for the rest of your life, and we will benefit from everything you do. (Steven Spielberg)

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. (Steve Jobs)

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. (Laura Vanderkam)

Nessuno sa tutto, ognuno sa qualcosa, la totalità del sapere risiede nell’umanità. (Pierre Lévi)

Voi vedete e giudicate il presente con gli occhi del passato e ne ricavate una visione totalmente distorta. (Eckhart Tolle)

It may be intuitive that people would make the same choices regardless of the language they are using, or that the difficulty of using a foreign language would make decisions less systematic. We discovered, however, that the opposite is true: using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases. (Keysar’s team)

Do you have a “future self”? You know, it’s you, but in the future – the guy who the present you piles so much crap on that he’ll never dig himself out? Yeah, that guy. The problem? He doesn’t really exist. Thinking that he does exist is fallacious. […] You’re never going to get anywhere in life unless you do it today – right now. So stop dicking around and get started. Future you is friggin’ buried. It’s up to you – present you – to dig his ass out. Otherwise, both of you are going to suffocate, shrivel up, and die. (S. D. Salyer)

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. (Bertrand Russell)

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you… And you can change it. (Steve Jobs)

Find a guiding principle. (Bret Victor)

The smartest thing you can do is to surround yourself with people smarter than you. (Noah Stokes)

Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration. (Thomas Edison)

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed. (Derek Sivers)

Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration…shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. In reality, the imagination of the good artist or thinker produces continuously good, mediocre or bad things, but his judgment, trained and sharpened to a fine point, rejects, selects, connects… All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering. (Nietzsche)

L’uomo non è che una canna, la più debole della natura; ma è una canna pensante. Non c’è bisogno che tutto l’universo s’armi per schiacciarlo: un vapore, una goccia d’acqua basta a ucciderlo. Ma, anche se l’universo lo schiacciasse, l’uomo sarebbe ancor più nobile di chi lo uccide, perché sa di morire e conosce la superiorità dell’universo su di lui; l’universo invece non ne sa niente. (Blaise Pascal)

Che cos’è in fondo l’uomo nella natura? Un nulla rispetto all’infinito, un tutto rispetto al nulla; un qualcosa di mezzo tra il niente e il tutto. Infinitamente lontano dall’abbracciare gli estremi, la fine delle cose e il loro principio gli sono invincibilmente nascosti in un impenetrabile segreto, ed egli è ugualmente incapace di vedere il nulla da cui è stato tratto e l’infinito dal quale è inghiottito. (Blaise Pascal)

Distraction and dilettantism come with real benefits, as they give the unconscious a chance to assess its new ideas. […] So yes: taking a break is important. But make sure you do something that makes you happy, as positive moods make us even better at diagnosing the value of our creative work. (Jonah Lehrer)

The study reiterates the notion that money can in fact buy happiness. You read that right. Money can buy happiness. The problem however, is related to the fact that most people aren’t spending their money on things that actually translate into happiness. People are making empty investments into products and services that have short-term impacts on their emotions rather than long-term impacts on their lives and happiness. […] In 2010, the New York Times published an article about consumption and how it relates to happiness.
In this article a professor discussed a study that identified the number one category to be positively related to happiness. Surprisingly the top category wasn’t cars, home improvements or even a shiny new piece necklace from Tiffany’s. The number one category was leisure activities: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment used to enhance an experience such as golf clubs, yoga mats or a surf board. Thus, buying authentic memorable experiences should be our primary focus when looking to optimize our lives using a pay cheque. (Ross Simmonds)

The problem is that the only music from the past that people still listen to is the good music. Everyone who says that the 70’s or 80’s had more good music than today needs to think about how much music from those decades they actually listen to. There are maybe 30 to 40 bands from the 70’s and 80’s in my music collection, most of them only one song. For every popular song from those times that I like there must be hundreds that I’ve never heard that suck. Today has just as much quality music we just haven’t had enough time to wade through the shit yet. *

After only a year of prioritizing sleep, I feel I’ve already learned and produced more, relatively speaking. I’ve even been able to conquer that weird desire to stay up late despite having nothing to do. The dull feeling I had a few summers ago has not returned, and the tradeoff between longer, lower-quality days and shorter, higher-quality days has been worthwhile. (Nick Hughes)

Le cose che sembrano facili sono, talvolta, le più ardue da ottenere. La semplicità è un traguardo difficile, soprattutto quando è sinonimo di purezza, di grazia. La semplicità, nella scrittura, diventa velocità. Il lettore segue la tua storia senza mai tornare indietro, tutta d’un fiato. E alla fine, magari, proprio per questo pensa che… “be’, cosa ci vuole?” Come quando, seduto su una panchina, io osservo un runner filare tranquillo attraverso il parco, senza mostrare un minimo di affanno. Il volto rilassato quanto, apparentemente, i muscoli. Sembra tutto così facile. Posso farlo anch’io, allora! Invece no. Come con la scrittura, semplicità e agilità sono frutto di una fatica prima. Una fatica non ostentata, ma tale. È una cosa su cui fare una sana riflessione. (Tito Faraci)