It’s not about them - it’s about you.
Each of us have our own objectives and destiny, along the way we will interact with so many different characters, encounter various events and consume a myriad of information, all of which will taint our world and impact our world views. What’s important is that we learn from all these experiences and not get disillusioned by the authors of them. If we like a piece of music, does it matter that the musician struggled with drug addiction?, or if we enjoyed a particular book will our opinion of the content change if we find out that the author was unfaithful to his partner?
What matters is the essence of the message not the person that delivers it.
Ultimately, value is derived from an experience. Look for the meaning not the messenger.
Sometimes life drops blessings in your lap without your lifting a finger. Serendipity, they call it.
— Charlton Heston
Have you ever wondered why we spend the time to arrange cutlery in the drawer in defined compartments after washing it, why not just clutter them together and spend an extra minute looking for a fork and a knife when we need it?
The fact is our cognitive bias remains with thinking in blocks of times as opposed to haphazardly. It is more productive to conquer a task whilst concentrating solely on that particular task, rather than doing or thinking about multiple actions simultaneously and being distracted.
A focused approach to any activity will result in discovery of various scenarios and options that a distracted mind will not see.
There is a sense of serendipity when a sequence follows or similar items are stacked next to each other. We all look for a rhythm in our lives.
CEO and founder, Gumroad | California, San Francisco
For me, it was no longer about growth at all costs, but “freedom at all costs.”
— Sahil Lavingia
I thought Gumroad would become a billion-dollar company, with hundreds of employees. It would IPO, and I would work on it until I died. Something like that.
Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Now, it may look like I am in an enviable position, running a profitable, growing, low-maintenance software business serving adoring customers. But for years, I considered myself a failure. At just 19, a solo founder, with over $8M in the bank and three employees. The world was starting to take note.
At my lowest point, I had to lay off 75 percent of my company, including many of my best friends. I had failed.
“Wealth can be a measure of being able to improve the well-being of those around you, as seems to be the case for someone like Bill Gates, who has invested heavily in philanthropy. But it’s not the only way to measure success, nor is it the best one.”
As a way to re-engage with the community, I thought about sharing our financials publicly. Founders starting their own companies could learn from our mistakes, utilizing our data to make better decisions:
In June 2015, a few months before our layoffs, our financials looked like this:
Revenue: $89,000 for the month
Gross profit: $17,000
Operating expenses: $364,000
Net profit: -$351,000
A year later, in June 2016, our monthly numbers looked like this:
Revenue: $176,000 for the month
Gross profit: $42,000
Operating expenses: $32,000
Net profit: +$10,000
I consider myself “successful” now. Not exactly in the way I intended, though I think what I’m doing now counts.
The future of work is not working
Gumroad’s homepage is clear about its benefits to creators who use it: “Escape your 9-to-5 job. Take off your suit and tie. End your commute. Get paid for your craft.”
Wisdom/What I'm Reading...
Greenlights by Mathew McConaughey
A frank and honest memoir of the life of a kid from a working middle class background that rose to fame and fortune mostly by accident but always with his wits about him.
This book is the result of a lifetime of journaling.
McConaughey knows that the stereotypical view of a hollywood star is one that just eases into it, he has written this book to correct that myth. His story is more about hard work, mistakes and being at the right place at the right time. The book shares the many twists and turns that his life has taken to get where he is.
I’ve been in this life for 50 years, been trying to work out its riddle for 42, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last 35. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
“Catching greenlights is about skill, intent, context, consideration, endurance, anticipation, resilience, speed and discipline. We can catch more greenlights by simply identifying where the red lights are in our life, and then change course to hit fewer of them… We can create more and schedule them in our future–a path of least resistance–through force of will, hard work, and the choices we make. We can be responsible for greenlights.”
His life’s journey, his constant zeal to upgrade his character has seen him travel to the depths of the Amazon and to Mali to discover himself.
No one can escape hardship, he said, but he can share the lessons “that helped me navigate the hard stuff — like I say, ‘get relative with the inevitable’ — sooner and in the best way possible for myself.”
The book has a number of real life learning “bumper sticker” quotes like: “Educate before you indict,” that share McConaughey’s life philosophy. Many more of his ideologies are offered throughout the book in anecdotal fashion.
He shares his wisdom in this commencement speech at University of Houston.
To conclude that life is all about luck, he said, is to surrender to fatalism: “Quit letting yourself off the hook, McConaughey. If that’s true, then run every red light. You’ve got your hands on the wheel. You’re making choices. They matter.”
The writing is conversational and easy to read, though this is one book whose audiobook form is worth listening to. The actor/author reads it himself, with the correct inflections and even does voices. It's truly entertaining.
“Unflinchingly honest and remarkably candid, Matthew McConaughey's book invites us to grapple with the lessons of his life as he did; and to see that the point was never to win, but to understand.”
– Mark Manson, Author