Living, Learning, and Labour: Hard Won Aphorisms

(a non-exhaustive list of self-reminders)

Professional Principles

1 + 1 = 3

Teamwork, partnerships, coaching. Whatever form it takes, nothing will have a larger impact on your work than magnifying your contribution through collaboration.

Via Negativa

Everything you add needs to be maintained. Often you’ll get ahead faster by subtracting rather than adding. Just like you would be healthier if you quit smoking instead of eating more broccoli.

Hacking the system is not the goal. The goal is the goal.

Most times shortcuts turn into detours.

You are only entitled to the action, never to its fruits.

Work should be its own reward.

“I can’t work with you until I work with you.” – Seth Godin

Take your time to know a person before you invite them to become a part of your work life. They will most likely work alongside you for years to come.

Best way to encourage feedback is to ask for it yourself.

If you want your team to accept and use criticism, you need to receive it before dishing it out.

Don’t think like a fisherman, think like a fish.

Don’t let your own biases or routines hold you back. You are not your customer. They live inside their own world, not yours. Meet them where they are.

The ability to answer questions for which Google can’t help is a great indicator of your career potential.

Success leaves clues, but not at the edges.

Studying extreme cases won’t yield much. Take bodybuilding for example: if you’re a newbie, you can’t hack your progress emulating Phil Heath’s workouts. You need to start with the basic barbell lifts.

Meta skills magnify and accelerate everything else you’re good at.

1. learn how to learn
2. learn how to work
3. learn how to rest
4. learn how to think
5. learn how to communicate

“Never complain; never explain.” – Benjamin Disraeli

This short maxim is probably the best career advice I ever got. Making, and justifying, excuses never lifted anyone up.

Life Lessons

Focus = courage

It’s easy to dabble. What’s hard is deciding on a path and sticking to it. Going from the abstract to the concrete. Leaving behind what could be and running towards what is.

Forgiving yourself may be the hardest thing you ever have to do.

Most often you’ll have to forgive a version of yourself that’s no longer alive.

Respect the past, take what it offers, but don’t live in it.

Rearview mirrors are helpful tools, not crutches. Take the lesson. Move on.

Planning in decades is the surest way to enjoy the moment.

Design your life in buckets. Think about the things you want to do in each epoch of your life. There are things you won’t be able to do when you’re 70. Don’t wait.

Regardless of who you are, life will humble you at some point.

Money, status, power will not stand between you and the unwavering nature of entropy.

Shame is the most harmful emotion of all.

It will make you hide and ignore things that can have dramatic consequences.

Sometimes a change is better than a rest. (Thank you Lora Crestan.)

You can bump into the same wall only so many times before you become numb.

You do not get braver by being more protected.

Chasing security will not give you the courage to say what you need to say.

Trauma will resurface when it has space.

It is not during chaotic times, but within order that trauma has room to show its face.

Our secrets rarely hurt other people.

Most of our secrets are there to protect us. We fear that what we hold close to our chest could threaten our wellbeing, reputation, or relationships.

Don’t trust blanket statements.

Things are rarely (never?) black and white.

It’s ok to not have an opinion.

Unfortunately, the same people that would argue with you if you provide an opinion will get offended or frustrated if you don’t have one.

Setting goals is not valuable. Reflecting on them is.

Thinking about my goals from the previous years gives me a higher ROI than setting new ones. You start to figure out what’s worth it, what’s possible, and what you’re willing to go through.

You cannot lose if you do not quit.

Easiest way to take the stress out of your goals is to extend the timeline. If you want it now more than you want it at all, it probably has something to do with your ego.

Simple ≠ easy

The basics work, but you need to put effort behind it to reap the rewards.

Money Mindsets

There is no such thing as passive income.

There are only varying degrees of active. You can be more or less involved in a business, a role, or an investment.

Money only solves money problems.

When money is no longer an issue you are left with problems that money cannot fix. And those are the hardest problems to deal with.

Money won’t come just because you need it.

On the contrary, most often money goes to those that don’t need it. Because they have the option to walk away from the deal.

You should only have to get rich once.

Employ downside mitigation. Take big risks with a little. Take small risks with a lot.

The only people you impress with money are people who don’t matter.

The ones that matter are not impressed by your financial acumen.

Money is just an accelerator.

It will not change your direction. It will just take you where you’re going faster.

Quantum leaps exists.

Learning a new skill, moving across industries, or working in a different geographic area have the potential to 10x your income.

How you spend your money tells more about you than how you invest.

I can see your house, your car, your clothes. I cannot see your portfolio.

Every expense has 2 parts:

1. Signal to others
2. Utility for the buyer

Author: Dan Calin