This week, I announced on Instagram that my newest book, Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors The Brave, is available for preorder. It will be my 12th book in 10 years, and so there were a bunch of comments from people who wondered how I was able to get another one done so quickly.
How do you write books faster than I read them?
What’s your secret to writing so many books?
“If I don’t believe in myself, who will?”
It’s a good question.
A seductive one. An empowering but innocuous phrase has been inscribed on a million inspirational quote images, been the subject of countless self-help books and TED Talks.
Believe in yourself! Fake it until you make it!
The problem is that it’s bullshit.
Great people don’t have to believe in themselves. They don’t have to fake anything. They have evidence.
A few years ago, an interviewer asked Jay Z about his incredible self-assuredness. It’s a good question. He does seem like a person with unending faith in himself. How…
It is with some pride that I can think of some “big” things I have passed on doing.
Tickets to the Super Bowl.
A trip to Necker Island.
More than a few different book deals.
I’m not proud because I think I am better than those things, it was just that I had better things to do with that time, at that time. Sometimes it was family, sometimes it was cooler work opportunities, sometimes it was just because I was exhausted and I needed to rest.
The great Admiral Hyman Rickover used to say that success teaches nothing; only failure is educational. I don’t know if that’s completely true, but I will say that my own short time on this planet has had its share of teachable moments rooted in mistakes, usually of my own making.
For going on 10 years now, I have written a piece on my birthday around the idea of lessons learned. This year, at 34, I thought I’d focus exclusively on my failures and what they’ve taught me. …
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to sap your motivation. When you’re locked in your house, working from home, when your routine is disrupted, when everything that’s happening in the world seems to be negative, it’s easy to say, screw it. Or, it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll get back on track when things go back to normal. I’ll start eating salads for lunch when I’m back at the office. I’ll stop snacking when the kids are back on a schedule. I’ll get back to working out when I can safely go to the gym. …
What is the job of a philosopher?
“When the standards have been set,” Epictetus said, “the work of philosophy is just this, to examine and uphold the standards, but the work of a truly good person is in using those standards when they know them.”
Pretty straightforward then: Define your rules. Live by them.
We can imagine that Marcus Aurelius was a busy man, perhaps the busiest man in the world. He had 14 children. He was living through a pandemic. He had a nagging stomach ailment. He was taking philosophy classes.
Oh, and he was the emperor of Rome. His domain stretched some 2.2 million square miles and included some 120 million people for whom he was both responsible for and in charge of.
How did he manage it all? How did he get it all done? Without losing his mind? Without falling behind?
We know that one question played a huge role.
Over the past year, we’ve all been tested. Many of us have failed.
The pandemic made some of us callous. It infected others with conspiracy theories. Too many of us gave into apathy and chaos, losing all sense of structure (and spending who knows how many hours watching Netflix). Now, with the pandemic in the home stretch, but still with us, we have to get serious. We have to get serious about the tried and tested way to wisdom: reading.
Books are an investment in yourself — one that can come in many forms: novels, nonfiction, how-to, poetry, classics, biographies…
“It’s normal to feel pain in your hands and feet, if you’re using your feet as feet and your hands as hands. And for a human being to feel stress is normal — if he’s living a normal human life. And if it’s normal, how can it be bad?” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.33
Life has always been hard. Even in the ancient world, there were children to raise, debts to pay, and terrible bosses. People got sick. They committed to too much.
Stress was a fact of life. But suffering because of stress? …
In his essay On the Happy Life, the philosopher Seneca makes an extended list of rules for living a good life. It’s everyone’s wish to live better, he says, but we are often in the dark on how to do so.
Except… we’re not. At least, we don’t have to be. So many people have struggled in the dark before us, and their experiences and lessons have created light. Living a good life starts with learning from one another.
With that in mind, here are 100 rules that have helped me live the life I want. Some have come from…