Paul Graham, who is the godfather of silicon valley, funded many startups like dropbox and airbnb. His website has many useful articles: http://www.paulgraham.com/articles.html
Life is too short for bullshit
- Unnecessary meetings, pointless disputes, bureaucracy, posturing, dealing with other people’s mistakes, traffic jams, addictive but unrewarding pastimes.
- this kind of bullshit either forced on you or it tricks you.
- The amount of time you have to spend on bullshit varies between employers. If you consciously prioritize bullshit avoidance over money, prestige, etc., you can can probably find employers that will waste less of your time.
- If you fire or avoid toxic customers, you can decrease the amount of bullshit in your life by more than you decrease your income.
- while some amount of bullshit is inevitably forced on you, the bullshit that sneaks into your life by tricking you is no one’s fault but your own. And yet the bullshit you choose may be harder to eliminate than the bullshit that’s forced on you.Things that lure you into wasting your time on them have to be really good at tricking you. An example is arguing online.Your instinct when attacked is to defend yourself.Although counterintuitive, it’s better not to waste time to defend yourself. Otherwise these people are literally taking your life.
- One byproduct of technology advancement is things we like tend to becomemore addictive, we need to make conscious effort to stand outside and ask ourself, “is this how I want to spend my time?”
- The lucky a few realize that they love math or something and spend a lot of time doing it. But most people start out with a life that’s a mix of things that matter and things that don’t, and only gradually learn to distinguish between them.
- For the young especially, much of this confusion is induced by the artificial situations they find themselves in. In middle school and high school, what the other kids think of you seems the most important thing in the world. But when you ask adults what they got wrong at that age, nearly all say they cared too much what other kids thought of them.
- One heuristic for distinguishing stuff that matters is to ask yourself whether you’ll care about it in the future. Fake stuff that matters usually has a sharp peak of seeming to matter. That’s how it tricks you. The area under the curve is small, but its shape jabs into your consciousness like a pin.
- The things that matter aren’t necessarily the ones people would call “important.” Having coffee with a friend matters. You won’t feel later like that was a waste of time.
- One great thing about having small children is that they make you spend time on things that matter: them. They grab your sleeve as you’re staring at your phone and say “will you play with me?” And odds are that is in fact the bullshit-minimizing option.
- If life is short, we should expect its shortness to take us by surprise. And that is just what tends to happen. You take things for granted, and then they’re gone. You think you can always write that book, or climb that mountain, or whatever, and then you realize the window has closed. The saddest windows close when other people die. Their lives are short too. After my mother died, I wished I’d spent more time with her. I lived as if she’d always be there. And in her typical quiet way she encouraged that illusion. But an illusion it was. I think a lot of people make the same mistake I did.
- Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Don’t wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You don’t need to be constantly reminding yourself why you shouldn’t wait. Just don’t wait.
- I can think of two more things one does when one doesn’t have much of something: try to get more of it, and savor what one has. Both make sense here.
- How you live affects how long you live.
- The “flow” that imaginative people love so much has a darker cousin that prevents you from pausing to savor life amid the daily slurry of errands and alarms. One of the most striking things I’ve read was not in a book, but the title of one: James Salter’s Burning the Days.
- It does help too to feel that you’ve squeezed everything out of some experience. The reason I’m sad about my mother is not just that I miss her but that I think of all the things we could have done that we didn’t. My oldest son will be 7 soon. And while I miss the 3-year-old version of him, I at least don’t have any regrets over what might have been. We had the best time a daddy and a 3-year-old ever had.
- Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That’s what you do when life is short.