I met the author Damien Echols at the Sounds True Gathering in Sept 2019. I was so impressed by him and his story and bought this book and got his autograph too. When I returned to HK, I watched all the documentaries about him.
Meditation empowers you to notice where your attention is going to and steer it accordingly. Most people aren't aware of just how much they're missing from life. They're distracted by so much stimulation, trapped in loops of internal dialogue, reliving past events, and feeling anxious about what's going to happen tomorrow. And it's so easy to carry on like this until the grave, never actually experiencing the richness of life, of the present moment. Meditation changes all of this. It enables you to pay attention to the present moment and train your mind to do what you want it to do. Meditation enhances your natural ability to be alert and aware.
This book by Ryan Holiday was recommended to me by Amazon. It's a very motivating piece of work. I read the preface and was captivated. He asked, "Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them? ... Will you stand up and show us what you're made of?"
Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them. Great individuals like great companies find a way to transform weakness into strength. It's a rather amazing and even touching feat. They took what should have held them back--what in fact might be holding you back right this very second--and used it to move forward.
Not "be positive" but learn to be ceaselessly creative and opportunities. Not: This is not so bad. But: I can make this good.
We decide what we will make of each and every situation. We decide whether we'll break or whether we'll resist. We decide whether we'll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve). Our perceptions are the thing that we're in complete control of. They can throw us in jail, label us, deprive us of our possessions, but they'll never control our thoughts, our beliefs, our reactions. Which is to say, we are never completely powerless.
If we have our wits fully about us, we can step back and remember that situations, by themselves, cannot be good or bad. This is a judgment that we as human beings bring to them with our perceptions. There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means. A mistake becomes training.
Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn't mean you have to agree. Just because other people say that something is hopeless or crazy or broken to pieces doesn't mean it is. We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.
The observing eye sees events, clear of distractions, exaggerations, and misperceptions. The perceiving eye sees "insurmountable obstacles" or "major setbacks" or even just "issues". It brings its own issues to the fight. The former is helpful, the latter is not.
Not exactly my favourite quote but Mark Manson's words empower me to make decisions that are not necessarily popular or attractive for other people but vibes with me. In the end, I am responsible for curating the most ideal life experiences for me.
"It is the perpetual pursuit of fulfilling our ideal selves which grants us happiness, regardless of superficial pleasures or pain, regardless of positive or negative emotions. This is why some people are happy in war and others are sad at weddings. It's why some are excited to work and others hate parties. The traits they're inhabiting don't align with their ideal selves."
I finished this book by Meg Jay in April 2020, almost within 2 days. This book was recommended by an influencer that I follow, Ashley of bestdressed, and I find her to be an inspirational figure for adulting so gave this book a shot. Some of the ideas presented in the book I had intuitively knew but didn't quite have the vocabulary to explain it such as the concept of "identity capital". Overall a great book that succinctly presented a few areas of life that would be ideal to prioritise in your twenties.
More often, identities and careers are made not out of college majors and GPAs but out of a couple of door-opening pieces of identify capital. Identity Capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources that we assemble over time. These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become part of who we are. Some identity capital goes on a resume, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, how we look. Identity capital is how we build ourselves--bit by bit, over time. Most important, identity capital is what we bring to the adult marketplace. It is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships and other things we want.
While your closest friends help us survive, it does not help us thrive. However, weak ties promote, and sometimes even force, thoughtful growth and change. As we look for jobs or relationships or opportunities of any kind, it is the people we know the least well who will be the most transformative.
When we make choices, we open ourselves up to hard work and failure and heartbreak, so sometimes it feels easier not to know, not to choose, and not to do. Not making choices isn't safe. The consequences are just further away in time, like in your thirties or forties. If you don't say yes to something, your life will become unremarkable and limited. You can't pull some great career out of a hat in your thirties. You've got to start in your twenties.
Neuroticism, or the tendency to be anxious, stressed, critical, and moody, is far more predictive of relationship unhappiness and dissolution than is personality dissimilarity. While personality similarity can help the years run smoothly, any two people will be different in some way or another. How a person responds to these differences can be more important than the differences themselves. To a person who runs high in Neuroticism, differences are seen in a negative light. Anxiety and judgments about these differences then lead to criticism and contempt, two leading relationship killers.
We may not have control over every situation but we could control how we interpret them and how we react to them. Jobs and relationships usually aren't that fragile. For those with a growth mindset, failures may sting but they are also viewed as opportunities for improvement and change. Real confidence comes from mastery experiences, which are actual, lived moments of success, especially when things seem difficult. Feeling better doesn't come from avoiding adulthood, it comes from investing in adulthood.
"Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference."
Conversation between Molly and her estranged father.
Dad: I get that I'm not welcome in your life right now as your father, though you should know I could give a shit if I'm welcome or not. But I'm not here in my capacity as your father. I'm indifferent to whether your father lives or dies. I'm a very expensive therapist, and I'm here to give you one free session.
Molly: You think what I need right now is a therapist?
Dad: (laughs) Yeah.
Molly: I have to be back at my lawyer's office soon.
Dad: Do you like your lawyer?
Molly: I wasn't asking for money when I called you, Dad. I just needed my dad. God forbid you part with a nickel.
Dad: Yeah, Tiny Tim, you grew up on a lake and you've skied all over the world. Were those workhouses tough?
Molly: I gotta go.
Molly: I gotta go.
Dad: Molly, sit the fuck down. ... All right, we're gonna do three years of therapy in three minutes.
Dad: I'm gonna go what patients have been begging therapists to do for 100 years. I'm just gonna give you the answers.
Molly: To what
Dad: Let's start with this. Why does a young woman who, at 22, has a gold-plated resume, why does she run poker games?
Molly: Why did I choose to make a ton of money? That's a head-scratcher.
Dad: You were gonna be a success at anything you wanted. You know it. If you'd gone to law school, you'd have owned a law firm by now. Why did you do the other thing instead?
Molly: I don't know. Drugs.
Dad: You didn't start with the drugs until the end. They weren't the problem, they were the medicine. It was so you could control powerful men. Your addiction was having power over powerful men.
Molly: Is that what you really think?
Dad: No. I know it for sure. You've now completed your first year of therapy.
Molly: I saw an opportunity. It wasn't about you.
Dad: Nah, it wasn't just about me.
Molly: It wasn't at all about you.
Dad: It was. Second year, second question.
Molly: Do you think you were a good husband?
Dad: What do you care?
Molly: I care because you were married to my mother. I care because my father's an asshole.
Dad: Congratulations. You've completed year two. And for the record, your father raised three kids on a college professor's salary. One of them is a two-time Olympian, a sixth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, and a leading philanthropist. The other is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Mass General, and the third managed to build a multimillion-dollar business using not much more than her wits.
Molly: I'm about to plead guilty in Federal court.
Dad: Well, nobody's perfect. The point is, I did a few things right. Last question.
Molly: No, I have to go.
Dad: Last question, Mol. I'll answer it, but you have to ask it. You have to ask it.
Molly: Why didn't you like me as much as my brothers?
Dad: There it is. (sighs) I did. It only from time to time appeared that I didn't.
Molly: It only appeared that you didn't?
Molly: That is some Schedule 1 bullshit. Why would... "It only appeared" what? Okay, I had an attitude problem. I talked back. I broke some normal adolescent rules. I snuck phone time after curfew. I took your car when I wasn't allowed to...
Dad: You drove it into a McDonald's.
Molly: Kids get punished for that, but they don't...
Dad: Did you not see the McDonald's? Did you misunderstand what drive-thru meant?
Molly: You turn into a different person, your voice, your face...
Dad: It was because I knew you knew.
Molly: I didn't hear what you said.
Dad: I said, I knew you knew.
Molly: You knew I knew what?
Dad: That I was cheating on Mom. I knew you knew.
Molly: No. I didn't know until I was 20.
Dad: No, you've known since you were five. You saw me in my car, and you really didn't know what you saw. You knew, honey. And I knew you knew. And that's... that's how I reacted to the shame. And you reacted by showing seething contempt for me. Driving my car into McDonald's.
Molly: And wanting to have power over powerful men?
Dad: No, that was a red-herring just to make you mad.
Molly: You're such a...
Dad: You tripped over a stick. Okay? Twelve years ago, you tripped over a stick. It was a one-in-a-million thing. You tripped over a stick. That's what you did wrong. There's your session. It's funny how much faster you can go when you're not charging by the hour. I'm your father. Trying to comprehend how much I love you would be like trying to visualize the size of the universe. I didn't know... you'd gotten beaten up until I read it in your book. It was a hell of a way to learn about it. You should know that I'm hiring someone to find the guy who did it, then I'm hiring someone to kill him.
Molly: Don't even joke about that.
Dad: I'm not.
Molly: It wasn't a purse-snatcher, Dad. It was the mafia...
Dad: I don't care if it's the leader of Hamas. Someone put their hands on you, they're going to suffer. (cries)
Molly: Dad, I'm fine.
Dad: No, they're gonna suffer.
Molly: Dad... I'm all right.
Dad: No, they're gonna suffer.
Molly: Really, I'm fine.
Inspirational exchange between Vivi and Tupas in "Starving for Affection" episode of Terrace House.
Tupas: It's a challenge to love someone else when you've never felt loved before.
Vivi: That's incorrect. If you don't love yourself, you can't love someone else.
Tupas: The opposite is also true. You wouldn't know how to love someone else if you didn't know what it is like to be loved.
Vivi: You're saying if you've never received love, you'll never be able to love?
Tupas: Of course that's the case.
Vivi: But it's not.
Tupas: But it is.
Vivi: No it's not. Because...
Tupas: You've got it backwards.
Vivi: You first have to discover love within yourself.
Tupas: That's not possible.
Tupas: For example, your parents... they show you love for the first time and you learn what it is. Then you can exemplify that for others.
Vivi: That's not true. What if you grew up without your parents?
Tupas: How is someone supposed to understand love out of thin air?
Vivi: You first focus on nourishing yourself.
Tupas: Well, that's a beautiful theory.
Vivi: It's not a theory. It comes from my own experience.
Tupas: Your personality and the person you become is mostly dictated by how your parents and family treat you and the environment you grow up in.
Vivi: But from that point of view, you'll always be at the mercy of the decisions of others. You've given up control over your life. I don't agree with what you're saying. I don't want to live life according to someone else's decisions. I make my own decisions. I don't have to live the way people expect me to.
Tupas: That would be ideal.
Vivi: It's not just ideal...
Tupas: If I never learned how to be loved, how am I supposed to know how to express that?
Vivi: If you think that way, you'll continue to make excuses and pity yourself, even when you're at fault. If you accept a victim mindset... it's easy to make excuses for yourself and deny opportunities for growth. When you're in that cycle, there's no end to it. At some point, we all have to grow up. You have a responsibility in every decision you make in your life. Whether you choose good or bad, the decision is your responsibility. It takes the weight off to think this way. Don't you think? Instead of blaming things on others. No one else can fix your life for you. How long are you going to wait for someone to show you love? You have to create it yourself.
Tupas: That is ideal.
Vivi: No, there's no other way. You can't change other people. Even if you find someone you love, if they don't want to reciprocate that, there's nothing you can do.
Tupas: Of course.
Vivi: Right? Your security is then at the whim of whether someone loves you or not. I don't want that. So we have to be courageous and proactive in finding love within ourselves. What else can we do?We'd be waiting forever. Isn't that a waste of life?
Vivi: Hoping love will come and feeling dejected when it doesn't is lame. So, look... you're a good person and I know you're resilient. So please don't talk about yourself in such a sad way. You've "never been loved, so you don't know how to love"? Of course you do. The first thing you do when you wake up is come in here and clean all the dishes. Don't you think that's a loving gesture? You're able to show kindness to people. So stop lying about yourself. Stop saying you don't know how to love. You know how. You've learned plenty.
This very short book is written by Robert Glazer. I almost went to his meet & greet in New York but unfortunately it coincided with my NYCNVC nonviolent communication practice group. It's a short read and I highly recommend this book.
"Capacity Building" means the method by which individuals seek, acquire and develop the skills and abilities to consistently perform at a higher level in pursuit of their innate potential. It is not about doing more but doing more of the right things. The art of capacity building is knowing where you need to invest your energy and where you need to pull away.
Peter Drucker once wrote, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."
When you see two people of seemingly equal intellectual and physical capacity achieving very different outcomes, it is quite likely due to an imbalance in emotional capacity. Great relationships encourage you to be better and give you energy. Relationships advance our personal and professional lives, contributing greatly to our successes. We focus on long-time outcomes, meaningful relationships, and genuine connections with our clients, teammates, and partners. We believe that competence and character are fundamental to relationships built on trust and that quality relationships allow us to achieve more.
It is vital to be intentional about surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can help you grow and fulfil your potential. As Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."