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life lessons
How To Win Without Trying

A wise…man, once said: “Do or do not, there is no try”, and when you think about it, He’s right. Doing refers to what is happening right now, which is the only thing we can influence. Trying refers to what we want to happen, and we have no control over that whatsoever.

Trying shifts our focus from what we’re doing now to what we’re hoping will happen in the future, and by doing so, we make ourselves less effective..

This is the reason we perform better when we aren’t being watched or speak more confidently when there’s no audience or sing better when we’re not being recorded. The thought of future judgement, the embarrassment that we’re trying to avoid, acts as nothing more than a distraction.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The present is the only place where we have any power. The less we’re distracted from it, the better we perform, the less we’re affected by fear or nerves, and, ironically, the more likely we are to get the thing we’re trying for.

When it’s necessary to act, there is no try. Or at least there shouldn’t be. we should make no room for anything but doing.

Has Bill Murray Figured Out The Secret Of Life?

As somebody who grew up with the original Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, I never really had much choice but to love Bill Murray, but it’s reading things like this Rolling Stone piece about him that really underlines why he’s so wonderful. If anybody illustrates the principle of Wu Wei (effortless doing), it’s Bill. Take this story about a promotional film Bill shot:

In 2011, Murray filmed a promotional video for the Trident Academy near Charleston; one of his six sons was a student there. (Murray has been married and divorced twice.) Director David W. Smith was working on the shoot. “He came in hot and a little grumpy,” Smith says. “He was about 30 minutes late, and he complained that there were too many lights. He had a script, but he sat down in the school library and ad-libbed the whole thing. He got all these teddy bears and had a conversation with them. We’re looking at each other – this guy is off-his-face crazy – but there was a method to his madness.”

Murray loosened up as he played basketball with the school’s kids, and stuck around for lunch (his request: a tuna sandwich with no crusts), ultimately signing autographs and taking pictures. Smith recalls, “As the shoot went on, he became more and more like the guy that everyone thinks they know, which I guess is who he actually is.” Smith asked Murray if he would walk down the hall with the crew members so they could make a short film of it. Murray was confused, but he complied – when the camera cut, he kept walking, heading to his car without breaking stride.

The piece is filled with anecdotes about the weird and wonderful life of Bill Murray. He looks like he’s just messing around, but I really think he’s got something figured out.

"The first step towards self knowledge is being able to laugh at yourself."
68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice.

We could all use a little wisdom now and then, so 68 pieces feels like we’re being spoiled. In honour of his 68th birthday, Kevin Kelly brings us 68 morsels of wisdom that he’s picked up over the years.

It’s positively brimming with things I wish I’d know 20 years ago like:

Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

Or:

Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

And of course, the truly indispensable:

Don’t trust all-purpose glue.

Why You Never Have Enough Time.

Nathaniel Drew on where to find the balance between our pursuit of a more productive life and our need for a fulfilling life.

“It is not that we have a short time to live but that we waste a lot of it.” Those were words that Seneca said, and I am breaking my head trying to figure that out, because I just feel like there’s this constant push to do more, and I feel like I’ve gotta fill my time with as many experiences as possible.

And I think there is a wonderful aspect to that, but then there’s a part of me that feels like it’s running. It’s running from something. There’s a scary truth. I spend a lot of time kind of thinking about why I’m so interested in productivity and having more order in my life and y’know, just being more structured in general. And it’s making me think that maybe even productivity itself is a distraction to a bigger question.

I think he’s nailed it here. It’s easy for productivity to end up feeling like an end instead of a means. Our time is limited. It makes sense to use that time judiciously. But that can easily tick over into a fear of allowing a moment to pass which isn’t crammed full of activity and arbitrarily labelled achievement.

Perhaps the bigger question is; Why am I doing this? Productivity is great at answering the how, but it’s the why which will sustain us through our lives.

Meditation Is Simple. Just Like Life.

Meditation is incredibly simple. You sit, you close your eyes, you focus on (usually) your breath. Three steps. Nothing fancy. The reason that it’s simple but not easy, is that as soon as you settle down to do meditate, your mind begins to fill with a thousand complicated, urgent, worrying, interesting or totally random things…read more…