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You Get What You’re Looking For, What to do When You’re Feeling Like an Impostor, How Cleaning Helps Your Writing, How Great Reform Requires Great Personality, Hope for Dreams in Old Age, & Why People Don’t See the Crypto Light (Reading/Study Notes 5.25.18)

Resource: Looking for a friend (or a fight)
Link: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/09/looking-for-a-friend-or-a-fight.html

Quotes:

“If you gear up, put yourself on high alert and draw a line in the sand, it’s likely you’ll find the enemy you seek. On the other hand, expecting that the next person you meet will be as open to possibility as you are might just make it happen.”

Reflections:

If you approach all your interactions with a “Nobody’s ever gonna take advantage of me” mindset, you’ll probably experience people as always trying to take advantage of you. A defensive attitude tends to create more things to be defensive about. The alternative isn’t too be gullible. Being naively trusting is just as self-detrimental. The key is to realize that you have more time than you realize to get defensive and legalistic. You don’t need to start the conversation in an interrogative tone. If you start things off in a way that signals defensiveness and mistrust, you invoke that very same mindset in the person you’re talking to. And once both parties are primarily focused on protecting themselves against getting ripped off, they compromise their ability to create something awesome together. Go into every interaction with an open mind. Don’t put yourself into a situation where you can be harmed, but that’s not something you should be doing for a first conversation anyway. Start off open. Only close up if you see some red flags that indicate a need to be cautious.

Resource: Impostor syndrome
Link: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/10/imposter-syndrome.html

Quotes:

On how everyone is an impostor in some sense:

“Everyone who is doing important work is working on something that might not work. And it’s extremely likely that they’re also not the very best qualified person on the planet to be doing that work.”

Why it’s pointless to worry about your “impostor status”:

“Isn’t doing your best all you can do? Dropping the narrative of the impostor isn’t arrogant, it’s merely a useful way to get your work done without giving into Resistance. Time spent fretting about our status as impostors is time away from dancing with our fear, from leading and from doing work that matters.”

Reflections:

If you’re doing work that pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to evolve, then you’re an impostor because you’re no qualified to do what you’re doing and you weren’t given permission by the Powers that Be. Being an “impostor” is the whole basis of personal growth. If you want to do important work and create change, then you have to be willing to do things before you feel qualified to do them.

Analyzing your impostor or non-impostor status is a distraction. Either you’re challenging yourself or you’re not. Either you’re being honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you need to do or you’re not. Instead of sitting around trying to see if you deserve your opportunity or not, get up and do your work.

Resource: Billy Collins’s Advice to Writers
Link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/05/25/billy-collins-advice-to-writers/

Quotes:

“we are embodied creatures whose psychological states are deeply influenced by our physical environment; material orderliness…fosters mental orderliness, and a mind unassaulted by chaos is a mind free to create.” -Maria Popova

“Even if it keeps you up all night, wash down the walls and scrub the floor of your study before composing a syllable.”

“Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way. Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.”

“The more you clean, the more brilliant your writing will be…”

Reflections:

When you declutter your surroundings, you declutter your mind. Orderliness without results in a more orderly arrangement of your mental furniture.

There seems to be more to this Collins’ idea than the value of orderly results. There seems to be something about the act of cleaning itself that prepares the mind for the the work of the writer. The effort involved in putting things into their proper place creates a flow of energy that helps the write put his thoughts and words into their proper place.

Resource: Walt Whitman’s Advice to the Young on the Building Blocks of Character and What It Takes to Be an Agent of Change
Link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/05/08/walt-whitman-to-a-pupil/

Quotes:

“The greater the reform needed, the greater the Personality you need to accomplish it….Do you not see how it would serve to have such a body and soul that when you enter the crowd an atmosphere of desire and command enters with you, and every one is impress’d with your Personality? Go, dear friend, if need be give up all else, and commence to-day to inure yourself to pluck, reality, self-esteem, definiteness, elevatedness, Rest not till you rivet and publish yourself of your own Personality.”

Reflections:

Reform happens through people and great reform happens through great people.

If you want to bring about some kind of change, do everything in your power to cultivate a powerful presence.

Let not only your mission be grand, but the let the voice and stature that you lend to the mission be grand.

Resource: Bukowski’s Letter of Gratitude to the Man Who Helped Him Quit His Soul-Sucking Job and Become a Full-Time Writer
Link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/08/12/charles-bukowski-john-martin-letter/

Quotes:

““Unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut,” Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994) wrote in his famous poem about what it takes to be a writer, “don’t do it.” But Bukowski himself was a late bloomer in the journey of finding one’s purpose, as his own “it” — that irrepressible impulse to create — took decades to coalesce into a career.”

“By his late forties, he was still a postal worker by day, writing a column for LA’s underground magazine Open City in his spare time and collaborating on a short-lived literary magazine with another poet.”

“You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

“So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die. To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.”

Reflections:

The story of Charles Bukowski is provides an alternative to contemporary stories of getting rich quick and living the dream before you’re thirty. Bukowski was a prolific writer who worked so-called odd jobs until he was 50. And yet, his body of work will be remembered and celebrated far more than many people who make YouTube commercials about how rich and success they were by age 20 or 30 or 40 or whatever. If you’re an older person and you think your time has passed, Bukowski may be a person who’s life is worth taking a look at.

Resource: The Top 10 Reasons People Can’t See The Crypto Light
Link: https://medium.com/crypto-oracle/the-top-10-reasons-people-cant-see-the-crypto-light-ffcb8317b80a

Quotes:

“On June 29th, 2017, I saw the Crypto light. It was a religious experience. It felt like I could see the future, a future in which Crypto was the biggest thing to happen in the history of humanity. I had the luxury of stopping everything else I was doing, and focusing 100% of my time on Crypto. I started feverishly writing about Crypto to better understand what was going on.”

“I’ve had countless conversations trying to help others understand Crypto. Yet only a tiny percentage of people I’ve tried to help, have ended up seeing the light. As a result, I’ve concluded that you can’t show people the Crypto light. Everyone has to see the light via their own path, through the unique prism through which they view life.”

“Crypto is the densest thing I’ve tried to understand. It’s brand new, so even the nomenclature used to describe Crypto isn’t fully formed. Decentralization is a new concept, let alone proof of work, proof of stake, or mining.”

“When people say craps is too complex to learn, I ask them to look at the people at a craps table and ask them if they feel as smart as the average person around the table. Even though craps is complicated, all the people around the table figured it out. Craps isn’t rocket science. Neither is Crypto.”

“To learn about Crypto, you have to read a lot. At first, you won’t understand much of what you read. So you have to work to understand the meaning of individual words or phrases. I’ve seen it accomplished in as little as 20 hours or so. I’ve seen others take closer to 200 hours. Either way, it’s a lot of work, and it turns out, most most people aren’t up for that.”

“In order to see the Crypto light, you have to be open to new ideas. You have to want to look to the right or left, even if looking straight ahead has paid off big time. Yet the more successful that people are, the less likely they are to change how they look at the world. The less likely they are to have an interest in looking left or right and seeing what’s there. Being successful makes it less likely you’ll see the Crypto light.”

“It’s hard to get people to appreciate that they are better off believing in an algorithm, like the one that runs Bitcoin, than their own government. Even Wikipedia says “… .Currencies in this sense are defined by governments”. Now government backed currency is certainly dominant today, trading about $5.1 trillion a day, or roughly 200X the $25 billion traded daily in digital currency. But digital currency is a thing, and will be increasingly accepted as a means of payment, regardless of what people think.”

“People say that Crypto is too volatile or too risky for them to be interested in it. So were junk bonds when they first started trading. Other than Drexel Burnham, which invented junk bonds, every other investment bank at the time said junk bonds were garbage that they would never deal with. And they often pointed to volatility as a sign that junk bonds were to risky and would never be a thing. Over time, Crypto’s volatility has lessened, and will continue to do so. That’s what happens with new asset classes.”

“It doesn’t help that a lot of people still think of Silk Road when they think about Crypto. That concern is compounded by the fact that some of the most successful business people in the world continuously deride Crypto. Just a few days ago, Warren Buffet called Bitcoin “…rat poison squared”. But naysayers, like Dimon or Buffet has never done the work. People who follow Buffet don’t realize that he’s never said a cogent thing about Crypto. They don’t realize that people like Dimon might just be talking their own books. Interestingly, almost twice as many men as women think Crypto’s a scam.”

“Even for people who are curious and do the work, it’s still hard to see the light, because it’s still dim. Most people have never knowingly interacted with the blockchain. Most have never even met someone who’s used Crypto as a currency. Most people have no context in which to begin to place Crypto. But the Crypto light is getting brighter every day. Every day, more people see the light. Every day more people are leaving their jobs at McKinsey and Goldman and going all in on Crypto. Everyday, the Crypto community is building and improving Crypto related tech.”

Reflections:

Seeing the value of crytpo is something that each person has to do for himself or herself. You can tell people about it and encourage them to study it, but crypto strikes different chords in different people. You can’t simply argue someone into seeing thr crytpo light.

Crytpo is difficult to understand. It has its own vocabulary that you have to learn before you can fully enjoy the conversations or reap the rewards. And this requires considerable effort ad patience.

Because crypto is new and status quo bias is a thing, many people are under the impression that crypto is a scam. That’s partly because the unregulated nature of crypto markets does indeed allow room for some scams and partly because respected investors like Warren Buffett frequently make ill-informed negative statements about crytpo.

Another reason why it’s hard to get people to see the crypto light is that it’s not technically necessary for them to do so. Since crypto is still in development, you can get by in your daily life just fine without it.

Another interesting reason some people have difficulty seeing the crytpo light is success. The more successful you are, the more likely it is that you’ve found a way of looking at life that works for you. And crytpo requires you to look at life in some rather unorthodox ways. This might seem too risky or too distracting for successful people.

Crypto is highly volatile and this makes many people leery of it, but history shows that this is typical for new asset classes. At first they’re attacked or mocked and eventually they’re accepted as normal.

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