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Taking Ownership, Getting to the Core, & Being Original

Resource: Extreme Ownership | Jocko Willink | TEDxUniversityofNevada (13:49)


If you don’t control your ego, your ego will control you.

When you take responsibility for your actions and the results stemming from your actions, you will gain more trust and respect in the long term even if you lose money and prestige in the short term.

Extreme ownership is the art of putting the blame on yourself instead of shifting it to others when things go wrong because of your negligence.

A true leader is willing to accept the blame.

When you own your actions, you inspire the people who work with you and for you to do the same.

Instead of making excuses for failure, own it and learn from it.

The leader of a situation isn’t the person who gets to tell people what to do; it’s the person who’s willing to take the fall when things don’t work out.

Resource: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (Book)
Description: David Allen’s infamous GTD system for managing the things that demand our attention


Core: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, Engage.

Regardless of what labels or words we use to refer to our practices, there 5 CORE elements are essential to managing our actions.

Capture – You need to have a reliable system for collecting/containing/documenting everything that commands or demands your attention. If you try to hold stuff in your head, you’ll not only fail at remembering the things that are important to you, but you’ll fail at generating good ideas as well. Having a good capturing system is the first step towards closing open loops. Anything that isn’t complete (ie an unpaid bill, a future project, and upcoming wedding, a vague desire to learn how to dance, etc) needs to be captured in your system. The key phrase to remember is – “Get it all out of your head.” Your capturing system is your inbox for all the things you need to do or respond to.

Clarify – This is the process of taking what you’ve captured and deciding/defining what it means to you.

Key questions for clarifying:

1) What is it?
2) Is it actionable? If yes, then ask “can I do it in 2 minutes or less?” If yes, then do it. If you can’t do it in 2 minutes or less, ask “am I the right person to be doing this?” If you’re not the right person to be doing this, then delegate it to someone else. If you are the right person to be doing it, then defer it to a future time.

There are only three things you can do with actionable items: Do it. Delegate it. Defer it.

Organize — This is the process of taken what’s been clarified and then filing it in the proper “folder.” If something isn’t actionable, you place it in a reference folder, or an incubation folder, or you trash it. If something is actionable and you haven’t already done it or delegated it, you file it in on your calendar or your next actions folder.

What Makes an Original: Psychologist Adam Grant on the Paradox of Achievement and How Motivated Dissatisfaction Fuels Creativity


Creativity comes from curiosity. We acquire ideas about how to change the world, by questioning the world.

Being hyper-successful isn’t the same thing as being original. This is what separates the prodigy from the innovator. The prodigy travels further than everyone else, but sticks to the same map. The innovator invents his or her own map.

Use reading as a tool for exercising your mind and stimulating thought, not as a way to just collect and memorize ideas.


“To be perfectly original,” Lord Byron famously quipped, “one should think much and read little, and this is impossible, for one must have read before one has learnt to think.” -Maria Popova

“the most groundbreaking innovations aren’t spurred by arbitrary sparks of mystical epiphany but by intelligent and informed dissatisfaction with cultural defaults, translated into a radical and purposeful desire to upend those defaults.” -Maria Popova

“Originality involves introducing and advancing an idea that’s relatively unusual within a particular domain, and that has the potential to improve it. Originality itself starts with creativity: generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But it doesn’t stop there. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.” -Adam Grant

“The starting point [of originality] is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We’re driven to question defaults when we experience vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we’ve seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse — we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems.” -Adam Grant

“When we become curious about the dissatisfying defaults in our world, we begin to recognize that most of them have social origins: Rules and systems were created by people. And that awareness gives us the courage to contemplate how we can change them.” -Adam Grant

“Although child prodigies are often rich in both talent and ambition, what holds them back from moving the world forward is that they don’t learn to be original. As they perform in Carnegie Hall, win the science Olympics, and become chess champions, something tragic happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new. The gifted learn to play magnificent Mozart melodies and beautiful Beethoven symphonies, but never compose their own original scores. They focus their energy on consuming existing scientific knowledge, not producing new insights. They conform to the codified rules of established games, rather than inventing their own rules or their own games.” -Adam Grant

“Even the supremest success, if it is success by someone else’s standards, is still an act of conformity.” -Maria Popova

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