The Art of Non-Conformity

What a gem. Even for slow learner like me, this book pushed me into deeper.. Thought about possible project in the future. There are many online resources (not boring kind!) and recommendation on further readings.

My favorite parts;

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau

Bullshit is work that is done merely to complete requirements, make you look good, or otherwise fill up the hours of the day.

11 Ways to Be Unremarkably Average

  1. Accept what people tell you at face value.
  2. Don’t question authority.
  3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something.
  4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England.
  5. Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English.
  6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
  7. Think about writing a book, but never do it.
  8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it.
  9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work.
  10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself
  11. Jump though hoops. Check off boxes.

Many people believe that the key to an improved lifestyle is less work. I think it’s better work. 

Almost everyone says they are open-minded, but when it comes down to it, most of us are deeply uncomfortable with change.

Most people accept the status quo without question, sleepwalking through life, looking in from the outside. When other people manage to escape, sleepwalkers find ways to marginalize or ignore them by pointing out something wrong with their escape plan.

it’s a contagious pattern of settling for what is “good enough.” Oblivious to the world that surrounds us, the life of sleepwalking offers little risk and little reward.

Have you ever heard about how it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission? This is completely true, but there’s even more good news: there are very few things you need to ask forgiveness or permission for.

many things that are frequently presented as prerequisites are actually quite unnecessary.

Intelligence is not a prerequisite, but determination is. To take over the world, or do whatever you want to do, you don’t need to be especially intelligent. In fact, in some cases high intelligence can be a handicap, because smart people are very good at making simple things complicated.

All things being equal, we generally resist change until the pain of making a switch becomes less than the pain of remaining in our current situation.

Gatekeepers are “no” people. They are skilled at swatting down ideas and coming up with all kinds of reasons why a request should be denied or why a particular strategy won’t work.

Deferred gratification can be a form of life avoidance.

If you’ve ever come back tired from a vacation, if you’ve ever used the phrase “working for the weekend,” or if you’ve ever wondered about the elusive life/work balance idea, maybe it’s time to think more about convergence.

Bill Gates famously did this during his “Think Weeks,” where twice a year he would shut out all distractions and head into a room of reading material for several days at a time. An aide would bring in grilled cheese sandwiches and diet soda twice a day, and Gates would plot the future of Microsoft’s world domination strategy.

Practicing the art of radical exclusion is good for two reasons: first, it eliminates the unnecessary from our lives. But just as important, when you say no to some things, it gives you the chance to say yes to many more.

Jump in with both feet. Some people become expert planners without ever actually doing anything. To avoid that trap, you can also get a round-the-world ticket or one-way discount fare, pack your bags, head to the airport, and figure the rest out as you go.

Just as balanced people don’t usually change the world, my feeling is that mediocre travel doesn’t produce many memories.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

For me, the goal was to shift from being a jack-of-all-trades to being a “real writer.” I defined “real writer” not so much in terms of income and recognition, but rather as devoting the majority of my creative attention to building a career in writing.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Sir Cecil Beaton

In choosing to live a remarkable life, failure is a real possibility, but regrets are completely optional.

It’s far easier to be a cynic than a believer.