Bits of Wisdom

Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine turned 70 this year, and to commemorate this milestone he compiled 103 bits of wisdom he wished he had known when he was younger.  Here are some of my favorites.

• Don’t ever work for someone you don’t want to become.

• Anything you say before the word “but” does not count.

• Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated. Regularly scheduled sabbaths, sabbaticals, vacations, breaks, aimless walks and time off are essential for top performance of any kind. The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic.

• When you lead, your real job is to create more leaders, not more followers.

• Criticize in private, praise in public.

• Speak confidently as if you are right, but listen carefully as if you are wrong.

• The consistency of your endeavors (exercise, companionship, work) is more important than the quantity. Nothing beats small things done every day, which is way more important than what you do occasionally.

• Making art is not selfish; it’s for the rest of us. If you don’t do your thing, you are cheating us.

• Three things you need: The ability to not give up something till it works, the ability to give up something that does not work, and the trust in other people to help you distinguish between the two.

• There is no such thing as being “on time.” You are either late or you are early. Your choice.

• Ask anyone you admire: Their lucky breaks happened on a detour from their main goal. So embrace detours. Life is not a straight line for anyone.

• Don’t believe everything you think you believe.

• Actual great opportunities do not have “Great Opportunities” in the subject line.

• Habit is far more dependable than inspiration. Make progress by making habits. Don’t focus on getting into shape. Focus on becoming the kind of person who never misses a workout.

• If you repeated what you did today 365 more times will you be where you want to be next year?

• If you loan someone $20 and you never see them again because they are avoiding paying you back, that makes it worth $20.

• Aim to die broke. Give to your beneficiaries before you die; it’s more fun and useful. Spend it all. Your last check should go to the funeral home and it should bounce.

• The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.