Thoughts to Remember

photo by JT

"Stop identifying yourself as a cliche and start treating yourself as an individual. Constantly checking your life against a prewritten narrative or story of how things “should” be is a bought-into way of life. It’s sort of like renting your identity. It isn’t you."
- Holden Desalles in 19 things to Stop Doing in Your 20s

 "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
- Steve Jobs in 2005 Stanford Commencement address


  1. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races - the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses. Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

    So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises before you larger than any you've ever seen, if an anxiety like light and cloud shadows moves over your hands and everything that you do. You must realize that something has happened to you. Life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hands and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.

    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

  2. "these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important"
    That is a very powerful method of parsing out the important nuggets of being alive from the flood of trivial and vane concerns and pursuits that occupy life. Healthy fear of death could grant such a clear perspective.

  3. Reading a great book I think you'd enjoy - Defining Decade. Let me know whatchya think.

    1. Just read reserved a copy for pickup at my local library. It sounds like an inspiring read. (It will be a nice break from reading The Algorithm Design Manual book that I've been reading.) Can't wait to talk to you about it as I'm reading. How far into it are you?


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