Doing things well vs. things worth doing

The ability to do something well or efficiently doesn’t make it worth doing.

In fact, there’s nothing so useless as doing something with great efficiency that should not be done at all.  If we are wise, we decide what things are worth doing, and only then seek to do them better or faster.

The world’s most efficient door-to-door encyclopedia salesman is pointless if no one is buying encyclopedias.

Those special moments

If you took the sum of your moment-to-moment experience at Disney World, or at a party, or at a job, or after dating someone for three years, you may not find very favorable data in how you frame those experiences (most of your time at Disney World was spent waiting in line after all).  But our memory actually works such that we remember overall experiences as positive or otherwise based off just a few peak moments.

If you learn to see overwhelming positive meaning in just a few moments of joy, laughter, a short-lived transcendent experience, an aha moment, or deep a connection with a loved one, you’ll appreciate the disproportionate effort you expend in pursuit of them.


Your target market

Occasionally I come across a quote or idea used in a business context, but quickly see the application to other important areas of life.

One concept, highlighted by a successful investor/entrepreneur, cautions that creating a product or service for everyone is the same as creating it for no one. Whether you’re creating a product for a market, or growing your social or business network, his advice is to: “cultivate the intense few rather than the trivial many.”

What a great reminder to manifest strong relationships with the few people with whom we share values, fierce loyalty, and who celebrate rather than tolerate us.  This is an actionable upgrade from the boring, less-than useful truth: “You can’t please everyone.”

An optimistic take on automation, technology and jobs

Think about this: in 1936 New York City elevator operators went on strike, preventing more than a million office workers from getting to work.

A couple decades prior, about 80% of the jobs in the U.S. were in farming and factories.  A mere 100 years later those were replaced with jobs that couldn’t even have been conceived of since they didn’t exist.

Yes, technology improves at a rapid pace.  But until some omnipotent A.I. overtakes us, humans still have an impressive record of adopting technology and finding valuable, meaningful work despite massive changes.