Here are a few of the people that provided some foundational principles and/or were the sources of many ideas I’ll report on, which, when put into close proximity between my ears, sometimes sparked glimmers of insights: Derek Sivers (blog, podcast), Naval Ravikant (podcast/Twitter), Tim Ferriss (books, podcast), Seth Godin (books), Chuck Surack (Sweetwater, Inc.), Carolyn Dweck (the book “Mindset”, Chris Dobrian (grad school friend). I didn’t read all the books in the bibliography from cover to cover, but I got something from each one.
I expect that this is going to be a process. I plan to write about the ideas that come up the way I do in my journal, and make it public in case they are of help to anyone else. I’ve written a few textbooks in the last couple of years and will try to stick to the approach of eliminating non-essentials and keeping it brief. I may be writing an autobiography on the side, along with maintain a gratitude diary.
One of the books that influenced me the most last year was Richard Koch’s “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less”. It provided the theoretical foundation for much of what I’d been putting together intuitively. Here are the “directives” that I compiled—distilling down the things that he advises the reader to do, so you can get the meat of it without having to read all the stories and philosophy behind them. One of the lovely exercises he suggests is to determine what makes you the happiest, and then to spend more time doing that in a metaphorical place he calls your “Happiness Island”. I decided what I especially wanted to do more of is to create soothing and reassuring music. Since then I read Seth Godin’s “The Practice: Shipping Creative Work” which made me look at what I was doing as more of a vanity project. The reason I abandoned producing new age jazz folk bossa nova electronic instrumental experimental music in my home studio was that I didn’t see a way to support myself with it, and that society didn’t owe me a living to park myself in the optimal position between two loudspeakers to enjoy my discoveries. I think this year I’ll be combining the two perspectives and will try to do something that I love to do, while creating something that can help other people. Another piece of the puzzle that fell into place recently was the decision to adopt Seth’s format from “The Practice”—short entries that individually that seem suited to releasing along the way as blog posts. Maybe someday I’ll circle back and organize and repackage a collection. I might use a framework that Taylor told me about called “Motivational Interviewing”, and put it into a rough order suitable for whatever stage the reader is in as they face the prospect of change in their life:
Please forgive me if this writing is not polished and becomes repetitive. My grandmother used to tell me “Stop me if I’ve told you this story already.” I never did. The stories that I remember about her life on the frontier are the ones she told me many times. There’s bound to be a lot of rehashing of the same ideas in different words. Get healthy. Spend time with the people you love. Eliminate the non-essentials to make space for success. Do the right thing. Serve others. Be kind. Work towards your goals, knowing that they aren’t going to make you a lot happier when you achieve them over where you are now. Use your time wisely and make every day count. Pay as you go. Make stuff. Improve things.
I'm wound up and winning, and hope that some of these suggestions may contribute to your happiness.