The most precious thing you can give someone

She was screaming.

You don’t know what’s happening Gregory!

You just wait Greg, I know what you’re up to!

More screaming.

There isn’t anything I don’t know Gregory!

I walked across the street. What was happening? Why didn’t Greg know? What did she know about Greg? There wasn’t anything she didn’t know. Was she an oracle?

I should’ve talked to her. I could’ve asked her about life. She could’ve help me figure it all out.

I pretended like I did.

Can I ask you something?

There isn’t anything I don’t know Daniel!

What’s the most precious thing you can give to someone else?

Give them a feeling!


Something that penetrates their soul! Get deep! Really deep! Make it bubble up!

Make what bubble up?

You want it to be there in a year! In 5-years! When they’re in a cafe reading a newspaper and they look up and get nauseous thinking of the feeling! You want it to be so good it comes back! It always comes back!

I get it but why are you screaming?

Why do you think! Do you not listen! You’re just like Gregory! You don’t know what’s happening!

Imagining is almost as good as the real thing. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes worse. Far worse.

She made me feel something. Unintentional or intentional? Who knows. She was talking to Gregory. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Her purple top left her stomach uncovered. And the pants she had on were dirty. Maybe she was crazy. Maybe I was crazy for taking lessons imaginary lessons from a screaming lady on the street. Gregory wasn’t. Gregory didn’t know what was happening.

Financial freedom has two extremes. One where you can buy whatever you want. The other where you don’t care about anything. She was financially free. Rich. Rich with the most valuable currency there is. Rich with effect. Effect on others. Effect on me. She had an audience. Everyone crossing the street was in awe. What was Greg up to?

Effect is precious. It can last an instant but be remembered for a lifetime. It can happen once and then again 1000 more times.

You could be sitting in a cafe in 5-years reading the newspaper. Look up for a second. Your stomach does a backflip. And it comes back, the feeling all over again.

How she smiled at you.

Or how she screamed from across the street.

Once you give a feeling to someone, it’s there. Always there.


Milk or water?

There are two cups. One of milk, one of water. Drink the milk and you get wealth beyond your dreams. Drink the water and you get knowledge.

Which do you choose?

I’d choose the milk.

‘Look Dad, a bird!’

‘Do you know which one it is?’


‘That’s a lark.’

‘There’s lots of them!’

‘Do you want to know what a group of larks is called?’


‘An ascension.’

‘What does asksenchen mean?’

‘Asension means to go up higher.’

‘Dad! Look how high the bird is!’

Acquiring wealth is fun but it’s nothing compared to the pleasure of finding things out.


How to use your body to manage your mind

There was 3-hours until my flight. Austin to Cleaveland. I did a lap up and down the terminal looking for a nice cafe to write. I found one.

The seat I was on was high. My feet couldn’t touch the ground. They were dangling there. The table didn’t match. It was too low for the chair. My thighs rubbed up against the bottom of the table.

I starting thinking.

The world needs more well-designed chairs.

I had a good view of the planes and the rest of the walkway. People going places. Two guys at a table in front of me starting leaning into one another. As if one had a secret to tell the other. Then the one leaning in pointed across the cafe. I looked where he pointed.

There was another man. He was talking. I could see sounds coming from his mouth but not enough to know what he was saying.

The voice was familiar. He kept talking.

He was leaning over the rail with his elbows on one of the high tables. Sunglasses on, hat on.

I start thinking.

That’s Matthew McConaughey.

I looked away.

He started speaking.

This time I recognised the voice. I’d heard it the night before watching Tropic Thunder highlights.

It was Matthew McConaughey.

I was alone, 8000 miles from home and 10 feet from Matthew McConaughey.

I started thinking again.

I’ve got to go and say ‘Hi’ to him. He probably gets it all the time. But now’s my only chance. I’ll just go and say hello. No photos. Just hello.

My heart was racing.

More thoughts.

Why’s this happening? He’s just a man. A man like me.

He got up with his wife. They were leaving. I’d blown my chance.

Then they stopped. She went into the bathroom and he stood in the hallway.

I’m going. I could feel my heart in my chest. You know it’s a good time when it starts.

I went over.

‘Hi, I’m Daniel, I’m a big fan of your work.’

He stuck his hand out and grabbed mine.


‘I was watching Tropic Thunder last night.’

He smiled.

‘Where are you off to?’

‘New York.’

‘How come?’

‘Got some work.’

‘Have a nice trip.’

He smiled again.

I went back to my seat. My feet dangled.

I opened my journal and started writing.

Met Matthew McConaughey today. He introduced himself with one word. I said about 30.

I sat there for another 2-hours before my flight came.

Want to manage your mind?

You can do it by listening to your body.

If the body changes, your mind will come along.

It’s natural for your heart rate to go up in uncertain situations. Most people would write this off as fear. But the thing is, fear is caused by the same hormones as being excited.

Same energy but a different form.

Knowing this, the next time you get nervous and your heart rate goes up, you can remind yourself.

‘I know this feeling. I’ve felt it before. Instead of letting it hold me back, I’m going to use it to push me forward.’

The best thing?

It works in reverse too.

Raise your heart rate and you can change your mind.

Humans work best when they’re running away from something or chasing something. Either way, you better get moving.


Compounding Longevity

A question that’s not asked often enough is ‘What’s going to stay the same?’

It’s tempting to focus on the new. The internet makes it easy to be a neophiliac (someone obsessed with the new).

Information retrieval has been turned into a one click or one tap process. Want to know what’s happening right now? Simple, tap one on of the colourful squares on your phone.

These kind of information sources have a place. But they shouldn’t take up the whole market share of your mind.

Ask yourself, ‘is what I’m reading going to be relevant in a month?’

How about a year?

How about 10-years?

Your guess is as good as mine. But sometimes it’s easier to think about what’s not going to change than what’s going to be different.

History repeats but not perfectly. It’s closer to a rhyme.

Reading about history is helpful to understand the things that will likely stay the same.

Humans will always have a need to communicate.

Humans will always need to take care of their health.

Humans will always need to have a challenge. Challenges gives meaning.

This list isn’t exhaustive. And it’s biased towards my interests. If you think of more, let me know.

But now you know these things, what can you?

You can spend time learning about them. You can improve your communication skills. You can study how to maintain your health. And you can find a challenge to work towards.

What happens next?

As the world changes, you’ll have a set of skills that will always be required. You can use them to adapt.

And the more you learn to adapt, the more valuable your foundational skills become. They compound over the long term.

The next time you go to learn something or retrieve information from the internet, ask yourself, ‘What’s going to stay the same?’

There’s already enough new.

The amateur

In French, amateur means love.

A person who loves what they're working on.

But you know it means elsewhere. The rookie. The beginner. The one who doesn't know much.

It's easy to be afraid to share your work because you think it fits this form of the word.

It's easy to forget an expert doesn't start out as an expert. They had to begin somewhere. And it's dangerous if an expert ever forgets how to be an amateur. Forgets how to see the world through the eyes of a beginner.

While the expert is busy trying to do things how they've always been done, the amateur is figuring out how not to do things. Soon enough, they'll realise the way it's always been done eventually becomes wrong too.

As always, the value is in the crossover. Being an expert and an amateur at the same time. Having a foundation of knowledge of the world but still looking at everything through the eyes of love.

It's okay if you're not an expert yet. In the meantime, you can strive to be comfortable being an amateur (the French version) forever.

The circle of control

  • Your decisions
  • Your aims
  • Your desires
  • Your dislikes

Or together, your own thoughts and actions. These are the things you control.

They’re within your circle.

Trying to control anything outside of the circle will only lead to stress and unwanted feelings.

Trying to make a person behave a certain way.

Remaining healthy and not falling ill.

Not having a machine you rely on break down.

All of these and more will some how manifest themselves throughout life.

And two approaches you can take.

1. Accept them for what they are and act accordingly

2. Pretend they are the source for your unhappiness

If you want an easy decision, remember what’s inside the circle.


No retakes

The phone rang. And rang. And rang a few more times. No answer.

The voicemail sounded. 'Leave a message after the beep.'


I left a message.

Then hung up. After I hung up I went to go back and listen to my message. I couldn't. It was on the other person's voicemail already.

'What if I didn't say something right?' I thought.

'What if it sounded weird?'

Too late. There are no retakes on voicemail. It's there.

There are plenty of times you'll walk away from something and think, 'I should've said that!'

Or worse, 'I wish I didn't say that...'.

Better more of the first than the second. But either way, all the worry in the world won't change it. It's done. Leave it (or fix it if you need to), learn from it, move on.

You have to work up to be a level 35 boss

Sam and Josh are the bed trying out my new bed base. I'm at the desk writing.

Sam speaks.

This is like a psychologist session for me.

I look up.

What are you thinking?

The goals I have and finding the fastest way possible to do them. Having fun as well. But I'm scared.

I speak.

What are you scared of?

Scared of doing them. Scared of them being impossible to reach. I don't have time or experience or the money to do it myself.

Josh speaks.

You are a level 1 crook at the moment. You have to work up to be a level 35 boss. That's how mafia works.

We laugh. He was talking about a meme going around. And he’s right.

I speak.

Write down what you're thinking. You may get lost in thoughts but found in the words. It helps me. And it's free to try.

Sam listens closely.

Then get up in the morning and write 1 thing down on a piece of paper. What's 1 thing you want to get done that day? Then do it the next day. Learn what it's like to get something small done.

He nods.

I continue.

Hey Siri 20-minute timer. I set a timer.

When it's time to do the thing you wrote down, set a timer for yourself. For the next 20-minutes do nothing except work on that thing. For the first few minutes it will be hard but then as you go on, you'll get into a flow.

He smiles and picks up his phone. Facebook is more entertaining than me.

I go back to writing.

I think of something else to tell him. Patience. But it can wait. I don't want to over lecture him. The best way to teach is to set an example anyway. I know I can do that.

He's holding himself back. I'm holding myself back. We're all holding ourselves back. It's the old version of ourselves. Our old way of thinking.

That's why we're scared of the goals we have. Because the old version of ourselves doesn't have the brain capacity to handle them.

Can you imagine trying to run the latest apps on an old operating system? The latest version of the Quora app wouldn’t run very well on iOS 6.

To achieve what you want to achieve, your old ways of thinking have to be upgraded.

This is where writing has helped me. Write down the best version of your future self. 3-5 years from now is a good timeline. Not too long. Not too short.

How would they think?

How would they make decisions?

What actions would they take?

Those are the features you want in the most important software there is: your way of thinking.

Birds of a feather flock together

Opposites attract is a common saying. But how much time would you really want to spend with someone who's the complete opposite of you?

If you're into health and fitness and working on challenging projects, how much time do you want to be spending with someone who likes spending their days on the couch watching reruns of reality TV shows?

Give yourself permission to change tribes if you need to.

And if the tribe doesn't exist, you can always create it.

Being specific is brave

Specific: ‘I’m going to lose 10kg by March 15.’


General: ‘I’m going to lose weight.’

Which is easier to make excuses about?

Being specific means you’re outlining the criteria for you to fail in advance.

Being general encourages you to aim for the middle.

General is fine if you want to be near the middle.

But if not, you better have the courage to be specific.

When you’re specific about what it is you want to do, you’ll meet two kinds of people: those who get it and those who don’t.

Don’t worry about those who don’t. Your work isn’t for them.

Don't make an enemy where there isn't one

How many people have the same parents as you?

How many people have the same teachers as you?

How many people have read the same books you have?

How many people are interested in the same things you are?

Your view of the world may be similar to others but if you really drilled down into it, it's unique.

So when someone else's worldview doesn't align with yours, it doesn't mean they're your enemy. It means their worldview is different to yours.

Your job isn't to try and convince these people to try and see your way of thinking, it's to make yours clearer.

Don't make enemies where there are none.

You’re going to be clueless about some things

“If you wish to improve, be content to be seen as ignorant or clueless about some things.” - Epictetus

Getting better at one thing means not improving at something else.

You can’t be great at everything. No one is. And the people who try have all failed.

Work on what you need to work on. And if it means not knowing about what the latest news is or who has been talking to who, so be it.

What you should do with your spare time (to greatly improve your life)

You know the basics. The basics are easy.

  • Stay healthy

  • Stay hungry (for knowledge)

  • Avoid excess social media

  • Rest

  • Meditate

  • Take a yoga class

All the things you always see in a top 10 list. Take care of these all you’ll be in a good place.

But what else?

These are the things you’re scared to talk about with others. The thoughts that go through your head when you’re in bed.

Where does all this fear come from?

Tribe mentality.


7547 years ago, Johnny was part of a tribe. They hunted their own food and gathered what they needed.

Everyone had a role. Og collected the wood. Pog went out for berries.

One day Johnny decided to try something different. Instead of starting the fire, he went tree climbing to look for eggs.

When Johnny got back to the camp, the others weren’t happy.

No fire. No food. It was Johnny’s role to get the fire started. And we can all relate to how we feel after a night without dinner.

As Johnny walked back into camp, Tog put a spear through his chest. The tribe didn’t have room for outliers.

Fast forward to now and tribe mentality is still a thing. It’s ingrained in your biology.

Modern tribes don’t often come in the form of groups of spearing wielding individuals anymore. They come in the form of narratives.

You story you tell yourself is the tribe you belong to.

The deepest soul-suck of life begins when the story you tell yourself in your head doesn’t match the person you are in real life.

The good news?

You can work towards fixing this mismatch in your spare time.


Write down your thoughts. What’s holding you back? Most of the time you’ll find out your biggest hurdle is the story you’re holding on to.

Figure this out and your path will become clearer. It won’t be free of obstacles but you’ll be able to see them better.

But don’t confuse this for abandoning your duties to follow the magic trail.

The smart option for Johnny would’ve been to take care of the fire and then climb trees looking for eggs.

Johnny didn’t have a choice to change tribes. Leaving the tribe meant death.

Not anymore.

If your narrative isn’t fitting the one around you, use your spare time to rewrite it.

Photo by  Enoch Appiah Jr.  on  Unsplash

Photo by Enoch Appiah Jr. on Unsplash