Ken Zinser

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice


A post by Kevin Kelly. (via Daring Fireball)

I’ve come across a few posts like this over the years. They’re great because someone is distilling their life experience into an easily digestible list. Like Gruber said, “Wisdom, concentrated.”

Here are a few of the ones that really resonated with me. I’ve taken these things to heart over the past few years and I’ve seen a profound difference in my attitude and abilities.

Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.

Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

Don’t take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are like you: busy, occupied, distracted. Try again later. It’s amazing how often a second try works.

The more you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested.

To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.

Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.

Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgement.

Art is in what you leave out.

Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

My dad is a pro at this—it’s an aspiration of mine:

Learn how to take a 20-minute power nap without embarrassment.