thoughts on thriving as a twentysomething

1. Build identity capital – explore work and make it count.
2. The urban tribe is overrated – don’t limit yourself to your social circle. New things come from our weak ties.
3. You can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends. – Be as intentional with love as you are with work. It’s about choosing who and what you want, rather than making it work with whoever that happens to be choosing you.
“Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”



“Still, on this morning, the hollowness / of the season startles, filling / the rooms of your house, filling the world / with impossible light, improbable hope.”

Repost: 4 Simple Reminders For Future Success

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the basics. The simple things.

  • After awhile you’ll probably already know everything you need to know to be successful in a particular field. The rest will be a matter of temperament (self-control). Success has a lot to do with self-control, and self-control has a lot to do with how well you know yourself. This requires moments of silence and solitude so you can reflect. This “down-time” is when we are able to put things into perspective. Without it we become like robots programmed by our social environment. We receive a lot of information, but we don’t always have a lot of understanding.
  • If you find a sensible strategy that works, stick with it. Don’t change it unless you are sure it no longer works, or you’re sure you have found one that works better. “Short-cuts” often lead to dead-ends, or the long way around. Be sure the short-cut is actually a short-cut, otherwise stick with the path that’s more likely to work. Even if it takes you longer than you’d like.
  • Warren Buffett has said that successful people say no to almost everything. This is wise. It’s also wise to say no to most of our own ideas. We have a tendency to get bored with what we are doing, or insecure, or greedy, and we start chasing things we should be saying no to.
  • Time is the friend of the committed. Keep showing up, and time will reward you.



“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” – Steve Jobs

In Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights, Klein summarizes:

During the preparation stage we investigate a problem, applying ourselves to an analysis that is hard, conscious, systematic, but fruitless.

Then we shift to the incubation stage, in which we stop consciously thinking about the problem and let our unconscious mind take over. Wallas quoted the German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, who in 1891 at the end of his career offered some reflections on how this incubation stage feels. After working hard on a project, Helmholtz explained that “happy ideas come unexpectedly without effort, like an inspiration. So far as I am concerned, they have never come to me when my mind was fatigued, or when I was at my working table. They came particularly readily during the slow ascent of wooded hills on a sunny day.”

Wallas advised his readers to take this incubation stage seriously. We should seek out mental relaxation and stop thinking about the problem. We should avoid anything that might interfere with the free working of the unconscious mind, such as reading serious materials.

Next comes the illumination stage, when insight bursts forth with conciseness, suddenness, and immediate certainty. Wallas believed that the insight, the “happy idea,” was the culmination of a train of unconscious associations. These associations had to mature outside of conscious scrutiny until they were ready to surface. Wallas claimed that people could sometimes sense that an insight was brewing in their minds. The insight starts to make its appearance in fringe consciousness, giving people an intimation that the flash of illumination is nearby. At this point the insight might drift away and not evolve into consciousness. Or it might get interrupted by an intrusion that causes it to miscarry. That’s why if people feel this intimation arising while reading, they often stop and gaze out into space, waiting for the insight to appear. Wallas warned of the danger of trying to put the insight into words too quickly, before it was fully formed.

Finally, during the verification stage we test whether the idea is valid. If the insight is about a topic such as mathematics, we may need to consciously work out the details during this final stage.

Wallas noted that none of these stages exist in isolation.

In the daily stream of thought these four different stages constantly overlap each other as we explore different problems. An economist reading a Blue Book, a physiologist watching an experiment, or a business man going through his morning’s letters, may at the same time be “incubating” on a problem which he proposed to himself a few days ago, be accumulating knowledge in “preparation” for a second problem, and be “verifying” his conclusions on a third problem. Even in exploring the same problem, the mind may be unconsciously incubating on one aspect of it, while it is consciously employed in preparing for or verifying another aspect. And it must always be remembered that much very important thinking, done for instance by a poet exploring his own memories, or by a man trying to see clearly his emotional relation to his country or his party, resembles musical composition in that the stages leading to success are not very easily fitted into a “problem and solution” scheme. Yet, even when success in thought means the creation of something felt to be beautiful and true rather than the solution of a prescribed problem, the four stages of Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and the Verification of the final result can generally be distinguished from each other. (The Creativity Question)

Why I Love The Gig Economy

A Millennial Movement has been happening for the past five years, known as the “The Freedom Economy” (a term coined by Greg Pesci, CEO of Spera), where work is being outsourced to freelancers, entrepreneurs, consultants, experts and specialists.

Interestingly, this virtual model is:

  • More productive
  • Faster
  • and cheaper

1. Human Capital > Money

In the freedom economy, people are your biggest asset. Invest in them. Believe in them.

The industrial model is gone. People are more than machines. Those who build long-term relationships — rather than transactional relationships — with their employees will win.

2. Emotional-Intelligence > Economic Intelligence

In the freedom economy, emotional intelligence is more important than economic intelligence.

Working with people is how you win.

3. Collaboration > Hierarchy

In the freedom economy, outdated hierarchical systems no longer work. Instead of “shifting the responsibility” up the management ladder, flatter structures empower employees to make decisions and feel responsible for the company’s success.

And that’s exactly what Millennials want. They want to use their skills to make a difference. According to Self-Determination Theory, popularized in Dan Pink’s book Drive, autonomy is one of the primary drivers of quality and meaningful work.

4. Meaning and Purpose > Material Rewards

In the freedom economy, you can’t get people excited to work purely for material gains. That worked in previous generations. But today, people want to be a part of something meaningful.

95% of success is based on selection, in picking the right people. In order to hire and keep the best talent, you’ll need shared values and character.

Employees need to have “it” in their heart’s — the mission and values of the company need to sink deep. It needs to be part of who they are. Hence, Steve Jobs’ criteria for hiring, “Are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.”

5. Leaders > Followers

In the freedom economy, everyone is a leader. Everyone!

You need everyone to be a leader because the world is changing to fast. Rather than training someone in one skill, employees need to be agile. Thus, everyone needs to be viewed and treated as a leader, because roles and responsibilities will always be in flux.

Hence, human capital is your greatest asset. Train your people will, treat them with respect and understand them, collaborate with and empower them, and they will thrive.

If your biggest goal is to help your employees succeed, you will succeed.

Everyone needs to embrace the Millennial movement. Live in the now, or your business will go extinct.

This is also great news for people like me who count ourselves as social creatures more than ones made for the books/math/memorising for exams. You go, Millenials! WHOOO.