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“If you hang on long enough, people will start calling you ‘experienced,’ but that should not be your goal. All experience indicates is that you have been able to survive. It does not indicate the amount you have learned, only the time you have spent. Your goal should be to become skilled rather than experienced.”

Hoover, Dave. Apprenticeship Patterns

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“When someone is in love, they almost magically look better. I needed to be in love with myself to feel better. So much of what had happened had weighed on me until I collapsed. Now I needed to love myself. It became a mantra for me.” — Kamal Ravikant

Altucher, James. Choose Yourself

Undesirable experiences

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A wise friend of mine told me this yesterday:

You are moving, life is moving, the universe is moving. Who you are today is vastly different than who you were yesterday. Our problems come when we try to make today like yesterday and tomorrow like today.

That made me think of the concept of post-traumatic growth (read about it some time back in “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor). The fact that growth – and another concept he calls “falling upwards” – come from undesirable experiences.

Entering a crowded market

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“Don’t be afraid to enter a crowded market – just be better than everybody else.” — Bob Parsons, GoDaddy

I once met a man who emigrated to the US from Mexico with basically nothing, then eventually became a Porsche-driving millionaire. His industry? Shipping palettes.

His message was the same: in a crowded market, there’s always room for one more.

Failing before beginning

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In the early part of the scientific revolution, Francis Bacon said:

Man cannot do what has never been done, except by means not yet tried.

My understanding is that there are two parts to this; the means and the ends. Succeeding means getting both parts right. The fact that a field is littered with failed attempts doesn’t mean that the aim is unobtainable, or not worth obtaining. Nor does it mean that unconventional thinking is the key to success. It can just as easily be the key to new varieties of failure.

What it does mean, I think, is that taking conventional approaches to unsolved problems is a sure way to fail before you’ve even begun.