7 Inspiring Thoughts from My Daily Reading

Published by Linda Rolf on 7/20/2021

Learning from writers and authors

Like a lot of avid readers and curious learners, I can't just read a book. I have to highlight, bookmark, make doodle notes. And then there is the moment when the last page is turned.

I look up. Who can I share these new insights with?

This morning I started gathering notes for this post, not really certain where it was going, but searching for some inspiration. What I discovered were some favorite insights -- with a few ideas of my own tossed in -- among my note collection.

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon

We're a society that loves to publicly praise success. We publish lists as validation that achievements belong to the young – 40 under 40, 30 under 30.

But where are the 70 over 70, the 80 over 80? These are the pillars of a lifetime of dedicated, often quiet, contributors to lasting creativity.

Contrary to what a youthful 35-year-old might think, septuagenarians and octogenarians aren't one rocker spin away from extinction.

Where are the 30 after 70 lists? These are the role models who should serve as our inspiration. They are the perennials that flourish year after year. Annuals are replanted each year with another crop.

Make your contributions sustainable. How does this happen? Through a lifetime of learning, curiosity, and ageless inspiration.

Reinvent Yourself - James Altucher

James Altucher's life was, by any reasonable measure, a mess. He was bankrupt, divorcing, and had no clear plan for his future, much less the next day. His options didn't exactly encourage leaping out of bed each morning.

Instead of caving to the prospects of a bleak and miserable future, he picked up a pen, a waiter's pad, and hiked up his mental big boy pants. His plan -- write 10 ideas every day. When he got stuck before writing 10, he pushed himself to write 20.

Use this same technique for creating new opportunities for your clients. What haven't they considered that you can clearly see? How can you help them discover hidden nuggets of brilliance?

Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

In spite of our best intentions, some days just feel like one long, soul-sucking grind.

Ask yourself "What's the best thing that happened today?" It sends you down a path of positive reflection that leads to more hopeful insights and ideas.

If you want to turn your day into a pit of negativity and despair, simply change the question – "What happened today?" You're off to compiling an impressive list of grievances, annoyances, disappointments, and general negativity. It's that easy.

Subscribed – Tien Tzuo, CEO and cofounder of Zuora

We live in a world of anytime, anywhere services when we need them. Convenient consumption has replaced bloated ownership.

One of our greatest assets is the knowledge we have acquired through years of learning and serving our clients. It is this expertise that clients value most from us. Why not deliver knowledge as a service? As Tien Tzuo says, "Focus on the freight, not the tracks."

Shifting our thinking from the products and services we deliver to packaging knowledge as a service can be daunting. Get creative with this borrowed technique from Zuora –

"[We] try to stump ourselves—what can't you subscribe to?

Here's the secret we used to answer all of them in the affirmative—tease out the service-level agreement that sits behind the product. It works for everything."

Man's Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

"The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs."

This is simply a book that should be on every bookshelf to be read and reread. There is no more compelling story of our capacity to overcome life's harshest adversities and to become our better self because of them.

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork – Reeves Wiedeman

What do you get when you combine market-domination ambitions, an outsized ego, distorted reality, a masterful closer, and piles of venture funding? A massively failed fantasy.

Success is often not what it appears to be. Ask questions, read, Google – adopt a critical thinker-first mindset.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

--- Robert Frost

If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and how you measure failure and success.

"In my life, I have given a f*ck about many things. I have also not given a f*ck about many things. And like the road not taken, it was the f*cks not given that made all the difference." ---Mark Manson
(Edited for G-rated, non-offensive reading)

The Takeaway for You

Give yourself permission to invest more time and energy in the things that deeply matter to you. Flex your idea muscles. Ignore the short-lived, age-biased lists. They simply reinforce unhealthy, out of context comparisons to someone else's perceived achievements.

In spite of what we tell ourselves, no one is spending her day thinking about us. She is far too absorbed in her own story – and wondering what you're thinking about her.

It's a wasteful cycle that sucks the too-short hours out of a day best spent in creating meaningful contributions.

Tags: Learning

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Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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