Small Pleasures by The School of Life (Part 1)

This book will guide us to the life’s small pleasures

Preface. This book examines the 52 of life’s small pleasures. These are not usually widely celebrated. This book covers each one in detail. Small pleasures are often not well understood.

Small pleasures turn out not to be small at all: they are points of access to the great themes of our lives. – The School of Life

It can at first sound slightly strange to say that we don’t automatically and naturally know how to enjoy ourselves. But the pursuit of pleasure is a skill which we need to learn. – The School of Life

The Fish Shop. You stare in awe of the beauty and strangeness of the sea creatures. Oysters have their own home. They might seem weird, but we co-habit the same planet. We share the same ancestors. Looking at a dead fish can re-enhance us. We become fascinated by nature. Learn to appreciate the smell of salt and water and ice. Learn to develop a sense of pleasure of something wholesome and full.

We’ve been too hasty; we’re overlooked almost everything. The world is full of fascination; there is so much to be explored. And we have been led to this renewed appetite by the head of a fish. – The School of Life

Small Islands. You examine the island from afar, from the comfort of a passenger airline. You will big and in control on a small island. You will feel large. The island is small enough for you to take a drive. The scenery is impressive and you can spot hills and various streets. Life’s problems are not easily solved. Our longing for control leads to frustration. The small island feels good because it is contained and you can get anywhere in a short drive. Things start to become familiar on a small island and you become intimate to them.

A small island is not just a place on the map; it’s a psychological destination, a model of simplifying your life and making do with what is immediately to hand. – The School of Life

Stars. There are so trillions of trillions of stars out there, but we don’t notice them. We feel humbled being so small. From Earth, we can appreciate the magnitude of the cosmos. The stars look packed but in essence, they are so far apart from one another. We have no control over the cosmos and it is wonderful indeed. You don’t need to be a science professional to learn to appreciate the night sky. It is a sense of grandeur.

The stars matter in our lives because they offer a consoling encounter with grandeur, because they invite a helpful perspective on the brevity and littleness of human existence. – The School of Life

The regular appreciation of these and related small pleasures makes a major contribution to the elusive but crucially important notion of the quality of existence. – The School of Life

Grandmothers. You have spent some time just with your grandma. She showed you some of the things that mattered most to her. She can be a transitional object. It provides some form of psychological lifeline back to maternal love and security. The child can feel safe and discuss problems with her. As she is old, she understands fragility well. In addition, she knows her time on Earth is limited and will learn to appreciate its existence. She is still concerned for you, no matter what. She is cozy and wise. It is lovely when she reads to you. Her love is unconditional and she will love you whether you will do well in school or not. She just wants your presence. There is an absence of desire, which is very unique in today’s world. We all like tenderness.

Because her love is unconditional, it has the potentially maddening tendency to look right past some of your actual merits, which are the present focus your own sense of who you are. – The School of Life

The Friend who Listens. We need to learn to focus on friendship. No one has listened to us in the past. Society focuses too much on speaking. People are curious and love to keep asking questions. People who listen reconnect your chat and talk about philosophical ambitions. Good listeners don’t moralize and do not interrupt. They reassure us. They are happy for us to be vulnerable. They separate disagreement from criticism. Good listeners help to make society better for everyone.

Take-off. It is an amazing feeling when the plane first ascends. We can see the immense horizon. We can cover so much ground in the air. It is a display of power. Our eyes try to decipher what we see from the air. From the plane, our world appears so small. The clouds seem like perfect seats for an angel. It seems cool to eat among the clouds and we feel homely. The clouds make it tranquil and life seem peaceful.

And to think that all along, hidden from our sight, our lives were this small: the world we live in but almost never see; the way we must appear to the hawk and to the gods. – The School of Life

A Night Alone in a Hotel. You stay in a hotel overnight near the airport and can hear the planes roaring away. You ordered room service and your food is served. It is difficult for you to fall asleep as you switch on the TV. In a foreign land, not being able to sleep might be a blessing. You get to relax here and return to yourself. That day, you do not think of the difficult questions like where is your career going etc. No one will disturb you and you think about life. For tonight, insomnia is a gift for you to understand yourself better.

Sunbathing. You are in Rhodes to get more sunshine. The sky is blue and you have been craving sunshine for the longest time. You hardly miss winter at all. You feel you long for the sun. Sunshine is indeed a welcome respite. You need the virtues of the South too. You have come in search for wisdom and balance.

Sunshine is an agent of moral qualities: of generosity, courage, the appreciation of the present moment, confidence…When the world seems bountiful, material accumulation looks less impressive. – The School of Life

The Desert. You are in the middle of nowhere and there is nothing to compare to. You will feel intimate with yourself in the desert. Meditate on your utter insignificance. The desert is indifferent to your life. It gives you a renewal of perspective. The Universe is mightier than you and you have to accept its power.

Everything we do and are is in truth meaningless – when considered from a sufficient distance, from the perspective of the timeless stones, the boundless vistas, the infinite heavens. – The School of Life

We are frail and temporary and have no alternative but to accept the limitations on our will; that we must bow to necessities greater than ourselves. – The School of Life

Finding Your Feet Abroad. You might experience language difficulties. Everything seems foreign to you. Shyness is not an option. When you travel, you learn to be more confident. Smiling is indeed really useful. There is nothing to fear.

There is vast quantity of goodwill circulating in the world just below the surface and which we usually delve into too rarely. But now perhaps we can more often. – The School of Life

Being Up Late at Night. Late at night is when your mind has time to wander. There are infinite possibilities. We can tolerate all our possibilities. It is just us and the Universe and there are no expectations of us late at night.

The Charm of Cows. Cows are great and are not selfish. They are also easy-going and easily satisfied. They also protect their dignity. They harbor no bitterness. It doesn’t judge you. They do not care what you think of them. Looking at them can make your day.

Up at Dawn. It’s 5:45am. The sky is starting to turn purple. It looks impressive but you realize you hardly see it because you are asleep. Dawn is when you forgot everything that happened yesterday. This place looks magical. The human world will drown them out. You are missing the delicate things in life. The air feels fresh. You start to pay attention to nature and the things around you more in the morning. There is beauty in the tower block and you realized there is life out and about. You say hi. You feel at ease in the world and you feel serene. Every day is a fresh start and that is the good thing about life.

You can’t make there be 25 hours in the day. Yet now it does feel like you are in possession of an extra slice of existence; it’s always been there, but you’ve only just found it. – The School of Life

Staring out of the Window. It can seem like a waste of time as it serves no purpose. This is associated with boredom. It is essentially about figuring out what is in your mind. There is a lot of unexplored potential in our mind. Looking outside the window will give us a different perspective of life. Our ideas are like birds fluttering. We need purpose-free calm. We should learn the prospect of daydreaming. We miss the simple pleasures of looking out a window.

Window daydreaming is a little strategic rebellion against the excessive demands of immediate pressures – in favour of the diffuse, but very serious, search for the wisdom of the unexplored deep self. – The School of Life

A Hot Bath. It is easy to get carried away imagining a happy life. Focus on the reliable pleasures and satisfaction. A hot bath is one such example. You start by adjusting the temperature. You understand the hard work that is required to bring hot water to you. The bath allows us to be cozy. It is especially good in cold weather. The pleasure of the bath is primarily intellectual. They produce productive thinking. In many religions, bathing is a ritual that is strictly followed. Taking hot baths is your own virtue. They still have a wonderful way of influencing the psyche.

Indulgent Pessimism. Pessimism can indeed be a source of pleasure. It might a good strategy to safeguard happiness. We get disappointed when things go according to expectations. Anticipating the worst is a good idea.

Therefore, the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to recognize that our griefs are not incidental or passing, but a fundamental aspect of existence which will only get worse – until the worst of all happens. – The School of Life

The pleasure of pessimism isn’t linked to being mean or bitter. It’s grounded, in fact, on sympathy. This is an antidote to the oppressive modern demand to look only on the bright side. – The School of Life

Self-Pity. Self-pity can be painful. We lament our small problems which in the grand scheme of things don’t matter much. We feel it quite often. Life can be harsh sometimes. Therefore, we deserve pity and since no one there to give us any, we shall supply a fair dose of it to ourselves. We should not lose the act of self-pity. Feeling sorry for yourself is a coping mechanism. This will tell us we are misunderstood and undemanding and in need for love.

Crushes. You cannot stop looking at her. You sense a crush but she disappears afterwards. It can happen to another. This might seem like a small moment but it could be developed into something bigger. This is the perfect form of philosophy. We imagine an image of beauty. In reality, such a person might be different from what we imagined. You can’t put a crush into practice so simply. The pleasure of imagining an ideal person is great and can bring some joy.

Keeping Your Clothes On. It is assumed that sex scenarios are associated with nudity.In fact, it stems between the contrast between prohibition and acceptance. Deliberately keeping clothes on can prove to be a turn-on as a way to heighten excitement. You might retain a sense of anticipation. It might seem thrilling. You are toying or the other party is toying with the privileges of permission when you are trying to keep your clothes on.

Kissing. Kissing is nice. It helps us to deepen our appreciation for someone. Why is kissing so significant and potentially so exciting? Sexual excitement is psychological. Something happens in our brains. Kissing has been built up as a social norm to mean that I accept you – accept you so much that I will take a big risk with you. It is psychologically pleasing. Kissing provides a brief break from loneliness. There is no need to analyze why kissing is pleasurable.

Children’s Drawings. Drawings can be very pleasing. Their artwork possesses a form of inner balance and well-being. Their art is an evidence of trust. Adults are more wary people. We are often hit by waves of anxiety. There is beauty in inaccuracy in children’s art too. They are not concerned with whether what they do is right or not. We live in a complex and modern society. Innocent trust and imagination tend to be lacking in adults. Children’s art provide an opportunity for us to know our own needs.

Crimes in the Newspaper. You had a rough day but you read some articles on crimes in the newspapers. Why should one find pleasure in this sort of things? These criminals actually look normal. The criminals are too strange and make our strangeness seem not that remarkable after all. In contrast to the atrocities that Hitler committed, you are nothing in comparison.

But the truth is we’re not actively egging on criminals, we’re not glad these things happened. On the contrary, it’s the very fact that they are clearly so wrong that generates our moments of satisfaction. – The School of Life

You’ve felt furious, suffered from envy and had periods of money worries – but you never did what they did. You absorbed your pain rather than committed crimes. Their villainy reveals your quiet moral heroism. – The School of Life

Driving on the Motorway at Night. You are driving at 10:15pm. The car feels powerful and you feel purposive. Our mind, at times, doesn’t like to think. While driving, it also helps with our thinking. Driving is not too stressful. Sometimes, our mind might drift but nothing actually happens to us.

You are experiencing an underappreciated but important satisfaction that deserves a special name: driving therapy. – The School of Life

It’s strangely attractive, at night in the middle of a long solo drive, to stop at a service station. Ordinarily that’s got close to zero appeal. But now it’s pleasing to change tempo, to sit silently amongst other human beings and have a coffee. – The School of Life


Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 2)

Taking Back Joy. When I listened to a happy song from childhood and started dancing, I felt happy. Survivor guilt can rob you of your joy. After his passing, I tried to have fun with my children. We took things that reminded us of Dave and made it part of our lives. Allow yourself to be happy and be kind to yourself. Joy has to come your within yourself and no one else. How you spend each day matters more than only the big moments of joy. Do the small things that make you happy. Write down the moments of joy each day. Happiness does require work. Humans are wired to focus on the negative as compared to the positive. The cool breeze could be a positive moment for gratitude too. Happiness can equate to peacefulness too. Try to engage in something challenging and engrossing that can give you that flow state. Exercise can help you to achieve that flow state quickly. Joy can give us strength too. You can find joy in the small moments that you seize and create for yourself.

Raising Resilient Kids. One way is to respond to embarrassment with humour. It is wise to just announce the sad news to your kids directly. We owe it to our children to make them as happy as possible. Early intervention is critical. The school needs to protect a safe environment for kids. Disadvantaged families should be provided with home visits and counseling. Resilience is a lifelong project. Children must develop these few beliefs: they have some control over their lives; they can bounce back from failure; they matter as human beings; they have real strength. It is important to help them understand that they are in control of their lives. Pre-school has a huge role to play in this. Allow your kids to share their dreams with others. It is important to get an education. Kids should adopt a growth instead of fixed mindset. Sometimes, complimenting too soon doesn’t work. Rather, one should comment ‘I’m glad you tried your hardest’. Adults need to tell the kids that they matter. In Denmark, children are encouraged to share their problems in class. Help your kid identify his strengths by making him pick up skills. For instance, you could encourage the kid to pick up a musical instrument. Respect your feelings and try not to suppress them. Sleep matters even during times of adversity. Learning how to forgive is also extremely important. Do not afraid to ask for help and encourage your kids to do so. Sometimes, I still talk about Dave as it helps to keep Dave’s memory alive. If your kids can have a strong understanding of your family members and their parents, they have been coping skills. Nostalgia is usually good as it reflects a pleasant state most of the time. Make the most out of Option B. Keep photos and videos of your loved ones as these help to create happiness.

Finding Strength Together. Hope is the key to resilience. It is possible to bond over hope and create a shared identity. People can pray together. It is important to change tragedy into a miracle. Keep your faith at all times. There is unity in strength. Collective resilience is also dependent on shared experiences etc. Attending support groups can also help you deeply. It might be wise to join a community after a tragedy. Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. Shared narratives can play a big part. It is also useful to be lifted by positive ‘stereotypes’ right at the start. Support circles help to build collect resilience. It can certainly be difficult to forgive a gunman who killed so many people. As a community, we can gather together to tackle the tough problems in life. Empowering communities can be the key sometimes. As a community, we can learn to support vulnerable groups.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. – Martin Luther King Jr

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. – Martin Luther King Jr

Failing and Learning at Work. I took my kids to visit SpaceX. We need to learn from our failures. Often, we are too proud to admit that we made a mistake. The majority of things that people regretted was the actions they failed to take. Move fast and break things. At Facebook, we go for teambuilding and often fail at challenges. Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity. You could ask colleagues what their biggest screw-up is and everyone could compete to see who the biggest screw-up is. Resilience is needed in all organizations of all sizes. We need to all focus on learning from failure. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Learn to gather and act on negative feedback. We all have our own blind spots but often ignore them. Feedback is hard to take. Sports teams often learn from their mistakes. Learn to take suggestions from a coach too. Try not to treat the feedback personally. People are afraid of criticizing others. Everyone should have at least 1 hard conversation in the past.

The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. – Sheryl Sandberg

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. – Sheryl Sandberg

To Love and Laugh Again. Being alone can be an empowering decision indeed. Getting married increases one’s happiness just by a bit. I wanted to find love again after Dave passed on. If you date too soon, people may judge you. Men are more likely to date after their spouse has passed on. The responsibility of caring for children and aged parents seems to fall on the women more. Widows in some parts of the world are cruelly treated. Do not listen to others. When your heart feels like you should date, you should go ahead. However, dating does not erase the grief and that is perfectly fine. When we fall in love, we have a great sense of energy and euphoria. Dating helps brings back the humour. Eventually, one will even learn to joke about death. Joking about Dave now helps to break the tension. Humor makes situations less stressful. It is still very much possible to love someone even after they have died. It is crucial to pay attention to the everyday interaction with our partners. You must turn towards their bid. One way to re-ignite the spark in a relationship is to try new activities. Partners have to be able to overcome conflict. You can’t control whether you fall in love. There is always Option B and we can still find joy.

Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others. Finding a way to make love last through the highs and lows. – Sheryl Sandberg


Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 1)

Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Introduction. I met Dave Goldberg in the summer of 1996. He was very comforting and lovely. It was love at first sight. He was assuring and very understanding. However, 11 years into our wedding, one day, he suffered from a heart attack while on a treadmill and passed on. I was in utter shock and disgust and didn’t believe that this was happening to me. My kids very truly upset too. I felt like I was in a void. At times, I felt like I could hear Dave calling out to me in my sleep. Ordinary events were painful to go through. I was worried my kids would never be the same again. The songs on the radio weren’t helping too. People encouraged to let grief run its course. Adam Grant gave me advice too. The fact is that many people who have lost parents turn out to be resilient. Time will heal the wounds, or so they said. I have no choice but to get over the shock. This book is about how to build resilience. Adversity is everywhere. I am fortunate for the support I have received throughout. It is possible to find greater meaning. Life is never perfect and sometimes we have live Option B.

Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity – and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone. – Sheryl Sandberg

This book is about the capacity of the human spirit to persevere. We look at the steps people can take, both to help themselves and to help others. We explore the psychology of recovery and the challenges of regaining confidence and rediscovering joy. – Sheryl Sandberg

Breathing Again. A friend I knew was too trusting and gave a co-worker a ride home. However, he raped her in the end. I offered this lady help. If you don’t believe in all 3, you will find it easier to cope. It is never all your fault and there are things which you might not be able to do better. Learn to stop saying ‘sorry’ after a while. Not everything was terrible after all. We had access to grief counsellors. Working also helps with the pervasiveness bit. However, if you return to work too soon, grief can interfere with the performance. Employers should provide flexible arrangements and financial assistance etc. Humans tend to overestimate how long negative events will impact us. I tried to banish the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ from my vocabulary. The pain temporarily eased up after a while. Humans are also wired for grief. Deep breathing helps me to calm down. The second derivative thoughts were not pleasant at all. I learnt from Buddhism that suffering is inevitable. Over time, my kids and I learnt to respect our feelings. Sometimes, it is necessary to take cry breaks. Focusing on worst case scenarios also had me feel better. We also pray before every meal and thank God for the food. Counting the blessings in your life can make you happier and feel satisfied. We are also financially stable and that is very important to us all. Once, I went for a mammogram and I was alarmed. Thankfully, it was a false positive. Even heartache doesn’t last forever. When life kicks you under, learn to breathe again.

3 P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. – Sheryl Sandberg

Part of every misery, is misery’s shadow… the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. – Sheryl Sandberg

Dealing with grief was like building physical stamina: the more you exercise, the faster your heart rate recovers after it is elevated. And sometimes during especially vigorous physical activity, you discover strength you didn’t know you had. – Sheryl Sandberg

Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room. I went for a college reunion with some of Daves’ friends. Sometimes, asking someone about their illness can comfort them and show that you care. I felt miserable when friends didn’t ask how I was doing after Dave’s passing. People avoid asking because they want to avoid difficult questions. However, the fact is that people who have endured terrible things want to talk about them. Some parents who have lost children also want others to speak about them from time to time. ‘Mum effect’ is when people avoid sharing bad news. By remaining silent in your suffering, you isolate others. It would be good to have friends who ask you difficult questions but do not judge on your answers. People who have been through adversity can connect better with others who are suffering too. Cultural pressure to conceal negative emotions is common. The fact is that most people do not know what to say, especially when it comes to personal matters. I thought that I carrying an elephant around. A month after my husband’s passing, I shared my thoughts openly on Facebook. After that post, I received a lot of love and compassion. Not everyone will be comfortable about talking about personal tragedy. Opening up can improve mental and physical health. Instead of ‘How are you?’; ask ‘How are you today?’. I acknowledged the elephant’s presence and after opening up, many colleagues did reveal that they did not dare to speak up because they were afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I had failed to ask him directly about his health not because I didn’t care, but because I was worried about upsetting him. – Sheryl Sandberg

When life gives you lemons, I won’t tell you a story about my cousin’s friends who died of lemons. – Postcard

When someone is struck ill with cancer, you can ask ‘I know you don’t know yet what will happen – and neither do I. But you won’t go through this alone. I will be there with you every step of the way.’ Or ‘I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you. – Sheryl Sandberg

The Platinum Rule of Friendship. Adam encountered a kid, named Owen. He had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and later took his own life. When you are feeling stressed, you need an outlet. For instance, you can call a counsellor at any time of the day. Sometimes when we feel like reaching out to help, we might suddenly hold back because we fear saying the wrong thing or offending the person. This is like choosing escape over empathy. The trick is just to show up, showing up can make a huge difference in a friend’s life. It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you are not the one suffering. Instead of saying ‘I will do anything to help you’, you could say ‘let me get you a burger, let me know what you not take’. Specific acts are more useful for someone in need. Even holding someone’s hand can be a big help too. One can offer comfort to those closest to the tragedy and gain support for those further away from the tragedy. We all grieve differently. It is very rude to suggest that someone should be over their grieving period.

Growing up, I was taught to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. But when someone is suffering, instead of following the Golden Rule, we need to follow the Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated. Take a cue from the person in distress and respond with understanding – or better yet, action. – Sheryl Sandberg

Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence. Coming to grips with ourselves. Self-compassion is rarely talked about in our society. Everyone makes mistakes. These imperfections make us human. Self-compassion is the key to a faster recovery from trauma. Focus on the mistake and not the person’s character. Guilt and shame are completely 2 different feelings. Learn from your mistakes and own up to them. Writing down your thoughts in a journal might be useful and has much therapeutic effects. The more you acknowledge the negative emotions that you are feeling, the better you can tackle them. Talking into a voice recorder can have a similar effect to writing. Learn to understand that your worth is not tied to your actions. Self-confidence is the key. I am grateful to have a compassionate boss, Mark Zuckerberg. I start journaling and realized that it helped me tremendously. Even when you are really down, you can focus on 3 small wins and write them down daily. Just reminding that something had gone well that day can improve your day instantly. Learn to count your contributions too. Take one extra step even though you are afraid. Learn to treat those who are undergoing a tough time as regular team members and praise their work occasionally. The number of single mums are rising and a lot of them are having a tough time too. Over time, I journaled less. I want to move on and start living again. I am not alone.

Psychologist Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as offering the same kindness to ourselves that we would give it to a friend. It allows us to respond to our own errors with concern and understanding rather than criticism and shame. – Sheryl Sandberg

This loss of confidence is another symptom of pervasiveness: we are struggling in one area and suddenly we stop believing in our capabilities in other areas. Primary loss triggers secondary losses. – Sheryl Sandberg

Bouncing Forward. The one I become will catch me. When you can’t change a situation, you will have to change yourself. Some people can experience post-traumatic growth. This means bouncing forward. It can take 5 forms: forming deep relationships; discovering meaning in life; gaining appreciation; finding personal strength and seeing possibilities. One can walk away with greater resolve. The little things do not bother you so much anymore. If you can find your why to live, you can find meaning to live. I appreciate my close ones more. If you visit poorer communities, you might start to appreciate life more. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Now, I celebrate birthdays every year. You do not need to wait for special occasions to show your gratitude. One could write thank you notes. Every day is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Going through difficult times together can cause one to forge stronger bonds together. It is also important to find meaning in suffering. One could do so via spirituality and religious beliefs. It is important to stay hopeful in your darkest hours too. Trauma can help to build resilience. Work can provide a source of meaning. You can energize yourself with meaningful work. A brush with death can lead to a new life. Some believe in co-destiny, where bereaved parents view their child’s life in a larger framework. Parents can do good, which becomes part of their child’s impact on the world.

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends. – Old Saying


How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams (Part 3)

Humor. People who enjoy humor are more attractive than those who do not. A good sense of humor can compensate for a lot. Humor raises your energy. It transports your mind away from your daily troubles. Humor directly influences your energy levels. It affects every part of your life. Humor is free and easily accessible. You can choose funny books. Choose the happy movies. There are tricks and mechanics for writing humor. You can steer the conversation to fun topics to add humor. Your attitude and effort count for a lot. Avoid the following traps: 1) Over-complaining is never funny; 2) Don’t overdo the self-deprecation; 3) Don’t mock people; 4) Avoid puns and wordplay. Don’t do gripe-based humor. Humor is a violation of straight-line thinking. Tailor your humor. Tailor it to your audience. Adapt to what others want to hear. Jim’s Colonoscopy Story. Engineered humor is one that includes unlikely or surprising solution to a problem. Men and female appreciate different kind of humor.

Humor makes average-looking people look cute and uninteresting people seem entertaining. – Scott Adams

Humor raises your energy, and that can reverberate into everything you do at school, at work, or in your personal life. The boost of energy will even make you more willing to exercise, and that will raise your overall energy even more. – Scott Adams

Affirmations. Imagine the outcome you want. He doesn’t believe in magic. Affirmations are useful. ‘I, Scott Adams, will become a great cartoonist.’ There is no magic involved. How It Started. Scott bought two good stocks after the declared that he wanted to be rich. He next approached a girl far out of his league. Your selective memory could be behind your perceptions. He tried affirmations again. Set your sights higher. He used affirmations in its rarest, most desirable job I have ever imagined.

Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. – Scott Adams

Timing is Luck Too. Luck is timing. If your timing is off, your hard work or talent doesn’t matter. He tried a lot of different ventures. Dilbert was lucky because he was born in the era where newspapers existed and comics mattered. It was difficult convincing any newspaper to pick it up. The good timing was relentless. Dilbert was a hapless office worker. Soon, it moved to all the top magazines in the world. Newspapers snapped up his comics like candy. He drew the comics using some computer software. It is a story of luck. You need to stay in the game long enough.

I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over. – Scott Adams

A Few Times Affirmations Worked. He wrote an article called ‘The Dilbert Principle’. It received a great response from readers. ‘I, Scott Adams, will be a number one best-selling author’. Affirmation caused a few successes. Not using them doomed yourself to failure. However, affirmations do not work all the time. Affirmations will work if you have a 100% unambiguous desire for success.

Voice Update. There was no cure to spasmodic dysphonia. He couldn’t speak on the phone or order food in restaurants etc. Blogging kept him alive. The inability to speak was debilitating. He created a spreadsheet to identify the pattern. No pattern emerged. He googled it and searched for any one with similar conditions. He hoped that someone would find the cure for the condition. The odds were not good. ‘I, Scott Adams, will speak perfectly.’

Experts. He had a lump on his neck and went to see the specialists. It could have been cancer. The X rays were not clean. He was scheduled for a biopsy. The needle was full of clear fluid and he did not have cancer. However, he did not trust the experts this time.

Association Programming. He had a friend who wanted to live with the rich until he could be associated with them. You become like the people around you. Alcoholics Anonymous works terribly well because the bad influences are kept away from you. Who you associate with makes a big difference. Hanging around with overweight people can make you fat as well. Anyone can write a published article and make money from it. Humans are social creatures. It is easier to exercise when others are exercising. It is easier to work when others are working too. Spend them with good people and their good habits will rub off on you eventually.

To change yourself, part of the solution might involve spending more time with the people who represent the change you seek.  -Scott Adams

Happiness. It is not selfish to think that way. Learn to treat others well. Happiness is a Science. Start by defining what happiness is. It is when there are pleasant sensations in your mind. Happiness isn’t all dependent on your circumstances as well. Circumstances only play one factor. Happiness is largely the control of your lifestyle and the forming of positive thoughts. Alcohol has its risks. The timing is very important. If you nap just before bedtime, it does little good. Work towards having control of your schedule. Flexibility is very important. Learn to maximize your freedom in the long term. We feel good when things are moving in the right direction. It is good to find a hobby where you can keep improving and not stagnant. Slow and steady improvement will be good. For a career, also choose a lifetime of ever-improved performance. If your skills are improving, you will feel many. The next aspect of happiness is your imagination. If you are optimistic, it produces a sense of energy and happiness. Imagination is very important. Don’t let reality control your imagination. Happiness is the natural state when people are healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good. If you are always in a bad mood: It is due to one of the following: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet and exercise. Exercise occupies your mind and your muscles. It also helps you sleep better. Take care of yourself and leverage on that for other aspects of your life. Once your purpose or objective has been met, find a new one. Read ‘The Paradox of Choice’ by Barry Schwartz. Routine àPeople become unhappy if they have too many options in life. Set a routine and you will prevent yourself choosing from other alternatives. Reduce daily decisions to routines.

The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness. – Scott Adams

If you want to boost your happiness, it helps to understand what happiness is and how it works. – Scott Adams

For starters, the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want. – Scott Adams

You need to control the order and timing of things to be happy. It’s important to look at happiness in terms of timing because timing is easier to control than resources. – Scott Adams

By any definition, what I’m doing is work, but because I can control the timing of it on this particular day, it doesn’t feel like work. I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it. – Scott Adams

Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are. – Scott Adams

If you are lucky enough to have career options, and only one of them affords a path of continual improvement, choose that one, all else being equal. – Scott Adams

I find it useful to daydream that the future will be better than today, by far. I like to imagine a future that is spectacular and breathtaking. Simply imagining a better future hacks your brain chemistry and provides you with the sensation of happiness today. – Scott Adams

Diet. This book should not be seen as advice. The author eats whatever he wants. Eat the right kids of food for enjoyment. Then you won’t crave for anything else. Bad food tastes good when you are hungry. Well prepared food can taste good. Learn to change your food preferences so that you will only want healthy food. Change your cravings. They can be manipulated. Most healthy food is bland. Look at things differently. Overeating makes you bloated. Our mood changes depending on what food we consume. Look for the pattern. If you eat right, you will start feeling more optimistic. Food helps to contribute to your mood. Ask yourself how you feel after a meal. If you have too much carbs, you will feel sleepy at 2pm. Carbohydrates make you feel sleepy during the day. Eat those foods which make you more energetic. Figure out what works for you. Peanuts can help as well. Humans have a limited supply of willpower. The diet system shouldn’t rely on willpower. The Food-Exercise Connection. Food is the fuel that makes exercise possible. Get your diet right before you will feel motivated to exercise. Learn to eat stuff other than simple carbs. Break your addiction with simple carbs. Simple carbs include white and potatoes. He has also consumed too much diet coke. He replaced diet coke with coffee. Nutrition is largely bullshit. Eat the following: Bananas, Protein Bars, Peanuts, Mixed Nuts, Cheese, Whole wheat pasta, Edamame, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, fish, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, pears, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, quinoa, brown rice and berries. Keep willpower out of the equation. Know what you’re eating. If you keep feeling hungry, perhaps you did not sleep enough. Try eating peanuts and mixed nuts. Go for food with the lowest calories. Use some seasoning to make healthy food taste good. Salt is not good for the body. You need to exercise regularly. Avoid having overweight friends as well. Coffee makes you alert, happier and more productive. Coffee can make you more likely to exercise. It can make you happier and enjoy work. Don’t become addicted to it though. For celebrities, fitness has a huge upside.

You’ll be surprised at how often a bad night of sleep leads to nonstop eating. – Scott Adams

Once you start on a vegetarian diet, the inconvenience is more than paid for by the way your body feels after a meal and the holier-than-thou sensation that comes with doing something that looks hard to others. – Scott Adams

But if success is your dream and operating at peak mental performance is something you want, coffee is a good bet. – Scott Adams

The happier you are in one area of your life, the less effort you’ll put into searching for happiness elsewhere. – Scott Adams

Fitness. Sports was his life in the past. Scott didn’t like jogging and he preferred chasing something. Tennis was his outlet. Be Active Every Day. Being active is a good thing. Simplification is the key. If something is complicated, you will require the use of willpower and that is not ideal. Exercise may not be your priorities later on in life. Be active every day and thus you won’t need to use any willpower for exercise. If you require willpower to exercise, it is going to be unsustainable. It mustn’t feel like work. You need to feel good after exercising. Make fitness a daily habit. No one needs willpower to do the things they enjoy. Just be active everyday. Always exercise at the same time everyday. Join an organized team. Choose a team sport with a set schedule. Have an exercise system in place. Have a predictable exercise system. You should never exercise so much that you don’t feel like exercising tomorrow. Light exercise gives an energy boost and reduces stress. This is the reward. It is easier to be active everyday than only to be active on certain days. Reward yourself with a good snack after exercise etc. To exercise on lazy, set a cue. If you feel super tired, just wear your exercise gear and immediately you are in the mood to exercise. Wearing the exercise gear is your cue to exercise. Interviewers prefer healthy candidates as well.

Exercise is hard work in every imaginable sense. When you add marriage and kids to the mix, exercise can become completely impractical for many people. – Scott Adams

When you are active every day and your body feels good about it, it will become easier to increase your exercise level than it would be to stop it. – Scott Adams

In the long run, any system that depends on your willpower will fail. Or worse, some other part of your life will suffer as you focus your limited stockpile of willpower on fitness. – Scott Adams

To put that another way, the right amount of exercise today is whatever amount makes me look forward to being active tomorrow. – Scott Adams

Voice Update 2. He still could not speak properly after so long. The future looked bleak. There was a surgeon in Japan who had a ‘cure’. Scott wanted to follow all leads, no matter how unlikely they seemed. Surgery had an 85% success rate. Many of the patients went through it successfully. Scott decided to proceed with the surgery.

Luck. Success is a lot a matter of luck. ‘Books change us automatically, just as any experience does’. If you can improve yourself after reading this book, it would have meant that the book has helped you.

CalendarTree Start-up. This website is good for event organizing etc. Generate a lot of opportunities so that luck can find you. Learn to take risks and be great. Add new skills and new contacts and see your market value increase substantially.

Voice Update 3. He had the surgery and the recovery period was awful. 3 and a half months later, Scott finally managed to speak. It was a breath of fresh air. The vocal cords and his brain were connected now. Over time, his voice gradually improved. Fluency returned and Scott was elated.

A Final Note about Affirmations. Affirmations appear to have more power than positive thinking. Selective memory comes into play. False memory is another reason. Optimists tend to notice opportunities that pessimists miss. Train yourself to act like an optimist. Writing affirmations is a good form of training. Optimists make themselves an easy target for luck to find them. Affirmations might work for perfectly logical reasons. Affirmations are more a system than a goal actually. To him, they are like small miracles.

Summary. Learn multiple skills. Learn to control your ego and pick skills where others fear embarrassment. Stay in the game long enough and luck will find you. Look for an opportunity to give you a flexible schedule in the future. Some skills are more important than others. Goals are for losers and systems are for winners. Failure is your friend.

Focus on your diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps. – Scott Adams

And always remember that failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. And don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket. That’s a system. – Scott Adams


How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams (Part 2)

Managing your Attitude. You do better work and enjoy life when your attitude is good. If you do not let your environment affect you, it will be a superpower. Do not let environment factors affect you. Tired people tend to be grumpy. Learn to raise your energy and elevate your attitude. Increase your ratio of happy to disturbing thoughts. Learn to daydream of wonderful things. Imagination will keep you going. Avoid sad movies, books, people etc. Consume feel-good entertainment. Exercise, nutrition and sleep are good to cure bad moods. Work on projects that might change the world. It is very liberating as well. Your imagined success will keep you happy. You will fail sometime, but you will learn. Smiling will make you feel better even if it is fake. Fake it until you make it. Acting confident will also make you more confident. It is a chicken and egg problem. If you are feeling down, try to smile at strangers as this will perk you up after a while. Smiling makes you more attractive to others. If you are not comfortable with smiling, hang around those who are funny. Walk away from the soul suckers. Scott has been good at scrabble, pool, tennis and ping pong. Simply through insane hours of practice, he became good at them. These are minor successes in your life. If you know how many hours it will take to be good at something, you won’t bail out so easily. Winning feels great and it energizes him. Pick the delusion that works. Our brains cannot fully comprehend reality. Very often, reality depends on the observer and can be flawed. We do not fully understand the environment around us. It is important to pick your way of the world and stick to it. This is why people believe in superstition. If the illusion is motivating, it is good enough as it increases your energy in life. If you imagine your book will be read by millions, it serves as a form of motivation.

Your attitude affects everything you do in your quest for success and happiness. A positive attitude is an important tool. It’s important to get it right. – Scott Adams

Don’t worry if your idea is a long shot. That’s not what matters right now. Today you want to daydream of your idea being a huge success so you can enjoy the feeling. Let your ideas for the future fuel your energy today. No matter what you want to do in life, higher energy will help you get there. – Scott Adams

I’ve come to believe that success at anything has a spillover effect on other things. You can take advantage of that effect by becoming good at things that require nothing but practice. – Scott Adams

Once you become good at a few unimportant things, such as hobbies or sports, the habit of success stays with you on more important quests. When you have tasted success, you want more. – Scott Adams

I’m better than 99% of the world in each of those games because I put in more practice time than 99% of the world. – Scott Adams

A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories. Success can be habit-forming –  Scott Adams

Free yourself from the shackles of an oppressive reality. What’s real to you is what you imagine and what you feel. If you manage your illusions wisely, you might get what you want, but you won’t necessarily understand why it worked. – Scott Adams

It’s Already Working. You want to hang out with people who want to succeed. If you turn professional, it can help unlock your talent. Fake it until it becomes real. When you are placed in a manager position, you start acting like one.

Your decision to read this book is confirmation that you are a person of action who has a desire to be more effective. I’m reinforcing that thought to help lock it in. – Scott Adams

My Pinkie Goes Nuts. His pinkie started having spasms after drawing too much. The doctor suggested that he quit his day job and comics. He had to overcome ‘focal dystonia’. However, he had hope that the situation will improve. He was determined to be the first one to beat the illness. He tried all kind of treatments to cure the illness. Nothing seemed to work and it was getting worse. By conditioning his brain through repetitive exercise, he gradually solved the problem. In 2004, the problem re-surfaced. Scott found a tablet and started drawing. He started drawing on a program called Wacom. Wacom is much easier to use than paper and pen.

My Speaking Career. Scott was invited to give a speech at an organization. He charged the organization $5000. He kept increasing the price, but there was still increasing demand. Learn to overprice your services and see what happened.

It’s a cliché that who you know is helpful for success. What is less obvious is that you don’t need to know CEOs and billionaires. Sometimes you just need a friend who knows different things than you do. And you can always find one of those. – Scott Adams

My Voice Problem Gets a Name. He lost his voice in 2005. 2 separate ideas on the Internet gave an idea on what his condition was. Was the pinkie problem related to the voice problem. He also had spasmodic dysphonia. However, there was no cure for it. You must always believe you can overcome your problems.

The Voice Solution That Didn’t Work. Scott took Botox injections for a few months but soon after it didn’t work.

Recognizing your talents and knowing when to quit. How do you combine your skills to form something great? Observe what you liked to do before you turned 10. Scott loved to doodle in class. Some people are wired for certain preferences in life. To be an expert, one needs to spend 10,000 hours of disciplined practice. Another clue to talent involves tolerance for risk. For instance, the author shared humorous comics to his teachers in school. It was worth the risk. Your risk profile might predict my future. Childhood obsessions and tolerance for risk. Bail out quickly if something doesn’t work. This might conflict with what you have learnt, which is to never give up and overcome obstacles. The author left his email address on his comics so that others could provide feedback on how improve the comics. If you have the X factor early on, it will be more likely to catch on. The X factor may be that the public views it negatively at first. It has to inspire excitement. Watch what customers do about your idea or product and not what they say about it. If your product excites no one, then it’s not worth.

There’s a strong connection between what interests you and what you’re good at. – Scott Adams

People are naturally drawn to the things they feel comfortable doing, and comfort is a marker for talent. – Scott Adams

But my unscientific observation is that people are born wired for certain preferences. Those preferences drive behavior, and that’s what can make a person willing to practice a skill. – Scott Adams

Where there is a tolerance for risk, there is often talent. – Scott Adams

The smartest system for discerning your best path to success involves trying lots of different things – sampling, if you will. – Scott Adams

Should you pursue a career that uses your knowledge of photography and software, or something that uses your public-speaking skills and your gift for writing? There‘s no way to be completely sure which path will be more fruitful. – Scott Adams

Overcoming obstacles is normally an unavoidable part of the process. But you also need to know when to quit. Persistence is useful, but there’s no point in being an idiot about it. – Scott Adams

The pattern I noticed was this: Things that will someday work out well start out well. Things that will never work start out bad and stay that way. – Scott Adams

Don’t be fooled by the opinions of friends and family. They’re all liars. – Scott Adams

Is Practice your thing? Scott was able to coach a kid at 3 on how to hit a tennis ball through repetition. There are kids who like to be alone and practice themselves. There are people who don’t get bored of practicing. Do not practice something that has no economic value (like spinning a book). Craft a life plan based on your natural inclinations. The thing should have economic value as well. You won’t be a concert pianist or an NBA player. You don’t do well in other more creative professions. For those, every class is different.

My observation is that some people are born with a natural impulse to practice things and some people find mindless repetition without immediate reward to be a form of torture. Whichever camp you’re in, it probably won’t change. – Scott Adams

If you don’t like to practice, don’t waste time on a strategy that requires it. You simply need to pick a life strategy that rewards novelty seeking more than mindless repetition. – Scott Adams

Practicing is not living. But when you build your skills through an ever-changing sequence of experiences, you’re alive. – Scott Adams

There’s no denying the importance of practice. The hard part is figuring out what to practice. – Scott Adams

Managing Your Odds for Success. Pick a good system until luck finds you. It helps if you read books about success. There is no formula for success. Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. You don’t need to reach world-class standards. For example, if you are good public speaker + you know powerpoint = good chance of managing your own firm. Good + Good > Excellent. The more skills you have, the better your chances at success. Simplicity trumps accuracy. Trick your brain into thinking that having more skills will be beneficial. Scott made use of the Internet very early. Read the topics that interests you only. Do not spend too much time reading bad news as it will affect your mood. Read to broaden your exposure. Read as a source of energy. Not everyone is rationale. Steve Jobs was not rational in his pricing but people still paid for it. A working knowledge of psychology always helps.

Your market value can be increased by being good (not extraordinary) at more than one skill. – Scott Adams

Successwise, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one. – Scott Adams

The Success Formula: Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success. – Scott Adams

If I told you that taking a class in Web site design during your evenings might double your odds of career success, the thought would increase the odds that you would act. – Scott Adams

When it comes to skills, quantity often beats quality. – Scott Adams

When I combined my meager business skills with my bad art skills and my fairly ordinary writing talent, the mixture was powerful. – Scott Adams

None of my skills are world-class, but when my mediocre skills are combined, they become a powerful market force. – Scott Adams

Another huge advantage of learning as much as you can in different fields is that the more concepts you understand, the easier it is to learn new ones. – Scott Adams

The Knowledge Formula: The More you Know, the More you Can Know. – Scott Adams

A smarter approach is to think of learning as a system in which you continually expose yourself to new topics, primarily the ones you find interesting. – Scott Adams

But I do think a working knowledge of psychology is essential to your success – both personally and professionally. – Scott Adams

The Math of Success. You need to figure out the odds. Are you clear about the odds in your life? Scott kept losing to his friend in tennis. He kept losing to a friend despite his standard of tennis was improving. Scott couldn’t manage the killer shots. Learn to find the blind spots in your life. He learnt to avoid the low-percentage tennis shots. See the world as math and not magic. When you fail, there is usually some pattern that caused it. Learn to figure out what is that pattern. It is important to keep brushing up on your skillset. There is a list of skills which everyone should be good at. They are 1) Public speaking; 2) Psychology; 3) Business writing; 4) Accounting; 5) Design; 6) Conversation; 7) Overcoming shyness; 8) Second language; 9) Golf; 10) Proper grammar; 11) Persuasion; 12) Technology; 13) Proper voice technique. Public speaking à He went for the Dale Carnegie course. During the course, there would be no criticism or corrections. Only positive reinforcement was allowed. Scott volunteered to go first. Everytime you spoke, you received compliments. Learn to be positive. People don’t have an accurate view of our potential. Psychology à most businesses require some knowledge of psychology. It is embedded in everything we do. Salespeople like to manipulate others by using psychology. It pays off if you use psychology in your decision making. A compliment from someone can help you in a long way. The author wanted to turn Dilbert into a feature film. Scott’s second restaurant failed as well. People like to compare your new work with your old work. If it doesn’t match up, you will receive criticism. One shouldn’t compare Dilbert with the Simpsons. They are so different in every aspect. Without Simpsons, Dilbert might have reached a new level. Learn about psychology and cognitive traps. Learn to know what you are vulnerable against. Make psychology your lifelong study. There are over 30 biases that the human mind is susceptible to. Scott did learn about hypnotists. Reasons are one of the factors in which people use to make their decisions. Sometimes, no reasons are necessary and people are irrational. Business writing à Learn to write with clarity and persuasiveness. There was some technique to this. Business writing is all about getting to the chase and getting to the point. Use direct instead of the passive voice. Passive writing adds up and causes reader fatigue. Use clean writing to be persuasive. Accounting à it is the language of business. Learn to create a cash flow projection. Design à We are all expected to know some form of designing. Design is rule based. Everything should conform to a few basic templates. Use the L-shaped layout. Leave one quadrant less busy than the right. Learn a few design tricks if you can. Conversation à Most people are skilled at this. Conversations can occur for many reasons What’s your name? Where do you live? Do you have a family? What do you do for a living? Do you have any hobbies/sports? Do you have any travel plans? Humor is not a good way to meet someone new. Ask people personal questions. Learn to fake social confidence. Look for something in common. Ask questions and don’t complain too much. Let others talk and change topic when you get stuck. Make the other party feel good. Smile and keep your body language open. If you are attractive, you shouldn’t talk too much. Be a master of short stories. It is good to have a backlog of stories in your bag. Learn to tell a funny story. Prepare before sharing a good story. Keep it brief. Fill in the story with characters. Pick stories that readers can relate to. Have a twist in the tale. Avoid topics like food, TV show plots, dreams and medical stories. Overcoming shyness à Some people are more naturally shy than others. Imagine that you are acting instead of interacting. Act like someone else. Fake your way past your shyness. Find out who are the thing people and the people people. You can learn it too. Always think that you can overcome your shyness. Learn to exercise your ego. Suppressing shyness takes practice. The more you put yourself in embarrassing situations, the easier it will become. Second language à It can open up your job opportunities. It is a huge competitive advantage. Golf à It is a good way for men to bond. It is a fairly universal activity. Golf is like a vacation for the mind. It is extraordinary. Golf is a great competitive advantage too. Golf is a great topic as well. Proper Grammar à If your grammar sucks, people will notice. Persuasion à you will use this very often. Keep reading books on persuasion. Some words are more persuasive than others. Use the word ‘because’. ‘Would you mind?’ tends to be well received. ‘I’m not interested.’ Is very good to shut the other party up. There is no need to offer a reason. ‘I don’t do that.’ is a very good conversation ender. ‘I have a Rule’. ‘I just wanted to clarify’. ‘Is there anything you can do for me?’. This is just between you and me. Not everyone is completely decisive. People respond to your energy levels. It is contagious. The craziest person is usually in control. Crazy + Confident people work. Is Persuasion the same as manipulation? No, not really. Technology (Hobby Level) à One needs to understand how the Internet works. Master it at a hobby level. It helps to have different vocal strategies. Learn to speak with proper breath control, tone, and mouth strategies. A commanding voice is highly correlated with success. Your body language etc will show your management potential. Women loved his professional voice. Learn to use a low voice. Breathe from the bottom of your lungs. Your belly button should be the one that is expanding and contracting as you breathe. Pick a tone. Penetrate noisy areas by using a high pitched voice. Posture is important as well. Use silence to substitute the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’.

You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from a game with low odds of success to a game with better odds. – Scott Adams

The most important is the transformative power of praise versus the corrosive impact of criticism. – Scott Adams

If you see something that impresses you, a decent respect to humanity insists you voice your praise. – Scott Adams

Don’t assume you know how much potential you have. Sometimes the only way to know what you can do is to test yourself. – Scott Adams

You’ve heard the old saying that knowledge is power. But knowledge of psychology is the purest form of that power. – Scott Adams

Accounting is part of the vocabulary of business, and if you don’t understand it on a concept level, the world will be a confusing place. – Scott Adams

You can pay others to do your accounting and cash-flow projections, but that only works if you can check their work in a meaningful way. – Scott Adams

The technique (talking to strangers) is laughably simple and 100% effective. All you do is introduce yourself and ask questions until you find a point of mutual interest. – Scott Adams

I would go so far as to say that 99% of the general public love talking about themselves. – Scott Adams

If you’re unattractive – and this is my area of expertise – your conversation skills (with a stranger) will be especially important. – Scott Adams

But as with swimming, we can learn to overcome shyness with a little practice. – Scott Adams

If you’re a woman looking to increase your buying power in the dating pool, golf is a great competitive advantage. And you might enjoy it too! – Scott Adams

Being a good persuader is like having a magic power. – Scott Adams

Life is messy and you’re going to be right only sometimes. You’ll do everyone in your life a favor by acting decisively, though, even if you have doubts on the inside. – Scott Adams

Pattern Recognition. Continually look for patterns in life. Measure your chances of success. Successful people. Learn to imitate the successful people. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are rather good. 1. Be Proactive; 2. Begin with the end in mind, 3. Put first things first, 4. Think win-win, 5. Seek first to understand then be understood, 6. Synergize, 7. Sharpen the saw by learning. The author came up with a list as well, here goes. 1. Lack of fear of embarrassment, 2. Education (the right kind), 3. Exercise. A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. Learn how to handle failure. You improve your psychological bravery. People with the right kind of education have almost no risk of unemployment. Good health is a baseline requirement for success. Sick people can’t get much done. Work brings extra energy and vitality. Learn to exercise 5 to 7 days a week. Success is a learnable skill.

I believe exercise makes people smarter, psychologically braver, more creative, more energetic, and more influential. – Scott Adams

Physical fitness and daily exercise are correlated with success in business and in life. – Scott Adams


How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams (Part 1)

Introduction. This book is about a guy who failed his way to success. It wasn’t entirely due to luck. The author pursued a strategy of managing opportunities. Make luck easier to find you. This book is not about dispensing advice. ‘Money distorts truth like a hippo in a thong.’ Advice is not one size fits all anyway. This book is about personal experiences. Learn to narrow your choices. People can’t filter fact from fiction well. Develop a system to sort truth from fiction. The six filters for truth are: 1) Personal experience; 2) Experience of people you know; 3) Experts; 4) Scientific studies; 5) Common sense; 6) Pattern recognition. Consistency is your best bet. Many people do not have smart friends to help them out. He created Dilbert. Profit is a good benchmark for success in a business. Use pattern recognition and trial and observation to succeed.

Goals are for losers’; ‘Your mind isn’t magic. It’s a moist computer program.’; ‘The most important metric to track is your personal energy’; ‘Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.’; ‘Happiness is health plus freedom.’; ‘Luck can be managed, sort of.’; ‘Conquer shyness by being a huge phony (in a good way)’; ‘Fitness is the lever that moves the world.’; ‘Simplicity transforms ordinary into amazing. – Scott Adams

The Time I was Crazy. In 2005, the doctors diagnosed him with being crazy. He was behaving crazy. He had lost ability to chat with humans. His grandpa was also a little crazy in the past. He had to stutter in his speech. It was a social nightmare to say the least. Loneliness was debilitating and affects your body the same way aging does. Humans need to be heard. His quality of life was dropping because of loneliness. The author was slated to give a talk to thousands despite his ailment.

Sometimes, the only real difference between crazy people and artists is that artists write down what they imagine seeing. -Scott Adams

The Day of the Talk. He couldn’t conduct small talk well. He soaked in the energy from the crowd. He has created a unique relationship with failure. You can always learn from failing. He has a long history of profiting from failure. He failed to succeed in the corporate environment. He nailed the speech and later sought to cure his problems of speaking normally off-stage as well.

Experts say public speaking is one of the most terrifying things a person can do. – Scott Adams

I invite failure. I survive it. I appreciate it. And then I mug the shit out of it. – Scott Adams

Passion Is Bullshit. Successful people tell you to follow your passion. You should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion. For example, to a sports enthusiast. You want to offer a loan to the boring guy, without passion but generate profits. You want the grinder. Successful people want to offer advice and be humble. Therefore, most of the time, they offer passion as a reason. Passion gives people hope and feels more accessible. It seems like the people’s talent. This is bullshit. Passion is a by-product of knowing you will be good at something. Sometimes, talent plays a larger role than passion. Most success stem from desire, luck, hard work, determination and appetite for risk. Energy is good. Passion is bullshit.

It’s easy to passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion. – Scott Adams

The business ventures that didn’t work out – and that would be most of them – slowly drained my passion as they failed. The few that worked became more exciting as they succeeded. – Scott Adams

In hindsight, it looks as if the projects I was most passionate about were also the ones that worked. But objectively, my passion level moved with my success. Success caused passion more than passion caused success. – Scott Adams

We humans tend to enjoy doing things we are good at, while not enjoying things we suck at. We’re also fairly good at predicting what we might be good at before we try. – Scott Adams

Some of my many failures in summary form. You want to be steeped to your eyebrows in failure. Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Success takes effort. It keeps lazy people out of the game. Ramp up your energy levels. Failure is a tool, not an outcome. Failure is a resource that can be managed. Success is accessible, even if you fail 95% of the time. Some of his failures are listed below. Velcro Rosin Bag Invention. Partake in things which you have a natural advantage. The author also partook in learning computer programming. He took 1 year to work at it. The technology in the modern world was advancing too fast and he couldn’t keep up. He wrote a computer program to track the ‘psychic’ ability of users. All his computer ideas failed. He was working at a bank. He worked at Crocker National Bank for 8 years till he reached lower management. He learnt a great deal of banking, finance, technology etc. After that, he worked at Pacific bell for another 8 years. He wrote a program for file transfers as well. He started a crackpot idea website too. Google bought Youtube for $1.65 billion and the shareholders made a fortune. He tried to create something like YouTube, it didn’t work out. Timing is often the biggest component of success. Scott created a technology to make home deliveries more practical. The author bought Webvan stock, which eventually went bust. There is no such thing as useful information that comes from company’s management. He started earning royalties from Dilbert but didn’t have time to research. The money he placed with investment managers lost money as well. The author also tried to start a restaurant and create nutritious foods.

Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out. – Scott Adams

If success were easy, everyone would do it. It takes effort. That fact works to your advantage because it keeps lazy people out of the game. – Scott Adams

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. – Friedrich Nietzsche

I want failures to make me stronger, of course, but I also want to become smarter, more talented, better networked, healthier, and more energized. – Scott Adams

Good ideas have no value because the world already has too many of them. The market rewards execution, not ideas. From that point on, I concentrated on ideas I could execute. I was already failing towards success, but I didn’t yet know it. – Scott Adams

And since timing is often hard to get right unless you are psychic, it makes sense to try different things until you get the timing right by luck. – Scott Adams

I have to say the richness of the whole restaurant experience was totally worth the money. I was in a position to afford the losses without altering my lifestyle, so I don’t regret any of it. – Scott Adams

My Absolute Favorite Spectacular Failure. Most failures involve bad luck, ignorance, and sometimes ordinary stupidity. He went for an interview in a snowstorm and didn’t bring a jacket. He didn’t wear a suit and tie as well. His engine died on his way home. He got out of the car and started running. However, the air was extremely chilling and he lost feelings in this hands. His legs were failing as well. The author detested snow at that moment. A travelling shoe salesman saw him and saved him. He eventually sold the car and flew to California. He left NY for California.

Thank you, failure. I no longer fear death when I go outdoors. – Scott Adams

Goals vs Systems. Scott was 21 years old when he flew to California. He wore his suit on the flight. He spoke to a CEO of a company that made screws. One should have a system instead of a goal. Keep looking for better options. At long as you are not learning, you should think about moving. This businessman didn’t care about loyalty. Appearance matters a lot. The people who use systems tend to fair better. Devise a system to succeed. A system is something you do on a more regular basis. Systems have no deadlines. Most successful people follow systems but not goals. Try to improve your odds of getting lucky. Warren Buffett has a system that works. The system is to buy undervalued companies and hold them forever, until something major changes. A spectacular system beats passion every time.

Every time he got a new job, he immediately started looking for a better one. For him, job seeking was not something one did when necessary. It was an ongoing process. This makes perfect sense if you do the math. Chances are the best job for you won’t become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready. Your best bets, he explained, was to always be looking for the better deal. – Scott Adams

In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under 4 hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system. – Scott Adams

My System. When he was six, he chanced upon the Peanuts comics. He spent hours working on them. However, he never became good at it. However, he never gave up. He got rejected by the Famous Artists School for Young People because he was too young at that time. His dad persuaded him to pursue a career in the postal service. His mum decided that he should be a lawyer. However, he had to fund his college education. He pursued economics as it would be a good prelaw degree. Scott accepted Hartwick College in New York. He received a partial scholarship for Hartwick College. He contracted mononucleosis. He was sick, however, he wanted to work hard and so his grades improved along the way. Scott did not follow his dad’s instructions to work for the Postal Service. Scott decided to create and run a company. He landed himself at a big bank and took as many classes as possible to learn about a business. All this while, he started to pick up business acumen. Create something that has value. His competitively edge was creativity. This was a solution that allows luck to find you. Create something that the public wants and reproduce it. Being system-oriented allows you to be more resistant to giving up.

In time I started to understand something called the odds. Some things were, by their very nature, likely, and some were not. – Scott Adams

I learned by observation that people who pursued extraordinarily unlikely goals were overly optimistic at best, delusional at worst, and just plain stupid most of the time. – Scott Adams

I was the kind of person who needed a job that made other people happy, ideally with a side benefit of making me rich and famous too. And for that I needed a system. – Scott Adams

I wanted the product to be something that was easy to reproduce in unlimited quantities. I didn’t want to sell my time, at least not directly, because that model has an upward limit. – Scott Adams

I wanted to create, invent, write, or otherwise concoct something widely desired that would be easy to reproduce. – Scott Adams

The world offers so many alternatives that you need a quick filter to eliminate some options and pay attention to others. Whatever your plan, focus is always important. – Scott Adams

My Corporate Career Fizzled. He walked into Crocker National Banker and wanted to be a bank teller. His plan was to start from the bottom. However, he did perform well at it. Scott has a do-it-wrong-then-fix-it personality. Due to his inability to keep track of people’s transactions, he was unfit for the job. He could either get fired or promoted. He wrote a letter of suggestions on how to improve the bank. He asked to join the management training program instead, like a management associate program. Luckily, Scott was granted an interview with the senior vice president. The suggestions gave an idea of his potential. In total, Scott spent 8 years in the bank. He took on multiple jobs in the bank. There was a headcount freeze at the top and he couldn’t get promoted. It was not due to his incompetence. Pacific Bell hired him. An acquirer took over his previous bank and hired many people. 60% of the time, Scott was trying to look busy. Scott declared the workplace a hazard as there were many smokers. It was at this time that Scott completed his MBA. Similar to the previous bank, the company were not promoting white males anymore. Scott worked at Pacific Bell for 8 years as well. His affirmation was ‘I, Scott Adam, will be a famous cartoonist.’ He practiced art every morning before heading to work.

Deciding VS Wanting. After you decide, take action. Wishing starts in the mind and generally stays there. If you decide to be successful, you need to pay the price. Sacrifice sometime in your life to pursue your aim. Successful people pursue success. They need a system.

If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. – Anonymous

The Selfishness Illusion. There are 3 kinds of people when it comes to generosity. They are selfish, stupid or to cause a burden on others. Your best option is to be selfish. Successful people don’t burden the world. Don’t be the petty selfish kind. Rather, be the important kind of selfish. Spend time on fitness, eating right, pursuing your career and spend time with family and friends. If you ignore your health, you become stupid. We have been told that it is better to give than receive. The problem with this is that it is short term and may harm yourself in the long run. Humans are easily influenced by those we talk to. This is known as peer pressure, modelling or imitating. Generous people should take care of themselves first. Being selfish means you take a long term view of things. Once your needs are taken care of, will you look towards the world. Success changes you to be less selfish.

If you pursue your selfish objectives, and you do it well, someday your focus will turn outward. It’s an extraordinary feeling. I hope you can experience it. – Scott Adams

The Energy Metric. There is an opportunity cost whenever you choose to do something as you will have to forgo something else. To achieve more, maximize your personal energy by eating right, exercising, avoid excessive stress, getting enough sleep etc. The quality of your work will improve etc. Find something exciting to wake up to and look forward to. How you behave and your mood affects those around you. Learn to be a very positive person and stay happy. It will affect the social lives of those around you. Have calm, focused energy. Scott exercised on most weekday evenings and had the side projects which could set him free. Blogging exercises Scott and charges him up. Everyone has their own activities which can be an energy booster. Shopping is exhausting to him. Capitalism inspires people to work hard and to take risks. Match mental state to activity. For example, if you are creative in the mornings, then start writing things. At 6am, I’m a creator, by 2pm, he is a copier. The creative juices usually flow in the easy mornings or late evenings. In the evening, he does the mechanical tasks etc. It is a match of energy level with a mindless task. If you don’t have a flexible schedule, try to plan your time to do something outside of work. He woke up at 4am to start his comics. Simplifiers vs Optimizers. The simplifier will look for the easy way to do something, although it may not be the best. The optimizer will look for the best solution, even if it is more complex. His wife is an optimizer. He is a simplifier. If you have detailed plans, you are more likely to fail. Optimizing can be stressful and exhausting. If a task requires communication, simplifying it would be the better option. If it an individual task, you might go for the optimizer mode, provided you can control the variables involved. For Dilbert, Scott used little art in the background. Dilbert was meant to be simple in design. One way is to simplify first, and then try to optimize later. Simplification frees up time, which is a valuable resource. Scott is an entrepreneur, author and cartoonist in a normal 40 hour work week. Maximize your personal energy. Sitting position. Sit with good posture with both feet on the floor. Your brain will tell you that it is time to get into serious work. Don’t work in the same position as when you relax. Do not use the bed for work. The way you sit makes a difference to your productivity. Tidiness is an important factor as well. Some people don’t mind chaos and mess. Some people work better when it is neat and clean. The author feels more energy after tidying up actually. A big obstacle is not knowing what your career plans require. Flash research is research under a minute in google. Sometimes, people have already asked similar questions before. Don’t be an asshole. You know an asshole when you see one. It includes selfishness, arrogance, mean-spiritedness etc. Examples include bragging, dominating conversation, cheating, lying, honesty. Asshole behavior is an addiction. Some people like doing it. Make taking care of yourself your number 1 priority. Economics is your second biggest priority, especially your job and investments. If you can’t get this right, you will be a burden to your family. When these 2 are taken care of, your friends, family and lovers are next. The next ring is your community, country and the world.The problem is that life is not so easy. Your priorities will overlap and conflict. Right choices should charge you up and make you more motivated. It will feel right. If it feels unhealthy and draining, it’s probably wrong. Meaningful work can be energizing.

Once all of my personal needs were met, my thoughts automatically turned to how I could make the world a better plan…It just happened on its own. – Scott Adams

Apparently humans are wired to take care of their own needs first, then family, tribe, country, and the world, roughly in that order. – Scott Adams

This book is another example of something that gets my energy up. I like to think that someone might read this collection of ideas and find a few thoughts that help. That possibility is tremendously motivating for me. – Scott Adams

Ideally, you want to manage your personal energy for the long term and the big picture. Having one more cocktail at midnight might be an energy boost at the time, but you pay for it double the next day. – Scott Adams

When you start asking questions, you often discover that there’s a simple solution, a Web site that handles it, or a professional who takes care of it for a reasonable fee. – Scott Adams

If you piss off your people around you, it may haunt you and be very distracting at the end. – Scott Adams

I would define an asshole as anyone who chooses to make the lives of others less pleasant for reasons that don’t appear productive or necessary. – Scott Adams

Your self-interest is best served by being a reasonable person whenever you can muster it. – Scott Adams

The next rings are your local community, your country, and the world, in that order. Don’t bother trying to fix the world until you get the inner circles of your priorities under control. – Scott Adams

If your boss routinely asks you to work overtime for no good reason other than to claw through piles of brain-deadening administrative work, you probably need to look for a new job. – Scott Adams


Just Ask the Universe by Michael Samuels

A No-Nonsense Guide to Manifesting Your Dreams

Intro. This is a guide to personal development. It is a blue-print for self-growth and self-improvement. You can have anything, all you need is to ask. I have read many books in my life. You can achieve your dreams. All you have to do is to ask the Universe.

If your thoughts are clear and in harmony with your mind and the truth of your surroundings, your life can be filled with all the richness the Universe has to offer. – Michael Samuels

Getting Here. Most people feel the Universe isn’t helping them. It is at your beck and call. The Universe can give you anything you want. However, you must follow certain rules. At first, I believed people relied on luck to be successful. What made successful people different from me? It turns out that rich people have control over their minds. I bought the Anthony Robbin’s Personal Power program. It was revolutionary and awoke me. I penned down all my goals. I learnt about the value of life and adopted a positive mental attitude. After receiving 1 million dollars won’t make you happy. The key is that it’s who you become as a person that matters. Rich people need not necessarily be happy people. Many years later, I realized that I achieved most of my goals. My wife and I were the perfect match. I was a big fan of self-improvement and kept reading more of it. Positive thoughts will attract other positive thoughts. In conclusion, the Universe is at your command every single second of the day. Life is about realizing your dreams.

Action is the real measure of intelligence. – Napoleon Hill

Meet the Universe. The Universe is omnipresent and is everywhere. It flows through you and you are a part of it. It is perpetual in nature and it knows everything. You shouldn’t over analyze and just have faith that it will help you. Hence, it is not worth your time trying to analyze how the Universe works.

The Connection. There is both the conscious and unconscious mind. Your conscious mind is the one you use for thinking. Your unconscious mind takes orders from your conscious one. It is your unconscious mind that works with the Universe. It is impartial and will not question your thoughts. You must ask for things in the correct order. You cannot think convoluted thoughts and you must think clear thoughts. You must want a specific and clear-cut goal. You must set a timeline for your goal. Your thought is the seed and the foundation. Nourish your seed so that it can grow. Learn to clean up your garden. Do not let pessimism destroy you. Do not let depressing thoughts hold you back. It takes time to see results.

You can build radiant health, success and happiness by the thoughts you think in the hidden studio of your mind. – Joseph Murphy

Two Big No-No’s. You can’t use this book to feed your dirty deeds. The first no-no is when you want something bad to happen to someone else. You must only ask for great and positive things. Do not be mean or derogatory. The Universe stores everything you say. Things will hit you back with boomerang precision. Let to forgive others. The second no-no is to never wish to take something away from someone else. Moral of the story is to avoid using the Universe to do your dirty work.

Your Subconscious Wish List. Write down your thoughts. Write down an ‘I want’ list. Write down everything. Be ambitious. However, do not daydream. Write down the details of the new car you want. Please include more details. It is all in the details. List out your travel destinations etc. Do not complain to the Universe about your troubles. Be gracious in your current job even if you currently hate it. Next, write your ‘gratefully received it’ list. These are your current accomplishments in life. Write down only the positive things that have happened to you. The Universe has already been working for you when you were young.

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire. – Napoleon Hill

Conversations with Your Best Friend. Learn to release the powers of your subconscious mind. You can move things with your mind. Relax with a big smile just before you are about to go to sleep. Think about your ‘I want’ list. Tell your subconscious mind to carry them out for you. Remember that your subconscious is your best friend. Your subconscious will always work for you no matter what, even when you are asleep.

Believing is Seeing. Learn to understand the importance of affirmations. Your dream takes time and remember that the Universe hates whiners. Be thankful at what you have. Live with purpose and be confident that you will be able to achieve your ‘I want’ list. You have to believe in order to see. It is like building a house, where you lay one brick every day. Believing is sowing your seeds. Everything takes time. The Universe will not hurry itself to give you the things you want. Keep pressing on even if you miss your timeline. Never become disheartened in life. Add more wants to your list whenever you feel like it. Constantly re-visit your list once in a while.

Think and Thank. Adapt the mental attitude of gratitude as it will serve you well indeed. The more you adapt this attitude, the more good things will happen to you. Be kind to everyone around you. Even if you fail, thank others for the opportunity. Never become bitter after failing. Be grateful for everything. Please continue to be persistent in whatever you do.

You must maintain, through thick and thin, the right attitude of gratitude, even if you do not get what you want. – Michael Samuels

The Land of Enhancement. The Universe does not show favoritism and favours hard work. In return for any business transaction or as a gift, make sure you give something which is useful for the other person. People need to feel the idea of enhancement from you. Give people more of what they want. Be helpful towards others. In life, you can get anything you want if you offer value towards others. Keep your ego in check and do not brag about your achievements.

Give every person more in worth than you take from them. – Michael Samuels

Setback, Schmetback. Naysayers will criticize your dreams. Help others achieve their dreams too. It takes the same effort to continue moving forward as it does to simply give up. Those who lack determination will quit instantly. These are the unmotivated people. Successful people do not make excuses and the Universe will still want to help you succeed. Always do it now. All you have to do is just ask.

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieveances which we endure help us in our marching onward. – Henry Ford

Do not waste any energy thinking that the obstacle will defeat you. You will absolutely find a way over, under, around or through the problem when it arises. – Michael Samuels