With every conversation I have, book I read, mistake I make, and new knowledge I acquire, I feel less sure about everything.
French philosopher Voltaire said it best:
“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
When I got my first degree in business, nine years ago, I was certain I knew nothing. So I got a master’s degree after that. That took me about two more years.
Still, I knew nothing. So after that, I did my best to learn from mentors, family, business partners, clients, friends, colleagues. I tried to absorb all their knowledge.
Don’t you think life is weird sometimes? Take quitting.
Most of us believe that it’s wrong to quit. That it’s for losers. And that quitting equals failure.
The ‘never quit’ attitude is a good thing. Especially when we pursue hard things. I don’t think you should ever quit just because you can’t handle something.
However, quitting is also a smart strategy. Sometimes quitting is even the better option.
Note: I recently shared this exercise only with the readers of my newsletter. I thought I’d post it here too.
Do you ever worry about things you don’t control?
If you do, join the club. It happens to all of us.
But worrying is waste of time and energy. I’ll show you a little exercise from my book Win Your Inner Battles that helps you to stop worrying.
Imagine the following situation: You make a mistake at work that upsets a client.
Maybe you send someone a wrong email. Maybe you forget to solve a problem. It doesn’t matter what it is. Imagine that something goes seriously wrong at work.
Every time I tell people I run, they ask: “Are you training for a marathon?” Or they ask if I’ve ever run a marathon.
Somehow, most of us believe that running a marathon is the ultimate benchmark of running. I used to think that too.
The ‘Marathon’ story is probably one of the most well know stories in the world. The most mythical version goes like this:
The Persians were battling the Greeks in the fifth century B.C. And at the Battle Of Marathon, the Athenian army was outnumbered four to one. There was a full-on battle going on at Marathon.
Where you are in your life is a result of your habits. Will Durant said it best:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
I think that’s also true for the opposite of excellence. It goes like this: Bad habits? Bad life. Good habits? Good life.
I used to be a complainer. I said stuff like:
Have you seen them? Articles and books that promise you the secrets to success? Save yourself some time and stop reading them. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
There are many kinds of those “success-articles.” The ones that suggest there’s a difference between winners and losers are my favorite.
Stuff like: “This behavior separates successful people from average people.” Or how about articles that list the habits of Millionaires or Billionaires? It’s so predictable.
Those type of articles and books are designed to give you a good feeling about yourself. “See! I have all the traits of successful people. I’m one of them!”
They always focus on the outcome. Not the process. Studying, learning, and stealing productive habits or tactics are all smart things to do. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I talk about people who only focus on the outcome. I.e. success.
We live in a uniquely safe, risk-free, and good time.
Mortality rate is at an all-time low. Poverty is decreasing year over year. Diseases are treatable. You get to live longer. And technology makes life easier and safer.
Evolution is a beautiful thing (if you only look at the facts).
However, that’s not the full story. People are still miserable. Suicide rates increase. People have more depressions and burnouts. More and more people are on meds. I’m not going to flush you with all the hard statistics. It’s not pretty.
But there are also soft measures that show the ugly side of today’s world. When you walk around on the streets, go to restaurants, parties, festivals, or take public transportation, you see a bunch of zombies instead of happy individuals who are celebrating life.