Why Theory is Important

“Indeed, while experiences and information can be good teachers, there are many times in life where we simply cannot afford to learn on the job. You don’t want to have to go through multiple marriages to learn how to be a good spouse. Or wait until your last child has grown to master parenthood. This is why theory can be so valuable: it can explain what will happen, even before you experience it.”

Excerpt from How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen.

Don’t Believe the Hype. 30 is Not the New 20. (How to Make the Most of Your 20s)

Aged 25. His Team Spent $500,000 on the Thriller Video.

Aged 25. His Team Spent $500,000 on the Thriller Video.

This is an essay to myself as a reminder to make the most of the time I have.

You have a lot of energy now. Your body will begin to slow down when you are older, so work like crazy but always make time for play.

Build something. Write a book. Master a craft. Put in the hours in your career. Now is the time when you don’t have that many responsibilities and your body can take whatever you throw at it. Think of it as a period of acceleration because later, you will have to slow down.

Stevie Wonder produced four number one albums between the ages of 21 and 27 (he was lucky enough to repeat the feat in his 30s).  Michelangelo completed one of his greatest works, the statue of David, aged 26. Albert Einstein, while working as a patent clerk six days a week, managed to raise a family in his twenties, and introduced the world to e=MC^2 at the age of 26. Michael Jackson produced his greatest albums between the ages of 20 and 29 (Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad).

Of course these people are freaks of nature. Not all of us have such talent. But who is to say we can’t have our own little victories in our twenties, before ambition dims and responsibility settles in? The twenties are the most vibrant period in which to pursue wild goals. And don’t give me your 9-to-5-too-busy-at-work, excuse. Didn’t I just mention that Einstein held down a full-time job as a patent clerk, raised a family, and in whatever time he had left over, worked on some of the greatest scientific theories ever, all in his twenties?

You are young. Use the energy you have in your twenties to do something you can look back on with pride.

Okay, maybe I am glorifying the twenties a bit. Much can be achieved at a more mature age. And there are many examples. For instance it is not unusual in the film industry for people to peak in their thirties and beyond. Quentin Tarantio’s career, for example, didn’t really take off until his 30s (although he wrote Resevoir Dogs in his late twenties). And in the business world, a good number of CEOs are in their late thirties/forties/fifties. With that being said, I bet you these people were “rising stars” in their twenties, working their butts off!

It’s not all about work though. You don’t want to look back and wish you socialised a bit more, attended a few more parties, or travelled more. I’d rather have my hangovers and jetlags before I’m a pensioner. And I’d most certainly rather have my junk food now before I need to worry about a diet. Your body will be more fragile in later years. So enjoy it now and make the most of your energy. It won’t last forever.

Too much choice is bad. Limits are good.

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My New Bedroom (Limited to 3 Colours)

“Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints. But that’s precisely the point. Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they’ll never invent an original line. They’ll be stuck with clichés and conventions, with predictable adjectives and boring verbs. And this is why poetic forms are so important. When a poet needs to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, he ends up uncovering all sorts of unexpected connections; the difficulty of the task accelerates the insight process.”

Excerpt from Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Undeveloped Potential. Unrealised Dreams.

“Many aspiring artists, for example, have at some stage to deal with the harsh truth that they are merely quite good and do not have what it takes to be truly exceptional. Potential that appears unlimited to youth may look more finite when seen through more experienced eyes.

Jean-Paul Sartre denounced potential for the false comfort it gives us through thoughts of what we could have been if things had been different. For him, a person is ‘nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is’. It’s a false comfort to tell ourselves we could have done more, if circumstances had favoured us.

Sartre insists that ‘reality alone is reliable; that dreams, expectations and hopes serve to define a man only as deceptive dreams, abortive hopes, expectations unfulfilled’. To dwell on potential is to define ourselves negatively, in terms of what we are not, rather than positively, for what we are.

Potential left undeveloped is nothing more than a hypothetical ability that belongs in our dreams, not as a ghostly presence in our actual lives.

Excerpt from The Shrink and the Sage by Julian Baggini and Antonia Macaro

Photo by Lisa Elmaleh, LisaElmaleh.com

How to Get a First – #1 University and College Student Guide Bestseller (on Amazon.co.uk)

This morning I woke up to find that my book had made it to the top of Amazon rankings for the the following categories:

  • #1 in University & College Guides
  • #1 in Educational Advice
  • #1 in Student Life

A massive thank you to all the students and people who have ordered a copy. Rankings are not the ultimate reward to me but I happy the book has made it this high! This way, it might get a bit more exposure.

With that said, there is still quite a bit of promotion and marketing left to do. I hope that this will help more students learn about the book and try some of the advice I compiled from high-flying students, educational psychologists, and my own experience.

 

My First Book is Now Officially Published!

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After two years in the making, my first book has been published by Palgrave Macmillan.

I remember writing the first draft without ever thinking that it could possibly come to this. Sure, I believe in myself. But I also tend to be pretty realistic about things and while becoming a published author is something I dreamt of, I never really expected it to happen.

So the book is finally out and I am excited to hear what the student population, on the whole, make of it.

If you would like to get a copy of the book the following stores currently have it in stock.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Freak Coincidence

timetraveling

Year 1981:

  • Prince Charles got married .
  • Liverpool crowned Champions of Europe.
  • Australia lost the Ashes tournament.
  • The Pope died.
Year 2005:
  • Prince Charles got married .
  • Liverpool crowned Champions of Europe.
  • Australia lost the Ashes tournament.
  • The Pope died.
Lesson learned: The next time Prince Charles gets married, would someone warn the Pope!

Excerpt from The Little Blue Reasoning Book by Brandon Royal

Ability Does Not Guarantee Achievement

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The cord that tethers ability to success is both loose and elastic. It is easy to see fine qualities in successful books or to see unpublished manuscripts, inexpensive vodkas, or people struggling in any field as somehow lacking. It is easy to believe that ideas that worked were good ideas, that plans that succeeded were well designed, and that ideas and plans that did not were ill conceived. And it is easy to make heroes out of the most successful and to glance with disdain at the least. But ability does not guarantee achievement, nor is achievement proportional to ability. And so it is important to always keep in mind the other term in the equation – the role of chance.

Excerpt from The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

How to Outrun a Bear

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Two friends are hiking in the woods and come to a river. They take off their shoes and clothes and go for a swim. As they come out of the water, they spot a hungry bear that immediately starts to run toward them. One of the men flees immediately, but the other pauses to put on his shoes. The first man screams at the second, “Why are you putting on your shoes? They won’t help you outrun the bear!” To which the second man calmly responds: “I don’t need to outrun the bear; I just need to outrun you.”

Excerpt from Connected by Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler