ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

February 12, 2012

The 12 Laws of Karma

Playing_with_the_moon

1. THE GREAT LAW

Life_is_an_echo

2. THE LAW OF CREATION

3. THE LAW OF HUMILITY

  • What you refuse to accept, will continue for you.

  • If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative…

  • Then we ourselves are not focused on a Higher Level of Existence.

4. THE LAW OF GROWTH

Human_beings_wake_up

5. THE LAW OF RESPONSIBILITY

Be_a_hard_master_to_yourself

    6. THE LAW OF CONNECTION

    7. THE LAW OF FOCUS

    8. THE LAW OF GIVING AND HOSPITALITY

    • If you believe something to be true, then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that truth.

    • Here is where we put what we SAY that we have learned into PRACTICE.

    9. THE LAW OF HERE AND NOW

    10. THE LAW OF CHANGE

    11. THE LAW OF PATIENCE AND REWARD

    12. THE LAW OF SIGNIFICANCE AND INSPIRATION

    • You get back from something whatever you’ve put into it.

    • The Value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.

    • Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole.

    • Lackluster Contributions have no impact on the Whole, or work to diminish it.

    • Loving Contributions Lift Up and Inspire the Whole.

    Wisdom_of_the_soul

    Sources: 

     

    Advertisements

    January 24, 2012

    Be lucky.

    Robert X. Cringely’s first tip for would-be entrepreneurs is: 

     “Avoid stupid and unlucky people.

    I’m taking his advice because starting a company is hard.

    I want to be luckylike the kitten that adopted me last week.

    For decades my father has told me that

    It’s better to be lucky than to be good.

    I don’t just want to be good; I want to be excellent.

    My dad says that to be excellent I should surround myself with people who have good luck. He tells me that people with good luck are contagious — as are people with bad luck!

    My dad regularly affirms:

    Avoid the unlucky, the unethical, and the unhappy.

    To find people who are ethical, I have a strategy. My startup co-founder has a sixth sense when it comes to sniffing out ethics; Detective Troutgirl is always on the case.

    As for happiness, lessons are repeated until they are learned. There is no way to happiness because happiness is the way; consequently, people reveal true colors in conversation. But what about luck?

    I want to find people who are as attracted to luck as cats are attracted to heat.

    To create luck, I conjure up some scientistic sleuthing.

    If 80% of success is showing up, then

    80-90% of luck is an excellent attitude.

    Those numbers are corroborated scientistically by business shark Daymond John and psychologist Richard Wiseman:

    Daymond John boldly declared on Shark Tank

    Life is like business. It’s 20% what happens to you, and 80% how you respond.

    Richard Wiseman concurs,

    Only about 10% of life is purely random.
    The remaining 90% is defined by the way we think.
    Our attitudes produce our luck.

    I read those sentiments over and over, and think to myself: Still, there’s that remaining 10-20% that is pure luck, and that’s the part we need EVEN if we work hard and make wise choices and are as patient as a crouching kitten.

    So… How can we MAKE more luck?

    In 2010 I chuckled that with a luck factoryI’d make a fortune.

    Since then, I’ve become aware that there are traits that we can practice to increase our ability to make our own luck.

    On 106miles.net I summarized Bakadesuyo’s article How can you become more lucky? by noting that lucky people practice four traits: openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience.

    Practice every day, as much as possible:

    1. Openness to new experiences. Network. Meet new people. Re-engage with people you know.

    2. Intuition. Listen to yourself. Meditate to clear your mind regularly.

    3. Optimism. The mind is a feedback loop that creates self-fulfilling prophecies, so be positive.

    4. Resilience. Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)

    To that I add, don’t try to avoid pain:

    Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

    (mis-attributed to Bob Marley; actual author unknown)

    Be open. Be intuitive. Be optimistic. Be resilient. Good luck!

    In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Get Lucky: The Book.

    I’m going to make it a habit to spend time with people who are lucky, and we’ll see what happens when I practice lucky traits.

    I will stay interconnected and get enough sleep.

    Yes, sleep


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Refer to me as @ifindkarma and I’ll be happy. You can also find this work as a chapter in Eric Ries’s and Hunter Walk’s wonderful Uncensored book for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Photo credits: All four pictures in this post were taken by me using Instagram on iPhone 4s, and are hosted on Flickr. These pictures feature the cats I humbly serve: Beavis, the 18-year-old silver Tabby; Coco, the 18-month-old Tuxedo kitty; and (unnamed), the 9-month-old lucky black cat who adopted me last week at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. Not pictured is Lola, the 9-year-old Oklahoma runaway feline who is camera-shy.

    January 1, 2012

    Between being and becoming is an #AttitudeOfGratitude

    In 2011 I resolved to own an attitude of gratitude.

    In 2012 I resolve, again, to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

    But first, let’s review 2011.

    In 2011 I felt a lot of pain. That was hell.

    In 2011 I played outside. That was excellent.

    And, I consumed many bootie mashups.

    In 2011 I continued my obsession with pandas.

    2012 is Year of the Dragon. The Water Dragon.

    That’s right, 2012 will be Panda vs Dragon. 

    Panda_vs_toy_dragon

    Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.

    Forty-Two means living in the exhilarating tension between being and becoming.

    People have asked me where the phrase Between Being and Becoming came from.

    SNL season 15, episode 17, Dana Carvey as George F. Will’s Sports Machine:

    George F. Will: All right, hands on buzzers. [ he hits several buttons on the machine, which spits out a quiz card that George reads ] “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

    [ the contestants stare cluelessly, as the buzzer sounds ]

    George F. Will: Sorry. The answer is: “The exhilarating tension between being and becoming.” Being and becoming. Next question…

    That phrase has been spinning infinity in my head since I first heard it.

    I believe that life is a precarious balance, a perfect symmetry.

    We have to be who we are, while becoming who we want to be.

    We don’t just want to be hard-working, awake, and accepting of ourselves.

    We want to be a better version of ourselves. To continually improve.

    In 2012 I resolve to…

    1. Be grateful. Wake up every morning with a deep breath and an #AttitudeOfGratitude.

    2. Be here now. Don’t try to live your life in one day.

    3. Be excellent. Excellence is a habit.

    4. Be lucky. Practice openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience to make luck.

    5. Be bold. Fortune favors the bold. TDs only; play to win.

    6. Be creative. Creativity is just connecting the dots.

    7. Be optimistic. Optimism creates luck.

    8. Be who you are, as hard as you can. It’s not about what happens to you; it’s about how you respond to wha
    t happens to you.

    9. Be punctual. On time is 15 minutes late. Early is on time.

    10. Be healthy. Spirituallyemotionally, physically, just dance.

    11. Be happy. Happiness is the way.

    12. Be kind. Only kindness matters in the end.

    Tom Landry said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

    That said, these twelve goals are qualitative, not quantitative. Each day as I wake up I can resolve to be grateful, excellent, lucky, bold, optimistic, creative, punctual, healthy, happy, and kind, but I’m not going to count each act of demonstrating that quality. It doesn’t feel right to count random acts of kindness (#raok).

    Instead I’m going to include these values in my thoughts whenever I can.

    Thoughts become words become actions become habits become character.

    And character is destiny.

    I know how this works. The creative process is tough.

    To summarize: Touchdowns only; no Field Goals. Play to win.

    Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY!

    Now excuse me while I pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space…

    December 9, 2011

    #42

    Anything that happens, happens.
    Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
    Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
    It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
           ~ Douglas Adams
    .
    Most people do not comprehend,
    [no matter how] they encounter such things,
    nor do they understand what they learn;
    they believe only themselves.
           ~ Heraclitus

    .
    Every thought is a seed.
    If you plant crab apple, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
          ~ Bill Meyer

    .
    All the lessons of history in four sentences:
    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power.
    The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.
    The bee fertilizes the flower it robs.
    When it is dark enough, you can see stars.

           ~ Charles A. Beard


    In the spirit of Thirty and Thirty-Five comes the following awesome, beautiful, and creative web of thoughts that occupy my brain.

    No matter.

    I’m not patient enough to write poetry or prose, so I’ll just count down after Futurama.

    Don’t you worry about life, the universe, and everything; let me worry about blank

    42. We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

    41. Everything is about inclusion.

    40. Everything is everythang.

    39. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

    38. As human beings, our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

    37. Let it go. This too shall pass.

    36. SIMPLIFY.

    35. Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

    34. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

    33. Reflect on happiness.

    32. People are very bad at predicting what will make us happy.

    31. There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

    30. We are feedback loops. We are the stories we tell ourselves.

    29. Love is when you open your heart to pain.

    28. To get over grief, be there for someone else’s grief.

    27. Kittie heaven is mousie hell.

    26. Bird is the word!

    25. The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants.

    24. It’s not going to stop till you wise up.

    23. Character is destiny.

    22. Reflection creates identity.

    21.
    You can do anything.

    20. We can change the world with a pen and paper. We keep waiting, waiting.

    19. Starting is hard.

    18. We’ll see.

    17. Life is… delicious ambiguity.

    16. Beware drift. Do what you love!

    15. True happiness comes from within.

    14. Get yourself a giant panda! (Super kawaii!)

    13. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

    12. That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

    11. It goes to 11. (Be sure to read through to Andy Weir’s story, “The Egg”!)

    10. Life is like business. It’s 20 percent what happens to you, and 80 percent how you respond.

    9. 80 percent of success is showing up.

    8. Our attitudes produce our luck.

    7. Love more, fear less.

    6. Be grateful for every breath.

    5. Be who you are, as hard as you can.

    4. Be here now.

    3. Be excellent.

    2. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

    1. Only kindness matters in the end.

    ********* …enlightenment… *********

     

     

    Dont_just_give_up


    December 8, 2011

    Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

    The Internets say that Bob Marley said that everyone’s gonna hurt you but some people are worth it anyway.

    No matter how much I search, I cannot find the context under which he said it or even if he said it…

     

    The_truth_is_that_everyones_gonna_hurt_you

    “Truth is” is a lesson that repeats until it is learned.

    I speak “truth is”, and “truth is” speaks to me.

    We are feedback loops.

    We are the stories we tell ourselves.

    Life is full of ups and downs. So get up.

    “Truth is” is interconnected through time…
    1. “Be here now.” This began my wondering if Bob Marley even said it.
    2. I’m willing to believe that 6 million Facebook likes can’t be wrong.
    3. So I Facebook’d it too, looking for answers. None came.
    4. And I did it again.
    5. I tumbled for it. And I asked on Quora.
    6. But still no one on the Internets knows when or why Bob Marley said this.
    7. It reminds me that life is pain, highness; anyone who says differently is selling something.

      Fear of pain causes stress.

      Do not fear pain. Let go of fear.

      Maureen Killoran said, “Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens, and the response is something we can choose.”

      Maybe I will wait forever and never find out if Bob Marley said it.

      The truth about forever is that it is happening right now.

      Maybe I will get lucky.

      Those who open ourselves to pain often find luck. 
      Truth_is_everyone_is_going_to_hurt_you

      It’s worth taking some time to learn to attract luck:
      1. Create your luck, says Altucher. Luck only takes 4 steps.
      2. There are 4 principles for making luck, says Bakadesuyo.
      3. Make your own luck, says 106 Miles paraphrasing Bakadesuyo.
      4. Happiness affects luck profoundly, says Tumblr. I repeat it.
      5. Invest in a luck factory and make a fortune, says ifindkarma.
      6. What traits do lucky people share? Optimism.
      7. Attitude affects luck, says Wiseman.
      Memo to self: include luck in my incantations to be great.

      Love_the_life_you_live_live_the_life_you_love

      I repeat: Don’t try to avoid pain.

      Instead, find someone or something worth suffering for.

      Open yourself to heaven and earth, then trust your natural responses; and everything will
      fall into place
      .

      Step out of your comfort zone.

      That is where the magic happens…
      Where_the_magic_happens

      Postscript, a few days later. Truth is, Bob Marley probably did not say this.

      Thank you, Spyridon Michalakis, in helping my quest for the truth.

      November 23, 2011

      Love more, fear less.

      “There is no future. There is no past. Do you see? Time is simultaneous, an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on viewing one edge at a time, when the whole design is visible in every facet.”
      ~ Watchmen

      “I will do today what you won’t, so tomorrow I can do what you can’t.”
      ~ Anonymous

      “I do not much care for that man… I must get to know him better.”
      Abraham Lincoln

      “If there is no enemy on the inside, the enemy on the outside can do us no harm.”
      ~ African Proverb

      “Our greatest problems often yield our greatest breakthroughs… fierce frustration is a precondition for a tremendous triumph.”
      ~ @CoryBooker

      Dear_karma


      Recently I added favorites among Convos containing quotes…

      Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. ~ Muhammed Ali

      If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry

      Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. ~ Randy Pausch

      There are no shortcuts. NONE. ~ Mark Cuban

      Do something so hard you become great in the process. ~ xkcd

      Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. ~ Albert Einstein

      If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. ~ Mario Andretti

      As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

      One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things. ~ Henry Miller

      Creativity is just connecting things. ~ Steve Jobs

      During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1700 times and walked maybe 1800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball. ~ Mickey Mantle

      I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan

      I’ve seen each of these quotes many times in my life, but I keep coming back to them.

      Sometimes it takes me a while to visuali
      ze
       what I’m seeing.

      Risk more than others think is safe. 
      Care more than others think is wise. 
      Dream more than others think is practical. 
      Expect more than others think is possible. 
      ~ Claude Bissell via Lili Balfour via John Hagel

      Teach compassion…”If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because they don’t have friends or because they are shy or not as good looking or not dressed in the best clothes PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life! Pass this on and share with your kids!”

      “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
      ~ Gandhi

      Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules.

      “What is hard is being good every day.”
       ~ Willie Mays 

      Rogue_panda

      Sing with Brian Wilson!!!


      Sing with Stephen Hawking!!!


      ‎”If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”
      ~ Dalai Lama

       “Let your life be a testimony to your truth. Every day be an uncompromisingly true witness to your authentic self. The world needs no more dull carbon copies, folks shrinking from their truth. One stubborn soul, ignited from within, despite the crushing darkness of circumstance, can illuminate the world. We must illuminate the world. We must be brilliant.”
      ~ @CoryBooker (via @LiliBalfour)

      “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
      ~ Muhammad Ali 

      ~ Steve Jobs 

      November 11, 2011

      #NerdNewYear #111111

      Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 8:55 am

      On 11/11/11, it goes to 11.

      It is ON !!! Time to celebrate !!! 

      11/11/11 = NERD NEW YEAR

      Where? On Broadway. 2600 Broadway in Redwood City, CA, to be precise.

      We closed down the streets and lit our countdown clock…

      Drinks, food, fun, awesome prizes!

      As seen on: 

      Totals:

      • Facebook LIKES: 927 (plus 127)
      • Twitter TWEETS: at least 3879
      • Groupons sent to: 1.2 million people (110 + 96 = 306 bought)
      • #nerdnewyear trended on Twitter 11/11/11
      • Estimated Redwood City attendance: 1500
      • We’re still figuring out how much we made for charity…

        Every day I’m shuffling…

        Everybody just have a good time! And smile, for cameras are everywhere…

        We’re on a mission from God… Hit it!

        New year‘s resolution: Live with intention. Walk to the edge.

        Live forward. Understand backward. I will always have a great memory of this day.

        Greatest_happy_hour_ever

        August 12, 2011

        Be who you are, as hard as you can.

        Once upon a time, I said, Be here now.

        And then I restedinterconnected.

        And I said, Be excellent.

        WHAT?!

        What

        And then I read,

        You is kind, you is smart, you is important.

        Somewhere in there, rakeshlobster tweeted

        Great career advice from @sv_troutgirl to @joshelman:
        Be who you are, as hard as you can.

        So I tweeted

        I believe “Be who you are, as hard as you can” originated from @naval.

        And Rocky thanked Naval and so did Josh

        That was the most meaningful advice I’ve had in a long time.

        So I tweeted

        Be who you are, as hard as you can” is so easy to say and so hard to do. It takes courage.

        And Naval reminded me

        Easiest when you are cast out and have no choice.

        The key word in everything I’ve said till now: COURAGE.

        It takes courage to grow up 
        and become who you really are.
              ~ e.e. cummings

        See, there’s always a tension between being and becoming.

        We’re wetware on all fours, searching profoundly for four11‘s.

        Once you are who you are, as hard as you can, you can focus on learning more and continually improve yourself.

        How can you continually improve yourself?

        Bakadesuyo highlights his most interesting research:

        July 12, 2011

        It goes to 11.

        Somewhere, something incredible 
        is waiting to be known.
              ~ Carl Sagan

        Carve out one minute of your day for mindfulness.
        Turn off the Internet and turn on the Innernet.
        Every night as you fall asleep, plant a seed in your mind.
        Every morning when you wake, take a minute to meditate.
        It makes a world of difference.
             ~ Lili Balfour


        Today I saw that a friend lost a baby unicorn.

        And I realized, everybody hurts and everybody struggles sometimes.
        Lost_one_baby_unicorn

        We’ve been struggling at 106 Miles to create a charity event for the Nerd New Year (11/11/11) as we moved the event from Fox Theatre in Redwood City to the Redwood City Courthouse Square, and now (hopefully) to Broadway in Redwood City between the Caltrain and El Camino Real for a street party. See: NerdNewYear.com

        Sometimes I ask myself, why even try do it?

        Not because of synchronicity. That seems too far out to me.

        And not just because it goes to 11, though that does help.

         


        I’ve been excited about 11/11/11 ever since January 11.

        Truth is, everywhere I go this year, I see elevens.

        11s have no meaning except as a personal wake up call.

        A wake up call to do something meaningful.

        I hope on 11/11/11 to raise awareness for 11 causes.

        In their honor, here’s a list of my favorite eleven lists.

        8. Eleven Facts About Pandas (and then some!)

        6. Eleven Inspirational Quotes (my favorite is the one from Albert Einstein, “I once thought that if I could ask God one question, I would ask how the universe began, because once I knew that, all the rest is simply equations. But as I got older I became less concerned with how the universe began. Rather, I would want to know why He started the universe. For once I knew that answer, then I would know the purpose of my own life.”)

        All of those elevens really do wake me up.

        We don’t know what will make us happy, but we think we do.

        Life ebbs and flows. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

        Life has many chapters, if you allow them to open.

        Meaning is not something you stumble across. You have to build meaning into your life… And you build meaning into your life by the commitments that you make.

        Commitments beyond yourself.

        When we’re young, we search for identity: “Who am I?

        Your identity, actually, is what you’ve committed yourself to:

        We close with a short story passed to me by Shuqiao, whose song is the Dalai Lamas “My religion is very simple; my religion is kindness” as she shares “The Egg” by Andy Weir

        You were on your way home when you died.

        It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered, you were better off, trust me.

        And that’s when you met me.

        “What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

        “You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point mincing words.

        “There was a… A truck and it was skidding…”

        “Yup,” I said.

        “I… I died?”

        “Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

        Yo
        u looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

        “More or less,” I said.

        “Are you God?” You asked.

        “Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

        “My kids… my wife,” you said.

        “What about them?”

        “Will they be all right?”

        “That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died, and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

        You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Some vague authority figure. More of a grammar school teacher than the Almighty.

        “Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly reliveved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

        “Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

        “Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

        “Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”

        “All the religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

        You followed along as we strolled in the void. “Where are we going?”

        “Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

        “So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

        “Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just dont remember them right now.”

        I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic then you can possible imagine.


        A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold.
        You put a tiny part or yourself into the vessel, and when u bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

        “You’ve been a human for the last 34 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for longer, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point doing that between each life.”

        “How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

        “Oh lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives,” I said. “This time around you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 A.D.”

        “Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

        “Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

        “Where you come from?” You pondered.

        “Oh sure!” I explained. “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there’s others like me. I know you’ll want to know what its like there but you honestly wont understand.”

        “Oh.” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, could I have interacted with myself at some point?”

        “Sure. Happens all the time. and with both lives only aware of their own timespan you dont even know its happening.”

        “So what’s the point of it all?”

        “Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? Your asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

        “Well its a reasonable question,” you persisted.

        I looked in your eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

        “You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

        “No. just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature, and become a larger and greater intellect.


        “Just me? What about everyone else?”

        “There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you, and me.”

        You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

        All you. Different incarnations of you.

        “Wait. I’m everyone!?”

        “Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

        “I’m every human who ever lived?”

        “Or who will ever live, yes.”

        “I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

        “And you’re John wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

        “I’m Hitler?” you said, appalled.

        “And you’re the millions he killed.”

        “I’m Jesus?”

        “And you’re everyone who followed him.”

        You fell silent.

        “Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “You were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

        “Why?” You asked me. “why do all this?”

        “Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

        “Whoa.” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

        “No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

        “So the whole universe,” you said. “Its just…”

        “An egg of sorts.” I answered. “Now its time for you to move on to your next life.”

        And I sent you on your way…

        June 20, 2011

        11 Reasons Why Starting a Company is Hard …

        In books we find we are not alone.
               ~ Carl Sagan
         

        In stories we find we are not alone.
             ~ Jonathan Nelson

         

        I’m giving a pariSoma talk to the Hackers and Founders Co-op Startup Class of 2011 tonight. And like Paul Graham, I found it helpful to write down what I’m going to say.

        Like Evan Williams’ startup advice, I want to say something positive and useful.

        My main message is that it’s important to have a network, because you can trade notes with other people who are doing similar things. This is why we started 106 Miles — so that any founder, engineer, or friend who joins us at our meetups will have a network to exchange knowledge and connections, and listen and learn.

        That said, if I could tell entrepreneurs one more thing, I would say:

        Being a first-time entrepreneur is hard.

        Come to think of it, actually…

        It’s hard starting a company even if you’ve done it before.

        I’ve done it three times, and it’s still hard.

        Off the top of my head here are 11 reasons why.

        1. Having a great idea at the right time is hard. Big ideas are hard, and timing of ideas is hard. Being excellent is really hard but truly important, since nobody can steal an idea.

        2. Designing an excellent and simple product is hard. User experience is hard to make excellent, and user interfaces are hard to make simple. Product-market fit is extremely hard.

        3. Developing something people want is hard. Prototyping is hard, and iterating is hard. Minimum viable product definition is hard, and figuring out what people want is hard.

        4. Getting traction is hard. Users are hard to satisfy. Attracting and retaining great users is hard, and attracting great content and quelling bad content is hard. Network effects are hard.

        5. Keeping the damn thing up and running is hard. Technical operations are hard. “The Cloud” means some computer somewhere out there that you don’t control is going to go down at the worst possible moment.

        6. Implementing a scalable business model is hard. Revenues are hard. Not all advice comes in three words. Although there is a lot of three-word startup advice, that matters not. Revenues require continual improvement of sales knowledge and the market, and that takes time, patience, and unbelievable tenaciousness.

        7. Building a great team is hard. Finding a great co-founder is hard, and hiring is hard. Even if you read a lot about hiring, it’s hard. And sweet sassy molassy, managing people is hard. And being tough is very hard.

        8. Raising seed money is hard. Angels are hard to understand. And finding a great fit between investor and entrepreneur is hard, very hard.

        9. Raising venture capital is hard. Venture capitalists are hard to understand. Once upon a time you could
        raise money with just a great idea. Then you needed a great idea and a great team. Then you needed a great idea, great team, and great prototype. Then you needed all those things and great traction. Now you also need a great business model, great revenues, great press, and if it’s not too much trouble, make the world a better place, too.

        10. Turning away all the free advice is hard. People are unpredictable, and making decisions is hard. But it’s better to make any decision than no decision. Furthermore, the right people make all the difference in the world.

        11. Managing your emotions is really fucking hard…      
        Ben Horowitz said it best. Also, not quitting is quite hard.

        If it were easy to start a company, everyone would do it.

        But it’s not easy. And not everyone does it.

        It’s hard. Really, really hard.

        There’s a great analogy here: starting a company is like you’re 106 miles from Chicago, you have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and you’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!

        Here are 11 things you can learn to navigate those rough waters, ripped lovingly from a long Quora answer I once wrote about mistakes entrepreneurs make. 

        1. Learn the difference between important and urgent.
        2. Learn the difference between working smart and working long.
        3. Learn the difference between an opportunity and a problem.
        4. Learn the difference between lucky and smart.
        5. Learn the difference between focus and activity.
        6. Learn the difference between publicity and reality.
        7. Learn the difference between prepared and over-prepared.
        8. Learn the difference between output and throughput.
        9. Learn the difference between managing up and managing down.
        10. Learn the difference between managing expectations and just riding the roller coaster unmanaged.
        11. Learn the difference between knowing the path and walking the path.


        Remember, you can do it. But it’s hard:

        Keep your eye on the ball,
        Your head above the clouds,
        Your ear to the ground,
        Your shoulder to the wheel,
        Your nose to the grindstone,
        Your finger on the pulse,
        Your feet on the ground, and
        Your head on your shoulders.

        Now… try to get something done. 

         

        In summary: Activate your network, work smart, work hard, open yourself to opportunities, close off some opportunities, overcommunicate, underspend, hang in there, stop things that aren’t working, collaborate, and listen.

         

        June 12, 2011

        Be excellent.

        I want to be truly great.

        I want to do something great.

        So the question is, how do we become excellent?

         

        You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process. ~ xkcd 896

         

        Interconnectedness takes me from that illustration, to a place that makes me want to watch a Tony Robbins video.

        Tony says being great depends on tiny differences that put a person in a state of certainty, confidence, and flow.

         

        To be excellent, we train ourselves emotionally. Get rituals.


        Incantations, not affirmations, embody what we want.

        Incantations help us navigate MUSTs vs SHOULDs.

         

        As we move from within our own minds out to interactions with others, influence is essential.

        Because when two people are having a conversation, the one who is more certain is going to influence the one who is less certain. Always.

         

        This is why I’ve been thinking a lot about conversations lately.

        And conversations are the foundation of 106 Miles.

        106miles3

         

        106 Miles recently had a conversation of greatness, which inspired me to find 11 great quotes…

        11) “Greatness doesn’t take two months, or even a year. It takes years of focused practice to achieve even an ounce of it.” ~ Trizle

        10) “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” ~ Albert Einstein

        9) “On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

        8) “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill

        7) “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Will Durant, not Aristotle

        6) “Excellence is not a skill; it is an attitude.” ~ Ralph Marston

        5) “You do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren Buffett.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.” ~ Geoffrey Colvin

        4) “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

        3) “Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” ~ Swami Sivananda

        2) “It’s not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.” ~ Edward Gardner

        1) “It’s not where you take things from; it’s where you take them to.” ~ Jim Jarmusch

        Now, I am incanting to take excellence to me.

         

        Be_awesome

         

        I want PandaWhale to be excellent.

        I want 106 Miles to be excellent.

        I want my favorite pizza place to be excellent, too. (This will take time. Right now, people hate us on Yelp.)

        People_hate_us_on_yelp

        And in my state of incantation, I include greatness.

        As if I’m climbing the Ron Swanson pyramid of greatness.

        Pyramid-jumbo

        Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.

        Don’t just be excellent. Be excellent to each other.

        Be excellent. Go beyond a limit.

        This takes my mind to an epic night. A really epic night.

        190k_receipt_perezsolomon

        After a party like that, it’s difficult to focus.

        I want to hear Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory“!!!

        Sing it, Gaga!!!

        I’m on the edge… of glory…
        And I’m hanging on a moment of truth… 

        And I’m dancing like no one’s watching!!!

        Did YouTube invent Lady Gaga or vice versa?

        No worries. Hakuna matata!! Or is that…

        Hasa diga eebowai!!

        Um.

        Where was I?

        Oh, right, dividing my attention.

        Unlike attention, happiness is something that multiplies when it is divided. (Thank you, @aaker @padmasree @paulocoehlo!)

         

        Now, where does motivation come from again?

        Tony Robbins says understanding motivation is the key to happiness.

         

        Daniel Pink says we are happiest and most motivated in our work when we have the opportunity for mastery.

        Now, I’ve been told it takes 10,000 hours to master something.

        That said, being good at something makes us like it more.

        And there is much power in perseverance aka “grit”.

        Thinking about all of this puts my mind into a state of flow.

        Challenge_vs_skill

         

        Which brings us back to where we started: xkcd 896.

        Repeat after me: Do something so hard that you become great in the process.

         

        May 12, 2011

        That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

        I think of Emily Dickinson’s poem as I reflect on the shockingly sudden passing of my dear friend Omar Ahmad, who left this world on May 10, 2011. 

        Omar was a great optimist who made me think about possibility, and he made me want to do something great and live everything

        Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way in to the answer.
        Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Stephen Mitchell (via Kristen Collins)

        The past few years I’ve felt the pain of loss of several close friends.

        It hurts. I miss Omar. A lot. Even as I watch Omar’s memorial.

        I remember from ten life lessons: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

        I do feel like I didn’t spend enough time with Omar.

        And neither did Rohit. Or our little friend. Though we be successful.

        I loved Omar. He was truly a friend who inspired me to be kind.

        I will watch Omar’s TED talk again and again as a reminder to be active.

        I truly miss you, Omar. I truly do. And I still feel connected to you.

        Thank you, Omar. You and Steve Jobs inspire me to do something great — to design something simple that brings great happiness to others with what is left of my life…

        Almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

        It’s worth repeating what Steve Jobs said. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

        Steve_jobs_says

        Older Posts »

        Blog at WordPress.com.