Timeless Ideas | September 12, 2020

Here’s your weekly dose of timeless ideas to sharpen your mind, make smarter decisions, and live better.



No-one is exempt from speaking nonsense – the only misfortune is to do it solemnly.

— Michel Montaigne


Do what is right, not what is easy nor what is popular.

— Roy T. Bennett


Strength is the product of struggle. You must do what others don’t to achieve what others won’t.

— Henry Rollins




Do not be one of the many who mistakenly believe that the ultimate form of power is independence, Power involves a relationship between people; you will always need others as allies, pawns or even as weak masters who serve as your front. The completely independent man would live in a cabin in the woods--he would have the freedom to come and go as he pleased, but he would have no power. The best you can hope for is that others will grow so dependent on you that you enjoy a kind of reverse independence: Their need for you frees you.

Robert Greene in The 48 Laws of Power


Deep knowledge is to be aware of disturbance before disturbance, to be aware of danger before danger, to be aware of destruction before destruction, to be aware of calamity before calamity. Strong action is training the body without being burdened by the body, exercising the mind without being used by the mind, working in the world without being affected by the world, carrying out tasks without being obstructed by tasks.

Sun Tzu in The Art of War


Every second you dwell on the past you steal from your future. Every minute you spend focusing on your problems you take away from finding your solutions. And thinking about all those things that you wish never happened to you is actually blocking all the things you want to happen from entering into your life. Given the timeless truth that holds that you become what you think about all day long, it makes no sense to worry about past events or mistakes unless you want to experience them for a second time. Instead, use the lessons you have learned from your past to rise to a whole new level of awareness and enlightenment.

Robin S. Sharma in Who Will Cry When You Die?


Articles Worth Reading


More Is More

Deborah Cohen | The New York Review of Books

The relentless pursuit of more is often associated with mid-twentieth-century Americans, whose disposable cups heralded the throwaway society and whose finned cars were said to express the ethos that bigger is better. How did we come to be such voracious, irrepressible consumers? And how has all of this consuming changed the world? Those are the questions at the heart of Frank Trentmann’s Empire of Things, a more-is-more sort of book, each of its nearly seven hundred pages of text jam-packed with telling facts and counterintuitive provocations.


This Emotional Intelligence Test Was So Accurate It Was Creepy

Rich Bellis | Fast Company

Experts believe that emotional intelligence is the job skill of the future. The concept of emotional intelligence (“EQ” or “EI” for short) has been around for over 20 years, but it’s still enjoying buzzy prominence in HR circles. The more technology reshapes (and in some quarters, automates) the workforce, the more valuable human-only skills seem to become. Perhaps the true measure of the predictive power of emotional intelligence itself is that a 15-minute online quiz is all it takes for a researcher to tell you how you eat your breakfast—and how you should consider eating it tomorrow.


The semi-satisfied life

David Bather Woods | Aeon

Renowned for his pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer was nonetheless a connoisseur of very distinctive kinds of happiness. Rather than trying to make the world into a happy home, Schopenhauer opted for an ethics that might save us from the world altogether. He endorsed asceticism, the practice of severe self-denial exemplified in the saints and mystics of many world religions, over Stoicism. Schopenhauer’s otherworldly ascetics are not happy. They have entirely given up the game of a semi-satisfied life. Instead, they accept, and come to symbolize, the universality and inevitability of suffering, in order to transcend it. In relation to the ascetic, Schopenhauer is more likely to use words such as composure and peace than happiness and pleasure.


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