One of the artistic talents I most admire is one's ability to seemingly pull the nebulous ideas out of my head and articulate them as words on a page. This year, I found several writers who possessed such a skill, and their articles stuck with me long after I finished reading them. I hope you enjoy these thought-provoking reads as much as I did.
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clay Christensen: "Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent ultimately shape your life’s strategy." This article has timeless life advice that hasn't stopped echoing in my conscience since I first read it. It also inspired me to write this article on integrity.
There's no speed limit by Derek Sivers: The world conforms to the "average" person, but you don't have to follow the norm because you don't have to be an average person. Most limits are arbitrary and can be circumvented once you realize that. I especially resonated with Derek's story of graduating college early as I think college is unnecessarily drawn out for most people.
Why You're Christian by David Perell: Especially in the West (and especially in the U.S.), Christianity permeates society and our personal values in more ways than we'd like to admit. Perell offers a very insightful, thought-provoking argument regardless of your religious beliefs.
The Optimal Amount of Hassle by Morgan Housel: A refusal to put up with at least some BS to get what you want out of life will make you miserable and/or ineffective. Of course, boundaries, standards, and self respect are necessary, but so are flexibility, adaptability, and a certain degree of agreeableness if you actually want to get anything done in the real world. "Good advice for a lot of things is just, 'Identify the price and be willing to pay it.' The price, for so many things, is putting up with an optimal amount of hassle."
We are not astronomers by Seth Godin: We can observe stars from Earth, but we can't influence them. The media, society, or "the powers that be" try to convince us that the issues of the world are like stars--something we can look at but not change. That's false. We can contribute, influence, and make a difference because we're not astronomers and problems aren't stars. Our efforts, attitudes, and energies matter.
Intelligence killed genius by Alexy Guzey: More people aren't working on the world's toughest problems in part because we've resigned to assign that task to the "geniuses" of the world (implicitly not us). But we've mistaken genius with intelligence. There will always be someone more intelligent on an IQ test, but that doesn't make them more qualified to solve big problems. "Genius is being extremely good at a couple of things that really matter," not scoring perfectly on a math test. We're all capable of becoming geniuses at something, and the world needs us to contribute when we do.
Master Boring Fundamentals 02 by James Stuber: Progress in any domain doesn't come from the most complex, optimized, perfectly-tailored plan. It comes from putting in the work consistently over time. That's the whole secret to success in health, business, relationships, and life.