Happy Pi Day

It’s March 14, or 3/14, a.k.a. Pi Day, which of course has nothing to do with bake goods, unless you read 3.14 backwards and use your imagination to see “PI.E” — which begets a cosmic “Aha” moment.

Anyway, it’s also Einstein’s birthday, which officially makes it a cosmic conspiracy.

Steve Jobs’s Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005

Steve Jobs’s Commencement address at Stanford University on June 12, 2005 is one of my favorite speeches of all time, up there with David Foster Wallace’s. Jobs, of course, is a larger-than-life figure who transcended the tech industry and is probably one of the most influential human beings who have ever lived. I’m typing this on the computer (iMac) that he pioneered and use the devices (iPhone and iPad) that he and Apple created every day. He has literally changed how we live.

The speech he gave to Stanford’s 2005 graduating class had numerous great lines. Here are some of the best ones:

  • “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
  • “‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
  • “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
  • “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”
  • “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Read all of Jobs’s speech here and watch the video, too.

If you see something, say something

“Then they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me –
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

— Martin Niemöller (1892 – 1984)

The above quote, of course, applies to people with labels. It could also be applied to other things, such as health care, the environment, education, and the First Amendment.

Dreams of the Future

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” – Thomas Jefferson

While the past is what brought us to the present, we are not beholden to it. The past does not dictate what we could become and what is possible. Indeed, the dreams offered by the future are worth striving for. The possibilities of what’s ahead are worth reaching for. What would you rather have? Accepting the definitions of the past? Or, the blank page of the future on which we could write on right now in the present?

Time is the world’s most valuable resource

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” – Herbert A. Simon

Coming from Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon, a true polymath in an age of increasing specialization, this quote is a reminder for myself to fiercely guard my attention. There is endless stimuli coming at us incessantly. There is no possible way to absorb it all. There is simply not enough time, which is the world’s most valuable resource. However, the great thing about having little time is that you devote what do you have to the most important things in your life.

The power of books

The power of books helped President Obama survive his presidency. Read more! Support your local bookstores. Own books that inspire, give you joy, entertain, allow for escape, motivate, delight and tickle you!

And if you have ideas, write them down. You never know how or when you could make someone smile.

Choosing a partner is actually choosing yourself

If our choice of partner is a reflection of ourself, then we should endeavor to be the best version of us in order to be worthy of our partner.

“A man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions…. He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer–because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Flash Friday

What I’m reading: Stories of You and Others by Ted Chiang. Arrival, based on one of the short stories in this collection, is one of my favorite movies of last year. It just resonated with me. I told everyone I know about this film and encouraged everybody to see it. The other short stories in the book are equally compelling. The writing is top-notch. The best sci-fi writings reveal a something insightful about human nature. Chiang has tapped into that window.

What I’m watching: Sherlock is back. Benedict Cumberbatch is a fine actor, but his introduction to me and likely to most people was as Sherlock Holmes. The series has lost a bit of the magic from the beginning. Still, it is entertaining and better than most of what’s currently on TV.

Where I’m going: Westlake Village. Weekend getaways are great for getting out of the city. Only a stone’s throw from home, Westlake is just outside of LA enough to qualify for a quick getaway to decompress, recalibrate and get back to the center. More out-of-town trips will be in the cards this year. No excuses.

What I’m trying out: Not working everyday, which leads to…

What I’m pondering: “Fit your work around your lifestyle, not your lifestyle around work.” I saw this graphic on Twitter. It wasn’t attributed to anyone (I might even be re-quoting it wrong). It’s a good reminder to assess our priorities and decide for ourselves what’s important, not what’s important to someone else. You are solely responsible for your own happiness. Don’t delegate that job to another person.