Learn to say “No” and learn to make choices

Every time you say “YES” to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up, burned up, a smoke signal to the future saying, “I did it again.”

The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. They will smoke every drug lit by your fire. They will try to ignite their own fires. They will try to light up their own dark caves. The universe will bend to you.

How to Avoid Burnout,” by James Altucher

Not long ago, the psychologists Timothy Judge and Charlice Hurst conducted a fascinating study (5-page PDF). Partnering with the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth they examined the progress of more than 12,000 people for more than two decades. They were interested in all sorts of advantages and disadvantages that might impact whether a person winds up digging ditches or founding the next Apple Computer. Judge and Hurst looked at things like the occupation of the teenagers’ parents. Did they grow up in a blue collar home or a white collar home? Were the teens’ parents doctors and lawyers, or dropouts and n’er-do-wells? The researchers were also interested in finding out what kind of grades the teens earned in high school, and what kind of scores they received on their SATs.

Then Judge and Hurst compared all of these things to the annual income the teenagers were earning by their late thirties and early forties. In general, the results turned out how you might expect. The kids with the wealthy, well-educated parents who graduated near the top of their high school class tended to make more money as adults than the blue collar kids who figured out early on that formal school wasn’t really their bag.

But Judge and Hurst also looked at something else. This is where things get interesting. A unique subset of people in the study did not follow this pattern. By the time they reached their middle years, some sons and daughters of roofers and plumbers whose grades (ahem) made the top half of the class possible, still ended up making 30-60 percent more money each year than many of their more privileged peers. What this select breed of underdogs had in common was nothing but a unique set of personal beliefs (stemming from emotional stability, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, and self-esteem) about their ability to shape the future. Those beliefs translate into the ability to choose one course of action (entrepreneurship, less prestigious career path, etc.) while quitting others.

Why Quitters Win,” by Nick Tasler

Chris talked to lots of people about this, but the clincher for him was the advice he got from Ron Morris. Ron is a highly successful serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is an entrepreneurial talk radio network. Having sold his business for a tidy pile of cash, Ron was constantly receiving pitches from entrepreneurs looking for start-up investments. Many of those came from kids who had just graduated from prestigious universities. He told Chris that if he had a choice between betting on a 23-year old who had just graduated from a top school, or betting on a 23-year old who had worked for a small business, all other things being equal, he would choose the latter. Better still if the 23-year old had founded a small business—even if the business failed.

How The Bowyer Family Played The College Tuition Bubble,” by Jerry Bowyer


Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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