Updates from August, 2014

  • On Confidence and Growth

    10:31 pm on August 10, 2014 | 2 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: growth, , , mindset

    True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to wel­come change and new ideas regard­less of their source.” Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expen­sive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acqui­si­tions. It is reflected in your mind­set: your readi­ness to grow.”

    What are the con­se­quences of think­ing that your intel­li­gence or per­son­al­ity is some­thing you can develop, as opposed to some­thing that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?”

    Mind­set: The New Psy­chol­ogy of Suc­cess, Carol Dweck


  • How are We Standing with the Poor?

    3:05 pm on February 18, 2013 | 3 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,

    The more some­one iden­ti­fies with a pro­fes­sion or an “accom­plish­ment” such as an award, the less human he will be (in the clas­si­cal sense). In virtue ethics, the only “excel­lence” worth attain­ing is that of “being human”, with all what it entails (honor, courage, ser­vice, sat­is­fac­tion of pub­lic & pri­vate duties, will­ing­ness to face death, etc.); “achieve­ments” are reduc­tions and alien­ations for lower forms of life.

    IN ANCIENT ROME this was a priv­i­lege reserved for the patri­cian class. They were able to engage in pro­fes­sional activ­i­ties with­out directly iden­ti­fy­ing with them: to write books, lead armies, farm land, or trans­act with­out being a writer, gen­eral, farmer, or mer­chant, but “a man (*vir* rather than *homo*) who” writes, com­mands, farms or trans­acts, as a side activity.

    TODAY, as human­ity got much, much richer, one would have thought that every­one would have access to the priv­i­lege. Instead, I only find it in min­i­mum wage earn­ers who just “make a liv­ing” and feel forced to sep­a­rate their iden­tity from their pro­fes­sion. The higher up in the social lad­der, the more peo­ple derive their iden­tity from their pro­fes­sion and “achieve­ments”. — Nas­sim Taleb

    When I was with Acu­men Fund, we would ask our­selves: How are we stand­ing with the poor? And quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if I even really knew what that meant. For the longest time, I thought it meant putting myself into another person’s per­spec­tive, try­ing to see the world through their eyes and “speak up” for those who didn’t have a voice. And then I came across this post­ing by Nas­sim Taleb, who sep­a­rates out iden­tity and accom­plish­ment and really got me reeval­u­at­ing my def­i­n­i­tion. It also made me real­ize how hard it was, as the higher up the social lad­der you are, the harder it is to dis­tin­guish between iden­tity and accom­plish­ment, the harder it is to relate.

    Stand­ing with the poor is about look­ing beyond pro­fes­sion. Beyond awards and accom­plish­ments. Beyond first impres­sions. Stand­ing with the poor is a reminder to one­self to sep­a­rate the way you look at your­self and oth­ers around you; between their accom­plish­ments and iden­tity. Stand­ing with the poor is about under­stand­ing self-worth, regard­less of what situation/career/social sta­tus you are in.

    And at the end of the day, it all comes back to valu­ing human dignity.

  • Everyday I'm Hustling

    11:56 am on August 4, 2012 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply

    If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”

    I want to know what’s your biggest prob­lem and how can I solve it?”

    - Sheryl Sand­berg, 2012 Com­mence­ment Speech at Har­vard Busi­ness School

  • On What is Possible and Impossible

    4:16 pm on June 21, 2012 | 1 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,

    When you start out on a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. Peo­ple who know what they are doing, know the rules and they know what is pos­si­ble and what is impos­si­ble. You do not, and you should not. The rules on what is pos­si­ble and impos­si­ble in the arts are made by poe­ple who have not tested the bounds of the pos­si­ble by going beyond them. And you can. If you don’t know it’s impos­si­ble, its eas­ier to do. And because no nobody has done it before, they haven’t made up rules to stop any­one doing that par­tic­u­lar thing again.”

    - Neil Gaiman, 2012 Com­mence­ment Speech at the Uni­ver­sity of the Arts

    Neil Gaiman Addresses the Uni­ver­sity of the Arts Class of 2012 from The Uni­ver­sity of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

  • Aspirational Storytelling

    4:11 pm on May 21, 2012 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,


    Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion, New York. Photo by: Cuba Gallery

    When you first start writ­ing sto­ries in the first per­son, if the sto­ries are made so real that peo­ple believe them, the peo­ple read­ing them nearly always think the sto­ries really hap­pened to you. That is nat­ural because while you were mak­ing them up you had to make them hap­pen to the per­son who was telling them. If you do this suc­cess­fully enough, you make the per­son who is read­ing them believe that the things hap­pened to him too. If you can do this you are begin­ning to get what you are try­ing for, which is to make some­thing that will become a part of the reader’s expe­ri­ence and a part of his mem­ory. There must be things that he did not notice when he read the story or the novel which, with­out his know­ing it, enter into his mem­ory and expe­ri­ence so that they are a part of his life. This is not easy to do.”

    - Ernest Hem­ming­way, unpub­lished man­u­script from the Kennedy Library col­lec­tion, Hem­ming­way on Writ­ing (Ed Larry Phillips)

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