If you've worked hard for it, it's a skill.
If it's something that other people have that you believe you can't possibly achieve, it's a talent.
Of course, they think the same thing about your skill, don't they?
Being jealous of talents that are actually skills is a great way to let yourself off the hook and make yourself miserable at the same time.
Some can only win when others lose.
Others seek to win by helping others succeed.
One of these approaches scales far better than the other.
Here's an interesting choice that most people leave unmade:
How comfortable are you engaging in projects where there's a likelihood that you'll lose by just a hair?
What makes a project worthwhile and interesting is that it might not work. All the this-is-sure-to-work projects are taken.
Given that you're taking a risk, what kind are you up for?
Are you seeking out areas where there's no competition, true longshots where few people see you fail?
Or are you okay with the daring near misses?
Joi Ito and Jeff Howe have a new book called Whiplash. Joi's the head of MIT's Media Lab and an extraordinary thinker. Jeff brings the ideas and the lessons of the Lab to life. This is a big think, well worth a deep dive.
The Knowledge, Steve Pressfield's new book, is put together like a Swiss watch. Every single word, every scene... it's a master class in what it means to get out of your own way and write a book that works. I am walking around the house, unable to put it down.
In the last week, I discovered that at least two of my smart friends hadn't read Godel, Escher, Bach. They have now. You should too.
As we head toward the end of the year, I think you'll find inspiration in the work of people who show up and do the work. Daily. For decades. Jacqueline Novogratz and her classic book, The Blue Sweater continue to change lives. As does Jim Ziolkowski's amazing true story. This is what happens when people step up, keep their promises and make things happen.
"What's it like around here?"
It's a fair question to ask about an office, a home, a town...
"Why do people act like that, talk like that, treat others that way?"
The only reason they do is because we let them. People can't violate community standards for long without being asked to leave the community. Either that, or the standards change.
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