Thoughts on Life

You can approach life in one of two ways. You can focus on surviving, or you can focus on thriving. There’s a time and place for both approaches. Like most things in life, neither is inherently good or bad. These approaches are merely tools — to be applied in the appropriate situation. More than approaches [...]

When my oldest daughter was four years old, she would constantly blurt out all her problems. “I am hungry.” “I want my doll.” “I am cold.” She got very good at talking about the problems. She kept expecting me and her mother to solve all her problems for her. I finally got tired of this [...]

I was in Chicago recently, hosting a dinner meeting for members of my Inner Circle mentorship program. During dinner, someone asked me a profound question: “Victor, do you consider yourself successful?” For most questions, I can answer off the top of my head with barely a thought. For this question, I had to think about [...]

Here’s a simple ritual to help improve your EQ skills — especially if you’re managing or collaborating with other people. When you make a mistake, do two things: 1) Acknowledge and take responsibility for the mistake; 2) Do what you can to rectify the situation. It’s impossible to be perfect 100% of the time. When [...]

In my 20s, my mental orientation was on the here and now. I counted time in months and years. In my 40s, my mental orientation has taken on a much wider timescale. I spend as much time thinking about the past and future as I do the present. In many respects, they are one and [...]

In about a year, my oldest daughter will begin to learn how to drive. As part of her learning process, I’ve been teaching her the various driver controls in the car, the rules of the road, and driving decision-making principles. One conversation, in particular, stood out in my mind. It was a conversation where I [...]

There are three ways to argue with someone: Tell them why they are wrong Tell them why they are wrong, and why you are right Share a different perspective The first approach involves telling the other person all the ways their thinking is wrong, stupid, and clearly flawed. If you are in a debate competition, [...]

Over the last few years, I’ve been taking a number of cooking classes and have discovered a few big insights. Here’s the main one. The single biggest secret to better cooking is… Better Ingredients That’s it. On the one hand, it seems obvious. On the other hand, it can’t be that simple, can it? As [...]

People with low self-esteem have an impaired ability to validate themselves. I know. I used to be one of them. When I was successful in my endeavors, I felt fine. When I was struggling or failing, I felt like a defective human being. (It’s healthy and normal to feel disappointed by setbacks in life; feeling [...]

I find it useful to learn from other disciplines. If you want to stand out in your field, borrow ideas that are commonplace in other industries, professions, and domains, but unusual in your field. I’m not the only person who has come to this conclusion. Warren Buffet’s business partner, Charlie Munger, strongly advocates multi-disciplinary learning. [...]

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