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Daily Mote Notes

Talent is overrated

Talents are pretty much useless. As Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” There’s an ancient story about talents that goes like this: Once upon a mountain, an old lord went travelling, leaving his favourite servants with some silver coins (called Talents). When he returns, the servants have all done […]

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Daily Mote Notes

The girl with one eye

Once upon a beach, a girl with one eye said something about pain that still rings in my ears today. She’d been flung off a speeding motorcycle and had faceplanted a tree stump. It was a miracle she’d survived. The impact took out half her skull, and I could still feel the steel plates in […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Everyone starts out crap

Failure is frustrating, so it’s important to remember that we all start out crap. Whenever we try something new, our first attempt is always terrible. And we usually stay pretty terrible for many more attempts after that. It’s normal to be shit at stuff. As James Clear reminds us: “Your favourite athlete’s first workout was […]

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Daily Mote Notes

It’s just a thought

It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay in them.  Thoughts are just random brain cells talking to each other. There’s rarely meaning there; it’s just a biochemical process that happens automatically to stop us from getting bored. And we get to choose what we think […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Wikipedia was tiny

Today, Wikipedia has over 6,229,184 million English pages. Tech companies and governments use it to source news, fact-check, and fight misinformation — despite despairing teachers everywhere. There’s even a copy of Wikipedia on the moon. But in its first year, Wikipedia only published around 20 pages. The gamechanger for them — letting other people contribute […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Mind follows body

People think that to change your behaviour or reach your dreams, you have to change your mind. But that’s backwards. Mindset plays an important part, but the truth is, when we change our actions first, our minds will follow.  That’s why even a tiny behavioural change — like drinking a glass of water in the […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Doing the bare minimum

Doing the bare minimum is often a negative thing. But some days, it’s the best we can do. On those days when all we want to do is crawl back into bed, turning up is often enough to make progress. Putting in the minimal effort every day isn’t how to get what we want from […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Raising the bar slowly

The current high-jump record is nearly two and a half meters (8.13ft) — a superhuman leap.  But when Javier Sotomayor took his first jump, he set the bar much lower. Each round, he raised the bar a little, sometimes as little as a quarter of an inch. Jump by jump, he pushed his body slightly further […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Even robots make mistakes

It’s impossible to ignore the rise of robots. They’ve gone from ‘awkward factory joke’ to ‘overlords-in-training’ in a handful of years. And it turns out the breakthrough was teaching them how to make mistakes. Our brains learn through trial and error. For many years, when a robot produced an error it would simply stop, shake, […]

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Daily Mote Notes

Everything is change

It’s human nature to look for meaning in the world; to attach labels and think up laws to make sense of the chaos. But there is only one True Constant in the Universe: everything changes. All empires eventually falter. Our things break and need replacing. Fashions cycle, meanings shift, and one way or another, every […]