Who said that?

Hearing voices in your head isn’t crazy. It’s just human.

I hope.

Various clever people have tried to give each of them names.

You’ve probably heard about the one called the “ego.”

There’s one that I call Eeyore.

There’s one that doesn’t speak. It only shouts.

There’s one that doesn’t speak and only acts. None of the others like that one.

There are probably a few more in there that I’m missing, friends and family and lovers and enemies and memories.

They make a babbling mess that rarely quiets.

All sorts of things will bubble up from the cacophony of consciousness; some of them almost certainly come from outside.

A lot of them surprise. Some of them worry.

When one gets particularly loud or suggests something particularly nasty, there’s a little trick to shut them up.

We can ask, “Who said that?”

That usually quietens the party for a moment; reminds them of who gets to choose what gets heard.

You — the listener.

Listen in

If you’re anything like me, you’ve made a tonne of silly decisions and mistakes.

Most of mine were fun at the time — at least to start.

Many went on a little too long and stopped being fun at all.

A few left a hook in me that I couldn’t get free: several bad habits; harmful ways of thinking about the world; a mountain of debt; a damaged body.

At one point, it didn’t seem like there was any hope of making up for all the bad humours I had acquired over the years. After all, why stop if it’s already too late?

May as well enjoy it while it lasts, however short that turned out to be.

But as the fanfare of youth dribbled into the humdrum of middle age, I began to hear something else: myself—my body, asking me to stop.

And every day, it got harder to ignore. Eventually, I had to listen.

One of the greatest powers we have is the intuition that comes from listening to our bodies; our hearts, heads, and knees (they can predict the weather).

What is yours nagging you about?

And are you listening?

The Blur

The Blur started long before COVID crept out of China and held us all hostage.

At first, everything was a blur. Childhood is barely distinguishable. High school was a drag, but even that’s a confusing blur now.

University seems like a whole different life now, and a very blurry one at that.

When we got locked in last April, it was no longer possible to hide from The Blur, although it had been creeping up on me for a while.

Looking back over the last 11,000-odd days of existence, it was clear that there was nothing that I could say I did with any real consistency.

Nothing worthwhile, at least.

I cried that night. Soon after, I began to do what I always knew I should have been doing: I started to write every day.

At some point, the days I’ve written will outnumber the days I’ve done anything else.

Then, looking back at that blur, I’ll know: I was a writer.

Try it

The first time they suggested it to me, I nearly threw up in my mouth.

Surely, people don’t do that? Are they crazy? Is it even safe?

But then my curiosity got the better of me.

Can’t knock it till you tried it, I always say.

So the very next morning, I set about my experiment.

It was easier than I expected.

The egg whites slipped out of their jumbo-sized carton with a satisfyingly gross glug.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 egg whites.

It only took a handful of seconds to blend in the hydrolyzed vegetable powder, and there before me was a pale mint-green milkshake, crowned with a forest of happy little bubbles.

I shit you not — it tasted like a milkshake.

Trying things we think we won’t like is a great way to discover something we love.

50:50

Which is better, breathing in, or breathing out?

Is that a weird question?

Every inhale and exhalation from now until we die is 50:50.

Another small part of the Universe’s perpetual balancing act, the constant to-ing and fro-ing that occurs at every level from a wave of light to the spaces between galaxies.

Success comes from failure and must eventually go back to it.

We can have good health and happiness because we must be sick and unhappy sometimes.

If we get too attached to one way or another, when the time comes for change — as it always does — we won’t enjoy it as much as we should.

If we do that with breathing, we’ll die.

Why would anything else be different?

Then what?

Most people approach change the way men approach sex: a sprint to the finish.

It’s only natural to want to get where we want to go as fast as we can.

Perhaps that unavoidable terminal that lurks in our future fosters this urge to finish as quickly as possible.

We must get there before we run out of time.

That is also why we often fall short in our challenges, diet plans, workout regimes, and New Year’s resolutions.

We are aiming for the finish line.

But the person who crosses the finish line is always different from the person who started the race.

When we get there, we can’t stop doing all those things that got us there and go back to being who we were before.

“In eight weeks, I’ll be sexy.”

“In two years, I’ll be rich.

“When I get there, I’ll be happy.”

And then, what?

Bad Plan

The best plan of action is rarely the most attractive.

Change rarely looks the way we think it will when we start looking for it.

It might even look exactly the opposite of what we want to do. Mostly, change just looks very different from what we expect.

When the plan we get doesn’t look how we want or expect it to, that’s probably a sign it will work — and bring the change we seek.

For best results, execute the plan you least want to.

Brain Bike

Steve Jobs had a thing about bikes.

He’s well known for choosing a velocipede as his mode of transport when exploring a city.

Even more famously (and somewhat ironically), he was noted for calling the personal computer a “bicycle for the mind.”

At the time, it was difficult enough to fit a computer into a garage, let alone your pocket.

But Jobs was talking about evolution and efficiency.

Humans are very average at converting food into movement until you put us on a bike. Then we can go further and faster on fewer calories than any other animal.

Now that we can fit the computing power of the planet into our pocket, we can achieve an incredible amount with the mere lift of a finger (or thumb).

We can move the world — without moving our ass out of bed.

Eat that dust, evolution.

Condo Creators

People have worked remotely for thousands of years.

Before the Industrial Revolution, women in cottages across the land wove wool into cloth and sold it to manufacturers who turned it into clothes.

Technology developed, and it was more profitable to have everyone weaving together, so the factory was born.

Two hundred years later and we are going back to our homesteads.

Technology has spawned a new breed of the industry: cottage creators. Or perhaps, more aptly, condo creators.

Individuals or small groups can now produce content as well (or better) than most major studios and publishing houses.

Watching 5-a-side pick-up games on YouTube is more fun than the big leagues in many ways. We can even save lives with memes.

Supporting upstart musicians, independent journalists, and Instagram artists creates an explosion of cultural diversity and creativity that makes the Renaissance look barbaric.

It’s a part of an unstoppable wave of economic adjustment that will leave society unrecognizable in fifty years or less.

As we automate more tasks, we will need more entertainment, more ideas, more stories and more games than ever before. Or things could get nasty.

Now is your chance.

Save the human.

Get making.

Pavement Prophet

The words “Jesus is coming” are scrawled across the grimy cardboard hung over his chest.

Passers-by squeeze themselves around his eager cries and shaking fists, intent on shutting this loud, dirty intrusion out of their day.

Nobody wants to listen because whether they realize it or not, deep down, we all already know that “the end is nigh,” at least on an individual level.

And whether we’re expecting to meet St. Paul on a cloud or slip into a blissful eternal nothingness, the reality is the same. That unignorable, unknowable finality is what drives us to do anything — or prevents us from doing anything.

The fear of it drives us to survive on a physiological level. When that’s covered, we devote our efforts to surviving beyond the grave, in whatever way we like. Most often, we survive through other people.

As my turn comes to squeeze past the pavement prophet, I get lucky. He spins and leaps away to berate those walking in the other direction. One young woman lets out a small yelp of surprise.

As I barrel away I glimpse the other piece of cardboard, slung over his shoulders with a knotted rag.

It reads, “Look busy.”

Under One Roof

The closer we are, the more obvious it is.

That might mean close like family close, or that could mean physically close like locked in a prison cell close.

Either way, the closer we are, the harder it is to ignore our impact on the people we live with.

When we’re all up here under the big sky, it’s easy to forget those invisible ties. The ripple we create is quickly absorbed in the ocean of humanity around us.

But under one roof, when that ocean becomes a puddle, the ripple we create is much more noticeable.

Start poorly

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.

It started as we all must: pretty poor. Just a cluster of farmer’s huts dotted across the hillside.

It’s not like anyone can just pick up a guitar and start playing it. Or read. Or walk.

Even simple things that we assume we can all do – like a star jump – don’t come naturally to the human body. We just forget how much effort we spent learning them. And often, how much help we had getting there.

There is nothing in this world worth doing that doesn’t take some practice. Nothing in this world worth having that won’t cost us some time in one way or another.

The best chance we can give ourselves is to start poorly and keep on plugging away until we fail better.

Or at least until we’re finished for the day.

Song for Change

We all know that the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.

But the next best time is now, and we need trees planted now more than ever.

Mass tree-planting is back-breaking work. And there are only so many trees you can plant on a balcony before you start getting complaints.

But what if it was as easy as listening to a song? Or perhaps even a 30-second ad?

Well, that is how easy it is because some clever bloke decided to make a 30-second track and use the money it earns from streaming to plant trees.

We should all be planting at least six trees a month to offset our carbon. So, add the song that plants trees to your playlists and play it for a few minutes every day. That’s all it takes.

You can even use this method to make a small amount of money for yourself. But better still, if you could make a “song that does something,” what would it do?

A song that cleans up litter? A song that saves the bees?

Now that anyone can write a song for change, what will yours be?

Cornering

Even if we’re paying attention, we don’t see every sharp turn coming.

Life is hurtling along at a grand old pace when a sharp corner appears over the horizon—a bend or a twist that we missed the sign for.

Or we saw it coming, but it was one of those cheeky ones that start smooth and get sharper so fast that before you know it, you’re veering across the lines with your ass pressed against the door, praying that the wheels stick.

Can’t slam on the brakes. Can’t stop turning. Just got to ease off the pedal a bit and hold on tight until things level out.

And they always do.

That’s Not Me

The most dangerous ideas we have are the ones we use to limit ourselves.

Interestingly, we base many of those on our ideas about other people.

It could be things like “boys like cars” or “girls like dolls” or “salespeople are extroverts” or “running is hard” or “they’re better than me.”

Our identity is as much defined by the things we think we aren’t as by what we think we are. To misquote Seth Godin, “people like me can’t do things like that.”

Fortunately, there are millions of people out there that are just itching to prove us wrong. People who are doing things we think we can’t do but who look suspiciously like us.

There are few things better than having a conversation with someone you admire and respect deeply and realizing that you’re not so different.

Because that’s when “that’s not me” turns into “that could be me.”

And another door opens.

In the pants

We all need a kick in the seat of the pants, at some point in life or another.

It could come from a teacher, a friend, or our boss — or a loving boot straight from our mother.

It might not feel good, and we might feel some shame; all those things should quickly pass.

But there’s one thing for sure that we’ll look back and say: that we deserved that kick in the ass.

Outta Your Way

Before we could write books or draw maps, we told stories to guide our children.

One of the oldest stories is about the Troll who lives under the bridge.

The story is about how whenever we try to cross to better pastures or make a change in our lives — when we attempt to bridge the gap between ourselves and our future self — we will bump into a Troll.

The Troll will psyche us out in whatever way they can: telling us we’re too small or weak or stupid and we’ll get eaten alive. Or that the grass isn’t greener. Or to try tomorrow when the Troll isn’t there (it’s a lie).

The Troll that blocks the path to our dreams is the same nasty, hairy ape that lives in us all: the one that’s scared of change and worries about food all the time.

The only way to get past the Troll — to reach our dreams — is to stamp our hooves on the ground, lower our head, and charge straight through that fucker.

Summer Friends

Nothing brings up tears like packing the car and saying goodbye to our friends from the summer.

Travelling far away back home, away from the sun and sand and mud and grass and adventure. Sad to close the chapter on the summer and the friends we made, even if we know we’ll be back next year.

It’s never the same when that year has passed. We’re never the same after a year of school and growing and new experiences. And neither are they.

Waving goodbye to summer friends always brings tears because we’re waving goodbye to part of ourselves too, a moment in time when we were and could be something else.

Often, it isn’t until many years later that we realize the last time we saw them was when we waved them goodbye out of the car window that day.

We never know who will arrive at the end of the journey. But we know they won’t be the same as when they left.

So wave hard and wave long; until they’re completely out of sight.

 

No going back

We all wonder what life would be like if we’d done it differently.

We might even wish we could go back to the way things were, so we can do it better or make a different decision; if only I knew what I know now.

If only I’d accepted that Bitcoin back in 2011.

If only we hadn’t walked down that road that night.

If only I hadn’t said that to her then.

But we did. And there’s no going back to change that.

There wasn’t any going back after WWII. Nobody could pretend the housing crash of 2008 hadn’t happened. And the world hasn’t been quite the same since September 11th. Or Trump, for that matter.

But for some reason, people think this time will be different.

Even if we all wanted to, there’s no going back to normal. And the only people who stand to gain by going backward are those selling rear-view mirrors.

It’s time to stop dragging our heels and help push forward.

We’re going that way anyway.

 

Rules is Rules

Usain Bolt isn’t always the fastest man in the world.

Not all of Stephen King’s books are good.

And even Novac Djokovic occasionally drops a few sets.

All lovers hate each other sometimes.

All parents make mistakes.

Up must come down.

Everything goes around.

Nothing is the same twice.

And everyone gets another turn.

That’s the rules!

 

Car Wreck

Progress looks like a car crash in the rearview mirror. 

We catch a glimpse of it and think, “Wow, that was dumb.” 

Or, “Damn, that looked pretty bad.”

Or, “I hope that wasn’t my fault.”

Tempting as it may be, it’s important not to spend too long looking back, or we’ll end up in another one.

Eyes on the road ahead. Glad that isn’t you anymore. 

And just a little embarrassed that it once was. 

Press that pedal to the metal!

 

Get over it

Things have taken a turn for the worse.

We made the wrong call.

Wasted our time.

The plan is ruined.

We listened to bad advice.

Made unwise investments.

Trusted the wrong people.

They never loved us.

The world changed overnight.

Nobody saw it coming.

Everything is fucked.

Get over it.

That’s Life.

 

Never the same

 One of the scariest realities of life is also one of the most comforting.

Many people worry and fret about things changing; some even spend their lives fighting to keep things the way they once were.

But thankfully, nothing ever stays the same. Quantum physicists won’t even say something exists anymore, in case it doesn’t by the time they check again. They will only make predictions about the probability of something existing at a certain point in time.

As Mr. Feynmann pointed out, all the atoms in the universe are in flux. Even if we know where something was, we don’t necessarily know it will still be there when we look again.

And almost always, it’s moved.

Even the bench we sat on today is different from the one we sat on yesterday if we look very closely.

It keeps things interesting. 

 

Out the window

Have you ever seen a bridezilla? Or the TV show ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen?’

These people implode into a raging boil of disappointment when they should be having a great time because they don’t know how to let go of a good plan, amongst other things.

A good plan is essential, but so is knowing when to abandon one.

ESPECIALLY if you want a good party.

In R.L. Wing’s translation of Sun Tzu, The Art of Strategy, we read, “Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow.”

There’s no point obsessing about a plan because most plans go out the window as soon as they’re finished. As James Clear says, “Getting started changes everything.”

We need to decide where we want to go, but we don’t need to know precisely how to get there.

The important part is to get going and be ready to take a detour when we inevitably have to. Often, it turns out that’s the path we were supposed to be on all along.

 

 

School run

It was a strange morning in Shanghai.

Despite its age, the local school had very graciously walked down the street to make room for a new skyscraper complex.

The 7,600-ton building, severed from its roots and mounted on hundreds of mechanical legs, inched 200 ft down the road; without dropping so much as a windowpane.

We don’t always have to destroy the old to make way for the new.

It’s cheaper — and way cooler — to carefully nudge it out the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s too small?

One big issue we must all battle is that we start so small.

The problem isn’t quite that we’re small.

The problem is that we expect the world to get smaller as we grow, to start to make more sense and show where it will bend to our will.

But unfortunately, as our limbs expand, so do our horizons.

The world turns out to be an even bigger and busier and scarier place than we thought. And we feel smaller and less important than ever.

Which is a good place to start.

We are small and unimportant, little more than a mote of sand in the sea or a mosquito in the marshes. 

But put that dust mote into an oyster or that mosquito in a tent and you’ll quickly find out that nothing is ‘too small’ or ‘too big’ to make a difference.

Making a difference is about context and action.

Nothing else matters — least of all size.

Fat people try harder

Exercising will teach you a lot about life and even more about yourself as a person.

When a close friend first dragged my lazy ass to the gym, I was incredibly unfit and doughy and unconfident. And to top it all, I was embarrassed about all those things.

I was scared that people would point at me and laugh as I chafed myself into a puddle, plodding along on the treadmill at a snail’s pace. Or worse — they would pity me lifting these tiny little weights.

The way that I did them.

I would watch that obese guy walking on the treadmill and think, “Give up fatso — you’re not even trying.”

But he was trying a lot harder than me. And deep down, I knew it. 

The problem was me — it was how I looked at people. They were making an effort to improve themselves and I was standing there being a snide little prick because of my insecurities.

I wasn’t mocking them. I was mocking me.

Exercise taught me that the people doing the most criticism are almost always the people who are doing the least to change.

Maybe it’s because they haven’t found their light, their way to improve the world and themselves, and they deeply wish they had. Or maybe because it hurts to watch someone winning when you’re losing or lost and don’t know how to turn it around.

Exercise taught me that it’s a lot easier to mock someone else for trying than making an effort yourself.

Exercise taught me that change is hard, but it’s almost impossible when you hate yourself and believe the world is against you. 

And exercise taught me that I’d rather be the fat fucker plodding away with everyone laughing than the skinny fucker sitting around doing nothing but criticizing.

Now whenever I catch the eye of an obese person trying to turn their life around, trudging along on a treadmill, scared and self-consciously sweating buckets, I give them a nod and a smile so they know I’m rooting for them.

Because now I know how hard it is to climb that mountain.

And how brave they are for trying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change the world

Oh, didn’t we all dream to change the world.

I wanted to be king of the galaxy. You may laugh, but there’s still time.

One of the most frustrating things about becoming an adult was realizing how little power I had over the world.

I didn’t like the world the way it was. And the world didn’t give a fuck about what I wanted, which only made it worse.

It took me another decade or so to realize that Life is more subtle than that.

Anyone can change the world.

We can change the world one little bubble at a time.

Sometimes that bubble is small and sometimes it gets really big.

But often we’re so busy looking at other people that we forget how many people are looking at us — looking up to us — for guidance in this mad world.

At least three people are copying you because they think you’re cool. Really.

We change the world one brick at a time.

One little action. One little word. One little smile.

It doesn’t just add up — it compounds.

Keep at it.

 

 

Is this working for you?

Is this working for you?

If it is, keep doing it.

If not, maybe it’s time to change it up.

It’s either change it up or put up and shut up, right?

And nobody should have to do that.

Least of all you.

Hard decisions

When someone is letting you down they’ll often say something like, “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”

It sounds nice. And it’s nice that they bother to say it. But it doesn’t do much to soften the blow and does nothing to change the fact they’re rejecting you.

What they’re really saying is, “I know this is going to hurt you, which is probably going to hurt me too but I’m doing it anyway.”

And when you put it like that, the first way does sound a lot nicer.

They often mean that it was an easy decision not to…

The easier decision to stay. The easier decision not to say no. The easier decision to stay in their comfort zone.

The shit thing about life is that the hardest decision is usually the right one.

Easy road, hard life. Hard road, easy life.

As they say.

Just a feather

We like to think we’re in control of things — especially when they’re going well.

But as ol’ Bill wrote, “We are but a feather for each wind that blows.

When a chinook of change rips across the prairie of Life, plucking us from our steady path to dance with Fortuna and Discordia for a time, there isn’t much we can do about it.

By the time we settle back down to ground, Life has changed.

Often, we have changed too.

Many people busy themselves trying to stay rooted to the ground — to steel their future against fickle flaws of fate.

Have you ever watched a swallow bursting its little heart flapping against a gale? 

It never lasts long.

When those winds wail through, there isn’t much else we can do but let go, spread our arms, and hope that where we come to rest the sun is shining.

Not finished yet

It’s well-known that humans are terrible at remembering things.

We peer through the blurry lens of time, forgetting the boring or nasty or annoying memories and embellishing the tasty morsels.

It makes us awful at predicting the future too.

We ignore all of the massive, disruptive change we’ve lived through and decide that the future will be pretty much the same as it is now. Nothing will change. We are at the end of the line—the end of history.

But we’re not.

We’re not even close.

Imagine a 20-year-old suggesting that they’d done all the changing they’d ever do and life would be plain sailing for the next decade.

Laughable.

Yet, that’s what we do to ourselves every day.

I aim to change my life every 6 months and the last year has still seen far more change than I ever expected. And I’m betting Life will change again by the end of this year for all of us. 

Don’t beat yourself up by imagining the future is the past.

Not finished yet?

More like just getting started

Reinventing the shoe

I had something else scheduled for today but there’s news I have to tell you and it’s so big I’m breaking my own rules.

Nike reinvented the shoe (again) on Tuesday by releasing a pair of fully ‘hands-free’ sneakers.

And. They. Are. Stunning.

Not only are they sci-fi sexy, but they’re also a monumental feat of functional, behavioural design.

There is not supposed to be pics in this but would you just look at them:

nike fly go ease best trainers in the world

This formidable team at Nike set out to make a shoe that made life easier for members of their para-athletics team.

They ended up with something so simple, so obvious, and so beautiful that you just know it’s going to be around forever.

That’s why Nike is awesome. They don’t just make cool gear. They reinvent how we use clothes — and not in that bullshit catwalk way.

I’ve personally ruined every pair of shoes I’ve ever had by stamping down the back to take them off.

Just take my money, Nike.

I’ll never buy another pair of shoes again.

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 morning — can make us healthier. 

That one small action opens the door to dozens of other small but positive actions over the day. And over time, these all add up and move us closer to where we want to be, and who we want to be. 

We can’t talk ourselves into change, but if we act as if it’s already happened, our minds will quickly catch up.

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 from the ground, until eventually, he achieved something remarkable.

Set the bar too high and we’re bound to bump into it.

But if we focus on raising the bar just a tiny bit higher at every attempt, we can go higher than we ever thought possible.

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 relationship comes to an end.

We cause ourselves a great deal of pain by ignoring this simple fact.

Change isn’t just something that happens; it is Life itself.

Everything in existence is just matter changing from one form to another at different speeds. We can influence it, and often we can direct it in our favour, but we can never prevent it.

This eventuality is something to be grateful for when we’re ill, depressed, stressed, waiting on hold, and even if a narcissistic, racist orange with tiny hands runs your country.

Nothing lasts forever.

And I find that oddly comforting.

There’s no such thing as ready

Hugh Laurie is an interesting chap with an expressive face and an impressive career.

If you’ve been struggling to get started on your goals this year, he said something that might help you out:

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that, actually, no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now, and you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll never be ready at all. It’s called “chasing a dream” because it’s a journey into the unknowable. 

We don’t know how we’ll realize the dream or what will get in our way. No matter well we prepare our plans, life changes them the moment we step foot on a new path.

There’s no such thing as ready.

That’s why the only proper answer to “Are you ready?” is: “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

Ringing in your ears

Words are incredibly powerful.

These little sounds and symbols are programming for humans. Without them, our world falls apart.

Some words are so powerful they stick in our brains — ringing in our ears — and changing us forever. It becomes true.

The words we use to talk about ourselves are the most powerful because we listen to them all the time; they work a rut in our brain that’s hard to escape.

We never know when something we say will strike a chord and change behaviour — including our own.

That’s why we have to be so careful with what we think and say. And if we want to do something, we write it down.

Listen to the words ringing in your ears and ask if they’re in harmony with your goals.

If not, start to change their tune.

How to win the stock market

The people that make the most money in the stock market aren’t day traders. Ever.

They’re the patient ones. The people who wait it out.

They’re not trying to make a million today, or even tomorrow, because they know that if they turn up and put in a little extra every day, they’ll be head and shoulders about the rest in a decade or two.

They don’t worry when the stock market goes down. Or too pumped when it leaps up.

They just turn up every day and look for little ways to improve.

Life is a bit like the stock market — it’s all over the place.

Some days are going to feel like you’re going backwards.

You’re not.

And guess what?

Just like the stock market, a little investment in yourself on those down days is worth a lot more when your stock goes back up.

That’s just how it works.

Kerching!

Today is day one

Some ‘life advice’ is just terrible.

“Live each day like it’s your last…” is one example.

It sounds good. It has that existential quality, and it nods to our great motivator: death.

But beyond that, it’s useless.

First, most people wouldn’t spend their final dozen hours doing anything productive at all. And even if they did, it’s doubtful that they’d be able to create anything worthwhile in a day.

Just as you won’t change your life in a day.

So, as attractive as it may be cast aside our responsibility for tomorrow and focus on what we want right now, this won’t get us very far.

The chances are, we’re not going to die today.

Why not live each day like it’s our first, instead?

Lay each day like a bricklayer places the first brick of the world’s tallest building: carefully, in the knowledge that he has many more bricks to place on top. Each brick must be laid well, or the building will fall.

Every day you have the opportunity to lay the foundation for something monumental.

And if you do that, when you look back, you’ll see that what you’ve built is great.

Better late than never

About 2,047 years ago, a Roman historian wrote the eternal words, “potius seo quam numquam.

Or in our words, “rather late than never.

But nobody told my high school teacher, Ms. Kattan, that.

She made it so awful to be late that I would rather skip school than face her wrath. I often chose ‘never.’

As children, life throws all sorts of deadlines at us: you’re an adult at 18, have kids by 35, retire at 65, die at 85…

But, time doesn’t really exist.

It’s just an agreement that we make with ourselves so that we can meet people for lunch or catch the train.

The danger is when we start to believe that it’s real.

We miss our goals or deadlines, and we start to believe those dreadful words: “It’s too late.”

It’s never too late.

If it was too late, you couldn’t switch from journalism to midwifery at 32.

And you couldn’t give up engineering and move to Florence to design shoes at 55.

And you definitely couldn’t be 74 years old and follow your dream of being a stand-up comedian — like Julie Kertesz did.

But you can do any of those things.

These stories prove that late is better than never.

So, screw you, Ms. Kattan.

I might be late, but at least I turned up.