Wisdom in two words

Care for body & mind

  1. Eat smart.
  2. Eat vegetables.
  3. Eat superfoods.
  4. Weigh daily.
  5. Move more.
  6. Meditate daily.
  7. Do mini-meditations.
  8. Sleep well.
  9. Walk tall.
  10. Check posture.
  11. Sun myself.
  12. Look attractive.

Achieve stuff

  1. Do stuff.
  2. Work hard.
  3. Implement decisions.
  4. Follow through.
  5. Show grit.
  6. Push through.
  7. Dig deep.
  8. Start today.
  9. Keep going.
  10. Finish stuff.
  11. Try again.
  12. Try it.
  13. Stress-test ideas.
  14. Pursue BHAGs.
  15. Create prototypes.
  16. Prototype early.
  17. Manifest concepts.
  18. Grab opportunities.
  19. Show up.

Help achievement happen

  1. Collaborate well.
  2. Conquer procrastination.
  3. Not yet.
  4. Do pomodoros.
  5. Study mistakes.
  6. Get organized.
  7. Set goals.
  8. Set deadlines.
  9. Set tripwires.
  10. Apply knowledge.
  11. Get good.
  12. Expect set-backs.
  13. Schedule priorities.
  14. Check progress.
  15. Failing’s OK
  16. Aim high.
  17. Exploit strengths.
  18. Remove obstacles.
  19. Be agile.
  20. Adapt quickly.
  21. Satisficing’s good.


Use brain better

  1. Love learning.
  2. Memorise essentials.
  3. Test recall.
  4. Chunk stuff.
  5. Practice deliberately.
  6. Stretch myself.
  7. Use checklists.
  8. What’s working?
  9. Pay attention!
  10. Focus well.
  11. Eliminate distractions.
  12. Conserve willpower.
  13. Create routines.
  14. Create aide-memoires
  15. Ooch in
  16. Wake up!
  17. Read selectively.
  18. Read lots.
  19. Stay curious
  20. Cultivate curiosity
  21. Create stuff.
  22. Incubate ideas.
  23. Copy brilliance.
  24. Channel heroes.
  25. Future better.
  26. Dampen biases.
  27. Dispassionately observe.
  28. Sample life.
  29. Be hyper-realistic.
  30. Recruit subconscious.

Be emotionally mature

  1. Calm down.
  2. Be flexible.
  3. Be authentic.
  4. Be conscientious.
  5. Like myself.
  6. Dream big.
  7. Self-soothe.
  8. Eliminate badness.
  9. Value criticism.
  10. Get organized.
  11. Spot defensiveness.
  12. Pursue excellence.
  13. Be self-aware.
  14. Respect myself.
  15. Respect others.
  16. Rebound stronger.
  17. Stay optimistic.
  18. Boldly go.
  19. Be exuberant.
  20. Control choking.
  21. Schedule play.
  22. Face problems.
  23. End well.
  24. Conquer fear.
  25. Conquer self-consciousness.
  26. Create SOPs.
  27. Smile first.
  28. Smile big.
  29. Have fun.
  30. Live whole-heartedly.
  31. Know thyself.
  32. Practice gratitude
  33. Be grateful
  34. Conquer compulsions.
  35. Master emotions.
  36. Practice equanimity.
  37. Forgive readily.
  38. Set deadlines.
  39. Set tripwires.
  40. Back myself.
  41. Respect myself.
  42. Safeguard reputation.
  43. Build self-trust.
  44. Control urges.
  45. Don’t complain.
  46. Value disagreement.
  47. Move on.
  48. Fix fixables.
  49. Not yet.
  50. Next time.
  51. Grow.
  52. Challenge myself.
  53. Learn constantly.
  54. Be growth-minded.
  55. Practice growth-mindset.
  56. Be open-minded.
  57. Grow up.
  58. Man up.
  59. Tolerate discomfort.
  60. Eliminate self-pity.
  61. Eliminate negatives.
  62. Re-frame positively.
  63. Control anger.
  64. Control egotism.
  65. Embrace failure.
  66. Fail often.
  67. Embrace change.
  68. Celebrate progress.
  69. Be proactive.
  70. embrace criticism.
  71. Savor happiness.
  72. Spot beauty.
  73. Avoid croakers.
  74. Avoid arseholes.
  75. Avoid character-disordereds.
  76. Buttress weaknesses.
  77. Have faith.
  78. Forged steel.
  79. Steel myself.
  80. Free myself.
  81. Shed delusions.
  82. Seek confirmation.
  83. Independence first.
  84. Be self-reliant.
  85. Multi-facet myself.
  86. Keep reaching.
  87. Embrace progress.
  88. Track progress.
  89. Seek novelty.
  90. Pre-empt disasters.
  91. Bounce back.
  92. Chin up.
  93. Life’s short.
  94. Things die.
  95. Time heals.
  96. Be realisitic.
  97. Cultivate positivity.
  98. Build resilience.
  99. Tolerate ambiguity.
  100. Tolerate uncertainty.
  101. Tolerate change.
  102. Lean in.
  103. Worry less.
  104. I’m capable.
  105. I’m OK.
  106. Life’s complicated.
  107. Life’s hard.
  108. Life’s messy.
  109. Life’s ridiculous!
  110. We’re stupid!
  111. Don’t rationalize.
  112. Life’s unpredictable.
  113. Build habits.
  114. Create nudges.
  115. Create if-thens.
  116. Banish toxicity.
  117. Seek positivity.
  118. Live deeply.
  119. Appreciate goodness.
  120. Unblock myself.
  121. Ignore fools; low-lifes
  122. Live bigger.
  123. Be likeable.
  124. Don’t settle.
  125. Don’t demonize.
  126. Don’t over-idealize.
  127. seek confirmation
  128. Pay forward.
  129. Toughen up.
  130. Rebound stronger.
  131. Good enough.
  132. Show poise.
  133. Show confidence.
  134. Silence head-talk
  135. I’m potent.
  136. Do power-posing.

Be morally mature

  1. Play fair.
  2. Keep promises.
  3. Value excellence.
  4. Create beauty.
  5. Do good.
  6. Seek truth.
  7. Champion truth.
  8. Be courageous.
  9. Embrace progress.
  10. Reach higher.
  11. Be brave.
  12. Don’t judge.
  13. Don’t harm.
  14. Values first.
  15. Don’t lie.
  16. Earn respect.
  17. Do right.
  18. Feel compassion.

Think well.

  1. Journal daily.
  2. Note it.
  3. Essence it.
  4. What’s core?
  5. Ban excuses.
  6. Challenge assumptions.
  7. Ask “why?”
  8. Conduct pre-mortems.
  9. Conduct postmortems.
  10. What next?
  11. Mentally rehearse.
  12. Why not?
  13. Re-script stuff-ups.
  14. Think independently.
  15. Solve it.
  16. Face facts.
  17. Pause first…
  18. Reflect often.
  19. Plan ahead
  20. Beware certainty.
  21. Slow down.
  22. Question tradition.
  23. Challenge status-quo.
  24. Actions talk.
  25. Results talk.
  26. Choose carefully.
  27. Keep learning.
  28. Read more.
  29. Kill delusions.
  30. Think laterally.
  31. Think first.
  32. Look back.
  33. Spend wisely.
  34. Think “base-rates”.
  35. Connect dots.
  36. Be decisive.
  37. Decide logically.
  38. Develop systems.
  39. Train brain.
  40. Exercise brain.
  41. Create solutions.
  42. Solve problems.
  43. Think rationally.
  44. Think creatively.
  45. Think differently.

Communicate well

  1. Paint word-pictures.
  2. Eliminate deadwood.
  3. Tell stories.
  4. Simplify! Simplify!
  5. Talk tentatively.
  6. Always proof-read.
  7. Eliminate “should”.
  8. Don’t interrupt.
  9. Criticize kindly.

Be otherly – not just a selfish, egotistical clod of a human being!

  1. Listen mindfully.
  2. Add positivity.
  3. Apologize right.
  4. Nurture collaborations
  5. Create collaborations.
  6. Work collaboratively.
  7. Create win-wins.
  8. Value friendship.
  9. Encourage others.
  10. Say thank-you.
  11. Say sorry.
  12. Practice loving-kindness.
  13. Love generously.
  14. Validate others.
  15. Criticize gently.
  16. Think win-win.
  17. Help intelligently.
  18. Accept flaws.
  19. Give generously.
  20. Give intelligently.
  21. Disarm critics.
  22. Don’t hurt.
  23. Practice perspective-taking.
  24. Don’t judge.
  25. Smile first.
  26. Acknowledge excellence.
  27. Acknowledge goodness.
  28. Empathize intelligently.
  29. Manage takers.
  30. Trust -> verify.
  31. Expect worminess.
  32. Value differences.
  33. Love hurts.
  34. Offer help.
  35. Be kind.
  36. Nurture friendship.
  37. Value friendship.
  38. Reward goodness.
  39. Inspire others.
  40. I-thou.
  41. Manage people
  42. Tolerate imperfections.
  43. Love right.
  44. Take turns.
  45. Converse beautifully
  46. Be persuasive
  47. Be influential
  48. Create resonance
  49. Well done!
  50. I agree.
  51. I’m sorry.
  52. Thank you.
  53. I’m wrong.

Wisdom in a paragraph

from the opening paragraph of Jim Collins’ best selling book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t.

“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the reasons that we have so little that becomes great.  We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, precisely because it is easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great precisely because they become quite good — and that is their main problem.”

Cherie Carter-Scott’s 10 rules for being human

Rules For Being Human

click here for printed version:

The Ten Rules For Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott

And here’s an excellent alternative 10 rules for being human by Marc Ensign:

10 Rules for Being Human by Marc Ensign

Letters to my sixteen-year-old self


Dear Me: Lisa Wilkinson’s letter to herself at 16

Dear Me: Ita Buttrose’s letter to herself at 16

Dear Me: Stephen Fry’s letter to himself at 16

Dear Me: Stephen King’s letter to himself at 16

Dear Me: Alan Cumming’s letter to himself at 16

Dear Me: James Belushi’s letter to himself at 16

Dear Me: Gillian Anderson’s letter to herself at 16

Dear Me: Hugh Jackman’s letter to himself at 16

Dear Me: Kathleen Turner’s letter to herself at 16

Short videos offering valuable life lessons

The Holstee Manifesto–a creed for living a happy and meaningful life

The Holstee Manifesto has been shared over 500,000 times and viewed over 60 million times online. It’s worth taking the time to memorize it.

Click here to read how it came to be.

The Holstee Manifesto poster would make a great gift. Click here to order.

Here it is spelled out for you. All you need to do is to commit it to memory–and live it!

The Holstee Manifesto

1. This is your life.
2. Do what you love, and do it often.
3. If you don’t like something, change it.
4. If you don’t like your job, quit.
5. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV.
6. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.
7. Stop over-analyzing; all emotions are beautiful.
8. Life is simple.
9. When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
10. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people; we are united in our differences.
11. Ask the next person you see what their passion is. And share your inspiring dream with them.
12. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
13. Some opportunities come only once; seize them.
14. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
15. Life is short.
16. Live your dream and share your passion.

Bertrand Russell’s advice for future generations: focus on the facts and learn to tolerate each other


How can I learn to be intelligently slow?

Answer: Read this lovely anecdote by Martin Seligman from his book Flourish:

There is more to intelligence and high achievement than sheer speed. What speed does is give you extra time to carry out the non-automatic parts of the task. The second component of intelligence and achievement is slowness and what you do with all that extra time that being fast affords you.

Mental speed comes at a cost. I found myself missing nuances and taking shortcuts when I should have taken the mental equivalent of a deep breath. I found myself skimming and scanning when I should have been reading every word. I found myself listening poorly to others. I would figure out where they were headed after their first few words and then interrupt. And I was anxious a lot of the time–speed and anxiety go together.

I 1974 we hired Ed Pugh, a perception psychologist who worked on exacting questions such as how many photons of light are needed to fire off a single visual receptor. Ed was slow. He wasn’t physically slow ( he had been the quarterback of his Louisiana high school team), and it wasn’t just the drawl, it was his rate of speech and his reaction time to a question. We called Ed “thoughtful.”

I found myself at a party with Ed, and during a long pause . . .I asked Ed, “How did you become so slow?”
“I wasn’t always slow, Marty. I used to be fast; almost as fast as you are. I learned to become slow. Before my PhD, I was a Jesuit. my socius [the mentor who socializes the Jesuit student, in contrast to the other mentor who grades the student] told me I was too fast. So every day he would give me one sentence to read, and then he made me sit under a tree for the afternoon and think about that sentence.”

“Can you teach me to be slow, Ed?”

Indeed he could.

We read Soren Kierkegaards’s Fear and Trembling together, but at the rate of one page a week, and to top it off, my sister, Beth, taught me transcendental meditation. I practiced TM faithfully forty minutes a day for twenty years.  I cultivated slowness, and I am now even slower than Ed was then. (p 110-112).

Recipes for a life well-lived

1. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

1. Be proactive

2. Begin with the end in mind.

3. Put first things first.

4. Think Win/Win

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

6. Synergize.

7. Sharpen the saw (attend to your physical, mental, social/emotional and spiritual needs daily).

2. 24 Character Strengths as discussed in Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

1.  Be curious and show a keen interest in the world.

2. Have a learn of learning.

3. Have sound judgment, critical thinking skills and an open mind.

4.  Show ingenuity and “street-smart” practical intelligence.

5. Show high emotional and social intelligence.

6.  Have perspective and be able to see the “bigger picture”.

7. Show courage., including moral courage.

8. Show perseverence and conscientiousness.

9.  Show integrity, genuineness and honesty.

10.  Be kind and generous.

11. Be able to give love and to receive love.

12. Be a good and loyal team-player and citizen.

13. Be fair.

14. Be a good leader.

15. Show strong self-control and to regulate your negative emotions.

16. Be prudent and careful.

17. Be humble and modest.

18. Appreciate beauty in the world and excellence in others.

19. Be grateful.

20. Be optimistic and forward-looking.

21. Have a strong sense of purpose and faith.

22. Be forgiving and merciful.

23. Be playful, light-hearted and show a good sense of humor.

24. Be enthusiastic and passionate about life.

3.  21 Tips from H Jackson Brown Jr.

1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.
3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
6. Be generous.
7. Have a grateful heart.
8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
12. Commit yourself to quality.
13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationship with people you love and respect.
14. Be loyal.
15. Be honest.
16. Be a self-starter.
17. Be decisive even it it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.
18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
20. Take good care of those you love.
21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud.

4.  Nine Tips from Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one’s self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

5.  Twelve Priceless Qualities of Success from Marshall Field

1. The value of time.
2. The success of perseverance.
3. The pleasure of working.
4. The dignity of simplicity.
5. The worth of character.
6. The power of kindness.
7. The influence of example.
8. The obligation of duty.
9. The wisdom of economy.
10. The virtue of patience.
11. The improvement of talent.
12. The joy of originating.

6.Take Time from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


Take time to think–It is the source of all power.

Take time to read–It is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to play– It is the source of perpetual youth.

Take time to be quiet–It is the opportunity to seek God. [alternatively, to reflect]

Take time to be aware–It is the opportunity to help others.

Take time to love and be loved–It is God’s greatest gift.

Take time to laugh–It is the music of the soul.

Take time to be friendly– It is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream–It is what the future is made of.

Take time to pray–It is the greatest power on earth.[alternatively, to commit to our higher purpose]

Take time to give–It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to work–It is the price of success.

There is a time for everything. . . .

Clever definitions

  1. High-maintenance person: easy to upset; difficult to please.
    Low maintenance person: difficult to upset; easy to please.

    (by Mark Goulston in Do YOU Practice the Golden Rule? Take the Double Standard Assessment Test )
  2. Synergy: 1 + 1 = 3
    Compromise: 1 + 1 = 1 ½

    (by Stephen Covey  from  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

  3. Knowledge: knowing a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom: not putting it in your fruit salad.

    (by Peter Kay)

  4. Neurosis: just a high-class word for whining. (Albert Ellis)