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.

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.

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. . . .

Six commandments for a happy marriage


“A relationship is a contract of mutual nurturance…We identify six minimal beliefs as necessary:

  1. a belief that commitment is necessary for a long-term relationship to succeed;
  2. an agreement of romantic and sexual exclusivity;
  3. an agreement that there will be no secrets, deceptions, or betrayals;
  4. an agreement of fairness and care (e.g., when a person is sick, he or she will be cared for);
  5. an agreement to treat one another with respect and affection; and
  6. an agreement in principle to try to meet one another’s wants and needs.”

    (from Gottman Method Couple Therapy by John and Julie Gottman in Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy by Alan Gurman, p 162)

Wisdom in a nutshell

1. Empathy before education. Always.

(Brian Huff)
When someone tells us about a problem they’re having and they’re clearly distressed about it,  it’s tempting  to rush in and offer them advice on how to fix it or to reassure them the problem isn’t as bad as is seems.
That’s wrong! That’s education without empathy!
The distressed person doesn’t want to be “educated” at that moment;  instead, they want to be listened to and shown that we understand how they’re feeling and that their distressed feeling is perfectly reasonable. They want our empathy. Afterwards, once they’ve felt properly understood, they’ll be more open to receiving  “our education”.
Here’s what “empathy before education” looks like (from a wonderful article called Empathy vs Sympathy by Brian Huff):
Bob: I just got fired...
Joe: Wow, that sucks... you must be feeling pretty scared right now, huh?
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Give Joe a cookie!
Joe didn’t make it about himself… he kept his focus on Bob. He asked Bob how he was feeling, and after Bob answers, Joe should keep asking. He should let Bob vent about his situation: his wife, his kid, his house, the job market, whatever. Even if Joe knows a guy who might give Bob a job, Joe should shut the hell up until Bob’s finished venting. This may only take five minutes, or it might take a whole hour. Either way, its an important part of the process. Bob will not listen to what Joe has to say, unless Bob feels Joe fully understands his situation.
How does Joe know when Bob’s finished venting? He’ll hear something different in Bob’s voice: hope. When Bob is open for suggestions, he’ll say something like, “what do you think I should do?” or “have you ever been in this situation before?” Only after Joe hears this, is Bob ready to listen to new ideas, new possibilities, and new ways of fixing this problem. Only after Joe hears hope, or a direct request for help, is Bob ready to hear what Joe wants to say. If Joe wants to help Bob, Joe needs patience.

2. There’s a space between stimulus and response. Use it.

Viktor Frankl, of Man’s Search for Meaning fame, wrote the orignial version:
Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In those choices lie our growth and happiness.

3. Look after your body, and it will look after you.

(source unknown)
This year I turn 55. These last few years I’ve definitely noticed signs of my body starting to break down — stiffening  joints, proneness to injury, strange menopausal symptoms, less tolerance for rubbish food, etc.  It’s scary!  I hope to have another 30 years of life at least, and I want those years to be as free from pain and  disability and illness as possible.  It’s definitely time for me to tend to my body and give it what it needs to allow it to continue carrying  around my brain and let me do all the things I want to do without complaining too much!
It seems like a fair deal: I’ll look after it – – exercise it and feed it properly and give it enough rest and sun and not to stress it out too much and to nip its problems in the bud  — and  it will look after me.

4. Thoughts become things.

(source unknown. )
Brian Tracy explains the concept  in this 1-minute video:
 YouTube Preview Image

 5. Don’t criticize someone until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

 (based on Native-American proverb?)

6.  Learn, commit, do.

A good recipe on how to progress ourselves from Stephen R. Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ( p 306). It’s so easy and enjoyable just to hear about good things to do; it’s a whole new ball-game to deeply learn those things, commit to  applying them in our life and then following through.

7. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

Listening attentively is hard enough; listening to truly understand the other person is incredibly hard. But it’s worth persevering with because to make someone feel truly understood is one of the most loving gifts we can give.
Click here for more explanation.  

8.  “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

This advice is from Adelle Davis, nutrition expert from the past. Her advice is opposite to our common way of eating, where we often start the day with a minimal breakfast, and end the day by gorging ourselves on a late dinner.

9. Value the differences.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey stresses how important it is to value each other’s differences. Our differences–our complementariness–encourage synergy to happen if we let it. Insecure people feel uncomfortable if other people think differently from them. They would like everyone to think just like they do. While that would certainly feel validating and comfortable, where would the growth come from?
We find comfort among those who agree with us, and growth among those who don’t. (Frank A. Clark)
I never learned from a man who agreed with me. (Robert Heinlein)

9. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

If we ask someone permission to try a new idea, they’ll probably say no. That’s because saying no is emotionally a lot easier than saying yes. Saying yes involves serious thinking-it-through work.  This principle must be used responsibly, of course.
“If it isn’t going to devastate those around you, try [your idea] and then justify it. People — whether parents, partners, or bosses — deny things on an emotional basis that they can learn to accept after the fact. If the potential damage is moderate or in any way reversible, don’t give people  the chance to say no. Most peole are fast to stop you before you get started but hesitant to get in the way if you’re  moving. Get good at being a trublemaker and saying sorry when you really screw up.” (p 33, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss).