Nine Ridiculously Awesome and Inspiring Reads

A few months ago I started to make a note of articles I read which were particularly inspirational and I’m finding it an awesome and useful resource to dip into from time to time.

I have nine so far and I am going to keep a list of no more than 10 – one in, one out. I can’t help it, it’s the minimalist in me!

I have nine so far and wanted to share them with you, so here we go in no particular order:

How to Savor Life by Leo Babauta – we tend to rush through life at 100 miles an hour and barely appreciate it consciously. In this article, Leo talks about the act of savouring the things we do and also how it can help us get better results (he specifically covers being more mindful, procrastination, exercise, eating less and more healthily and living life in the present).

When I read this, it hit a nerve with me. Recently I have been trying to take care to slow down and appreciate what I am doing at any one time – particularly eating which has helped me eat less, slower (I used to literally inhale it) and enjoy the taste of what I am eating.

The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn by Paul Graham – if you are a) involved in a startup, b) think you might create one at some point or c) want to help fix the broken, slow moving company you currently work at – this is a must, must read. When you read it, you may find yourself scratching your head at just how common sense the advice is, however it’s scary how easy it can be to lose sight of these things and screw stuff up. I really love how Paul Graham writes in such a straightforward and powerful way.

98. ALAN WATTS: What if money was no object? by Zen Pencils – this cartoon sketch (and this video) had a profound impact on me. I’ve always been very financially motivated (many of my goals being around things to own, net worth etc.) and this really caused me to reflect that approach. It’s quite common to move through life as a passenger and to not take control of shaping your life and this is a short, sharp reminder of what a waste of a life that would be. I think Gavin Aung Than is a ridiculously good artist and is doing something very powerful with his skill – you should check out his other cartoons too.

Authentic Leadership by Scott Weiss – such a brilliantly, simple article on what makes a great leader. These might not even seem like big things, but trust me they are what counts and what causes people to follow, trust and stand behind someone. I also love the fact that there is a quote thrown in from one of my favourite books too! (Winning by Jack Welch). If you are aspiring to be someone who leads others, you’ll find this invaluable.

The insidious perfidiousness of doubts, overcome by Leo Babauta – Self doubt can be crippling and I know this more than most. I imagine most people experience it at some level throughout their life too. Attacking things with optimism and confidence can change everything – it will often be the difference between starting something and not; being successful or failing. If I start to get self doubt thoughts, I tend to go back to this article which helps steer me back on track – it just helps put those thoughts of self doubt into context and perspective.

How To Do What You Love by Paul Graham – similar to the ‘What if money was no object?’ article above, this really, really gets you thinking. If you find yourself constantly complaining about your job and living for the weekend this will stir up some emotions for sure. Life is too short not to do what you love, or at least to go through life hating what you do!). The decision for what you spend your time doing is yours – no one elses (unless you let it be).

Discomfort Zone: How to Master the Universe by Leo Babauta – avoiding feelings of discomfort is usually the source of why we give up on things and procrastinate. Ironically when we get these feelings of discomfort, it’s often exactly when we need to be comfortable with it and press on – it’s never as bad as we imagine and the positive results we experience soon start to overpower the discomfort, ultimately creating a permanent habit. Leo covers some great examples and after reading this, you’ll likely dig deep when you get that feeling to put something off and stick with it.

Be Good by Paul Graham – so many great gems in this one and it reminds me of a change you often see some companies go through when they start seeing success and get bigger. When you are small, you often have noble intentions. You’re doing something that really matters, something that makes a difference and positively impacts people and often your objective and mission is crystal clear and simply obvious to you. When you approach things like this you make the right choices, good people rally around you and you can seemingly achieve quite incredible things. However when you lose sight of being good, you stop doing what’s right for the customers, you lose sight of what you stand for and make poor choices – you get distracted by other stupid things like just trying to please your investors or creating short term results at the expect of long term results. Perhaps the nice guy doesn’t come last after all?

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address – without doubt the most inspiring and moving speech I’ve ever heard – just incredible. Steve Jobs shared 3 powerful stories and lessons – 1. Dropping out of college and how you can’t connect the dots looking forward – you have to trust in your gut and follow your heart. 2. Getting fired from apple was the best thing that could’ve happened to him – when crap things happen don’t lose faith, keep looking and don’t settle. 3. Knowing you will be dead soon helps you make the right decisions – if today is the last day of your life would you want to do what your are about to do? If the answer is no too many times, change something. Your time is limited on this earth, don’t waste it living someone elses life. If you’re not moved and inspired watching this, you’re probably already dead.

Goes without saying that I love ZenHabits.net and PaulGraham.com – 6 of the 9 articles above are from these two sites.

If you have a recommendation for article 10, leave a comment below or let me know on twitter.

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