Happy birthday to Brain Picking, a blog by Maria Popova. Over the years she has become one my favorite writers (yes writer) and here are the seven lessons she learned from the past seven years:
- Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind - It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
- Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone - Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night
- Be generous - To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
- Build pockets of stillness into your life - Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular.
- When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
- Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity - for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
- Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time - This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy.