Grit is the disposition to pursue very long-term goals with passion and perseverance, sustained over time. So the emphasis is on stamina.
Self-control is related — we often measure self-control and grit in the same sample and find a strong correlation — but the difference is time scale. Self-control is the ability to resist momentary distractions and temptations in order to reach a goal, but the goal doesn’t have to be something that you’re pursuing for years or decades. You might have a goal of staying on an exercise routine or doing your homework that night. And if you fail to do that and instead sit on the couch or watch TV, that’s a failure of self-control. But the goal doesn’t have to be something you’re working on for years and years.
Or as Andy Warhol succinctly put it in regards to making art:
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.
I associate my Three Don’t’s with getting shit done in life.
Daily Exhaust Mike sent me this article the other day, entitled Do We Live in the Matrix? It details an interesting concept, one that has been bouncing around the halls of academia in the 21st century: do we actually exist inside of a computer simulation? The idea is a little different than the Matrix of movie fame. In that, real life humans are being fooled into believing their simulated experiences are real, while their bodies are in fact being held in stasis.
The idea that some philosophers, astrophysicists, and computer engineers have come up with in the past decade is not that our senses are being tricked into experiencing a reality other than truth, but that our bodies and our minds are part of the simulation. Not only is the world we experience not real, we ourselves are not real, nothing more than sprites, mobs, or NPCs walking around a simulated universe. As computer processors become more powerful, and as programs become more complicated, it’s not that far of a stretch to think that someday we will be able to develop a computer simulation that is detailed enough that, from the perspective of the simulation, has little difference from the real universe. That being the case, since simulations can be run over and over again, on multiple machines, it becomes not only a possibility that we ourselves are living in a simulation developed by another race…it becomes likely.
The article pokes a bit of a hole in the idea of a perfect simulation. It cites the work of Seth Lloyd from MIT, who posits that developing a perfect simulation would require so many calculations that there isn’t enough energy in the universe to run it. Case closed, right? Not so fast.
The article goes on to state that the simulation does not need to be perfect. It only needs to be perfect enough to fool the simulated beings living within the simulation. That is, us. As long as we don’t look too closely at the universe around us, and see where the Mystical Programmer (God?) decided to optimize, there is no way we could know for sure. A programmer skillful enough could fill the night sky with tiny points of light, but only when Galileo looked through a telescope at Jupiter or Saturn need the details be filled in somewhat. The moon only needed to be a very large and bright two-dimensional disc in the sky, covered with superficial surface details, until we decided to send people to walk on it.
To me, this is mildly disturbing. I have no problem living in a simulated universe as long as the simulation simulates everything. As long as there is no optimization, then, from our perspective, the universe does become real. But a universe with optimization has a purpose, and that purpose would seem to be to fool us. That’s a very teleological way to regard the universe, and not typical of academics, who tend to have a less homocentric view of the cosmos. That’s why I’m leaning towards the idea that the universe we experience is real.
Why run a simulation that only approximates the parts of the universe that sprites within that universe are experiencing? If that is the case, then the subject of study in the simulation is not the universe, but the sprites. It would be nice, I guess, to think we had that kind of importance in the simulation, but it only serves to rescue us from the evidence that suggests we are very small, very mortal, parts of a universe that is bigger than human comprehension.
The idea of a simulated universe, and how to theoretically accomplish said simulation, moved seamlessly to the idea of creating a simulation that responds to observations of sprites within the simulation, i.e., us. Evolutionary theory posits that such an egocentric view is an unavoidable result of how our brains evolved, so until the Mystical Programmer deigns to make its presence known, I’m going to continue to assume that any random point of light I see in the night sky is a fiery ball of nuclear fusion blazing away at some unimaginable distance, not an elaborate hoax perpetrated for our benefit.
Journalism, certainly, and publishing broadly. Anything supported by advertising. That all of this is being disrupted is now beyond question. And then I think higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse. Generally, universities are doing very well financially, so they don’t feel from the data that their world is going to collapse. But I think even five years from now these enterprises are going to be in real trouble.
Some people love to claim they’re all about innovation and disruption. Very few actually are, because when real disruption occurs, entire industries get upended and lots of people lose money. Just look at what the iPad is doing the “traditonal” PC industry.
It takes real balls to embrace disruption, but the alternative is worse—Falling to the wayside and becoming irrelevant.
As someone who has been designing websites for over 13 years (and most recently mobile applications), things are constantly in flux for me. I used to make most of my living designing and programming sites with Adobe Flash. Now we’re not only in a post-PC world, but a post-plug-in world.
I always keep this quote by Charles Darwin in my head:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
I don’t care what industry you work in. If you live by those words, you’ll be in good shape.
John Hodgman says persistence trumps talent in all creative endeavors.
This is true.
Most people are allergic to Persistence and it’s sibling, Hard Work. Or as Chris Rock would say, Hard Work is like Kryptonite to most people.
If you persist and work hard at what you create, it further distinguishes you from those who might copy you. It also makes it harder for imitators to reach to level of quality you achieve in your creations.
It’s hard to have a favorite Steve Jobs speech or quote when there’s so many great ones.
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
I expect I’ll be learning from Jobs for many years to come.
Over the holiday weekend, we were talking with my dad about his army days, and he busted out his Signal Corps ID card. He was an electronics instructor (at age 17) and the back of the card listed the ‘Instructor’s Motto’:
I will always realize that everything
I say and do influences other soldiers.
I will instill in each student a deep
sense of loyalty to his fellow soldiers,
the Army, and our country.
By my own example I will inspire him
to the highest standards of personal con-
duct, integrity, and professional skill.
Seems like a good rule of thumb for any profession.
hat tip Public School
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
via Alex Rainert
People always say that we can’t have gay marriage because marriage is a sacred institution, that happens in the church. It’s sacred… no it’s not! Marriage ain’t sacred! Not in America! Not in the country that watches “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” or “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” or “Who Wants to Marry a Midget?” Get the fuck outta here! Gay people have a right to be miserable as everybody else! Michael Jackson got married, how fuckin’ sacred is that shit?
One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one’s own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought.
via On Display