21 beautiful truths
I kind of need your help. Also, 7 things worth knowing.
Thanks again to Wynter for sponsoring this week’s newsletters. (I have one week left in January with no sponsor after someone had to reschedule. If anyone is interested, just reply to this email and I’ll fill you in.)
Want to give back to your community while maintaining a low-key side hustle?
Wynter is looking for people to join its research panel. Participate in messaging research, and get compensated every time you do it. It doesn’t take a lot of time: about 10-15 minutes to be part of one test.
A while back, I saw a colleague of mine had written a series of 20 brutal truths nobody wants to admit. It was a good article, and I thought it all resonated.
But I realized: I don’t want brutal truths. I want beautiful truths. So I wrote my own list.
It has 20 items, and I’ve included them below. Some of them don’t seem beautiful at first, but in my middle age, I’ve learned to appreciate them.
So, for an unusual Friday comment thread, I’d like to know:
Which ones resonate and which ones don’t?
What’s the 21st truth you’d add to the list?
If we get enough good ideas, maybe I’ll pull it all together in an update.
Beautiful Truth #1. Nobody cares when you fail.
You will fail. Most of the time nobody will notice, and even if they do, they'll forget. This is a good thing. Try, fail, learn, try again. Repeat as needed.
Beautiful Truth #2. You choose your family.
Family is a noun, but I think it should be a verb. It's wonderful if you were lucky enough to be born into a loving, supportive family. If not, find other people to love and make your own family. (Also, see Truth #8, below.)
Beautiful Truth #3. Compound interest works both ways.
Money, time, habits: they compound. Good and bad things multiply faster than you can imagine. Head in the right direction, get a little traction, and you'll see results.
Beautiful Truth #4. People will remember how you made them feel.
They might not remember your name or the details, but they will remember your kindness (or not).
Beautiful Truth #5. Everyone else is scared, too.
All the stuff that holds you back: fear, inertia, complacency? Billions of other people also feel it. There's no shame in fear. Just don't let it rule you.
Beautiful Truth #6. Twenty percent of effort produces 80% of results.
The Pareto principle rings true in almost every aspect of life. The trick is figuring out which 20% of your activities to maximize.
Beautiful Truth #7. Most people quit just before they succeed.
Seth Godin says to figure out whether the difficulties you see ahead are a temporary "dip" or a dead end. Maybe stick things out a little bit longer to see which you're dealing with.
Beautiful Truth #8. You will meet a lot of people.
On average, you might meet between 10,000 and 20,000 other people during your lifetime. You'll briefly interact with perhaps 1 million more. Whoever you're looking for is out there somewhere.
Beautiful Truth #9. Math matters.
Almost everyone is good at math, but most people don't know it. The surest path to success in any field is to track and measure things. That’s how you know what works and what doesn't. (See Truth #2. It applies here, too.)
Beautiful Truth #10. Broken hearts are part of life.
Getting your heart broken means you had the courage to take a risk. It also suggests you're likely to win at love another time. (See Truths #4 and #7.)
Beautiful Truth #11. The long run matters most.
Success and accolades can be fleeting; play a long game. Try not to make long-term decisions based on short-term criteria.
Beautiful Truth #12. Time is relative.
It goes by more quickly as you get older. Each moment, or day, or year amounts to a smaller percentage of the total time you've already lived. (See Truth #2.)
Beautiful Truth #13. Quitting can bring joy.
This seems like it's the opposite of #7. But it's more about having the courage to walk away when the dip really is a dead end. Fail and move on.
Beautiful Truth #14. Sometimes, do nothing.
But: Do nothing intentionally. There's nothing wrong with taking time to assess and understand what success really looks like, and what you ought to do to find it.
Beautiful Truth #15. Your heart usually knows the answer.
Maybe this is divine guidance. Maybe it's the result of subconsciously evaluating things and reaching a conscious answer. But sometimes you’ll find the answers were there all along.
Beautiful Truth #16. Today is tomorrow's yesterday.
There's no time for regret. There is only time for preventing tomorrow's regrets. (See Truth #12.)
Beautiful Truth #17. First impressions matter.
Clichés are true, and one of the truest is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. (But if you make a bad impression, see Truth #1.)
Beautiful Truth #18. Education and experience are yours to keep.
Try lots of things, in many different directions. Someday you'll find yourself reaching back to those experiences you thought were detours and realize their importance.
Beautiful Truth #19. Chance favors the prepared mind.
Every successful person can point to lucky breaks. Don't count on luck, but do be willing to accept it and benefit from it when it finds you.
Beautiful Truth #20. Question other people's motives.
Heck, even question my motives. I wrote this with the best of intentions. But if you take issue with one of these truths, or if you have a #21 to share, please do so in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
I hate to make this all “both sides;” it’s not. But: President Biden condemned Trump and his allies as a danger to democracy on the anniversary of 1/6. Trump responded, “saying the remarks alluding to Trump's role in the riot deepened political divides in the country.” (Chron, The Hill)
The White House is finalizing details with the US Postal Service to deliver 500 million coronavirus test kits to households across the country, according to four people familiar with the plans, kick-starting a key part of President Biden’s response to the raging omicron variant. (Washington Post)
“French regulators have hit Google and Facebook with 210 million euros ($237 million) in fines over their use of ‘cookies,’ the data used to track users online, authorities said Thursday.” (France 24)
Nick Kristof, who left his New York Times column to run for governor of Oregon (where he grew up) does not meet the state’s residency requirement to qualify for the campaign, the state Secretary of State announced Thursday. Kristof plans to appeal. (Oregon Live)
“A small British island is looking for someone to run its pub—and serve as its ‘king.’” (Food & Wine)
This was a day or two ago, but if you’re of a certain age, you’ll appreciate: the BlackBerry is no more, as the company discontinued all support for its pre-Android era phones. I have no idea if anyone was actually still using one, but it’s a milestone. (CNN)
Israeli scientists have taught goldfish to drive on land. (The Onion. No, I’m kidding, it’s real and it’s from Vice.)