What’s An Interesting Life, Anyways?

"For the most part, the most fulfilling thing in life still is to do meaningful work. Producing stuff that matters. Doing something that helps other people. Making a real contribution."

"You don’t need to do extreme things to find fulfilment. All you need to do is to fulfil your needs."

The Forty-Year Programmer

"I often say to myself “it’s early yet.” What I mean is, I’m 46. I’m not 96 and done. I have at least twenty more years of this left, and maybe fifty years. So if I do something weird and off-the-wall and it teaches me fun stuff, that’s really good. If I do something practical, that carries me through the short term, that’s also good."

"The work is good. If it stops being good, you’ll stop too. If it stops being good, that’s an emergency: you need to take a vacation, or reconnect with what you liked, or something. If your work stops feeling good, you’ll burn out fast and hard."

"So if you beat yourself up for doing stuff that’s not software… Maybe don’t. Why do I talk about music so much here? Because I’m learning that too, not just putting everything into software. Art, too: I gave a talk and wrote a book about stealing practice methods for software from artists, and I’m illustrating more and more of my own stuff. Obviously I also speak and write. I get broader in my interests every year."

"the longer you live and the better you work, the more you realise that everything (and everybody) has something useful to teach you."

"You’re not running a sprint or running a marathon. Instead, you’re keeping a diary. In ten years, will you page back through it and say, “wow, I did some cool stuff?” Or “huh, I was a pretty interesting person?” I guess you could keep a diary that says “I was pretty good at Java syntax.”"

"Most of us need the occasional kick in the butt to notice our problems. I certainly do. One way I kick my own butt is to learn something hard and exact, where if I make a mistake I’ll notice it."

"I’m sure you’ve noticed the proud way that programmers tend to ignore non-programmers when it comes to advice. “Mere” QA people and ops folk tend to be treated as second-class citizens and we often act like they have nothing to teach us. And that’s beyond idiotic. If you’re smart, you’ll figure out what they’re good at and why it matters."

"How do you do the work for awhile? You persist. You manage your own expectations. You notice when you’re making mistakes and fix them. You try to be careful not to be too rigid. You try to keep enjoying the work."

Creativity requires solitude

"Turn inwards and get in touch with your authentic self. If you’re able to write something in this state, it won’t even occur to you to ask anyone whether your writing is good or not. You won’t be focused on getting a positive reaction from the public, because in your writing you’ll see something that is authentically a piece of you – a reflection of your soul."

"Perhaps all of the dragons in our lives are princesses, only waiting for the day they will see us handsome and brave. Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help."

What to Do When You’re Feeling Drained

"Whatever my capacity is to take a step in that direction is perfect — I don’t need to have a huge capacity to move towards self-care, self-love, and nourishment."

Ask HN: What's Your Biggest Regret?

"At each and every point in my life, I was working with the information I had at my disposal, each information having its own "weight" in my mind. Every mistake I've made has brought some information in my mind that wouldn't have been brought otherwise. Fantasies of "changing the past" are seductive, but ultimately pointless."

"everyone loses 10 years to something, somewhere along the line"

What can I do today to simplify my day?

"If you ask for it clearly, you either get what you want or get a clear answer. A clear answer saves you from the energy expended in thrash, confusion, guesswork, wondering, speculating, overwhelm, disappointment, resentment and rage."

Expectations (Five Short Stories)

"Most mental upside comes from the thrill of anticipation – actual experiences tend to fall flat, and your mind quickly moves on to anticipating the next event. That’s how dopamine works."

"If walking on the moon left astronauts underwhelmed, what does it say about our own earthly goals and expectations?"

Five Lessons from History

"Long-term success in any endeavor requires two tasks: Getting something, and keeping it. Getting rich and staying rich. Getting market share and keeping market share."

"The irony is that growth – if you can stick around – is a more powerful force, because it compounds. But setbacks capture greater attention because they happen suddenly."

Travel won't save you

"The only safe harbor in the storms of life is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring, and to stand ready and confident, preparing to take whatever life throws at you without flinching."

The Secret Way To An Awesome Life

"if your go-to way of dealing with issues is bottling them up, you’re gonna have problems. Not talking about your difficulties is correlated with health issues and lower life satisfaction."

Little Rules About Big Things

"Most financial mistakes come when you try to force things to happen faster than is required. Compounding doesn’t like when you try to use a cheat code."

"Housing is often a liability masquerading as a safe asset."

"Emotions can override any level of intelligence."

"No one is thinking about you as much as you are."

"Most problems are more complicated than they look but most solutions should be simpler than they are."

"Good ideas are easy to write, bad ideas are hard. Difficulty is a quality signal, and writer’s block usually indicates more about your ideas than your writing."

"More people wake up every morning wanting to solve problems than wake up looking to cause harm. But people who cause harm get the most attention. So slow progress amid a drumbeat of bad news is the normal state of affairs."

Known Costs, Unknowable Benefits

"Men often get this backward, thinking they need to figure out their life on their own before committing to someone because having a partner or family will be some sort of distraction or loss of productivity. But nothing gives you better clarity of purpose or motivation than having others you’re building a life for besides yourself."

The Perfect Work Routine

"Their Daily Ritual, to whatever extent it was truly daily or truly a ritual, was likely an emergent phenomenon. They did not read tons of productivity books and then pick the routine that seemed best to them, as many of us feel compelled to do. They worked, and over time, their ideal routine for sustained output emerged. They started walking and reinforced the paths with concrete as they went."

"In pursuit of the ideal work style, I think the best we can do is start with as green a quad as possible, then let the paths carve themselves over time. As we see what routines and styles are most resonant, we can reinforce them through technology, routine, or simply remembering what works well for us."

We're Much Weaker than We Think

"Humans are capable of magnificent feats of strength and endurance if we prioritize developing them. We need to raise our standards much higher and not get seduced by the myth that very fit people are weirdos. They’re the healthy ones."

Eternal Problems of the Human Mind

"On the surface, our problems feel special and unique. Who could possibly understand what you’re going through? But dig a little deeper, and there are as few core human problems as there are master plotlines."

The Road to Helldorado

"Looking for El Dorado should be a cue that something is off. It means we’re not confronting one of two problems. Either there is a simpler, straightforward solution to this problem that we don’t want to embrace because it is challenging, effortful, or uncomfortable. Or, the problem is unsolvable, and we’re avoiding accepting it."

"We should recognize our desire for silver bullets as a cue to acknowledge where we might be falling short of doing what we know we need to do."

"Find a way to push through the hard work, and you will be in a much better place than if you’d wasted 20 years running around the woods looking for a magic cup."

This Practice Made Men Arouse Me, Which Is Unsettling

"The coach said that men came to him usually to improve their relationships with women - to be more attractive to women, to allow women to feel more connected with them, to be more sexually satisfied with women - but that the best way to do this in practice was to get deeply in touch with themselves. I am surprised at how true this is."

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