The Sleepless Elite

Some people can run on little sleep and get so much done. Melinda Beck explains why in the Wall Street Journal:

Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Leonardo da Vinci were too busy to sleep much, according to historical accounts. Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison came close but they were also fond of taking naps, which may disqualify them as true short sleepers.

We’re Addicted to Social Interaction

We’re not addicted to smartphones, we’re addicted to social interaction argues this new study. Cell phones may be making us hypersocial, rather than antisocial as previous research suggests.

In post-industrial environments where foods are abundant and readily available, our cravings for fat and sugar sculpted by distant evolutionary pressures can easily go into insatiable overdrive and lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (…) the pro-social needs and rewards [of smartphone use as a means to connect] can similarly be hijacked to produce a manic theatre of hyper-social monitoring,

Yasunari Kawabata, the Great Stylist

World-renowned Japanese writer Mishima Yukio writes in The Eternal Traveler, Yasunari Kawabata’s Personality and Works,

Mr. Kawabata, as everyone knows, is a great stylist, but I believe he is finally without a style. Because style for the novelist means the will to interpret the world and discover the key to it. To arrange the world, separate it, and bring it out of chaos and angst into the narrow framework of form, the novelist has no other tool than style. … What is … a work of art, like Kawabata’s masterpiece, which is perfection in itself, but has abandoned the will to interpret the world so entirely? It fears no chaos, no angst. But its fearlessness is like the fearlessness of a silk string suspended before the void. It is the extreme opposite of the plastic will of the Greek sculptors who committed themselves to the permanence of marble; it is in sharp contrast to the fear that the harmonic Greek sculpture fights with its whole body.

Footnote: Eien no Tabibito—Kawabata Yasunari-shi no Hito to Sakuhin (The Eternal Traveler—Yasunari Kawabata’s Personality and Works,) 1956

Shine Even Brighter Together

Sereno Sky writes in Lonely Traveller (2014,)

It was awesome lying beside Anne there in the sand, listening to the waves singing their song as they splashed unto the shore. I held her hand as we looked up to the endless stars smiling down on us. “Bernardo, do you think when we die we’ll be one of those stars?” I turned to her and said: “I hope so, and that you’ll come over and kiss me theen, so we’ll shine even brighter together.” She smiled. “So maybe the ones that are shining brighter are the ones that are kissing and hugging?”

Happiness: An Outcome of Personal Effort

American author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in her “cutesy” memoir Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia,

Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.

The memoir chronicles Gilbert’s voyage of discovery around the world after her divorce. The book remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for 187 weeks and was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in 2010

How Free You are in Your Mind

Sereno Sky writes in Lonely Traveller (2014,)

“Where you’re from?” Her eyes were staring at me while she was trying to figure me out. “I’m from a place called ‘Freeland.'” I could feel that she was almost excpecting some sort of trippy answer like that. “I’ve heard about it. But does it really exist?” Apparently she’d never been there, so I was trying to answer carefully. “It does exist, but for those who haven’t been there yet, it can exist at least in your mind.” She shook her head affirmatively. “Yes, it’s all about how free you are in your mind.”

Admonition That Sets Kids Up for Failure

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Melon computer scince professor whose last lecture inspired millions writes in his The Last Lecture (2008):

Once, about a dozen years ago, when Chris was seven years old and Laura was nine, I picked them up in my brand-new Volkswagen Cabrio convertible. “Be careful in Uncle Randy’s new car,” my sister told them. “Wipe your feet before you get in it. Don’t mess anything up. Don’t get it dirty.” I listened to her, and thought, as only a bachelor uncle can: “That’s just the sort of admonition that sets kids up for failure. Of course they’d eventually get my car dirty. Kids can’t help it.” So I made things easy. While my sister was outlining the rules, I slowly and deliberately opened a can of soda, turned it over, and poured it on the cloth seats in the back of the convertible. My message: People are more important than things. A car, even a pristine gem like my new convertible, was just a thing.

The Dream of Life

Tibetan Buddhist nun Khandro Rinpoche writes in Buddha’s Daughters: Teachings from Women Who are Shaping Buddhism in the West (2014):

When we look back, at the time of death, the experience of this life will seem like a dream. And – just as with our nighttime dreams – it will seem useless to have put so much effort into it. The fear we experience in a dream is gone when we wake up; feeling afraid was just an unnecessary exertion of effort causing us to lose sleep! When we look back on our lives at death, the amount of time we spend in hesitation, aggression, ignorance, selfishness, jealousy, hatred, self-preservation, and arrogance will seem like an equally useless exertion of energy. So be able to regard all of these illusory thoughts and concepts as dreams. Within this illusory existence, what, if anything, is the logic behind any stubbornness, distraction, hesitation, or habitual emotions of aggression, desire, selfishness, and jealousy? What is the use of holding on to these useless emotions within impermanence? Impermanence is the nature of everything.

Delegate Authority, Raise Leaders

Pastor Craig Groeschel on delegation:

If you delegate tasks, you will raise up doers. If you delegate authority, you will raise up leaders.

The Power of Focus

Sales leadership trainer Steve Keating writes that many of the greatest achievements in life reqire unremitting attention to purpose:

If you can’t say no to many things then you’ll find it impossible to say yes to focus. In most areas of your life what you choose not to do will determine what you are able to do. If you’re trying to do too much you fall victim to what is known as task saturation. If you fall into that trap you end up accomplishing far less than the person focused on one thing at a time.