Shane Parrish

Best quotes by Shane Parrish

Founder Farnam Street. Reader & writer. Student & teacher. Leader and follower.

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Sometimes success is 3% brains and 97% not getting distracted by the internet.


Writing is often the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about.


Things you control: Your effort. Your beliefs. Your identity. Your actions. Your attitude. Your integrity. Your thoughts. The food you eat. How kind you are. The media you read. How reflective you are. How thoughtful you are. The people you listen to. The type of friend you are.


Superpowers you can have: - Ability to change yourself & your mind - Not taking things personally - Not needing to prove you're right - Careful selection of all relationships - Staying calm - Being alone without being lonely - Being ok being uncomfortable - Thinking for oneself


The most powerful productivity tool ever invented is simply the word "no."


Time is the currency of life.


You don't need more time, you need more focus.


So much advantage in life comes from being willing to look like an idiot over the short term.


Things that reduce the odds of long-term success: + Saying yes to too many things. + Making excuses. + Staying up late. + Eating poorly. + Checking email first thing in the AM. + Working more to fix being busy. + Buying things you don't have the money for.


Sources of personal competitive advantage: - delayed gratification - capital - network (who you know) - unique skills or combinations - platform - ability to suffer - family / home life - speed - ability to change your mind - ability to learn/adapt


If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life.


The biggest generator of long term results is learning to do things when you don't feel like doing them. If you let excuses or emotion drive behavior, you're cheating yourself. Put aside the excuses and start doing what you need to do.


Writing is the process by which you realize that you do not understand what you are talking about.


Things that matter that aren't taught in school + Outcomes over ego (change your mind, don't take things personally, etc) + If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. + seek wealth (assets that earn) + Not all leverage is financial


You can disagree without saying anything. Not needing to win trivial arguments saves you time, energy, and friends.


Think like a philosopher. Train and rest like an athlete. Take action like an entrepreneur.


You get paid linearly for analyzing and solving problems. You get paid non-linearly for spotting and siezing opportunities.


Invest the best hours of your day on the biggest opportunity, not the biggest problem.


The things that matter most can't be copied. You can copy goals, you can't copy discipline. You can copy ideas, you can't copy execution. You can copy answers, you can't copy understanding. You can copy thinking, you can't copy thinking for yourself.


Happiness generally isn't about making more money, but rather freedom. The freedom to say no to things you don't want to do. The freedom to say no to people you don't like. The freedom to not feel like you are obligated to say "yes." Freedom is saying yes when you want to.


The ultimate status symbol is time.


Life is simple, but not easy. The problem is we want life to be easy, which makes it complicated.


The greatest trap is telling yourself you’ll do something important later. Excuses create their own inertia. The longer you wait the harder it gets. “Later” is where dreams go to die.


Common causes of bad decisions: 1. Assumptions from small sample sizes 2. Wanting the world to work the way we want 3. Conforming to expectations/authority/group 4. Blindness to large trends 5. Inability to determine "and then what" 6. Using incorrect maps


The work of reading: 1. Read a book while highlighting heavily. 2. Distill highlights into core insights, written in your own words. 3. Put into a searchable format. 4. Review regularly.


I meet a lot of people searching for something (career, relationship, etc). And yet, when it’s put in front of them, they won’t pursue it because they fear pain (getting hurt, failure, etc.). So they unconsciously (and expensively) trade self protection for misery.


Simple — Complicated — Simple At first things appear simple. As you learn more they become complicated. As you learn even more, they become simple. Simplicity on the other side of complexity is understanding.


Stick to the basics. Do your job. Avoid stupidity. Speak for yourself. Be attentive to details. Put results ahead of being right. Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.


Successful people are just unsuccessful people who know how to recover from mistakes.


If you want to understand someone, figure out the narrative they tell themselves about themself. If you want to change your behaviour, change your narrative. If you want to change someone else’s behaviour, offer them a more compelling narrative they can tell themselves.


If you're focused on the outcome, you're not focused on the process. Sustained success comes from a fanatical focus on process. You don't need to be perfect, just better than yesterday.


How to be productive: - Don't schedule anything in the AM. Ever. - All meetings in two afternoons a week. - Use email or calls to replace most meetings. - Keep emails under 5 sentences. - Keep calls under 15 mins. - Delete emails without responding. - Take time to walk/think.


We chase what's sexy and miss what matters - Excitement starts something. Execution completes it. - Speed makes a good story. Velocity makes a difference. - Complexity makes you sound smart. Focusing on the basics shows you are. - New commands attention. Old offers insight.


If you want exponential returns ... replace the need to be proven right with the need to achieve the best outcome possible.


Chess masters know that to win you have to avoid losing. The first thing they do after an opponent make a moves isn’t to think about strategy or winning but rather to ask them self: what’s the threat? Avoid stupidity before seeking brilliance.


Cultivate people in your life whose normal behavior is your desired behavior.


No over yes. Hard over easy. Outcome over ego. Simple over complex. Listen over speaking. Doing over criticizing. Effective over efficient. Long term over short term. Avoiding stupidity over seeking brilliance.


The Levels of Problem-solving: Level 1 — You solve the problem. Level 2 — You solve the problem that caused the problem. Level 3 — You avoid the problem that caused the problem. Level 3 is the most valuable but hardest to see.


The happiest people want the lowest profile.


Mental distancing means staying away from people infected with anger, rudeness, poor thinking, superiority, etc.


Most people think they lack knowledge when they really lack focus.


The 80/20 rule for meaningful accomplishment: Spend 20 percent of your time exploring broadly and 80 percent of your time relentlessly digging in.


Time is not money. You can lose money and make it back. If you lose time, it's gone forever. Two implications: 1. Get to a point where you can trade money for time, not time for money. 2. Don't wait, start today. Tell someone how you feel. Start *that* project. ...


If a decision is reversible, make it as soon as possible. If a decision is irreversible, make it as late as possible. When the stakes are low, inaction hurts you. When the stakes are high, speed can kill you.


Every choice you make is a step toward or away from the person you want to become. No single choice will get you where you want to go. Only repeated steps over time in the same direction will move you forward.


If you want to win once, focus on the outcome. If you want to win often, focus on the process.


You can't buy wisdom. You have to earn it. A conversation, tweet, or book isn't going to make you smarter. What makes you smarter is the lonely work of chewing on it, digesting it, and making it yours.


Trying and struggling looks like incompetence right up until the moment it looks like success.


Formal education will give you a career. Self-education will give you freedom.


What matters has sharply come into focus. Family matters. Love matters. Kindness matters. Health matters. Generosity matters. People matter. Community matters. The rest is just noise.

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