Hell Yeah or Hell No!

by Derek Silvers

what if you had so much money that you couldn’t possibly want any more? What would you do then? What would you stop doing (Location 52)

After an understandable period of relaxing, what would you pursue? (Location 54)

feel equally connected to many places. Just because I live in one place now, that doesn’t mean I should ignore the others. (Location 70)

Our actions always reveal our real values. (Location 82)

No matter what you tell the world or tell yourself, your actions reveal your real values. Your actions show you what you actually want. (Location 89)

It’s crucial to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Most people don’t know. They just go with the flow. (Location 101)

Whatever you decide, you need to optimize for that goal, and be willing to let go of the others. (Location 106)

If you want freedom, then own a business but delegate all the work (Location 114)

People have different preferences in different parts of their lives (Location 123)

If you expect criticism in advance and take pride in your unusual stance, you can bash on with a smile, being who you want to be (Location 130)

So an entrepreneur can imitate someone else’s business, and still be adding a great service to the world. (Location 137)

Be careful when you say you like or dislike something, because you could change your mind soon. (Location 143)

experience erases prejudice. (Location 153)

We shouldn’t preserve our first opinions as if they reflect our pure, untarnished, true nature. They’re often just the result of inexperience or a temporary phase. (Location 157)

Old opinions shouldn’t define who we are in the future. (Location 158)

Suddenly it was like watching a little videogame character get attacked. It was funny to watch, part of the game, and not personal at all. (Location 167)

You can even take it as feedback on the public image you’ve created (Location 170)

So if your public persona is coming across wrong, try tweaking (Location 171)

Character isn’t fate or destiny. Character isn’t DNA, decided before birth. Character is the result of your little choices and little actions. (Location 178)

Your actions are completely under your control, and seem to be the best indicator of future success. (Location 180)

The Time Paradox, by legendary psychologist Phil Zimbardo, and it blew my mind. (Location 200)

Being in love or making art pushes someone towards a present-focus. Ambition pushes someone towards a future-focus. (Location 213)

Both mindsets are necessary. You need a present-focus to enjoy life. But too much present-focus can prevent the deeper happiness of achievement. (Location 214)

If I’m acting too undisciplined, I realize it’s because I’ve stopped vividly seeing my future. I can only see the present. If I’m acting too disconnected, I realize it’s because I’m obsessed with my goals. I can see only the future. (Location 217)

The world treats you as you treat yourself. Your actions show the world who you are. (Location 224)

You won’t act differently until you think of yourself differently. So start by taking one small action that will change your self-identity. (Location 225)

We miss out on the great because we’re busy with the mediocre. (Location 228)

Say no to almost everything. This starts to free your time and mind. (Location 230)

Saying no makes your yes more powerful. (Location 232)

Though it’s good to say yes when you’re starting out, wanting any opportunity, or needing variety, it’s bad to say yes when you’re overwhelmed, over-committed, or need to focus. (Location 233)

Note: Foccuss is aabout saying no tol almosst  everything

“Hell yeah or no” is a filter you can use to decide what’s worth doing (Location 243)

It’s saying yes to one thing, and no to absolutely everything else. (Location 245)

Your first reaction is usually outdated. Either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s a knee-jerk emotional response to something in your past (Location 264)

Social media comments • Distracting environments • Discouraging family members • Your email inbox (Location 282)

When you notice that something is affecting your drive, find a way to adjust your environment, even if that’s a little inconvenient for others. (Location 283)

Personal change needs some space to happen. To bring something new into your life, you need somewhere to put it. If your current habits are filling your day, where are these new habits supposed to (Location 284)

what about quitting something you love? (Location 287)

When I hear myself saying “I need this,” I want to challenge that dependency and prove my independence. (Location 288)

Before you start something, think of the ways it could end (Location 303)

I’ve got mental pain, but that’s just me imagining things or remembering things. (Location 315)

If I put aside the mental torture I’m giving myself, the only thing that’s real is this physical moment. Is it so bad? No. It’s not perfect, but not horrible. I look around and appreciate that I’m not in hell. (Location 316)

When I’m feeling cloudy, my decisions and actions will be cloudy too. (Location 319)

Raise standards. Say no to anything less than great. (Location 320)

Raising the bar not only gives me a huge feeling of selfworth, but also empties my time. (Location 323)

Empty time has the potential to be filled with great things. Time filled with little things has little potential. (Location 325)

Focus helps me say no, because once you can clearly see where you’re heading, you’re less likely to let anything get in your way. (Location 328)

When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it. But despite feeling that way, I brush my teeth, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, pay the bills, take my vitamins, clean up, and go to bed early. These tasks are so mundane, but they help me to feel on top of things. (Location 329)

Going through the motions, even though I don’t feel like it, is peaceful. I think and process in the background as going about real life. (Location 333)

If you’re more driven than most people, you can do way more than anyone expects. (Location 359)

A random meeting and five music lessons showed me that I can do way more than the norm. (Location 362)

what a difference in experience! To go the same distance, in about the same time, but one way leaves me exhausted, and the other way, rejuvenated. (Location 377)

It’s been amazing how often everything gets done just as well and just as fast, with what feels like half the effort (Location 379)

Which then makes me realize that half of my effort wasn’t effort at all, but just unnecessary stress that made me feel like I was doing my best. (Location 380)

All the best, happiest, and most creatively productive times in my life have something in common: being disconnected. (Location 381)

it’s interesting how many highlights were just sitting in a room in that wonderful creative flow, free from the chatter of (Location 388)

Silence is a great canvas for your thoughts. That vacuum helps turn all of your inputs into output. That lack of interruption helps you flow. (Location 389)

But if what you want out of life is to create, then those are your obstacles. (Location 391)

Turn off your phone and Wi-Fi. Focus. Write. Practice. Create. That’s what’s rare and valuable these days (Location 392)

You get no competitive edge from consuming the same stuff everyone else is consuming. It’s rare, now, to focus. (Location 393)

Some people think they need to go all the way to Thailand to meditate, or to India to learn yoga. But of course these are things they can do for free at home. (Location 410)

We have old dreams. We have images we want to re-create. They’re hard to untangle from the result we really want. They become excuses, and reasons to procrastinate. (Location 415)

Like everyone, I have a list of boring chores that need to be done but that I’ve been putting off for years. I never do them because I’m always more excited about something else. (Location 418)

And since I don’t want to waste my inspired times on brainless work, this is a perfect time to do those dull tasks. (Location 420)

Conventional wisdom tells us to do the important and difficult thing first. But doing this boring work moves me from a state of doing nothing to doing something. (Location 422)

Comparing up versus comparing down: Your happiness depends on where you’re focusing (Location 430)

If you catch yourself burning with envy or resentment, think like the bronze medalist, not the silver. (Location 431)

Instead of comparing up to the nexthigher situation, compare down to the next-lower one (Location 432)

Instead, if you aim to buy the “good enough” thing, it will keep you in the bronze mindset. Since you’re not comparing to the best, you’ll feel no need to keep up. (Location 433)

On the other hand, when you’re being ambitious, trying to be the best at a specific skill, it’s good to be dissatisfied, like that silver medalist focusing on the gold. (Location 436)

You can use that drive to practice and improve. (Location 437)

Note: Self improvement and self acceptance are  two siddes off thee coin

Ambition versus gratitude. Comparing up versus comparing down (Location 439)

If we love doing something, it seems simple. (Location 442)

Even if you say you want to do something, if you catch yourself thinking of it in many tedious steps, maybe you don’t really want to do it. Why would you? It sounds awful (Location 446)

“There was really nothing to it. I just made this little website, and people liked it. That’s (Location 448)

Do you have a list of conditions you need to have met before you do something? Try changing “and” to “or.” sivers.org/andor 57 There are always more than two options People sometimes ask my help in making big decisions. (Location 454)

Once people get two options, they start comparing the pros and cons of those two, and forget to think of more. (Location 460)

Build your new company outside of work hours. Do this until the income from the new company is 50 percent of your salary; then quit (Location 462)

Bring your new-company idea to your boss and propose it as a division of their company, so you can stay on salary (Location 463)

Brainstorm them all, from the hybrids to the ridiculous. It takes under an hour, but has always helped my friends feel less stressed, think clearly, and get excited about decisions that used to feel like dilemmas. (Location 466)

Bounce ideas off of all of your surroundings, and listen to all the echoes to get the whole picture. (Location 479)

Ultimately, only you know what to do , based on all the feedback you’ve received and all your personal nuances that no one else knows. (Location 480)

Life is like any journey. You need to change directions a few times to get where you want (Location 481)

Early in your career, the best strategy is to say yes to everything. (Location 482)

Then when something is extra-rewarding, it’s time to switch strategies.Focus all of your energy on this one thing. Don’t be leisurely. Strike while it’s hot. Be a freak. Give it everything you’ve got. If by chance it was a dead-end road, then switch your strategy back to trying everything. (Location 483)

Are you trying to pursue many different directions at once (Location 490)

Do just one thing for a few years, then another for a few years, then another. (Location 492)

You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience. (Location 495)

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years. (Location 502)

I just assume I’m below average. It serves me well. I listen more. I ask a lot of questions. I’ve stopped thinking others are stupid. (Location 508)

To assume you’re below average is to admit you’re still learning. You focus on what you need to improve, not your past accomplishments. (Location 509)

Many people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all. (Location 510)

You destroy that paralysis when you think of yourself as just a student, and your current actions as just practice. (Location 511)

I used to get mad at people. They lied. They betrayed me. They disappeared. (Location 513)

I made it more appealing for them to disappear than to communicate. (Location 515)

Now you’re in control and there’s nothing to complain about. (Location 519)

The guy who ran away with my investment? My fault. I should have verified his claims (Location 521)

Think of every bad thing that happened to you, and imagine that you happened to it (Location 523)

actually love being wrong, even though it cracks my confidence, because that’s the only time I learn. (Location 529)

I actually love being lost, even though it fuels fears, because that’s when I go somewhere unexpected. (Location 530)

So I finally figured out what’s great about this. Getting knocked on my ass made me humble as hell. (Location 532)

It’s better than thinking I’ve got it all figured out. (Location 534)

The counter-melody is a separate melody that could stand on its own, but is mainly there to complement the main melody. (Location 538)

Really I hope you listen to the combination (Location 543)

They say, “What are the odds of that?” as if to mean that it can’t be chance. Life feels more amazing to them if it all has meaning. (Seeking patterns in randomness is called apophenia. (Location 552)

It’s as if to him, the recording was the end of the life of a song, instead of the beginning. It makes just as much sense if you think about it that way. (Location 563)

Obvious to you. Amazing to others (Location 586)

So maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else? (Location 594)

We’re clearly bad judges of our own creations. (Location 595)

Are you holding back something that seems too obvious to share (Location 596)

consider when making life-size decisions: • What makes you happy • What’s smart — meaning long-term good for you • What’s useful to others (Location 597)

Smart and useful isn’t bad. It’s rational, like a machine. But happiness is the oil. Without it, the friction kills the engine. (Location 601)

This is the stereotype of the “lifestyle design” or self-help addict: always learning, always improving, and obsessively focused on how to be happy and create the perfect life. (Location 602)

Ultimately you must be lifted by those around you. Happy and useful (but not smart) (Location 605)

Happy and useful isn’t bad. These people are doing good for the world, so it’s hard to find fault. They have great intentions but lame strategies — wasted effort and unused potential. (Location 610)

“The Ant and the Grasshopper,” you’ll be full of regret if you think of nothing but today and don’t prepare for tough times. (Location 613)

What makes me happy • What’s smart • What’s useful to others (Location 616)

Have a well-paying job. • Seriously pursue your art for love, not money. (Location 619)

First: balance. You’ve heard about balancing heart and mind, or rightbrain left-brain (Location 620)

money and expression. (Location 622)

Each half of your life becomes a remedy for the other. You get paid stability for part of your day, but then need creative time for expression. (Location 623)

So you push yourself creatively, expose your vulnerable art to the public, feel the frustration of rejection and apathy, and then long for some stability again. (Location 624)

If you don’t progress and challenge yourself creatively, it won’t satisfy the balance. Release and sell your work like a professional. Find some fans. Let them pay you. (Location 629)

You don’t need to worry if it doesn’t sell. You don’t need to please the marketplace. You don’t need to compromise your art or value it based on others’ opinions. (Location 631)

You’re just doing this for yourself — art for its own sake. (Location 632)

Your main obstacle to this amazing life will be self-control. (Location 634)

You’ll need good mind management to not think of your job after you leave the office. (Location 635)

the happiest people I know are the ones that have this balance. (Location 638)

Don’t expect your job to fulfill all your emotional needs. Don’t taint something you love with the need to make money from it. Don’t try to make your job your whole life. Don’t try to make your art your sole income. (Location 639)

What makes you feel depressed, annoyed, or like your life has gone astray if you don’t do it enough? (Location 644)

Answers to this double-negative question seem to be better indicators of what’s really worth doing. (Location 645)

Learning without doing is wasted. If I don’t use what I learn, then it was pointless! How horrible to waste those hundreds of hours I spent learning, and not turn it into action. (Location 651)

Nobody’s judging me because nobody’s thinking of me. They’re just looking for ways to improve their own lives. (Location 653)

The public me is not the real me anyway, so if they judge my public persona, that’s fine. (Location 654)

The work is the point, and my work is unique. If I can do something that people find useful, then I should. (Location 655)

As time goes on, we get smarter. We learn more about ourselves or our customers — what we or they really want. Therefore, we’re at our dumbest at the beginning, and at our smartest at the end. (Location 662)

Resist the urge to figure it all out in advance. Realize that now, in the beginning, is when you know the least (Location 665)

Most have an idea but no customers. For them I always say, “Don’t start a business until people are asking you to (Location 670)

First you find real people whose problem you can solve. You listen deeply to find their dream scenario. You make sure they’re happy to pay you enough. (Location 672)

Don’t announce anything. Don’t choose a name. Don’t make a website or an app. Don’t build a system. You need to be free to completely change or ditch your idea. (Location 673)

Then you get another paying customer. Prove a real demand (Location 674)

I’m very ambitious and try to do a lot with my life. But when I’m with him, I stop everything else. Phone off. Computer off. (Location 684)

try to see things through his eyes — to put myself into his mind. When he gets upset, I try to remember what it was like to be his age and relate at that level. (Location 685)

When he makes up stories, I enter his invented world. (Location 686)

The reason I’m finally writing about this is because I realized that I’m doing all these things for myself as much as for him. (Location 695)

By entering his world, I’m letting go of my own, like meditation. By broadening his inputs, I’m broadening my own (Location 696)

Time really is limited. We can’t pretend it’s not. Time spent doing one thing is time spent not doing something else (Location 703)

It’s so easy to waste time doing stuff that’s not important, not really fun, and not useful to anyone, not even yourself. (Location 704)

It’s so hard to fight the resistance to do the more difficult but more important thing. Finishing that book. Writing that song. Launching that project. (Location 705)

I love how the distributed word is eternal — that every day I get emails from strangers thanking me for things I wrote years ago that helped them today (Location 707)

My friend was a brilliant conversationalist, one of the brightest minds I’ve met, but he never put his thoughts into writing. It’s extra-sad that his thoughts are gone (Location 709)

Things I learned in the past are now wrong. Times have changed. Beliefs that were true are now false. They were based on old limitations that are now gone. (Location 711)

“The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” (Location 719)

We want to see the world clearly and know what’s what. But once we’re past the first stage of wisdom, the next stage involves adapting to new changes. (Location 720)

Life can be improved by adding, or by subtracting. The world pushes us to add, because that benefits them. But the secret is to focus on subtracting. (Location 722)

It’s easy to think I need something else. It’s hard to look instead at what to remove. (Location 726)

The least successful people I know run in conflicting directions, are drawn to distractions, say yes to almost everything, and are chained to emotional obstacles. (Location 727)

More people die from eating too much than from eating too little. (Location 729)

There are no smart people or stupid people, just people being smart or being stupid. (Location 733)

Being stupid means avoiding thinking by jumping to conclusions. (Location 734)

If you see a gorgeous painting that fascinates you, does it matter if you find out the artist didn’t pay her taxes? Would you stop enjoying the painting? (Location 739)

When I buy a book that has a picture of the author on the cover, I rip off and trash the cover before I even leave the store. I don’t care who the author is. All that matters are the ideas inside the book and what I do with them. (Location 742)

what matters is what I get out of their work, not the person who made it. (Location 746)

“Now that I’ve proven that the messenger is not perfect, I don’t have to listen to anything they say.” (Location 748)

But the act of reading a book is really about you and what you get from it. All that matters is what you do with the ideas, no matter the source. Apply them to your own life in your own way. (Location 749)

Moving for good You are the way you are because of what you’ve experienced. Your country, family, town, random circumstances, and friends have shaped the way you think. If you had grown up on the other side of the world, you would have a different set of values and thought patterns (Location 757)

But if you keep experiencing the same things, your mind keeps its same patterns. Same inputs, same responses. Your brain, which was once curious and growing, gets fixed into deep habits. Your values and opinions harden and resist change. If you don’t flex, you lose your flexibility. (Location 759)

You really learn only when you’re surprised. If you’re not surprised, then everything is fitting into your existing thought patterns. (Location 761)

With effort, you could do this from the comfort of home. But the most effective way to shake things up is to move across the world. Pick a place that’s most unlike what you know, and go. (Location 762)

Form deep friendships with locals. Ask lots of questions. Ask people to explain and show you how things are done. When they state a fact, ask how they know. When they state an opinion, ask for examples. (Location 766)

Every country has a shared and working philosophy. Dive in and really try to understand it. This is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Stay immersed at least until you feel yourself saying “we” instead of “they (Location 770)

Don’t focus on the example itself. Use it as a metaphor, and apply the lesson to my situation. It sounds obvious now, but I’d never looked at it that way before. (Location 778)

Nobody else knows your exact situation. So learn to see past the example, focus on the lesson, and apply it to your own life. (Location 781)

Even if presented with proof that an event is totally random or neutral, we decide it has meaning anyway. It makes life more poetic and beautiful. (Location 815)

At twenty-nine, I had done it. After fifteen years of practice, and about a thousand live shows, I was finally a good singer, at least by my own standards. You can judge for yourself at sivers.org/music, where my old recordings are at the bottom, and new recordings are at the top. (Location 833)

It’s overwhelming to feel so in awe of the people who seem to do it naturally. I’m just a beginner. It may take me another fifteen years, but I’m determined. (Location 837)

Goals shape the present, not the future (Location 838)

If it was a great goal, you would have jumped into action already. You wouldn’t wait. Nothing would stop you. (Location 840)

Judge a goal by how well it changes your actions in the present moment (Location 842)

A bad goal is foggy, vague, and distant. A great goal is so clear, specific, and close you can almost touch it. (This is crucial to keep you going.) (Location 843)

“That’d be nice.” A great goal makes you say, “Oh my god! Yes! That would be amazing! I can’t wait! (Location 847)

A great goal is so interesting and important that you can’t be distracted (Location 848)

unless it changes your actions, right now, it’s not a great goal. Find another variation that excites you. (Location 850)

The word “inspiration” usually means “something that mentally stimulates you.” But “inspiration” also means to breathe in. The meanings poetically combine when you think of yourself breathing in thoughts, filling your body with ideas. But don’t forget to breathe out. (Location 851)

In other words, your work, itself, is the inspiration. (Location 857)

Inspiration is not receiving information. Inspiration is applying what you’ve received. (Location 859)

But constantly seeking inspiration is anti-inspiring. (Location 861)

For every bit of inspiration you take in, use it and amplify it by applying it to your work. (Location 862)

Possible futures (Location 863)

For each big plan, I make a new file in that folder and put all of my ideas and research into it. (Location 868)

I love daydreaming, just for its own sake. (Location 870)

If you think you haven’t found your passion (Location 873)

It’s dangerous to think in terms of “passion” and “purpose” because they sound like such huge overwhelming things. (Location 874)

just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level. (Location 877)

If you keep thinking about doing something big, and you find that the idea both terrifies and intrigues you, it’s probably a worthy endeavor for you (Location 878)

You grow by doing what excites you and what scares you. (Location 879)

Whatever scares you, go do it (Location 881)

On a big level, it can be that huge terrifying idea that won’t go away. Starting a business. Visiting a country. Quitting your job. Whatever scares you, go do (Location 884)

Best of all, once you do something that scared you, you’re not scared of it anymore! (Location 886)

Legendary psychologist Abraham Maslow said it well: “Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day. (Location 887)