Christopher Hitchens’ Guiding Principles

Beware the irrational, however seductive.

Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself.

Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others.

Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish.

Picture all experts as if they were mammals.

Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity.

Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.

— Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

Your time of silence has come too soon. Thanks for the valiant fight.

(Thanks to A.Word.A.Day for the reference.)

The Law of Anecdotal Value

Choose the experiences in life that offer the most anecdotal value — that is, look for the opportunities that have the most likelihood of producing a cool story.

At the The Moth Chicago Grand Slam this year Peter Sagal (yes, that Peter Sagal) relayed these words of wisdom, passed on to him by a theater professor at Lewis and Clark College many years before.

With a tip of the hat to The Moth, make it a story-worthy life.

Destiny’s Quite “Psst”

Both destiny’s kisses and its dope-slaps illustrate an individual person’s basic personal powerlessness over the really meaningful events in his life: i.e. almost nothing important that ever happens to you happens because you engineer it. Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of Psst that you usually can’t even hear because you’re in such a rush to or from something important you’ve tried to engineer.
— David Foster Wallace

Listen to that still, quite voice in the back of the mind. It might be your destiny trying to get your attention.

Time without attention is worthless

The worst of states is when you experience neither relaxation nor productivity. Be focused on work or focused on something else, never in-betweeen. Time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.

— Timothy Ferriss, 4-Hour Work Week.

I am on the final chapters of 4-Hour Work Week. As hard as it is for me to imagine enjoying his company, Ferriss is nailing it.

The Only Substitute for Time is Focus

There is an inescapable setup time for all tasks, large or minuscule in scale. It is often the same for one as it is for a hundred. There is a psychological switching of gears that can require up to 45 minutes to resume a major task that has been interrupted.

— Timothy Ferris, 4-Hour Work Week

Of course, I interrupted the book I was reading to post and Tweet this.

Focus is hard.