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Steve Pavlina about trying something and "connecting the dots"

Here's a very inspiring text by self development author Steve Pavlina, about how we never know what knowledge and skills we'll find use for later. If you like it, follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and check out his free and extensive website.

Connecting The Dots

During his 2005 Stanford commencement address, Steve Jobs told a story about connecting the dots. He noted that sometimes we can't predict how we'll be able to apply our knowledge and skills later in life. For instance, Steve learned about calligraphy at Reed College, with "no hope of practical application." Years later, he used this knowledge to include advanced typography and proportionally spaced fonts in the design of the Mac's operating system.

Steve said that he couldn't have predicted this outcome in advance, but 10 years later he was able to connect these dots looking backwards. By then the long-term value of that calligraphy class was obvious.

Follow Your Intuition

Another point he stressed during that speech was that in order to set yourself up for connecting the dots, you must follow your intuition. When he first enrolled at Reed College, he had to take required courses that didn't interest him. Then he dropped out and sat in on classes that truly interested him for another 18 months. To choose these classes, he followed his intuition.

When I was 10 years old, I was exposed to my first glimpse of BASIC programming. At the time I didn't know what intuition was, but I became very interested in computers. I used to save up my money to buy programming books at the bookstore. One of my favorites when I was 13 was Dr. C. Wacko's Miracle Guide to Designing and Programming Your Own Atari Computer Arcade Games.

I had no idea where this would lead. I didn't set out to become a programmer. I was simply motivated by curiosity and wonder.

I ended up learning to program computer games before I'd really had a chance to play many of them. Most of the early games I played required typing in BASIC programs by hand. Then I could run those programs and play the games. Since I had the source code, I was able to learn how simple games were constructed. I'd try to imagine how the game would work while I was typing in the code. Since I couldn't type very well, I picked up a lot of early game programming techniques by typing in other people's code one line at a time. I learned to type in BASIC long before I learned to type in English.

I had no idea that years later I'd be writing my own computer games and selling them to people all around the world. All I knew at the time was that I was very curious about programming, and I wanted to learn more.

I went to college and picked up degrees in computer science and mathematics, but on a practical level those were largely worthless. I was already working on my first commercial game project while I was still in college, and it was selling in software stores like Comp USA shortly after I graduated. I was able to do this work because of what I learned between ages 10 and 18 on my own. I gained more practical value from Dr. Wacko's book than I ever did in college. I went to college for logical reasons, but the payoff came from following my intuition.

I don't think it's always true that we can never connect the dots looking forward. I was able to do that with public speaking. I expected I'd eventually start doing my own workshops, and so I made a commitment to learn public speaking. I practiced for 5 years before I did my first 3-day workshop. I could see that coming up from many years in advance. It was a predictable outcome.

I still agree with Steve Jobs that sometimes we can only connect the dots with the benefit of hindsight. Life has many twists and turns, and we don't always know where our paths will lead.

I believe the core lesson here is how important it is to follow your curiosity. This is a bit different than the advice to do what you love. How do you know you'll love something if you've never done it before?

I doubt Steve Jobs knew in advance that he'd enjoy typography. I didn't know in advance that I'd enjoy programming. But the curiosity to try it was there.

Let Curiosity Be Enough

When only curiosity is present, it's tempting to demand that it justify itself with the promise of practical value. But curiosity doesn't work that way. We begin with a desire to explore and experience something new, but it's merely a seed. We can't predict what will become of that seed until we plant it.

These seeds may grow into fountains of value years later. Or they may remain side hobbies or casual interests. Demanding advance validation from these seeds is like telling to baby to go out and get a job. You have to nurture the seed for years to see what becomes of it.

Recently I decided to follow my curiosity without knowing where it will lead. I've been feeling the urge to refresh my programming skills since I haven't done any serious programming in about a decade. I don't have any specific projects lined up. I just felt an intuitive nudge about it.

So this weekend I started playing around with Xcode, a development tool for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. I learned the syntax of Objective-C and went through several online tutorials. I wrote my first little iPhone/iPad app to draw a fractal and posted a picture of it on my Google+ page. I'd never written an iPhone app before, so it was rewarding to do that for the first time. It was easier than I expected.

Where will this lead? I have no idea. Maybe I'll write an app that ties into my personal growth work. Maybe it will remain a side hobby. Or maybe I'll lose interest within a week or two and explore other interests. I'm not demanding any sort of payoff from this. It's enough to honor my curiosity.

Partly I feel that the excitement is in not knowing where this will lead. Sometimes it's nice to enjoy some mystery in life. Not all desires can be formed into goals.

When I pursue interests out of sheer curiosity, they do often lead to valuable connections and payoffs down the road. However, there's also a powerful present moment benefit to such pursuits. When you follow your curiosity, you can experience some potent psychological rewards along the way. First, you have the pleasurable anticipation of knowing that you're going to learn something new, and secondly you have the satisfaction that comes with each new insight. This helps you feel good in general, even when you're not pursuing that particular interest, and this can greatly improve overall quality of life.

What are you curious about? What would you like to learn just because it interests you?

Have you been demanding that a curiosity-based interest justify its place in your life, such as by guaranteeing a financial payoff?

What would happen if you could dive in and pursue a new interest merely to satisfy your curiosity and honor your intuition? Could you let that be enough?

Years down the road, you may indeed find that you can connect the dots, just as Steve Jobs did. But for right now, could you let go of any psychological baggage and do it just because it might be interesting in the moment?


There's no need to overcommit. If it doesn't work out, you can drop it after a day or two. There's no need to turn it into a long-term goal. There's no need to expect any particular level of performance from yourself. You don't even have to be good at it.

In fact, you don't even have to love it. All you need is curiosity. You can always dump it if you truly hate it, but why not give it a try just for the sake of learning and experiencing something that calls to you?

When you pursue a new interest, don't worry about plotting a course. Don't worry about not knowing where to begin. Start with a Google search to find some web pages about your hobby. Read those, follow some links, and bookmark pages that seem interesting. After an hour you'll have plenty of resources to get you started.

What new interest could you pursue out of sheer curiosity? Why not set aside some time to look into it? How does next weekend sound?

(From Steve Pavlina's "Personal Development Insights Newsletter" #46, not published on his website.)


Valuable lessons in creating a successful lifestyle and business

Tim Ferriss is the "super-human" author of two highly inspiring bestsellers, "The 4-Hour Workweek" and "The 4-Hour Body".

If you are interested in creating a successful lifestyle and business, read these valuable (and free) lessons from Tim and guest writers. All the following posts are from 2012 and Tim's blog, "Experiments in Lifestyle Design".

1) Blogging:
"How to build a high-traffic blog without killing yourself" and "The 21 WordPress plugins that keep me sane"

2) Writing apps:
"How to build an app empire: Can you create the next Instagram?"

3) Reaching life goals:
"6 steps to crossing anything off your bucket list"

4) Crowdsourcing:
"The 10 best crowdsourcing tools and technologies"

5) Writing:
"Paulo Coelho: How I write"

6) Two entrepreneurs meet:
Derek Sivers interviews Tim.

7) Reading fiction:
"The top 10 fiction books for non-fiction addicts"

8) Building a business on almost no money:
"Six-figure businesses built for less than $100: 17 lessons learned"

9) Reinventing the office:
"How to lose fat and increase productivity at work"

10) Being an empathic leader:
"How to become an effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer"

11) Understanding sales lists:
"How bestseller lists work…and introducing the Amazon Monthly 100"

12) Understanding mental fatigue:
"Understanding the dangers of 'Ego-Depletion'"

And in November Tim's new book is coming out, entitled "The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life".


Music producer Trevor Horn - a three hour video interview

English legendary music producer Trevor Horn gives an amazing THREE HOUR video interview with Red Bull Music Academy, going through his whole career in fascinating detail.

This talk is a must-see for anyone interested in how fantastic pop music is/was made, and is split up - watch part 1 and part 2.

Horn is famous for producing e.g. Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Art Of Noise, The Buggles, Grace Jones, Yes and many more, plus owning ZTT Records.

Here is a one hour "best of" of the chat, if you don't have more time.

Here is a new interview in The Telegraph with Horn's band The Producers (with colleagues Lol Creme and Stephen Lipson) about their new album "Made In Basing Street".

Buy the 2CD deluxe edition from Amazon UK, the digital download from Amazon UK, or the standard CD (import) from Amazon US.

And here are a dozen videos (by Holy Moly!) featuring The Producers talking about their new album.


Awaredance festival in Bali - trance, chill-out, awareness and healing

If you are in South-East Asia in May, check out the Awaredance festival 2012 at Mount Batur, Bali. The festival focuses on trance, chill-out, awareness and healing, and runs over five full days, from 25th to 29th of May.

Last summer I was a DJ in the chill-out section, and hung out for the day after.

Here's me DJ'ing on Saturday night:

Seeing the sun rise over Mount Agung and Lake Batur is breathtaking:

The beautiful soundtrack to the amazing sunrise was chilled beats from Osman:

The most intense experience for me was attending Biodanza with Diane and six other beautiful people. We hugged intensively with every member of the group, looked into each other's eyes for a long time, and other "hippie stuff". :) The group:

And here's me with the founder of the festival, Baba. Sorry guy on the left, I forgot your name:

Also check out this photo set by with more shots, plus the pages of Baba and Osman, who organized the whole thing.

I DJ'ed on on Saturday night, and it was reeeally nice to play some classic tracks for an appreciating audience who were dancing and chilling.

You can listen to a four-hour recording of the mix here on Mixcloud:

And here is the playlist (with links to the artists):
Underworld - Capa's Last Transmission Home
FFWD - Lucky Saddle
Curve - Rising (Headspace Mix By The Future Sound Of London)
Mulu - Filmstar (Sample Of Sonus)

Boards Of Canada - Happy Cycling
Nebular Spool - A Plankton Affair
Aphex Twin - Ageispolis
William Orbit - Optical Illusions (Billy Buttons Mix)
The Future Sound Of London - Papua New Guinea (The Lovers)

EgAlice - Doesn't Mean That Much To Me (The Ambient Mix By Dave And Eg)
Daft Punk - Veridis Quo
The Orb - Toxygene (Fila Brazillia Mix)
Madonna - What It Feels Like For A Girl (Smooth Mix)
Tranquility Bass - La La La (The Skull Valley High Desert Funk Mix)
Spooky - Strange Addiction (Dub Addiction)
The Irresistible Force - Nepalese Bliss (Jimpster Remix)
Massive Attack - Back/She Comes (Mixed By Mad Professor)
Circular - Bits (Chernozem Remix)

Kate Bush - Nocturn
Fortunato & Montresor - Imagine (Imagination 2)
Biosphere - Novelty Waves (Arctic Mix)
A Positive Life - Pleidean Communication
Nav Katze - Crazy Dream (Retro 313 Future Memory Mix By Reload)

Depeche Mode - Little 15 (Ulrich Schnauss Remix)
Tangerine Dream - Love On A Real Train (From "Risky Business" OST)
Front 242 - Happiness (Dub Mix By Underworld)
Lisa Germano - From A Shell
Pablo's Eye - When She Smiles

Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint: 3. Fast (RYXP's Milde Salve By Röyksopp)
Röyksopp - Happy Up Here (Datassette Remix)
Rama 1 - C'est La Vie
Mandalay - Not Seventeen (Attica Blues Remix)
Deep Forest - Sweet Lullaby (Ambient Version)

Vangelis - Let It Happen (Feat. Robert Fitoussi & Warren Shapovitch)
Torch Song - Field Of View
Air Liquide - If There Was No Gravity
Lindstrøm - Grand Ideas (Johan Agebjörn Remix)
Barbarella - My Name Is Barbarella (1995 Be Zet Mix By Stevie B-Zet)

Sven Väth - Ritual Of Life (Tribal Acid Mix By Ralf Hildenbeutel)
Schumann - Träumerei (Played By Donald Betts)


Nyepi in Bali - a day of silence to mark the new year

Right now in this moment, all over Bali it's completely dark and peaceful. Since it's Nyepi and the new year, everyone is in "house arrest". No one is allowed to walk on the streets or beaches from 06.00 AM this morning and for 24 hours thereafter, to make sure the evil spirits don't see anyone in Bali, and leave the island alone for the next year.

The only people outside are the Pecalang, traditional security men from the banjars who patrol the streets and beaches to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.

There are no lights (except in some of the bigger hotels), no music, no one is making any noise. You hear natural sounds you never noticed before - the sound of the ocean waves, the crickets, the frogs, the rustling leaves, small trees moving with the wind.

Even the airport is closed, there is no traffic in Bali for 24 hours.

And even more amazing is that since Nyepi is on a Friday this year, the Balinese allowed the Muslim minority to go to the Friday prayer in the mosques. This shows how tolerant they truly are - even if the traffic and noise could make the evil spirits see that there are people in Bali, and thus ruin the whole point of Nyepi, they still let the Muslims attend Jumu'ah.

Yesterday, after over a week of rain, the weather gods blessed Bali with sun, and the Balinese could do their rituals to celebrate their new year (Isakawarsa). I saw a beautiful ceremony, a spiritual dance that symbolized the battle between good and evil, and the whole banjar articipated or cheered. (Hint: Good wins.) The dance ended the Ogoh-Ogoh parade of monsters, here's a video.

Another beautiful ritual that is part of Nyepi is Melasti, performed thee-four days before the silent day. On this day the Balinese purify the sacred objects from their temples, and acquire sacred water from the sea.

These are the rituals to be followed on Nyepi:
1. Amati Geni - no fire or light (including no electricity)
2. Amati Karya - no work
3. Amati Lelunganan - no travelling
4. Amati Lelanguan - fasting and no revelry

More info about this amazing day:
"Nyepi is very special and important to the Balinese, since this is the day that they have to fool all evil spirits that no-one is actually on Bali - hence the need for silence and darkness. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave the Bali island alone for another year. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by this rule.

Nyepi also serves to remind the Balinese of the need for tolerance and understanding in their everyday life. In fact, Hinduism on Bali is unique because it is woven into and around the original Balinese animistic religion. The two now have become one for the Balinese - a true sign of tolerance and acceptance!

The silent day is part a series of celebrations to welcome the Caka New Year in the Balinese Hindu religion, and has been celebrated in Bali since the era of Majapahit. The essence of the feast of Nyepi is a self-introspection and reflection before the new year. For that a tranquil and quiet atmosphere is required to clear the mind and to ask the Creator that next year all the mistakes done in the existing year will not be repeated again in the coming New Year."


Over 14.000 free patches for Synth1 - a free virtual instrument for both PC and Mac

There are over 14.000 presets/patches/sounds available for the excellent freeware virtual instrument Synth1, all downloadable in various ZIP files that you can put in a folder and then access without having to unpack them.

I just made life much easier for you by taking the 173 available free banks I know about, cleaning them up, and then putting them in a single ZIP file you can download. Click here to get it, the size is just a little over 7 megabytes. (Updated 7/3-2017)

By the way - if you know about other banks that I have missed, PLEASE email them to me at and I'll include them in the next update. Thanks!

So - after you download the ZIP file, unpack it to a folder of your choice. Just make sure it's on your computer's internal hard drive. Then open Synth1 and click the "Opt"-button, then the "Browse"-button on the right side, and select the folder you just unpacked the ZIP-file to.

Now when you want to use the banks, click the fields next to the "Opt"-button, which will open this dialogue:

Now click the arrow next to "External (.zip)" and you will see all the ZIP files. Click one, select one of the patches, and start making music!

Also, if you have Windows you can try using this tool by James Parsons to randomly generate new sounds.

This single ZIP includes the following 173 ZIP files:
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 01
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 02
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 03
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 04
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 05
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 06
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 07
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 08
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 09
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 10
aaa bbb Thanks Ms Ichiro 11
Alfmeister's Magic Cracker
Ami Evan
aMUSEd Atonal Abstractions
Argon2005 Argon
Argon2005 Electric Dreams
Art Institute Vol 1
Art Institute Vol 2
AZur Studio 1
AZur Studio 2
AZur Studio 3
ballacr75 BE Random Patch Generator
barrybitter I Let The Dogs Out
Bryan Lake
bstageboss Famous Sounds addendum
bstageboss Vivolator
bwwd's Gold
bwwd's Green
bwwd's Pads
Chris Feeltune Vol. 1
Chris Feeltune Vol. 2
Christoph Mueller Synthhunter
Civilized Creation
CommanderRobot Chiptune & Lofi Bank
crispydinner BonkerBank
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore 128
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore Techno Essentials
Damien Chamizo Audiowhore Unison Delights
devilnishy NISH-2011-Organs'n'Stabs
Dezma Soundbank
do_androids_dream bladerunner
Dogmeat Saws 1
Dogmeat Saws 2
Factory Presets
Filter303 FX
GeckoYamori Gecko
Hanz Meyzer Dance In The Bureau Presets
Joel Bisson Synthematic
Joel Bisson
JS Hip Hop Collection
kevosince85 CreateAudio Presets 45
KoolKool Euro-Nam Bank 118
KoolKool EuroBeat
KoolKool Star-Nam (Bonus)
KoolKool Star-Nam
KvR Soundbank
LiKwid DaTaBaSsEs
Lila K
lucknow13 1Luck's Rainbow
lucknow13 Dark Equinox-LK
lucknow13 DECA
lucknow13 Gaura-Nitai-LK
lucknow13 Janus-LK
lucknow13 LK-Kultura
lucknow13 LK-Monstronomo
lucknow13 OZAmbient
lucknow13 P0LARS-LK 2011
lucknow13 Phuturama-LK
lucknow13 X-Ploded-LK
lucknow13 z13-Caution-z13 lk
Madame Eljay
Mark van Schaik Mach1 Presets
MisterToast Toast
Mr Wobble Vol. 1
Mr Wobble Vol. 2
Mr Wobble Zen
neko's Braindance
neko's The 80's
NielsenSound EDM
Nine Of Kings
Nolwenn Ann 1
Nolwenn Ann 2
Nolwenn Ann 3
Ouroboros 1
Ouroboros 2
Ouroboros 3
Pencilgod 1
Pencilgod 2
Pencilgod 3
Pencilgod 4
peterdh Bank2
Photonic Signal Lost
Pummel's Filtered FM
Reinhard Reschner Echopark
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 1
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 2
RetroHead GMulator Vol. 3
Richard Semper
Rob Rouleau Dance
S1 Project Sound Library
sagamusix Colors Of Synth1
Schiffbauer Kujashi 2
Schiffbauer Kujashi 3
Schiffbauer Kujashi 4
Schiffbauer Kujashi
sin night Sinusoidal NIghtmare (16 patches)
Sonicstyle Trance & Techno
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 1 (Arp)
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 2 (Bass)
Stephan Musch RSMUS7 3 (Pad)
Summa & DocT
Summa Welcome2Mac
Synthematic Techno Illusion
Synthmorph Pluto Box
SynthSynthesizer User Group EinTon
Techno Essential
Teksonik 1
Teksonik 2
Teksonik 4
Teksonik 50 More Sounds
Teksonik 64 More Sounds
Teksonik 2008 Edit
Tim Conrardy
TNK Analog Dream
Toast-Synthhunter-Atonal Abstractions-Axiom-EinTon (5-in-1)
Tonius 1
Tonius 2
uncle236 Electro
VitaminD The Definitive Bank
X-Protocol S1
Xenos Dubstep & DnB
Xenos Signature

Synth1 is the best free virtual instrument in the world - both for PC and Mac

If you are making music on a PC or Mac, try out the mighty freeware Synth1 by Japanese wizard Ichiro Toda. Functionally it's a virtual analog synth based on the classic Swedish instrument Clavia Nord Lead 2, and it can be used for anything from leads, basses, pads, strings to effects.

Despite its huge sound it's extremely light on the CPU. People have reported being able to open over 100 separate instances, which means you can layer sound on sound and create complex moving soundscapes. For free!

Here is a demo of some Synth1 sounds someone have uploaded to YouTube.

Features include:
* Two oscillators, FM modulation, ring modulation, sync, modulation envelope
* Four types of filters, distortion
* Two LFOs
* Arpeggiator
* Tempo delay, stereo chorus/flanger, compressor etc.
* Legato mode, portamento.
* 16 notes polyphony.
* Thoroughly optimized for light CPU load using SSE instructions etc.
* Automation
* All rhytmic features (LFO, arpeggiator and delays etc.) can be synchronized with host

Click here to download for PC or Mac, then extract the file(s) into your VST or AU folder.

When you want more sounds, here are over 14.000 patches in one small and handy download.

Zoran Nikolic has written a very good manual for Synth1, and also has links to even more patches and resources. Plus he has also made a page linking to a lot of music made with Synth1.

Have fun and make music!


Like Amy Purdy, you can do almost ANYTHING

If you for some reason are feeling sorry for yourself, spend 10 minutes to view this TED talk by Amy Purdy. When she was 19 she lost both her legs below the knee - today she's a world champion female adaptive snowboarder, and a founder of a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing people with physical challenges to action sports.

If you still feel her situation doesn't apply to you, read this quote:
"Instead of looking at our challenges and limitations as something negative, we can begin to look at them as blessings - magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations, and help us go further than we ever knew we could go.

When I lost my legs, I had no idea what to expect. But if you ask me today if I would ever wanna change my situtation, I would have to say 'no'. Because my legs haven't disabled me, if anything they have enabled me. They forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities."

Click on the image below for the 10 minute video:

Also check out her blogTwitter and Wikipedia entry.


Great quotes from wise people

Here I will collect all the best quotes I come across, with updates now and then. You can bookmark this page and also link to it.

Also check out "100 great quotes about motivation and taking action", a very popular post on my blog.


"I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated His ability."
- Oscar Wilde

"God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through."
- Paul Valery

"If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us tickets."
- Mel Brooks

"There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
- Voltaire

"If you want to organize anything, assume everybody is absolutely stupid. And assume yourself that you're stupid."
- Bayard Austin

"Character is what you know you are, not what others think you are."
- Marvin Collins and Civia Tamark

"I'm glad I did it. Partly because it was well worth it, but chiefly because I shall never ever have to do it again."
- Mark Twain

"The mother of the year should be a sterilized woman with two adopted children."
- Paul Ehrlich

"It is often safer to be in chains than it is to be free."
- Franz Kafka

"Freedom of choice is what you got – freedom from choice is what you want."
- Devo

"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
- George Orwell

"There is nothing more evil in the universe than man."
- Robert de Grimston

"The greater the lie, the greater the chance it will be believed."
- Adolf Hitler

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
- Buddha

"If there weren’t people unafraid to be judged insane by their peers, we’d all still be living in caves."
- Jello Biafra

"The mediocre man augments his worth by belonging to a group; the superior man diminishes it."
- Gustave Le Bon

"Those who have some funds think that the most important thing in the world is love. The poor know it is money."
- Gerald Brenan

"Moralistic preaching from hypocritical parents is worse than useless."
- John A. Sanford

"The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom...for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough."
- William Blake

"Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people."
- Heinrich Heine

"Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all."
- Arthur James

"Pessimists never do anything, they sit in the corner and moan and piss and groan and bitch and complain, but they never do anything. The optimists are the ones who do things. At least I’m trying. I'm an optimist on principle."
- Robert Anton Wilson

"Change is not progress."
- Ragnar Redbeard

"Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?"
- Stanislaw J. Lec

"Even making love involves power relations, charged with eroticism...There’s so much pleasure in giving orders; there’s also pleasure in taking them. This pleasure of power – well, there’s a topic for study."
- Foucault

"Formal religion was organized for slaves; it offered them consolation which earth did not provide."
- Elbert Hubbard

"As far as I know, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd. Indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."
- Bertrand Russell

"Americans love and hate sex. Sex sells products, fuels popular novels and Hollywood’s star system. And yet, when this commodification becomes literal, when sexual pleasure is bought and sold, Americans are terrified. Sex professionals bear the burden of this fear. Prostitutes have historically been publicly vilified, leaving them vulnerable to attack, abuse, and harassment from all sides. Yet they never seem to run out of clients."
- P.O.N.Y. (Prostitutes of New York)

"Knowledge is not intelligence."
- Heraclitus

"Women today are not satisfied… they want men, but all they find are little boys."
- Charles Manson

"Women are always attracted to power. I do not think there could ever be a conqueror so bloody that most women would not willingly lie with him in the hope of bearing a son who would be every bit as ferocious as the father."
- Gore Vidal

"I do not like work even when another person does it."
- Mark Twain

"A clever person solves a problem, a wise person avoids it."
- Albert Einstein

"Begin! Only by starting can the impossible become possible."
- Thomas Carlyle

"Pornography is rather like trying to find out about a Beethoven symphony by having somebody tell you about it and perhaps hum a few bars."
- Davies Robertson

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
- Albert Einstein

"Do it. Do it right. Do it right now."
- Bobby Riggs

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
- Albert Einstein

"You must be the change / You wish to see in the world"
- Gandhi

"Given eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six sharpening my axe."
- Abraham Lincoln

"The world doesn't stink. Only sometimes your head is so full of shit."
- Anonym

"If you ask the wrong questions, you will always get the wrong answers."
- Anonym

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."
- Babe Ruth

"Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us."
- Thomas L. Holdcroft

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
- Winston Churchill

"Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
- Gandhi

"Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies."
- Ann Landers

"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking."
- Albert Einstein

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
- Alfred D. Souza

"In the book of life every page has two sides: we human beings fill the upper side with our plans, hopes and wishes, but providence writes on the other side, and what it ordains is seldom our goal."
- Nisami

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."
- Buddha

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In the game of life it's a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season."
- Bill Baughan

"Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian."
- Shari R. Barr

"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can."
- Danny Kaye

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever..."
- Isak Dinesen

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
- Albert Einstein

"Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway."
- Steven Coallier

"Life isn't worth living unless you're willing to take some big chances and go for broke."
- Eliot Wiggington

"Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting."
- Karl Wallenda

"On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him."
- Buddha

"In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed."
- Sid Caesar

"The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny."
- Albert Ellis

"Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed."
- Buddha

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."
- Leo Buscaglia

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
- James Dean

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
- Helen Keller

"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them."
- John Updike

"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not."
- George Bernard Shaw

"When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best - that is inspiration."
- Robert Bresson

"He who knows others is wise, He who knows himself is enlightened."
- Tao Te Ching

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish with an ulterior motive; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone would destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you have got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway."
- Mother Theresa

"The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it."

"Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways."

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."

"Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience."

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."

"Maybe this world is another planet's hell!"

"Being beaten is often a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent."

"Birds sing after a storm, why shouldn't we?"

"The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spend what is left; the poor spend their money and invest what's left."

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

"Failing to plan means planning to fail. What are your goals?"

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is."

"Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory."

"In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important as remembering."

"Failure is delay, not defeat.


Oscar Wilde on women:

"All women become like their mothers, that is their tragedy; no man does, that is his."

"Never trust a woman who tells you her real age; a woman who tells you that would tell you anything."

"Women are meant to be loved, not understood."

"A woman will flirt with anyone in the world, so long as other women are looking on."

"Women can discover everything except the obvious."

"If a woman wants to hold a man, she has merely to appeal to the worst in him."

"Crying is the refuge of plain women and the ruin of pretty ones."

"If you really want to know what a woman means, which is dangerous, always look at her but never listen."

"For fascinating women, sex is a challenge; for others, it is merely a defence."


Steve Pavlina about creative self-expression

Listen to this very good podcast by Steve Pavlina about creative self-expression, divided into four parts:
1) Body (physical needs) — what must you do?
2) Mind (talents and skills) — what can you do?
3) Heart (passion and desire) — what do you want to do?
4) Spirit (purpose and contribution) — what should you do?

Check out the podcast or read the article it's based on.

Here is Steve's description of the podcast:
"Many people have been socially conditioned to believe that a career or job should be chosen based how well it pays and how qualified you are to hold it. This podcast will explain why that approach is completely backwards.

Paradoxically by selecting a career based on money and skills, your financial and career results will be but a pale shadow of your potential. And even worse than that, you will virtually guarantee long-term unhappiness. Going to work each day will become something you only do because you have to, not because you want to, and staying motivated will be very, very hard.

The path for conscious human beings is to focus first and foremost on joyful, creative self-expression. That is far more important than money, skill fit, or even contribution to others. Your own creativity is the very mechanism by which you’ll achieve everything else you could possibly want — including financial abundance, superior talent, long-term fulfillment, and meaningful contribution."

Help to stop ACTA, a huge threat to Internet freedom

SOPA/PIPA was stopped, and now ACTA is threatening the Internet in the same way. Please read this, it's important.

ACTA is an international trade agreement currently being negotiated. One of the major goals is to force signatory countries into implementing anti file-sharing policies.

This will in turn allow corporations and lobbyers to e.g. effectively control the Internet, and make Internet Service Providers responsible for what their users are doing. This would seriously cripple Internet freedom.

Here is what you can do:
- Sign this Avaaz campaign, along with over 800.000 others (and counting)
- If you are in the EU, here are additional ways you can take action
- See this video explaining ACTA's effects

Please share this on Facebook and other social media, informing your network about this danger.

And read more at StopACTA.

Massive Attack's "Singles 90/98" - a list of the missing tracks

In 1998 Massive Attack released an 11 CD boxset called "Singles 90/98", trying to sum up all the singles, remixes and B-side tracks the band had released until then.

But - for some reason Virgin Records managed to leave out a bunch of tracks that should have been included to make the collection complete. I don't know why that happened, but it's typical of record companies to mess up like that.

I will hereby save you the trouble of looking through their entire discography of 12" and CD-single releases to find out what tracks are missing - because I have done just that. And here's the list:


* Any Love
* Any Love (Bonus)
* Any Love (Inst.)
* Any Love (Acapella)
* Unfinished Sympathy (Nellee Hooper Instrumental Mix)
* Unfinished Sympathy (Perfecto Instrumental)
* Safe From Harm (Instrumental)
* Be Thankful For What You've Got (Funky Mix)
* Be Thankful For What You've Got (Instrumental Funky Mix)
* Be Thankful For What You've Got (Extended Funky Mix)
* Be Thankful For What You've Got (7" No-Rap Version)
* Any Love (Unknown Remix 1 By Larry Heard)
* Any Love (Unknown Remix 2 By Larry Heard)
(one of these two might be "Any Love (Larry Heard Mix)" included in the box)
* Any Love (Unknown Remix)
* Hymn (Unknown Remix 1 By Paul Oakenfold)
* Hymn (Unknown Remix 2 By Paul Oakenfold)
* Be Thankful (Unknown Remix By Nellee Hooper)
* Sly (Dogapella By Underdog)
* Sly (Underdog Version) (this is not the same as "Underdog Mix" which is included)
* Sly (7 Stones Instrumental By Tim Simenon)
* Protection (The Eno Instrumental By Brian Eno)
* Protection (Angel Dust Instrumental By Underdog)
* Three (Dom T's House Of Fortune Mix)
* Karmacoma (The Napoli Trip Instrumental)
* Karmacoma (Radio Edit)
* Risingson (Darren Emerson For Underworld Remix) (promo version lasting 5m29s)
* Risingson (Otherside Instrumental)
* Risingson (Single Mix)
* Risingson (Meyanderthal Mix)
* Risingson (Underdog Instrumental)
* Teardrop (Edit)
* Reflection (Instrumental)


Steve Pavlina about the connection between money and social skills

In edition #42 of Steve Pavlina's "Personal Development Insights" newsletter, he wrote about the connection between money and social skills - namely that financial struggles can be a clear sign of social ineptness.

Here's the full text, and if you want to read more, check out Pavlina's page on Google+ and his blog, and also sign up (on the left side of his blog) for these newsletters, since he for some reason doesn't publish them on the blog.

Also check out his site, where he has many hundreds of free articles. His writing is very far from "wishful thinking" self-help, instead he's very direct, clear and cuts to the point quickly.

If You're Struggling Financially, Weak Social Skills May Be the Culprit

Often when people are struggling financially, they try to make improvements that never quite work out. One reason is that they're working on symptoms while overlooking the real core issues. If I may be direct, much of the time the main reason people struggle in this part of life is because they have very weak social skills. They may think that limiting beliefs about money, or perhaps a lack of self-discipline, are holding them back, but even people with very abundant lives have limiting financial beliefs and self-discipline challenges.

The real problem isn't your financial skills or your beliefs about money. More often than not, the problem is that you're trying to make money in ways that could be described as socially inept.

People who are socially inept don't understand that money is a social tool. Money is communication. Instead they treat money as an object, as something to collect and acquire. But by using money in this way, they don't realize they're actually trying to use people. And trying to use people is a socially inept way of communicating. People generally don't like to be used as tools, so money doesn't easily flow to socially inept people who attempt to relate to others in this manner. If you're trying to get more money, you're behaving in a socially creepy manner, and so you're going to meet a lot of resistance and will most like meet with failure and frustration.

If you're having some difficulty improving your level of financial abundance, let me share a perspective with you that I think will help. This will be a very down to earth perspective -- no need to invoke the Law of Attraction or use terms like "vibrational match" here.

What Is Money?

We know that money is a medium for exchanging value. But what does that mean?

Let's set aside all conspiracy theories for the moment and focus on the practical reality of what money does for us in our daily lives. Money is used for trade. When we use money, we're trading one kind of value for another kind of value.

Using money amounts to trading goods and services, like trading apples for salt, or shoes for a massage.

Now who participates in these trades?

People. Human beings.

Money may seem more abstract than hard goods and services, so it's understandable that people get confused about how to earn it, but imagine what your financial life would be like if there was no money. What would it mean to talk about financial abundance in the absence of money?

Without money in your life, you'd basically have two options for creating abundance. The first option would be to produce everything you desire for yourself. You'd have to grow your own food. You'd have to self-educate. You'd have to design and build your own shelter, harvest all the resources for it, and invent and build your own tools from scratch. You couldn't use anything like a computer or the Internet unless you invented and developed all your own technology, including building your own communication networks. If you wanted to participate in modern society to any meaningful degree, we can safely rule out the go-it-alone approach.

Your second option for creating abundance would be to engage in trades with other people. There are two aspects to this. First, you need to have something to trade. Second, you need to conduct trades, which are social interactions.

So if you go the trading route (which is the only practical choice for most people), there are two fundamental skill sets that will determine your ability to create and enjoy financial abundance:

1. Your skill at creating value such that others are willing to trade for it. 2. Your skill at executing trades with others.

Both of these are social skills. Let's explore this more deeply...

Creating Value

It's common to think about creating value for others in terms of your mental and physical abilities, including your technical and artistic skills. Can you write software, create music, fix plumbing problems, or mop floors?

But how do you learn these skills in the first place? From your parents. From schools and teachers. From books. From the Internet. And probably from many other sources. Ultimately, however, you learned your skills from people. You wouldn't even have the most basic skills of reading, writing, and speaking if not for other people.

Yes, you can also learn through direct experimentation, but I'm sure you'll agree that most of what you've learned so far ultimately came from human beings. People created those resources and chose to share them with you. If not for the help of others, you'd pretty much be an idiot, at least by the standards of our modern society.

Now think about what an upgrade in your social skills could do for you here. If you were even more skilled socially, you'd be able to gain access to more and better educational and training resources.

Despite the massive amount of content on the Internet, a lot of knowledge is still fairly private, including some of the most current info that hasn't yet trickled down to the Internet. The only way to learn certain information is through people. Additionally, some skills are just much easier to learn directly from people than through free resources.

What determines your ability to gain access to the best proprietary info? You can buy it, but in the absence of money, your access will largely be determined by the strength of your social network, which in turn is largely determined by your social skills.

So the better your social networking skills, the more opportunities you have for skill building.

Additionally, how do you learn the relative social value of different skills? How do you learn which skills have high trading value (like performing heart surgery) vs. low trading value (like mopping floors)? You learn this from other people too. Do you have a social network that encourages you to learn and develop skills with high trading value? Or do you have a social network that lets you settle for skills with low trading value? If you have the latter type of social network, why haven't you consciously created the former?

If you aren't able to create much value for others (i.e. high trading value), that will surely depress your income. If this is a problem you're currently experiencing, it means your social network isn't doing a very good job of training you to deliver strong value. And if your social network isn't training you properly, then we have to take a serious look at your social skills, don't we? After all, you're the one who's maintaining your social network. If you wanted to change it badly enough and had the skills to do so, you could certainly do that. Lots of people do.

Some people are just lucky. They're born into amazing social networks that prepare them for lives of abundance. Others have to work at it. Either way, your social network is your responsibility. If it isn't serving you, why not change it?

One again, if your finances are lagging and you'd rather not experience that reality, it means your social network isn't doing its job, which means your social skills are lagging, which means you're not doing your job socially. Financial failure and social failure are the same thing.

Trading With Others

Now let's look at the second aspect of creating abundance. Once you have some value to offer, you can engage in intelligent trades with other people to fulfill the desires that you can't or won't fulfill on your own.

What makes for a successful trade? In the long run, this is also determined by your social network and your social skills. Opportunities for trade will come from other people, largely through your social network. If your social networking isn't bringing you abundance-producing, win-win trades on a regular basis, then again, your social network isn't doing its job. And if your social networking isn't doing it's job, why not? That would imply that you aren't doing a good job of creating and maintaining an empowering network, which in turn points to social skills that are lagging.

My intent isn't to beat you down here. My intent is to help you target the right strategy for growth if you've been struggling to create financial abundance. Some people don't see much improvement even after years of working to improve their finances, and that's largely because they never address the underlying social problems that give rise to scarcity. I think you'll experience a lot more growth if you reinterpret your financial problems as social problems. At the very least, it will give you a new avenue to explore.

How Strong Social Skills Can Create Financial Abundance

So how does abundance result from strong social skills?

Let's revisit our two aspects of trading:

1. Your skill at creating value such that others are willing to trade for it. 2. Your skill at executing trades with others.

Imagine a person who has amazing social skills. What would that look like, and how would it affect the two trade-related skills above?

First, this person would have more educational and skill-building resources than most people. Great social skills can be used to build and maintain an empowering network of intelligent and resourceful friends and contacts. If this person ever wanted help learning anything, there would always be someone to turn to, someone to suggest and offer quality resources.

As great as Google is, there are some questions that are best answered by human beings. Moreover, a human network can provide abundant emotional support, encouragement, and accountability. Google doesn't care if you procrastinate. Good friends, however, do care.

This socially skilled person would also have a better sense of other people's needs. Better social skills means better empathy and listening skills. So s/he would have an easier time figuring out what to do to create strong value for others, value that people would gladly trade for. The socially inept person, by contrast, would be more likely to create something that nobody wanted, which can be very discouraging.

Next, this highly social person could cultivate a social network that delivers a continuous flow of choice opportunities for quality trades. If this person wanted a job, it could be found through his/her social network. If this person wanted to start a business or offer a new product or service, his/her social network would provide plenty of assistance to make that a reality, including abundant referrals of new clients and customers. Suffice it to say that this person would have a serious advantage.

Our socially inept counterpart, however, would suffer major disadvantages across the board. S/he wouldn't be in the best position for attracting educational and skill-building opportunities, and s/he would also miss out on the choicest trading opportunities. Long-term financial scarcity would be the most likely outcome.

My Social and Financial Expansion

When I look back over the past 20+ years of my life, I see a major correlation between my social skills and my experience of financial abundance. During those times when I was the most solo-minded in my thinking, my finances lagged. But when I put some serious effort into social skill-building and expansion, my financial life improved markedly shortly thereafter.

For example, when I decided to become active in the Association of Shareware Professionals in 1999, I went from earning about $300 per month from my computer game sales to more than 10x that within a matter of months. I can directly attribute the improvement in my finances to the education and opportunities that came to me through my expanding social network.

Until I made that commitment to reach out socially in my industry, hardly anyone knew that I existed. I was never invited to speak at conferences. I had no chance of winning awards and getting free publicity for my products. I never had friends emailing me advice and suggestions and sharing resources.

Both in my own life and in the lives of others, I've seen ample evidence to convince me that financial abundance is largely a result of strong social skills and the intelligent application of those skills. Specifically, this includes the following:

1. Your ability to proactively befriend intelligent, resourceful people and add them to your social network. 2. Your ability to inspire people to refer helpful opportunities to you (resources, leads, clients, etc). 3. Your ability to serve as a positive source of inspiration and opportunities for others (maintaining win-win connections). 4. Your ability to prune and release dead-weight relationships (avoiding win-lose and lose-lose connections).

To be very direct once again, people who suffer financially generally make the following social mistakes:

1. They often behave as loners and spend a lot of time alone or with the same few people (social isolationists). 2. The frequently suffer from approach anxiety and low self-esteem, which discourages them from initiating new connections and creating social expansion (social timidity). 3. They clutter their social lives with losers who have little to offer in terms of support, resources, and skill-building (low standards). 4. When they do meet intelligent and resourceful people, they act passively and fail to establish new friendships (lack of intitiative). 5. They remain loyal to a pity posse that consistently blocks good referrals with fear, jealousy, or sarcasm (clinginess).

I know this sound harsh, but pause for a moment to see if any of this resonates with you.

The Good News

The good news is that if you're currently suffering from financial lack, and if you can see and admit that it just might have something to do with your lagging social skills, there's hope for you yet. :)

It will take time to upgrade your social skills and to overcome related fears and limiting beliefs, but this is a rewarding journey to undertake. If I can go from a shy child who used to play alone in the sandbox to a man who thinks of 3-day public workshops as a form of play... and from debt/bankruptcy to seeing money show up whenever I need it... then why not you?

I can't offer you an overnight fix here (and beware of anyone who promises such silliness), but I do think it will help you to focus on a social upgrade as the key to financial abundance. You can start by browsing my blog's archives and reading some articles on social skills, but this time read those articles with a fresh perspective. How could a social skills upgrade impact your experience of financial abundance?

And if you'd like more help along these lines, please consider attending our February Conscious Relationships Workshop. Although financial abundance isn't the main focus, it's very likely that you'll learn new ideas, tools, skills, and perspectives at this workshop that will help you improve your finances.

As a final thought... the key for me in creating this change was to admit to myself that being a social isolationist wasn't working. So maybe... just maybe... I should try doing the opposite for a while. I was already going bankrupt at the time I made this decision, so I figured I had nothing to lose by changing things up. It seemed worse to perpetuate the patterns I had while sinking into debt, so "do the opposite" seemed like a valid strategy. It took a while to feel comfortable with a more active and varied social life than I was used to, but it worked -- faster than I expected. In fact, on the Myers-Briggs test, I actually flipped from an INTJ to an ENTJ during that time, meaning that I switched from an introvert to an extrovert, at least according that that particular personality test.

In the meantime, after sending this newsletter I'm going to fully enjoy some socially abundant time in Hawaii this week with 130 friends. As I sit on my balcony overlooking the ocean, it's a sunny 79 degrees with a light cool breeze blowing through the palm trees. Lately I've been noticing how much I'm enjoying my life -- and how different things are today vs. how they were many years ago when everything seemed like a struggle. A key turning point was when I decided to step outside my socially comfortable cocoon of familiarity and to become a more active participant in the world. I started small, first by becoming more involved in an industry trade group, then in a larger subset of my industry, then by writing articles for lots of people, and so on. But it all began with the admission that my comfort zone was becoming a cage, and that I had to abandon it in order to keep growing.

In the long run, growth is a lot more rewarding and fulfilling than comfort.

Ironic button, not really related to Pavlina's text.