Two-Minute Daily Read

A new short blog published seven days a week, designed for reading and reflection from any stage of life.

Lessons for living from William Goldman's lessons for writing

Obituaries are both the most inspiring and saddest of any newspaper. The expanse of a life, distilled to an adulatory headline, a few hundred words, two dates—date of birth and date of death—and, space permitting, maybe a picture. I've…

Gary Vee on happiness — the ultimate return on investment

I've been paying attention to Gary Vaynerchuk for about two years now. I really like his intelligence, his integrity and authenticity and his combination of absolute humility and unbreakable confidence. His expletive-laden speeches and…

The life-changing magic of skill stacking

Usefulness—the feeling of being useful, to ourselves, to our loved ones, to society—is a powerful contributor to overall happiness, and the concept of skill stacking can, I believe, be a great way of increasing our feelings of usefulness…

Pessimism is a game that's impossible to win

One of the enemies of happiness, of peace of mind in the moment, is pessimism: the uncertainty, anxiety and fear we have about the future at any given point in time. Jane Austen, the 19th century novelist, has a line in Emma that goes: "Perfect…

Acceptance vs Ambition (Part 2)

Last week I wrote a piece about acceptance, ambition and profound truth. Since then I've been thinking more about acceptance, and how for some reason it's both important to have acceptance, and to resist acceptance and aim for ambition instead. And…

Posts About Energy #2: The Ripple Effect

I was never a brilliant science student at school, but I remember something that means a lot more now, with all the experiences of adulthood. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The first action takes energy. And the energy…

Posts About Energy #1: Energy = Currency

I will write about energy more than once on this. I will write about energy a lot. So it makes sense to start off the initial energy post in this daily blog series — about energy is currency — with the #1 attached, as this is likely to…

Happy Friday

Call me curmudgeonly, but I've always struggled with "Happy Friday". "Happy Friday" says, "Well done, you've made it to the end of the week", as if Monday to Thursday are for survival, not celebration. "Happy Friday" says, "I'll introduce…

Stillness and stagnation

It's a world of fine lines. Stillness is a wonderful thing. The stillness of a meadow at dawn. The stillness of the surface of a lake on a calm day. The stillness of a violinist's fingers before a crescendo. Stagnation, defined in the…

Remember November

November feels like the forgotten month. When I was a child, we set up our Christmas tree and Christmas decorations on the day of our school holidays (so, around December 21st). That would be ludicrously late in 2018. December 1st is…

Ambition, acceptance and profound truth

It's the paradox of profound truth in our daily happiness: balancing the restless ambition to be better with the restful acceptance of being just enough. To have the ambition to improve and develop ourselves is, I think, a critical ingredient…

The power of setting intentions

I'm quite sure there will be people reading this for whom the words in here will be simplistic beyond belief. People who habitually set an intention to do something, and then go and do it, and don't think the slightest more about it. If that…

Global literacy and the threat to reading

I remember hearing a story about a Dublin bus driver. He was talking about the risks to his personal security he faces on a day to day basis in the course of his job. He was happy, he said, to see someone carrying a book, because he knew anyone…

Critique versus Criticism

Yesterday I wrote about criticism. Whatever you want to call it, constructive criticism, or feedback, or something else, it's almost uniformly hard. But it's necessary. Thinking critically helps make everything better. So finding a…

The problem with criticism (and the opportunity)

Few of us enjoy criticism. Over time, criticism became synonymous with stuff being wrong. With negativity. With conflict and confrontation. Criticism is almost always difficult. We must brace ourselves for it. Prepare ourselves to react…

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