to be an Artist requires a specific intent. An intent that nearly everyone with a full time job does not have while doing that job. You might be an artist in your spare time, but that’s something else entirely.

The kind of mistakes you make define you. The more interesting the mistakes, the more interesting the life.

Good criticism serves one purpose: to give the creator of the work more perspective to help them make their next set of choices. Bad criticism uses someone else’s work to make the critic feel smart, superior or better about themselves:

Good leaders involve everyone in leadership,

Each of us responds to environmental conditions differently. Half the challenge is experimenting to find out which ones work best; the other half is honoring them despite how inconvenient or unexpected they might be.

It might be that the dedicated policeman, the passionate history teacher, the devoted great mom/dad, the wonderful uncle, are the people who are truly great, because they add value to the world for its own reason.

time is the singular measure of life. It’s one of the few things you cannot get more of. Knowing how to spend it well is the most important skill you can have.

They want to be great only through being useful to those they care about most, regardless of how little acclaim they get from the whole wide world for it.

Take a moment to list your beliefs. If you’re careful, you’ll discover wants lurking inside. It’s good to want things and fight for them, but misplaced belief is not the way to wisdom.

Now I’m not saying that finding fault isn’t useful. On the contrary, it’s very important. It’s just that of equal importance in understanding the value of a design, algorithm, script, or film is to know what isn’t broken, or god forbid, what’s actually been done brilliantly. What you want to do when you offer criticism is to live up to the second definition listed above: careful evaluation and judgment.

The phrase “I don’t have time for” should never be said. We all get the same amount of time every day. If you can’t do something, it’s not about the quantity of time. It’s really about how important the task is to you.

If you find yourself frustrated by the limits of your role, don’t take the passive-aggressive route (e.g., turning meetings into battlefields). Instead, be a leader and find a mature way to handle the situation.

ideas are lazy. They don’t do anything on their own. If you aren’t willing to do the ordinary work to make the idea real, the problem isn’t about creativity at all.

They might seem to idle, or relax more often than the rest, but that just might be a sign of their mastery, not their incompetence.

People who are good to one another and good to themselves are very hard to find, regardless of what scripture they recite or the symbol that hangs from their neck. Above all, I have faith in judging people by their behavior, rather than what they claim to believe, as it’s surprising how far apart they often are.

if you want to be a creator instead of a consumer, you must view existing ideas as fuel for your mind. You must stop seeing them as objects or functional things—they are combinations of ingredients waiting to be reused.

There is so much shared between religions, but this rarely fits the dogmatic story you hear from within any particular religion.

We are information insecure. The compulsion for more is driven by lack of confidence in what we already have. Out of a secret kind of fear we are convinced that the next e-mail or link is better than the one we’re reading now. The result is a private rat race: what does it mean to stay on top of information that doesn’t satisfy?

Your desires will change as you age, and to assume you can do one thing your whole life and be satisfied is foolish. Developing self-knowledge will help you make the next choice, and the next, leading to a passionate life.

we’re never told that success often demands indifference to the wonders of the real, or the magic of the ridiculous.

an idea is a combination of other ideas.

But the fact that faith is useful doesn’t, on its own, mean the thing you have faith in is real.

Perhaps true greatness, or a truly great person, is someone who does the right things for the right reasons without expecting grand rewards.

Within any culture, team, family, or country, where you find more authentic listening and reading, people will be happier, more connected and more successful at achieving things that matter.

I think to call someone an Artist means that they have a sense of higher purpose beyond commerce. Not that they don’t profit from their work, or promote themselves, but that the work itself has spiritual, philosophical, emotional or experiential attributes as central goals. An Artist’s work is about an idea, a feeling, or an exploration of a form, framed more by their own intuitions, than the checklists and protocols of bureaucracies and corporations.

People who truly have control over time always have some in their pocket to give to someone in need. A sense of priorities drives their use of time and it can shift away from the ordinary work that’s easy to justify, in favor of the more ethereal, deeper things that are harder to justify. They protect their time from trivia and idiocy; these people are time rich.

The danger of misguided attention is this: how we spend our attention changes the value of what we spend it on.

There are many things in life that generate fear, but how many of them, after the thing we feared has passed, were worthy of that fear?

an intimate experience can only grow to the depth and quality of the time given to it.

No matter how right you are, if you care about effecting change, never open your mouth without knowing who will agree with you and who won’t.

Believing in something larger than yourself, whether it’s a person, a team, a nation, or a god, is empowering. It makes you feel part of something and that you’re not alone.

This raises a bigger question: are the truly great people the ones whose names we’ll never know?

If you can’t separate your personal preferences from more abstract analysis, then you will rarely provide much useful feedback. Criticism is not about you. It’s about the work you are viewing and the person who made it.

Having an idea changes nothing unless someone with sufficient power does something about it. The idea alone is never enough, nor is saying it out loud. No matter how loud you yell, talking and doing are not the same thing.

Mindfire by Scott Berkun