A typical adult has…

…seen more lands than Marco Polo…

…read more philosophy than Confucius…

…heard more music than Mozart.

And so on and so on.

So how do we gain more of Confucius’s wisdom? Marco Polo’s curiosity?

We have already consumed so much. Taken in and absorbed and eaten more than kings and popes and most presidents.

But all of this quantity only gets us so far. Diminishing returns, that diminish quickly.

Understanding and using and mining what we already have is far harder. But it’s also far more valuable.

The easy thing to do is consume more: Read more books. Travel to more cities. Listen to more hit Billboard songs and watch popular TV shows. Go back to school to do homework and take exams. Always seeking more and new and novel.

But something tells me this is the easy part of the journey, the journey to where we want to go. It’s the part we’ve traveled many times over. Where we keep getting stuck on the same mountain pass, lost in the same valley.

But over that pass, through that valley, lies the beautiful destination. The place where Mozart composed his sonatas, where Marco Polo lived his stories, where Confucius discovered and shared his worldview.

I guess I’m just complaining that I don’t create enough. Input so much, and output so little. How do I – how do we – flip this equation? How do we make the most of the much that we already possess, of each little bit?

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

April Quotes: “If you actually want results, make a 5-year commitment…a lesser commitment is largely pointless” (Steve Pavlina)

For a full list of my favorite quotes, see here. Send me yours, I’m always looking for more.

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter F. Drucker

/** Both are crucial to a mission’s long-term success, but from my Hyperink experience I’ve learned that – as a young(ish) entrepreneur – it’s more important to do the right things than to “do things right” which is often conflated with “work really really really hard” **/

To make sure this goal was achieved, I created eight laws of learning, namely, explanation, demonstration, imitation, repetition, repetition, repetition, and repetition. – John Wooden

/** Wooden is the man. If you want to learn more about the greatest athletic coach of all-time, read this. **/

A Polish Jew in an Episcopal graveyard in a largely Dominican neighborhood. What could be more New York? – Bloomberg’s eulogy at Ed Koch’s funeral

/** Yet another reason I love New York. The ethnic and cultural diversity is unparalleled. No other city comes close, no matter what its citizens would like to believe. **/

If you actually want results, make a 5-year commitment to a particular path, like building an online business, developing your social skills, becoming a world traveler, etc. A lesser commitment is largely pointless. – Steve Pavlina

/** I love reading Steve’s blog. It can sometimes get weird (for example, polyamory, polyphasic sleep), but that’s just a reflection of his always-pushing-the-limits mentality. It stretches your conception of what is possible in life, which is what people who make a difference do. **/

Life is so filled with disappointments that we are likely to assume that they are built into the human condition. On examination, however, there proves to be something disappointments share in common. Each thwarts an expectation of the individual ego. if the ego were to have no expectations, there would be nothing to disappoint. – Huston Smith

/** We are the expectations generation. **/

Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder. – Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers

/** Cribbed from Jason’s blog. **/

Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough. – Alain de Botton

/** Have I told you to follow Alain de Botton’s Twitter feed? Well, follow his feed. Please. **/

We should keep a careful diary of our moments of envy – they are our covert guides to what we should try to do next. – Alain de Botton

/** Have you followed his feed yet? **/

What I want out of each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. – Deputy Marshall Gerard in The Fugitive

/** Was reminded of this excellent movie by the one, the only Bill Simmons. And immediately remembered my favorite quote, from Deputy Marshall Gerard :) **/

You know what material this is?

[wait for it…]

…Boyfriend material

/** Super silly but thanks Jasmine! **/

It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said, “Suppose we change the subject.”

/** Hah. Such wisdom. **/

And how could I wrap up this quote without leaving you guys with a little 孔子 wisdom?

If you study, you know. If you know, you’re wise. If you’re wise, you’re fair. If you’re fair, you grow. If you grow, you can manage your family well. If you can manage your family well, you can service the country. If you can serve the country, you can improve the world.

Did I say Alain de Botton had a great Twitter feed? I bet Confucius would put him to shame.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.

March Quotes: “The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes” (Mark Twain)

For a full list of my favorite quotes, see here. Send me yours, I’m always looking for more.

At 15 my heart was set on learning; at 30 I stood firm; at 40 I had no more doubts; at 50 I knew the mandate of heaven; at 60 my ear was obedient; at 70 I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing the norm. – Confucius

/** The man is so ridiculously wise and insightful…did you know the Chinese gov’t has setup Confucius Institutes around the world as an investment in soft power? **/

An intellectual giant. The world’s loss now that he’s gone. – random YouTube commenter on David Foster Wallace

/** Just started reading Infinite Jest. It is not easy. It is quite different from anything else I’ve read. DFW is clearly very smart, and a great explainer-of-things. **/

The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes – Mark Twain

/** Another really smart man, and one who is able to tell hard truths by using humor. **/

Comparison is the thief of joy. – Teddy Roosevelt

/** Yup…desire is the root of suffering. **/

Evict your inner wussy – one of David DeAngelo’s 77 Laws of Success :)

/** I’ve had the good fortune to work with Rob Kelly, who is the former CEO of David’s company Hot Topic Media, and he clearly lives by many of these principles (whether consciously or not). Quite inspiring **/

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.