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Flashes of Insight – 2020 edition

For a few years now I’ve been documenting what I call “flashes of insight” in my notes app. Re-reading them just now made me think I should share them. So.. I present you with my a list of insights and quotes from 2020.

Some of these are self-explanatory, while others may confuse you out of context. I’ve notated the source where possible, and the dates reflect the day I recorded the insight.


There is no past and no future; no one has ever entered those two imaginary kingdoms. There is only the present.



The most courageous decision that you can make each day is to be in a good mood.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Voltaire and Rilke, respectively


And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

― Kurt Vonnegut From A Man Without a Country


Give up the War

Sam Harris


Poker face. Accept. Be.

Get rid of shit you don’t need.

Let go. completely.

This egolessness, which is the key to being authentic is a battle.

Garry Shandling


You can’t teach tenacity

Sam Hollander 


There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. And the other is as if everything is a miracle.  

Einstein – Neri Oxman’s favorite quote – from Abstract on Netflix


A well-flowing life is when we wish for what is going to happen not what we want to happen  



The Straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat — you know when they are in the room with you

Marcus Aurelius


While pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice – everything is fucked.

Mark Manson


That being so, so what

Jerry Colonna – Reboot


What makes all of life complicated, and not just hard, is this unwillingness to do the work that’s ours to do her unwillingness to live the examined life.

Jerry Colonna – Reboot


What if being lost is part of the path? Reboot

Jerry Colonna – Reboot


Don’t mistake motion for meaning

Jerry Colonna – Reboot


Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Anne Lamott


Three pillars of happiness: regular exercise, mediation, and constant pursuit of purpose.

Bob Weir – GQ article


Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for the individual

Viktor Frankl – Man’s search for Meaning.


There is only one thing i dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings



Comparison is death

Liz Gilbert Magic Lessons Podcast 


It just doesn’t matter

Tripper from Meatballs (Bill Murray)


The vitality in life is staying a verb

Mark Rohn? Poet on magic lessons podcast  – unsure


If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.

William Feather


Any talent you do not use becomes a burden

Liz Gilbert 

Go Get Arrested Kid

As I was graduating from college, I had an interview with a successful Creative Director at an ad agency. I was interviewing for a creative position, starting at the bottom. In my mind, I was destined to be the next great creative in the ad industry. This dream of course, as a young man was based on nothing but youthful dreams, white privilege and naiveté. Call it youthful exuberance with a dash of ignorance!

This was 20+ years ago, and as it turns out, I didn’t become a great creative director. I’ve had a terrific and long career, but ran away from the advertising business when the Internet came around. But in truth, my dreams were partially derailed because of this guy’s comment. The guy on the phone, whose name is long lost to history and my terrible memory (as is the name of the agency) had one piece of advice for me.

He told me in no uncertain terms to “Go get arrested.” I don’t exactly remember what I said to him after that, but I think I asked if he was serious. He was serious, but not about me committing a crime.

I can remember getting off the phone and talking to my roommates about what a dick the guy was to me – his advice was out of left field. What’s crazy is that I’m just now starting to understand it.

Life is funny. It’s impossible to avoid having experiences that change you, both personally and professionally – and often those experiences inform each other. What you learn at work you apply in life and vice versa.

At that moment though, I thought the guy was telling me to commit a crime. He wasn’t.

“Go get arrested kid” as a life concept works on multiple levels. Looking back I can honestly say that I’ve lived a great life. That said, I’m not sure I’ve gotten arrested enough. There are things I’ve dreamed about that I’ve been afraid to try. Stand up comedy. Acting. Karaoke. Boxing. Jumping out of a plane. Going back to school.

Part of waking up has to be to get out of your comfort zone, try new things and dare I say it.. getting arrested. It’s about life experiences.