Stan Lee

I remember watching the Animated Spider Man series on Kidz TV (or whatever it was called) and rewatching it years later. 

The last episode involves Spiderman going to an alternate universe where he comes across Stan Lee. 

It was a touching end to a remarkable series that I’m not ashamed to say I’ve watched a few times over since.

Over a sixty year career, Stan brought some magical moments into our own world – superheroes we could identify with and characters we aspired to be like.

He always wanted his audience to think while having a deeper message behind every character/scene.

It’s mind-boggling to think what a juggernaut Marvel has become, inspired by his legacy. 

Thank you Stan!

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Wholeness

As I was going through “batch email” time (where I systematically review, action and archive my emails this morning, two posts stood out that I read in its entirety. Oddly enough, they posted by folks from different disciplines but discussing the same topic – wholeness. 

In the first post, on the A Learning a Day blog, the author discusses that we’re never “done” with certain recurring activities, whether they be cleaning your house, to dealing with our own insecurities. Our most powerful demons never go away, so we must deal with them to how we deal with all other activities that fall in this “recurring tasks” bucket: deal with them head-on, every day by taking thoughtful action.

In the second post, posted on the Marc and Angel blog, (these guys are my go-to on anything to do with life lessons, gratitude, happiness, inner peace and more), they wrote about relationship advice that Marc has been getting from his parents every year on their wedding anniversary. It’s very thoughtful – everyone should read it. 

The first lesson is about being able to “stand strong on your own, first”, to ensure your happiness isn’t dependent on constant validation from someone else. It’s about remembering that you don’t owe anyone anything, you have the authority to decide how you spend your time and energy. When you don’t owe anyone anything, you’re free to give and receive love from the heart. 

“Come from this place of wholeness, of inner strength and independence, and then love your partner”. 

This was a pleasant surprise and provoked me to write about my interesting experience with “wholeness” today – I wonder if I’ll run into this as I go about the rest of my day!

The bulldozer of innovation

Innovation doesn’t stop for anyone. It won’t wait till you catchup, it will embrace the concept of “what’s better, wins”.

You won’t know what will hit you. The bulldozer is right behind you and will have no qualms running you over if you stop moving forward. Something you do now will likely be irrelevant in 3-4 years unless you’re looking to relentlessly improve.

Keep striving to improve and stay ahead of the bulldozer.

Resisting temptation – a man, a lion and a pot of honey

After a long journey to another village, a man came across a jungle to shortcut his way to the village.

After walking into the depths of the jungle for a few hours, he was taken by fear, as a roaring lion charged towards him. The man ran as fast as he could to escape.

As he was running, he ran across a terrain of leaves which covered a large well in the ground.

As he fell into this well, he grabbed onto some rope to save himself. Relieved, he went to strengthen his grip on the rope. As he did, he noticed a big snake at the bottom of the well. It looked hungry.

The man looked up and saw two mice nibbling at the rope. He knew he was in trouble.

His heart was pounding and his mind was racing as he thought how he could escape from this.

He noticed a honeycomb in front of him which had delicious honey dripping from it. He stuck his finger into the honey enjoyed its sweetness.

He didn’t notice that the lion went away, becoming preoccupied with something else. Just then, a traveller walking through the jungle saw his plight and managed to find a long branch to pull him up with.

The traveller called out to him to grab the branch so he could escape. It seemed our hero was saved.

But the man didn’t hear him. His presence was fully occupied with the honey he was consuming. He lost sight of his predicament and paid no attention to the man above.

As the traveller pleaded with the man to grab the branch, suddenly the rope the man hung onto snapped and he plunged to his death.

We become so preoccupied with distractions to the realities of our lives, that they cloud our judgement to think clearly and tackle our challenges head-on.

We must become more mindful of distractions that attempt to stray us from our goals – controlling this element of human nature, might just save our life.

 

Background music while working

Everyone who I’ve spoken to recently has a different perspective on what they feel they need in order to be most productive.

Some people prefer Jazz, some classical music, some background coffee shop beats while others prefer a hip-hop album of their choice.

Ultimately, the music isn’t the major contributing factor to you accomplishing your work. Sitting down and actually putting in the work, is what will get you over the finish line.

I use music as an enablor, but I prefer to ensure it doesn’t become a crutch I rely on in order to get serious work done. That comes from willpower and discipline.

Adapt or Die

I came across this quote from a newsletter that I’m subscribed to, from Eric Ries – the author of the Lean Startup. It particularly resonated with me because I’ve been thinking a lot about the pace of technological change is moving at a frenetic pace and we all need to be comfortable with adapting to a new world, while coming to terms with change being ever-constant in our lives:
“There’s a real human pattern at the core that we all should have a certain amount of empathy for. We’re all in favor of innovation in theory. But in practice, we do everything we know how to return life to whatever’s familiar and whatever’s worked for us in the past. We all need to learn to change our rate of change and embrace things that are unfamiliar.”
That’s a quote from Larry Keely, the director of Deloitte Consulting and founder of innovation agency, Doblin.
This post is a reminder that while many people preach the virtues of innovation – what isn’t discussed as much that what comes with innovation, is change. Inherently, humans are typically risk-averse to change but in order to adapt and thrive, we need to embrace the unfamiliar and accept the path less certain if we are to keep moving forward.

Backing a winning horse

I usually enjoy reading Fred Wilson’s daily blog posts and today was about USV’s (his VC firm) backing of Indeed in 2005. The most important area to focus on was they decided very early on that they’d be thesis-driven investors.

At the beginning, they were drawn to search and social opportunities – which led them to Indeed.

It turned out to be one of the best decisions they ever made (and could’ve been even more lucrative for them if the company decided to IPO instead of selling to Recruit).

The point of the story is they knew what they were looking for, the stars aligned and they went for it. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself – when I next identify opportunity in front of me, I’ll regret not jumping on board.