Kevin Kelly advice for geeks (and others)
Try to make new mistakes
Kevin Kelly, who founded Wired magazine, turned 70 this year. Over recent birthdays, he shared what he calls unsolicited advice. Below are 12 of my favourite items from his 103 bits of advice I wish I had known.
Your best job will be one that you were unqualified for because it stretches you. In fact only apply to jobs you are unqualified for.
Don’t keep making the same mistakes; try to make new mistakes.
The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.
When at school the only topic I had any success in was Maths; books were totally alien to me. As I’ve aged my skills and perspective expanded. Now I love books.
Spend as much time crafting the subject line of an email as the message itself because the subject line is often the only thing people read.
When you are stuck, explain your problem to others. Often simply laying out a problem will present a solution. Make “explaining the problem” part of your troubleshooting process.
A wise man said, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, “Is it true?” At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?” At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”
I try to make my email and blog post subject lines concise and informative. Here is my take on The 3 Questions Great Headlines Address.
Take the stairs.
Habit is far more dependable than inspiration. Make progress by making habits. Don’t focus on getting into shape. Focus on becoming the kind of person who never misses a workout.
Prescription for popular success: do something strange. Make a habit of your weird.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020, I’ve averaged a 4 mile walk per day. I wrote about the benefits to health and creativity in my Creative momentum post.
Productivity is often a distraction. Don’t aim for better ways to get through your tasks as quickly as possible, rather aim for better tasks that you never want to stop doing.
Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated. Regularly scheduled sabbaths, sabbaticals, vacations, breaks, aimless walks and time off are essential for top performance of any kind. The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic.
Every breakthrough is at first laughable and ridiculous. In fact if it did not start out laughable and ridiculous, it is not a breakthrough.
I have observed and been part of working cultures that celebrate people being busy and holding lots of meetings. I recently wrote Make Time and 3 Ways to Transform Your Meetings with the aim of increasing personal productivity and satisfaction.
99 Additional Bits of Unsolicited Advice by Kevin Kelly
The Inevitable book by Kevin Kelly
12 Inevitable Tech Forces that will Shape Our Lives by Kevin Kelly
This post shared some geeky nuggets of wisdom from Kevin Kelly. Next Sunday’s post I share some perspectives on randomness.
Until next Sunday, craft your email subject lines and take the stairs.