At 21 years of age, I was crippled with shyness, had barely left Ireland, never had a girlfriend, and was still a virgin. These 2 books changed my life.
Fear & Courage
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We talk about violence and learning to fight, despite the fact that neither of us have been in a fight for at least fifteen years. It’s a bit like listening to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant talk about cricket for two hours.
There’s an old Woody Allen movie called The Diary. Set in a small American town in the 1940’s, Allen plays the lead role of an impoverished young man (Norm) who falls for a local heiress (Annie). He goes all out to try win her heart, being very bold and reckless, seemingly oblivious to her lofty social stature and any kind of courting etiquette.
It seems happiness isn’t good enough anymore. No, we have to be the happiest that we can possibly imagine ourselves to be. (Or at least happier than all our pseudo-friends on Facebook.) Of course, thinking that way just makes us unhappy.
I’m writing this on my eighth consecutive day aboard a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve been trying to institute the make-eye-contact-and-smile policy myself. Usually I throw in a nod, too.
A nonessentialist approaches every trade-off by asking, “How can I do both?” An essentialist asks the tougher but ultimately more liberating question, “Which problem do I want?”