I really love this book. A lot of the points so far really resonated with things that I think about frequently. For example, when I walk down the street or when I’m in a new place, I get in my head and start to think about how people are probably looking at me, or I must look really good in this outfit I’m wearing, or thinking that I’m the most important person on the street. But that’s because I think I am, and so does everyone else on the street. I’m the main character of my world, but joe over there is the main character of his world so of course he’s not paying attention to my cool outfit. He’s busy looking at himself in store windows.

When something happens to us, say we get cut off on the highway, we get pissed and yell at the car and stay irritated for too long. But if we cut off someone else, its because we didn’t have enough time to get over, it wasn’t a big deal, there was plenty of space between cars. All because we are the main character and not that other person driving behind us.

Anyway, it was a very interesting book, here are my notes from Part 1:

To Be or To Do?

If you want to be somebody you will compromise yourself,  but if you want to do something you will make a difference without compromising yourself

Often we fall in love with the image of what success looks like

Impressing people is utterly different from being truely impressive

It’s all about doing, not the recognition

What is it that I want to accomplish in life?

Do I need this? Or is it really about ego?

Become a Student


We need to have someone better that we can learn from, someone lesser who we can teach, and someone equal to challenge us

A true student is like a sponge

  • self critical
  • self motivated
  • always trying to improve so we can move on to the next topic, the next challenge

Do you think you are the only one who hopes to achieve your goal?

It is impossible to learn that which one thinks one already knows

You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best

This can block us from improving by telling us we don’t need to improve

Don’t be Passionate

She had purpose, she had direction. She wasn’t driven by passion but by reason

It took them years to become the person they became known as. it was a process of accumulation

Purpose is about pursing something outside of yourself as opposed to pleasuring yourself.

Follow the Canvas Strategy

An unwillingness to take a step back in order to potentially take several forward, I will not let them get one over on me. id rather we both have nothing

Its about providing the support so that others can be good

you’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are

most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or school is out of date or wrong

Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? (show some compassion)

Find what no one else wants to do and do it, give your ideas away, cross wires to create new sparks

the person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.

Restrain Yourself

You will be subjected to treatment ranging from indifference to outright sabotage. Count on it

It doesn’t degrade you when others treat you poorly; it degrades them

Quietly brush it off and work hard

You’re not able to change the system until after you’ve made it

Get Out of Your Own Head

They’re convinced that their every move is being watched with rapt attention by the rest of the world

We flip up our jacket and consider briefly how cool we must look.

Live with tangible and real even if… its uncomfortable

Theres no one to perform for. There is just work to be done and lessons to be learned, in all that is around us. 

The Dangers of Early Pride


Our ability to learn, to adapt, to be flexible, to build relationships, all of this is dulled by pridePride takes a minor accomplishment and makes it feel like a major one

[Pride] tunes up other negative parts of ourselves: sensitivity, a persecution complex, the ability to make everything about us

What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see?

Privately thinking you’re better than others is still pride.

Work, Work, Work

Having an idea is not enough; that you must work until you are able to recrate your experience effectively in words on the page


[Our ego] wants the hours we spend planning and attending conferences or chatting with impressed friends to count toward the tally that success seems to require

I am passing the marshmallow test. I am making an investment in myself instead of my ego

For Everything that Comes Next, Ego is the Enemy…

Delusions can pass for confidence, ignorance for courage

…see clearly where we are talented and where we need to improve, and then put in the work…

I am going to be myself, the best version of that self