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Our Resident Merchant Marine on Bushido

One of the things that's been really cool for me here at the blog is watching the crowd that hangs out here develop.

The big thing I set out to do with the site was create a place I'd want to hang out online. I hang out at some pretty good places, but I wasn't able to find anywhere that was unabashedly pro-victory, pro-winning, very expansive, practical, pragmatic, and says it like it is. There's plenty of places with good people online, but not too many where people are willing to take the heat for saying it like it is. I try to do that - say it like it is, even though you sometimes suffer for it.

The community's really responded - I think there's a lot of people who've been looking for something like this. I know I searched for it, couldn't find it, and that's why I started building. So it's been thrilling having all sorts of smart people write great letters and emails to me, great comments, great stuff happening.

I love it, I feel so blessed. The site's my site - it's got my name on it. But the community can transcend that, and that's why I'm so thrilled that I can feature great comments and letters.

One such talented person is Jess, our resident merchant marine. She's left a number of really insightful comments, and it's a joy to read her thoughts. She's talented writer and talented thinker. Here's some of her latest insights from a letter, reposted with permission -

Getting the gold star

On minimalift

When I was five years old, my classmates and I used to all love writing stories. We’d be given assignments and we’d try to outdo each other in the eyes of the teacher. There was no formal grading, but there were red ticks and comments, with “very good” topping “good” etc. In general, more pages appeared to offer superior results, so quantity was mistakenly tied to quality in our toddler minds. I suspect those writing more were the ones who also spent more time thinking about how to make their story stand out. I laboured and I toiled to fill those pages with creativity.

Doing good work was rewarded very rarely with a gold star. Oh how we coveted those sparkly awards. Months could pass without anyone in the class seeing a single one. I think stationery may have been limited. But these stars paled into insignificance for creating exceptional work: a trip to the headmaster’s office. Normally the ultimate punishment (I was up there a few times for that, too), these visits meant the highest authority in the school would personally take a moment to stick a really shiny gold star on your work. Look, it was a poor school, okay?

Fast forward 20 years and no one’s giving me a gold star for my work. But I’m cool with that, because I learned a lot since then. Quantity rarely trumps quality, although this is not the truth for all situations. Most people like quantity in their bank account. So where do we put the quality?

Getting the gold star: being the master of your own head

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