I do not believe in playing it safe. I believe in failure, spectacular failure. There is an old adage out there about Thomas Edison having failed either 1000 or 3000 times before making one working light bulb. That’s a lot of failure. But failure creates feedback. I know that supposedly Mark Zuckerberg hit success with his first try to making it big. But that isn’t everyone. Some people succeed the first time, some the second and some the 1001 or 3001 time. The point is to not give up. Don’t ever give up.

I don’t believe in fate, or magic, or any of that special stuff. I believe that you can do anything, you can be anything and you can try anything. If you were born without legs, that sucks but you can still complete a marathon. Either you’re going to have to invent yourself some legs, get really strong arms to wheel yourself across the finish line, or even handwalk yourself 26.2 miles. The point is, if you want it bad enough you can win. Want is the key to success.

I want to be a linguist, I think. There are so many things that I’m interested in, so many things that I’d like to put my stamp on in this world and I can do it. Maybe I’ll be the first person to write a bunch of books in Oneida first, which would bridge my love of Native languages and writing. Maybe I’ll invent a way to freely teach people the first languages of America, I don’t know. I do not know what my mark will be on this world because I’m not done yet. None of us are done yet. You may be a 54 year old woman who never worked a day in her life because she took care of her family, maybe that’s your mark, maybe you want to do more, all you need to do is apply focus to finding what it is that your mark on this world is, then you go out and work like hell to achieve that goal.

I don’t believe in catty talk. I don’t believe in bad mouthing people who are supposed to be your friends. I don’t believe in misrepresenting oneself. In AAVE (African American Vernacular English) this is called fronting. I don’t believe in fronting. I never have and never will. Yes, we all put on fronts for interviews, and children. But that’s politeness. Even in politeness, I am always who I am. I don’t like it when people deny that they are X when they are with the Y people and then deny they are Y when they are with the X people. That’s childish. I don’t do childish. In fact, I believe not admitting to yourself who you are will hinder you in everything you do. That isn’t to say act on everything that you believe to be true about yourself, It just helps to be unabashedly honest about who you are.

Lets say you want to lose weight and you LOVE cookies. Any diet that doesn’t allow for you to have cookies once an a while, is a diet you will fail. And if you know this about yourself you can set up a better life for yourself by working your diet around your love of cookies. Or setting up a career around your love of wearing sneakers. There is no reason to be upset for a large amount of your day, everyday if you hate wearing fancy shoes, get a job that you like that you can wear sneakers. But find out what matters most to you and be honest to that part of who you are.

Know who you are. I read philosophy books constantly. Not pop philosophy books either, real scholarly philosophy, like Kant, Mills, Locke and things like that, text books too. I believe in knowing who you are and if you don’t understand the fundamental nature of reality and how you view your existence you’ll never know who you are or how you would deal with any situation that may come up for you. It also helps you to understand others and to react better in society.

Go forth and learn about yourself and fail spectacularly.

What was your biggest failure ever?

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