This is a great book on choosing to spend your time doing what matters most and eliminating the rest. While it focuses on doing this in business/at work, it can be applied to most, if not all, aspects of our lives. It helped me feel like I have the permission to say no, or at least to say, “I can do that, but it means I can’t do this.” It helped me overcome the reasons that saying no can be difficult and then begin applying “less but better.” As I read this book, I noticed myself implementing its teachings. It’s a great reminder that “if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

The Source of Creativity

This is a great podcast from the TED Radio Hour. You can listen to it here or read the transcript to the part I quote below here. I’ll just highlight this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, which I keep coming back to:

“No, everybody’s invited. Everybody’s invited. When you say creative people, it’s redundant. We are creativity. And we’ve done a great disservice to bifurcate it. And one of the things I’ve been saying a lot to people is that we keep telling people to follow their passion. And I feel like that can be an intimidating and almost cruel thing to say to people at times because first of all, if somebody has one central, powerful, burning passion, they’re probably already following it because that’s sort of the definition of passion – is that you don’t have a choice. If you don’t – which is a lot of people, have one central, burning, passion and somebody tells you to follow your passion, I think you have the right to give them the finger (laughter) because it just makes you feel worse.

And so I always say to people, forget it. Like, if you don’t have an obvious passion, forget about it. Follow your curiosity because passion is sort of a tower of flame that is not always accessible. And curiosity is something that anybody can access any day. Your curiosity may lead you to your passion or may it not. It may have been for, air quotes, nothing, in which case all you’ve done your entire life is spend your existence in pursuit of the things that made you feel curious and inspired and that should be good enough. Like, if you get to do that, that’s a wonderful way to spend your time here.”

The Boys In The Boat

If you’re looking for an all-around good book to read over the Christmas holiday, I recommend this one. It’s a true story that reads (mostly) like a novel and details the story of a crew team from the University of Washington in the 1930s and their quest to compete in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

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