Kevin Kelly Advice

34 samples from Kevin Kelly's list "68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice" on his recent 68th birthday. Notice how many center on kindness, selflessness, and professionalism:

• Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

• Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.

• Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.

• Don't be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.

• Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them "Is there more?", until there is no more.

• A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can't believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.

• Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at.


• Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.

• Extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence to be believed.

• Don't be the smartest person in the room. Hangout with, and learn from, people smarter than yourself. Even better, find smart people who will disagree with you.


• Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

• Don't take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are like you: busy, occupied, distracted. Try again later. It's amazing how often a second try works.

• The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth, to flossing.

• Promptness is a sign of respect.


• Trust me: There is no "them".

• The more you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested.

• Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.

• To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.

• The Golden Rule will never fail you. It is the foundation of all other virtues.


• Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.

• Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can't write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don't select. While you sketch, don't inspect. While you write the first draft, don't reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgement.

• If you are not falling down occasionally, you are just coasting.

• Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you'll get. Understanding this is the beginning of wisdom.

• Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.


• Hatred is a curse that does not affect the hated. It only poisons the hater. Release a grudge as if it was a poison.

• There is no limit on better. Talent is distributed unfairly, but there is no limit on how much we can improve what we start with.

• Be prepared: When you are 90% done any large project (a house, a film, an event, an app) the rest of the myriad details will take a second 90% to complete.

• When you die you take absolutely nothing with you except your reputation.

• Before you are old, attend as many funerals as you can bear, and listen. Nobody talks about the departed's achievements. The only thing people will remember is what kind of person you were while you were achieving.


• Don't say anything about someone in email you would not be comfortable saying to them directly, because eventually they will read it.

• Art is in what you leave out.

• When someone is nasty, rude, hateful, or mean with you, pretend they have a disease. That makes it easier to have empathy toward them which can soften the conflict.


• Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don't have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

• The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.

(cf Helpful Homilies (2007-09-02) from David Stern, ...) - ^z - 2020-09-22