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BENJAMIN HARDY: Don’t Live for the Present, live for the past. “Living for the moment is the reason people leave marriages, lose control over their health, and why America is trillions of dollars in debt. Instead of living for the moment, it is better to live for the past — as you’d prefer to remember that moment, and your life in general. Indeed, time is fleeting. The present moment barely exists. The moment you become conscious of it, it’s over.” I’ve never been a fan of the “live for the moment” crowd, as it seems to discount long-term planning and reward hedonism. I think Hardy’s perspective gets it right.

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IO9: The Secret to Overcoming Procrastination. “‘The best thing to do when we’re procrastinating is to identify whether it’s sadness, anger, or fear that’s really in our way,’ Bijou says. “And then, to move that energy out. Have a little bit of a cry, or stomp around — deal with the emotional energy, and then you’ll be able to think more clearly, and break the task down into little, doable pieces. Recalibrate your thinking. Instead of going, “Oh, I can’t do this, it’s too much!”, try, “I’ll take one thing at a time,” almost like a mantra that gets your mind going in the right direction so you’re not sabotaging yourself. Figure out what the task is, and make a list of all of the simple tasks that make up the big, overwhelming task. Then start with just one.‘”

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NEW YEARS’ RESOLUTION ADVICE from John Norcross: Let your missteps be your fuel. “If you are learning to play the piano, you don’t give up because you miss a note. It’s not whether you slip, it’s how you respond to the slip.” More here.

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LIFEHACKER: Four Factors That Can Lead to Success. “We get so obsessed with the outcome that we overlook the repetitions we need to do to get there and that the system is what matters. We become so focused on the short-term results that we forget to build the long-term habits that make the real difference.

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THE SECRET TO COMING UP With Great Ideas: Showing Up. “We often think that blockbuster successes are luck. Maybe it’s easier to explain success that way—as a chance happening, a fortunate outlier. No doubt, there is always some element of luck involved in every success story.  But Markus Zusak [author of The Book Thief] is proof that if you revise your work 200 times—if you find 200 ways to reinvent yourself, to get better at your craft—then luck seems to have a way of finding you.

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WHAT STUDENTS REALLY NEED TO HEAR: “Some of you quit by skipping class on your free education. Being punctual to fit the mold of the classroom is not the main event of showing up. The main event is delaying your temptation and investing in your own intelligence — understanding that sometimes short-term pain creates long-term gain and that great people make sacrifices for a greater good.”  This commonly referred to today as “grit,” but it used to be called “delayed gratification.”  Whatever it is, it is really essential.

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Pension problems in California: “a new report says the fund needs an additional $4.5 billion every year — more than Sacramento spends on both university systems combined — to stay above water.”  This is why I prefer a defined contribution plan (like a 401k or 403b) over a defined benefit plan (pension system).  You know the money’s there waiting for you when you retire.