“You were not shocked when a child knew how to breathe. You were not shocked when a skyeel took flight for the first time. You should not be shocked when you hand Kaladin Stormblessed a spear and he knows how to use it.”
“For men who want to learn my strategy, this is the Way:
Do not think dishonestly.
The Way is in training.
Become acquainted with every art.
Know the Ways of all professions.
Distinguish between gain and loss in world matters.
Perceive those things which cannot be seen.
Pay attention even to trifles.
Do nothing useless.”
“I understood it now, why I had lived so many times. I had to learn a lot of important skills and lessons, so that when the time came I could rescue Ethan, not from the pond but from the sinking despair of his own life.”
“One might say that the ability to evaluate one’s own ability is the most important skill of all. Without it, improvement is impossible. And certainly, ego makes it difficult every step of the way. It is certainly more pleasurable to focus on our talents and strengths, but where does that get us? Arrogance and self-absorption inhibit growth. So does fantasy and ‘vision.’ ”
“With all the knowledge and skill acquired in thousands of flights in the last ten years, I would hardly think today of making my first flight on a strange machine in a twenty-seven mile wind, even if I knew that the machine had already been flown and was safe.”
“Mattie started up the machine, which made the front tires of Roger’s Toyota spin around, and after a minute she lay down on one shoulder and adjusted something under the front. She didn’t get that dirty, either. I had never seen a woman with this kind of know-how. It made me feel proud, somehow.”
“Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found.”
“In the most general sense, talent is the sum of a person’s abilities—his or her intrinsic gifts, skills, knowledge, experience, intelligence, judgment, attitude, character, and drive. It also includes his or her ability to learn and grow.”
“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t. With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the very same time, effort makes skill productive.”
“Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think it’s related to staying true to our commitments even when we’re not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day, eager to try again, is in my view even more reflective of grit. Because when you don’t come back the next day—when you permanently turn your back on a commitment—your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.”
“A big part of the tutor’s job was to steer the players away from the professors and courses most likely to lead to lack of performance. The majority of the football team wound up majoring in ‘Criminal Justice.’ What Criminal Justice had going for it was that it didn’t require any math or language skills. Criminal Justice classes were also almost always filled with other football players.”
“Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits, and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.”
“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survived.”
“In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given. And the only way you’ll do something spectacular is by using it all to your advantage.”
“We were marvellously well-equipped for our specific purposes, and in all matters pertaining to supplies, regimen, transportation, and camp construction we profited by the excellent example of our many recent and exceptionally brilliant predecessors.”
“You don’t want to abandon the skills and experience you have gained,but to find a new way to apply them. Your eye is on the future, not the past.Often such creative readjustments lead to a superior path for us—we are shaken out of our complacency and forced to reassess where we are headed.”
“It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it. You want to be as immediately present to what you are doing as possible.”
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