Quotes from Permanent Record Book by Edward Snowden

Permanent.Record.Book.by.Edward.Snowden

Hi guys! You might notice what books I am reading from my reading list. I commit myself reading at least four books per month. Permanent Record Book by Edward Snowden is one of my favourite this month. Followings are excerpt from the books. Hope you enjoy and get the information.

My name is Edward Joseph Snowden. I used to work for the government, but now I work for the public. It took me nearly three decades to recognize that there was a distinction, and when I did, it got me into a bit of trouble at the office. As a result, I now spend my time trying to protect the public from the person I used to be—a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), just another young technologist out to build what I was sure would be a better world.

The reason you’re reading this book is that I did a dangerous thing for a man in my position: I decided to tell the truth. I collected internal IC documents that gave evidence of the US government’s lawbreaking and turned them over to journalists, who vetted and published them to a scandalized world.

This book is about what led up to that decision, the moral and ethical principles that informed it, and how they came to be—which means that it’s also about my life.

What makes a life? More than what we say; more, even, than what we do. A life is also what we love, and what we believe in. For me, what I love and believe in the most is connection, human connection, and the technologies by which that is achieved. Those technologies include books, of course. But for my generation, connection has largely meant the Internet.

I was lost, and fell into a dark mood while I struggled with my conscience. I love my country, and I believe in public service—my whole family, my whole family line for centuries, is filled with men and women who have spent their lives serving this country and its citizens. I myself had sworn an oath of service not to an agency, nor even a government, but to the public, in support and defense of the Constitution, whose guarantee of civil liberties had been so flagrantly violated. Now I was more than part of that violation: I was party to it. All of that work, all of those years—who was I working for? How was I to balance my contract of secrecy with the agencies that employed me and the oath I’d sworn to my country’s founding principles? To whom, or what, did I owe the greater allegiance? At what point was I morally obliged to break the law?

The Internet has become almost as integral to our lives as the air through which so many of its communications travel. And, as we’ve all been reminded—every time our social media feeds alert us to a post that tags us in a compromising light—to digitize something is to record it, in a format that will last forever.

My generation was the last in American and perhaps even in world history for which this is true—the last undigitized generation, whose childhoods aren’t up on the cloud but are mostly trapped in analog formats like handwritten diaries and Polaroids and VHS cassettes, tangible and imperfect artifacts that degrade with age and can be lost irretrievably. My schoolwork was done on paper with pencils and erasers, not on networked tablets that logged my keystrokes.

The doors to the most secretive intelligence agencies were flung wide open to young technologists like myself. And so the geek inherited the earth.

The freedom of a country can only be measured by its respect for the rights of its citizens, and it’s my conviction that these rights are in fact limitations of state power that define exactly where and when a government may not infringe into that domain of personal or individual freedoms that during the American Revolution was called “liberty” and during the Internet Revolution is called “privacy.”

Peering at life through a window can ultimately abstract us from our actions and limit any meaningful confrontation with their consequences.

I was young, and while my curiosity was pure, it was also, in retrospect, pretty psychologically revealing, in that some of my earliest hacking attempts were directed toward allaying my neuroses. The more I came to know about the fragility of computer security, the more I worried over the consequences of trusting the wrong machine. As a teenager, my first hack that ever courted trouble dealt with a fear that suddenly became all I could think about: the threat of a full-on, scorched-earth nuclear holocaust.

When I was a teen, I think I was a touch too enamored of the idea that life’s most important questions are binary, meaning that one answer is always Right, and all the rest of the answers are Wrong. I think I was enchanted by the model of computer programming, whose questions can only be answered in one of two ways: 1 or 0, the machine-code version of Yes or No, True or False.

In the 1990s, the Internet had yet to fall victim to the greatest iniquity in digital history: the move by both government and businesses to link, as intimately as possible, users’ online personas to their offline legal identity.

Once the ubiquity of collection was combined with the permanency of storage, all any government had to do was select a person or a group to scapegoat and go searching – as I’d gone searching through the agency’s files – for evidence of a suitable crime

This, to my thinking, actually represented the great nexus of the Intelligence Community and the tech industry: both are entrenched and unelected powers that pride themselves on maintaining absolute secrecy about their developments. Both believe that they have the solutions for everything, which they never hesitate to unilaterally impose. Above all, they both believe that these solutions are inherently apolitical, because they’re based on data, whose prerogatives are regarded as preferable to the chaotic whims of the common citizen.

The fact is, no one with a biography like mine ever comes comfortably to autobiography. It’s hard to have spent so much of my life trying to avoid identification, only to turn around completely and share “personal disclosures” in a book.

America’s fundamental laws exist to make the job of law enforcement not easier but harder. This isn’t a bug, it’s a core feature of democracy.

I had hoped to serve my country, but instead I went to work for it. This is not a trivial distinction.

Instead, I was resolved to bring to light a single, all-encompassing fact: that my government had developed and deployed a global system of mass surveillance without the knowledge or consent of its citizenry.

The NSA’s surveillance programs, its domestic surveillance programs in particular, flouted the Fourth Amendment completely.

Ultimately, every language, including English, demonstrates its culture’s relationship to power by how it chooses to define the act of disclosure. Even the nautically derived English words that seem neutral and benign frame the act from the perspective of the institution that perceives itself wronged, not of the public that the institution has failed.

Grab yourself Permanent Record book by Edward Snowden

You can a documentary about him, too following:

Until next time.
Happy reading!




Solitude is a Freedom That Breathes Easy and Weightless, How to be Alone by Tanya Davis

The words and music to the videopoem of the same name (by Andrea Dorfman). Music and words by Tanya Davis with recording and additional instruments by Timothy Crabtree.
Davis wrote the beautiful poem and performed in the video which Dorfman directed, shot, animated by hand and edited. The video was shot in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was produced by Bravo!FACT http://www.bravofact.com/

Originally released on April 13, 2014
How to be Alone by Tanya Davis

Lyrics starts here:

If you are at first solitude, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There’s also the gym. If you’re shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in (guitar stroke).
And there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.
And there’s prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously (electric guitar plucking) based on your avoid being alone principals.
The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they — like you — will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.
When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You’re no less intriguing a person when you’re eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community. And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching…because, they’re probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.
Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there’re always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might’ve never happened had you not been there by yourself

Society is afraid of alonedom, like solitude hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but solitude is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and solitude is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one’s in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school’s groaning were tokens for holding the solitude at bay. Because if you’re happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting life’s magic things in reach.

And it doesn’t mean you’re not connected, that community’s not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn’t get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.
you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

The Secrets of Old Age, Words by Jim Turcott

The secret of old age in six words:
Before middle age, do not fear.
After middle age, do not regret.
Enjoy your life while you can.

Do not wait until you cannot even walk, just to be sorry and to regret.
As long as it is physically possible, visit places you wish to visit.
When there is an opportunity, get together with old classmates, old colleagues and old friends.
The gathering is not just about eating. It is just that there is not much time left.

Money kept in the banks may not be really yours.
When it is time to spend, just keep on spending. Treat yourself well as you are getting old.

Whatever you feel like eating, just eat. It is most important to be happy.
Food which are good for health, eat often and more, but that is not everything.
Things which are not good for health, eat less but once in a while do not abstain from them totally.

Treat sickness with optimism. Whether you are poor or rich.
Everyone has to go through the birth, aging, sickness and death. There is no exception, that is life.

Do not be afraid or worried when you are sick.
Settle all the outstanding issues beforehand and you will be able to leave without regret.
Let the doctors handle your body. Let God and nature handle your life but be in charge of your own moods.

If worries can cure your sickness, then go ahead and worry.
If worries can prolong your life, then go ahead and worry.
If worries can exchange for happiness, then go ahead and worry.

Our kids will make their own fortune with or without your help.

Look after FOUR old treasures:

Your old body: Pay more attention to health. You can only rely on yourself on this.
Retirement funds: Look after your retirement funds. Money that you have earned, it is best to keep them yourself.
Your old companion. Treasure every moment with your other half. One of you will leave first.
Your old friends. Seize every opportunity to meet up with your friends. Such opportunities will become rare as time goes by.

Things you must do every day: smile and laugh.
Running water does not flow back, and so it is with life. Make it happy.

Success fueled passion MORE than passion fueled success

I watched TEDx videos on YouTube today. This one is interesting which I want to share. I summarized it as following:

Lesson of the day: Success fueled passion MORE than passion fueled success.

You create life by living it now. I was afraid to board on the wrong career, so I waste time waiting for the perfect one, the right one to come. Lesson learned, I have never met that one. Suggestion, just take any jobs now. You’re not likely to not to get stuck in the future. Because you will get stuck some days and you will find a way to escape it. If you don’t do it now, You’re are getting stuck now. Passion is not a job or a hobby. If you are busy looking for a passion, you will miss a lot of opportunities in your life. It is okay not to know what you will do in the next 5 years. Why? Because the most fulfilling thing in life is the one that surprise you. If you know every steps you will take, path you will take, everything is predicable and boring. Stop wasting your time searching for your passion.

Spend your time and effort solving your favorite problem.

Look for problems that need solving. Be useful, generous. People will hug you, people will pay you for it. And that where passion is, where your energy, efforts, need meet someone else’s need. That’s when you realize passion lives, know what you have to contribute. Just start doing, because to live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t follow your passion, your passion follows you.

You can watch full video below: Stop searching for your passion by Terri Trespicio, TEDxKC

Life Lessons We Can Learn from Tiny Ants

The ant is an industrious creature. Small in size, but wise in its ability to optimize its time, skills and resources. Following are characteristics of the ants and good things we can learn from:

Life Lesson 1: Ants teach us to be well-organized

There are three kinds of ants in a colony: workers, queen, and males. Each kind of ant does different job. They are so well organized, that they carry out their entire task through division of labor. Nothing is left undone in the Ant colony, because of the well-organized structure, which has already been put in place. This is a serious lesson for individuals who are not organized.

Life Lesson 2: Ants teach us unselfish unity

Ants have an unbelievable spirit of unselfish unity. If they find out something eatable immediately, they pass on the message to others. Ants use pheromones to get their message clearly across other ants. They communicate to resolve their problems as quick as possible. They don’t sit in silence, and hope, someone will understand their problems. They know, only way to get a problem resolved is two-way communication, i.e. using pheromones.
They also use pheromones to help other ants to taste the success (food). This not only allows them to win respect among peers but also help them to get the objective fast.

Life Lesson 3: Ants teach us the spirit of sharing

The ants share everything they get. They never eat anything alone. They show great interest in sharing. How fast they convey the message to others for sharing. But what do we humans do? If we find something immediately, we try our best to hoard it in a secret place, unreachable to anybody. Only very few have experienced the taste and pleasure of sharing.

Life Lesson 4: Ants teach us to have sense of discipline

The sense of discipline among the ants is really amazing. Without mistake, they march one after another in a line. How pleasant is their marching sight! Without any dispute or accident, they move about in order. Think of man’s spirit of division. Everywhere in life he finds loopholes to divide. He is more interested in division than in unity.

Life Lesson 5: Ants are great planners

When it is winter, they store up enough food in their colony. During winter, when the cold is becoming unbearable, they never lack anything. Ants are better planners than some individuals. They also plan seasons of work and of rest to prevent burnout.

Life Lesson 6: Ants teach us to work hard

Ants are noted for carrying objects that are bigger than them. This is only made possible through sheer hard work and determination. Ants are not only strong, but also hard working. They are not scared of heavy task, but rather take pleasure in lifting these objects to their colony. If we don’t look at how big a task is, we would easily accomplish task that seemed insurmountable.
Also, ants teach us the value of hard work. Laziness does nothing but encourage us to procrastinate and remain in a state of lack and apathy. Ants are never lazy! Neither are they poor nor hungry! Their efforts and hard work sustain them! If we strive to be diligent and work hard, our lives will be blessed physically, spiritually and financially!
Ants always keep themselves busy all day long. However, they are busy doing something, unlike many individuals who are busy doing nothing. Like Henry David Thoreau said: “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is; what are we busy about? To be tireless implies never slacking or stopping. That is a very classical attribute of the Ant.

Life Lesson 7: Ants teach us to be persistent

Whenever an obstacle is placed in the way of Ants, they always find a way round such obstacles. Napoleon said, “Victory belongs to be persistent” We must never give up so easily in the face of obstacles. There are many obstacles in life that have to be overcome. As long as you keep trying you will get past whatever is blocking your path.

Life Lesson 8: Ants teach us to follow a routine

Ants follow a daily routine structure to collect their food. They don’t lose hope after one bad day or get excited after one good day. It is all same from them. They knew when sun rise again, they need to start all over.

Life Lesson 9: Ants have teamwork

Everything an ant does is for the benefit of the colony and they will work until they are done. Almost on auto pilot each ant knows their duties and they do everything they can to get those duties completed. Some are tunneling, some are moving material and others are looking for food. If any of the ants is not working with the team it will be noticed.

Life Lesson 10: Keep Calm and Get the Job Done

Sheer size of the workload does not intimidate ants. For them, a big or small job is just a job. Anything that really matters to them, to get the job done.

Life Lesson 11: Ants teach us to be self-organized

Ants are self-organized creatures. They don’t get instructions from top elites or queen. They react to local environment, helping each other on their objectives, and making individual law as the universal colony law to meet the objects.

Life Lesson 12: Ants teach us to be brave

The average worker ant is just as brave as Beowulf. The average human is obviously more than ten times the size of an ant. We get terrified by bears and tigers which really are nowhere near ten times our size. Some of us even screech at the sight of a cockroach. Yes, size doesn’t matter and bears and tigers are dangerous, but we’re just trying to justify the immense bravery of a little ant. With your strength, you could squash an ant, dismember it, drown it and do many other terrifying things to it. Ants teach you that no matter how terrifying things may look up ahead, you should never chicken out. Come to think of it, ants are a lot braver than your typical action movie hero.

Life Lesson 13: Ants teach us that the next generation is everybody’s responsibility

Ants raise all their young together and that’s something we should learn to do. No, not wrap our children like larvae and put them in a room but educate them together. You don’t have to be living in the same house to educate a child and neither do you have to be a school teacher. You could educate a stranger’s child by showing good example, giving good advice or even settling a small fight in a very civilized manner. Unfortunately, we have become quite selfish in the upbringing of our children. Even worse are the cases of child rape and murder. What we should do is be responsible for the development of every child. If you’re a parent, you should also learn to understand when others are trying to educate your children. Put aside your ego because it’s all for the greater good.

Lesson 14: Ants teach us to adapt to our surroundings

You can find ants just about anywhere. It’s amazing how they’ve managed to get the most out of living with human beings. Move into a new house and you’ll eventually find ants. Walk in the forest and you’ll find ants. Ants know where to search for resources and you should do the same. Be quick to adapt to your surrounding and don’t wait for a wakeup call. When things around you change, learn to adapt and make the most out of it.

And lastly, ants teach us that knowledge should be shared

This article was compiled from different sources in purpose of sharing the good to everybody. All is credited to its respective owners. Since the sources were mixed up in my Evernote, please reach me directly by email, I will cite this to your original posts.

What did you learn about ants? Share your thought below.
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How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals

Today I came across this video by TEDxTucson. The speaker’s name is Stephen Duneier for your reference. But mostly I care more about the message than the messenger.
You can picture him as Forrest Gump in real life. Hope you get inspired by his story and sharing.

Summary of Mr. Duneier’s talk:
Each of us can achieve any goals by:

Decision. Any Decision is Better Than None.

Firstly, it all starts with a decision. Mr. Duneier becomes a better person today than he was started with a decision. He wanted to get better at anything he did. By doing so, he listed all what he wanted to improve and started doing it step-by-step.

Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Small thing at a time.

You cannot finish a big cake with one bite. You have to split it into small manageable pieces. This is same to achieving your goals and anything in life. You cannot finish everything you list all at once. So you have to start doing it step-by-step, day-by-day. The keys here are action and persistence which simply mean you start doing it and don’t give up. To develop reading habit, it all started with a letter, a word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, then a chapter. You can do it one minute a day, everyday, day-by-day.

In 20 Hours by Kaufman’s theory, it only takes 20 hours to get to that decently good enough level.

Celebrate your little success.

Then celebrate your little success because it motivates you to keep going.

John C. Maxwell’s The Law of Consistency says, “Motivation Gets You Going, Discipline Keeps You Growing.”

Marginal adjustment to routine.

This step is about utilizing your time. To learn anything and to achieve any goals take a lot of time and efforts. 24 hours are only resource you cannot negotiate. Budget your time wisely. For example, instead of listening to music during long hour commute, listen to podcast that makes you learn something, that makes you more productive, that moves you closer to your goals; in Mr. Duneier’s case, he listens to German podcast to improve his German. If you want to listen to audiobook or podcast and enjoy music at the same time, I have a tutorial on how to add your favourite music in background of podcast and audiobook.

Learn to enjoy the journey, not just destination.

There is no point of forcing yourself reaching goals that you cannot enjoy the process.

Quote of the day:

“Yes, achieving your goals is happiness. Success is happiness. Happiness is living a good life. To live a good life is to enjoy and appreciate the process, not the outcome.” — Sethy
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What do you want to improve? Leave a comment below.
Until then. Be a Better You!
Sethy

Transcription:

By a show of hands. How many of you believe you could replicate this image of Brad Pitt with just a pencil and piece of paper? Well, I’m going to show you how to do this. And in so doing, I’m going to give you the skill necessary to become a world-class artist. And it shouldn’t take more than about But before I do that, how many of you believe you could replicate this image of a solid gray square? (Laughter) Every one of us. And if you can make one gray square, you can make two, three, nine … Truth of the matter is, if you could made just one gray square, it’d be very difficult to argue that you couldn’t make every gray square necessary to replicate the image in its entirety. And there you have it. I’ve just given you the skills necessary to become a world-class artist. (Laughter) I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not real art, certainly wouldn’t make me a world-class artist. “ So let me introduce you to Chuck Close. He’s one of the highest-earning artists in the entire world, for decades, he creates his art using this exact technique. You see, what stands between us and achieving even our most ambitious dreams has far less to do with possessing some magical skill or talent, and far more to do with how we approach problems and make decisions to solve them. And because of the continuous and compounding nature of all those millions of decisions that we face on a regular basis, even a marginal improvement in our process can have a huge impact on our end results. And I’ll prove this to you by taking a look at the career of Novak Djokovic. Back in when he first became a professional tennis player, he was ranked It wasn’t until the end of his third year that he jumped up to be ranked third in the world. He went from making to in prize money alone, and of course, he did this by winning more matches. In ranked men’s tennis player in the world, started earning an average of and winning a dominating Now, here’s what’s really interesting about all of these very impressive statistics. Novak doesn’t control any of them. What he does control are all the tiny little decisions that he needs to make correctly along the way in order to move the probability in favor of him achieving these types of results. And we can quantify and track his progress in this area by taking a look at the percentage of points that he wins. Because in tennis the typical point involves one to maybe three decisions, I like to refer to this as his decision success rate. So, back when he was winning about he was winning about of the points he played. Then to jump up, become number three in the world, and actually earn five million dollars a year for swinging a racquet, he had to improve his decision success rate to just Then to become not just number one but maybe one of the greatest players to ever play the game, he had to improve his decision success rate to just And I keep using this word “just. “ I don’t want to imply this is easy to do, clearly, it’s not. But the type of marginal improvements that I’m talking about are easily achievable by every single one of us in this room. And I’ll show you what I mean. From kindergarten, all the way through to my high school graduation – yes, that’s high school graduation for me – (Laughter) every one of my report cards basically said the same thing: Steven is a very bright young boy, if only he would just settle down and focus. What they didn’t realize was I wanted that even more than they wanted it for me, I just couldn’t. And so, from kindergarten straight through the I was a really consistent C, C- student. But then going into my junior year, I’d had enough. I thought I want to make a change. I’m going to make a marginal adjustment, and I’m going to stop being a spectator of my decision-making and start becoming an active participant. And so, that year, instead of pretending, again, that I would suddenly be able to settle down and focus on things for more than five or ten minutes at a time, I decided to assume I wouldn’t. And so, if I wanted to achieve the type of outcome that I desire – doing well in school – I was going to actually have to change my approach. And so I made a marginal adjustment. If I would get an assignment, let’s say, read five chapters in a book, I wouldn’t think of it as five chapters, I wouldn’t even think of it as one chapter. I would break it down into these tasks that I could achieve, that would require me to focus for just five or ten minutes at a time. So, maybe three or four paragraphs. That’s it. I would do that and when I was done with those five or ten minutes, I would get up. I’d go shoot some hoops, do a little drawing, maybe play video games for a few minutes, and then I come back. Not necessarily to the same assignment, not even necessarily to the same subject, but just to another task that required just five to ten minutes of my attention. From that point forward, all the way through to graduation, I was a straight-A student, Dean’s List, President’s Honor Roll, every semester. I then went on to one of the top graduate programs in the world for finance and economics. Same approach, same results. So then, I graduate. I start my career and I’m thinking, this worked really well for me. You know, you take these big concepts, these complex ideas, these big assignments, you break them down too much more manageable tasks, and then along the way, you make a marginal improvement to the process that ups the odds of success in your favor. I’m going to try and do this in my career. So I did. I started out as an exotic derivatives trader for credit Swiss. It then led me to be global head of currency option trading for Bank of America, global head of emerging markets for AIG international. It helped me deliver top-tier returns as a global macro hedge fund manager for and to become founder and CIO of two award-winning hedge funds. So it gets to and I’m thinking, this whole idea, it worked really well in school, it’s been serving me well as a professional, why aren’t I applying this in my personal life, like to all those big ambitious goals I have for myself? So one day, I’m walking to work, and at the time my commute was a walk from one end of Hyde Park to the other, in London. It took me about an hour and a half a day, seven and a half hours a week, when I was awake, aware, basically wasting time, listening to music on my iPod. So on my way home from work that day I stopped at the store. I picked up the first in the Pimsleur German language program, ripped them and put them onto my iPod. But I didn’t stop there. Because the truth of the matter is, I’m an undisciplined person. And I knew that at some point, I’d switch away from the language and go back to the music. So I removed that temptation by removing all of the music. That left me with just one option: listen to the language tapes. So ten months later, I’d listened to all in the German language program, listened to each one three times each. And I went to Berlin for a intensive German course. When I was done, I invited my wife and kids to meet me. We walked around the city. I spoke German to the Germans, they spoke German back to me. My kids were amazed. (Laughter) I mean they couldn’t close their jaws. But you and I, we know, there is actually nothing amazing about what I’ve just done. I made this marginal adjustment to my daily routine. This marginal adjustment to my process. (German) Und jetzt, ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch. And now I could speak some German. And so in that moment, I’m thinking, it’s not supposed to be this easy for a guy like me – an old guy – to learn a new language. You’re supposed to do that when you’re a kid. And yet here I had done it. This marginal adjustment. So what other big ambitious goals I’ve been holding onto, putting off until retirement, that I could potentially achieve if I just made a marginal adjustment to my routine? So I started doing them. I earned my auto racing license. I learned how to fly a helicopter, did rock-climbing, skydiving. I learned how to fly planes aerobatically. Well, if you’re like me, back in you might have the same goal I had. I was just moving back from London. I was about and out of shape, and I wanted to rectify that. So I could go to the typical route, you know, I could write a check to a gym I’d never go to. Or I could swear to myself that I will never again eat those foods that I love but are doing all the damage. And I knew that going that route rarely results in the outcome you desire. So I decided to become an active participant. I thought about the habits and passions that I’ve developed in my life, and I thought, can I make just a marginal adjustment to them so that they work in my favor as opposed to against me? And so I did. I’ve got a habit where I’ve been walking an hour and a half a day for the last seven years, and I’ve got this passion for being in the outdoors. And so that year, I didn’t actually set the new year’s resolution to lose I set a resolution to hike all in the front country of Santa Barbara Mountains. And I’d never been on a hike before in my life. (Laughter) But the truth of the matter is, it’s not about the You have to break this big ambitious goal down into these more manageable decisions – the types of decisions that need to be made correctly along the way in order to improve the odds of achieving the type of outcome you desire. It’s not about even one trail. It’s about those tiny little decisions, you know, like when you are sitting at your desk, putting in just a little extra time at the end of a day. Or you’re lying on your couch, clicking through the channels on your remote control, or scrolling through your Facebook feed, and in that moment, make the decision to put it down. You go put on your hiking clothes, you go walk outside your front door, and you shut it behind you. You walk to your car, get in, drive to the trailhead. You get out of the car at the trailhead, and you take one step, you take two steps, three steps. Every one of those steps that I have just described is a tiny little decision that needs to be made correctly along the way in order to achieve the ultimate outcome. Now, when I say I want to hike people think about the decisions at the top of the mountain. That’s not what it’s about. Because if you don’t make the right decision when you’re on the couch, there is no decision that occurs at the top of the mountain. So by the end of the year, I’d hiked all in the front country; I did them a couple of times each. I even did a few in the backcountry. I lost the and I capped the year off by doing the hardest half marathon in the world – the Pier to Peak. In ambitious for a guy who still, to this day, cannot settle down and focus on anything for more than ten or ten minutes at a time, and that was to read But again, it’s not about reading It’s not even about reading one book. It’s not about reading a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence. It’s about that decision when you’re sitting at your desk at the end of the day, or when you’re lying on the couch, or flicking through your Facebook feed, and you put down the phone. You pick up a book and you read one word. If you read one word, you’ll read two words, three words; you’ll read a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter, a book; you’ll read ten books, In I set what I call giving resolutions, where I did that didn’t involve writing a check. But it’s not without its failures. I tried to donate blood, and they rejected me because I’d lived in the UK. I tried to donate my sperm; they rejected me because I was too old. I tried to donate my hair, and it turns out nobody wants grey hair. (Laughter) So, here I was trying to do something to make myself feel good, and it was having the opposite effect. So anyway, I’ve also had these to learn And when I was done with unicycling, parkour, slacklining, jumping stilts and drumming, my wife suggested that I learned how to knit. (Laughter) And I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that passionate about knitting. But one day, I’m sitting under this that’s spring trail in Santa Barbara, and I’m thinking, that tree would look really cool if it were covered in yarn. (Laughter) And so I went home and Googled this, and it turns out it is a thing people do, it’s called yarnbombing: you wrap these public structures with yarn. And, the second annual international yarn bombing day was just (Laughter) So for the next no matter where I was – (Laughter) if I was in a board meeting, on the trading floor, in an airplane or in the hospital, I was knitting. One stitch at a time. And I had done my first ever yarnbomb. (Applause) And the response to it blew me away. So I kept going … (Laughter) with bigger, more ambitious projects that required more engineering skills. And in to wrap six massive boulders in Los Padres National Forest at the top of the mountains. But if I was going to pull this off, I’d need help. So at this point, I had a few thousand followers on social media as “The Yarnbomber. “ (Laughter) And I started getting packages – lots of packages – from In the end, I didn’t wrap one massive boulder, I wrapped (Applause) So I kept going with bigger, more ambitious projects that would require me to work with new materials, like fiberglass, and wood, and metals, which culminates in a project that is currently at TMC, here in Tucson, where I wrapped the Children’s Hospital. (Applause) Along the way, I stopped knitting. I never really liked it. (Laughter) But … I like crocheting. (Laughter) So, I started making these seven-inch granny squares – because that’s the standard granny square – and I thought along the way: why am I stopping at seven inches? I need big stuff. So, I started making bigger granny squares. So one day, I come home from a business trip, and I’ve got this really large granny, and I went to the website of Guinness. I was curious what’s the world’s largest granny square. And it turns out there’s no category for it. (Laughter) So I applied, and they rejected me. So I appealed, and they rejected me. I appealed again, and they said fine, if you make it ten meters by ten meters, we’ll create a new category, and you will be a Guinness world record holder. So, for the next two years, seven months, one stitch at a time, I finally reached more than half a million stitches, incorporated more than and I am now the official Guinness world record holder for the largest crocheted granny square. (Applause) (Cheering) Along the way, I’ve garnered an awful lot of attention for my escapades. I’ve been featured in Newsweek magazine, Eric news, which is kind of the Bible for artists. But what I want you to realize when you hear these things: I’m still that C- student. I’m still that kid who can’t settle down or focus for more than five or ten minutes at a time. And I remain a guy who possesses no special gift of talent or skill. All I do is take really big, ambitious projects that people seem to marvel at, break them down to their simplest form and then just make marginal improvements along the way to improve my odds of achieving them. And so the whole reason I’m giving this talk is I’m hoping to inspire several of you to pull some of those ambitious dreams that you have for yourself off the bookshelf and start pursuing them by making that marginal adjustment to your routine. Thank you.