Derek Sivers

If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.

Derek sivers

In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have.

Action

Think long term.
Use the future.

Starting small puts 100% of your energy into solving real problems for real people

If you want to be useful, you can always start now. It will be a humble prototype of your grand vision, but you’ll be in the game. Start by teaching someone this week. Starting small puts 100% of your energy into solving real problems for real people.

Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.

Suppress desire for things which are not in your own control

But, for the present, totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed; and of those which are, and which it would be laudable to desire, nothing is yet in your possession.

Use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance; and even these lightly, and with gentleness and reservation.

The standard pace is for chumps

The system is designed so anyone can keep up. If you’re more driven than ‘just anyone’ — you can do so much more than anyone expects. And this applies to ALL of life — not just school.

Learning without doing is wasted

Learning without doing is wasted. If I don’t use what I learn, then it was pointless! How horrible to waste those hundreds of hours I spent learning, and not turn it into action.

Everyone who became great at something has a similar story

For years, they worked on their craft every day, even if they weren’t in the mood. Always pushing, practicing, working, and improvingYes it takes thousands of hours of practice, but that’s good news! It’s a clear path and it’s under your control.

The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most

Every time you're making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice - and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice. The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that's the one you should choose.

You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience.

If you’re thirty now and have six different directions you want to pursue, then you can do each one for ten years, and have done all of them by the time you’re ninety. It seems ridiculous to plan to age ninety when you’re thirty, right? But it’s probably coming, so you might as well take advantage of it.

A great goal makes you take action immediately

A bad goal makes you say, “I want to do that some day.” A great goal makes you take action immediately.

Busy is what happens when you’re at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.

Being

Most people don't know why they're doing what they're doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing

Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

Pay close attention to what excites you

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.

Grow (and thrive!)

You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion.

Hell yeah or no

If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.

In the end, it's about what you want to be, not what you want to have.

Business

Don’t pursue business just for your own gain.
Only answer the calls for help.

The single most important thing is to make people happy

If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.

Improve the world while improving yourself

Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself.

Business is not about money

Business is not about money. It's about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.

When you make a company, that's your little place to make your own little utopia

You're free to do anything you want with your company. It's more like art. You don't have to follow any norms. It's an expression of how you feel the world should be. When you make a company, that's your little place to make your own little utopia.

Business is as creative as the fine arts

You can be as unconventional, unique, and quirky as you want. A business is a reflection of the creator.

Starting small puts 100 percent of your energy into actually solving real problems for real people

Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you never need to act like a big boring company. Over ten years, it seemed like every time someone raved about how much he loved CD Baby, it was because of one of these little fun human touches.

Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be

Never forget that you can make your role anything you want it to be. Anything you hate to do, someone else loves. So find that person and let her do it.

Delegation doesn’t come naturally to any of us.

I knew how important it was to get into the delegation mind-set. I was trying to empower my employees—to let them know they could make decisions on their own, without me.

Set up your business like you don’t need the money

If you set up your business like you don’t need the money, people are happier to pay you. When someone’s doing something for the money, people can sense it, like they sense a desperate lover. It’s a turnoff. 

When someone’s doing something for love, being generous instead of stingy, trusting instead of fearful, it triggers this law: We want to give to those who give.

If it makes you happy, that’s OK

Even if what you’re doing is slowing the growth of your business—if it makes you happy, that’s OK.

Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers

Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make every decision—even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone—according to what's best for your customers.

Remember that what you're doing will constantly improve

Go find very early versions of things: the first TV pilot of a later-successful TV show; early audition tapes by famous actors; early demos by famous musicians. Focus on these early examples, not what they became over the next 20 years. Remember that what you're doing will constantly improve.

Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.

Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, "Does it do [x]?", "Do you plan to add [y]?". Finally Jobs said, "Wait wait — put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don't want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.

Customer service is the new marketing.

Happiness

Make sure you know what makes you
happy, and don’t forget it.

Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?

Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They spend decades in pursuit of something that someone convinced them they should want, without realizing that it won’t make them happy.

The purpose of money is to trade for things that make you happy

So if you can bypass money and get directly to the happy, you've saved a lot of trouble. And it makes others happier, too, when you organize your business around non-monetary things.

If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.

Don't be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams.

True happiness ongoing dynamic performance of worthy deeds.

Happiness is commonly mistaken for passively experienced pleasure or leisure… True happiness is a verb. It’s the ongoing dynamic performance of worthy deeds.

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you

Just pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.

If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you. If you think revolution needs to feel like war, you’ll overlook the importance of simply serving people better. 

Life

Don't be on your deathbed someday, having squandered your one chance at life, full of regret because you pursued little distractions instead of big dreams.

The little day-to-day things that fascinate you

If you think your life’s purpose needs to hit you like a lightning bolt, you’ll overlook the little day-to-day things that fascinate you. If you think revolution needs to feel like war, you’ll overlook the importance of simply serving people better.

Same inputs, same responses

If you keep experiencing the same things, your mind keeps its same patterns. Same inputs, same responses. Your brain, which was once curious and growing, gets fixed into deep habits. Your values and opinions harden and resist change.

You really learn only when you’re surprised

If you’re not surprised, then everything is fitting into your existing thought patterns. So to get smarter, you need to get surprised, think in new ways, and deeply understand different perspectives.

The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that's the one you should choose.

Every time you're making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice - and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice. The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that's the one you should choose.

Grow (and thrive!)

You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion.

Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.

Money

What would you do then, if you didn’t need
the money and didn’t need the attention?

But what if you had so much money that you couldn’t possibly want any more? What would you do then?

We do so many things for the money, whether we need it or not. But what if you had so much money that you couldn’t possibly want any more? What would you do then? What would you stop doing?

The purpose of money is to trade for things that make you happy

The purpose of money is to trade for things that make you happy. So if you can bypass money and get directly to the happy, you've saved a lot of trouble. And it makes others happier, too, when you organize your business around non-monetary things.

The most important lesson is probably to spend less than you earn

The most important lesson is probably to spend less than you earn. By not having any money to waste, you never waste money.

A rule of capitalism: whoever takes the most financial risk gets the rewards.

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