Sticky Notes - The party is over.

How to kick-ass and take names.

Before we begin... 

Yesterday, I announced that I was running a 24-hour deal on Chasing Hemingway, where, with the discount code "moveablefeast", you can enjoy 70% off your subscription. That deal will end by the time you read this newsletter in its entirety.So, either shit or get off the pot.

(I was emailed yesterday from a writer who I very much admire that I'm an idiot for pricing my writing this low. So, please know, you'll never see this deal again...)

Now let's begin... 

There is a moment in just about every Sherlock Holmes movie where time suddenly slows down and Robert Downey Junior's cat-quick mind races to put the pieces together.

Perhaps a burly assailant is hurling a meaty fist at him and seconds before it's about to make contact with his jaw, time slows down for Downey and he spies the icepick in the sink behind him, the hot steaming cup of tea beside him and the rolling pin caked with flour sitting in a heap of dough. 

Time then rapidly speeds up and before Downey gets cold-cocked, he throws the hot cup of tea in the assailant's face and as the assailant screams in agony, clutching for his face, he runs the icepick through the fucker's right wrist, nailing him to the dated kitchen cupboard and, finally, smacks him in the head with a rolling pin, finishing him off entirely. 

I should be a screenwriter. 

This, to me, is a rather dramatic metaphor for first-principles thinking.

If you have a friend that works in tech, there is a very good chance you've heard him raddle off about first-principles thinking, which is just a fancy-schmancy term for taking a complicated problem, simplifying it to the point of understanding and then smacking a label on it to easily recognize it and navigate it in the future. 

One "first-principle" I think about often is the Lebron James Principle. It's this concept that everyone is Lebron James at something and in order to be wildly successful, you have to find what this something is. 

Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList and arguably the most infamous first-principles thinker alive today, calls this your "specific knowledge". 

According to Ravikant, if you can learn your specific knowledge and/ or your unique interest, talent and skill... you can completely and totally escape competition.  

I recall spending most of my childhood, teenage and early adult years feeling incredibly frustrated as I worked my ass off only to see little in return. 

It felt like everything I tried required a tremendous amount of work to be competent at, while those around me could pick up the same musings and become good at it overnight.

I recognize that I often turn to basketball for metaphors. So, forgive me. But, in basketball, there is a line that coaches will say to describe a player who has raw talent...

"Some things you can't teach."

In basketball, you can't teach height, speed, jumping ability, athleticism, strength and a Jedi-like understanding of the game. 

For better or for worse, basketball is one of those sports where two players can work their asses off and if one player is of more natural talent, he won't just be better than the player who isn't... he will be 10x and maybe even 20x better. 

I worked my ass off in basketball. I worked harder at it than I had ever worked at anything in my life. I'm talking hours and hours a day of ball-handling and shooting drills, weights, cardio, pick-up games, etc. 

While I ended up being a pretty damn good player, I fell victim to what I outlined above. I worked and worked and worked but there were certain things that couldn't be taught that I didn't possess. 

Then, I found writing. 

Part of being successful is discovering what you're the Lebron James of. 

Joe Rogan is the Lebron James of podcasting. 

Neil Gaiman is the Lebron James of fiction. 

Rupi Kaur is the Lebron James of poetry. 

Sophia Amoruso is the Lebron James of business. 

While there are a plethora of good podcasters and fiction writers and poets and entrepreneurs, there will forever only be one Rogan and Gaiman and Kaur and Amoruso. 

This is because they've worked really hard at something where they already have a level of talent that can't be taught. 

To find what you're the Lebron James at, you have to try a lot of different things. You'll know you've finally found the right thing when you feel a bit like you're Downey fighting a villain as Sherlock Holmes.

Everything will begin to move in slow motion for you while everyone else can't seem to keep up and, well, you'll find yourself kicking some serious ass. 

But, I digress. 

By
Cole Schafer. 

If you still need to shit.
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An invaluable lesson from a dead man who couldn't bite his tongue.

Kondraty Ryleyev was the leader of a rebellion meant to overthrow Russia’s Czar, Nicholas I.

The rebellion was quickly stomped out like a discarded cigarette and Nicolas I sentenced Ryleyev to death by hanging.

Later, when the trapdoor opened, Ryleyev dangled from the rope for a split second before it broke and the rebel leader came crashing to the ground.

At this time in Russia, superstition ran rampant and situations, such as a broken rope, weren’t seen as coincidences but as divine intervention.

Believing he was in the clear, Ryleyev climbed to his feet and shouted at the crowd…


“You see, in Russia they don’t know how to do anything properly, not even how to make rope!”

Later, as a disappointed Nicholas I found himself forced to sign the pardon that would make Ryleyev a free man, the messenger shared with the Czar the rebel’s last words.

Nicholas I, dropped the quill, looked at the messenger and said…


“In that case, let us prove the contrary.”

Learn to shut the fuck up.
This might be the longest sentence ever written.

*James Baldwin is typing now*



Blondes and brunettes and, possibly, redheads––my screen was colorless–– washing their hair, relentlessly smiling, teeth cleaming like the grillwork of automobiles, breasts firmly, chillingly encased–– packaged as it were––and brilliantly uplifted, forever all sagging corrected, forever, all middle age bulge––defeated, eyes as senuous and mysterious as jelly beans, lips covered with cellophane, hair sprayed to the consistency of aluminum, girdles forbidden to slide up, stockings defeated in the subversive tendencies to slide down, to tum crooked, to snag, to run, to tear, hands prevented from aging by incredibly soft detergents, fingernails forbidden to break by superbly smooth enamels, teeth forbidden to decay by mysterious chemical formulas, all conceivably body odor, under no matter what contingency, prevented for twenty-four hours of every day, forever and forever and forever, children’s bones knit strong by the foresight of vast bakeries, tobacco robbed of any harmful effects by the addition of mind, the removal of nicotine, the presence of filters and the length of the cigarette, tires which cannot betray you, automobiles which will make you feel proud, doors which cannont slam on those precious fingers or fingernails, diagrams illustrating––proving––how swiftly imperminent pain can be driven away, square-jawed youngsters dancing, other square-jawed youngers armed with guitars, or backed by bands, howling; all of this––and so much more––puntuated by the roar of great automobiles, overtaking gangsters, the spatter of tommy-guns mowing them down, the rise of the organ as the Heroine braces herself to Tell All, the moving smile of the houswwife who has just won a fortune in metal and crockery; news––news?––from where?––dropping into this sea with the alertness and irrelevancy of pebbles, sex wearing an aspect so implacably dispirting that even masturbation (by no means mutual) seems one of the possibilities that vanished in Eden, and murder one’s last, be hope––sex of an appaling coyness, often in the form of a prophylactic cigarette being extended by the virile male toward the aluminum and callophane girl.

Long-winded.

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