The Value of Time


One of the thoughts brewing in recent months, particularly because of my writing exercise, is the value of time.

I know, I know, it’s old hat, a cliché even, that time is our most precious resource. Except, it’s true. Nothing’s driven that home more than:

  • getting older
  • realizing my time left is finite
  • thinking and writing about that

All this is leading me to be significantly more aware of where and how I spend my time.

Or, rather, where and how I choose to spend my time.

That it’s a choice is, perhaps, the most important point.

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Wisdom and Legacy


When we’re young, it seems we conflate wisdom with knowledge. The more you know, the wiser you must be. Thus, the quest is to know as much as you can.

As we age, we slowly begin to realize that wisdom is also about understanding what you don’t know. In a sense, I suppose, that’s more knowledge. The quest becomes to be more self-aware about what you do and do not know. Perhaps you then use that as a guide to increase your knowledge, or to understand your limitations and, with that understanding, make better decisions.

At some point, though, wisdom is none of that.

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My Writing Process

65 Thoughts Spreadsheet

With 65 daily essays, and a bit of a breather, under my belt, I thought it might be useful to review my reasoning and process.

Having a deadline forces me to produce. My weekly newsletter forces the Ask Leo! wheels to produce or update content each week. I started Not All News Is Bad as a daily newsletter to force myself to find something good in the world every day.

Honestly, 65 Thoughts was the same thing. I wanted to write more, and I wanted what I produce to be a little more meaningful. Setting a cadence of having to publish something every day for 65 days in a row did the trick.

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On Being 65


And here we are.

65 years. 65 trips around the sun.

What does it all mean?

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On Love

In a world where you can be anything - be kind.

Many poets, songwriters, and philosophers have settled on “Love” as The Answer. But what does that mean?

I think many people discard the very thought because of the phrasing. The conflate it with romantic love, or sexual attraction, and have no room to consider it as something much greater than either.

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On Parents

The day after I was born.
The day after I was born. (photo: taken by a family friend; via Leo Notenboom)

The best advice I’ve ever heard about how to get ahead in life is to choose your parents wisely.

If only it were that easy.

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On Hope


These are divisive times. It feels like political and religious partisanship has never been as pronounced as it is today.

And yet, I have hope.

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On Goals

Which path should I take?

I have a love/hate relationship with goals and goal setting.

I recognize their importance and potential. But, I suck at setting them.

Goals are one of the first things you encounter when doing any kind of personal, entrepreneurial, or business growth or training. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years? What do you want to accomplish?

I. Have. No. Idea.

I never did, really. But things have worked out alright, anyway.

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On Consequences

The Mallet of Consequences

Having the freedom to do something does not exempt you from the consequences of doing it.

Having the right to do something doesn’t exempt you either.

Individuals and groups often argue for the freedom or right to do something without wanting to concern themselves with the consequences. They might even think that having the right somehow gives them a pass.


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On Responsibility

Rights & Freedoms versus Responsibilities & Duty

Amid the arguments of personal rights, the rights of others, and more, an important concept seems to have been lost.

With rights come responsibilities.

Without those responsibilities, “rights” become entitlements.

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On Cancel Culture


This is one I struggle with. Does someone turning out to be a bad person invalidate their unrelated prior work?

“Cancel culture” might say yes.

And yet, there are many instances where the prior work was so significant that the individual was given a pass.

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On Charity

Should charity be anonymous?

Having some means, motive, and opportunity, I find myself asking this from time to time.

It’s not as simple a choice as one might believe.

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On Generalization

Correlation is not Causation

The ability to generalize is both a blessing and a curse.

It’s perhaps the only way we can make sense of the massive amounts of information we face every waking moment. Rather than worry about the minutia of each situation, we generalize and make assumptions based on that generalization to take action.

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On Change


One reason I love my career / hobby / avocation is because it’s constantly changing.

We can say the same about life, of course. Unfortunately, this makes many people uncomfortable.

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On Getting Started


Just being able to start is a super-power.

In science, “activation energy” is the effort required to get something going. It applies to just about anything, though.

Even writing these essays requires that I put in a certain amount of non-trivial energy in just getting started … 65 times.

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On Numbers


We have a difficult time comprehending really large and really small numbers.

This often makes us vulnerable to misunderstanding and manipulation.

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On “Should”

Judgy Owl says you should use "should" less often.

We use the word “should” an awful lot.

The problem is each use is an implicit judgement, and sometimes even an implied commitment.

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On Language & Change


This is difficult for me to accept, but accept it I must.

Language is fluid and ever changing. It’s a slow change, but it’s a change, nonetheless.

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On Changing Your Mind


I mentioned in my thoughts on hypocrisy that many consider changing your mind a flaw.

For example, it’s rare that a politician will change their mind, at least publicly, for fear of a backlash.

And yet, changing your mind is one of the most important things we can be capable of doing.

It needs to be celebrated, not derided.

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