Mindful Ambition

One of the more popular topics of discussion in our reading group is how to balance ambitious goals with a strong desire to remain mindful, humble, and grateful.  At times, these two priorities can feel like oil and water and the group reading we’ve completed has yet to reveal the “silver bullet” solution that harmonizes powerful self-motivation with a balanced state of mind.

mindful ambition, the practice of maintaining awareness, humility, and gratitude in the pursuit of extraordinary accomplishment

Last week, I took a stab at providing some answers to an audience of colleagues.  “Being Mindful While Making It Rain” introduces the concept of mindful ambition: the practice of maintaining awareness, humility, and gratitude in the pursuit of extraordinary accomplishment.

We cover five different elements of our lives that demand attention if we hope to pursue great accomplishment without sacrificing the energizing and grounding impact of a present mind.  I also throw in five corresponding activities that can be used to introduce mindful ambition in more concrete terms: taking a success inventory, keeping a gratitude journal, reconnecting with nature, plotting your wealth columns, and (most importantly) initiating a meditation practice.

Check out the video below and download the deck so you can follow along.

Please note, the video is cut a few minutes short.  Everything you missed — including helpful book and app resources — can be found in the deck PDF (link above).


Chamath at LAUNCH

Chamath Palihapitiya is a beast.  He’s most notably a key member of the executive team that brought Facebook over the 1B user mark.  More recently, he’s been running The Social+Capital Partnership and acting as part-owner and board member for the Golden State Warriors (you know, the NBA team with six losses after 62 games).

He also brings the heat anytime he speaks publicly, and was by far my favorite speaker at this year’s LAUNCH Festival.  Topics covered include sports, politics, morality, gambling, tech, and beyond…but Chamath’s comments on diversity in tech and the dusty, overly white hierarchy of venture capital steal the show.

He’s an influencer worth following and definitely one that will get you thinking about the big things.


Elon Circa 2003

I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew very little about Elon Musk prior to catching this Stanford eCorner chat last week.  His association with Tesla, SpaceX, and more recently the Hyperloop project was essentially where my knowledge began and ended.

After attending the LAUNCH Festival earlier this month, it was clear that I had to quickly get up to speed.  Why?  During each of the Calacanis hosted “Fireside Chats” he asked his keynote guests roughly the same question: “Who is the entrepreneur you are most impressed by?”  Unanimously, the answer was Mr. Musk.

Trending entrepreneurs, CEO’s, angels, VC’s, his holiness Peter Thiel — they all had the same answer.  Thiel expanded on his answer by explaining that what makes Musk most impressive — beyond the impeccable track record and his ability to jump between industries with nary a pause — is his success in building companies that operate in the world of atoms, rather than in the world of bits (more here).  Innovation in atoms is certainly a more significant challenge, but Thiel argues it is also the solution to many of our most pressing issues.  Musk is one of few who is successfully “achieving in atoms.”

While it was recorded in 2003, the takeaways are no less relevant.  GET YOUR LEARN ON!

my notes


Pincus Babble

This Stanford eCorner offering is Mark Pincus in free flow.  He’s winging it…and is faced with the additional challenge of constant interruption by his co-speaker Bing Gordon.  Despite these facts, there are kernels of knowledge from both gentlemen on goal setting, playing to win (rather than playing to keep playing), and the entrepreneurial immortality afforded to those who successfully build our “internet treasures.”

Feel free to skip the lecture and just grab my notes below the video embed.

my notes


Meet Andy

Mainstream meditation.  Sounds strange doesn’t it?  The practice of mindfulness has come a long way in the last three decades.  From George and the Maharishi to iOS apps that allow us to easily incorporate meditation into our modern lives.

Andy Puddicombe is one of the leaders in this movement…and he deserves the attention he is garnering.  Using both hands, I couldn’t have counted how many times I’d failed to honor a daily meditation practice once initiated.  That was until I discovered Andy’s Headspace app earlier this year — it cracked the code.

Buy the app, read the book, and see Andy in action below: