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QOTD – Don’t Take Pride In Your Gifts

December 13, 2011

Failure is an essential component of innovation and invention. If you know it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment. So if you want to invent, if you want to innovate, failure is part and parcel of that. There’s no escape from that.

If I were to go back in time and give myself one piece of advice as an undergraduate, it would be –

Take pride in your decisions and hard work, but not in your gifts. Celebrate your gifts, enjoy them, but don’t take pride in them. Take pride in your decisions and hard work.

For anybody who is starting at Princeton, I think the advice on what to focus on is pretty simple, which is to try to figure out what you are genuinely interested in and pursue those things. Alternate techniques might be trying to figure out what might be most lucrative, or…and those techniques tend not to work.

It’s very, very difficult to chase after a wave. What’s better is to plant yourself in the middle of something that you genuinely love and then wait for the wave to come find you.

Jeff Bezos (source, also)

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