#1443 Earnest > Hip

Which Are You Aspiring to Be?

In our last several +1s, we’ve been talking about Big Ideas from Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. In our most recent +1, I shared my Last Letter to my brother, Rick. 🙏

I also encouraged you to consider writing a gratitude letter for (and sharing it with!) someone you love. Doing so for my brother in his final days was an ineffably powerful experience. (Check out this +1 to learn more about how and why to do it.)

Today I want to go back to wisdom from Randy’s great book based on the “Last Lecture” he gave at Carnegie Mellon.

We’re going to talk about the fact that Randy believed that being EARNEST is way more interesting/powerful character trait than being HIP. (I agree.)

Randy tells us: “I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term. Earnestness is highly underestimated. It comes from the core, while hip is trying to impress you with the surface."

He continues by saying: “When I think of someone who is earnest, I think of a Boy Scout who works hard and becomes an Eagle Scout. When I was interviewing people to work for me, and I came upon a candidate who had been an Eagle Scout, I’d almost always try to hire him. I knew there had to be an earnestness about him that outweighed any superficial urges toward hipness.”

And, he tells us: “Fashion, by the way, is commerce masquerading as hip. I’m not at all interested in fashion, which is why I rarely buy new clothes. The fact that fashion goes out of fashion and then comes back into fashion based solely on what a few people somewhere think they can sell, well to me, that’s insanity.”

Earnest. ← I love that word.

When I searched the ol’ Mac (and app!) for references to THAT word, what did I find?

I found a gem from Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

He tells us: “My kids are endlessly amused by what they see as my earnestness. For years now they have played a game they call ‘The Colonel Says,’ which involves parroting sayings of mine that they find particularly hilarious. My son Evan’s personal favorite, which I barked at him from beneath the family car I was trying to fix: ‘No one ever accomplished anything great sitting down.’ Recently, they’ve joked about creating a ‘Colonel Says’ app that would spit out sayings appropriate to any situation. It’s a great idea, though I think you’d only need one: ‘Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!’ It fits every situation.”

Then I found a gem from my Notes on Samuel Smiles’ old-school classic called Self-Help.

He tells us: “Buxton was no genius – not a great intellectual leader nor discoverer, but mainly an earnest, straightforward, resolute, energetic man. Indeed, his whole character is most forcibly expressed in his own words, which every young man might well stamp upon his soul: ‘The longer I live,’ said he, ‘the more I am certain that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is ENERGY – INVINCIBLE DETERMINATION – a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory! That quality will do anything that can be done in this world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two-legged creature a Man without it.’”

I also found a Buddha gem from The Dhammapada.

He tells us: “Earnest among those who are indolent, awake among those who slumber, the wise advance like a race horse, leaving others behind... The earnest are always respected, the indolent never.”

That’s Today’s +1.

I’m with Randy.

I’ll take EARNEST over hip.



P.S. Fun facts: My right-hand guy/our Head Coach at Heroic, Michael, is an Eagle Scout. And, so is our director of operations, Patrick. Those two guys are the living embodiment of what it means to be earnest. Couldn’t do what I do without those two. Love you, guys!!! 🙏 🙌

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