Uncharted Territory

by Jason Crawford

Co-Founder & CEO, Fieldbook

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Three buckets

I became happier when I decided that everything has to fall into these three buckets:

  1. Things that make me happy
  2. Things I can change
  3. Things I don’t care about

(Not mutually exclusive, obviously.)

If something doesn’t make me happy, I ask myself if I can change it. If I can, I do. If I can’t, I decide not to care about it. I accept it as metaphysically given and reorient my values to focus on the first two buckets.

This can be subtle. Sometimes it’s just an issue of scope. Don’t like the way hiring is done at your company? Frustrated with national politics? Choose your battles. Change the aspects that affect you most directly and personally, in small, doable ways. Accept the fact that you can’t change them completely overnight, and don’t let that frustrate you.

The advantage of this mentality is that it removes from your life completely the category of: broken things that you care

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Honesty and courage in business

An article in the Harvard Business Review gives some great examples of how product quality requires ruthless honesty:

My parents just bought a flat screen TV from a major manufacturer. The speakers are in the back, pointing away from the viewer, and they can’t hear the damned thing. Why is a product like that allowed out the door? Because of a thousand people at a dozen levels remaining silent. [Emphasis added.]

Many people think that in business, morality is of secondary importance at best and a downright liability at worst. But in fact, business success demands the most moral principle of all: passionate dedication to the truth. Ben Horowitz says:

In my experience as CEO, I found that the most important decisions tested my courage far more than my intelligence.… In life, everybody faces choices between doing what’s popular, easy, and wrong vs. doing what’s lonely, difficult, and

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