Dean Clough

June 6, 2022

Portico Darwin: Cliches and You


It has been over 100 days now since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Flag of Ukraine.jpg

This is a terrible transition.  My apologies.  I am trying to be more positive.


Because recently, David Brooks published a column in The New York Times where he compiled some famous tips for good living, from a variety of sources.  He also added a few of his own.  

For your reading and living pleasure, I give you every single one of them here.  As someone who often mentors via tired, old-white-man clichés, it's pretty good stuff - and because I know you're interested, I've italicized my favorites and/or ones I've found to be particularly true.  

  • When you have 90 percent of a large project completed, finishing up the final details will take another 90 percent.

  • Anything you say before the word “but” does not count.

  • Denying or deflecting a compliment is rude. Accept it with thanks.

  • Getting cheated occasionally is a small price to pay for trusting the best of everyone, because when you trust the best in others they will treat you the best.

  • When you get invited to something in the future, ask yourself, Would I do this tomorrow?

  • Purchase a tourist guidebook to your hometown. You’ll learn a lot playing tourist once a year.

  • The thing that made you weird as a kid could make you great as an adult.

  • It’s not an apology if it comes with an excuse.

  • Just because it’s not your fault doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility.

  • Ignore what they are thinking of you because they are not thinking of you.

  • If you think you saw a mouse, you did, and if there is one, there are others.

  • Something does not need to be perfect to be wonderful, especially weddings.

  • The biggest lie we tell ourselves is, “I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.”

  • If you’re not sure you can carry it all, take two trips.

  • A friend shares the advice: “Always make the call. If you’re disturbed or confused by something somebody did, always pick up the phone.”

  • Job interviews are not really about you.  They are about the employer’s needs and how you can fill them.

  • If you can’t make up your mind between two options, flip a coin.  Don’t decide based on which side of the coin came up.  Decide based on your emotional reaction to which side came up.

  • Take photos of things your parents do every day. That’s how you’ll want to remember them.

  • Build identity capital.  In your 20s do three fascinating things that job interviewers and dinner companions will want to ask you about for the rest of your life.

  • Marriage is a 50-year conversation.  Marry someone you want to talk with for the rest of your life.

  • If you’re giving a speech, be vulnerable.  Fall on the audience and let them catch you. They will.

  • Never be furtive.  If you’re doing something you don’t want others to find out about, it’s probably wrong.

  • If you’re traveling in a place you’ve never been before, listen to an album you’ve never heard before.  Forever after that music will remind you of that place.

  • If you’re cutting cake at a birthday party with a bunch of kids howling around you, it’s quicker and easier to cut the cake with dental floss, not a knife. Lay the floss across the cake and firmly press down.

  • When you’re beginning a writing project, give yourself permission to write badly. You can’t fix it until it’s down on paper.

  • One-off events usually don’t amount to much. Organize gatherings that meet once a month or once a year.

  • Make the day; don’t let the day make you.  Make sure you are setting your schedule, not just responding to invitations from others.

  • If you meet a jerk once a month, you’ve met a jerk.  If you meet jerks every day, you’re a jerk.

  • Never pass up an opportunity to hang out with musicians.

  • Don’t try to figure out what your life is about.  It’s too big a question.  Just figure out what the next three years are about.

  • If you’ve lost your husband (or wife), sleep on his (or her) side of the bed and it won’t feel so empty.

  • Don’t ever look up a recent photo of your first great love.

  • If you’re trying to figure out what supermarket line is fastest, get behind a single shopper with a full cart over two shoppers each with a half-full cart.

  • Low on kitchen counter space?  Pull out a drawer and put your cutting board on top of it.

  • You can always tell someone to go to hell tomorrow.

And then there's this.  Although I don't have children, I can still relate.


Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

AWS?  I guess I'll have to Wait Until Tomorrow.   Here is The Jimi Hendrix Experience and "Axis:  Bold as Love".


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.