Simplifying to Amplify

Words by Carl Phillips

I believe deeply in the power of simplicity. It’s become a passionate subject for me. One I have written many articles and books about. Broader than this, it’s become a framework for how I try to live. Something I am always seeking to bring into my life.  

One part of this simplicity journey is about discarding. Finding ways to remove things from our lives. Whether they be possessions, commitments, toxic relationships, or something else we realise is dragging us down. Reduction is an important step.  

But it’s just a step.  

I find some people stay here. They obsess over how to remove things. Sometimes they remove too much. That’s not the point of minimalism, at least not for me.

Simplicity is a tool, a tool that should improve our lives. A paradox is that as we remove that which does not matter to us, we receive something else back. That something else is making space for the things that matter most to us. Things that bring us joy and give us energy.

We may even develop an abundance mindset through this experience.  

What does this look like?  

We learn to see the opportunity, where others only see a change for the worse.

We make space for small, simple pleasures in our every day. So that we can come back to them, over and over.  

We establish self-care practices—to replenish our reserves when we need them most.  

We slow down to speed up.

We give thanks for the small but meaningful moments. Establishing a gratitude practice.  

For me, this is where to real treasure is. Not in the bare shelves or stripped-down wardrobes. Simplifying our lives is not so much about what we give up. It’s about what we get back.

We simplify our life to amplify our experience of it.

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,

where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry,

a sea we must wade

We’ve braved the belly of the beast

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace

And the norms and notions

of what just is

Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours

before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed

a nation that isn’t broken

but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time

Where a skinny Black girl

descended from slaves and raised by a single mother

can dream of becoming president

only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished

far from pristine

but that doesn’t mean we are

striving to form a union that is perfect

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and

conditions of man

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us

but what stands before us

We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,

we must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms

so we can reach out our arms

to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division

Scripture tells us to envision

that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid

If we’re to live up to our own time

Then victory won’t lie in the blade

But in all the bridges we’ve made

That is the promise to glade

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it’s the past we step into

and how we repair it

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation

rather than share it

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy

And this effort very nearly succeeded

But while democracy can be periodically delayed

it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth

in this faith we trust

For while we have our eyes on the future

history has its eyes on us

This is the era of just redemption

We feared at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs

of such a terrifying hour

but within it we found the power

to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves

So while once we asked,

how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?

Now we assert

How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was

but move to what shall be

A country that is bruised but whole,

benevolent but bold,

fierce and free

We will not be turned around

or interrupted by intimidation

because we know our inaction and inertia

will be the inheritance of the next generation

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might,

and might with right,

then love becomes our legacy

and change our children’s birthright

So let us leave behind a country

better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,

we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

we will rise from the windswept northeast

where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

we will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it


Hello, everybody! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. All right, everybody go ahead and have a seat. How is everybody doing today? (Applause.) How about Tim Spicer?(Applause.) I am here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington,Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, from kindergarten through 12th grade. And I am just so glad that all could join us today. And I want to thank Wakefield for being such an outstanding host. Give yourselves a big round of applause. (Applause.)


I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now — (applause) — with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little bit longer this morning.


I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived overseas. I lived in Indonesia for a few years. And my mother, she didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school, but she thought it was important for me to keep up with an American education. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday. But because she had to go to work, the only time she could do it was at 4:30 in the morning.

我可以理解这份心情。小时候,我们家在印度尼西亚住过几年,而我妈妈没钱送我去其他美国孩子们上学的地方去读书,因此她决定自己给我上课——时间是每周一到周五的凌晨 4 点半。

Now, as you might imagine, I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. And a lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and she’d say, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.” (Laughter.)


So I know that some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.


Now, I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked about responsibility a lot.


I’ve talked about teachers’ responsibility for inspiring students and pushing you to learn.


I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and you get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with the Xbox.


I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, and supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working, where students aren’t getting the opportunities that they deserve.


But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, the best schools in the world — and none of it will make a difference, none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities, unless you show up to those schools, unless you pay attention to those teachers, unless you listen to your parents and grandparents and other adults and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. That’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.


I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. Every single one of you has something that you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.


Maybe you could be a great writer — maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper — but you might not know it until you write that English paper — that English class paper that’s assigned to you. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor — maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or the new medicine or vaccine — but you might not know it until you do your project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a senator or a Supreme Court justice — but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.

或许你能写出优美的文字——甚至有一天能让那些文字出现在书籍和报刊上——但假如不在英语课上经常练习写作,你不会发现自己有这样的天赋;或许你能成为一个发明家、创造家——甚至设计出像今天的 iPhone 一样流行的产品,或研制出新的药物与疫苗——但假如不在自然科学课程上做上几次实验,你不会知道自己有这样的天赋;或许你能成为一名议员或最高法院法官,但假如你不去加入什么学生会或参加几次辩论赛,你也不会发现自己的才能。

And no matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to train for it and work for it and learn for it.


And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. The future of America depends on you. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.


You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical-thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.


We need every single one of you to develop your talents and your skills and your intellect so you can help us old folks solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that — if you quit on school — you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.


Now, I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.


I get it. I know what it’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mom who had to work and who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us the things that other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and I felt like I didn’t fit in.


So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been on school, and I did some things I’m not proud of, and I got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.


But I was — I was lucky. I got a lot of second chances, and I had the opportunity to go to college and law school and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, she has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have a lot of money. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.


Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.


But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life — what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home — none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude in school. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. There is no excuse for not trying.


Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you, because here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.


That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.


Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Neither of her parents had gone to college. But she worked hard, earned good grades, and got a scholarship to Brown University — is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to becoming Dr. Jazmin Perez.

例如德克萨斯州罗马市的贾斯敏佩雷兹(Jazmin Perez)。刚进学校时,她根本不会说英语,她住的地方几乎没人上过大学,她的父母也没有受过高等教育,但她努力学习,取得了优异的成绩,靠奖学金进入了布朗大学,如今正在攻读公共卫生专业的博士学位。

I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s had to endure all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer — hundreds of extra hours — to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind. He’s headed to college this fall.

我还想起了加利福尼亚州洛斯拉图斯市的安多尼舒尔兹(Andoni Schultz),他从三岁起就开始与脑癌病魔做斗争,他熬过了一次次治疗与手术——其中一次影响了他的记忆,因此他得花出比常人多几百个小时的时间来完成学业,但他从不曾落下自己的功课。这个秋天,他要开始在大学读书了。

And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods in the city, she managed to get a job at a local health care center, start a program to keep young people out of gangs, and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college. And Jazmin, Andoni,and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They face challenges in their lives just like you do. In some cases they’ve got it a lot worse off than many of you. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their lives, for their education, and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.

又比如在我的家乡,伊利诺斯州芝加哥市,身为孤儿的香特尔史蒂夫(Shantell Steve)换过多次收养家庭,从小在治安很差的地区长大,但她努力争取到了在当地保健站工作的机会、发起了一个让青少年远离犯罪团伙的项目,很快,她也将以优异的成绩从中学毕业,去大学深造。贾斯敏、安多尼和香特尔与你们并没有什么不同。和你们一样,他们也在生活中遭遇各种各样的困难与问题,但他们拒绝放弃,他们选择为自己的教育担起责任、给自己定下奋斗的目标。我希望你们中的每一个人,都能做得到这些。

That’s why today I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education — and do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending some time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all young people deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, by the way, I hope all of you are washing your hands a lot, and that you stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.


But whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. I know that sometimes you get that sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star. Chances are you’re not going to be any of those things.

不管你决定做什么,我都希望你能坚持到底,希望你能真的下定决心。我知道有些时候,电视上播放的节目会让你产生这样那样的错觉,似乎你不需要付出多大的努力就能腰缠万贯、功成名就——你会认为只要会唱 rap、会打篮球或参加个什么真人秀节目就能坐享其成,但现实是,你几乎没有可能走上其中任何一条道路。

The truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject that you study. You won’t click with every teacher that you have. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right at this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.


That’s okay. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. J.K. Rowling’s — who wrote Harry Potter — her first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said,”I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.


These people succeeded because they understood that you can’t let your failures define you — you have to let your failures teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time. So if you get into trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to act right. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.


No one’s born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. The same principle applies to your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right. You might have to read something a few times before you understand it. You definitely have to do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.


Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength because it shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and that then allows you to learn something new. So find an adult that you trust — a parent, a grandparent or teacher, a coach or a counselor — and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.


And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you, don’t ever give up on yourself, because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.


The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.


It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and they founded this nation. Young people. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google and Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.


So today, I want to ask all of you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a President who comes here in 20 or 50 or 100 years say about what all of you did for this country?


Now, your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books and the equipment and the computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part, too. So I expect all of you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down. Don’t let your family down or your country down. Most of all, don’t let yourself down. Make us all proud.


Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. Thankyou.


Lockdown, a touching poem about coronavirus.

Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan living in Ireland, has penned a touching poem amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As someone who has been working from home over the last 5 weeks, I echo the sentiments and feel emotionally resonated. I read the poem out aloud and add it to the Podcast recordings dedicated to my lovely daughter Melody.

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

iPhone 十年与「自我迭代」

2007 年 1 月 9 日注定是历史上不凡的一天——乔布斯在旧金山时间上午 9 点 43 分于 Moscone Center 举行的 Macworld 大会上揭开了第一代 iPhone 的面纱。直到十年后的今天,我依然能忆起那一刻捧着黑色 MacBook 追图文直播时的心情。iPhone 的出现如同鹅卵石落入一潭静水,泛起的涟漪改变了周遭的一切,它转变了人们听歌、上网、沟通、娱乐、出行、支付等一系列生活方式…

提到 iPhone 的伟大,多数人会归结为颠覆式的创新。初代 iPhone 的诞生,打破了当时智能手机约定俗成的外观和功能,加入了多指触控等人性化设计。为 iPhone 孵化的 App Store,开创了应用程序商店的先河,也催生了众多产业的变革。

初代 iPhone 与同时代「智能手机」对比
初代 iPhone 与同时代「智能手机」对比

当我们再细细回顾过往 10 年,你会发现 iPhone 并没有一闯入我们的世界就捣毁一切,它是以一种润物细无声的方式影响着我们。当把初代 iPhone 和最新的 iPhone 7 Plus 放到一起时,你会发现他们是如此的相似而又深刻地不同。我有幸接触过一位资深工程师,他和乔布斯共事过多年,也曾参与到几次重要的发布会演示彩排。当被问到 iPhone 的制胜法宝是什么,他用了一个生僻的英文单词来概括,ITERATION(迭代)。

初代 iPhone 和 iPhone 7 Plus 对比




「迭代」意味着克制。在安卓阵营不断拉高硬件参数的竞赛中,许多厂商动不动就搬出千万像素和多核处理器的营销噱头。而 iPhone 看似非常保守,曾多年止步于 800 万像素的摄像头配置。事实上,iPhone 通过不断提升成像技术、软件功能、镜头工艺等多维度迭代,让摄影摄像的质量稳居智能手机排行榜前列。iPhone 的进化史也是手机摄影的发展史,是 iPhone 让「The best camera is the one in your pocket(最好的相机就在你口袋里)」这句话深入人心。

「迭代」同时意味着化繁为简。毕加索晚年的作品无不体现出开悟后追求极简的风格。在取舍之间,艺术回归本质。我特别欣赏大师的这组牛画,尤其是最后那寥寥几笔,勾勒出公牛形象惟妙惟肖,丝毫不逊色于左侧几幅。这组画很好地演绎了 iPhone 化繁为简的「迭代」过程。变轻、变薄、更便携、无累赘,这是贯穿 iPhone 十年演变的基本路线,让如今的 iPhone 浑然天成。正如达芬奇曾说过的,「The simplicity is the ultimate sophistication(简约是复杂的最终形式)」。

谈了很多关于 iPhone 的,不如我们将视角转向自身。仔细想想,我们每个人又何尝不是一部智能移动产品呢?我们的身体躯干是我们的硬件,我们的心智模式代表操作系统,而我们的技能知识则等同于可交互的信息和应用程序。优势心理学发现,人成功的捷径是将时间和精力集中投入在发展天赋才干上,长期打磨历练便能成就个人优势,进而获得成功。许多原地踏步的人往往好高骛远或找不清方向。他们寄希望于通过洗心革面实现自我蜕变,却恰不知一夜吃成胖子的「大跃进」后患无穷。我相信,成功属于那些着眼自身天赋才干,明晰自我目标并克制务实的人,他们会获得持续自我迭代后的常青。

当我们每年翘首期盼 iPhone 更新换代之时,不妨问问自己,今年我迭代了吗?



盖洛普的「克利夫顿优势识别器 2.0」是帮助人们找到「天赋才干」的工具。评估结果将为你提供一面明镜,同时提供了个性化的行动方案来发挥「优势」——将天赋才干与通过实践得到的技能和知识组合起来。盖洛普研究证明,专注于所擅长事务的人往往更易取得成功。当人们找到自身才干并将其发展为优势时,他们将变得更高效、表现更出色,并且更敬业。


第一步,登陆 盖洛普官网 选择优势产品。

优势测评有三个选项,分别为(1)个人前五项优势,(2)个人全序三十四项优势(3)创业者优势识别器评估。「个人前五」价格为 US$ 15,后续可以选择通过 US$ 74 升级为「个人全三十四项」报告。此外,针对优势教练,盖洛普公司提供了两套工具,分别是(4)优势辅导入门套件(5)管理人及团队辅导套件。

作为入门,建议大家可以从「个人前五」评估开始做起。评估后,你除了获得三份针对前五项个人优势的报告外,还可以下载「Strengths Finder 2.0」原版电子书到个人设备上。



参与评估前请预留 45 分钟的时间。每题只有 20 秒的作答时间,请务必保持注意力集中。倘若评估期间出现干扰,你可以选择暂停,之前的回答将被保存,直至返回时从上次停留的地方继续开始。完成测评后您将收到报告结果,可以随时登录盖洛普网站查找更多关于优势的介绍和视频。