Skip to main content
Daily Spark

Daily Spark

By William Liao
1 idea daily about doing our best work and living a meaningful life. Website:
Listen on
Where to listen
Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

#62 Progressive overload & adaptation

Daily Spark

#103 Going at bat
The whole idea and spirit of going at bat for the things we care about — for our causes, our communities, our team members — is that we choose to act not because we have to but because we genuinely care and want to.
June 15, 2021
#102 Arriving
You don’t have to wait for the world to reorganize into some perfect arrangement to be happy.
June 14, 2021
#101 Endurance
June 14, 2021
#100 Good taste
June 12, 2021
#99 Baby steps
June 11, 2021
#97 You're human
June 9, 2021
#96 Try again tomorrow
It’s not one good day, or one bad day that will determine whether or not you get meaningful results — it’s having the discipline to play the long game and to show up every day.
June 8, 2021
#95 No, not right now
It's important to understand the difference between things that are truly urgent vs. things that merely feel urgent. 
June 7, 2021
#94 The discipline of pursuing novelty
The invitation to change is available to you anytime you’re curious to understand what else life might have to offer.
June 6, 2021
#92 Be kind
June 4, 2021
#89 Delight
Making others happy and delighted in any context is one of the most compassionate things you can do for others and yourself. Thoughts on how to be intentional about doing this in today's Daily Spark. 
June 1, 2021
#88 One thing
June 1, 2021
#87 Be specific
Metrics are a powerful way of knowing if you’re achieving or have achieved the outcomes you care about — they draw a fine line between conjecture and truth.
May 30, 2021
#86 No problem
You are allowed to be happy while doing your best to address whatever challenges and problems come your way in life.
May 29, 2021
#85 Failure and thriving
Failure has a flip side worth celebrating. 
May 28, 2021
#84 Delivery
Delivery is an art form, not an afterthought. 
May 28, 2021
#83 What's the solvable problem?
To calibrate your energy & ensure that it's being spent in the right places, ask yourself: what's the solvable problem?
May 26, 2021
#82 What do you miss the most?
In times of crisis, perspective can make all the difference. 
May 25, 2021
#81 Hard work ≠ progress
Knowing where to work hard matters much more than hard work itself.
May 24, 2021
#80 Bad days
While accepting that you’re having a bad day doesn’t magically make the day better, it does give you space to embrace the possibilities that tomorrow and every other day of life has to offer.
May 24, 2021
#79 Do your thing
Take your interests & passions seriously — there’s never been a better time to go do your thing, to do the work that excites you, and to be able to share it with an audience that finds value from it.
May 22, 2021
#78 Focus on other people
If there’s one principal worth diligently following at home, in your community, and in the work place, let it be to simply focus on caring for the people around you.
May 21, 2021
#77 The best time to build a machine
You and your team shouldn’t have to work hard to work hard.
May 20, 2021
#76 Starting
There’s the feeling that you’re starting something, and then there’s actually starting something. Being able to know the difference is important.
May 19, 2021
#75 The main thing
Being able to focus in an era of growing daily distractions is a super power that can help you achieve your most important goals. 
May 18, 2021
#74 Radical focus
It’s not enough to resolve to be focused, but you have to be specific about how you will put it into practice and then do it.
May 17, 2021
#73 Cultivating joy & happiness
When you cultivate joy and happiness you are improving your well being, the well being of others, and increasing everyone’s collective ability to do important work.
May 16, 2021
#72 Is it impossible or you just don't know how to yet?
With enough tenacity, time, and focus it turns out that people are very good at figuring out how to do “impossible” things.
May 15, 2021
#71 jump in the mud.
You are not obligated to live your life in the way others expect you to.
May 13, 2021
#70 Uncommon sense
An uncommon idea could be a bad or idea, or it could be uncommon sense. 
May 12, 2021
#69 Hard work ≠ value delivered
Empathy + hard work = impact.
May 11, 2021
#68 Take the break.
Rest isn't lazy, it's restorative: it's what gives you the energy to sustain the work that you care about the most.
May 10, 2021
#67 Reframing stress
Stress can be a very powerful asset when it comes to performance, but first you must cultivate a mindset that views stress in this way.  Research referenced in today's Daily Spark:
May 10, 2021
#66 Leverage
Developing the discipline of looking for and applying leverage is how you make substantial increases in your ability to solve problems.
May 8, 2021
#65 The 4th pillar
A firm belief in possibility of creating something valuable is what teams rely on during the most trying parts of the journey. Without it, it becomes all too easy to feel burnt out and to quit just as you're on the cusp of producing something great.
May 7, 2021
#64 Upgrade limiting factors for your sanity
If you’re able to go through the exercise of upgrading your limiting factors to enabling factors, the benefit is two-fold and well-worth it: you get more effective operations and, perhaps most important, room to breathe and a renewed sense of sanity to ensure that you and your team are able to continue doing the work you believe in.
May 6, 2021
#63 Try before declaring anything
Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to taking on challenges to foster growth.
May 5, 2021
#62 Progressive overload & adaptation
It’s important to normalize the idea of discomfort — that isn’t to say that all forms of discomfort are good, but it remains true that it is only when we’re stretched beyond the limits we’re comfortable with that the adaptations for growth are able to occur.
May 4, 2021
#61 False Productivity Signals
Where you choose to spend your time greatly influences your ability to make long term progress towards your goals. 
May 3, 2021
#60 Think Big, Work Small
A simple mindset to help you navigate through your most ambitious goals: think big, work small. If you're a business, focus on how to earn your first $1, then $10, then $100 and so on. If you're trying to write a novel, focus on writing the first page, then the second. Envisioning lofty goals doesn't require you to figure out how you will get there. Envisioning lofty goals in smaller units of progress does. Inspired by John Cutler's writings on Think Big, Work Small:
May 2, 2021
#58 It's weird if things don't break
Breaking things & accrued wisdom are huge but understated part of the creation process. It's not trial & error, it's trial & learning. Try things, break things, learn, repeat with greater wisdom, and in most cases you'll inch closer towards your goal.
May 1, 2021
#57 Quality time
This is the new paradigm: more minutes spent no longer guarantees that you will do better work. Learning to maximize EACH minute with focus & intention will.
April 29, 2021
#56 What's your story?
How you experience the world is determined in large part by the stories you tell yourself about events have happened.
April 28, 2021
#55 Healthy optimism
To have a healthy sense of optimism isn’t about hoping for a perfect world, it’s about resolving to be resilient in a decidedly imperfect one.
April 27, 2021
#54 The stretch
Growth doesn’t happen when you’re doing what is familiar and comfortable, it happens when you reach a point where you feel at capacity, uncomfortable perhaps, and out of ideas but resolve to keep on going just a little bit more.
April 26, 2021
#53 Groove formation
Yes, it is almost always uncomfortable to try new things, but what change worth making in life has ever been easy?
April 26, 2021
#52 Starbucks doesn't sell coffee
The widget is half the work. 
April 25, 2021
#51 (in)tolerance dynamics
Leading a fulfilling life, doing great work, and having meaningful relationships all depend on your ability to make increasingly better judgments about how tolerant it makes sense to be or not to be in any given situation.
April 23, 2021
#50 W.O.O.P. your way forward
New York University professors Dr. Gabriele Oettingen and Dr. Peter Gollwitzer developed a research-backed mental strategy called WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Ostacle, Plan) to help people change to healthier habits, improve social behavior, and improve academic performance.
April 23, 2021
#49 Never apologize for these things
When you apologize for your identity or for tending to basic human needs, you shortchange the respect that you deserve as a human being among fellow human beings.
April 21, 2021
#48 Do what makes sense.
If there is only one rule that you could depend on to live an honest and examined life, let it be to always do with courage what makes sense — especially in situations when it’s challenging to do.
April 20, 2021
#47 How?
In all areas where progress and change matter, it helps to both be an ambassador for answering how and to have a very low tolerance for situations where no one seems to be asking it.
April 20, 2021
#46 Intellectual bravery
To the extent that expanding the possibilities of your development and journey through life matter, intellectual bravery is one of the most valuable skills you can equip yourself with in life.
April 18, 2021
#45 Bigfoot, unicorns, and guarantees
If the work and change you seek to create matters enough, creating the best possible chance for it by trying is worth the effort alone.
April 17, 2021
#44 Personal space ethic
There’s nothing wrong with taking pride in your work ethic, but perhaps now more than ever it’s clear that an equal amount pride should be taken in Personal Space ethic — the kind that is intentional about pausing, taking extended breaks, and reaping the wide array of personal and professional benefits that come along with it.
April 16, 2021
#43 The joy of missing out
When it comes to preserving your sanity, being fully engaged and energized, and being happy, choosing to miss out on some things is one of the best decisions you can make for your wellbeing.
April 16, 2021
#42 You cannot please everyone
Your work isn’t going to please everyone and that’s okay, because it’s not for everyone. It’s for the people embrace it.
April 15, 2021
#41 No.
The ability to say 'no' is one of the most powerful yet underrated ways we can affirm our values, protect our energy, and ensure that we focus only on the things that truly matter in life.
April 14, 2021
#40 Don't forget to laugh!
April 12, 2021
#39 The wheel is overrated
April 12, 2021
#38 Ask anyways
The sooner you are able to embrace asking all questions that matter to you, the sooner you can begin to freely, confidently, and shamelessly explore all facets of life in a way that you perhaps never knew was possible.
April 11, 2021
#36 A letter to 80-year-old me
April 9, 2021
#35 A toast to my 'failures'
April 7, 2021
#32 Duct tape etiquette
Part of being an effective solver is knowing what a duct tape solution looks like, and whether it truly meets the needs or not for the problem at hand.
April 7, 2021
#29 Life is not a journey
We dance to dance!
April 3, 2021
#28 Your work is an evolving synonym
The work is never stuck. Achieving better work happens when you create enough reasons over time for the work to actually be better. 
April 2, 2021
#27 The condition for happiness
No matter where you have been in life, no matter how you slice it, close examination will reveal that you in a very practical sense are the gate keeper to your own happiness.
April 1, 2021
#26 It's okay to not be okay
We need to normalize bad days-- not because we particularly enjoy or desire them but because everyone has them from time to time. It’s part of being a human. It's okay to not be okay. 
March 31, 2021
#25 The practicality of empowerment
We rarely understand the full impact of words, actions, and experiences isn’t obvious until after the fact. Therefore, it is a generally good policy to assume that all of the words, actions, and experiences you share can have an effect and therefore the intention to imbue kindness and to empower others should be a constant one.
March 30, 2021
#24 You are free to reinvent
Choosing to reinvent in a moment's notice  — to go a different way that you will not regret — is a powerful recourse that is available to you.
March 29, 2021
#23 Be proud of your ruckus
Your ruckus - the conflict that sometimes gets created when you share ideas that you believe in - is nothing to be ashamed about. Instead, it's what you bring to the table to achieve the best ideas, work, and culture possible. See your ruckus for the asset that it is, own it, be proud of it, and defend it always when others seek to subdue it.
March 28, 2021
#22 Begin every day understanding this
One day you really will have lived your final 24 hours and the only way to  avoid the tragedy of having wasted that day or any other part of your life is make it a habit of acting in a way that you do not regret.
March 27, 2021
#21 Protect your energy
It's important to protect our energy and to say no so that we may focus our energy on the things that matter the most to us.  Today's Daily Spark is based on notes taken from a talk Dr. Jenny Wang ( gave on Instagram. 
March 26, 2021
#20 Your superpower
Speak to empower, not to cut. Act to help, not to harm. It’s not a way -- it’s the way.
March 26, 2021
#19 Our garden
Your kindness to others today matters just as much as your kindness to others tomorrow matters. The compassionate and kind world we seek doesn't happen in a day, it happens we show up for it every day.
March 24, 2021
#18 The long game = short game + short game + short game
The way you change the culture is the way you treat any other long game: you see each act for the essential building block of the future that it is.
March 23, 2021
#17 Towards a place worth being
Part of getting to a place worth being is choosing to act in its direction
March 22, 2021
#16 Forward with Compassion
Like any worthwhile endeavor, cultivating compassion takes time and patience but it’s well worth it because there is a more kind, gentle, and loving world waiting for us at the other end of it.
March 21, 2021
#15 Her.
Your voice and actions breed awareness. Awareness breeds compassion. Compassion breeds acceptance, tolerance, and healing.
March 20, 2021
14 The elephant and why your voice matters
Every time you speak up, you create the opportunity for others to develop awareness and compassion for the issues you think are critical. Awareness and compassion are the foundation on top of which issues get attention & eventually resolution.
March 19, 2021
13 Progress
As you endeavor to make progress — to move towards a better and important place — consider these three facets that make it possible: focus, remembrance, and specific action.
March 18, 2021
12 Need a break? It's okay and here is why.
Needing to take a rest isn't about weakness or failure, it's about meeting your needs as a human so you can flourish and be helpful to others.
March 17, 2021
You actually can do many of the things you've been meaning to do. You just haven't yet - why? Because if you're like most people, you need multiple exposures to inspiration, ideas, community, and support before springing into action.
March 16, 2021
The spirit is solution-agnostic
Good work and creating an impact has never been about the specific solution, it’s about a repeated process of replacing current solutions with a better way to do things
March 15, 2021
What makes something worth doing?
The finite nature of your time makes a great case for thinking critically about what work is worth spending your limited time on.
March 14, 2021
Attention is all you have
When it comes to the quality of your experience and how you deal with challenging moments in life, the quality of your mind and where you focus your attention is all you have.
March 13, 2021
"Invert, always invert"
The tendency to solve forward is makes perfect sense — it comes intuitively and no one questions the approach when you bring it up in meetings. To only solve forward, however, is to deprive yourself of the insight that solving backwards has to offer.
March 12, 2021
Ship, listen, ship
Creating value isn’t something that’s done in one act, it’s the result of 1) finding a solvable problem, 2) committing to regularly ship work that may help address the problem, 3) listening to your intuition and feedback from the people you aim to serve, and 4) repeating steps 2 and 3.
March 11, 2021
Now, later, or never
Every thing you could do — whether it’s starting a new project, saying something you’ve been meaning to say, or performing a task that’s part of a larger effort — is preceded by decision about time: whether to act now, later, or never.
March 10, 2021
You are human
Sometimes when you are caught up in the work, expectations and judgment, and deadlines it helps to be reminded of a simple truth: you’re human.
March 9, 2021
Does it make sense?
The convenience of having a plan and routine is a double-edged sword: on the one hand it gives you pre-determined cadence of effort that allows you to just focus on the work, on the other hand habits can prevent you from asking the imperative question: does this still make sense?
March 8, 2021
What does it even mean to begin something? What happens when we begin? Why would be choose to begin at all? This is William Liao on the Daily Spark where I serve up 1 idea daily on how to do our best work and live a meaningful life.
March 7, 2021
At what point do you become?
At what point do you become? When does a writer become a writer? When does a marketer become a marketer? When does dancer become a dancer? Is the first word you write? Is it the first content calendar or piece of ad copy you publish? Is it the first sequence of steps that you take? Check out today's Daily Spark for thoughts on becoming, the conditions that allow for becoming, and possibilities becoming creates.
March 6, 2021