“Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” — Tim Ferriss
“A little of this…and a little of that.”
That’s how my wife describes her cooking style.
It doesn’t always lead to culinary excellence, but it’s a perfect recipe for this newsletter and our lives.
In this week’s newsletter, my “this” includes writing tricks and time management hacks, while my “that” includes stories of a man who grew his own forest and another who conquered his demons.
When mixed properly, “this and that” keeps us interested, informed, and inspired.
So here’s to a lot more “this and that” in our lives.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“The key to success is not to figure out how to make the path easy, but to recognize it will be hard and be willing to do the hard things it requires.”
You know those articles that offer tricks to succeed with ease? This isn’t one of those.
Because the truth is, success is never easy — it’s hard.
I wrote this post to highlight 50 things we need to recognize are hard in order to succeed. They include that it’s hard to pursue what we want as opposed to what others want for us, to stand out, and to be patient.
“What if I told you that writing a blog post is just like carving out a sculpture? You are the artist. Your research document is your block of marble. You just need to chisel away at the unnecessary material to give life to your post.”
This might be the best step-by-step guide to writing a blog post I’ve ever seen.
Neil Patel breaks down how to write a blockbuster blog post in 45 minutes by following a four-step process that’s packed with tips about everything on how to generate ideas, outline your post, and craft powerful headlines, opening, and closing paragraphs.
For a little extra writing help you might also want to check out my post on how to become the best writer you can be.
“Goals that are just high enough to attain will encourage a continued sense of exceeding expectations, and therefore accomplishment. Small victories on a consistent basis will be more impactful and beneficial in the long run than few larger victories. The sense of achievement might be higher at the time, but it’s not sustainable.”
Tim Ferriss, author of Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers, knows plenty about the power of goal setting.
In this Creative Live article, he explains how to set goals for optimal productivity and points out that most people set goals that are too big.
He suggests the secret to maximum productivity is to set attainable goals and use them to build momentum.
For more advice from Ferriss, you can check out his thoughts about how to conquer procrastination as well.
“When we access things from our memory, we do more than reveal it’s there. It’s not like a playback. What we retrieve becomes more retrievable in the future. Provided the retrieval succeeds, the more difficult and involved the retrieval, the more beneficial it is.”
Contrary to popular belief, focusing on one topic and maintaining a consistent learning environment are not the best ways to learn something new.
Wired suggests the opposite is true and that the best way to learn something new is to embrace a strategy called interleaving, in which you mix up related topics in one learning session.
It’s also beneficial to switch up the locations where you learn and to vary the amount of time you spend between sessions.
“The better we know our audience, the better we can serve our audience. And the better we serve our audience, the more likely they are to recommend our work to others.”
I have a confession to make: I’ve been snooping on you.
I recently checked out the personal Facebook profiles of several For The Interested subscribers and found a lot of valuable insights in the process.
In this post I break down the five things you can learn about your audience on Facebook including how they communicate, what they value, and what they have in common.
(I also learned you guys are an incredibly generous, thoughtful, and interesting bunch which makes me especially proud to have you as readers — thanks!)
“Personal Kanban works on two principles: Visualize your work, and limit your total number of ‘works in progress.’”
If you’re in the market for a simple time management system, you’ve come to the right place.
Quartz breaks down the Personal Kanban time management system, which is based on a Japanese industrial organizational system that was developed at Toyota back in the 1940s.
Basically, you draw three columns on a board — one for your To Do list, one for things In Progress, and one for your Done List. Then, you limit yourself to no more than three things in the In Progress column at any given time.
Told you it was simple.
For more, check out my take on the value of a Done List.
“He once told me, ‘I worry about the fate of the world just like everyone. I see bad things happening on my island, and I do what I can to help. I am just a simple man. There are many just like me.’”
Since 1979 a man in India has trekked to a remote, barren island by himself every day to plant and take care of trees. He’s built his own forest that the world only recently discovered.
His inspiring story is told in the 16-minute documentary Forest Man and it’s well worth your time.
“Instead of identifying your job role or description, you [will be] constantly adding skills based on what is going to make you more employable.”
Here’s a different take on the future of work — it might not just be the jobs that disappear, it might be the concept of professions as a whole.
The BBC offers a look at how some experts are preparing students for a work future that’s not based on professions, instead encouraging them to develop skills to help tackle specific challenges and problems.
For example, maybe students should train to “use empathy in a medical setting” as opposed to setting out to be a doctor.
“We need to see mental health as important as physical health. We need to stop suffering in silence. We must stop stigmatizing disease and traumatizing the afflicted.”
In this TED Talk, Sangu Delle shares the details of how he dealt with a recent anxiety attack and explains why there’s no shame in taking care of your mental health.
“Time is money. More time is more money. I’ll listen to you. You listen to me. You tell me what you want, I’ll tell you what you need.”
It’s not for everybody, but it’s the kind of contract that probably attracts the right kind of clients and enables the agency to do great work.