“If you’re not doing something different, you’re not doing anything at all.” — Sam Phillips
You never know.
When you start a project — like this newsletter — you never know what will come of it.
You hope it will be worth your while, that it will become something.
But you can’t know.
Then, sometimes, you get a glimpse of it becoming. This week, I got one such glimpse.
Many of you replied to last week’s first ever Question of the Week and I was inspired not only by your responses, but also our interactions.
I theorized that not enough people take advantage of newsletters being a two-way communication platform, but last week we did.
And I’m proud of that. Thanks for making it possible.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“You have to recognize why something’s a weird choice and understand what other people may consider weird isn’t necessarily weird for you — it’s quite likely the logical choice for you. Don’t be fooled by a paycheck.”
I love making weird choices with my life and career.
So when I was invited to speak at a Creative Mornings event last week about the topic of “Weird,” I put together a breakdown of four reasons you should make more weird choices.
In this video of my talk, I explain how those weird choices are often only weird because they pay less, why weird is a competitive advantage, why the weird is more valuable than the expected, and how weird choices create unique opportunities.
“We are living the age of ‘I love this music, but at the right moment,’ we see the creation of a generation of eclectics that use music in very practical ways, a generation where the mood related to an activity is more important than the genre. In other words, the experience is not in the music itself, but in what we do while listening to it.”
This is smart analysis.
In this post, Thiago R. Pinto explains how our relationship with music has fundamentally changed and the impact that has on everything from culture to business models.
Reading this will change the way you think about the role of music (and all entertainment for that matter) in your life and others.
“You can’t be great at one task if you’re constantly dividing your time 10 different ways. Mastery requires focus and consistency.”
The article includes an interesting backstory about how it came to be that involves Charles Schwab, but in a nutshell the method involves writing down the six most important things you have to get done each night in priority order and doing them the next day in that order.
Yeah, it’s simple and obvious. But also effective.
“If you try to market to this image, you will end up completely alienating your audience because Millennials hate this shit. And the fact is that generations in general don’t exist — they’re not real things that exist in nature. We made them up.”
While addressing a millennial marketing conference, he points out generations are fictional constructs and that many of the stereotypical traits attributed to millennials aren’t even true.
Want to reach millennials? Just think about how you would reach yourself.
“You think you can’t do it because it makes you uncomfortable, but you’re wrong. Discomfort doesn’t prevent accomplishment — it precedes it.”
There are four reasons why you convince yourself you can’t do something — fear, worry, insecurity, and lack of knowledge.
But none of those things actually prevent you from doing anything. In this post I explain why and how you can overcome what holds you back.
“Most of our lives are lived in our head. Creation is when it leaks out.”
Every year AJ Jacobs tackles a new big experiment — he stopped gossiping, practiced radical honesty, and lived Biblically.
“Art is definitely not there just for art’s sake. It is a tool to help us live and die well. It opens our eyes.”
This School of Life video essay explores the way art museums have struggled to explain their purpose and points out that it ties to an overall misunderstanding about the purpose of art in the first place.
The video proposes a radical rethinking of the way art and cultural museums are organized and presented — suggesting that rather than being chronological presentations of artifacts, they be organized around valuable therapeutic themes — like art that makes you happy, helps you grieve, or addresses anxiety issues.
“Media today is like a private club, so closed that most young people feel disenfranchised. You have to hand it over to the kids.”
Vice Media founder Shane Smith recently spoke at the Edinburgh TV Festival and he went off on the media industry.
This Deadline article covers the highlights, including his observation that the TV industry is making the same mistakes the music industry made — fighting each other and trying to hold on to IP even though we know where we have to go.
“You probably try to make small changes, but still you’re in the crazy loop of doing the same thing again and again and hoping for a different result. Stop the insanity. Stop it now. Make the other mistake.”
This mrabkin post offers up a way to break out of the rut you’re in by recognizing that you’re capable of making different mistakes and attempting to break through your fear by embracing the idea of making that other mistake.
“In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide that you want one.”
In last week’s newsletter I shared a video of Debbie’s keys to branding and this week decided to do a more thorough profile of her.
In it, you’ll learn why “busy” is just shorthand for “not important enough,” five bits of advice for thinking about your future, why you shouldn’t determine what’s impossible before it’s possible, and more.
I ASKED, YOU ANSWERED
Last week I asked you what was the smartest thing somebody had said to you that week and you sent me some great answers (thanks!).
Here are a few that stood out:
“I told my daughter that it’s creeping up on nap time and we need to wash up. She replied, ‘But Daddy, I took a nap all night long.’” — Justin Calleran
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Catherine de Zagon
“Breathe. It improves everything instantly.” — Mollie Sperduto
“Could someone do an impression of you and have others recognize it? If so, that goes a long way toward being a unique act.” — Phil Johnson
“Subtle power is more powerful than fist-pounding power.” — Cynthia Hill