10 Ideas For The Interested This Week

“The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting.” — Richard Feynman

This is the last edition of For The Interested I’ll publish in 2018.

It marks the end of a year in which I’ve sent out a new issue of this newsletter every Sunday to an audience that’s reached more than 25,000 subscribers, and it continues to be one of the most fulfilling and valuable things I’ve ever done.

Whether you’ve been reading for years or days, thank you for the attention, feedback, and promotion you’ve given to this newsletter.

You’re one of The Interested and I’m thrilled we’ve found each other.

Here’s to a 2019 filled with interesting things!

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. 18 IDEAS ABOUT HOW TO MAKE SMARTER DECISIONS FROM THE BOOK “THINKING IN BETS”

“It’s not about approaching our future predictions from a point of perfection. It’s about acknowledging that we’re already making a prediction about the future every time we make a decision, so we’re better off if we make that explicit.”

Every decision we make is a bet and this post will help tilt the odds in your favor.

I loved Annie Duke’s recent book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts and put together this post featuring 18 ideas about how to make smarter decisions that stuck with me from the book.

They include that you shouldn’t judge a decision by its outcome, being smart makes it easier to be biased, and thinking about the future is actually remembering the future.

RELATED: Three things you can learn about making decisions from Jeff Bezos.

2. OFFICE TACTICS FOR INTROVERTS

“Consider ‘recharging’ vs. craving an escape that may not be possible. It is important to recognize when you’re feeling harried and take a beat. Find a place to breathe and relax. It’s incredible how 10 minutes can completely amp you for the rest of the day.”

There are a lot of reasons why I never liked working in offices, but one of them is probably that as an introvert I don’t find them to be all that conducive to getting work done.

But Paul Mealus offers some office tactics for introverts to help you make the most of a noisy situation.

The tips include to negotiate remote work time with your boss, organize your desk and computer to limit distractions, and identify quiet spots where you can take quick breaks throughout the day.

RELATED: The ultimate guide to being an introvert.

3. THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WINNING AT LIFE WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

“This guide works when anything shitty happens. Someone criticizes you online? Read this. Someone wants a refund on something that took you five years to build, and they’re mean about it? Read this. You got fired from a job or by a client? Read this.”

Bad things are going to happen and when they do the stories you tell yourself about what’s happening and why become super important.

To help you deal with those moments, Paul Jarvis has compiled a guide to winning at life when things go wrong that includes “19 super difficult steps” including to recognize judgment and respect are different things, you only need the people who respect and value you, and you can be honest without being a jerk.

RELATED: Every opportunity has a cost.

4. TWO WAYS TO ARGUE BETTER

“Listen to people, get them to think about their own experience, and highlight your common humanity.”

Most arguments are pointless because the tactics most people use when arguing aren’t ones that actually sway opinions or beliefs.

Brian Resnick breaks down scientific research that reveals two ways to argue better including to use the other side’s morals against them and to listen because your ideological opponents want to feel like they’ve been heard.

RELATED: You should encourage your kids to argue.

5. WHY HAVING A NICHE IS GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

“When your audience is ‘everyone,’ you have nothing guiding your creative decisions and therefore are forced into one of two strategies: (a) striving to alienate as few people as possible by avoiding anything remotely controversial (often at the expense of your more interesting or unique ideas), or (b) trying to capture as many people as you can, regardless of who is alienated in the process, by appealing to the most base instincts and impulses of human nature (in other words, the clickbait or fast-food approach).”

Just about every creator or entrepreneur I speak with cringes when I mention the importance of focusing their efforts on a specific niche because they worry doing so will restrict their growth or potential.

They’re wrong.

Chelsea Fagan explains why having a niche business is a great thing and shares what she’s learned in the process of building The Financial Diet into a successful niche media company.

RELATED: How to overcome your resistance to committing to a single niche.

6. HOW TO GAMIFY YOUR LIFE

“Define victory conditions. Write down success and failure criteria. These should be, at least in theory, within your control. If it’s mostly luck, then it’s not a game — it’s gambling.”

What might your life look like if it were a video game? And if it were, would you play it differently than you currently do?

Luke Mac leveraged his video game design background to come up with an approach to gamify your life and shares what he learned in the process including to define boundaries, set yourself up for the win, and make it beautiful.

RELATED: Life explained as a video game.

7. MOST OF THE INTERNET IS FAKE

“Less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake.”

When in doubt, don’t believe what you see online because the chances are it’s not real.

Max Read explores how much of the internet is fake and discovers some amazing (and slightly depressing) numbers. It turns out most of the metrics, businesses, people, and content on the internet are fake in one way or another.

RELATED: Students have no idea when news is fake.

8. 10 BIASES TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BUILDING A PRODUCT

“The ‘principle of least effort’ basically states that if there are a few ways to get something done, people will always prefer the one that requires the least amount of work.”

When creating a product, you can either work with human nature or against it.

Katrin Zotchev suggests you work with it and shares 10 biases to be aware of when building a product.

The biases cover the planning, building, and launch phases of your product and include things like optimism bias and anchoring effect.

RELATED: People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

9. SCREEN TIME ISN’T AS BAD FOR KIDS AS YOU THINK

“Exposure to digital media has both positive benefits and dangerous drawbacks. A small percentage of kids are perhaps more vulnerable than others to problematic relationships with devices. And context, content, and the type of interaction may matter as much as time spent on devices.”

It turns out the conventional wisdom that screen time is dangerous for kids doesn’t reflect the actual research that’s been done on the subject.

Anya Kamenetz digs deeper and points out screen time isn’t necessarily as bad for kids as you think.

She points to research which has found kids spend about as much time with digital media as they used to spend watching TV, strict approaches aimed at limiting screen time aren’t effective, and limiting screen time can also wind up reducing opportunities for learning, information, and social connections.

RELATED: The most successful kids have parents who do these nine things.

10. SIX DECISIONS THAT WILL MAKE YOU MORE PRODUCTIVE

“There’s a big difference between things we ‘do’ and things we accomplish.”

Productivity is a choice and if you want to become more productive, you’ve got to become intentional with your efforts.

In this post I share six decisions that will make you more productive including to decide what matters, what you will let slide, and when YOU want to do things.

RELATED: How to organize your schedule for a productive week.

WHERE I FOUND THIS STUFF

I got some of this week’s ideas from Maxwell Anderson, Future Crunch, and The Lunch Read — they’re awesome and worth checking out.

Image via Jon Tyson.