“The easiest thing to do on Earth is not write.” — William Goldman
I’ve got something for you to try.
Pick a topic you never thought much about and research it for 15 minutes online.
It doesn’t have to be in-depth research, just browse some Wikipedia pages, do a couple Google searches, and see where it leads you.
You’ll find the time you invested in your curiosity well worth it.
Yesterday, I got curious about the history of college football on television. Fifteen minutes later, I discovered all sorts of interesting bits — many of which I shared on Twitter.
For example, in 1951 the NCAA banned schools from broadcasting their games on TV because they thought it would hurt attendance and cost them money. That ban was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court in 1984, and the NCAA was convinced it would ruin the value of their product.
Of course, it did the opposite.
The ability to sell TV rights to college football games resulted in a flood of money going to the schools.
Learning that bit about college football’s TV history led me to think about a much broader observation:
Most decisions made for short-term financial gain are not in your best long-term financial interest.
That idea is something I may explore in a future post, but my point in sharing it now is that if you spend 15 minutes researching something you’ve never considered before, you won’t regret it.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. CHANGE IS EASIER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE
“We convince ourselves it’s difficult to change our life, work, and art. But this neglects a universal truth: It’s harder to avoid change than embrace it.”
Change isn’t that hard. If you’re scared of change, I wrote this post to help you think about making changes in a whole new way.
2. YOU SHOULD TALK TO MORE STRANGERS
“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life and theirs.”
This TED Talk will make you want to talk to more strangers and that’s probably a good thing.
Because in it, author Kio Stark makes a compelling case for the value you get from talking to strangers, including that it helps you improve your perceptions to overcome biases and that it enables you to create a deep emotional resonance with each interaction.
3. HOW TEENS ACTUALLY USE SOCIAL MEDIA
“We have more or less banned teens from public places; so, being humans and needing social networks, they have figured out how to get together online.”
You know those common beliefs that social media has led teens to be isolated, become addicted to technology, and have no appreciation of privacy? Turns out they’re wrong.
This Psychology Today article deconstructs five myths about young people and social media that will make you rethink your assumptions.
4. HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR FLIGHT FOR $8
“You’d be amazed how a little bit of candy can turn a potentially miserable six hours into the quickest and best trip of your life.”
Here’s one you might want to try: buy a large bag of M&Ms before your next flight and give it to the lead flight attendant with the request they share it with their crew.
Seems simple, but Peter Shankman explains how this simple act of generosity has dramatically improved every flight on which he’s done it.
5. HOW TO BE A WRITER
“Remember that writing is not typing. Typing is this little transaction in the middle of two vast thought processes.”
There’s no shortage of advice online for writers, but this list of 10 tips for writers from author Rebecca Solnit caught my eye.
It’s packed with great bits about learning when to listen and when not to, to recognize that talent is overrated, and to understand that fate doesn’t keep you from writing, your taste does.
6. THE GREATEST SALES DECK EVER SEEN
“What attracts human attention is change…if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.”
I love this Andy Raskin post because there’s nothing hypothetical about it — he simply breaks down the greatest sales deck he’s ever seen and explains why he finds it so effective.
This post is filled with great observations not only about how to put together a sales deck, but also in general how to approach selling a product — or an idea for that matter.
7. THE PERFECTIONIST TRAP
“We form our career plans on the basis of perfection. Then, inspired by the masters, we take our own first steps and the trouble begins.”
This School of Life video explores the perfectionist trap, the idea that many people become powerfully attracted to the idea of perfection without sufficient understanding of what is actually required to attain it.
It goes on to explain the genesis of this trap is we rarely see the years of failure and rejections that precede any ultimate success.
8. PARENTS MAY NOT MATTER AS MUCH AS YOU THINK
“We see parents as their children’s sponsors in a social world with multiple influences, setting priorities for the training of young children and selecting the environments that will shape their children’s development rather than influencing that development themselves.”
Parents don’t matter as much as many parents think they do.
At least, that’s the theory shared in this Atlantic article documenting the global research of a pair of Harvard anthropologists.
9. WHAT LIFE’S LIKE IN YOUR 30’S
“In your 30’s you lose the will to keep up the facade. The more in-tune you become with yourself, the more it becomes damn near unbearable to muster the will to fake it.”
If you’re under 30-years-old, here’s a preview of what’s to come.
If you’re in your 30’s, it’s a mirror, and if you’re out of your 30’s it’s a fun trip down memory lane.
No matter your age, this Ozzy Etomi post about what life is like in your 30’s — as written by somebody who’s about to turn 30 — is a good read.
10. WHY HOLLYWOOD FEARS NETFLIX
“The first rule of Netflix: You do not talk about Netflix.”
Is Netflix saving Hollywood or destroying it?
It’s an interesting question and the Hollywood Reporter explores the rise, current state, and potential future of the company that has shaken up the entertainment industry.
I ASKED, YOU ANSWERED
Last week I asked you what is your personal life motto.
Here are a few answers that stood out:
“Everything is an experiment.” — Leo Notenboom
“Say yes. It’s more fun than saying no.” — Clint Schaff
“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.” — Kehau Jackson
“Discover. Adapt. Execute. Document. Share. Rewind.” — Ozgur Kusakoglu
“Today is a good day.” — Sherif Seda