“There’s no right answer in baseball. We’re just trying to be less wrong.” — Theo Epstein
Desire is a skill.
It can be taught. It can be learned.
It’s a choice we make on a daily, hourly, momentary basis.
We choose what we want, how bad we want it, and what we’re willing to do to get it.
There are no guarantees we’ll get what we desire.
But the stronger our desire for it, the stronger our will becomes.
And that’s ultimately how we get what we want.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU TO DO YOUR THING
“The purpose of learning from others isn’t to copy them — it’s to ignite your own unique creations.”
I love learning from others and seek inspiration wherever I can find it, but it’s important to remember real value is unlocked by focusing on the things only you can do.
I wrote this post as a simple reminder to find and develop the qualities, skills, and perspective that only you can contribute to the world.
2. YOU ARE YOUR COMPETITION
“It’s not about being ranked number one. It’s not about having more followers on Twitter than your friends. It’s not about outdoing anyone. It’s about how to outdo yourself. It’s about how to make sure the work you’re producing is better than the work you produced before. You are your competition.”
If you only click one link in this newsletter, this new Simon Sinek talk from Creative Mornings should be the one.
It’s two amazing talks in one — he spends the first half explaining why you should have more empathy for the millennial generation (trust me: it will change your opinion of millennials) and the second breaking down how to succeed in the “game” we play in our work and lives.
(For more Sinek greatness, check out my profile of him on A Person You Should Know.)
3. WHAT WILL WE DO WHEN THERE ARE NO MORE JOBS?
“Our concept of work is problematic. This is a country in which people have not figured out what to do if they don’t work for money.”
Andy Stern used to lead a union that represented two million workers. But now, he’s convinced work is doomed.
In this Vox article, Stern shares his vision of a future in which millions of jobs will disappear due to technology and suggests we’ll need to develop a universal basic income for people as well as learn how to function in a world without jobs.
4. HOW WE GET HOOKED ON THINGS
“When we want people to do something our first instinct is usually to try to increase their motivation — to persuade them. Sometimes this works, but more often than not the best route is to make the behavior easier.”
The scientists who honed the core ideas of behavior design are worried about how their teachings are being applied to make apps addictive and influence consumer behavior.
This 1843 magazine article details how their research impacts your daily lifeand why they’re worried it’s being used to benefit companies at the expense of humans.
5. LESSONS LEARNED FROM PHOTOGRAPHING 400 IOWA TOWNS
“It’s only when you understand the impulses of the few that you can optimistically have hope for the many.”
Take a break from the depressing madness of this year’s election to read this post from Cody Weber, a photographer who travels around Iowa capturing images of its small towns.
His own personal story and observations about the towns he visits combine to form the best explanation I’ve read for the Donald Trump phenomenon.
6. WHY COMPANIES SHOULD WANT THEIR EMPLOYEES TO TAKE MORE VACATIONS
“Before you can go to the Bahamas for a week, don’t you first need to learn how to tolerate an entire elevator ride without checking your email?”
Americans are terrible at taking time off work. We’re so bad at it that an organization called Project Time Off now exists to convince companies it’s in their best interest to further incentivize workers to use their vacation time.
This Slate article explains why we need to take more vacation (hint: it actually makes us more productive when we’re at work) and offers examples of how some companies get more of their employees to do so.
7. HOW WILL SELF-DRIVING CARS IMPACT A COUNTRY WHOSE IDENTITY IS TIED TO DRIVING?
“A recent survey found that among the kids a generation behind mine, only a third believe that ‘a car represents freedom,’ and just 6 percent believe that a car is ‘a reflection of who they are.’”
Here’s an interesting bookend piece to the article I mentioned above about what will happen to our country when all the jobs go away.’
This New York magazine article explores the real impact self-driving cars may have on American culture and the psyche of a country that has previously so identified its core beliefs (freedom, independence) with what driving a car represents.
8. THE “SWITCH AND COMMIT” STRATEGY
“Organizations evolve better if they sustain variety.”
Here’s a helpful strategy to evolve your work by encouraging a variety of approaches to a particular challenge.
In this post, Stanford teacher Bill Barnett explains how he encourages participants to switch roles when arguing a position and argue on behalf of the opposite position.
9. THE FIGHT FOR YOUR ATTENTION
“It is not only looking at the screen that consumes our attention, as in the old days, for the screen has changed the way we look at the world.”
The battle for our attention is nothing new, but the way our online attention is now impacting our offline view of the world is a new twist.
This New Republic article examines what several leading thinkers have to say about the perils of peak attention and the threat our devices pose to our ability to pay attention to anything any more.
10. THE ONLY QUESTION ABOUT FACEBOOK ADVERTISING THAT MATTERS
“Is Facebook creating more value for its advertisers than it costs?”
It seems so simple, but few people focus on the only question that really matters when it comes to Facebook advertising — is it worth it?
In this post, Matt Collins weighs in on the question and shares some good insight about how to calculate the true value of Facebook advertising.