“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin
The 10 ideas I’ve got for you this week include everything from why you should turn down your next raise, to how to generate good ideas, to what you can learn from how Ben Franklin spent his Friday nights.
Let’s do it…
1. HOW TO REWRITE THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE
“The stories of our life are malleable. We can rewrite them as often as we want.”
Our lives are a compilation of the stories we tell ourselves. That’s something I’ve thought about a lot lately and in particular the way those stories can be changed to alter our perception of our past, present, and future.
This post explores how we can change our stories to serve us better.
2. WHY AN “UNRAISE” MAY BE MORE VALUABLE THAN A RAISE
“The most important thing you get with an unraise, is opportunity. If every moment of your day is spoken for, you’re left with scant time to imagine, daydream, and tinker.”
You probably think a raise will solve your problems, but in many cases the opposite is true.
Designer Eric Karjaluoto explains why he recently cut his pay by 30% to free up his time and makes a great case for why you may want to do the same.
3. TOM VANDERBILT IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW
“Taste is just a way of filtering the world, of ordering information.”
Tom is a journalist and author who wrote a book that breaks down why people like things — particularly noteworthy in our current world of endless choices of things to consume.
In my profile of him, you’ll learn that familiarity and novelty are just as influential as quality when it comes to determining what we like and you’ll learn why genre is important — because if people struggle to categorize something, they like it less.
4. FANDOM IS BROKEN
“The corporatized nature of the stories we consume has led fans — already having a hard time understanding the idea of an artist’s vision — to assume almost total ownership of the stuff they love. And I use that word ownership in a very specific sense — these people see themselves as consumers as much as they see themselves as fans.”
This is a fantastic analysis of the state of modern fandom that explores why fans so often attack the creators of the things they supposedly love.
It’s not the only great piece I read about fandom this week. An in-depth analysis of how Beyonce’s “Beyhive” operates is also well worth your time — you’ll be amazed at its behind-the-scenes look at how a massive fanbase like that actually operates online.
5. WHAT YOU HAD TO DO TO HANG OUT WITH BEN FRANKLIN
“If you wanted to be a part of the group and spend time with Franklin, these are the things you’d have to talk about.”
When he was 21-years-old, here’s how Ben Franklin spent his Friday nights: He’d gather a group of people from diverse backgrounds and have them discuss 24 questions he came up with that he believed would lead to good things for themselves and their community.
The questions ultimately led to innovations like volunteer fire-fighting clubs, public hospitals, and the first public library. In this post, I share the questions he asked.
6. HOW FACEBOOK REACTED TO (AND CRUSHED) GOOGLE PLUS
“Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-bannered window with a Facebook logo. Which, if you think about it, is much scarier than simple greed.”
This Vanity Fair piece is one of the best things I’ve ever read about Facebook. It details how the company — and specifically Mark Zuckerberg — reacted to the threat of Google trying to create its own social network.
It literally declared a state of war, locked employees in the building, worked 24/7, and ultimately won.
Reading this will change the way you think about Zuckerberg, Facebook, the people who work there, and make it clear why they’ve succeeded.
7. NOT ALL FREE TIME IS CREATED EQUAL
“It’s not just that we face a shortage of free time; it’s also that our free time, in order to be satisfying, often must align with that of our friends and loved ones. We face a problem, in other words, of coordination.”
This New York Times piece is an interesting juxtaposition to my link above about turning down a raise in exchange for more free time.
Because this article points out that studies show not all free time is created equal and that being free on the weekend — when most other people are also free — is significantly more valuable than having time off during the week.
8. HOW TO GENERATE GOOD IDEAS
“Learn to pay attention to what you pay attention to. It’s so easy to dismiss it. You have to train yourself to grab onto those things and not let go.”
This post from comics creator Jessica Abel has two interesting things in it. First, Jessica shares an interesting perspective on the key to finding good ideas and explains how ideas are developed, not found.
Second, she shares a specific example of how she’s developed a project that started with somebody else giving her three random words to work with — it’s a cool exercise and inspiring how-to look at the creative process.
9. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO LOSE MONEY
“You’re going to make decisions that are not in your best financial interest because they make you happier or more fulfilled or because of your values.”
Hank Green is an “Internet Guy” who has had a ton of success in a lot of places — most notably on YouTube. In this Medium post, he talks about dealing with the decisions he’s made to pass up money that he may regret down the road.
He has an interesting approach. When he turns down money, he sends himself an email explaining his thinking in that moment and why he’s turning it down. He collects those emails in a folder which he can then look back on when the time comes that he questions if he made the wrong decision.
10. KELLY CLAY IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW
“I write when I realize there’s a story in something that’s unsaid.”
Kelly Clay is a writer and writing coach who shares insights on everything from how to be more productive, to how to lose weight, to why a daily intention journal is more valuable than a gratitude journal.