“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the furthest thing from it.” – Stephen Colbert
A Hollywood talent manager.
A woman living on a sailboat in Panama.
A Cincinnati agency executive.
A New Zealand nurse.
A high school student.
Those are just a handful of this newsletter’s readers who have now connected with each other in our new Facebook Group (join here).
Getting to know them has reminded me there are a lot of people in the world looking to learn, connect, and be inspired — each with their own unique expertise and perspective to share.
I can’t wait to see what we can all do together.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. FOUR WAYS TO STICK WITH A PROJECT YOU START
“The battle to see a project through is often decided before it even begins. Because if you embark on a project you’re not passionate about, your odds of overcoming the allure of quitting are slim.”
I’ve published this newsletter for more than eight months now and this post details some of what I’ve learned about what it takes to stick with a project.
I break down how not to quit your project by turning the work into a habit, creating room for experimentation within it, tracking metrics, and more.
2. LESSONS LEARNED FROM 100 DAYS OF REJECTION
“Rejection was my curse, was my boogie man, had bothered me my whole life because I was running away from it. Then, I started embracing it and turned that into the biggest gift in my life.”
This Jia Jiang TED talk is one of the best (and most entertaining) talks I’ve seen in a long time.
Jiang explains how he was terrified of rejection his whole life until he decided to force himself to experience 100 rejections in 100 days. He then details what he learned from the experiment including some hilarious stories of his attempts to get rejected and the incredible ways his life changed in the process.
I bet his story would make a great movie.
3. WHY WE SHOULD BRAINSTORM QUESTIONS INSTEAD OF IDEAS
“When participants are generating questions, they tend to dig into a problem and challenge assumptions. The process gives people permission to ask fundamental questions that don’t often get asked.”
What if the problem with brainstorming is we do it to find answers instead of questions?
This Fast Company article profiles some creativity experts who believe brainstorming questions is more effective than brainstorming ideas and shares a breakdown of how how to do so.
4. EIGHT WAYS TO DEVELOP MENTAL TOUGHNESS
“Is that a dream or a goal? Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve.”
When it comes to mental toughness, everybody has their own unique approach to developing it.
That’s why this Tim Ferriss collection of advice on how to become mentally tough is a great read. It features tips from a diverse group of mentally tough people including Arnold Schwarzenegger, chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, general Stanley McChrystal, and more.
5. HOW TO SAY ‘NO’ IN A MORE POWERFUL WAY
“The key lies in saying ‘I don’t’ instead of ‘I can’t.’ Researchers found that volunteers who said ‘I don’t skip exercise’ instead of ‘I can’t skip exercise’ worked out more often.”
It’s important to learn to say no to things, but how you say no can be just as important.
This Mental Floss article suggests saying ‘I don’t’ is more powerful and effective than saying ‘I can’t’ when you decline to do something.
That’s because ‘I don’t’ serves as self-affirmation of your personal willpower and leads to feelings of empowerment.
6. THREE IDEAS TO HELP YOU SELL THINGS
“Incorporate pre-payment when possible because it reduces pain for customers. For example, a pre-paid Uber feels less painful than sitting in a traditional taxi and watching the price continue to rise as you ride.”
I’ve shared a lot of valuable ideas about selling things in this newsletter, so I put together this post to feature three of the best.
You’ll get quick tips to help you sell anything including how to use incentives, how to persuade people, and some powerful pricing strategies.
7. STEPHEN KING ON CHILDHOOD
“The two things that interest me about childhood: It’s a secret world that exists by its own rules and lives in its own culture; and that we forget what it is to be a child — and that life is exotic and strange.”
In this excerpt from a 1989 interview that’s been turned into an animated video as part of the excellent Blank on Blank web series, Stephen King shares his thoughts on childhood and where his stories come from.
He discusses misconceptions people have about his own childhood and points out that “the things that really scare us are the things that are going on just outside the spotlight.”
8. HOW TO FIX THE INTERNET
“For years, the benefits of anonymity on the Net outweighed its drawbacks. Now the problem is nobody can tell if you’re a troll. Or a hacker. Or a bot. Or a Macedonian teenager publishing a story that the Pope has endorsed Trump.”
Here’s an interesting thing to think about: If we could rebuild the Internet, what would we do differently?
Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson addresses that question in this post about how to fix the Internet.
He suggests several major changes including to create a system where original content creators earn royalties from anyone who uses their content (including aggregators and search engines), improved security measures, and decreased anonymity.
9. HOW TO MAKE A PRODUCT COOL
“To sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising.”
In an article that touches on everything from marketing, to industrial design, to Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists, The Atlantic explores the art of making products cool.
It explains how the “father of industrial design” Raymond Loewy believed customers are always torn between a curiosity about new things and a fear of anything too new.
10. HOW TO WRITE BETTER COPY
“It’s the emotion you need to hack. Emotion transcends absolutely everything.”
The Art of Paid Traffic is a podcast that focuses on Facebook advertising, but this episode is worth a listen even if you have no interest in Facebook ads.
That’s because it features an interview with copywriter Hattie Brazeley, who shares great advice about how to write effective copy for just about anything you do.
She also explains her five-question system to identify your ideal customer and how to write copy that appeals to them.
In the July 4th edition of this newsletter, I shared ideas about how Kevin Hart tells stories, why you should charge a dollar more, how to get a new job, and more.
BTW, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?
The 25 top news photos of the year are pretty powerful.
Thanks for reading!