“I like criticism. It makes you strong.” — LeBron James
The 10 ideas I’ve got for you this week include everything from how to be lucky, to how to be memorable, to the secret to LeBron James’ health, to what happens when you stop talking about your work.
Let’s do it…
1. THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IN ANY PROJECT
“Success is often found by removing existing assumptions and asking ‘What if’ is a great way to do so.”
Here’s some of the simplest advice I can give you to improve any project you’re working on — ask yourself “What if…” early and often.
In this post I break down the best times to ask that question of yourself, your collaborators, and your audience as well as the value you get from doing so.
2. OPPORTUNITIES FLOW THROUGH PEOPLE
“Every opportunity is attached to a person. Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. If you’re looking for an opportunity…you’re looking for a person.”
Writer Jocelyn K. Glei explores where luck comes from and makes a compelling case that the real key to luck is to regularly meet new people — and especially people who are not like you.
3. THE DEATH OF BRANDING
“Brands cannot deliver what they advertise. Shoes or coffee can never live up to their brands’ promises — they are just shoes and coffee. You could even say that the better the stories, the more dishonest the companies are being.”
This Fast Company article offers an interesting take on the state and future of branding.
It suggests that the future of branding is actually “debranding” and that we will see a shift of emphasis away from the marketing of products and into the development of them.
4. CARMEN SIMON IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW
“Everything you have achieved in business is a reflection of how much your audiences remember you.”
Carmen is a cognitive psychologist and expert in what makes content memorable.
You can learn from her how to control what people remember when you speak to them, a key phrase to get people’s attention, and whether the beginning or end of your presentation is the most important part (hint: it depends on the length of your presentation).
5. EVERY KID SHOULD SEE THIS VIDEO
“Sometimes in life you have to do what you don’t like to do so you can live like you want to live.”
Eric Thomas is a motivational speaker and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody live up to the motivational piece of that job title quite as much as him.
This video shows him giving a great talk a group of high school students, but things really get amazing when some of the students disrespect him during the talk and he goes off on them at about the 3:40 mark.
6. HOW LEBRON JAMES STAYS HEALTHY
“Everything he does in his life is constructed to have him play basketball and stay on the court and be as healthy as possible and to absorb punishment when he goes into the basket and he gets crushed by people.”
I came across two interesting things this week about the health habits of NBA athletes.
First, this excerpt from the Bill Simmons podcast features a discussion about how LeBron stays healthy (including that he spends $1.5 million a year to do so).
Second, this CBS Sports article takes a deep dive into the importance for sleep for NBA athletes (and all of us for that matter) including a break down of some tips for maximizing your own sleep routine.
7. HANK GREEN IS A PERSON YOU SHOULD KNOW
“The most natural thing in the world is complexity…the whole world is grey and if you just appreciate that, it’s beautiful.”
Hank Green is one of the biggest YouTube personalities in the world and a very smart guy.
In my profile of him, you can learn why he believes chasing your dreams is dangerous, why your job will always be to solve more problems than you create, and a system he’s developed to deal with making decisions that may not be in your best financial interest.
8. THE DEFINITION OF A HACK
“The hack condescends to the audience. He thinks he’s superior to them. The truth is, he’s scared to death of them or, more accurately, scared of being authentic in front of them.”
I recently finished reading the Steven Pressfield book “The War of Art” and this excerpt caught my eye.
As you’ll see in this screenshot of the page, he defines what it means to be a hack as an artist and what drives people to it.
9. WHAT IT’S LIKE TO STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR WORK
“Far better to have a smaller, active set of people who like your stuff, than a ton of irrelevant, disengaged folk. That’s what I call ‘Quiet Data.’”
Stef Lewandowski is a guy who creates products for a living. But with his latest project, he’s kept quiet about it as opposed to trying to use social media and other means to attract attention to it in its early stages.
In this post, he explains how things have been different with this approach and suggests he’s found a lot of value in “quietly getting on with business.”
10. WHY MOST COMPANIES SUCK AT PR
“PR today is all about reaching an audience — not about getting a logo to put in the footer of your website.”
I’ve vented about the problems with public relations pros before, but this post from marketer Dave Gerhardt looks at the issues from a different angle.
He breaks down the reasons why most startups suck at PR and offers good suggestions for how to do it better.