“In the madness, you have to find calm.” — Lupita Nyong’o
Take a breath.
The world’s not coming to an end. It’s just been amplified.
That’s what social media has done.
Made the good feel like utopia.
Made the bad feel like the apocalypse.
Neither is accurate.
The truth is our world is as full of the good, bad, and ugly as it’s always been.
What’s changed is our perception of it.
Just because things feel bigger, doesn’t mean they are.
Keep that in mind the next time you check your social feed.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. NEVER BE IN AWE OF ANYBODY
“Don’t assume you have nothing to offer simply because others have more experience than you. Your perspective is unique and valuable. It matters. If you’re too in awe of a person to share it, you do a disservice to yourself and them.”
I’ve had the opportunity to work with incredibly brilliant and successful people over the years and have gotten a ton out of those experiences.
But I also noticed others often don’t get value out of working with people they admire because they are too in awe of them.
In this post, I explain why you should never be in awe of anybody, and how to get the most out of working with people you admire.
2. 13 THINGS TO GIVE UP IF YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
This is a nice companion piece to the 12 new ways to think about life I featured in last week’s newsletter.
It offers a list of 13 things you should give up if you want to be successful, compiled by Zdravko Cvijetic and featuring thoughts from an eclectic group of people that includes Mae West, Winston Churchill, and Jim Rohn.
The suggestions include to give up on playing small, give up multitasking, give up your need to be liked, and more.
3. WHY YOU LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE
“Our acts of approval on social media aren’t always directly related to our judgment of quality, be it quality of design, editing, or humor. We aren’t really saying ‘Your life is wonderful and you’re a dab hand with a camera too,’ we’re saying, ‘I relate to that somehow.’ But we relate in both positive and negative ways.”
OLGA Agency shares a thoughtful analysis of why people like things on social media and how those motivations can be influenced.
There’s a lot at play when it comes to determining what we like including that our brains choose things that stand out (even over other things we prefer) and that we are more likely to like things that other people have already liked — because nobody wants to be the first to like new things.
4. HOW TO GET YOUR ATTENTION BACK
“There are a thousand beautiful ways to start the day that don’t begin with looking at your phone. And yet so few of us choose to do so.”
Writer Craig Mod recently embarked on a journey to get his attention backfrom the technology that had taken it from him and this is the story of what he learned in the process.
He disconnected for a month and found qualitative and quantitative differences in his days, before ultimately returning to a connected life with a twist: He now turns the Internet off before he goes to bed at night and doesn’t turn it back on until after lunch the following day.
5. THE ORIGIN STORY OF AIRBNB
“It was like I got to travel without ever leaving my home. I got to bring the world to my living room. This was a really powerful idea.”
AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky never thought he’d start a company — let alone a company that’s become as successful as AirBnB.
This Startups Co interview with him details his story and the origins of AirBnB — notably how he went from a frustrated young designer to a startup founder after randomly inviting a couple of strangers to crash on his apartment floor and offering them some Pop Tarts for breakfast.
6. THE PROBLEM WITH “MONETIZING”
“When people talk about monetizing, they’re usually just talking about some sort of scheme. Because anything that needs to be monetized can’t just be simple. If it was simple, you wouldn’t need a word like monetize. You’d just be making money selling a service or product.”
Everybody’s trying to monetize these days, but it’s easy to take for granted what that actually means.
In this post, DHH — the creator of the Ruby on Rails web development framework — rails against monetization schemes and points out the hypocrisy of apps that present themselves as being “free.”
As he explains: “Here’s this thing for ‘free,’ if you give me the most valuable things you own: Your attention, your privacy, your peace of mind.”
7. IF YOU’RE DEPRESSED, MAKE SOMETHING
“When you become fascinated with something, another dimension opens up in your world. You enter a space where everything else becomes a secondary character in the theater of your mind.”
In a very personal post, Lawrence Yeo opens up about his struggles with depression and the method he’s found to deal with it.
He suggests that creativity is a natural antidepressant and explains how finding a creative outlet through which you can make something and share it with others can be a powerful antidote to depression.
8. THE FOUR REASONS IT’S HARD TO THINK WITHOUT BIAS
“There are four qualities of the universe that limit our own intelligence and the intelligence of every other person, collective, organism, machine, alien, or imaginable god. All 200ish of our known biases are attempts to work around these conundrums!”
This Buster Benson post is fascinating, but it also might hurt your brain a bit.
Benson has analyzed more than 200 known cognitive biases and categorized them into four conundrums that make thinking hard.
The four include that there’s too much information, not enough meaning, not enough time and resources, and not enough memory.
As he explains, every cognitive bias we employ is an attempt to deal with these conundrums.
9. HOW TO CAPTURE THE WISDOM YOU GAIN
“What if you could drink a magic potion that would allow you to learn more potently? What if it enabled you to accelerate your career, deepen your relationships, and build an intentional life? What if it only took two minutes a day to use?”
Here’s a simple suggestion to improve your learning and — just as importantly — your retention of what you learn.
Alice Liu shares her logbook system, which is a simple way to track what you learn each week by writing down 1–2 sentence summaries at the end of each week.
10. HOW “ADVANTAGE PLAYERS” BEAT THE CASINOS
“I think every game can be beaten.”
Unless you’re a mathematical genius or computer programmer, I doubt you’ll be able to apply what you learn in this New York Times article, but it’s a fun read nonetheless.
The article explores how “advantage players” find creative ways to tilt the gambling odds in their favor by using tactics that go way beyond simple card counting.
In particular, they take advantage of new games casinos create as marketing initiatives and find mathematical holes in them to exploit.
So, the next time you see a game disappear from a casino floor — you’ll know why.
A RECOMMENDED READ
Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” is a book that will change the way you approach your work — no matter what you do.
And it will make it much more successful.