“Complaining isn’t a strategy.” — Jeff Bezos
We can complain or do.
We can complain about how things aren’t fair, how people don’t do what they “should,” and how tough we have it.
But those complaints do nothing to improve our situation — they only discourage us and others from overcoming challenges. They breed negativity and fester into excuses.
But we can choose to do instead of complain.
We can take action, seek solutions, and refuse to allow that which frustrates us to hold us back.
When we choose to do instead of complain, things change.
Every year, every day, and every moment we get to choose whether to complain or do.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“What’s happening is the small minority of people that are mad, and angry, and hateful, and dark are much louder than the big percentage of us that are happy, and excited, and feel great. I feel like as somebody who’s full of bright light and happiness that I need to start getting louder about that as well because that’s the only way we’re going to combat it.”
Vaynerchuk explains why he believes we have a responsibility to make our positivity louder, especially in an era where so much negativity surrounds us.
“Author Emily Esfahani Smith kept coming across the same themes when coming up with her theory on what makes life meaningful. Both in her research, in the scientific literature, and in her conversations with regular people, four things kept coming up: belonging, purpose, narrative, and transcendence.”
While our lives are each driven by unique factors, it turns out what gives our lives meaning typically falls into one of four categories.
This New York magazine article breaks down the four pillars of life’s meaning and offers a short questionnaire to figure out what’s the primary source of meaning in your life.
“Your to-do list each day is simply yesterday’s inbox.”
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Tony Hsieh struggled with emails for years before developing a technique to manage his inbox that he calls “Yesterbox.”
In this post he explains his approach to managing email, which is based on the idea of only replying to emails the morning after he gets them.
Each day’s incoming emails become his to-do list for the following day and he’s able to focus on getting through all of the previous day’s emails at the start of each day.
While that approach may seem unrealistic to you at first, Hsieh explains how the process has made him more productive (and responsive to people) and makes a compelling argument for giving it a shot.
“Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted.”
Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter are two of the world’s most innovative musicians and as such they’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to create great art.
In this Open Culture article, they share 10 tips for the next generation of artists including to be wary of ego, embrace the road less traveled, and interact with those who are different than you.
“Protests can energize people and overawe governments. But it is the steady and often tedious work of organization that sustains democracy — and can change the world. Protests are useful mostly to the extent that they mobilize people to participate in the follow-up meetings to realize the protest’s goals.”
You wouldn’t think a former George W. Bush speechwriter would be the one to write a great article about how to make a protest effective, but that’s exactly what David Frum has done in this Atlantic article.
He explains why some protests make a bigger impact than others and offers a playbook of sorts for how to get the most out of your protest — no matter what the particular issue may be.
His observations include that the more conservative your protest, the more radical it becomes; the importance of a simple, clear desired result; and that protests should be used as catalysts for meetings where the real impact is made.
“A lot of people look for feedback in their hobbies, but they seek only approval at their jobs.”
Too many people undervalue feedback and overvalue approval.
This post from executive coach and Google business leader Caterina Kostoulaexplains how taking a stand-up comedy class helped her recognize the difference between the two and better understand that approval is overrated.
She warns that if approval is your driving force you will reduce your risk-taking, diminish the pleasure you get from your work, and approval will become a misleading measure of success.
“What really benefits you — in terms of new ideas — and expanding your perspective, is accessing new talent pools. I’m talking about the one percent of the most talented people in their industry, not yours.”
For all the talk about the value of networking, you rarely hear people espouse the value of networking with people in industries other than your own.
But venture capitalist Hunter Walk does just that in this post where he explains why you should reach out to the top people in other industries.
He also offers up a concrete example of how to approach people with a cold email introduction and what you (and they) can hope to get from the interaction.
“We can check our facts, tell the truth, and hold the line without pretending that there is no ethical basis to the work that we do.”
Even though I’m a former journalist, I always thought the idea of objectivity was a bit of a fantasy story journalists liked to tell themselves. You can be fair, you can be accurate, but can anyone ever really be 100% objective about anything?
He shares five thoughts about the state of objectivity in journalism including that neutrality isn’t real, that journalists should fight back, and that journalists need a strong sense of purpose in order to tell stories well.
“38% of these particular respondents predicted that the positive impacts of algorithms will outweigh negatives for individuals and society in general, while 37% said negatives will outweigh positives; 25% said the overall impact of algorithms will be about 50–50, positive-negative.”
The Pew Research Center recently asked 1,302 technology experts whether they believe algorithms will have a positive or negative impact on our lives and society and the results were split right down the middle.
But what also emerged was a list of seven ways algorithms will change the world including that they will lead to more creativity and self-expression, that they will shape people’s decisions without them even realizing it, and that algorithms will create a greater digital divide and wealth disparity.
“Americans are more afraid of terrorism than they are of guns, despite the fact that guns are 3,210 times more likely to kill them.”
What we fear often doesn’t match up with what we are actually most at risk of suffering and this Quartz article explores the psychological reasons why we fear terrorism so much.
It’s a combination of factors including our emotions overriding our logic, memories of previous terrorism acts that have been embedded in our mind due to fear, and our general inability to distinguish the difference between a one-in-a-thousand risk and a one-in-a-million risk.
If you enjoy that Gary Vaynerchuk video, you should check out his most recent book #AskGaryVee: On Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness.
His first book, Crush It: Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion was published back in 2009 but is also a must-read if you want to be inspired to hustle more and improve your life or business.
If that article about making your life meaningful peaked your interest, then you can dig deeper with Emily Esfahani Smith’s book The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.
And email isn’t the only thing that Tony Hsieh has approached in a unique manner. The Zappos founder also wrote the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose about how he built a remarkable corporate culture at the company.