“When you’re different, you can last.” — Don Rickles
There’s always more.
The blessing (and curse?) of our world is that there’s more amazing stuff at our fingertips than we could ever actually consume.
The ideas I share in this newsletter are just the tip of the iceberg of what I discover that I think you may enjoy.
So, this week I put together a bonus post with a bunch of books, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music recommendations.
You can check it out here or at the bottom of the newsletter. I think you’ll dig it.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. HOW TO FIGURE YOUR LIFE OUT
“The more we focus on the future, the easier it is to overlook the value of our past. Sometimes the way forward is only found when we look back.”
Let’s kick off this week’s newsletter with something simple — like how to figure out what you’re doing with your life.
Ok, that’s not exactly simple, but paying attention to these nine aspects of your life can help you find your way.
They include to pay closer attention to the questions people ask you, your influences, words, and more.
2. SIX THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT MONEY THAT ARE HOLDING YOU BACK
“The irony of a strong financial life is that you don’t really want it. You want what a strong financial life represents: options.”
In her conversations with people about their finances, money management teacher Jane Hwangbo has found the same misunderstandings come up time and again.
She breaks down the six things people misunderstand about money and what to do about them.
This includes that smart money is slow, money means saying no, and that money is worthless by itself.
3. YOUR JOB CAN’T BE THE ONLY MEANINGFUL THING IN YOUR LIFE
“When people throw themselves into an activity for the sake of the activity itself, and not for some external reward, they tend to report long term fulfillment.”
There’s plenty of articles out there about how technology and robots are coming to take our jobs, but don’t worry, this isn’t one of those.
Rather than suggest that things like a universal basic income are inevitable, this New York magazine article explains how to find meaning in your life outside of your job.
Research has found the best way to add meaning to your life is to pursue long term progress (in anything) and to be kind to others. It suggests the quickest path to meaning and happiness is to pursue mastery and focus on helping others.
4. HOW TO SEE OBSTACLES AS OPPORTUNITIES
“It’s helped me on everything from the computer deleting the draft of a book I’m working on, to being in a horrible accident, to the minor inconveniences of life — the guy who’s going too slow in front of you in traffic, the person who’s rude to you at work, the boss who doesn’t appreciate you. These are not good things, but they’re not bad things either. They’re just opportunities.”
Back in 2015, Ryan Holiday (author of The Obstacle Is The Way) spoke at the DO Lectures and shared a bit of philosophy inspired by the writing of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
In this video of his talk, he explains how the idea that our obstacles are our opportunities has been successfully applied by everyone from Ulysses S. Grant to Dwight Eisenhower, and (most importantly) how you can utilize it.
5. EIGHT WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS
“Think of it like a camera — when we first pick it up and point it at something the chances are it’s not in focus. But that starting point gives us the ability to hone in and gradually focus on the image in the way we want. Focus doesn’t lead to action, action leads to focus.”
The ability to focus is valuable and a key to success. But it’s also increasingly difficult in a world filled with distractions.
I believe there are eight things you can do to improve your ability to focusincluding to connect your work to a clear goal, make your activity a necessity, recognize the world’s working against you, and more.
6. IT’S OK TO WRITE WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO READ
“Writing with readers in mind does not make you a sellout. It makes you a professional.”
If you only want to write for yourself, that’s fine. Good for you.
But you know what’s equally good? Writing things other people will want to read.
In response to a comment she got on a recent post, Shaunta Grimes points out it’s ok to think about your audience when you create something, explains why it’s ok to be excited when people like your work, and why it’s ok to (gasp!) get paid for your art.
7. 14 LIFE LESSONS COLLEGE STUDENTS SHOULD BE TAUGHT
“Think in terms of systems over goals. A goal would be: How do I accumulate $1 million? A system would be: How do I put processes in place to become wealthier over time?”
Ben Carlson is a portfolio manager and blogger who gave some thought to the things he wishes he would have learned in college and came up with this solid list.
It includes that passion is overrated, to avoid lifestyle creep, understand the difference between productivity and being busy, and more.
8. WE DECEIVE OURSELVES IN ORDER TO DECEIVE OTHERS
“A glowing self-view makes others see us in the same light, leading to mating and cooperative opportunities.”
Ever wonder why some people (maybe even yourself?) try so hard to convince themselves they’re something they’re not?
This Scientific American article explores a number of studies that have found the real reason we deceive ourselves is because it helps us deceive others.
9. HOW TO TAKE A PERFECT PROFILE PICTURE
“The results are in — we find it more attractive when people fully face the camera. This is especially important for men. Why? Fronting is a nonverbal sign of respect. When you are really engaged with someone you align your entire body with theirs.”
I bet this will be the item in this newsletter most likely to be smirked at (and then clicked on).
Behavioral expert Vanessa Van Edwards, author of the book Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, shares eight ways to make your profile pic more attractive based on scientific research.
The suggestions include to avoid hiding behind hats and sunglasses, avoid closed mouth smiles, include your hands in the photo, and more.
10. HOW TO JUDGE SOMEONE’S CHARACTER BY ASKING THEM ONE QUESTION
“A powerful hack for evaluating other people’s character — if you want to know if they themselves display a trait, just find a way to ask how common they think it is in others. The more of a quality they see around them, the more they probably possess themselves.”
Here’s a trick that could come in handy in all kinds of different situations.
Researchers found when people get asked how common a certain trait is in others, their answer reveals whether or not they have that same trait.
Inc. magazine explains how asking one simple question can reveal a person’s true character.