10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” — Michael Jordan

“I’ve been following you FOREVER. I trust you. I’m connected to you.”

Those were the first words I read this morning, in an email from a reader who’s followed me for three years but had never reached out.

Not a bad way to start the day.

It’s a reminder of what’s possible when we share value with the world on a continual basis — day after day, month after month, year after year.

Consistent effort gets noticed, builds trust, and connects people to us. But it doesn’t always reveal who we’ve impacted and to what degree.

The silent majority is just that — silent. But they’re out there, and they appreciate you.

And every once in a while, they send you an email.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEAR AND GET WHAT YOU WANT

“Turns out what it takes to chase an opportunity isn’t the same as what it takes to act on one.”

A funny thing happens when we’re presented with an opportunity we’ve pursued — we get scared. But that fear doesn’t have to hold us back.

In this post I share five things to remember when an opportunity scares youincluding that it’s OK to be nervous, that the alternative is scarier, and that you’re likely as afraid of success as you are of failure.

2. NINE SURPRISING THINGS MOST EMPLOYEES BELIEVE

“67% of employees said, ‘Yes, I’m afraid of something at work.’ 78% of employees said, ‘Yes, there’s something we should measure in the company that we currently don’t.’”

The only way to get valuable answers is to ask valuable questions.

Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company, helps businesses do just that and in this post she shares nine surprising insights from employees, based on interviews with 15,000 employees in countries all over the world.

The insights include that 81% of employees wish they could have more interaction with other parts of their companies, 92% would like to apprentice under somebody in their company for a few weeks, and 76% believe there are people at the company doing great work that goes unnoticed.

3. WHY CHEAT DAYS DON’T WORK AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD

“The concept of a cheat day is that you reward yourself for one day as the result of depriving yourself for all the other days. But cheat days don’t reward you; they ruin you.”

If you want to successfully develop a new habit, you better banish the idea of a cheat day from your mind because cheat days make it impossible to achieve the change you seek.

In this post, Rory Vaden, author of Take The Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, explains why cheat days never work and how to make real changes in your life.

He suggests the key to real change is not to deny yourself things you want, but to reprogram yourself to align with the habits you hope to build.

“Your brain is a funny thing in that it doesn’t believe what is true or false; your brain simply believes whatever you tell it most often,” he says.

4. THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BEING AN INTROVERT

“Be aware of the 10 or so things you need to put in place to maximize your energy. Not 100 things. Ten things.”

Over in our For The Interested Facebook group this week about 75% of our readers identified themselves as introverts — so, this one’s for you guys.

James Altucher offers 11 life tips for introverts, including tips on how to network, how to get things done, how to work with extroverts and more.

5. YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS

“I don’t have a way to change the behavior of 7.5 billion people carrying their beliefs around like precious gems wrapped in hand grenades. Sure, there are ways of changing people’s minds that are more effective than others, but ultimately they fall short.”

I don’t want to ruin this one for you so I’m not going to tell you much about it.

The Oatmeal created an amazing illustrated post titled “You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you” that’s spread around the internet like wildfire.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It will make you think twice about what you believe.

6. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS COMMUNICATE

“Students who become Democratic operatives tend to study political studies and statistics and demographics in college. Students who lean Republican study marketing. It’s a very different way of thinking.”

There’s no shortage of differences between Democrats and Republicans, but it’s possible the biggest and most important difference is in how the two parties approach their messaging.

Berkeleyside profiles retired professor George Lakoff, author of Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, who shares some fascinating observations about how each party articulates their message.

He explains that in order to reach people who disagree with you it’s crucial to understand their subconscious worldview and points out Republicans typically understand that and target their messaging to a worldview while Democrats tend to ignore it and focus on rationality, facts, and policies instead.

7. HOW TO MASTER NETWORKING WITHOUT “NETWORKING”

“Networking is beyond a buzzword. It almost carries a negative connotation. Formalizing human connection often has the opposite effect than the one intended. A better way to receive is by first giving.”

Networking’s a valuable skill, but you don’t have to approach it the way so many others typically do.

This Design Luck post breaks down a better way to think about networkingthat revolves around three simple steps: Identify stakeholders of influence, build trust with meaningful interactions, and seek to present more value than you get.

8. HOW TO KEEP GROWING WHILE STAYING IN THE SAME JOB

“The key to growing while staying in the same job is setting new challenges for yourself. Expect more of yourself than anyone else does.”

You don’t have to change jobs to further your growth — even if it seems like you’ve already mastered your current job.

Facebook product design VP Julie Zhuo believes it’s important to get yourself into a “discomfort zone” and explains how to keep growing while staying in the same job.

Her suggestions include to ask peers for feedback, look for role models, and set concrete goals to do something new.

9. SCREW YOUR DREAMS

“I like to think America got its Declaration of Independence because someone told Thomas Jefferson he was a terrible speaker and should focus on writing. Oprah was lucky that a producer told her she was unfit for television news, it’s what gave her an opportunity to do daytime television. Plenty of people had their lives switched this way — they thought they were heading in the right direction until someone showed them they weren’t even on the right road.”

It’s not often you come across a motivational post that tells you to stop chasing your dreams, but this one makes a compelling point.

Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, makes a great case for why it’s important to give, hear and (sometimes) heed criticism.

He explains your dreams may be preventing you from succeeding at the things you’re actually good at.

10. WHY THERE ISN’T A “NEXT MICHAEL JORDAN” ANY MORE

“A new generation of stars, thanks to the rapid evolution of the game and the passage of time, has been allowed to blossom, unfettered by trite comparisons. So Russ Westbrook is just Russ Westbrook, Steph is just Steph, and the quest to reincarnate MJ is mercifully over.”

I’m a huge basketball fan, but here’s something I just realized after reading this Bleacher Report article — no NBA players are declared the “Next Michael Jordan” any more.

The piece does a fascinating job of breaking down the reasons why this has happened and puts in context just how big a shift this represents. For example, the phrase was used in newspapers more than 3,000 times between 1990–2010 and has all but vanished now.