“Ride the horse in the direction that it’s going.” — Werner Erhard
Every once in a while it happens.
I discover something in my Internet travels I can’t wait to share with The Interested because I know you’ll dig it.
It’s usually something a little obscure, a little unexpected, and a little metaphorical.
It’s not often it’s something that involves a horse, but this week it was.
Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
1. DON’T LET ANYBODY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO
“Nobody who tells you what to do actually knows what’s best for you. So stop listening to them.”
Everybody’s got something to say about what you do — but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about.
In this post I explain why you should stop listening to other people and recognize you are the expert on you.
Too often the people who tell you what to do don’t know you as well as they think they do, are actually telling you what THEY would do, or just don’t want you to change.
2. SET GOALS BASED ON BEHAVIORS, NOT OUTCOMES
“You have far more control over your behavior than any outcome. And if you focus on your behavior, it’s possible that you’ll end up with an outcome that exceeds your expectations.”
You can never control results, but you can always control your behavior.
That’s why Srinivas Rao suggests you set goals based on behavior and offers five specific ways to do so including to make your behavior sustainable, focus on the process, and play an infinite game.
3. REMEMBER YOUR HEROES
“I’ve always kept pictures of my heroes above my desk to keep watch over me, like guardian spirits, to remind me who I want to be. These days they help me remember who I wanted to be when I first got started.”
It’s one thing to have people who inspire you, it’s another to have them watch over you as you work.
I love this simple idea from Austin Kleon about how to remember your heroes — he suggests keeping images of them (or things related to them) at eye level in your work environment so it becomes impossible to forget the kind of person you want to be or work you want to do.
4. HOW TO TAME A WILD HORSE
“Patiently, he works his magic.”
This four-minute BBC Earth video is mesmerizing and carries some valuable lessons even if you never plan to tame a wild horse.
It shows how Patagonian Gauchos tame a wild horse and is a remarkable look at how to use patience, attention, and connection to accomplish a goal.
In some ways, it reminded me of another great video I previously shared about patience and nature — this inspiring story of the Forest Man.
5. HOW TO ASK BETTER QUESTIONS AND HAVE MORE INTERESTING CONVERSATIONS
“The most interesting information is found in stories, so ask people to tell you one.”
Ever wonder what one of my posts would look like as an animated video? Here’s your chance to find out.
The Art of Improvement YouTube channel turned my post about how to improve your conversations into this fun three-minute animated video.
It breaks down how doing things like asking for specifics instead of generalizations and asking questions like a kid can spark more interesting and valuable answers.
6. WHAT IF YOUR MANTRA FOR THE YEAR WAS OPTIMISM?
“Cynicism is lazy, it’s the easy way out. If you only expect the worst from society, you never have to worry about being wrong, or disappointed.”
The Future Crunch newsletter shared an idea we can all benefit from embracing in some way.
What might happen if you chose a one-word mantra for the year and that word was optimism?
Whatever might happen would likely be pretty good.
7. BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL BRAND REQUIRES VULNERABILITY
“If you want people to resonate with you, you have to give them something real to resonate with.”
There’s no shortage of talk about personal brands these days (I weighed in with my own take here), but here’s a crucial point that’s rarely mentioned.
Nicolas Cole points out you can’t build a personal brand without vulnerability and suggests it’s vulnerability which ultimately attracts people to you and convinces them to tell others about you.
8. WHAT MAKES SOMETHING GO VIRAL
“Don’t just think about the subject matter, think also about — and in fact primarily about — the job that your content is doing for the reader or the viewer.”
The reason content goes viral often has nothing to do with the quality of the content.
In this 10-minute TED Talk, Buzzfeed publisher Dao Nguyen explains what makes something go viral based on the company’s extensive research on the subject.
Their core finding is what matters isn’t what the content is about, but rather how that content helps people perform a real job in their lives.
9. WHY TEENS DON’T PARTY ANY MORE
“People party because they’re bored — they want something to do. Now we have Netflix — you can watch series nonstop. There’s so many things to do on the web.”
In 1987, high school students spent six hours a week partying. By 2016, that number had dropped to just two hours a week.
WIRED examines why teenagers don’t party any more and finds it’s a symptom of a larger shift in which teenagers spend significantly less time doing anything with each other these days.
The reason? They spend all their time staring at phone screens.
10. YOUR PRODUCT ISN’T DONE WHEN YOU THINK IT’S DONE
“A lot of new businesses are catch-22 businesses. They think building a great platform where people will review restaurants, or submit news, or post photos is all it takes. But they don’t realize how hard it is to convince people to participate without a bunch of people already participating.”
The best-designed community product in the world won’t succeed until it has a community…or at least a fake one.
Nathan Kontny explains why your product isn’t done when you think it’s done and uses examples like Reddit to demonstrate how people are more likely to use a product if they believe others are already using it.