“The bigger the network, the harder it is to leave.” — Evgeny Morozov
One of the things I love about For The Interested is the opportunity it gives me to see what clicks with you (no pun intended).
One of the ways I do that is to see what ideas resonate most with readers on my Instagram posts.
For example, I learned you see the value in a pause, you recognize great things don’t always feel great when they happen, and you agree with me about the first step to getting what you want.
I’m having fun on Instagram — especially since I vowed to stop using hashtags — and hope you’ll join me there.
It’s a nice, bite-size companion piece to this newsletter.
Now, on to this week’s ideas…
“Want to freak yourself out? I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.”
You may think you know the extent to which your activity is being tracked online, but I bet you’ve underestimated it.
This epic Twitter thread from web developer Dylan Curran explains how to see all the data about you that’s being tracked by companies like Facebook and Google.
Long story short? They know where you go, who you talk to, what you search for, when you sleep, what you care about, what you’re afraid of, and just about every other detail in your life.
”No matter how successful you get, no matter what level of achievement you reach for your creative work, the thing people will ask you is always the same, ‘So, what’s next?’”
It’s one thing to do creative work, it’s another to keep doing creative work.
In this 26-minute talk, Austin Kleon shares 10 tips to keep going with your creative work including to forget the noun and do the verb, pay extra attention to the ordinary to make it extraordinary, and spend time on things that will outlast the negative forces in the world.
“He takes people who self-define as lucky and people who don’t say they’re lucky, and then he puts a $20 bill in the street and the lucky people notice them and pick them up. And unlucky people don’t.”
It turns out there really is a difference between people who perceive themselves as lucky and those who don’t.
Nautilus shares some fascinating research on luck that’s found the key to good luck is an open mind.
People who believe they’re lucky are literally able to see opportunities that people who think of themselves as unlucky miss. This even includes things like looking for a parking space — research found if you’re anxious about finding a good spot your vision literally narrows and you’re more likely to miss one.
“Your future identity is what you say ‘yes’ to today. Who you’ll be tomorrow is a product of your current decisions.”
When I shared my 43 ways I’ve learned to make life easier a couple weeks ago, I suggested learning how to say no was a crucial skill. This post is a nice addendum to that idea.
5. FACIAL DISPLAYS ARE NOT REFLECTIONS OF HOW WE FEEL, THEY’RE REFLECTIONS OF WHAT WE WANT TO MAKE OTHERS FEEL
“Facial displays are not fixed, semantic read-outs of internal states such as emotions or intentions, but flexible tools for social influence. Facial displays are not about us, but about changing the behavior of those around us.”
This one gets a little technical, but the underlying idea is worth understanding.
Science Direct shares recent research that reveals facial expressions are tools for social influence.
For example, when somebody smiles it’s not because they’re happy — it’s because they want the person they’re smiling at to play or affiliate with them. When they scowl, it’s not because they’re angry — it’s because they want the person they’re scowling at to submit to them.
“The best way to find a friend is when you’ve already got one — and you know how to use them.”
Put down your dating app for 30 seconds and check out this guide to meeting people offline.
The Cut shares some simple suggestions about how to meet people offline including to put down your phone (here are some easy ways to do that), leverage your existing network of friends, and switch up the places you go to in order to be exposed to new people.
“If people walked continuously for five minutes or longer, meaning in exercise bouts, they lowered their risk of dying young. But they gained the same benefit if they walked sporadically in short but repeated spurts, as long as they moved often.”
This one’s going to kill your “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse.
The New York Times shares research that has found short exercise stints can help you as much as long ones — as long as the total time you spend moving and being active is similar.
So if you can’t set aside specific time for exercise, look for ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine and you’ll get the same benefits.
“Sometimes the artist needs to turn off, to get out in the fray, to stop worrying over when her imagination’s pot will boil — because, of course, it won’t if she’s watching.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking you can only make great art if you devote 100% of your time to it — that’s not true.
The New York Times explores how having a day job can help you make better art and details the work-art balance of several legendary writers, poets, and artists to prove its point.
“We looked for dishes that have been endlessly adopted or outright copycatted on other menus, kicked off a lasting trend, or became staples that still define the way we eat today in 2018.”
Here’s a fun read that’s also likely to make you hungry.
Thrillist has compiled a list of the 101 most important dishes in America and assembled them in chronological order with backstories about the creation and impact of each one.
From Nathan’s hot dogs in 1916 all the way through 2015’s Rainbow Bagel, there’s plenty here to discuss (and debate).
“The clarity of your goals, audience, and value are a bigger determinant of social media success than any follower, engagement, or algorithm strategies.”
When I work with my clients on social media strategy, our work together usually begins with a discussion about these four questions.
They include what do you want to accomplish, who do you need to reach to accomplish it, what’s unique about you, and if I could guarantee any 500 people to see your work, who would you choose?
In this post I explain why those questions matter and how to answer them.
Image via Pawel Kuczynski
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