1. “…retained the curiosity of childhood into adulthood.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Life Advice Will Leave You SPEECHLESS – One of the Most Eye Opening Interviews – Neil deGrasse Tyson – (YouTube)
The title does not overpromise. This is one of the most inspirational videos I’ve seen in a long, long time.
School should as a minimum preserve that curiosity for you. If you lost some of it, coz it’s not going to be in all of us, put it back in. So that when you graduate school, you can give literal meaning to the word commencement. Commencement means beginning; it doesn’t mean ending. And so, you leave school, you say to yourself, “I now know how to learn.”
There is just so much good here, it’s worth the investment of 16 minutes of your time.
Do this: If you take nothing else away from this week’s 7 Takeaways, go watch the video. Now.
2. “Fun is an inside job.”
3 Ways to Have More Fun, Be Spontaneous, and Enjoy Your Life Again – Marie Forleo – (YouTube)
I was asked recently what advice I would give myself when I struck out on my own. I answered “Lighten up. Most of what you’re worrying about doesn’t really matter in the long run.”
This is the same thing from a different angle. It can be difficult at times not just to have fun, but to see how fun might even be possible. Now, Marie’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and it might be slightly over the top for some (including me), but she does share her approach to making fun a priority in everyday life. It serves as an important reminder, and perhaps a starting point for ideas of our own.
Do this: Once again, seems trite, but: remember to have fun. Be intentional about it.
3. “A good night’s sleep is worth a helluva lot of money.”
29 Cut-to-the-Chase Lessons About Money You Can Use Right Away – Tim Denning – (Medium)
I know I come from a position of privilege, probably in more ways than I can count. But I find Denning’s comments on money thought-provoking. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, his advice, admittedly targetted at a generation or two younger than myself, holds a lot of common sense, and ideas I wish I’d paid attention to along the way.
Having time is better than having a lot of money.
Indeed. Ironically(?) he also published an article on Billie Eilish and the risks of trappings of fame and fortune the same day. It’s an interesting pair when read together.
Do this: start investing.
4. “… a heuristic that encourages you to articulate the unarticulated.”
Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content – Mark Levy – (ebook)
I mentioned last week that I’d been turned on to this book by one of the articles I quoted. It does not disappoint. It’s an odd state to get yourself into, but one of my best personal articles in recent memory was the result of nothing more than 10 minutes of brain-dumping (65 words per minute? Who knew!?) — followed, of course, by much more significant time a day or two later crafting those ideas into something palatable.
The specific quote that got my attention today is more completely:
Think of “recording it all” as a heuristic that encourages you to articulate the unarticulated. In the same way that it’s not up to the accountant to alter the number she’s entering because she doesn’t approve of that number, it’s also not up to you to alter your thoughts as they appear. Disapprove of them, if you like, in the next sentence from your pen, but don’t banish them to the vapors of the unsaid.
Do this: next time you’re struggling with an idea try just freewriting about it with no judgment, and no constraints. No one but you needs to see. You may be surprised at how it helps identify and clarify your thinking.
5. “Write who you are.”
Damn Fine Story – Chuck Wendig – (ebook)
This is Wendigs alternative to the more common admonition “Write what you know”, which he claims is “…either a piece of very good advice written poorly, or a piece of poor advice written elegantly.”
His book is mostly about writing fiction, which is one of the reasons my reading of it is picking up speed and turning into a skimming of it, but this concept, at least, holds true for non-fiction as well. I mean, let’s face it, what am I if not all about technology? Or personal growth and introspection?
Do this: these keep feeling trite, but: write who you are. By that I mean not only choose your topics or stories based on who you are but also how you approach them. As Marie Forleo might say “the world really does need that very special gift that only you have.”
6. “Anyone who tells you a backpack is only for middle schoolers is just wrong.”
From Remote Work to Hybrid Work: The Tech You’ll Need to Link Home and Office – Joanna Stern – Wall Street Journal
There’s no arguing that the world looks different today than it did a year ago. But of all the changes we’ve made, particularly when it comes to technology, what will we still be using as the world returns to “normal”? There’s no single answer, of course, especially when it comes to the workplace, the focus of Stern’s article. My sense, though, is that everyone who’s had to rely on technology more heavily even — perhaps especially — outside of the workplace, will be evaluating what did and did not work for them. Online shopping? Video calls? Email? Something else? I don’t think we’ll be dropping all of it in an instant.
Do this: consider carefully what aspects of technology have added value to your life in the last 12 months, and make some conscious decisions on what it is you want to keep moving forward.
7. “Every blog post you publish is a stock you’ve added to your portfolio and it only cost you the time it took to write it.”
40 One-Sentence Blogging Tips – Josh Spector – (Blog)
It’s helpful to be reminded of what I’ve created at times. I rarely think of it as a “portfolio”, but Ask Leo! has over 5,700 posts, plus another 60 over at biz.askleo.com. My personal blog has 350. (And none of this counts the videos on my YouTube channel.) They didn’t happen overnight. Just a steady progression over time. A post here, a post there, and pretty soon you’ve got quite the asset. Nope, not all are created equal; some are good, a few are great, and some are downright cringe-worthy. Not all are as valuable today as they were when they were written, but … many are. All try to add value of some sort. That they added to my own “portfolio” is, in many ways, just a side effect.
Do this: Consider your own “portfolio”. Do you continue to add to it?
What I’m Reading
I completed “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman, and as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I’m somewhat disappointed. The anecdotes were interesting, of course, but it didn’t come across as interesting or as funny as I was lead to believe. A couple of Feynman videos on YouTube were more engaging. I think part of the problem was the writing style; it’s exceptionally conversational and informal. Not that that’s bad, but it made it difficult at times to lose myself in the story. What I saw in my mind was not the story, but Feynman sitting in a chair telling me the story, if that makes any sense.
- Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content – Mark Levy
- Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative by Chuck Wendig
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity by Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman