Build a Skill – 7 Takeaways for March 28, 2021


1. “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

James Baldwin – Quoted in Mark Manson’s Mindf*ck Monday – (email newsletter)

Not much to comment here, other than to remind that one of my criteria for takeaways is “things that give me pause”. This one did that and audibly go “huh”, it felt so true.

Do this: what do you hate? Is there pain behind it?

2. “…if you start acting like you are creative, your body and mind will respond, and you will be.”

How to Use Evernote for Your Creative Workflow – Tiago Forte – (blog post)

The quote, even though it’s buried in an Evernote how-to, applies not just to Evernote, and not just to creativity. It applies to life. Earlier today on an episode of the TEH podcast Gary and I were talking about how different people react to change. It dawned on me as I read this later that it applies to so many aspects of our life, including change. If you act like you’re someone who resists change, you’ll resist change even harder. On the other hand if you act like you’re more accepting of the inevitability of change, you’ll grow in that direction instead. Note that I didn’t say that you “are” someone who … it’s that you act like someone who. So many self-help advice gurus spout the “act as if” mantra as a way to approach personal change.

They’re not wrong. (At least in this regard.)

Do this: pick something you want to become. Now act like it.

3. “Overcome resistance to change by experimenting.”

A Key Mindset to Achieve More – Michael Hyatt – (Blog)

For many of us, we are resistant to trying out something new because we are afraid it will be a failure. We have a tendency to stick with what is familiar even if it really isn’t the best option.

Nowhere do I see this more than in technology, and specifically individuals who are less than comfortable with tech to begin with. They’ll spend hours searching for something, wait days for responses from Q&A sites, when the answer was right there in front of them if they’d just given it a try.

This applies to more than tech, so my takeaway is really about making sure to live my catchphrase (“Every day is an experiment”), but also to encourage that “give it a try” mindset when I can in the work I do.

Do this: Give something a try. Really.

4. “Build a skill”

Making Money Online Is Stupidly Simple If You Allow It to Be – Tim Denning – (Medium)

I get that the article title might push a few buttons. It’s true at the conceptual level. It’s conceptually easy to make money online. It’s just that it’s a lot of work. And by a lot of work I mean A LOT OF WORK. That’s where so many people get frustrated and give up. It’s not at all simple to easily make money online. In fact, I’d say it’s nigh-on impossible.

My take-away, though, is that three-word section title from the article. That’s the start: build a skill that you can use to help people in some way. That’s a very simple concept, and very true.

My knee-jerk reaction, though, is that there are so many people who already have a skill. If you’ve done anything for any length of time, if you’ve been around the sun more than a few times, then you’ve likely already developed a skill, or even just an interest in a skill, that could be turned to this purpose. Once again, I see people not valuing themselves, their skills, their experience, or their ability to turn that skill into something that could add value to the world.

Do this: Sure, build a skill if you like. More important: inventory the skills you already have. Chances are there’s something there.

5. “backup your systems”

This company was hit by ransomware. Here’s what they did next, and why they didn’t pay up – Danny Palmer – (ZDnet)

I promised the occasional tech take-away when I started, so here ya go. This is the quote I think deserves the most attention:

Analysis of the incident revealed a phishing email sent to an employee working from home was how hackers gained their initial access to the network.

I’d wager the vast majority of these compromises are the result of exactly that: phishing. Some of it looks amazingly convincing of late. Yes, there’s technology to be put into place to reduce the attack surface, and catch more of these before they happen, but still — there’s nothing preventing users from bypassing every damn one of the roadblocks put in place, if so motivated.

Extra points to this company for a) having backups, b) taking the extra time to recover so they could c) not pay the ransom.

Do this: take a phishing test. You’ll be surprised. I got 8/10 right. (In all fairness, it was images only, so I didn’t have access to everything I would normally check. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Smile)

6. “I’m just waiting for my turn to talk.”

The Edition: Creating a virtuous listening cycle – Medium’s member-only newsletter

The newsletter goes on to talk about how Medium is wonderful because it’s as much about listening as it is anything. I don’t disagree, though perhaps I wouldn’t put it quite as strongly.

The quoted phrase got my attention. It really does encapsulate much of today’s so-called “discussion”. A very common sentiment is that people aren’t listening, they’re just waiting for their opportunity to talk and/or respond and/or make their point. Listening. It’s sometimes hard to do — particularly for “hot button” topics. And yet, listen we must.

Do this: pay attention in your next conversation to what you’re doing when someone else is talking — listening, or preparing your reply?

7. “Humans are goldfish with low attention spans.”

Your Views Aren’t Down. Your Quality Has Massively Dropped. – Tim Denning – (Medium)

There are at least half a dozen items in this article that I need to keep in mind when I create content. The quote above is just the one that got me to laugh out loud. It’s funny, because it’s true. And I know it’s true because I also see what people react to, or don’t react to, regardless of where and how I publish pretty much anything.

We’d like people to have longer attention spans. We’d like people to read longer, more in-depth articles. We’d like people to invest their time in our creations.

Reality, on the other hand, is a bitch.

Do this: notice the kind of content you’re spending time with. How’s your attention span, really?

What I’m Reading

In progress (also on GoodReads):

Daily reading:

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