Isn’t that the way? Moments after completing last week’s 7 Takeaways, I’m watching a video and — boom — the first takeaway of the next week. A few minutes later — boom — number two.
Put yourself in front of good content. And pay attention.
1. “Repetition is [indistinguishable] from truth”
In the human mind, repetition is inconceivable from truth.
Yes, he said “inconceivable”, but I believe he misspoke. I don’t care, it’s my takeaway.
Recent history confirms it. No collection of facts will sway someone who’s heard a lie repeated often enough. Politicians use this — for good and evil. Marketers use this. Writers use this. It’s a simple concept. Perhaps it’s a flaw in the human psyche. Regardless, be aware of it and use it (only for good, of course).
2. ” Skepticism has to be your default”
These 5 Traits Will Help You the Most in Life – Mark Manson – (YouTube) – (NSFW: language) – The traits mentioned are: Self-awareness, Risk tolerance, Skepticism, Compassion, and Patience. He had me at “skepticism” (re-inforcing my preconceptions ) and does a great job of clarifying it. All five are under-appreciated, and honestly, lacking in most people. The last might feel familiar since it ties back to one of my takeaways last week.
3. “Read what you want to write.”
My Top 5 “Secrets” to Writing for Money – Tim Denning – (Email) – You’ll often hear the reverse: write what you’d want to read, but this is attention-grabbing. Good writers are voracious readers. This gives better focus on what some of the reading should be.
Of course, it presupposes you know what you want to write.
4. “Whether you like it or not, you are responsible for your own happiness.”
Barack Obama Offers Some of the Most Unconventional Writing Advice You’ve Ever Seen – Matt Lillywhite – (Medium) – This isn’t so much writing as it is life advice. It’s presented in commentary on the Obama quote: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Change is important, as is how we react to it. But it’s also important to understand we are responsible for change and that change might be required for the happiness we seek.
5. “…life is a single-player game, meaning is ultimately derived on multi-player mode.”
The Staircase of the Self – Lawrence Yeo – (blog: “More to That”) – This is a meaty post analyzing our progress from inferiority to self-esteem, to pride, then self-actualization, and finally “no-self”. The first four sound similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The last will sound new-agey to everyone except the Buddhists and Stoics who’ve been thinking about it for literally millennia.
While the final step might be seen as impractical, the preceding present a useful framework helping you to understand where you are on your journey and give you insight on where you might want to head, and what it takes to get there.
More to That is a very interesting blog with fascinating illustrated think pieces. ” My goal is to take everything I’ve learned about the human condition, and condense it into a format that is clear, digestible, and memorable.”
6. “The 10% Cut”
This is how I edit my writing – Josh Spector – (Newsletter) – More completely:
Once I’m done writing and editing a piece, I do a word count. Then I force myself to remove 10% of the words. Sometimes 20%.
I’ve done this occasionally, but every time the results are better. It’s a variation of “constraints force you to be better/creative”. I’d recommend doing this more than occasionally. The full newsletter includes a before/example of an edited piece to see what kinds of changes can be made. I don’t follow every recommendation (I frequently write/edit in a single pass), but there’s a lot of value here. (I did apply it to this page.)
7. “Life is a series of dogs.”
George Carlin, quoted in Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative by Chuck Wendig. This resonated for obvious reasons, but it’s an interesting perspective on story telling.
… if you take someone’s actual home, and you break into their house and wander through it like a nosy tiptoeing tourist, the house will offer up the story …
Indeed, my story is full of dogs, and for the last 24 years, Corgis (and their fur).
What I’m Reading
I finished my re-read of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. It’s a great book for when you’re looking for inspiration. It’s also a quick read. It’s on my infinite reading list for a reason.
- “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman
- 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
Four books? While Kindle does a reasonable job of keeping my devices in sync, it’s not perfect, which can be frustrating. Since I always want something at hand one approach I take is to have a different book “current” on each device. I will still focus on something that has my attention, but multiple books-in-progress is not uncommon. (And “Daily Stoic” is just that: a daily read that’ll always be on the phone in my pocket.)