As we welcome in 2014, I thought I’d clean out my link closet once again and host another Idea Garage Sale. Here are a bunch of links, ideas, videos and other miscellaneous stuff that didn’t quite make it into a blog post in 2013. Look for more of these (and more substantive blog posts) in the year to come, as this blog turns ten!
Does the practice of law make you come alive?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
via Swiss Miss
Need an Invisible Girlfriend? Here’s a project I launched with a team of great people at a St. Louis Startup Weekend last month. We’ve already been featured on Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Time and the Queen Latifah Show, and I’ve done radio interviews with stations in the U.S., Ireland, England, South Africa, Colombia, Canada and Malaysia. It has been crazy, to say the least!
You have metaphorical vampires in your life. These are people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of all, on extinguishing your desire to make things better.
Vampires cannot be cured. They cannot be taught, they cannot learn the error of their ways. Most of all, vampires will never understand how much damage they’re doing to you and your work. Pity the vampires, they are doomed to this life.
Your garlic is simple: shun them. Delete their email, turn off comments, don’t read your one-star reviews. Don’t attend meetings where they show up.
It’s so tempting to evangelize to the vampires, to prove them wrong, to help them see how destructive they are. This is food for them, merely encouragement.
Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
Build pockets of stillness into your life.
When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
Paul Graham (my favorite thinker) on prestige:
What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgement you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know? … Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
Read this Smashing Magazine article on user experience design and “decision fatigue” when you wonder why your clients so often fail to follow your advice:
Our decisions, even those that are mere preferences between option A and B, gradually take their toll on our cognitive load. The mental processes of decision-making are strenuous; we have only a finite store of mental energy available to exert self-control.
Basically, we get tired if we make too many decisions. As a result, according toBarry Schwartz, one of three things is likely to happen: we end up making poor decisions, we become more dissatisfied with our choices, or we get paralyzed and don’t choose at all.
How do we avoid being another ___insert successful company that failed____ ?
How do we avoid the “crisis needed to change” mindset that results from complacency?
How might we cure ourselves from complacency?
What company has avoided complacency, and how can we learn from them?
What skills are we missing?
What skills, that we have, are no longer relevant?
What skills do we need to develop to be relevant?
What’s working and what’s missing in our organization that is hindering our ability to transform?
What do we really want to do?
1. Read something related to my industry.
2. Read something related to business development.
3. Send two emails to touch base with old colleagues.
4. Empty my private client inbox by responding to all career coaching questions within one business day.
5. Check in with each team member on their progress.
6. Have a short nonwork-related conversation with every employee.
7. Review my top three goals for my company that are focused on its growth.
8. Identify and execute one task to support each of my top three goals.
9. Post five valuable pieces of content on all of my major social media accounts.
10. Take a full minute to appreciate what I have and how far I’ve come.
Complaining is not a strategy:
“If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”
That’s it for now. See you soon!