With all the noise overwhelming our lives and our social streams it’s easy to miss the good stuff. Content like tweets, in particular, are especially perishable. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of highlighting some of my favorite posts at the end of each month.
Here’s my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting/funniest posts (and sometimes videos) I read (or watched) during the month of March 2014. I do the hard work so you don’t have to.
Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from March.
[Blog Posts/News Articles]:
The 30 Second Habit with a Life Long Impact – Robin Scott
Only having become convinced, after several months of experimentation, that one of the simplest pieces of advice I’ve heard is also one of the best.
Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.
[Editors Note: Kind of like the little blurbs in these monthly summaries, no?]
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Dealing with Excuses – James Altucher
I didn’t have talent. I just got lucky. Nobody will hire me. I don’t have the right equipment. I couldn’t write a book because I had no publisher. I couldn’t do stand-up because I was afraid people would heckle me. I’m afraid to write a blog post often because what would people think?
All of my excuses turned out to be blessings in disguise. There’s always a gap between “what I have now” and “what I would like.” The gap is all of your excuses. All it takes to close the gap is to be creative and work your way through the excuses. I repeat: this is ALL IT TAKES.
Your excuses are simply the roadmap that takes you from “here” to “there”. Excuses are pointers to where the target is. There are no other pointers other than your list of excuses. The excuses are the map to success and fulfillment.
What Does “It’s Too Expensive,” Mean? – Seth Godin
“It’s too expensive,” almost never means, “there isn’t enough money if I think it’s worth it.” Often, it actually means, “it’s not worth it.” Even at the bottom of the pyramid, many people find a way to pay for the things they value.
The challenge isn’t in pleasing everyone, it’s in finding the few who see the value (and thus the bargain) in what’s on offer. It’s about our expectation of what people like us pay for something like that.
How to Achieve Work/Life Balance – Eric Barker
Thinking that if you spend enough time you will “get everything done” is an illusion. You will never be “done.” You have to draw a line. You must decide what is important and what isn’t.
What’s most important right now? It’s all too easy to put off important family time for urgent work deadlines.If you’ve been neglecting your loved ones recently, work might be urgent but not important while family is both important and urgent.
Were you tempted to click that headline? Now a days we want everything for nothing. It doesn’t work that way. There are no shortcuts. And next week, the same crap will be out with a different title. You’ll click again and agree with the common sense advice again. This isn’t really knowledge. It’s an illusion. And it’s mostly a waste of time.
Shane’s stuff is different. There’s effort required on your part and that’s a good thing.
[Editor’s Note: It’s also why I’m still in search of the perfect online community.]
Innovation comes from long-term thinking and iterative execution.
While market exploitation can lead to a quick buck in a quick trade, it creates less value over time than more fundamental approaches that rely on strong leaders executing carefully considered plans to build lasting assets.
The Heretics Guide to Getting More Done – Dr. David Brendel
Are you working endlessly but not accomplishing all you want? Mystified that continuous attention to work is not resulting in satisfactory progress toward your goals? So focused on work that you’re not thinking about or doing much else? If so, you may not be giving your brain the benefit of adequate downtime.
Workers can achieve peak performance by actually doing less work at key times—and by engaging in downtime activities that cutting-edge research shows to be effective in boosting productivity, replenishing attention, solidifying memories, and encouraging creativity.
The article includes five tips for getting downtime so that you can perform better than ever.
Failure is Not a Good Thing – Paul Smith
Failure has somehow become a fashionably acceptable outcome; startups can go bust because of dreadful execution or woeful market knowledge, and founders are immediately surrounded by a circlejerk of backslapping.
It’s not the act of failing we should celebrate, but our exploitation of the potential it creates. If we don’t build upon the knowledge of why we failed, then all the effort it took to fail is squandered. If we don’t step up to take another shot then we waste the beating we took, we waste the potential our failure presents.
We’re suffering, as you know, from an epidemic of busyness. But even more than that, we’re suffering from an epidemic of people talking about how busy they are. The real culprit is a socioeconomic system that relentlessly instrumentalises everyone, forcing us to become productivity machines, valued by our output alone.
- Create boundaries that help reduce the feeling of busyness
- Busyness can be a form of procrastination (i.e. focus on the important stuff)
- Becoming more efficient in your work can make busyness worse (i.e. they’re just going to give you more)
The trick – to the extent that there is a trick – isn’t to get faster at crunching through your activities, but to find ways to regard fewer of those activities as obligations, and to stop inviting more of them into your life unnecessarily.
Confessions of a Social Media Someone – Amber Naslund
I had to learn — really learn — that the people tearing me down were the petty people, the insignificant jerks who spent their time and energy throwing rocks at other people instead of building something useful themselves. They didn’t take massive risks and create things to be put out there and criticized, they simply took on the mantle as the “saviors of the internet”, tearing down anyone who remotely got in their way. They don’t determine my success or failure. Only I do.
Surprisingly enough, I found myself identifying more with the old guard in the article than the young bucks. I value objectively talented workers (of all ages). And maybe someone young and fearless is more likely to disrupt the world, but historically that’s not necessarily true. There’s something to be said for marginal improvements.
The fact that leaders can work a young person, without a family, to death (and then exchange her for someone equally as talented when she burns out) is horrifying to me.
In addition, the unbridled optimism (most notably from younger leaders) in entrepreneurship can be exhausting, lead to groupthink, and ultimately lead to business failure (pdf) as a result of planning fallacies, leader hubris, job in-congruence and more. Entrepreneurs need to temper optimism with a sound footing in reality. And this, it seems, is something that the experienced entrepreneurs understand and do much better than their young counterparts.
[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:
- Never, ever push a loyal person to a point where they no longer give a crap. – Peter Shankman
- The difference in Type 1 and Type 2 Workers.
- Getting results the agile way.
“Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.” — St. Francis
“A lot of space opens up in your brain when you stop filling it with other people’s thoughts.” – Paraphrased from @EmilyGould
“Successful people see an example and think ‘How can I do that my way?’ Others say ‘That’s different because of x, y, and z, so I can’t.'” – Brian Clark
If you made it this far and found this post valuable in any way, please let me know in the comments which of these reads caught your attention. Better yet, why don’t you share something you’ve read recently that you think I’d find interesting.