Highlights from the Internet: Part 9
Below you'll find part 9 of my collection of highlights from the internet. I read and highlighted most of it in the Pocket app.
OK Milt, I’ll start writing again
It’s so easy to waste time doing stuff that’s not important, not really fun, and not useful to anyone, not even yourself.
It’s so hard to fight the resistance to do the more difficult but more important thing. Finishing that book. Writing that song. Launching that project.
Happy, Smart, and Useful
There are three things to consider when making life-size decisions:
- What makes you happy
- What’s smart — meaning long-term good for you
- What’s useful to others
Obvious to you. Amazing to others.
We’re clearly bad judges of our own creations. We should just put them out there and let the world decide.
Are you holding back something that seems too obvious to share?
There are always more than two options
People sometimes ask my help in making big decisions. They’re usually trying to decide between two options.
But that’s not a decision — that’s a self-created dilemma! You have to remember that there are always more than two options.
When someone says they have only one option, they’re really saying, “I have no choice,” and you know that’s wrong. At the very least, add “do nothing” and “go insane” as options.
Great insight comes only from opening your mind to many options. Brainstorm them all, from the hybrids to the ridiculous. It takes under an hour, but has always helped my friends feel less stressed, think clearly, and get excited about decisions that used to feel like dilemmas.
People often ask me what they can do to be more successful. I say disconnect. Even if just for a few hours. Unplug. Turn off your phone and Wi-Fi. Focus. Write. Practice. Create. That’s what’s rare and valuable these days.
You get no competitive edge from consuming the same stuff everyone else is consuming. It’s rare, now, to focus. And it gives such better rewards.
How will this game end?
Before you start something, think of the ways it could end. Sometimes the smart choice is to say no to the whole game.
Quitting something you love
Personal change needs some space to happen. To bring something new into your life, you need somewhere to put it. If your current habits are filling your day, where are these new habits supposed to go?
The English word “quit” comes from old French, meaning “to free” or “to release”.
We know about quitting something that’s bad for you, or something you hate. But what about quitting something you love?
If you’re not feeling “hell yeah!” then say no
Though it’s good to say yes when you’re starting out, wanting any opportunity, or needing variety, it’s bad to say yes when you’re overwhelmed, over-committed, or need to focus.
Refuse almost everything. Do almost nothing. But the things you do, do them all the way.
Small actions change your self-identity
The world treats you as you treat yourself. Your actions show the world who you are.
You won’t act differently until you think of yourself differently. So start by taking one small action that will change your self-identity.
Character predicts your future
How you do anything is how you do everything. It all matters.
Your actions are completely under your control, and seem to be the best indicator of future success.
The public you is not you
Public comments are just feedback on something you made. They’re worth reading to see how this thing has been perceived. You can even take it as feedback on the public image you’ve created. All people know is what you’ve chosen to show them. So if your public persona is coming across wrong, try tweaking it.
Never forget that the public you is not you.
Imitate. We are imperfect mirrors.
You know that existing business that you wish you had thought of? Copy it.
Why? Because we’re imperfect mirrors.
Like a funhouse mirror that distorts what it reflects, your imitation will turn out much different from the original. Maybe even better.
Actions, not words, reveal our real values
No matter what you tell the world or tell yourself, your actions reveal your real values. Your actions show you what you actually want.
There are two smart reactions to this:
- Stop lying to yourself, and admit your real priorities.
- Start doing what you say you want to do, and see if it’s really true.
What Working At Stripe Has Been Like
A well-operated early stage startup should spend basically no time on things which aren’t either product or talking to customers.
Considered in hindsight, I think my businesses would have been more successful and I would have been more fulfilled had I hit harder, bigger problems faster rather than tackling ones I was more sure that I could take on.
Be a Voter
If you’d like to strengthen a behavior, weave it into your identity. And if you’d like to change someone else’s behavior, encourage them towards an identity change that includes that behavior.
Use this framing with yourself too.
Don’t just get up early. Be an early riser.
Don’t just make a difference. Be a contributor.
Don’t just do personal growth experiments. Be an explorer.
Don’t just post on social media. Be a blogger, podcaster, or YouTuber.