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My Weekly Learnings #59 (08.05.22 – 14.05.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Selfish morality:
– The selfish reason, to be honest, is to clear the mind of exhausting lies and to navigate towards people and situations where you can be completely authentic.
– The selfish reason to love is that it feels better to be in love than to be loved (but don’t expect much back).
– The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.
– The selfish reason to be temperate is that overindulgence desensitizes you to the subtle everyday pleasures of life.
– The selfish reason to be humble is that the more seriously you take yourself, the unhappier you’re going to be.
– The selfish reason to be faithful or dutiful is that it gives you something to care about more than yourself.
– The selfish reason to be thrifty is that living far below your means frees you from obsessing over money.
– The selfish reason to be honourable is that self-esteem is just the reputation that you have with yourself. You’ll always know.
– The selfish reason to be calm is that anger burns you first before burning the other.
A cool and calm person is more effective than an angry and agitated one.
– The selfish reason to forgive is so that you can move on with the rest of your life (but you can’t fake it or rush it).
– The selfish person realizes that happiness belongs to the self-less. [Naval Ravikant]

2. Human tendency to conform, especially when in large groups, is terrifying. Propaganda machines leverage this throughout human history.

The way out is to think freely, detached from the divisive narratives of the day that masquerade as universal truths.

This often feels lonely. [Lex Fridman]

3. The highest compliment from someone who disagrees with you is not “You were right.” It’s “You made me think.”

Good arguments help us recognize complexity where we once saw simplicity.

The ultimate purpose of debate is not to produce consensus. It’s to promote critical thinking. [Adam Grant]

4. The Accountability Ladder

[Framework: Bruce Gordon Illustration: sketchplantations]

5. Being politically ideological and politically tribal are different things, in direct conflict with each other. Being ideological nails your feet to a point on the political spectrum. Being tribal nails you to a group of people, wherever those people drift along the spectrum.

Some people seem both ideological and tribal, but deep down, their true loyalty lies either with the ideology or with the group of people. The litmus test happens when a political tribe rapidly repositions itself ideologically, for strategic reasons.

Of course, there’s a third way: don’t nail yourself to a set of ideas OR a group of people. Be loyal only to ways of thinking (humility, the scientific method, etc).

I think independence is the thing to strive for and between the other two, ideological is better than tribal. [Tim Urban]

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My Weekly Learnings #57 (24.04.22 – 30.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers on how to change someone’s mind:

“The best arguments in the world won’t change a single person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”

Source: The Overstory

2. If you’re ever sitting waiting for a response from someone anxiously, just remember – people don’t delay delivering the good news. [Harry Hurst]

3. Rival and Non-Rival Goods

Source: sketchplantations

4. Author Bell Hooks on the balance between justice and compassion:

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”

Source: “There’s No Place to Go But Up” — bell hooks and Maya Angelou in conversation​

​5. Happiness is not a function of what you achieve. It’s a function of how you spend your time.

Success is a temporary thrill. Happiness lies in doing daily activities that bring you joy.

There’s always a new mountain to climb. You don’t have to anchor your emotions to the summit. [Adam Grant]

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My Weekly Learnings #55 (10.04.22 – 16.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Meditation is intermittent fasting for the mind. Too much sugar leads to a heavy body. Similarly… too many distractions lead to a heavy mind.

Time spent alone and undistracted, in self-examination and meditation resolves the unresolved.

It takes us from being mentally fat to fit. [Naval Ravikant]

2. The Hawthorne effect occurs when people behave differently because they know they are being watched.

It can affect all sorts of behaviours such as dietary habits, or hygiene practices because these have considerable opportunities for instantaneous modification. It can also affect study results, e.g. a survey of smoking by watching people during work breaks might lead to observing much lower smoking rates than is genuinely representative of the population under study. It can also contaminate an intervention study if one of the control groups changes its behaviour because it is being observed more frequently than the other.

The Hawthorne effect can also lead to the observation being the intervention. For example, recommending individuals who want to lose weight should keep a diary of what they eat and drink. [Catalog of Bias]

3. Reducing your smartphone use is better for your well-being than stopping cold turkey.

Experiment: 4 months after decreasing smartphone use by 1 hr/day, people were happier, less depressed & anxious, and led healthier lifestyles.

Digital moderation beats digital abstinence. [Adam Grant]

4. Many good opportunities are ruined for the dream of slightly better ones.

Would you have a more successful career if you had taken that other job or moved cities? Possibly. But your actual career will definitely suffer if you don’t commit to doing it to the best of your ability.

Would you be 10% happier in a different relationship? Maybe. Maybe not. But you’ll definitely be unhappy in the one you have if you spend all day thinking about what else is out there.

The surefire way to end up worse off is to agonize over unchosen options and fail to make the most of the one you selected. Every minute spent yearning for your unlived lives is a moment you can’t invest in the one you actually have.

Choices matter, but so does your level of commitment. [James Clear]

5. Author Cheryl Strayed on the trap of self-pity:

“Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”

Source: Tiny Beautiful Things

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My Weekly Learnings #54 (03.04.22 – 09.04.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Look around your environment.

Rather than seeing items as objects, see them as magnets for your attention. Each object gently pulls a certain amount of your attention toward it.

Whenever you discard something, the tug of that object is released. You get some attention back. [James Clear]

2. Writer Jenée Desmond-Harris on how to divide your to-do list:

“I started dividing my to-do list into 1) things I have to do, 2) things I want to do, and 3) things other people want me to do. Life-changing! I often don’t get to #3 and I finally realized… this is what it means to have boundaries.”

3. People can subconsciously become their favourite fictional characters. Psychologists have discovered that while reading a book or story, people are prone to subconsciously adopt their behaviour, thoughts, beliefs, and internal responses to that of fictional characters as if they were their own. [8fact]

4. The person who makes you smarter isn’t always the smartest one in the room. Often it’s the most curious one in the room.

“Why do we do that?” leads you to question old assumptions. “What if?” opens your eyes to new possibilities.

Inquisitive people are catalysts for learning. [Adam Grant]

5. Depth of understanding:

– I have been told
– I have been shown
– I have done
– I have demonstrated
– I have taught someone else

The thresholds you cross are:

– Awareness
– Knowledge
– Understanding
– Skill
– Mastery [Shane Parrish]

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My Weekly Learnings #52 (20.03.22 – 26.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. We judge people too much by the opinions they give and too little by the values they live.

You don’t have to like their point to admire their courage in making it.

Decency is avoiding disrespect, not avoiding disagreement. Integrity is trying to get it right, not being right. [Adam Grant]

2. When Betty Crocker (not her real name) first started selling cake mixes, all you had to do was add water. They failed.

But when they changed the recipe and required users to add oil and an egg, sales went up.

Because people like to feel as though they’re cooking. It made the mix an activity that felt like homemaking.

If you order a high-end table saw (and you should, so you don’t get injured) you might discover that there are a fair number of nuts and bolts to install. For the premium that’s charged, there’s no reason for this–except that assembling the last bit yourself feels worthy.

And you’ve probably guessed the punchline, so I won’t tell it to you. When you assemble it yourself… [Seth Godin]

3. Unlike our circadian rhythm, our specific sleep chronotype isn’t influenced by any outside force, but rather genetics.

What is a sleep chronotype? A chronotype is your body’s natural disposition to be awake or asleep at certain times (think phrases such as “early bird” and “night owl”). Your chronotype is closely related to your body’s circadian rhythm, which controls your body’s sleep-wake cycle and melatonin production.

But our sleep chronotype is far more than a sleep preference, research indicates that chronotype is a heritable trait, thus directing attention toward its genetic basis. [Neurohacker]

4. When the body is at rest (not engaged in any activity besides breathing, digesting, etc.) the brain uses up a startling 20-25% of the body’s overall energy, mainly in the form of glucose, making the brain the most energy-expensive organ in the body. [BrainChat]

5. There was a man in Africa on safari who saw a group of captive elephants, each with a rope tied to their ankle.

He was confused. They were gigantic creatures, some being over 13,000 pounds…

Yet they were being held in place not with chains or cages–– but with ropes driven into the ground by stakes.

The man asked the elephant trainer, “Why don’t the elephants break free?”

The elephant trainer replied:
“When they were very young and much smaller we used the same ropes to tie them. At that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The elephants were all physically capable of breaking free but remained in captivity due to their limiting beliefs.

They didn’t believe they could break free, so they never tried. [Jay Shetty]

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My Weekly Learnings #51 (13.03.22 – 19.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. For people that experience intense sugar cravings: the cause of those cravings is dopamine. Sweet foods and drinks and foods/drinks that contain simple sugars — especially highly processed simple sugars like high fructose corn syrup, trigger two neural pathways, one that detects nutritive value and another that leads to perceived sweetness (taste), both of which result in increased dopamine. The consequence is a heightened desire to pursue and eat sweet food.

Studies show that even if the taste of something sweet is blocked, people prefer it and crave it because of so-called post-ingestive effects: neurons in the gut that respond to sugar and signal the release of dopamine in the brain.

Understanding this can help you control or defeat sugar cravings. It also explains why we often will crave more food even if it doesn’t taste incredible.

The takeaway: Your conscious mind is able to override these signals better if you know they are there. [Dr Andrew D Huberman]

2. When we spend hours looking at screens, we are exposing our eyes to ‘photochemical’ stress, a type of light stress that occurs because of the chemical reactions and oxidative stress from the retina absorbing blue light for prolonged periods of time.

The type of photochemical stress to the retina caused by blue light is known as blue light hazard or retinal phototoxicity.

The degree of phototoxicity blue light can cause is dependent on a number of factors: the intensity of blue light to which the eye is exposed, the distance to the source of light, the direction of the line of sight, and the spectrum of the light source, for example.

It’s important to clarify that the main source of blue light in our environment is, without a doubt, the sun. But although the amount of blue light emitted by a screen is low compared to sunlight, the fact is that the type of exposure is very different. Anyone who spends long periods of time looking at screens, especially in close proximity, is being continually exposed to a significant amount of blue light that’s different in important ways compared to looking at a blue sky or ocean. [Neurohacker]

3.

Source: Dr Jordan B Peterson

4. You can’t judge people only by how they treat you. The true test of character is how they treat those they don’t like or need.

Even if someone is kind to you, proceed with caution if they’re consistently unkind to others.

Selective civility is a sign of deep-seated hostility. [Adam Grant]

5. About 1-in-13 people who have ever lived are alive today.

A.D. makes up only about 1% of human history but about half of all people have lived during it.

We live in an insane anomaly.

Visual by Our World In Data

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My Weekly Learnings #50 (06.03.22 – 12.03.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The people you’re trying to impress are probably busy trying to impress someone else.

It’s called the spotlight effect: the tendency to overestimate how much attention people pay to your appearance and actions.

You’re always a protagonist in your story, but rarely in theirs.

[Adam Grant]

2. The subliminal message of English class is that good writing needs to be poetic. Students read novels with purple prose and try to replicate it in five-paragraph essays so they can impress their teachers.

This obsession with poetic writing is one of the most destructive outcomes of modern writing education.

Focus on clear writing instead.

Basketball provides an analogy. Even if all the stars know how to do fancy dribbles like “through the legs,” the “spin move,” and “behind the back,” you shouldn’t start there. You should master the basic dribbles first. Jumping into advanced dribbles when you start playing basketball is the fastest way to look like a goon and get the ball stolen from you. No matter how fancy their dribbling can become, even the best players focus on basic moves that get the job done even if they don’t turn heads.

So focus on writing clearly.
Let poetic language be a byproduct of clear writing and don’t even think about lavish prose until you’ve mastered the art of writing clearly. [David Perell]

3. High growth environments yield positive-sum players…

Slow/negative growth environments yield zero-sum players…

Hence, progress is a moral imperative. [Matt Huang]

4. Computer programmer Erik Naggum on reaching up instead of punching down:

“The secret to feeling great about yourself is not to be found in searching for people who are less than you and then show yourself superior to them, but in searching for people who are more than you and then show yourself worthy of their company.”

Source: Email (January 2, 2003)

5.

Source: Liz Fosslien

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My Weekly Learnings #47 (13.02.22 – 19.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. It’s easy to accept the limits that are implied when someone asks us for advice and feedback.

Fix the typos, sure. That’s important. But perhaps you have something bigger to add.

A friend shares plans to launch a new retail website. It’s tempting to fix the small errors on the page, but perhaps it’s more useful to discuss the product line, the pricing or whether or not it should be online at all…

The author shares a draft of a new work. You could help with the grammar, but maybe it would help more if you talked about the parts that weren’t included.

The agency shows three versions of a new design they’re considering. Multiple choice might be on offer, but ‘none of the above’ might be a more generous answer.

I’m pretty confident that when the Titanic went down, the deck chairs were clean and well-ordered. It’s a shame no one talked about the icebergs. [#SethGodin]

2. Singer and songwriter, Aretha Franklin, on seeing people as more than just their worst moment:

“You cannot define a person on just one thing. You can’t just forget all these wonderful and good things that a person has done because one thing didn’t come off the way you thought it should come off.”

Source: Aretha: Star’s Legacy Lives, Detroit Free Press (February 18, 2012)

3. Too many people spend their lives being dutiful descendants instead of good ancestors.

The responsibility of each generation is not to please their predecessors. It’s to improve things for their offspring.

It’s more important to make your children proud than your parents proud. [#AdamGrant]

4. No one “builds a house.” They lay one brick again and again and again and the end result is a house. A remarkable, glorious achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable, unglorious tasks looks like from far away.

Procrastinators are bad at remembering this. [#TimUrban]

5. Humans are imitation machines. We mostly learn what to do by copying those around us.

In general, we imitate the habits of three groups:

1. The close – what are friends and family doing?
2. The many – what is the crowd doing?
3. The powerful – what are those with status doing? [#JamesClear]

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My Weekly Learnings #46 (06.02.22 – 12.02.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Environment design is powerful not only because it influences how we engage with the world but also because we rarely do it. Most people live in a world others have created for them. But you can alter the spaces where you live and work to increase your exposure to positive cues and reduce your exposure to negative ones. Environment design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your life. Be the designer of your world and not merely the consumer of it. [James Clear]

2. “We have the power to hold no opinion about a thing and to not let it upset our state of mind – for things have no natural power to shape our judgments.” – Marcus Aurelius, Mediations, 6.52

Here’s a funny exercise: think about all the upsetting things you don’t know about – stuff people might have said about you behind your back, mistakes you might have made that never came to your attention, things you dropped or lost without even realizing it. What’s your reaction? You don’t have one because you don’t know about it.

In other words, it is possible to hold no opinion about a negative thing. You just need to cultivate that power instead of wielding it accidentally. Especially when having an opinion is likely to make us aggravated. Practice the ability of having absolutely no thoughts about something – act as if you had no idea it ever occurred. Or that you’ve never heard of it before. Let it become irrelevant to nonexistent to you. It’ll be a lot less powerful this way. [The Daily Stoic]

3. Research shows that mild dehydration corresponding to 1-2% of body weight can negatively affect alertness, concentration, short-term memory, and physical performance. Your brain is 73% water. Before sipping coffee in the morning, grab a large glass of H2O to help your brain go! [BrainChat]

4. Criticizing is fast and easy. Creating is slow and difficult.

The two hours you spent on a book or movie usually took two years to produce.

Anyone can tear down someone else’s work. The true test of insight is whether you can help them improve it or build something of your own. [Adam Grant]

5. I’ve been asking myself: “What opportunities can’t I see because they’re not prestigious enough?”

The very best opportunities are rarely prestigious when there’s big money to be made with them. In my experience, the lust for prestige is the strongest amongst high-status people. When looking for jobs, the children from high-status families tend to value prestige the most. In another world, these people would take bets on exciting, but non-prestigious projects with big upside.

My friend Justin Murphy writes: “You don’t really outperform your peers with quality per se, you outperform your peers by finding underpriced quality that others don’t judge to be valuable.”

Everybody wants to be of high status. But despite the financial rewards, few people are willing to work on low-status projects, even if they have the potential to become high-status. Most of the people who are jumping into Bitcoin now weren’t willing to commit a few years ago, back when people
scoffed at the idea of digital money.

Only after reading Rene Girard did I realize the dangers of chasing too much prestige. The worst rivalries, he said, come when people aren’t competing for a physical object. Duels and comment thread wars come to mind. To that end, it’s no coincidence that the Latin word for prestige is praestigiae, which signifies an illusion or mirage.

The world is filled with under-priced opportunities that are only available to people who are comfortable with promising, but low-status projects.

Beware of chasing prestige. [David Perell]

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My Weekly Learnings #43 (16.01.22 – 22.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” — Sun Tzu
This lesson goes beyond war.

For example, a little extra time upfront finding a great employee changes the outcome.

What seems like a great outcome in hindsight is often just better preparation.

There are so many examples.

Hiring a great architect avoids problems. Hiring a great lawyer avoids problems. Investing in your relationship makes inevitable conflict easier to resolve.

Preparation today creates more favourable circumstances tomorrow.

The thing a lot of people miss is that a little time spent before problems crop up avoids them entirely or creates a better position to deal with them.

You can spend time fixing problems or avoiding them entirely. Knowing where to apply effort yields a 10x return. [Shane Parrish]

2. Picking someone as your role model in life sets unrealistic expectations. Eventually, you’ll learn they don’t belong on a pedestal.
It’s better to admire people for specific strengths. It reminds you they have weaknesses too.

Knowing they have vices put their virtues in reach. [Adam Grant]

3. How to remember if you did something?

Source: sketchplantations

4. Would you rather write the script, read the script, watch the movie or write the review?
When someone commutes by train, they’re giving up control over the journey. On one hand, that means that they can’t actively impact how fast the train arrives. On the other hand, it means that they don’t have to be fully present and in command of all the decisions involved.

There’s a huge diversity of control preferences, and it varies across the many areas of our lives. Perhaps you need to be in control over your work, but have no interest in controlling what you eat for dinner–or vice versa.

I remember a restaurant in the Bronx where the waiter would ask you one or two questions about which food you liked, and then walk away and bring you back a series of dishes that you didn’t expect or choose. Some people really enjoy this, others are frustrated by the lack of control it requires.

While it may be that each of us has an inherent bias away or toward control, it’s pretty clear that it is also a skill that can be learned, and that different industries allocate control to people as part of their hierarchies. It’s also true that different cultures have evolved to allocate and teach control preference in different ways. Sometimes it’s based on gender and caste, but there are also cultural mores that have been fueled by industry, the patriarchy and governance.

One of the things we certainly have control over is deciding whether we’ll seek to spend our days in control or not. We might have make sacrifices along the way, but the feeling is up to us. [Seth Godin]

5. Thomas Mitchell, a farmer, on productivity:
“It is wonderful how much work can be got through in a day, if we go by the rule—map out our time, divide it off, and take up one thing regularly after another. To drift through our work, or to rush through it in a helter-skelter fashion, ends in comparatively little being done. “One thing at a time” will always perform a better day’s work than doing two or three things at a time. By following this rule, one person will do more in a day than another does in a week.”

Source: Essays on Life

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My Weekly Learnings #41 (02.01.22 – 08.01.22)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “I know that I know nothing” – Plato

The Dunning–Kruger effect is the cognitive bias whereby people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. Some researchers also include in their definition the opposite effect for high performers: their tendency to underestimate their skills.

[Source: brainchat]

2. Why do you stick your tongue out while concentrating?
A 2019 study found that the area of the brain that is activated by complex hand movements sits right next to that engaged in the language.
Neuroimaging from that research indicated that something called “motor overflow” could explain why our tongues are trying to get involved when our hands start moving, as the overlapping networks spill onto one another.

3. When we admit what we don’t know, it increases the chance that someone, who does know, will offer to help. [Simon Sinek]

4. “A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind, loving diagnosis and involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past.” – Charlie Munger

5. Many people hesitate to share their work because they’re uncomfortable promoting themselves.

Sharing your art, writing, or invention isn’t an act of self-promotion. It’s an act of self-expression.

If you don’t put your ideas out in the world, no one else can benefit from them. [Adam Grant]

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My Weekly Learnings #39 (19.12 – 25.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “If I aired a highlight reel of your most selfish life moments and most shameful thoughts, you’d seem like an awful person. If I aired a reel of your best, kindest moments, you’d seem like a saint. But people aren’t highlight reels, and the unedited cut is always a messy mix!”

[Tim Urban]

2. – have a glass of water
– eat a fresh fruit
– defer your decision by 15 mins

The 3 step formula to know whether you are actually feeling like a cake/ chocolate/ cookie or simply giving in to the craving out of habit. [Rujuta Diwekar]

3. The desire to avoid rejection at all costs, to avoid confrontation and conflict, the desire to attempt to accept everything equally and to make everything cohere and harmonize, is a deep and subtle form of entitlement. [Mark Manson]

4. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Elie Wiesel

5. We spend too much time trying to change people’s minds and too little energy aiming to open them.

Changing minds assumes they’re wrong. You’re pushing them to accept your views.

Opening minds assumes there’s more to learn. You’re inviting them to question their views. [Adam Grant]

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My Weekly Learnings #38 (12.12 – 18.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. The Social Neuroscience of Music: Understanding the Social Brain Through Human Song

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that people can adapt quickly to ensure that their social needs are met after being forced to isolate and socially distance. Many individuals turned immediately to music, as evidenced by people singing from balconies, watching live concerts on social media, and group singing online. In this article, we show how these musical adaptations can be understood through the latest advances in the social neuroscience of music—an area that, to date, has been largely overlooked. By streamlining and synthesizing prior theory and research, we introduce a model of the brain that sheds light on the social functions and brain mechanisms that underlie the musical adaptations used for human connection. We highlight the role of oxytocin and the neurocircuitry associated with reward, stress, and the immune system. We show that the social brain networks implicated in music production (in contrast to music listening) overlap with the networks in the brain implicated in the social processes of human cognition, mentalization, empathy, and synchrony—all of which are components of herding; moreover, these components have evolved for social affiliation and connectedness. We conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic could be a starting point for an improved understanding of the relationship between music and the social brain, and we outline goals for future research in the social neuroscience of music. In a time when people across the globe have been unable to meet in person, they have found a way to meet in the music”

From: https://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/2021-55326-001.pdf

2. The eyes are not just two external things connected to the brain, in a very real sense, they are the brain.

Why can we say that?⠀

The retina and optic nerve are, anatomically speaking, part of the brain. And, the eye is part of the forebrain during embryological development, being essentially birthed by neurological tissue. As we grow from infants to adults, it’s the combination of the maturation of the eye working with the brain that creates perception, the ability to see well and perform perceptual-cognitive tasks.⠀

Not only is the eye-brain an integrated whole, but sighted humans are primarily visual creatures. For most of us, vision is the dominant sense used to interact with the external world. Because of this, visual processes occupy the largest amount of real estate in the cerebral cortex—this is the area of the brain that, among other things, receives and processes sensory information—with 20–30% of the cortex devoted to vision. [Neurohacker]

3. The events that make your blood boil reveal what matters most to you.

Anger rises when your core values are in jeopardy. With reflection, it becomes a mirror for seeing your principles more clearly.

With action, it becomes a map for making changes to protect what you hold dear. [Adam Grant]

4. If you put one adult’s veins, capillaries, and arteries end to end, it would stretch 60,000 miles (96560 km), which would circle the Earth two and a half times. [8fact]

5. Author and social activist bell hooks on how to love yourself:

“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. There was a time when I felt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself as too fat, too this, or too that. Yet I fantasized about finding a lover who would give me the gift of being loved as I am.

It is silly, isn’t it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself. This was a moment when the maxim “You can never love anybody if you are unable to love yourself” made clear sense. And I add, “Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself.”

Source: All About Love: New Visions (via James Clear’s newsletter)

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My Weekly Learnings #37 (05.12 – 11.12)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Seven signs that you’re actually the problem…
a. You feel like no one understands you.
b. You always complain you’re not appreciated.
c. You believe you rarely get the attention you deserve.
d. You assume other people have it easy while you’re barely scraping by.
e. You have little interest or curiosity in the lives of others.
f. You often fight with close friends and loved ones.
g. And it’s always their fault. [Mark Manson]

2. When people ask for your feedback, it’s a mark of respect. They value your knowledge, skill, or taste.
When they don’t hesitate to give you feedback, it’s a sign of trust. They have faith that you’ll take it as an opportunity to grow, not a threat to your ego. [Adam Grant]

3. “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness.” – Mary Shelley

4. We generally adopt a posture of optimism or pessimism as a response (or reaction) to external events. We see how things are unfolding and make a decision about what to expect. We feel like we need to justify our response based on the facts on the ground.

But that doesn’t actually explain why different people, similarly informed, might adopt an optimistic mood or a pessimistic one.

In fact, that mood is a choice. And it’s one that determines how we’ll behave.

Optimism is a tool that permits us to solve problems more effectively. If used wisely, it brings enthusiasm, inspiration, and hope to projects that benefit from them.

[And pessimism is a tool as well–it can help you with budgeting, scheduling, and other projects. If it works for you, that’s great. Choose your tools wisely.]

As a universal default, either mood will certainly lead to misguided energy and poor decisions. But if we can be thoughtful about optimism as a tactic, the focus, and energy it brings can solve problems that others might simply walk away from.

Our pessimism might not be an accurate diagnosis of the past. It might simply be a way we’re using to produce a future we’re not happy with. [Seth Godin]

5. The real fun of life is in living it with a mastered mind.

For those who live enslaved to their mind, life is a mere vessel of suffering. [Kunal Sarkar]

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My Weekly Learnings #35 (21.11 – 27.11)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Anything that uplifts your consciousness is spirituality. Anything that brings you more peace of mind, that’s spirituality. Anything that gives you confidence, self-confidence, is spirituality. Anything that helps you to communicate better with people and anything that promotes a better understanding of yourself, of others, and of the universe, that’s spirituality. (Listen here more to understand about spirituality) [Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar]

2. Beware of confusing attention with admiration. Being noticed isn’t a substitute for being respected.

Don’t mistake recognition for appreciation. Knowing who you are doesn’t mean people value what you do.

The point of sharing isn’t to gain followers. It’s to make a contribution. [Adam Grant]

3. “Many people use deliberate cold exposure specifically to increase their metabolism and fat loss. Because many people also combine deliberate cold exposure with a sauna or hot showers, I asked Dr. Susanna Soeberg, Ph.D. (expert in human cold therapy science and first author on a recent landmark study about cold exposure for metabolism), whether or not heat should be done before or after cold exposure.

Dr. Soeberg’s answer is what I now call “The Soeberg Principle”: which states that even though you can alternate heat and cold *if your main goal is to increase metabolism then you should end with the cold* because it forces your body to use its own energy to heat back up.

Remember: you can still get benefits from a cold exposure if you end with heat but you won’t get as great a metabolic effect.” [Andrew Huberman]

4. The Illusion of Self

Source: grantdraws

5. Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, isn’t a fan of the phrase “work-life balance.”

Bezos said new Amazon employees shouldn’t view work and life as a balancing act. Instead, Bezos said it’s more productive to view them as two integrated parts.

“It actually is a circle,” Bezos said. “It’s not a balance.”

“And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off.”

“If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy,” Bezos said. “And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy.” [Jeff Bezos via Business Insider] (Read more here)

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My Weekly Learnings #33 (07.11 – 13.11)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. 7 Stoic Questions to ask every day:
i. Is this in my control?
ii. Is this essential/ necessary?
iii. What’s the worst case? Am I prepared?
iv. Where can I do better?
v. What habit bonfires am I fueling?
vi. How can I make the best of this?
vii. (When people irritate you) When have I acted like that? [The Daily Stoic]

2. “Most people optimize for the day ahead. A few people optimize for 1-2 years ahead. Almost nobody optimizes for 3-4 years ahead (or longer).

The person who is willing to delay gratification longer than most reduces competition and gains a decisive advantage.

Patience is power.” [James Clear]

3. Writer David Foster Wallace on the importance of controlling your attention:

“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about “teaching you how to think” is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”
[Source: This is Water]

4. At first, we sold our labor. That was 10,000 years of history. You traded sweat for food.

Eventually, people figured out that they could build an organization. And an organization made things, which someone could buy. Add some technology and machines and productivity would go up, things would get better, and profits would result. Industrial capitalism. This is the sort of project that most people think about when someone says “I’m going to start a business.”

But there are other options.

Linux and Wikipedia and the local farmer’s market are all projects. They may or may not lead to a profit for every person who engages with them, but they’re distinct entities that organize various talents and inputs and create value for the people they serve.

Stemming climate change, stopping the spread of disease, and fighting homelessness are also projects. They may not have coordinating bodies or a single entity, but they represent a combination of ideas, people, and initiatives that are coordinated through culture.

Bitcoin is a multi-trillion-dollar project with no one in charge.

As our world gets more connected, the projects that change us are more and more likely to have a form that would be hard to recognize just a generation ago. But inventing and choosing and supporting these projects is now on us, and it begins by recognizing that they even exist. [Seth Godin]

5. The basic principles of constructive feedback:
A. Before you give it, ask if they want to receive it.
B. Be clear that you believe in their potential and care about their success.
C. Be as candid as possible in what you say and as thoughtful as possible in how you say it. [Adam Grant]

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My Weekly Learnings #31 (24.10 – 30.10)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen to, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Making a comedy special is like making a samurai sword: “I used to describe it like the way they make samurai swords, or used to: they bang it and fold it, then bang it again, and then they fold it and keep banging it. They pound on it and fold it, so they’re squeezing all the oxygen [out], they just keep making it perfect. So every time you think I’ve got an hour [for this show]; no, you don’t. Write another hour, and then fold it into that one. Get rid of all the impurities and all the bad stuff, and then keep doing that.” [Louis C.K]

2. The strategies that made you successful in the past will, at some point, reach their limit.

Don’t let your previous choices set your future ceiling. The willingness to try new ideas allows you to keep advancing. [James Clear]

3. Why do we ask kids what they want to be when they grow up?

It encourages them to define themselves in terms of work. It also perpetuates the myth that you can only have one career.

We can serve them better by asking what they want to do – and what kind of person they want to be. [Adam Grant]

4. Our brains are programmed to like the music we listened to in high school the most. The music we like gives us a hit of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals, and that’s even stronger when we’re young because our brains are developing. [8fact]

5. An apt visual representation of ‘luck meets preparation.’

[Janis Ozolins]

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My Weekly Learnings #30 (17.10 – 23.10)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. How to have a disagreement that opens minds instead of closing them:
How can you possibly believe that?
→ How did you arrive at that view?

That’s ridiculous!
→ I’m surprised to hear you say that. Tell me more

You’re wrong!
→ What would lead you to rethink that? [Adam Grant]

2. Forgiveness is a productivity accelerator. The great saints, sages, and spiritual geniuses all understood that the main aim on the path to awakening was to stand in any mess that life sends and remain centered, courageous, serene, and free.

As Robin Sharma wrote about in The 5 AM Club, everyone alive does the best that they can based on where they’re at in terms of their awareness and their understanding of life. And once you realize that, you won’t be upset with them – you can begin to forgive them.

So resolve to forgive those who have hurt you [they made you stronger and nobler]. And commit to letting go of what no longer serves you [it got you to here]. Remember that the past was perfect preparation for you to become who you now are and to grow the extraordinary life that you now face the opportunity to create. [Robin Sharma]

3. Colin Powell’s 13 rules of life
Rule #1: It ain’t bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
Rule #2: Get mad, then get over it.
Rule #3: Avoid your ego so close to your position that when your position
falls, your ego goes with it.
Rule #4: It can be done.
Rule #5: Be careful whom you choose.
Rule #6: Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
Rule #7: You can’t make someone else’s decisions. You shouldn’t let
someone else make yours.
Rule #8: Check small things.
Rule #9: Share credit.
Rule #10: Remain calm. Be Kind.
Rule #11: Have a vision. Be demanding.
Rule #12: Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
Rule #13: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

4. Art (movies, plays, fiction, paintings, poetry…) exists to create a change. Often, that’s a change in the viewer, and sometimes, powerful art changes the culture.

Art with no intent can entertain us, and it can also reinforce stereotypes and simply help what is in our world persist.

Art with selfish intent exists to manipulate the viewer to serve the needs of the artist. It doesn’t often spread, but when it does, it can have a corrosive effect on the world around us.

But art with generous intent is different. It might not address an issue the way you would (in fact, that’s precisely why we need it) and it creates tension as it helps us look at things in a new way.

The plays of Sarah Jones or a book by Sinclair Lewis or music by Charles Wilson or a movie by Amy Koppelman exist to make us think hard. To think about what we’ve taken for granted and to think about what might be different if we cared enough.

I’m not sure it even matters what the artist thought they wanted when they sat down to create the work. The art itself seems to want something, to make a change in the world. And the ability to create art like that belongs to each of us. [Seth Godin]

5. The only two ways to make money:
A. Add value
B. Subtract suffering [Sahil Lavingia]

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My Weekly Learnings #28 (03.10 – 09.10)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Five words we misuse/overuse :
A. Happiness
Most people mistake pleasure for happiness. They think moments of heightened satisfaction mean they’re happy, when really, all it means is they’re satisfied. True happiness is fulfillment – finding things you care about so much you’re willing to sacrifice for them.

B. Love
People mistake affection and validation for love. They assume love is occurring when something is making them feel so good they can’t imagine doing something else. True love is determined by what you feel good about, even when you feel bad.

C. Need
We all overestimate what we need in the world. We need to do good in school. We need to make our friends happy. We need to see the new Netflix show.

We don’t need any of these things. Thousands of people have lived without much of what we believe we need.

D. Best
The idea of “best” is an arbitrary designation based on whatever values we choose to hold. The idea of best is the enemy of growth. There is no such thing as best. There is only “better.”

E. Friend
Stats show there’s a growing sense of loneliness in the world. Perhaps some of this is due to the unreasonably low bar we have for our friendships. A friend is not simply someone who is nice to you. A friend is someone who is willing to sacrifice something for you. [Mark Manson]

2. “I’m just being honest” is a poor excuse for being rude.
Candor is being forthcoming in what you say. Respect is being considerate in how you say it.

Being direct with the content of your feedback doesn’t prevent you from being thoughtful about the best way to deliver it. [Adam Grant]

3.

Source: lizandmollie on Twitter

4. Two men once needed to cross a sea.
One asked: ”Better to row or sail?”

The elder replied: ”Rowing will be quicker at first. But sailing will ultimately be faster and more enjoyable if we can align ourselves with the winds and currents.”

Don’t confuse motion with progress. [David Perell]

5. There is a difference between moving fast and rushing.
You can move fast and be thoughtful. When you rush, you sacrifice thoughtfulness.

Conversely, when you are thoughtful but not moving fast, you are overthinking it. Procrastination in disguise.

Don’t rush, but don’t wait. [James Clear]

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My Weekly Learnings #24 (05.09 – 11.09)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Saying “that’s a good point” doesn’t lose the argument. It wins trust.
Acknowledging a valid observation is a display of respect.

It signals that you’re listening with an open mind, and motivates them to follow suit.

You don’t have to agree on everything to agree on something. [Adam Grant]

2. Excitement comes from the achievement.
Fulfillment comes from the journey that got us there. [Simon Sinek]

3. Pleasure is a false god. It’s the most superficial form of happiness, therefore the easiest to obtain and the quickest to go away. [Mark Manson]

4.

@ lizandmollie

5. Creative have two ways of working : beer mode and coffee mode.

Beer mode is a state of unfocused play where you discover new ideas. It’s filled with intellectual surprises that are impossible to predict. On most days, you feel like you wasted time because you don’t make a breakthrough discovery. But once in a while, beer mode leads to an intellectual breakthrough that you would’ve never discovered in coffee mode.

In contrast, coffee mode is a state of focus where you work towards a specific outcome.

The problem with traditional productivity advice is that it doesn’t take beer mode seriously. Standard tropes like turn off the internet, tune out distractions, and turn towards your goals are all examples of coffee mode thinking.

The see-saw or beer mode and coffee mode is like breathing.

Your best ideas emerge when you balance the inhale of beer mode with the exhale of coffee mode. Beer mode rewards laughter, while coffee mode rewards action
Beer mode rewards conversation, while coffee mode rewards focus.

Our best ideas rarely arise when we’re busy. They spring to Life in aimless contemplation.

In beer mode, you find inspiration. In coffee mode, you harvest it. If you only spend time in coffee mode, you’ll shut yourself off to transformative ideas because the fruits of genius are sown with the seeds of beer mode serendipity. [David Perell]

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My Weekly Learnings #23 (29.08 – 04.09)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Initially, you’re only attracted to songs that move you emotionally. If they’re catchy, you’ll listen to them enough to get stuck in your head. If the song keeps resonating with you, you’ll learn about the artist and explore the lyrics in depth. Talk to an obsessive and in addition to singing the lyrics for you, they’ll tell you the backstory behind the music.

Learning works the same way. [David Perell]

2. Work-life balance isn’t about squeezing everything into one day.
It’s about spreading what matters to you throughout the week.

You can’t have it all at once, but you can probably have most of it over time.

[Adam Grant + lizandmollie]

3. The next time you find yourself worrying about what to do: try to simplify first, not last.

It’s a frameshift that will help you come up with options that are categorically different and usually better. [Wes Kao] (Understand more here – https://www.weskao.com/blog/simplify-first-not-last)

4. A batter who averages 4 hits every 20 at-bats is out of a job.

One who averages 5/20 is mediocre.

6/20, an all-star.

7/20, the league MVP.

There’s probably some area of your life you’re going 4/20 and feel hopeless. But upping your game just a little might change everything. [Tim Urban]

5. Research demonstrates that long-term meditators have been shown to have increased hippocampal volume.

One of the likely reasons for this change is that stress decreases hippocampal volume over time. Cortisol can lead to a shrunken hippocampus, the seat of our learning and memory. As we engage in long-term meditation practices, we’re down regulating our stress and cortisol levels, and this has a protective effect on the size of our hippocampus. [Neurohacker] (Read more here – https://neurohacker.com/the-exact-science-of-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-meditate)

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My Weekly Learnings #22 (22.08 – 28.08)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. LeBron James didn’t always have thick calves, a raging six-pack, and arms like the Incredible Hulk. Ask LeBron about his off-season training regime, and he’ll share a detailed run-down of his workout plan and on-the-court practice routine.

Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train.

But knowledge workers don’t.

Knowledge workers should train like LeBron, and implement strict “learning plans.” To be sure, intellectual life is different from basketball. Success is harder to measure and the metrics for improvement aren’t quite as clear. Even then, there’s a lot to learn from the way top athletes train. They are clear in their objectives and deliberate in their pursuit of improvement.

Knowledge workers should imitate them. But right now, they don’t. Even the most ambitious knowledge workers don’t take their work as seriously as they could. Learning plans are rare. What’s the equivalent of watching game film? Stretching. Or, working out for 90 minutes every day?

Just as LeBron structures his training to win Championships, knowledge workers should train to build skills, generate leverage, and increase their productive abilities. [Learn like an Athlete, a mini essay by David Perrell]

2. Anger is often seen as an irrational emotion. But it’s not due to the absence of logic—it’s due to the presence of threat or harm.

Getting mad is a sign that something important to you is at risk.

Understanding what makes you angry is a prism for understanding what you value. [Adam Grant]

3. Folks with substance, don’t like to give and receive compliments unless truly deserved.

Folks without substance, tend to constantly form mutual admiration club to belong. [Kunal Shah]

4. “Today I escaped from all bothering circumstances – or rather I threw them out.
They were nothing external, but inside me, just my own judgements.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 9.13

5. Ego gets in the way of learning. You can’t learn if you’re not open to being wrong.
Two ways to identify people who learn:
(1) When they’ve made a mistake, they quickly correct it rather than hoping things will get better; and
(2) They change their mind. [Shane Parrish]

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My Weekly Learnings #21 (15.08 – 21.08)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. There are many types of wealth:
– you have a healthy body
– you grew up with loving parents
– in a position to donate and help
– you spend your time as you wish
– the people you love love you back
– freedom from envy, peace of mind
[@ Orange Book on Twitter]

2. One mark of a smart person is the ability to learn from people they don’t like. [Shane Parrish]

3. Resting is not a waste of time. It’s an investment in well-being.

Relaxing is not a sign of laziness. It’s a source of energy.

Breaks are not a distraction. They’re a chance to refocus attention.

Play is not a frivolous activity. It’s a path to connection and creativity.
[Adam Grant]

4. Ironically, the more we imitate others, the more we discover our unique style.

There’s a long lineage of comedians who tried to copy each other, failed, and became great themselves : Johnny Carson tried to copy Jack Benny, but failed and won six Emmy awards. Then, David Letterman tried to copy Johnny Carson, but failed and became one of America’s great television hosts.

Reflecting on his own influences, Conan O’Brien sair: “It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.”

All these comedians learned that imitation reveals our identity, especially when we fall short of those we admire. To improve your writing, binge-read your favorite writers and imitate their style when you write. Spoiler alert: You won’t be able to do it perfectly. Your voice will reveal itself when you try to imitate them – which is exactly what you want to have happen.

Don’t seek originality. Instead, imitate others so passionately that the glitter of their brilliance shines upon your craft. Imitation the closest you can get to a conversation with the writer. Aim for perfection but pay attention to your shortcomings, for they hold the seeds of your individuality.

Imitate, then innovate. [A mini-essay by David Perrell]

5. Emotions usually only last 90 seconds when you observe them without judgment and gently breath in and out. Many people create and reinforce disempowering emotional loops by getting sucked into thinking about what they are feeling. Then… they feel what they are thinking about and unknowingly create a self-fulfilling disempowering doom loop that gets reinforced and cemented deeper and deeper into the subconscious. [John Assaraf]

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My Weekly Learnings #20 (08.08 – 14.08)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Sociologist, historian, and activist W. E. B. Du Bois with some life advice in a letter to his daughter: “The main thing is the YOU beneath the clothes and skin—the ability to do, the will to conquer, the determination to understand and know this great, wonderful, curious world.

Don’t shrink from new experiences and customs. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bedroom. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not.

Read some good, heavy, serious books just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Make yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul.”

Source: The Correspondence of W. E. B. Du Bois (via James Clear’s newsletter)

2. There are countless ways to make a point. You can clearly demonstrate that you are angry, smart, concerned, stronger, faster, or more prepared than the person you’re engaging with.

But making a point isn’t the same thing as making a difference.

To make a difference, we need the practical empathy to realize that the other person doesn’t know what you know, doesn’t believe what you believe, and might not want what you want. We have to move from where we are and momentarily understand where they are.

When we make a point, we reject all of this. When we make a point, we establish our power in one way or another, but we probably don’t change very much.

Change comes about when the story the other person tells themselves begins to change. If all you do is make a point, you’ve handed them a story about yourself. When you make a change, you’ve helped them embrace a new story about themselves.

And even though it’s more fun (and feels safe, in some way) to make a point, if we really care, we’ll do the hard work to make a difference instead. [Seth Godin]

3. Time away from something or someone gives us perspective on that something or someone. [Mark Manson] (Check out more here – https://markmanson.net/newsletters/mindfck-monthly-91)

4. Most people disagree on social media in the most undesirable way either because they’ve not learned about superior methods of disagreeing or just wish to outrage to get likes. This chart by Paul Graham is a good way to know if you disagree well. [via Kunal Shah’s Twitter account]

5. Things people aren’t afraid to say when they have psychological safety:

  • I don’t know
  • I made a mistake
  • I disagree
  • I might be wrong
  • I have a concern
  • I have an idea

[via Adam Grant’s Twitter and image from @ lizandmollie on Twitter]

My Weekly Learnings #17 (18.07 – 24.07)

My Weekly Learnings #17 (18.07 – 24.07)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “It can be easy to think you’re going down the wrong path, that you’re making a huge mistake, that nobody gets it, that you’re the only one. The reason for this is simple: We hear a lot more from the people who disagree with us than the people who agree with us.” [Ryan Holiday]
(Listen to this in-depth here – https://open.spotify.com/episode/6FkCPauGZqUuimk11ipiPI)

2. The physiological sigh is a pattern of breathing that we all engage in in deep sleep. When levels of carbon dioxide in our bloodstream get too high, we, or our dogs, you can see your dog do this, will do a double-inhale, followed by an extended exhale. Children, or adults for that matter, that are sobbing and lose their breath, so to speak, will also do a double-inhale, exhale. That’s the spontaneous execution of what we call the physiological sigh. The reason it works so well to relax us is because it offloads a lot of carbon dioxide all at once, and the way it works is the following: Our lungs are not just two big bags of air. We have all these little millions of sacks of air, that if we were to lay them out flat, they would be as big as about a tennis court or so. The volume of air, therefore, and the volume of carbon dioxide that we can offload is tremendously high, except that we get stressed as carbon dioxide builds up in our bloodstream, and, it’s kind of a double whammy, these little sacks deflate.
Now, when we do a double-inhale, so I’ll do this now twice through my nose, or you could do this. You could do it through your mouth, but it works best through the nose. It’s inhale, and then you sneak a little bit more air in at the very end. When you do that, you reinflate those little sacks, and when you exhale, then you discard all the carbon oxide at once. So the simple way to describe this protocol is that, unless you are underwater, you do a double-inhale, followed by an extended exhale, and you offload the maximum amount of carbon dioxide. And we found in our laboratory, and other laboratories have found, that just one, two, or three of those physiological sighs brings your level of stress down very, very fast. And it’s a tool that you can use any time. [Andrew Hubberman, a Neurobiologist on Optimizing Sleep, Performance, and Testosterone on The Tim Ferriss Show] (Listen to the full episode here – https://open.spotify.com/episode/6Ac19ix9yioyJDXtTtNp2V)

3. Working on a better Mindset over 2021 while neglecting your Heartset sets up a situation of self-sabotage where your intellect knows what you should do yet your emotional world keeps you limited. [Robin Sharma] (Understand this in depth here – https://open.spotify.com/episode/5BwmXSljMOfuNwX0EhrKs2)

4. THE DREAM:
You want something. Month after month, year after year, you dream you are going to get it.

THE REALITY:
Nothing happens. You never come any closer to it…

THE TRUTH:
You didn’t actually want it. You wanted the idea of it. [Mark Manson]

5. When you only listen to the smartest person in the room, you miss out on discovering what the rest of the room is smart about.
Everyone you meet knows something you don’t—and has wisdom from experiences you haven’t lived.

Every conversation is a chance to learn something new. [Adam Grant]

My Weekly Learnings #14 (27.06 – 03.07)

My Weekly Learnings #14 (27.06 – 03.07)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. “If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with.”
Jeff Bezos

2. A fantastic piece by Balaji Srinivasan, on the problem with social media today and the evolution of the space with the help of a decentralized blockchain. (Shared this via Amol Telang)

3. The absence of mental illness doesn’t mean the presence of mental health.
Even if you’re not depressed or burned out, you might be languishing—feeling a sense of emptiness and stagnation. Meh. [Adam Grant] (Read more here – https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html)

4. In absence of future data, we use conventional status signals to indicate trust, be it money, power, good-looks or degrees. Quite weirdly “wasting money” signals massive status. [Kunal Shah]

5. Andre Agassi shares how he started beating Boris Becker regularly after his initial losses. Check it out here – https://youtu.be/3woPuCIk_d8

My Weekly Learnings #13 (20.06 – 26.06)

My Weekly Learnings #13 (20.06 – 26.06)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. If you have to ask if you’re happy, then you’re probably not.
If you have to ask if someone loves you, then they probably don’t.

If you have to ask if you are successful, then you’re probably not.

If you have to ask if you are healthy, then you probably are not. [Mark Manson]

2. Show up and do your job.
Don’t speak for anyone else.
Don’t criticize others.
Put the team first.
Pay attention to the details.
Avoid the drama.
Focus on getting better than yesterday.
Repeat. [Shane Parrish]

3. Jerry Seinfeld’s recipe for good writing

4. If work is guided by utilitarian outcomes, leisure is driven by intuitive awareness. Leisure is not a time to retreat from the world. Rather, it’s a time for poetry, prayer, and philosophy — a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. [David Perell] (https://perell.com/essay/dont-kill-time/)

5. Identity is a work in progress. Your past self shouldn’t constrain your future goals.
Comfort comes from maintaining your identity. Growth comes from evolving your identity. [Adam Grant]

My Weekly Learnings #12 (13.06 – 19.06)

My Weekly Learnings #12 (13.06 – 19.06)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Your mind is a suggestion engine. Every thought you have is a suggestion, not an order.
Sometimes your mind suggests that you are tired, that you should give up, or that you should take an easier path.
But if you pause, you can discover new suggestions. For example, that you will feel good once the work is done or that you have the ability to finish things even when you don’t feel like it.
Your thoughts are not orders. Merely suggestions. You have the power to choose which option to follow. [James Clear]

2. Author Gretchen Rubin on how to rebound from a mistake:
“Instead of feeling that you’ve blown the day and thinking, “I’ll get back on track tomorrow,” try thinking of each day as a set of four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon, evening. If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter.
Fail small, not big.”

3. The right response to feedback is, “thank you.” Or perhaps, “that’s a great point.” Even if it’s not your job to change the system, or not your fault that things didn’t work as expected, both of these responses are valid and useful.

Feedback is a gift. It lets you know precisely what the other person wants or needs. After you receive the gift, it’s up to you to accept it or not. But shutting down feedback with an argument or by appearing ungrateful makes it less likely you’ll be offered it again. And if you’re getting feedback from a customer or a prospect, shutting it down makes it likely that they’ll walk away and take their attention and their trust somewhere else.

When you say, “no problem,” you’re letting yourself off the hook, refusing to acknowledge what was said, and closing the door for a useful interaction. Because there is a problem. Exploring what the problem is is far better than denying it. [Seth Godin]

4. A Netflix binge is a temporary escape from languishing, not a cure.
Passive engagement in a fictional world doesn’t offer a lasting sense of meaning, mastery, or mattering.

Flourishing depends on active participation in the real world: creating, connecting, and contributing. [Adam Grant]

5. People who project a higher status than their actual substance, don’t miss an opportunity to dramatically complain about all minor inconveniences. [Kunal Shah]

My Weekly Learnings #5 (25.04 – 01.05)

My Weekly Learnings #5 (25.04 – 01.05)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. No sense in being a puppet, especially if you can’t be sure who is pulling the strings or why. [Seth Godin]

(Read more here)

2. Writer Alice Walker on the discomfort of growth:

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant.

But what is most unpleasant is not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be… for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

Source: Living by the Word: Essays

3. If you are going to be jealous of someone, you must be willing to swap your *entire* life for theirs. You can’t cherry-pick the aspect of their life you want.
You must give up *everything* you have and know. [Summarized for context; Naval on The Knowledge Project podcast]

4. Demonstration of success creates trust, which unlocks opportunities for further demonstration of success. The loop goes on, and that’s just the way it is. Hating people and complaining doesn’t do you any favours. [Kunal Shah on Paras Chopra’s Bold Conjectures podcast]

5. Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement and excellence. [Adam Grant]

My Weekly Learnings #4 (18.04 – 24.04)

My Weekly Learnings #4 (18.04 – 24.04)

Amidst all the content I consume every week, through this weekly series of ‘My Weekly Learnings’, sharing highlights of content pieces that caught my eye and provided more value than I could imagine.

(P.S. Every Sunday, I share a list of what to read, listen, and watch, in my weekly series, The Last 7 Days. You can check out the editions here).

1. Your first impression isn’t your appearance, it’s your energy. (Ascendant Power)

2. Intelligence isn’t a substitute for knowledge. Being smart doesn’t mean you’ve taken the time to be informed.
Knowledge isn’t a substitute for wisdom. Being informed doesn’t mean you’ve developed good judgment.

Good judgment requires the humility to know what you don’t know. (Adam Grant)

3. Only the one who has faced failure is able to tell where you are bound to fail as well. (TVF Aspirants)

4. “Like our stomachs, our minds are hurt more often by overeating than by hunger.” — Petrarch

5. When you deal with an angry person or an angry mob, they are in a state of amygdala hijack.
It’s often not helpful to talk to their prefrontal cortex of their brain and try to rationalize that time but easier to communicate in childlike sentences and calm their amygdala first. (Kunal Shah)