My 5 Favorite Things: AUGUST
Here are 5 things I discovered this month that I’m thoroughly enjoying.
This tool is a game changer when it comes to improving how I communicate. Not because it organizes you (like most other software) but because it gives you context.
Rapportive is a google chrome plugin that works with Gmail to pull in all the LinkedIn information about the person you’re writing an email to. This is useful for people you already know, but it can also be used when reaching out to new contacts to help you personalize your message.
I learned one creative way to use Rapportive from my friend Ryan Robinson from his amazing blog RyRob.com. Most people’s emails are either:(firstname)@companyname.com (lastname)@companyname.com or some combination of the two. But how do you know if you’ve got the right email? Well you can just type in your guess of what their email is into gmail and if it pulls up their info in Rapportive you know you’ve got the right one. This is a game changer when it comes to cold-emailing. You can get Rapportive here.
#2 “HOW TO TRAVEL: 21 Contrarian Rules”
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss, but on this occasion I was more drawn to Ryan Holiday’s guest post on how to travel more effectively. I travel quite a bit and I’ve done it in many different ways, from riding horseback through the Andes to breaking down in a gondola on the canals of Amsterdam. I’ve found that every time I travel there is a bit of an internal struggle though. In the blog post Ryan captures that sentiment when he quotes Seneca:
“They make one journey after another and change spectacle for spectacle. As Lucretius says ‘Thus each man flees himself.’ He pursues and dogs himself as his own most tedious companion. And so we must realize that our difficulty is not the fault of the places but of ourselves.”
In other words, “they’re telling themselves that they’re after self-discovery, exploration or new perspectives when really they are running towards distraction and self-indulgence.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced this feeling of ineffectual escapism, so on my last trip I tried something different. I found Ryan’s 21 rules incredibly helpful to get me out of my personal travel routine and into a new routine altogether.
I especially liked rule #17:
Ignore the temptation to a) talk and tell everyone about your upcoming trip b) spend months and months planning. Just go. Get comfortable with travel being an ordinary experience in your life and you’ll do it more. Make it some enormous event, and you’re liable to confuse getting on a plane with an accomplishment by itself.
You can see all 21 Rules Here
#3 FUN NEW JAM: Borderline by Tove Styrke
#4 GOOD READ: In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
If you’re looking for a fun read that’s part funny part factual then this is my top rec. It’s a book that will a) make you laugh b) make you want to travel c) make you learn and love Australia.
Here’s a little taste:
I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the prime minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me — first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.
The fact is, of course, we pay shamefully scant attention to our dear cousins down under. Consider just one of those stories that did make it into the Times in 1997. In January of that year, according to a report, scientists were seriously investigating the possibility that a mysterious seismic disturbance in the remote Australian outback almost four years earlier had been a nuclear explosion set off by members of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo.
…You take my point, of course. This is a country that loses a prime minister and that is so vast and empty that a band of amateur enthusiasts could conceivably set off the world’s first nongovernmental atomic bomb on its mainland and almost four years would pass before anyone noticed. Clearly this is a place worth getting to know.
You can pick up the book for just $10 from amazon here
#5 THOUGHT WORTH PONDERING
“You come here because you’re fucking fat. First let’s go and talk about the weakness, and then let’s go and rebuild everything.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger
Lately I’ve been thinking about why people tend to get completely stuck at certain points in their lives. Whether it’s with their career or relationships, there comes a time when progress stops and they’ll just sit in the same spot for weeks or even years.
I recently re-listened to this incredible interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he talks about the beginnings of his career and how he used psychology, meditation, and vision to propel himself out of his tiny town in Austria, where he had no running water or even a passport, and arriving to America and becoming a millionaire before he ever did a single movie.
What I noticed was that throughout his life he had a very honest perspective of himself. He could see his weaknesses, but rather than shying away from them (as I think we all do), he tackled them one by one. Everything that could be perceived as a weakness, such as his weird accent or monstrous build, he turned into a strength by using rather than hiding it.
I know that for me, one of my biggest weaknesses is a lack of focus. I’m a very excitable person and I love learning, so naturally I love to jump from one subject to another to another. But this can also lead me astray because it doesn’t allow me to follow through on my goals. How can I turn this into a strength? I don’t know yet, but I’m definitely going to try Arnold’s methods.
You can listen to a 2-minute explanation of his method of psychological persuasion below (as well as the full interview):
You can also listen to the full interview here
Those have been a few of my favorite things. If you’re interested in getting more good reads and recommends feel free to join my Monthly Mind Meld list. I promise you will never receive more than one email a month.
Also feel free to hit me up on the twitters @bogdanyz