10 Ideas Worth Sharing This Week

Ideas about writing, business, happiness and more.

Each week I share 10 ideas with my newsletter subscribers. Following is this week’s newsletter — sign up here to get future issues.


“There’s the very real danger that ‘succeeding’ will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended.” — George Saunders


I know you’ve got a great story to tell.

Because we all do. We each have unique experiences, challenges overcome, tragedies suffered, and journeys undertaken.

But sometimes we underestimate our stories, overlook them, or are too afraid to tell them.

That’s a shame because there are people who need to hear our stories. And we need to tell them.

Now, on to this week’s ideas…

1. SIX THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOUR NEXT CAREER MOVE

“Your career should be dictated by movement toward something you want — not away from something you don’t.”

I’ve had several recent conversations with people looking for advice about their careers and found myself continually coming back to the same set of advice.

I believe there are six things to consider when plotting your next career move that will help you no matter what type of career you pursue.

They include to always move toward something instead of away from something, to chase learning, to recognize your next career move isn’t as risky as it seems, and more.

2. 12 WAYS TO BECOME HAPPIER BY SIMPLIFYING YOUR LIFE

“Put down the phone. You don’t need to tweet or post during your adventure unless you’re a sponsored athlete whose livelihood depends on it. I promise you that no one really cares.”

Minimalism and tidying up (thanks to that uber-popular book about it) have become quite the rage, but how do you actually go about simplifying your life?

Outside magazine asked 12 of its staff members for suggestions and the result is this list of ways to simplify your life and increase your happiness.

They include purging your house, valuing celebration, choosing a uniform, going a month without buying anything but food, and more.

3. WHAT WRITERS ACTUALLY DO WHEN THEY WRITE

“What does an artist do, mostly? She tweaks that which she’s already done. There are those moments when we sit before a blank page, but mostly we’re adjusting that which is already there. The writer revises, the painter touches up, the director edits, the musician overdubs.”

If you’ve ever written or created anything, this is a must-read.

Author George Saunders (whose new novel Lincoln in the Bardo is supposed to be amazing) offers one of the best explanations I’ve ever read of what writers actually do when they write.

His honest, perceptive take on the writing process will not only ring true with your own experiences, but also inspire you to sit back down at the keyboard and get back to creating.

4. THE 100 RULES FOR BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR

“Competition is good. It turns you into a killer. It helps you judge progress. It shows that other people value the space you are in. Your competitors are also your potential acquirors.”

Being an entrepreneur has become trendy in recent years, but often people don’t fully understand what they’re getting themselves into when they go down that road.

This James Altucher post lays out a collection of advice for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial people within larger companies that can serve as a roadmap to success based on his own experiences.

His suggestions include to call your service a product, avoid using a PR firm, recognize that authenticity is the best branding, and more.

5. THE STORY OF THE GUY WHO DECIDES WHAT NETFLIX PRODUCES

“On Sunday nights, the family gathers at Grandma’s house to watch a local channel that reruns all five episodes of the Mary Hartman Mary Hartman show that had aired earlier that week back-to-back. It’s binge watching before there was such a thing.”

Ted Sarandos is a college dropout turned video store clerk who went on to become the Chief Content Officer at Netflix.

I recently discovered the story behind his career and it’s one worth reading.

It’s an amazing reminder of how paying attention to your surroundings — even in what seems like the most menial of jobs — can ultimately change our life and an entire industry.

6. AMERICANS ARE HAVING LESS SEX THAN THEY USED TO

“The report did not list causes for the decline. But it cited possible factors including increased access to entertainment and social media, a decline in happiness among people age 30 and over, higher incidence of depression, and use of antidepressants associated with sexual dysfunction.”

I’ll get right to the stats with this one: In the 1990s Americans had sex 62 times per year and now that number has dipped to less than 53 times per year.

Married people saw an even steeper drop from 73 times per year to 55 times per year, which now brings their average to less than that of never-married people.

This Washington Post story breaks down the latest sexual activity stats and I’ll leave it to you to use this information as you see fit. I’m sure your spouse looks forward to hearing about it.

7. DO WHAT YOU CAN’T

“Keep your head down. Follow the rules. Do as you’re told. Play it safe. Wait your turn. Ask permission. Learn to compromise. This is terrible advice.”

This video is going to fire you up to create, push the boundaries and “Do what you can’t.”

In it, filmmaker Casey Neistat rants as only he can about how he approaches his work, how he believes the world has changed, and the opportunities he sees for creators brave enough to go after them.

8. HOW TO SET GOALS LIKE GOOGLE

“Embrace the 10x factor. That is, ask the question, ‘What would we do differently if we were trying to increase revenue 10x instead of by 10%?”

One of the things that drove Google’s innovation was the insistence its founders had for thinking big and pushing the envelope with every project.

Hunter Walk shares a simple example of this in a post about how to set goals like Google — even if you don’t work for a company like Google.

9. HOW TO CREATE NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER READ A NEWSPAPER

“Adapting a newspaper for the modern web isn’t good enough for people who never read newspapers in the first place. We deserve something new.”

James Tyner is a student journalist at USC who shares some interesting thoughts about why the news media struggles to connect with younger audiences.

He points out several ways the news media has approached publishing on the web using outdated approaches and suggests the media must develop journalism products for the future.

His suggestions include rethinking design layouts, improving search, and finding a middle ground for content length between tweets and lengthy feature articles.

10. THE BIGGEST THREAT FACING MIDDLE-AGED MEN IS LONELINESS

“Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke and the progression of Alzheimer’s. One study found that it can be as much of a long-term risk factor as smoking.”

This one’s going to make you want to reach out to that friend you haven’t talked to in a while and reconnect.

A Boston Globe columnist explores how common it’s become for middle-aged men to lose touch with their friends and the risks that isolation and loneliness can cause for them.

Turns out it can even increase your chances of a premature death by as much as 32 percent.

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