You’ve already got a skill that’s been shown over and over again to make you more successful and happy. You probably use it most days. If you change how you use it just a little bit, you can reap the benefits of being happier, more productive, and all the success that comes with those two things.
The skill is kindness — but it’s not that simple. Some specific kinds of kindness work better than others. It’s also important not to be unkind, especially, as we’ll see later, like that arsehole of a parrot.
First, a couple of quick things that work. …
You’ve probably seen it all over the internet — but I feel it needs repeating until we truly accept it:
Our brains aren’t designed for happiness.
This truth can’t quite get through to us because it’s inconvenient. It doesn't match the expectation most people have — that we should somehow find the magic pill to always feel happy. Some imagine that pill has something to do with finding their life’s purpose or doing work they love. Others chase it through means of instant gratification, such as video games, shopping, food, or alcohol.
But maybe it’s time we accept that the way our brains are wired makes it extremely hard to feel happy all the time. We’re designed to detect threats before opportunities — this helped our ancestors stay alive back in the day. The question of happiness was irrelevant when the main concerns were all about food, shelter, and avoiding predators. …
When the shine wears off the habits we’re trying to form, when we begin to merely show up rather than put in the hard work of consistent, effortful focus, we lose hold of the very skill we’re trying to develop. Trusting the process implies patience and that you’re aware you’re taking a long-view approach. But it also implies that you take very seriously the small micro-task in front of you.
Do each step of the journey with your whole attention. …
Obviously, I couldn’t contain everything you should know about self-management in one short letter like this. So, forgive the semi-clickbaity title. I wrote it for a good reason, though.
I wanted to make sure you open this letter because it contains a precious reminder. Our writers brought it to my attention last week:
The most important things in our lives are those we CAN control.
We talk so much about letting go of what we can’t control. There’s plenty of that in life. …
I was exactly one-year into my first full-time job post-graduation when I started looking for my next one. Does anyone really love their first job out of college? I don’t think so, and I was no different.
I realized just a few weeks after starting that it was a dead-end job and wouldn’t challenge me long-term, but I managed to stick it out for the obligatory year. 12 months later, I finally had work experience other than internships to list on my resume, and I was ready for whatever would come next.
After a relatively quick job search, I was confident I had found my dream job and was thrilled to get a call from a recruiter asking to schedule a phone screen. I still remember running out to my car on my lunch break and driving less than a block to the parking lot next door to my office building to take that first phone interview. …
You’ve probably heard of cognitive biases but also wondered: what the heck are they? I got you. Below you’ll find a first definition to explain and a second to help you remember them.
One. If you want to sound fancy, you can call cognitive biases systematic errors that make your thinking inaccurate. The result? Oversimplifications, irrational assumptions, and flawed memories that mess up your judgment and decision-making.
Two. To memorize cognitive biases, picture them as your brain’s favorite sport: jumping to conclusions.
Still not sure you got it? Let’s run a demo — don’t worry, it’ll only take 5 seconds.
From the following two options, which one is more likely to describe this article's reader accurately? …
When you want something, you can choose to work on one of two objectives:
Most of the time, goal number two is not just much easier to achieve, it is also the right thing to do.
Many of the outcomes we initially think we want end up being attached to actions we, in hindsight, don’t want to have taken. They’re desires risen from our ego, with no clear reasoning of why it matters we attain them, and so, often, it doesn’t.
I have wanted a Ferrari since I was five. If I close my eyes, I can see the posters in my childhood bedroom right now. It’s one of my oldest desires and, therefore, a strong one. I still don’t have a good reason. It’s just a cool car. …
You hear the idea a lot. James Clear’s Atomic Habits just passed the 3 million sales mark for good reason. Habits (the ones we break and the ones we make) are as important as ever, especially now that we’re spending more of our time at home. I’m in the middle of a “Dry January” as a case in point.
You already recognize it’s the process of your actions that lead to improved outcomes. The problem is the story. The story you tell yourself.
Not all of your story is a problem. Parts of your story got you to this point with your various accomplishments and life wins. Parts of your story comes from the joys and setbacks of your occupations. Our jobs define us because they tell a part of our story, and why would we trade who we are for anything else? …
When I was in high school and going through my teenage rebel phase, I quietly despised the concept of self-actualization.
Why? I thought it to be an ego-driven, selfish pursuit associated with personal ambitions — such as creating art no one would understand, or writing philosophy treaties that only added to the complexity of human problems. I thought those kinds of activities only took away from the time that could otherwise be spent serving others in simpler ways — baking bread, growing crops, or caring for the vulnerable.
If that sounds naive, that’s because these are thoughts of a 15-year-old. At the time, I was fascinated by the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s to the point of believing I was mistakenly born in the wrong era. I fantasized about Woodstock, listened to Janis Joplin, and wondered who I could become if I grew up hanging out with the “flower children.” …
I love strategic planning. It’s one of my favorite things to be part of in organizational life, and it’s also personally rewarding.
In my view, future-visioning is at its best not when it changes who we are, but rather, transforms us into the best-possible version, with the right attention and right resources, of course. An example would be an organization that enhances the quality of its outward-facing communication by helping to develop its marketing/communications staff, rather than simply identifying another electronic or social platform through which to communicate.
As we flip the calendar to a New Year, however, a look back over the last ~10 months has enlightened how Pollyanna much of the world has been in thinking about the future. …