In this edition: more New Skills for Work, generational similarities, intelligent problem solving, speed reading, soul-crushing dismissiveness, alter-egos, stop-motion Samauri, sleeping with socks on, the Griswold's Family Truckster, and more.
- New Skills for Work (N.S.F.W): Tuesday, July 11th is our next New Skills for Work from 4-5:30 pm. We're focusing on decision-making, and you'll leave with our new decision-making canvas. You can sign up here.
- Bookstorming: Our business book club has a new name: Bookstorming! We're focusing this month on creativity, and have books by Austin Kleon, Twyla Tharp, Rick Rubin, and more. Our next discussion session is August 2nd, and you can sign up here.
Ideas + Insights
Maybe there aren't as many generational differences as we think:
At some level, people are people. They want to have meaningful work. They want to have real connections with their coworkers and their managers; they want what they’re doing to have broader purpose; they want to be fairly compensated.
When the robots kill us all, I may change my opinion on this, but I really do like Tyler Cowen's approach to artificial intelligence:
Besides, what kind of civilization is it that turns away from the challenge of dealing with more…intelligence? That has not the self-confidence to confidently confront a big dose of more intelligence? Dare I wonder if such societies might not perish under their current watch, with or without AI?
"Reality" is just your brain's best guess:
Perception is about the brain having a guess at what’s most likely to be out there and then using sensory information to refine the guess.
A favorite read from the last few years for me is the classic book on creativity and business by Gordon MacKenzie titled Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Here's Gordon on why it is important to validate everyone's ideas:
In any large corporation, rank-and-file workers who put forward truly new ideas have the deck stacked against them right from the beginning. Most companies are peppered with people who are very quick to say 'no.' Most newly hatched ideas are shot down before they even have time to grow feathers, let alone wings. In saying 'yes' to all those who brought their ideas to me, I was simply leveling the imbalance a bit. And it worked. People who have a deep passion for their ideas don't need a lot of encouragement. One 'yes' in a sea of 'no's' can make the difference.
Speaking of creativity, I loved this Brian Eno interview, and was blown away by his insight into the relationship between art and play:
Maths, science and technology are all are wonderful, but they aren’t the only tools in our toolbox. We have the ability to use art as a set of antennae that enable us to feel our way into uncertain futures, futures about which there isn’t much evidence or data to work with. And in this sense, the analytical science way of viewing those won’t work’. This need to produce art is deep-rooted within us as a species, with Eno keen to stress that ‘children learn by play, but adults play through art.
[W]hile people with higher intelligence scores solved the easy problems quicker, they took longer to solve the difficult ones, apparently because they spent more time inferring hidden rules before reaching the correct solution.
If you're struggling to accomplish something, perhaps you need an alter-ego:
Create a character in your mind who can show up in the way you want to and teach yourself to "flip the switch" to become this character when necessary. Here are a few steps to incorporate it into your life:
Identify Situations: Identify the situations where you'd like to show up as the best version of yourself. This can be as big as performing in front of millions or as small as having dinner with your family after a long day. Any situation where you want to be your best.
Envision Your Character: Envision the character you would like to embody in each situation. What traits do they possess? How do they appear and interact? What is their mentality and energy level?
Get in Character: Nothing works without practice. Get yourself some reps by turning on this character in those situations. See how it feels to show up as your best self in these moments.
[T]he real tragedy of Reader was that it had all the signs of being something big, and Google just couldn’t see it. Desperate to play catch-up to Facebook and Twitter, the company shut down one of its most prescient projects; you can see in Reader shades of everything from Twitter to the newsletter boom to the rising social web. To executives, Google Reader may have seemed like a humble feed aggregator built on boring technology. But for users, it was a way of organizing the internet, for making sense of the web, for collecting all the things you care about no matter its location or type, and helping you make the most of it.
“We’ve 1,000 years of music to explore,” McHenry notes, so don’t fall into the trap of over-focusing on whatever’s buzzy; be open to unfamiliar genres, music from countries and cultures you don’t know much about, that’s new to you.
This one is from the so-bad-it's-good category: a Michael Jackson-themed McDonald's cleaning video from the 80's.
All you ever wanted to know about the Griswold's Wagon Queen Family Truckster
People who wear socks to bed fall asleep faster and have more restful sleep than those who keep their toes exposed to the elements.
This stop-motion Samauri fight is beautiful.
Words of Wisdom
"Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.” – David Ogilvy
"What other people think of me is none of my business." – Elisabeth Wilson
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." – Lao Tzu
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." – Maya Angelou
"How you live depends on which seeds you water.” – Jack Kornfield