Idea Surplus Disorder #56

In this issue: how to meet better, the frequency of miracles, curiosity conflict, powering down, counting down, similar songs, entropy, awe, and more.

Idea Surplus Disorder #56

Happy Monday!

Long-time subscribers know this newsletter is a labor of love for me. Every Monday morning, I can't wait to send you my curated list of all the interesting, cool, and (mostly) business-related things I've run across the week before.

But apart from a link or brief description, I generally try not to share too much Filament-centered stuff, though I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because I don't want to make this newsletter feel too spammy – especially since so many of you are already customers and friends of Filament.

But this week, I couldn't resist because on Thursday, we ran the newest iteration of our Meeting Mastery Training with a team of 30+ nominated leaders from Nestlé-Purina PetCare, and it was freaking awesome.

Check out all their evaluations, or just read these testimonials:

  • "I imagined that I would get some cool ideas from this ... but this is NEXT LEVEL!"
  • "Every time I've attended a Filament training, I've walked away better."
  • "I don't always love full-day training, but this was unlike any training I've done before!"
  • "Dynamic, engaging using real language and relatable examples. Loved this!!"
  • "Didn't expect to enjoy a meeting about meetings..."
  • "I am actually excited for meetings moving forward."
  • "This is my second training/session here at Filament, and it was just as good an experience as my first."
  • "Awesome Awesome training."
  • "Always learn something new when I am @ Filament!"
  • "Great job making this training interactive and providing one or multiple tools teams can implement as soon as our next meeting."
  • "I loved that today's topic was something I can use in my day-to-day as it will make a huge difference."

If you'd like some "next-level" training for your organization (either in St. Louis or elsewhere), give us a shout.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

Ideas + Insights

Everyone should have a one-in-a-million, miraculous experience about once per month:

In any normal person’s life, miracles should occur at the rate of roughly one per month: The proof of the law is simple. During the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about 30,000 per day, or about a million per month.

I think Curiosity Conflict might be another name for Idea Surplus Disorder:

People with higher levels of curiosity tend to have greater activity in brain regions associated with reward processing. This heightened sensitivity to potential rewards may explain why highly curious people are more likely to engage in exploratory behavior and seek out new experiences.
But this same reward-seeking mechanism can also contribute to difficulty focusing on a single idea or project. When presented with multiple new ideas or projects, the curious brain may experience a surge of dopamine in response to each potential reward. This can create a sense of excitement and a desire to explore all the possibilities, making it challenging to commit to just one path.

My new favorite PowerPoint tip comes from this 2Bobs podcast episode: When presenting to clients, "give them the clicker and see how much faster they get through it than you do."

We all need a power down ritual:

  1. Complete Final Tasks: What are the final checks that you need to perform in order to close out the tasks of the day and confirm that there is nothing remaining for you to complete? For most people, this will involve checking email and Slack with a quick scan, plus a sweep of any open projects.
  2. Prepare for Tomorrow: What are the focus priorities for tomorrow? What is the first task you want to make progress on when you start work tomorrow? Do 10-15 minutes of prep work to set yourself up to hit the ground running on that priority task.
  3. Initiate Power Down: Create a mental trigger for the completion of the Power Down Ritual. Cal Newport had his magic phrase ("schedule shutdown, complete"), but you can create your own less-nerdy version if you'd like.

The sales funnel is wrong:

Most versions of the standard funnel are built around three basic layers – awareness, consideration and conversion. Three concepts that are all sort of wrong, but in different ways.

When you're struggling with focus, use the 5-4-3-2-1 Technique for re-grounding in the moment and try to identify:

  • 5 things you can see. “Look for small details such as a pattern on the ceiling, the way light reflects off a surface, or an object you never noticed.”
  • 4 things you can feel. “Notice the sensation of clothing on your body, the sun on your skin, or the feeling of the chair you are sitting in. Pick up an object and examine its weight, texture, and other physical qualities.”
  • 3 things you can hear. “Pay special attention to the sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, distant traffic, or trees blowing in the wind.”
  • 2 things you can smell. “Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an air freshener or freshly mowed grass. You may also look around for something that has a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle.”
  • 1 thing you can taste. The summary suggests you could chew gum or eat a snack and “focus your attention closely on the flavors,” but for this one I might substitute thinking back to a recently enjoyed taste, or looking for something in your environment that reminds you of a taste, etc.

Wondering why your organization keeps breaking? It's because entropy is everywhere:

Understanding entropy leads to a radical change in the way we see the world. Ignorance of it is responsible for many of our biggest mistakes and failures. We cannot expect anything to stay the way we leave it. To maintain our health, relationships, careers, skills, knowledge, societies, and possessions requires never-ending effort and vigilance. Disorder is not a mistake; it is our default. Order is always artificial and temporary.

You don't owe anyone a favor:

Instead of feeling guilty, when someone helps you, your only obligation is to be grateful. Expressing appreciation doesn’t just make givers feel good—it also motivates them to keep doing good. It allows them to feel valued and shows them their time was well spent.
Generosity is not a loan to repay or a debt to settle. It's a gift to appreciate. Yes, you can reciprocate a favor by paying it back. But the best way to honor an act of kindness is by paying it forward.

Fun Finds

Words of Wisdom

"Judge me by how good my good ideas are, not by how bad my bad ideas are." – Benjamin Affleck
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self." – Ernest Hemingway
“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” – Frida Kahlo
"I’m convinced the dreams we have for ourselves go unattained from a lack of permission more than any deficit in talent or desire." – Jeff Tweedy
"There are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who ask, "Wait, what happened?" – Mark Manson
“The most useful thing you can do for other people is appreciate their value.” – Benjamin Hardy
“Risk is what’s left over after you think you’ve thought of everything.” – Carl Richards
"It's easier to get a smart person to do something hard than to get them to do something easy that doesn't matter." – Shane Parrish

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