With all the noise overwhelming our lives and our social streams it’s easy to miss the good stuff. Content like tweets, in particular, are especially perishable. That’s why I’ve always been a fan of highlighting some of my favorite posts at the end of each month.
This is my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting posts (of the 100’s I read) during the month of June 2014. Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from June.
The commentary below the link is typically the author’s own words that I’ve extracted as a key takeaway; however, sometimes I add my own commentary and make connections as well.
[Blog Posts/News Articles]:
Like Shane Parrish, of Farnam Street fame, Eric Barker’s ‘Barking up the Wrong Tree‘ is a blog I read religiously (hat tip to Chris Yeh for the recommendations). If you want to be happier, more productive, and more successful, I highly recommend subscribing to Eric’s work.
The 8 Things the Happiest People Do Every Day – Eric Barker
- They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
- They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
- They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.
- They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
- They savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
- They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.
- They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
- Last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.
6 Things the Most Productive People Do Every Day – Eric Barker
- Manage Your Mood
- Don’t Check Email in The Morning
- Before You Try To Do It Faster, Ask Whether It Should Be Done At All
- Focus Is Nothing More Than Eliminating Distractions
- Have A Personal System
- Define Your Goals The Night Before
- Have a Morning Ritual
- Important Work First Thing — With No Distractions
- Regroup When You Slow Down
- Meetings, Calls And Little Things In The Afternoon
- A Relaxing Evening
Why You Hate Work – Tony Schwartz & Christine Porath
The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.
The solution? Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work.
How Was Your Bike Ride? – Seth Godin
More information doesn’t always make us happier. At some point, improvement turns into a game, something to be won or lost, completely losing the point of the project we set out to do. “How big was your bonus,” is not the same question as, “how happy are you?” or even, “do you feel good about making a difference…”
A Winner Does… – Ryan Holiday
Ryan is a sharp, successful guy who’s accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time; therefore, when he outlines things a winner does, I pay attention. These were 3 of my favorites:
- A winner values time over money.
- A winner doesn’t get flustered, they remain calm in the face of adversity and stress. They are the calm.
- A winner doesn’t stop—neither at success or after failure.
Why We Have Regret – Leo Babauta
It’s fun (and easy) to say “I have no regrets,” and maybe in the scheme of things that’s true looking back at the big things, but the truth is we encounter little regrets almost every single day.
We have regrets because we keep comparing the unchangeable choice we actually made, to an ideal or a fantasy in our heads. We think about our choices and have regrets because they challenge our idea of who we are and conflicts with our self identity (i.e. “I am someone who stands up for myself” or “I am someone who sticks it out no matter what.”)
Regrets are a part of life, whether we want them or not, whether we’re aware we’re having them or not. But by looking into the cause of regrets, and embracing the wide range of reality, we can learn to be satisfied with our choices, happier with the past and happier in the present moment.
Real Talk for Dartmouth Grads: Dreams Are for Losers – Shonda Rhimes
I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing. Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.
And also this, which I’m all too familiar with: Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.
Networked Literacy in the Networked Age – Ben Casnocha
Spend five minutes watching your LinkedIn feed or Twitter timeline, and it’s clear that information proliferates even faster in the Networked Age than it did in the Information Age. Consequently, the ability to extract the right information at the right time is more crucial than ever.
People who exhibit the highest levels of network literacy know that the more relevant, high-quality information you share with others, the more such information you’re likely to receive. To be truly network literate is to always be thinking of how you can add value to the networks you’re a part of, and to make it a priority to turn connections into relationships, and relationships into alliances.
It amazes me how poorly companies incentivize their top performers to stay put — especially considering the astronomical costs of turnover. In 2014, the average employee is going to earn less than a 1% raise and there is very little that we can do to change management’s decision. But, we can decide whether we want to stay at a company that is going to give us a raise for less than 1%. The average raise an employee receives for leaving is between a 10% to 20% increase in salary.
So how do we get out of these bad cognitive habits (i.e. chasing our body’s dopamine reward by just replicating the work of others)? The simple answer is be creative more often and research less. If you’re capable of using your brain to arrive to a creative thought, do it and show it to everyone else. A life of learning is great but practicing to the point of mastery is better. Approach life with research like a mental set of training wheels. Learn from
The US is a big, complicated place that has undergone some big changes over its 238 years, and even in the last few decades. Here are 21 charts that explain what life is like today in the US — who we are, where we live, how we work, how we have fun, and how we relate to each other.
Five years since the end of the Great Recession, the economy has finally regained the nine million jobs it lost. But not all industries recovered equally. Each line (in the post) shows how the number of jobs has changed for a particular industry over the past 10 years.
No Time: How Did We Get So Busy? – Elizabeth Kolbert
As the income gap in the U.S. has widened, it’s actually lower-wage workers who have ended up with the most leisure. And it’s high earners who report feeling the most time pressure.
Young adults face an economic trifecta of low incomes, high living costs and high debt. The next time someone tries to slap a demeaning label like “boomerang kid” on young adults living at home, show them these eight charts.
“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time.
[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:
- Valuing time over money
- Wiping the plate clean to re-build it.
“The last thing we need in our lives is a time thief.” – Derek Halpern
““Money you lose you can always make back. But even five minutes of time lost is gone forever.” – James Altucher
“Schedule life & defend it as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself ‘I’ll just get it done this weekend.’ – Tim Ferriss
“You can recognize genuinely smart people by their ability to say things like ‘I don’t know’ ‘Maybe you’re right’ and ‘I don’t understand'” – Paul Graham
“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” – Jim Carrey
If you made it this far and found this post valuable in any way, please let me know in the comments which of these reads caught your attention. Better yet, why don’t you share something you’ve read recently that you think I’d find interesting.
If you like this post, you might also like this year’s previous installments: