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 July 2014. I recommend identifying and diving into 2-3 that resonate with you. Focus less on the dopamine rush you get from hopping from article to article and more on how you apply the wisdom in these posts to your own life.
Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from July.
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]:
The Bullshit Machine – Umair Haque
Umair is bored of a culture that prizes narcissism above individualism. A politics that places “tolerance” above acceptance. A spirit that encourages cynicism over reverence. A public sphere that places irony over sincerity. A technosophy that elevates “data” over understanding. A society that puts “opportunity” before decency. An economy that…you know. Works us harder to make us poorer at “jobs” we hate where we make stuff that sucks every last bit of passion from our souls to sell to everyone else who’s working harder to get poorer at “jobs” they hate where they make stuff that sucks every last bit of passion from their souls.
Why is it that we must always be busy, passive and compliant? Why do we no longer value setting aside time to think? To feel? Because they’re are a drag on “growth”; a burden on “productivity”; they slow down the furious acceleration of the bullshit machine. If you’re constantly exhausted of pretending to want the life you think you should; instead of daring to live the life you know you could I recommend read this short piece.
Really insightful guest post on Cal Newport’s wonderful Study Hacks blog. Eager to optimize his life, and frustrated with much of the advice he encountered online and in contemporary books and magazines, Dale decided to go back to basics and start drawing lessons from humankind’s most ancient and enduring philosophies and religions.
In the guest post, Dale briefly summarizes the structure of his project and then identifies four contrarian tips, relevant to career issues, that he’s learned so far. The first highlights why you shouldn’t pursue promotions. Read the article to check out the rest of his insights and see if you with him.
Refining What I Think I Want… – Jamie Varon
I want to calm down and I want to want less. I want to feel less pressure to be something and allow myself to be somebody.I want to push myself, but not force myself. I want to wake up with excitement, not wake up to the beginning of a to-do list.
Being ambitious has been a part of my identity for so long that it’s a weird feeling to start to break it down and dissect what’s really driving me. Because, I’m tired of feeling like there’s always something better, that I must be the best, that everything short of bestseller, award-winner, first place, is a mediocre version of what my potential could be if I carried it out.
[I think a lot of Type A overachievers feel this way. I know I’ve confessed to feeling the exact same way less than a year ago.]
Love People Not Pleasure – Arthur Brooks
We are unambiguously driven to accumulate material goods, to seek fame, to look for pleasure. How can it be that these very things can give us unhappiness instead of happiness? This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:
Love things, use people.
You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:
Love people, use things.
Thirty Years of Projects – Seth Godin
Somehow, I always thought of my career as a series of projects, not jobs. Projects… things to be invented, funded and shipped. Sometimes they take on a life of their own and last, other times, they flare and fade. But projects, one after the other, mark my career.
The stages of a project—being stuck, seeing an outcome, sharing a vision, being rejected, finding a home, building it, editing it, launching it, planting the seeds for growth—I’m thrilled it’s a cycle I’ve been able to repeat hundreds of times over the years.
What projects are you working on?
I see a lot of stuff about resilience, persistence and grit. What I don’t see is a lot of legitimate info on how to actually increase those qualities. How can we be more resilient? How can we shrug off huge challenges in life, persist and — in the end — succeed?
In the blog post above, Eric explores life and death situations and what winners do that losers don’t. It turns out surviving the most dangerous situations has some good lessons we can use to learn how to be resilient in everyday life. Check out the post to learn how quitting and being delusion are two ways to become more resilient.
The End of the Day Philosophy – Leo Babatua
I really like this approach from Leo: I’ve been making my small decisions throughout the day, recently, with a simple question: How will I feel about this when today is over? If I have a choice right now between reading social media and news articles, or writing, I know what the answer will be: at the end of the day, I’d be much happier if I’d chosen writing.
I’ve learned these answers through repeated observation, but you can learn your own answers by asking the question before you do anything, making a hypothesis (“I won’t regret this later”) and then seeing if you’re right by reviewing the results at the end of each day.
How the ‘PayPal Mafia’ Redefined Success in Silicon Valley – Connor Forrest
It’s a pretty rare occurrence that a startup will make it from inception to exit. What is decidedly less common is that startup reaching an exit upwards of $1 billion dollars. Yet even more extraordinary is that exit becoming the catalyst for a revitalization of a local economy and a specific type of investing.
Despite astronomical odds, this is what happened when PayPal sold to eBay in the summer of 2002 and the PayPal team members went on to found some of the most important startups — and make some of the most strategic investments — of all time. Former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel estimates the PayPal Mafia to be around 220 people. That group of 220 people went on to create seven distinct “unicorn” companies. Unicorns are companies with a valuation of more than $1 billion.
I love to study success, learn from people smarter than me, and to make connections (relevant to my own grand strategy) that will hopefully help me emulate their success.
“You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” – Stuart Scott
[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:
- Slowing down to savor life
- Less tracking; more living
“Losers wait for the world to give them permission to do something. Winners do it anyway.” — @Ramit
“Anger is just a mutation of fear.” – @jaltucher
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: