Brain Food

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway:

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Think back to your last big decision – when you chose to buy that house or decided to pursue a certain degree. Are you sure you made the right choice? Or do you sometimes second-guess yourself?

It’s easy to get sucked into a spiral of second guesses. If you’d studied architecture in Paris, or married that pilot, maybe you’d be happier now!

So how can you be certain that you’re making the right choice when you’re faced with a big decision?

It’s a trick question.

There are no wrong decisions

The way to come out on top when you find yourself waffling over what to do is to accept that any decision you make is a chance for learning and growth.

Consider all the opportunities and insights you would gain from any of the outcomes and know that, whatever you choose, it will help you refine your values and what you want.

With this mindset, you’ll no longer get the sinking feeling that you’ve made the “wrong” decision. What’s more, it will equip you to deal with any situation life throws at you.

For more on fear-wrangling – and why saying “I won’t” is better than saying “I can’t” – read our blinks to:

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers.

Blinkist is a powerful App that lets you read or listen to shorts of Books in just 15 minutes.

 

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

David Simon

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There are a dozen tasks clogging up your to-do list, and you have no idea which one to tackle first. If you don’t start being productive fast, you’re going to rage-quit all your tabs and escape to a guilt-inducing two-hour lunch.

Productivity? There’s an algorithm for that

Fret not. Math is here to help.

Here are two algorithms – series of statistically-driven, problem-solving steps – that will help you regain control of your workload:

Not sure which task to start working on first? Use the Earliest Due Date algorithm: begin with the task that has the nearest deadline, and then work from there.

Can’t possibly get everything done in the time you have? Apply Moore’s Algorithm: skip the task that sucks up the most time. This enables you to get many other tasks done in its place, thereby adding to your productivity.

Curious about how else math can help you, including the best way to select an apartment? Get our blinks to Algorithms to Live By, by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths.

Read or listen to a powerful short from this book in just 15 minutes on Blinkist:

Algorithms to Live by, By Brian Christian

How to Effectively Implement Change

David Simon

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Change is hard. Today, you may resolve to procrastinate less at work, only to find yourself browsing Facebook tomorrow, when you should be working on your big presentation.

Luckily, there are tools to make change easier.

Find the bright spots and spread them

One of the challenges we face is that our brains are extraordinarily adept at spotting all possible obstacles to change. So we instantly think things like, “I’ll never stop procrastinating when Facebook is just a click away.”

This can be disheartening.

To overcome this tendency, you need to find and focus on the bright spots: specific situations where you’ve already succeeded in making a positive change.

For example, if you want to stop procrastinating at work, try to identify days when you didn’t procrastinate much at all. What was special about those days?

You might realize that you had a relaxed morning, perhaps meditating a bit before work, which resulted in a calm focus for the whole day.

Now, take those bright spots and spread them around. In this case, you could start meditating every morning, thereby lessening procrastination later in the day.

For more on how to effect change in your life – including why you need to shape your environment to support it – we recommend reading “Switch”, by Chip and Dan Heath.

Switch provides simple yet effective tools for implementing changes.

Don’t have time to read the whole book? Read or listen to a powerful short from this book in just 15 minutes on Blinkist:

Switch, by Chip & Dan Heath

 

 

How to Properly Save Your Creative Ideas

David Simon

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It’s Friday and you have 5,000 things whirring around in your head: Do laundry! Finish that email! Call Mum!

Adding to the chaos, you’re also having some pretty inspired ideas that you’d like to concentrate on. But, as you’re trying to work out how to incorporate some fantastic plot twist into that novel you’re writing, yet another peremptory thought barges in: “BUY BREAD!”

What causes this mental hurly-burly? Well, our brains have limited short-term memory, or psychic RAM, making it impossible to simultaneously concentrate on our to-do lists and our creative ideas.

So how can you save your creative ideas from death by distraction?

Write your ideas down – properly

Keep your ideas on life support by writing them down, And be sure to write them out in complete sentences.

Say you have an idea for your latest artwork. Instead of jotting down a word that, in the moment, you’re sure will jolt your memory – “watercolor?” – write out the thought: “Would the forest sketch look better using watercolor or pastel?” This establishes your idea as an entity independent of your own head, thus allowing you to better evaluate it later on.

For more on enabling creativity – and why it’s possible to be too organised, we recommend reading:

“Ready for Anything” By David Allen. 

Productivity consultant David Allen is considered one of the leading experts on organisational and personal productivity.

Don’t have time to read the whole book? Read or listen to a powerful short from this book in just 15 minutes on Blinkist:

Ready for Anything, By David Allen

Marketing: is it B2B or B2C, or is there only Human to Human (H2H)?

David Simon

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By Brian Kramer

(Bryan is a Social Business Strategist and CEO of PureMatter leading his agency for over 10 years and voted by Silicon Valley’s Business Journal as one of the fastest growing private companies there.)*Adapted from Mark Schaefer’s book “The Tao of Twitter” where he describes P2P (People to People)

It used to be that marketing was segmented into two categories; business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). This was done, to separate specialties, audiences and segments in an effort to more highly target the groups of people who ultimately would consume a brand’s message.

What it really did, however, was create an unnatural language for marketers – with words like “synergy” and “speeds and feeds” – to tell the stories of products to their buyers and partners. It’s become like one massive game of telephone, where by the time a message gets to the person actually buying the product, the things that make it special have been swallowed by marketing vernacular.

Consumers are confused. Why can’t we make it simple for them to understand what we’re selling, to share their experiences and the value they felt with others? More importantly, why is it that what we’re marketing most often does not align to actual consumer experiences?

The fact is that the lines are so far blurred now between the two marketing segments that it’s hard to differentiate between the two anymore. We all need to think like the consumers we are, putting ourselves in the mindset of the buyer instead of trying to speak such an intensely sophisticated language full of acronyms and big words, in order to sound smarter.

Marketing increasingly strives to become one-to-one, with solutions to collect and wrangle the big data about us to serve up more personalized offers and experiences. On the other hand, social has become a more public and vast medium, where the things we share skyrocket quickly to a “one-to-many” experience. The dichotomy between marketing and social has actually flipped… and it’s out of balance. Social and marketing need to work together to personalize individual conversations, as well as deliver shared global experiences that crowds of common values can benefit from. This is what our social and digital mediums have gifted us, and how humans interact and feel more compelled to take action.

So, this is how I see it:
Businesses do not have emotion. People do.
People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
People want to feel something.
People want to be included.
People want to understand.

But people are also humans, and with that comes mistakes. Missteps. Failures. As humans, it’s in our nature to say the wrong thing, get embarrassed, and not realize the consequences of our actions. The rise of social media has given a digital platform to the dark side of anonymity, both as individuals and as crowds. I say it’s time to lay down the virtual pitchforks and torches and bring this behavior back into balance. The delightful side of humanity holds with it empathy, understanding, and forgiveness, and when remembered in our communication, it ties us together as a common group.

Communication shouldn’t be complicated. It should just be genuine and simple, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, everyone of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life.

That’s human to human. That is #H2H.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Human beings are innately complex yet strive for simplicity. Our challenge as humans is to find, understand and explain the complex in its most simplistic form. Find the commonality in our humanity, and speak the language we’ve all been waiting for.

Fixed Vs Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets that shape our Lives (From Brain Pickings)

David Simon

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“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightfulMindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library) — an inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

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