Unique personality

In whatever you do that matters to you, make sure to put a touch of your own unique personality.

When you apply for a job, when you write a blog post, when you deliver a speech, when you interact with others, when you are in a meeting, when you are bringing your boss up to speed, when you are out with your kids or talk to your parents. In every single situation there are many rules that have but one job: to make things predictable and dull.

Rules are important, and you should follow them. Few people are happy when all of their expectations are disregarded.

But remember to add a touch of your own unique personality. Few people are happy when all they see around is predictable and dull.

It is a difficult balance to strike. Just don’t forget who you are and what you stand for.

Legendary

You can’t start with great.

You might start with average, decent, ok. Or more often, you will start with poor, näive, ineffectual.

And that’s where you will have to continue from. One step after the next. From horrible to passable, from decent to respectable, from good to fantastic.

You can’t start with great.

You can, though, end with legendary.

Wealth of information

Herding information will eventually keep you from doing.

Articles, white papers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, online classes, books, live and virtual events, tutorials are great resources, when they serve your higher purpose. But they can quickly become a self-serving treat: “just as our brains like empty calories from junk food, they can overvalue information that makes us feel good but may not be useful” (Assoc. Prof. Ming Hsu).

And clearly, the whole space (physical and mental) you occupy while you feed on information is space you cannot use otherwise. Is space you are taking away from focus, care, delivery.

There will be times in your digital life when you will be subscribed to plenty of newsletters, getting updates from a wealth of podcasts, consuming bottomless blogs, and recycling all of that in social media posts of doubt relevance.

Stop that now.

Find the bare minimum you need and bring the focus back to doing.

For your own sake.

In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

Herbert A. Simon

Every day

Motivation, inspiration, and creativity are resistance in disguise.

If you wait to be motivated to start going, you won’t get far.

If you wait for inspiration to struck before doing meaningful work, you’ll soon be out of a job.

If creativity is what you seek when sitting down to write, the page will stay empty most of the time.

There is nothing sudden in people’s achievements, no overnight success will surprise you.

Go do what you are supposed to. Every day.

Out of curiosity

To stop you from checking emails when you are not supposed to, think about the following.

Are you checking because you can take a meaningful action or out of curiosity?

If knowing the content of a mail now changes the way you act (compared to what you’d do if you would check at the appropriate time), that is a meaningful action.

In all honesty, there are very few cases where this is true.

Our opinion is not stronger if we share it now or tomorrow. Hearing some feedback is not going to make us change now, and probably it won’t tomorrow. Checking now if that email we have been waiting for has finally arrived is not going to give us a headstart on tomorrow’s work.

More often, it’s curiosity that drives us. It’s the dopamine hit we get from knowing something, even though it does not affect our possibility to do something about it. It’s like scrolling your social media timeline out of boredom.

We can train at keeping that impulse under control.