#79 The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing
Lessons in softer aspects of working & becoming better
In “What “work” looks like”, Jim Nielsen makes an interesting argument -
The funny thing is, sitting alone thinking doesn’t “look” like work. Even more so if it’s away from your computer.
I recently had a conversation with a long-time colleague, someone I know and respect. I found it interesting that even he, who has worked in software since the 90’s, still felt odd when he wasn’t at his computer “working”. After decades of experience, he knew and understood that the most meaningful conceptual progress he made on problems was always away from his computer: on a run, in the shower, laying in bed at night. That’s where the insight came. And yet, even after all these years, he still felt a strange obligation to be at his computer because that’s too often our the mental image of “working”.
That’s so true!
We feel guilty if our hands are not typing or our mouths are not talking. A long walk alone is such a difficult activity to imagine & do. Clarity of mind needs a lot more attention than we can afford to provide in front of a screen. Comment if you’ve any tricks to make it happen.
We’ve a lot to discover today, let’s get going.
1. Book recommendations
These are based on my recent history in Audible. I’m more dependent on Audible for consuming new books now. Most paperbacks I buy these days are either gifted or getting collected for my personal library.
Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks. How to tell great stories and why is it important to do that? Matthew also shares actionable methods on how to find great stories. He is a storyteller and a good one at that. He has narrated it to make the audiobook quite a fun listen.
Turn the ship around by David Marquet. I had shared a brief summary of this book in an earlier post (#76). The leader-leader approach and “I intend to” ritual is very relevant for most teams.
2. Heart of a business
In “Keeping the main thing the main thing”, Rex Woodbury shares turnaround stories from marquee brands like Krispy Kreme, Crocs & Starbucks. There is a common theme among these stories - these companies turned around by focusing on what makes them great and keeping it simple. Rex calls it - keeping the main thing the main thing.
It’s not an easy choice, almost unintuitive. High respect to those leaders who are able to keep their focus on the heart of their business.
3. Downside of ambition
In “When ambition is oppressive”, Linda attempts to outline the risks of ambition. To be more specific, she has tried to expose the double-edged sword that “anything can be improved” and “every goal needs to be reset” mindset can be.
Here’s a snipped worth noting:
So, this post is titled - A Definitive Guide to Networking (for Those Who Hate Networking)
I don’t need to set the context anymore. This post is talking to me. And maybe to some of you as well.
Deb Liu does a fantastic job of identifying such topics & distilling her ideas to make them actionable.
Step 3 calls to “Be curious, and connect over what you have in common”. This is one area that has worked for me in the last few years. I’ve made some really amazing connections, rekindled some old ones on common topics. This is the easiest way to network, I can say.
Step 4 calls to “Be helpful”. This is one area I know how to do, but have not done sufficiently.
Step 1. Get out of your own way & Step 2. Make it your job to welcome others - these are the areas I want to focus on.
Let me know if you want to join me in this crusade.
5. Creative success
This post shares pearls of wisdom from David Oglivy’s book “Confessions of an Advertising Man”. It will be foolish to assume that these are meant for only the advertising and marketing folks. These are timeless lessons for all folks seeking creative success regardless of their category or role.
Some of the most notable nuggets from this post:
Wed the Novel to the Familiar, the Artistic to the Practical
In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.
Don’t Make Decisions By Committee
Use Constraints to Release Creativity
(via One Daily Nugget)
6. Fumblerules of Grammar
In 1979, William Safire compiled a list of 36 “Fumblerules of Grammar”—rules of writing, all of which are humorously self-contradictory—and published them in his popular New York Times Magazine column, “On Language.” He added another 18 to this list later and published them in a book a decade later. This is the work of grammar gods!
Sample a few below:
The passive voice should never be used.
Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
7. Everything else
Some random goodness from the internet:
Gandalf's wisdom meets Jessica Hagy's articulation.
Anastasia Parmson creates drawing installations of domestic interiors that are full of minute details. You’ve to see it to experience it. (via Dense Discovery)
Flowers for the grave - a story with a really unexpected turn! (via Curiosity Chronicle)
20 years of the Marketoonist - Dilbert but for the marketing folks.
The story of the making of Brooklyn Bridge. No power tools or no heavy machinery was involved. (via Read Something Great)
Hot Ones with Cate Blanchett. What a show! (via Morning Brew)
Celebrating mundane halloween by dressing up as something super ordinary (via Twitter)
Before we sign off, here's a brilliant thought on product building.
That's all for this week, folks!
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IMO, a rather simple way to get on the difficult road of 'clarity of mind" is figuring out an outdoor activity that you enjoy. Be it working out, or a simple 200 step walk after meals, has proven to be a simple yet less "mind heavy" approach. A great start to the week!