10 of My Favorite Reads from January 2015

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 I encountered during the month of January 2015. 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 posts from these two months.

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.

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[Blog Posts/News Articles]:

Self-Refinement Through the Wisdom of the Ages: 15 Resolutions for 2015 from Some of Humanity’s Greatest Minds – Maria Popova

  • Thoreau: Walk and Be More Present
  • Seneca: Make Your Life Wide Rather Than Long
  • Alan Watts: Break Free From Your Ego
  • Carl Sagan: Master Critical Thinking

 

The most typical New Year’s resolutions tend to be about bodily health, but the most meaningful ones aim at a deeper kind of health through the refinement of our mental, spiritual, and emotional habits — which often dictate our physical ones. Click the link above to visit 15 timelessly rewarding ideas of great thinkers from the past two millennia.

What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People – James Altucher

Over the past year, James interviewed 80 guests for my podcast including Peter Thiel, Marc Cuban, Arianna Huffington and more.

“I wanted to know at what point were they at their worst. And how they got better. Each person created a unique life. I wanted to know how they did it. I was insanely curious.”

Here are a few things he learned:

  • A life is measured in decades
  • Give without thinking of what you will receive
  • Taking care of yourself comes first
  • Figure out how make uncertainty work for you

 

Click the link above to see 11 other things James learned.

25 Ways to Stop Feeling Overworked and Overwhelmed – Marc & Angel

There seems to be an outbreak of overwhelm on this planet.  Everyone believes they have to be busy, on the internet, and on the go every second. When you feel overworked and overwhelmed, stop and listen to the stories you’re telling yourself about your time, your work, and your life.

Get over feeling like everything is so important.  It isn’t.  Stop overworking yourself.  Don’t exaggerate the importance of things.  Learn to say no to others so you can say yes to yourself.  Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate as much as you possibly can of everything else.

3 Simple Forcing Functions That Will 3-5x Your Productivity – Dan Martell

Most of the time, we don’t fail to achieve our goals because of lack of knowledge and how-to, it’s because we haven’t associated the right level of motivation to the outcome.

Understanding your default states to procrastinate and adding forcing functions (any task, activity or event that forces you to take action and produce a result) throughout your week is a key strategy to get more done.

Stop Delegating Your Happiness – Shrihari Sankaran

Where do we find this happiness? The short answer is: we find it in others. Rather, we find happiness through others. We expect something or the other from everyone. We expect attention from our friends. We expect appreciation from our boss. We expect love from our significant other. When the expectations are not met, we get disappointed.

Instead, why can’t I derive happiness from the action itself? Why can’t I enjoy the process of gifting my friend? Can’t happiness be my action, and not the result of my action? Now, I am directly responsible for my happiness. I have taken control of my happiness.

How to Stop Delegating Your Happiness

How to Think – Shane Parrish

Two of the most important executive functions are cognitive flexibility and cognitive self-control. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to see alternative solutions to problems, to think outside the box, to negotiate unfamiliar situations. Cognitive self-control is the ability to inhibit an instinctive or habitual response and substitute a more effective, less obvious one.

Slowing down, examining impulses, and considering alternatives sounds reasonable but it’s quite rare in contemporary American Schools. (More on the pitfalls of the American education system).

Two Kinds of Hustle – Seth Godin

There’s the hustle of always asking, of putting yourself out there, of looking for discounts, shortcuts and a faster way. This kind of hustler always wants more for less. This kind of hustler will cut corners if it helps in getting picked.

Then there’s the hustle that’s actually quite difficult and effective. This is the hustle of being more generous than you need to be, of speaking truthfully even if it delays the ultimate goal in the short run, and most of all, the hustle of being prepared and of doing the work. It’s a shame that one approach is more common (though appropriately disrespected), while the other sits largely unused.

10 Resolutions to Make For Your Brand in 2015 – Matthew Fenton

No trends or predictions here – just 10 core principles that, taken together, will make you a more successful brand leader in 2015 and beyond.

These 3 are my favorite:

  1. I will envision my brand as an experience, always remembering that what we do is far more important than what we say
  2. I will continue to learn more about the ever-expanding range of brand-building options. When selecting among them, I will choose the long-term over the short-term, effectiveness over flash and meaning over noise
  3. I will listen more and read more

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[Interesting]:

The Real State of the Union in 33 Maps and Charts – Matthew Yglesias

An interesting series of 33 data visualizations that illustrate where America is in early 2015 and where it’s going — with a special eye to the likely political flashpoints in the year to come.

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[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:

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[Quotes]:

“The biggest problem that humanity faces is an ego sensitivity to finding out whether one is right or wrong.” – Ray Dalio

“If you think your organization needs a bigger marketing budget, maybe you just need to be less average instead.” – Seth Godin

“If you don’t have the patience to read something, don’t have the hubris to comment on it.” — @

“Worry never solves the future and always takes away energy from the present.” — @

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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 curated list of 125+ of my favorite posts from 2014.