11 of My Favorite Reads from September 2015

This is my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting posts I encountered during the month of September 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’ve recently found useful and/or your best posts of late.

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]:

Brené Brown on the Physics of Vulnerability and What Resilient People Have in Common – Maria Popova

Embracing failure without acknowledging the real hurt and fear that it can cause, or the complex journey that underlies rising strong, is gold-plating grit. To strip failure of its real emotional consequences is to scrub the concepts of grit and resilience of the very qualities that make them both so important — toughness, doggedness, and perseverance.

Although we live in a culture of perfectionism where our idealized selves become our social currency, we know, at least on some level, that risk-taking, failure, and success are inextricably linked.

In Rising Strong, Brown builds upon her earlier work on vulnerability to examine the character qualities, emotional patterns, and habits of mind that enable people to transcend the catastrophes of life, from personal heartbreak to professional collapse, and emerge not only unbroken but more whole.

Empathy Is Still Lacking in the Leaders Who Need It Most – Ernest J. Wilson III

 They identified five attributes executives must have to succeed in today’s digital, global economy as critical: adaptability, cultural competence (the capacity to think, act, and move across multiple borders), 360-degree thinking (holistic understanding, capable of recognizing patterns of problems and their solutions), intellectual curiosity, and, of course, empathy.

What is empathy? It is a deep emotional intelligence that is closely connected to cultural competence. Empathy enables those who possess it to see the world through others’ eyes and understand their unique perspectives.

Check out the article for a better understanding of why empathy is so important.

New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy – Eric Barker

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you’ll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps. Gratitude can also create a positive feedback loop in your relationships
  • Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it. Labeling is a fundamental tool of mindfulness.
  • Decide. Making decisions reduces worry and anxiety. Go for “good enough” instead of perfection.
  • Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text — touch. Touching someone you love actually reduces pain.

How to Not Do It All – Leo Babauta

There isn’t enough time in the day (to do everything you want to do), nor do we have the attention bandwidth to devote to everything. Even if we were perfectly disciplined, we couldn’t possibly get to even half of what we want to do. Give up on trying to do it all. Simplify. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to have the most perfect life you can create. Instead, make your days count.

  • Curate your days. Put only the best things in each day — don’t just let any junk into it. Would you pay $20 to read the things on your reading list for an hour?
  • Be OK with imperfection. Even if you filter and curate, you’ll never create the “perfect” day or the “perfect” life. We can either accept that, or be dissatisfied.
  • Be ruthless. You need to filter out the things trying to overwhelm your life. Say “no” to most requests.

The 10 Most Important Books to Expand Your Brain – James Altucher

 

Click the link above to read James’ full list and his excellent, and unique, explanation on the 3 different kinds of non-fiction books.

Meditation. Why Bother? – Shane Parrish

Why meditate? Because you are human. Just because of the simple fact that you are human, you find yourself heir to an inherent unsatisfactoriness in life that simply will not go away. You can suppress it from your awareness for a time; you can distract yourself for hours on end, but it always comes back, and usually when you least expect it. All of a sudden, seemingly out of the blue, you sit up, take stock, and realize your actual situation in life.

The same themes repeat throughout our lives: jealousy, suffering, discontent, and stress.

Meditation sharpens your concentration and your thinking power. Then, piece by piece, your own subconscious motives and mechanics become clear to you. Your intuition sharpens. The precision of your thought increases, and gradually you come to a direct knowledge of things as they really are, without prejudice and without illusion.

What are some of the easy things that anyone can do to keep improving their intelligence? – Shane Parrish

Knowledge is like lego. Mental Models are the best and most useful blocks. They typically form the foundation and shape the way we see things. In addition to these pieces, explained later, you want to overlay a broad array of both exposure to different subjects as well as life experiences. This will give you a better understanding of not only how the world works, but how you can best use your knowledge and understanding to get what you want.

Click the link above for a broad, and thorough, explanation and also some great useful tips like, learn how to read a book, keep a decision journal and more.

The Basic Rule of Management that Propelled 3M – Shane Parrish

As our business grows, it becomes increasingly necessary to delegate responsibility and to encourage men and women to exercise their initiative. This requires considerable tolerance. Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.

Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs.

[Sounds a lot like Daniel Pink’s research on what motivates us: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.]

When Should You Say No To Your Boss? – Dr. Travis Bradberry

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. More than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sickWe need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.

The items that follow are yours. If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.

  • Your health
  • Your family
  • Your sanity

 

Click the link above to read Dr. Bradberry’s full list and explanations.

Counter Intuitive – Rohan Rajiv

The more you know, the more you need to shut up and listen.

The more you feel like working, the more you need to take a break.

The more you feel like running around in different directions, the more you need to pause and enjoy the moment.

Perhaps they are not counter intuitive after all?

5 Essentials for Cultivating Intrapreneurial Employees – Dixie Gillaspie

Want your employees who take more ownership?

With artificial intelligence increasingly makes many jobs obsolete, companies are looking for employees who approach creating value for the business as their “undertaking” rather than their job description, employees who are self-managed, who make decisions and exhibit behavior that is in line with the best interests of the business, someone who has an entrepreneurial mindset but no desire to have financial or legal responsibility for a business.

Check out Dixie’s article to understand how to create a culture where intrapreneurial employees can thrive.

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[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:

  • What makes a great leader?
  • How can I start clearing visual clutter to create an environment that entices a calm and motivated mindset? (More time for creation.)

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[Quotes]:

  • “If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.” — Brene Brown
  • “Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.” — Seth Godin (The Dip)
  • “‘It is what it is’ really means, I’m too lazy to try to make it difference, so for gosh sakes stop talking about it.'” — Jeff Haden
  • [Paraphrased] Taking a job you don’t like in order to build up your resume is like saving up sex for your old age. — Warren Buffett
  • “All the people that I know who have a “passive income” from products also work harder than anyone else I know.” — Paul Jarvis

 

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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 my favorite reads from August or this curated list of 125+ of my favorite posts from 2014.