15 of My Favorite Blog Posts and News Articles From February 2014

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.

Here’s my effort to provide a little signal by curating some of the best/most interesting/funniest posts (and sometimes videos) I read during the month of February 2014. I do the hard work so you don’t have to.

Please use the comments section to recommend and share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from February.

[Blog Posts/News Articles]:

Life is a Game: This is Your Strategy Guide – Oliver Emberton

You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply managing your resources.

Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.

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The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck – Julien Smith

This post was technically written Jan 30th, but I’d already finished my round up for the month. Actually, I originally read it on Julien’s blog in 2011, but he just re-posted on Medium and it resonated all over again.

People are judging you right now. You don’t need everyone to like you. It’s your people that matter. Those who don’t give a fuck change the world. The rest do not. Take back your self respect. Do it today– try it right now. Wear something ugly. Do something stupid. Tell someone the truth.

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Information vs. Knowledge vs. Experience – Ryan Holiday

Don’t hold out for your dream job or the perfect opportunity. The perfect opportunity is the one that exists, that gives you any kind of experience, the one that allows you to put anything you’ve learned into practice. The perfect opportunity you keep picturing in your head? That’s your ego protecting you from change — the feeling of pain and failure that is deliberate practice and experimentation.

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4 Ways to Make Your Brain Work Better – Maria Konnikova

Maria, the author of last month’s “The Open Office Trap,” explores how we thwart our own happiness, and even sometimes harm our brains, in our quest for a simply unattainable level of productivity. Four ways that we can change our lifestyles so as to also improve our brains and how they function include:

  • Sleep more
  • Stop being an Internet junkie
  • Stop multitasking
  • Practice mindfulness

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How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To – Heidi Grant Halvorson

Can you imagine how much less guilt, stress, and frustration you would feel if you could somehow just make yourself do the things you don’t want to do when you are actually supposed to do them?  Not to mention how much happier and more effective you would be? Heidi highlights 3 reasons you’re procrastinating in the first place and specific strategies — thinking about the consequences of failure, ignoring your feelings, and engaging in detailed planning — to make yourself work.

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Evidence-Based Primer on Procrastination: 10 Concrete Techniques to Beat Procrastination – Suren Samarchyan

Insanely thorough answer to “how to beat procrastination?” — including the top 10 evidence-based techniques for you to increase your drive and beat procrastination based on 200+ research articles.

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How to Get a Busy Person to Respond to Your E-mail – Mattan Griffel

  1. Keep it short
  2. Format for readability and clarity
  3. Make it clear what you want me to do
  4. Be reasonable with your request
  5. Show me why I should take the time to help you

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Stop Making Plans: How Goal-Setting Limits Rather Than Begets Our Happiness and Success – Maria Popova

While embracing uncertainty may be the cure for our epidemic of anxiety and the root of the creative spirit, it remains an art enormously challenging and uneasy-making for the human psyche. Instead, we try to abate the discomfort of uncertainty by making long-term plans and obsessing over everyday to-do lists.

The most valuable skill of a successful entrepreneur … isn’t “vision” or “passion” or a steadfast insistence on destroying every barrier between yourself and some prize you’re obsessed with. Rather, it’s the ability to adopt an unconventional approach to learning: an improvisational flexibility not merely about which route to take towards some predetermined objective, but also a willingness to change the destination itself. This is a flexibility that might be squelched by rigid focus on any one goal.

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The Most Important Question – Seth Godin

The most important question in marketing something to someone who hasn’t purchased it before is, “Do they trust me enough to believe my promises?” Without that, you have nothing.

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Fear is the Root of Your Problems – Leo Babauta

We see fear as an enemy, to be defeated or it will defeat us. It’s not. Fear is us. We are human beings in a world of constant change, and this is scary. We are afraid that we won’t be OK in the chaos of change, that we will fail, that we will be judged, that life won’t turn out OK.

Every problem you or I have  is rooted in fear. In this post, Leo tackles why the fear arises and how to deal with it.

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Accountability – Shane Parrish

This post features some excerpts from a recent talk he gave to student athletes at Bradley University on accountability.

On of my favorite excerpts from his talk — that echoes his philosophy on life: The simple key to acquiring knowledge is going to bed smarter than when you woke up. Over a long life, this adds up. But that means acquiring knowledge, or what some people call worldly wisdom, must be a priority. It’s easy to go out after school, land a job, come home and watch TV until you fall asleep. It’s a lot harder to make an agreement with yourself to be responsible for continuing your education and holding yourself accountable for that.

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The Powerless of Positive Thinking – Adam Alter

Ceaseless optimism about the future only makes for a greater shock when things go wrong; by fighting to maintain only positive beliefs about the future, the positive thinker ends up being less prepared, and more acutely distressed, when things eventually happen that he can’t persuade himself to believe are good.

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10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered – Austin Kleon

Show Your Work! is a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion. It’s is a book about how to influence others by letting them steal from you. Austin’s lessons include wisdom such as: think process, not product; tell good stories; sell out. Click the link to read all 10 lessons and why they matter.

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‘ My Startup Tanked’: Why More Entrepreneurs Are Being Open About Their Failures – Christina Farr

Why are some of these founders opting to speak out about their failures and not others? A post-mortem post has become increasingly common, particularly given the voracious demand for this kind of content. These post-mortem posts should be required reading for any tech entrepreneur, as they contain practical advice.

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[Long Reads]:

This Old Man: Life in the Nineties – Roger Angell

Recommended by Fred Wilson, the 93-year old Angell writes about life as as a nonagenarian and how the world treats you when you’re old. Maybe most of you don’t need to think about things like this right now, but I appreciated the way he tackled stereotypes about aged people and challenged the notion of aging as a decline. In short, listen to your grandparents people. Really listen. They’ve accumulated more wisdom than the vast majority of your peers.

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[Thoughts I’m Chewing On]:

  • Optimism bias takes rational reasoning hostage, directing our expectations toward a better outcome without evidence to support such a conclusion.
  • What should you be working on right now? It’s not a million little things. It’s the 1 big thing you’re avoiding. Reexamine your priorities.
  • There is RARELY an issue that cannot wait until the next business day. Unplug when you leave the office. Your personal life will thank you.

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[Video]:

Why Smart People Under Perform –> http://ow.ly/twYtY (Marie Forleo & Dr. Edward Hallowell)

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[Quotes]:

“Mind your mind; guard it resolutely. Since it is the mind that confuses the mind, don’t let your mind give in to your mind.” – Suzuki Shosan

“To a writer, an open browser tab is like a glass of whiskey. 1 or 2 can help the work. Too many ensures that nothing gets done.” – Andy Ihnatko

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain

“If you view crossing the finish line as the measure of your life, you’re setting yourself up for a personal disaster.” – Chris Hadfield

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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: 15 of My Favorite Blog Posts and News Articles of January 2014.

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