No. 522 – April 30, 2023
Timeless ideas and insights for life.
Writing for Productive Communication
“Most people write to sound smart when they should write to be useful.
Communicating to sound smart lowers your potential for impact. The harder people have to work to understand you, the less they want your input.
Writing to be useful means writing what you would want to read. Simple, but not easy.”
“The public has a distorted view of science because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries.”
— Freeman Dyson
“In war, the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won.” — Sun Tzu
The key to good decision-making is to tilt the odds in your favor long before deciding. Here are three counter-intuitive ways to help the outcome, before you ever decide.
1. Master your circumstances rather than be mastered by them
Some of the worst decisions are the ones you are forced to make. When you’re forced into a poor decision, things quickly go from bad to worse.
You can master your circumstances through preparation and positioning.
What looks like skill is often just a lot of work that no one sees. Long nights, early mornings, sweat, tears. If you want remarkable results, you need to work remarkably hard. Professionals go all in. They don’t leave at five every day because that’s 8 hours from when they show up; they grind for small insights. Knowledge accumulates in drips and gets leveraged in buckets.
The person who cannot take advantage of an opportunity is no better off than the person that never sees it in the first place. A friend of mine recently learned this lesson the hard way when the deal of a lifetime was offered to them, but they couldn’t take advantage of it because they had no cash.
When you tilt the odds in your favor, the world does most of the work for you.
An unlikely source of profound wisdom:
“If you don’t have [nice things], they can mean a great deal to you. When you do have them, they mean nothing.
To me, the unhappiest people in the world are those in the watering places, the international watering places, the south coast of France and Newport and Palm Springs and Palm Beach. Going to parties every night, playing golf every afternoon, then bridge. Drinking too much, talking too much, thinking too little. Retired. No purpose.
While I know, there are those who would totally disagree and say, ‘If I could just be a millionaire, that would be the most wonderful thing. If I could just not have to work every day … If I could be out fishing or hunting or playing golf or traveling, that would be the most wonderful life in the world.’
They don’t know life. Because what makes life mean something is purpose. A goal. The battle. The struggle. Even if you don’t win it.”
P.S. This is cool. A live watering hole in the Namib Desert.
P.P.S. This is a crazy stat.