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Nine Unconventional Pieces of Advice
...that Most People Ignore
Conviction is often seen as a positive trait, but it can also lead to a willful disregard for facts. Changing your mind is a sign of mental liquidity, or the ability to let go of beliefs when new information arises. As Dave Gray wrote, “Beliefs seem like perfect representations of the world, but, in fact, they are imperfect models for navigating a complex, multidimensional, unknowable reality.” Be careful what beliefs you let become part of your identity.1
Mistakes are often generative; wrong turns often make for magic. Do the thing in spite of potentially erring. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin after accidentally leaving a petri dish of bacteria uncovered. J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter when her train from Manchester to London was delayed. 22-year old Oprah Winfrey was fired from her news anchor job for crying on screen while covering a story; that led to a talk show gig. Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle in 1905 after accidentally leaving a cup of soda pop outside overnight and it froze. Wrong turns and mishaps can be a boon and a blessing.
A strong intuition doesn’t equate to a correct intuition. Intuition is a powerful tool, but it's important to remember that it's still just a feeling. It can be influenced by all sorts of factors, including our biases, our emotions, and our past experiences. Don’t let the strength of your intuition persuade you of its veracity.2
As writer Greg McKeown said, “if you don’t have consistent scheduled time for your top goals, you don’t have top goals.” Schedule two hours each day to work on your top goal only. Every day. Always.
When we're grappling with a major life decision, we often conflate the decision itself with the implementation. We've already decided to write the book, quit our job, or start our own business. But what's stumping us is the implementation. We know we're going to do it, but we're still stuck in the narrative loop of "I don't know what to do." Here's the key: be precise and differentiate between the two. This will allow you to: a) Accept the decision or calling, and b) Spend your time proactively brainstorming creative solutions for the implementation, which is often the harder part.3
"If you don't ask for what you want, don't be surprised if you don't get it.” In most situations from the personal to the professional, it’s common to assume that your partner, boss, mentor, collaborator knows you and knows what you want. Often, that assumption is unfounded.4
Corollary to #6: Ask people the dumb questions.
The Derek Sivers mantra, “Hell Yeah, or No.” Saying “yes” to doing something that is not in alignment or in your best interest or in your bandwidth: we all do it. But saying that “yes” requires that we say “no” to something that is in alignment, in our best interest. Wherever possible, learn to say “no.”
Learning, growing, being grateful: if you’re reading this, these are likely top values of yours. Bring those values into action by doing the 1-1-1 Journal practice. Reflect on your day at the end of the day: 1 win for the day; 1 source or feeling of stress for most of the day; 1 feeling of gratitude.