I put together a collection of several of my greatest “ah-has” that have served me in work and life:
It’s no ordinary collection of insight. I attempted to capture things you can use everyday, and apply for the rest of your life. For example, have you ever wondered if there’s a way to really defeat procrastination? Is will power something you are just born with or can you develop it? When you are motivating yourself, should you focus on what you’ve already done, or should you focus on what’s left to do?
This collection covers various topics including communication skills, personal development, mind skills, motivation skills, and more. I paid special attention to things that can trip us up on a daily basis. For example, one of traps of the mind is the “I knew it all along” phenomenon”, which is also known as “hindsight bias” (and I like to call it 20/20 hindsight.)
To make the collection easy to use, I tried to do two things: 1) Provide the name of the insight or technique, and 2) Share a sticky little way to remember it in your mind. For example, I paired “Black Swan Theory” with “expect the unexpected.” I kept the insights compact and to the point. If you scan the list, you’ll have a wealth of wisdom at your finger tips.
I also focused heavily on surfacing many of the banes and burdens of our existence. For example, one of the worst traps to fall into is “learned helplessness.” It’s when you basically feel like you can’t win, so you give up, or stop trying. That sucks. There is answer to this, and it all comes down to our self-talk. If we develop a healthy “explanatory style”, we help stay out of the trap. Maybe you don’t fall into the trap, but maybe someone you know does, or maybe you are helping your kids learn how to thrive in the world … they need to learn this early on.
I also paid special attention to areas that address personal development and self-awareness. If you can build a great “owner’s manual” and “driver’s guide”, then you can truly make the most of what you’ve got. For example, have you heard of “The Golden Circle”? It’s the secret of many great leaders, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Steve Jobs. It’s all about how you think, act, and communicate from the inside out. In fact, many Microsoft leaders have this tool in their tool-belt, and it helps them make meaning, in their day to day activities, and in the bigger picture, we call life.
The post not only reflects a lifetime of learnings, but the post itself was hand-crafted with care. This is actually the post that has taken me the most time to write … ever. It’s not the length. It was the challenge of finding a compact way to distill so many lessons, and create an effective “hub/spoke”model, where each “spoke” or insight can point to more. It was also the challenge of how to sequence the insights. I played with several variations and ran them by folks to try to find what works best. I finally settled on a pattern where it’s in alphabetical order by the name of the insights, and coupled that to an actionable insight to make each one memorable.
Here is a key tip on how to make the most of the list. As you read the 101 Insights and Actions for Work and Life, find three take aways that you can immediately apply.