Be skeptical of (almost) everything

Hey there!

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I need a little break from a daily newsletter. I've just started a new gig with Animalz, a B2B content agency run by my friend Walter Chen, and I'll be sending a weekly newsletter for the time being.

Hope you enjoy and don't hesitate to respond to any of these emails with feedback.

1. 30% or 90%?

On the 42Floors blog, Jason Freedman explains how to give feedback:

I once asked Seth for feedback on a product mockup, and he asked if I felt like I was ninety percent done or thirty percent done. If I was ninety percent done, he would try to correct me on every little detail possible because otherwise a typo might make it into production. But if I had told him I was only thirty percent done, he would gloss over the tiny mistakes, knowing that I would correct them later. He would engage in broader conversations about what the product should be.

2. Embrace the inherent messiness of the creative process

Clarity emerges from chaos writes Jory MacKay on the Crew blog.

What [psychologist Frank X.] Barron found was that the most creative thinkers all exhibited certain common traits: an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for ambiguity and complexity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; and the ability to extract order from chaos.

3. "Working for yourself is not freedom."

Thank you for this post, Jon Westenberg.

If you want more free time, don't start a company. Instead, strive for work-life equilibrium, find a remote job and practice deliberately.

4. Jeff Bezos on how to make decisions

Jeff Bezos' thoughts on corporate culture apply equally to small businesses. It's an interesting framework for decision-making.

"Type 1 decisions," [Jeff Bezos] wrote, are those that are "consequential and irreversible or nearly irreversible — one-way doors — and these decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly, with great deliberation and consultation." Meanwhile, "type 2 decisions," which can be reversed if they aren't made well, should be made much faster.

The problem with many big companies, he wrote, is that they apply the methodical process they use for bigger calls to less weighty decisions too often: "The end result of this is slowness, unthoughtful risk aversion, failure to experiment sufficiently, and consequently diminished invention. We'll have to figure out how to fight that tendency."

5. Be skeptical of (almost) everything

The meat of this article is in the examples.

Skepticism does not come naturally to the human mind. The human mind is very deeply wired to believe what it already believes, and what it wants to believe. The habit of questioning whether the things we believe are true? The habit of letting go of beliefs we're attached to when the evidence contradicts them? These are not easy habits to come by. They take practice. And they take discipline.

But it's a discipline that pays off: in specific pragmatic results, and in the broader, deeper, less obviously tangible areas of personal connection and fulfillment.

Have a great week!


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