4 Things I Learnt This Week: A User Manual for Yourself, Why We Can’t Read Each Other, Revisionist History & Einstein

Happy Friday!

Here are 4 things I learnt this week:

1. Write a user manual about yourself, for your colleagues. I listened to Tim Ferriss’ podcast interview with Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author. He’s a seriously intelligent and productive guy. One great piece of advice was to write a user manual for yourself at work, so that new colleagues can get up to speed quickly on how you roll. Make it a one-pager: what are your strengths and what brings them out? Ditto with weaknesses? Ask long-standing colleagues for input and in particular, ask them what your blind spots are. Ask them what they know about working with you that they wish they’d known earlier. Also ask colleagues and friends what your ‘bright spots’ are – strengths that you’re oblivious to. I think it’s a cool way to accelerate productive working relationships.

2. We are, as a society, so bad at reading other people. I finally read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Talking to Strangers, this week and it’s absolutely terrifying how poorly not only we, but trained professionals such as judges and detectives, are at reading each other. So many of our problems with our fellow humans come down to poor communication and, more critically, the totally unfounded assumptions that we make about each other. I was reminded of this this week when I also read Demi Moore’s autobiography, Inside Out. It’s so compelling and beautifully written; her journey towards self-acceptance and self-compassion is heartbreaking. Again: we have no idea what goes on behind other people’s facades.
3. I also discovered Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History. I’m super late to this journey but already falling down the rabbit-hole – it’s excellent. 

4. A quote I’ve been relying on this week: Einstein said “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” As someone who’s been plagued by anxiety and intrusive thoughts for decades, the decision to believe in a friendly universe is one that i make consciously, every single day. I’ve been writing a lot about this journey this week in my upcoming book, Metamorphosis

Have a great weekend. We are off to Wales tomorrow to pick up our new puppy!


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