FOMO and human connection

There is a strong correlation between heavy social media use and loneliness. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real.  Overusing social media leads to sacrificing genuine human connection, an essential ingredient for a gratifying life.

Technology is helpful, miraculous even, in connecting us to those we may never otherwise connect.  But let’s make sure we use it responsibly, as a tool, rather than a replacement for human connection.

On being “right”

The trouble with much of our public discourse is that even people with good intentions don’t see the difference in one important distinction: Wanting to be right, vs. wanting to know IF you’re right.

One is for truth-seekers (whatever “truth” you’re seeking). The other is for those who are absolutely certain that there is no way of viewing the world other than the way that they’ve decided is correct.

How to use anchoring

Anchoring or focalism is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. During decision-making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments.

How to use: be mindful of the FIRST thing you say/do when meeting someone, in job interviews, in sales pitches, etc.

“I’m Steve and I’m sometimes hard to get along with but I love all people” can be effectively heard as “I’m sometimes hard to get along with blah blah blah.”

On leaders, coaches and teachers.

It’s common to hear people brag about the expertise of their teachers/coaches, but the real way to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers and coaches is by assessing the skill of their students or mentees.

The best teachers show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.

If you’re in a leadership role, make sure you create the conditions that allow people to flourish. The best way to do that is to produce an environment where the learning reveals itself.

Improving for future generations

Most people spend their lives being dutiful descendants instead of remarkable ancestors. Each generation has the choice to aim to please their predecessors or improve things for their offspring. Many people who were the most positive influences on humanity did not blindly follow in their parent’s footsteps.

In the words of Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the old. Seek what they sought.”

You can strive to make previous generations proud, or endeavor to make the world better for the next.

Concept: Radical Simplicity

As I read through business contracts, health care benefits explanations, and even news stories, I wonder if there’s a way to adopt a concept that seeks to radically simplify what is being presented, perhaps in a way that any could quickly comprehend the most honest yet consequential portion of what we’re explaining.

TLDR; Let’s use as few words as possible to convey information responsibly and with (radical) simplicity.

Simple communication tweaks

AVOID SAYING “BUT” – “You did great work, but…” immediately cancels the compliment.  Better to change it to: “You did great work, AND here’s what we can improve for next time…”

EASE  UP ON SUPERLATIVES  – Describing everything as “extremely”, “remarkably” or “epic” takes away from the things that actually deserve those adjectives.

CONFIDENT SPEAKING HACK – If you are asked what you want for dinner, don’t say “I don’t know…I’m craving pizza.”  You come across as a more confident, assertive person (not aggressive), to simply state what you want.  Especially since you DO know.

Measuring the wrong things when hiring people

A great Software Engineer could be five times more efficient and effective than an average developer with the same years of experience. Deciding who is the best fit for a job using arbitrary requirements like “years of experience” is an attempt to commoditize human performance.

Although it’s harder to measure, try having a dialogue with those you consider hiring by discussing their capability and motivation to do the job, based on their relevant accomplishments and interests, not their education, years, or any other metric that doesn’t predict performance.