End of winter, Habits list, Serendipity machine and more...

Happy Monday! 🌄

Last week was the last of Winters in Australia. Days are already getting warmer and longer, while nights are still chilly. The warmth during the day is helping me to resume the habit of short stroll during lunch hours in weekdays - this is the time for stillness, contemplation and zooming-out for me. On the other hand, end of the Winters (being located in the Southern Hemisphere) means the best nights for stargazing to view bulge part of the milky way, are coming to an end here while it is just beginning for rest of the world in Northern Hemisphere. Those stargazing nights (on a drive of 2 hours out from the city) are not only fun but also provides another avenue to think, reflect and connect the dots.

These hours of stillness takes you away from pandemic times, cognitive strains, mental blocks and provide a perspective, like no other. Try to add them to your life.

This week’s wisdom curation comes from articles, quotations, books and a twitter thread. The theme of this week is (a) growth- mindset 📈, being a maker (startup life) 🛠.

Following is an index of contents:

  1. New Habits: list of growth-oriented and productivity habits 🗞

  2. Starting consultancy/services business? How to find new clients? 🗞

  3. Optimising Weekly Reviews 🗞

  4. How to become a serendipity machine? 🗞

  5. We live beside the Nile 📚

  6. Be a generalist quote 💬

If you come across something that provokes, intellectually stimulates or stirs, you please share with us. Keep well and safe.

1. New Habits: list of growth-oriented and productivity habits 🗞

If we are compiling a list of influential, impactful and yet, practical books on Productivity, arguably Atomic Habits by James Clear will make it in Top 10 (if not in Top 5). However, as the cycle of reading goes, you feel motivated, pick up a few habits and get successful in acquiring them and making them part of your life, and then what? Perhaps acquire more good habits, to make your system stronger and more productive. This is where I was finding myself a month back where I felt a handful of good habits that I started working on 6 months back are now strongly ingrained in my daily routine, so it is time for looking for new habits - but what good habits? is there a list of good habits somewhere that I can look for inspiration? In this backdrop, out of serendipity, I came across this excellent article by Patrick O’Shaughnessy with a list of growth goals (which I am now trying to add in my life as daily habits):

  • No complaining

  • 100 puships

  • Run

  • No sugar

  • Write 500 words

  • Read

  • Don’t eat until noon

  • Floss

  • Spend time in the woods

  • Family time

  • Level Up

Read on as an entire article is a very good read!


2. Starting consultancy/services business? How to find new clients? 🗞

If you have recently started consulting, as some of my friends have in these Covid times, one of the first challenges, or perhaps “the’ first challenge is to find new business. If you are not trained or educated in Sales, this makes people insecure, petrified or, at least, uncomfortable. I was reading up and talking to successful consultants and found this helpful article with practical tips on winning new clients. Some of the key points (with obvious paraphrasing) are:

  1. Find meetups, give talks, productise yourself

  2. Get certified and collect other visual social proofs

  3. Start mentioning you’re looking for work on social channels. You can write: I’m starting to look for companies who need help with [X] - do you know of anyone I should talk to?”

  4. When you see job postings, contact Hiring Manager to offer your services. Smaller companies prefer contracts over jobs.

Continue reading…


3. Optimising Weekly Reviews 🗞

One of the cornerstones of weekly planning and optimising yourself is to conduct “weekly reviews” to look back at last week, assess progress and plan for the next week, set targets and todos. How long it takes, how formal it should be, what should be the degree of opaqueness or specificity of goals for the next week etc - are among the topics that are hotly debated in the community. One of the original ideas in this space is to do ‘Weekly Predictions’ by Elizabeth Van Nostrand. I will try this in the next weekly review. Read on to find more.


4. How to become a serendipity machine? 🗞

‘Serendipity’ is one of my favourite words in the English language and I grew into loving this more in the context of productivity and pursuit of growth. The theory of seeking serendipity goes like below:

Try a lot of things in parallel -> Keep showing up / consistency over spike -> This will lead to virality, top clicks, high profile retweet etc.

In this context, loved this idea to create MBIs. Read and explore.


5. We live beside the Nile 📚

Living beside the river was the recipe for building a successful and long-lasting civilisation. People, crops, livelihood all depended and thrived thanks to the river. Yuval Harari beautifully relates the same concept with the present era:

Like the ancient tribes along the Nile River, all nations today live along a single global river of information, scientific discoveries and technological inventions, which is the basis of our prosperity and also a threat to our existence. To regulate this global river, all nations should make common cause.

Collected thanks to Readwise.

Source: 21 lessons for the 21st century

6. Be a generalist 💬

Specialise or be a generalist? - there are competing arguments on both sides while this remains an active debate on various platforms. Without looking for a proverbial ‘middle-ground’, I think we can agree on aiming to know more, do more and experience more, while still specialising on a specific domain(s). In that context, I loved this quote:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Heinlein

Source: HN thread

If you find this useful and would like to support this work, please share with your friends. And if you have ideas to make this newsletter better, I would love to hear from you. Your 2 mins feedback will worth a lot for me! 😊

Stay well and have a great week.

Until next time,

Ali