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How a Genius Solves Problems (by putting details second)

Amazing article on solving problems by first understanding essentials of the problem (not the solution). Simplify and focus on the big picture or “core” of the problem before jumping into details.

👉 Claude Shannon: How a Genius Solves Problems

Finding the true form of the problem is almost as important as the answer that comes after.

I practically want to copy and past the whole article in here, but here are a few select highlights.

Finding the core problem

…it is to get the bigger picture right before you go chasing after the details. Otherwise, you start by pointing yourself in the wrong direction.

Shannon’s reasoning… was that it isn’t until you eliminate the inessential from the problem you are working on that you can see the core that will guide you to an answer.

Looking at the problem in different ways

One of Shannon’s go-to tricks was to restructure and contrast the problem in as many different ways as possible. This could mean exaggerating it, minimizing it, changing the words of how it is stated, reframing the angle from where it is looked at, and inverting it.

In every day life

Much of life — whether it’s in your work, or in your relationships, or as it relates to your well-being — comes down to identifying and attacking a problem so that you can move past it.

You

Think something positive? Voice it.

Great article about building better relationships (of all kinds).

Want a Happier, More Fulfilling Life? 75-Year Harvard Study Says Focus on This 1 Thing

It basically comes down to expressing gratitude towards people you appreciate.

When you think something positive and you genuinely believe it, voice it.

And this habit tends to circle back to you.

When you practice Positive Alacrity, you’re not only uplifting others. Above all, you’re uplifting yourself.

You

How to Raise Successful Kids

👉Time via Apple News

As a parent of two girls. this article from a mom who raised three very successful and (ostensibly) happy women immediately caught my eye. She lists five simple parenting principles. To my relief, they all fit nicely with my own ideas on raising my kids. ☺️

trust, respect, independence, collaboration, kindness

These all sound obvious. But many parents routinely (and with the best intentions) break the trust and undermine the respect and independence of their kids.

(It’s always fascinated me how baby talk, coddling, and strict discipline all go hand in hand. And none of these are on this list for making a strong, kind, happy adult.)

You may not care what I think as a parent, but I do suggest considering the ideas of this woman who raised two CEOs and a doctor. Her emphasis is big on kindness and independence and never about “getting ahead.”

What I wanted more than anything was to make them first into independent children and then into empowered, independent adults. I figured that if they could think on their own and make sound decisions, they could face any challenges that came their way.

What I’m offering… is an antidote to our parenting and teaching problems, a way to fight against the anxiety, discipline problems, power struggles, peer pressure and fear of technology that cloud our judgment and harm our children.

Esther Wojcicki
You

How to Teach Yourself to Be Funnier

Comedy does not come naturally to me, especially if I’m trying to be funny. I like this article’s step-by-step approach to being funnier. And I really like the guy who checks into hotels with a fake Elvis driver’s license. 😂

👉 https://medium.com/the-cut/how-to-teach-yourself-to-be-funnier-9feaa968c113

Humor is about “benign violation” — disrupting your sense of normalcy in a way that doesn’t present any real harm. So weird incongruities. Or remembering a threatening situation that turned out to be fine, and now you feel silly about it.

So here’s a game plan, and like anything else hard and worthwhile, it’s going to take some conscious effort. Luckily, it’s pretty simple…

Learn to look for funny things

“Look at the absurdity around you. Check for incongruities,”

Make this a conscious habit in every day life.

Seek out humorous situations in your life

Listen, read, watch funny stuff. TV shows, movies, podcasts, etc.

Find an audience and practice on them

Find someone willing to check your humor. Tell them a joke every day. Get honest feedback. Maybe try an improv class.

Keep in mind that humor is vert contextual. “Know how to apply the basic principles of humor to specific situations.” And humor builds on itself over time. So once you get going with someone, you have a foundation for getting funnier.

You

Optimism is not always > pessimism

👉 https://blog.liberationist.org/the-bright-and-dark-sides-of-optimism-and-pessimism-95c6092f560c

I’d consider myself to be an optimist, even against overwhelming evidence at times. It’s a sort of faith. It’s fun to be optimistic and see what happens. I like to give the middle finger to negativity.

While this article acknowledges the positive powers of optimism, it also details the surprising advantages of some healthy pessimism. I may need to work on leveraging some pessimism more, especially while estimating projects and budgets!

Pessimism can help us prepare and do our best work, increase desire and enthusiasm to improve things, and even reduce anxiety by motivating focus over avoidance. 🤯

Highlights…

The down side of optimism

Multiple research has shown that optimism has a dark side too. Not only it can lead to poor outcomes, but it makes us underestimate risks or take less action. 

Optimists pay less attention to detail and fail to seek new information to challenge their rosy views leading to poor decisions.

The Optimism Bias is one of the two key factors why we inaccurately calculate big projects — we tend to underestimate both time and cost.

Defensive pessimism

Defensive Pessimist is a particular type of pessimist that takes negative thinking to a whole new level. It’s a strategy that helps people reduce their anxiety — it drives focus rather than avoidance.

The defensive pessimist focuses on the worst-case scenario — s/he identifies and takes care of things that optimists miss. This approach can help us better prepare for events that are out of our full control such as a job interview.

Meliorism

In philosophy, Meliorism is a concept which drives our ability to improve the world through alteration — we can produce outcomes that are considered better than the original phenomenon.

Meliorism doesn’t mean ignoring the world’s evils. But to accept life’s setbacks as challenges to overcome. This joie de vivre energizes us — it boosts our desire and enthusiasm