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178 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?
Two things for you to think about
Sometimes being hard on someone is the most helpful thing you can do for them. Sometimes being nice to someone is the most unhelpful thing you can do for them.
Nice is not always the same as good.
Choosing to be nice is strength. Feeling compelled to always be nice is weakness.
Choosing when to be disagreeable, when required, is strength. Always being disagreeable is weakness.
Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.
Three things for you to ask yourself
Are you compulsively nice? What are some situations where being nice was unhelpful? What are some situations where being disagreeable would have been better?
Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.
One thing for you to try this week
Think of a situation in your life where it’s probably helpful for everyone if you were a bit less nice. Try being a bit more confrontational. Bonus points if you don’t apologize for it.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.
Announcement: I’m finally starting a podcast!
People have been asking me for years, “Hey Mark, why don’t you have a podcast?” And every time I answer them, “Because I don’t give a fuck.” And then they laugh awkwardly, and I die a little bit inside wondering if I will ever get away from using the same lame joke 8,213 times.
Anyway, midlife crisis aside, I am launching my podcast on Wednesday, November 1st. It will be weekly. It will feature episodes with guests and episodes of just myself. And it will be shockingly awesome. Prepare yourself.
Click on one of the platform links below to listen to the trailer. Get subscribed on your favorite podcast-listening app. Tell your friends and get ready like you’re eight years old and it’s almost Christmas, because Fat Santa Mark is coming down your chimney and delivering truth bombs in your ear holes.
Ho ho ho and shit. Merry podcastmas, fuckers.
Last week’s breakthroughs
In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to develop character by doing something you won’t be externally rewarded for, then see how internally rewarding it feels.
Kristy has been doing a good deed:
I was on a walk and came across a lot of rubbish on the curb. Amongst that rubbish was a plastic bag. So I picked up the bag then started picking up the rubbish to then be startled by a man who yelled over his fence at me. He asked why I was doing that, then long story short, thanked me for it.
The rest of the walk home I continued picking up small bits of rubbish as I saw them and put all of it in the bin once I reached my destination.
I often hear people complain about the amount of rubbish around the streets but never see anyone doing anything about it. It felt good to act on something rather than complain.
Anyway it was a small achievement that made me feel good for the day. The recognition from the man over the fence was nice but I would have felt good by doing the right thing anyway.
I now carry a bag with me while walking, just in case.
S expressed gratitude without seeking recognition:
I sent flowers to my partner’s ex on her birthday. She’s a total pain in the ass but a great mom to their eleven-year-old. Didn’t say who it was from but thanked her for being a great mom.
Helen shared a maxim she lives by:
Many years ago my Dad told me the quote, ‘how you do anything is how you do everything.’ I always tried to remember that quote when I was tempted to cut corners.
When I was working on a huge project years ago, several people tried to convince me not to waste time on things they thought no one would see and that they didn’t think mattered. When we were accused of not doing things properly on the project I could hold my head up and defend everything I did. I knew I had done my best on all parts of the project and had nothing to be ashamed of or hide.
Thanks for the reminder to keep doing what I’m doing. It really does make a difference.
This reminds me of the cliché that, “it’s the people who do the work when no one is watching, who get rewarded when everyone is watching.”
There’s an iceberg effect to most things in life, where the obvious rewards are built upon thousands of tiny non-obvious behaviors. I remember when reading Steve Jobs’ biography finding it so curious how he would obsess over how the inside of the Macintosh computers looked. Even though 99% of the customers would never see it. Even though it had no discernible effect on the user experience, he still wanted the product to be as good as it possibly could be.
As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
Until next week,