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Welcome to another Mindf*ck Monday, the only weekly newsletter that is actually smarter than it looks. Each week, I send you three potentially life-changing ideas to help you become a slightly less awful human being.
1. 3 Steps to Become Great at Anything – First, find leverage points. What’s the 20% of effort that drives 80% of results? Second, create feedback loops. That means stop hiding in your basement and show your shit to the world (or a highly qualified teacher/mentor/coach/person/thing.)
Third, iterate, iterate, iterate. Iterate more times than seems reasonable or possible. Iterate until you want to fucking puke. Iterate until it’s perfect. Then keep iterating.
Is this making sense?
If not, I gave plenty of examples in a video I made last week. Check it out:
And don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel… you know, because I’m a lonely author with a fragile ego and can’t sleep at night unless I meet a certain threshold of validation on the internet.
2. The Bifurcation of Attention – One of the most interesting and accurate ideas I’ve come across in the past few years is something my friend Taylor Pearson once called “the bifurcation of attention.” It goes like this.
- The 30-minute sitcom television show is dying. Meanwhile, 45-second Instagram videos and seven seasons of Game of Thrones are thriving.
- The classic dramatic film is dying. Meanwhile, Youtube videos and the eighteen thousand sequels of the Marvel Universe are thriving.
- Classic magazines and newspapers are dying. Meanwhile, Twitter and non-fiction books are thriving.
Mid-level attention is dead. People either want it short and quick, so they can move on to something else—or they want to immerse themselves in it for days/weeks/months.
This bifurcation arguably doesn’t just apply to media either. People used to casually pick stocks to hold for multiple years. Now, they either day trade, or plant their savings in an ETF from now until eternity.
People used to live in the suburbs and commute to the city. Now they either want to live in the city or work remotely from a thousand miles away.
People used to buy albums. Now they either stream songs or download an artist’s entire catalogue.
People used to frequent popular chain restaurants. Now they either want fast food or a gourmet, seven course meal.
The internet age has bifurcated our attention. You either go big or go small. There’s no in-between.
3. Don’t Worry, the Kids Were Always Screwed – A couple weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter about how kids just aren’t fucking each other like they used to, and how old people can’t help but feel that that’s somehow a bad thing.
One thing that’s amusing about the inevitable “The Kids Are Not All Right” takes you see all the time is that they never really change.
I mean that literally—they never change. When you dig through history, you see the exact same complaints about the younger generations. It’s only the context that changes.
Take this op-ed from 1920 claiming that a scandalous new genre known as “jazz” was ruining young people’s ability to get married. All that hippity-hoppity dancing and women showing their knees and, uh… black people, was apparently going to be the downfall of society or something.
Or take the fact that in the 18th century, when novels became popular for the first time, parents complained that their children were reading too much. They used to call it “reading rage” and they worried that if their kids spent too much time reading books, they’d lose track of reality.
Hell, even if you go back to Ancient Greece, you can find instances of philosophers complaining that the invention of writing had made people dumb—that kids these days just didn’t have to memorize ten thousand lines of poetry the way their grandparents did, and that was clearly going to ruin their minds.
So, the next time you see grand declarations of the death of an entire generation, just think about jazz ruining marriage… and then laugh about it. Because for thousands of years, every generation has been fucked yet somehow turned out fine.
Why would this one be any different?
Until next week,