Sunday Wisdom No. 63

Competitions are everywhere. Whether you are trying to find a job, grow your subscribers, raise funding, or get a new gig—you are part of a competition.

Welcome to Issue 63!

I rarely read fiction, but my partner and her elder sister are heavily into fantasy fiction. Their philosophy is: if there’s no magic where’s the fun! I wanted to do some light reading this week, so I picked up the audiobook of A Game of Thrones inspired by them. Boy am I so hooked into it now!

The best way to experience fiction (especially fantasy fiction) is to listen. Even though I know the story, the book is super fun to listen to, especially while I’m cooking. If you have good books to recommend, fiction or not, do mention in the comments.

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Hi, I’m Abhishek. Each week I’ll introduce you to multidisciplinary wisdom—in the form of original essays, bite-sized lessons, commentaries, and more—that gives you an unfair advantage in business and life. If you love Sunday Wisdom, you can buy me a coffee or share this newsletter with a friend.

Know Your Competition

In this week’s essay I talk about competitions.

Competitions are everywhere. Whether you are trying to find a job, grow your subscribers, raise funding, or get a new gig—you are part of a competition.

It’s not important to lose your sleep over that, but it would be foolish to ignore it. It may save you temporarily from some pain, but won’t solve the problem. Even if you ignore the competition, you are in it.

Knowing where you are standing in the competition is important, because that helps you identify your leverage. Leverage helps you create a strategy around it that may give you an unfair advantage over others.

In this article, I discuss everything starting from how to identify competitions, how to learn the winning criteria, how to bet on your USP, and some more.

Read The Full Article

Old New v New New

New technologies enable activities that fall into one of two categories:

  1. Doing things you could already do but can now do better because they are faster, cheaper, easier, higher quality, etc. For example, writing a newsletter or creating a podcast wasn’t this easy 20 years ago.

  2. Doing brand new things that you simply couldn’t do before. Blockchain, for example.

It’s easier to image the first category, hence it gets more attention, at least in the early days. But the second one ends up having more impact eventually.

They start out looking like strange toys that only geeks are interested in. Take the personal computer revolution that started in the 70s. It took years for the world to embrace it.

It’s obvious that we are early in the development of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies, machine learning, and virtual reality. They look like fancy concepts or toys now. It’s easy to imagine a better world without them. Just like it was easy to imagine a better world without computers in the 70s. But once they take shape, it’s impossible to go back.

It doesn’t mean that all fancy toys would become revolutionary as a personal computer, or a smart phone, but it’s important to encourage the idea of building fancy toys. Most of them would fail, but the ones that succeed would shape the future. That’s the only way the world can experience new things. Link

Life Rules

Nate Green is an author and a contributor to Men’s Health magazine. He shares 10 rules that had the biggest positive impact on his life. Here are my three favourites:

  1. Spend money to remove a negative, instead of adding a positive. Once the essentials are taken care of, spending money to remove annoying things from our lives leads to more day-to-day satisfaction than adding new things. Getting a better mattress to sleep better brings more lasting satisfaction than upgrading the iPhone.

  2. At work, focus on your strengths. At home, focus on your weaknesses. Work requires getting a job well done. Which means focussing more on what we can do. Increasing our strengths makes us better at the job. But in our personal lives, so much of conflict is caused because of our psychological weaknesses. Focussing on eliminating the weaknesses helps us become better as a person, and therefore build stronger relationships.

  3. Focus on the 20% of the actions that will lead to 80% of the results. Most things aren’t distributed evenly. Often small number of inputs produce the best output. Out of your ten life goals, two may turn out to be worth more than the others put together. Identify them. They are worth all your time and effort. Link

Early Work

The biggest thing that holds people back from doing great work is the fear of making something lame.

All great projects go through a stage where they aren’t impressive, even to their creators. You have to push through this stage to reach the great work that lies beyond. But most people don’t even reach the stage of making something they’re embarrassed by, let lone move past this. They’re too frightened even to start.

This fear isn’t irrational. Making new things is itself a new thing for human beings. But it’s easier to start a new project if you think of it as a way to learn something new, and not as a way to get something—users, money, or fame—at least in the early days. Thereby, even if the project fails, you’ll still have gained by it. Link

👋 That’s All!

One last thing. Reading this post won’t help, unless you swallow, chew, and digest these ideas. I urge you to become a demanding reader—one who questions the author, seeks answers, and doesn’t shy away from sharing opinions and interpretations.

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