Sunday Wisdom No. 7

Happy Sunday!

Welcome to a new edition of Sunday Wisdom. Here I share many little bits of wisdom in a single email. The last three editions: 0605, and 04.

My Instagram feed is full of digital artwork and comics related stuff. I am not addicted, but I was randomly firing it up every now and then. Today I deleted the Instagram app from my phone.

I figured I’ll be able to save some time this way. Even 15 minutes saved a day would be worth it. As Charles Darwin said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

Now, it’s time for your weekly dose of fat-free wisdom.


📝 Are You Cashing In On a Human Addiction?

Reid Hoffman says that he never invests in companies that don’t exploit one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It makes good business sense. A lot of successful consumer-focussed products do exploit some form of human weakness. Facebook and Instagram exploit pride and envy. LinkedIn exploits greed. Tinder exploits lust. Swiggy (India) and DoorDash (US) exploit gluttony and sloth.

Weakness leads to addiction. If you are monetising some form of human addiction, you have to think hard about whether you are making the world a better or worse place. Humans often become addicted to products that are very harmful.

Even when you aren’t cashing in on a human addiction, you are often manipulating users to use your solution. Only you can decide if your product is really making the world a better place, or if you are here only for the money.

You need to ask three questions. First, “Will I use it myself?” Second, “Will I let my family/kids to use it?” And third, “Will it help users improve their lives?”

👉 You can continue reading the article now, read it later, or WhatsApp it to a friend.


🎥 How to Think Backward to Solve Problems?

What makes you happy? As simple as it sounds, it’s not so simple to answer. You might spend a lifetime figuring out what are the various things that make you happy. But one thing you are sure of right now, at this very moment, is what makes you unhappy.

We have a better sense of things that are bad, harmful, or plain wrong. This is usually how we think and ideate. Brainstorming, for example, involves the process of removing a lot of bad ideas, to reach a good one. Even Sherlock Holmes says, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

So, a better way to be happy is to ask what makes you unhappy, and simply removing them from your life. This process is called Inversion. Inversion helps you turn a problem upside down, and reframe it so that you can look at it backward. It’s a powerful Mental Model that is immensely helpful when you are stuck and there’s no way to move forward.

👉 You can watch the video now, watch it later, or WhatsApp it to a friend.


☕️ Worth Your Time

👉 Can Obedience Make You Stupid?

Why does a nurse put ear drops in a patient’s anus? How was Hitler able to organise a mass genocide? Why don’t you go ahead and correct your boss in a meeting when they say something that is absolutely wrong? Authority Bias is the tendency to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure and be more influenced by that opinion, even if it makes no sense. Read the article.

👉 How Do You Persuade Others?

When it comes to persuasion, we often employ facts in arguments thinking they will change the mind of the other person. Well, that’s not how it works. A good argument in five sentences will sway more people than a brilliant argument in a hundred sentences. That’s not all. Your reputation is far more important than your argument. Do they like you? Also, when it comes to changing our minds, we are more likely to do something if we see a lot of people doing it. Do you have some social proof? Watch the video.

👉 Is IQ an Indicator of Intelligence?

IQ measures extreme unintelligence, rather than intelligence. Low IQ is a good indicator that you might be Forrest Gump. But a high IQ doesn’t mean that you are an Einstein. A theoretical exam does not determine how well you fare in the real world. If you want to detect how well someone does at something, say starting a business, or playing tennis, make them do it. Read the article.


💡 Find a Better Job

Every time you get a new job, immediately start looking for a better one.

Chances are that the best job for you won’t become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready.

Your best bet is to always be looking for a better deal. The better deal has its own schedule. Your job is not your job. Your job is to find a better job.


🤔 Quote to Ponder

“In reality, a lot of the times we’re most productive is when we listen to ourselves with our own cues, rather than following prescriptions from other well-intentioned people.”

—  Paul Jarvis

People often share anecdotes and personal learnings. Their intention might be good, but often well-intended advice might not help you. It’s however important to listen to them, even if you don’t follow them.

Take advice from others, but couple them with your own cues. If your creative energy is maximum at night, there’s no point in taking the advice of becoming an early riser. If you work better amidst chaos, you don’t need advice on deep work. If you are temperature sensitive, an advice to take cold showers might harm you.

Having said that, not all advice is meaningless. Most age old advice is good. For example, reading books was a good advice a thousand years ago. It’s good advice today. It will be a good advice thousand years from now. As a rule of thumb, try to follow advice that has survived the test of time.


👋 As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. Just send me a note!

Until next Sunday!

Best,
Abhishek


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