Want to be successful? Be obsessed

Just a day late so rather than starting your day smarter, just continue it instead:

Believe you can improve

Why do people succeed? How do our conscious and subconscious thoughts impact our ability to achieve greatness? This analysis by Carol Dweck identifies two types of mindset: (1) growth and (2) fixed. The question at the core of her work: what are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, Dweck argues that we should adopt a growth mindset, i.e. that intelligence or personality is something that can be developed. Why? Because the passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

In related news, this Quora post from Elon Musk’s ex-wife is doing the rounds. Her advice for success? Be obsessed.


Two things happened over the last fortnight that got me thinking about how engrained Facebook is into our lives. The first was the General Election. It was impossible to miss friends, family and mild acquaintances sharing that they had votes. In fact, more than one million people clicked ‘I’m a voter’ on the social network last Thursday. The second event was the tragic death of Sheryl Sandberg’s husband. She shared a eulogy on Facebook that garnered over a quarter of a million likes. What do the two things have in common?

They show how effortless it has become to become part of a movement. This article in the Guardian talks about how technology has enabled us to become a participatory society. I often wonder about whether tech actually makes us lonelier, but Catherine Shoard argues the opposite: thanks to platforms like Facebook we can rally together much easier than ever before.

Interestingly, according to findings from Facebook researchers, you are seeing fewer news items that you’d disagree with which are shared by your friends because the algorithm is not showing them to you. Take a look at a (somewhat long) summary of the research here.

Eric Schmidt’s 9 rules of e-mail

Here’s some practical advice from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on how to handle e-mail. The tl;dr version:

  1. Respond quickly.
  2. When writing an email, every word matters, and useless prose doesn’t. Be crisp in your delivery.
  3. Clean out your inbox constantly.
  4. Handle email in LIFO order (Last In First Out). Sometimes the older stuff gets taken care of by someone else.
  5. Remember, you’re a router.
  6. When you use the bcc (blind copy) feature, ask yourself why.
  7. Don’t yell.
  8. Make it easy to follow up on requests.
  9. Help your future self search for stuff. If you get something you think you may want to recall later, forward it to yourself along with a few keywords that describe its content.

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