An important person in my girlfriend’s life reached out last week to receive support for a new chapter in his journey. He assuredly was not aimless, but I found myself recommending the same articles over and over again. It helped me coalesce a series of articles that I have found to be life-changing (as have thousands of others).
Instead of bombarding you with 120 articles of dubious quality that you’ll never read, I’ve instead opted for only three. I do this for two reasons:
- Quality > Quantity – I understand people have finite time and I want readers to get the biggest bang for their buck. These truly are life-changing (or have been for me, anyway).
- Implement – One of my life’s guiding philosophies is to DO. Take action. So, I’m hoping to give punchy advice, but not too much so that you can go out and do whatever it is you want to do after reading this.
Also, I should clarify the headline as I am a copywriter. Anyone can benefit from reading these articles, but people who are in a “life transition” may benefit more so than others. This might be you or it might be a friend who jumps around from job to job or project to project. Being aimless isn’t bad per se, it just lacks guidance. Maybe the work of these brilliant writers can provide some guidance.
“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”
By Mark Manson. Read the article here.
Social pressure to act and behave a certain way is greater than ever. How many times have your actions changed based on the desires of others? We make ourselves miserable because we constantly worry about what other people will think of us. The answer isn’t to “not give a fuck” about anything, but rather have a purpose and mission where we allocate all of our fucks.
Personal Context: I read this article after being released from prison and feeling heartbroken by a girl’s rejection. I gave too many fucks about her opinion and it made me miserable. I needed to find something worth caring about. I’m not the only one who loves this article. It was so popular he wrote an entire book on the subject coming out soon.
6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person
By David Wong. Read the article here.
As “nice” of a person as you may be, there are some cold, hard truths. People don’t care as much about who you are as what you do for them. What kind of value are you creating in the world? This applies to your relationships, your profession, and just about every other facet of your life. One brutal Glengarry Glenn Ross quote to sum up the vibe “Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. If you want to work here, close.”
Personal Context: I read this article on New Year’s 2012 or 2013 after I was arrested. It was a harsh lesson, but I have re-read the article every year since then (sometimes more). It’s a reality check, it’s a knuckle in the teeth, but it’s what we all need to realize.
The Cook and the Chef: Musk’s Secret Sauce
By Tim Urban (Wait but Why). Read the article here.
Elon Musk is one of the greatest innovators and thought-leaders of our time, but what makes him special? He sees the world with a lens of “first principles“. His reality is governed by what he understands to be true not by what other people tell him is truth. We face opinions, pseudoscience, and limiting beliefs every day and there is only one way to navigate those waters: think for yourself. Warning: this article is very long and tangential, but worthwhile.
Personal Context: I’ve felt different than 80-90% of others throughout my life and always felt confusion as a result. Something internally would drive me in one direction, but the masses were going in the opposite. The concept of “first principles” was completely new to me (I studied history in college) and resonated within the context of this article. Elon Musk is the epitome of a man who overcomes failure, obstacles, takes risks, and innovates.