Emails can sometimes seem like a waste of time. Almost by accident, most of us end up subscribing to a bunch of stuff we never actually read. I’ve taken the time in the last few months to unsubscribe from the rubbish, and so my inbox today was a particularly rich source of inspiration.
In the order I received them, today I was sent: The Best of Brain Pickings 2017
Maria Popova’s site is a real labour of love. She curates ideas from thousands of books – including classics, undiscovered or forgotten gems, and the best new writing. Lose yourself clicking from one fascinating literary link to another.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the TED Talks format – short, but pretty uniformly brilliant talks on every topic imaginable. Every day in December, they send one carefully chosen link [you don’t have to get this many! They do a weekly email too]. Today’s was about what we can learn from Greenland’s ice sheet and as usual, I learnt something new.
Taken from ‘The Cleanest Line’, the blog of clothing company Patagonia, this is a short read about the ‘Airplane Mode’ hikes [indicating the state of your mobile phone while participating]. Disconnecting from technology in order to connect with real people is something I definitely want to do more of in 2018.
Seth Godin is one of my favourite business writers. His daily blog is consistently thought-provoking, and a regular reminder of what is truly important – working hard on the things you really care about. If you like his blog, his books are also excellent – I suggest starting with ‘Tribes’.
How To Be Happy
Austin Kleon describes himself as a writer who draws. His weekly email of things he has done, is watching/reading/listening, and ideas he has collected is reliably excellent. If you want more, can I point you towards ‘Steal Like An Artist’?
Tim Ferriss seems to be one of the most ridiculously connected people on the planet. His books are great – especially ‘Tools of Titans’ – and his podcast is utterly superb. All his stuff contains practical ideas and tactics for getting more out of life.
‘The Atlantic’ Year in Review
The only mainstream news source I read is ‘The Atlantic’. Their video ‘Question Your Answers’ [featuring the amazing Michael K. Williams] might help explain why. It’s the most consistently neutral media I’ve come across in a long time – yes, they print opinion pieces too, but when it comes to reporting facts, and leaving you to come to your own conclusions based on those facts, nothing else I’ve ever read comes close.
Let’s Go Do It…
Making my inbox a source of joy and inspiration took a bit of effort. When a genuine email turns up that you aren’t interested in [like a shop you ordered something from two years ago, but haven’t visited since], take a few seconds to click the ‘Unsubscribe’ link – usually near the bottom, and in very small text! If it’s spam, DO NOT click any links – instead, take the time to report it as spam or junk [in most email programs these days, that just means clicking a button]. Filters these days are pretty good, and as the weeks go by, you’ll get less and less rubbish.
It sounds obvious, but when you find someone you like, sign up for their newsletter. Sometimes after a few weeks you’ll realise they don’t have that much to say after all, but gradually you’ll tune in to the things you like.