Free cocktails

There’s a cocktail bar that offers you a free cocktail in exchange for a few personal details when you sign up to the mailing list.

Your name, email and date of birth.

I think it’s interesting that we’re willing to trade this information for a drink.

That drink might cost around $13 which is of course much more than it’s actually worth and if the glass is full of ice, it’s worth even less.

But for the bar it’s clear that giving out a free drink is worth it in exchange for your name, email and date of birth. Once you give them your information, whilst you get a free drink in return they now have permission to send you stuff and it might be stuff you don’t actually want.

More importantly, the free drink can only be redeemed by visiting the bar. So now you have to visit and when you do it’s more likely than not that you’ll also end up paying for drinks once you get you’re free one.

Age and experience

If you find yourself taking on the role of ‘the person that knows best’, you might find yourself getting carried away. Often it is age and experience that deems a person eligible to claim to know best but those things aren’t always determining factors.

A person might be older but perhaps their experience isn’t applicable to the present day. A person may have experience but perhaps the lessons they had to learn or challenges they had to overcome won’t apply to the person they are trying to pass it on to.

I think as much as it’s great to be willing to share knowledge and information, it’s also good to be willing to listen. Your decades of experience don’t give you a pass to dismiss or diminish those that are younger or less experienced. Despite all that you might know there will always be more to learn or understand and perhaps that will come from someone unexpected, someone younger or someone with less experience.

Pace, pace, Lead

Something I read in a book about NLP.

Sometimes I’m a little hesitant to embrace every aspect of NLP because using methods to influence people in your favour is potentially unethical or at least comes across as manipulative.

But other times I find that NLP can provide a useful guide on how to word things when you want your intentions to be clear.

When asking for what you want just blurting it out can sometimes be too aggressive. You need to approach things gently. You need to pace, pace, lead.

Check out changing minds for more information on exactly how it’s done.

You have to be willing to change your mind

It’s more important than you might have considered.

When it comes to your opinions, beliefs and life plans, you have to be willing to change your mind.

You never want to be so set in your ways that you close yourself off to other options.

Sometimes when you’re so committed to what you know, it feels too difficult (or requires more effort than you’re willing to give) to change your mind. And so you hide away from information that could change your perception.

Or maybe you hide away from learning about what you could do to change your life path. You do this because once you know it’s possible for things to be better you’ll end up miserable if you never do anything about it. Yet you end up staying stagnant because you’re not willing to change your mind about the path you want to be on.

Change comes with risk and sometimes we choose security or familiarity over happiness.

Entertaining and addictive

The thing about social media is that it’s great when you’re on it. It’s entertaining, it’s addictive.

It’s so much of those things that I find myself thinking, I’ll feel like I’m missing out if I take a break.

When you’re logged into social media it can feel like you need to check it 20 times a day. Even though you know there is nothing there that you need to see, the apps are designed in a way to keep you coming back.

And so you check the app again and again even if you don’t really have a reason to.

Checking social media multiple times a day means you’re constantly taking in other peoples stuff. It could be a useful infographic, educational twitter thread or a new recipe to try on IGTV. However, it could also be celebrity gossip, peoples thoughts on relationships or people making fun of someone.

That’s why I think logging out is so important. It allows you to disconnect from distractions and might even remind you that you don’t it as much as you think you do.

That probably won’t mean quitting all social media for good but instead simply using it less.

Knowing when to be open

There is a time to be open and there is a time to be less open.

It’s important to choose wisely.

Being open with people can be a great way to create understanding and build a connection. But it should also be appropriate to the situation. The openness required to create understanding with a romantic partner and a manager are very different.

Plus, the level of openness is also affected by the boundaries in place by others and also ourselves.

If a client asks how you’re weekend was the boundaries you have in place will ensure the openness is fairly restrictive. But if a friend asked you’re more likely to go into significantly greater detail and divulge information that you may not share with anyone else.

These thoughts about openness and boundaries are nothing new or revolutionary but I do think it’s interesting to think about. It gets even more interesting when you observe the way openness decreases and increases as relationships change. Perhaps as a colleague becomes a manager or a friend becomes a romantic partner.

Taking advantage of free stuff

We never truly take advantage of what we have access to because we don’t value free stuff.

How many free pdfs have you downloaded?
How many free courses have you signed up for?
How many helpful free YouTube videos have you watched?

How much of that information have you implemented into your life or made use of?

There is an abundance of free stuff out there but the problem is, we don’t value it. Somewhere in our minds we feel like if it has no monetary price then it is not of value.

And we know that this is true because many of us pay for things that we can get for free.

Seeking information

We now have access to more information than we’ll ever use and can ever truly comprehend.

You might have grown up where the only way to learn about something was if you went to the library, watched a documentary on TV or even asked someone you know.

If you want to learn about something nowadays, the answer is a few seconds away. Any random thought or curiosity that comes to mind doesn’t have to pass you by.

You can google it.

And because we have that access, it might make us less likely to read books, watch documentaries and ask questions. Those are things I’d consider to still be worth doing.

When we’re seeking answers or information on a topic, we can find it out on our own pretty quickly.

It’s also something we take for granted.

Don’t check the stats

It’s easy to fall into thinking that having access to and analysing the numbers will improve your work.

But sometimes it just makes you miserable.

When you sacrifice what you want to do with what will make the numbers go up you’re less likely to be satisfied with the work you produce.

If you focus on producing work that will make the numbers go up but instead they go down, you’ll be even less satisfied.

Sometimes the numbers are helpful when they give you information about what is or isn’t working.

But other times, they’re not worth checking at all.

You don’t need more information

You buy more books, attend more events and enroll on more courses.

You think these things will give you the necessary knowledge and tools to pursue the thing you’re interested in.

But how much is too much?

When will you stop gathering information and just start?

We’re often relunctant to accept that we’re ready to jump in and really do the work. Instead we hide behind this great online course that will teach us what we need to know. You probably tell yourself, you’ll start once the course is done.

But then you just end up finding something else to distract yourself.

Of course, there’s no point starting something if you have no knowledge of what you’re trying to purse. But it gets to a point where you’re better off starting with some knowledge and learning along the way than simply consuming more information.