Remember when you first learned about compound interest? It wasn’t intuitive that starting with a penny on day one and doubling it each day for 30 days would net so much money. Investing time and attention works in a similar way, compounding, even if it’s not exponential.

One powerful lesson from any investment that repeats and compounds is that real progress or growth isn’t immediately obvious. Knowing this allows you to adjust your expectations and stay in the game.

Citing the above penny-doubling experiment, after 10 days (1/3 of the way!) you only have $10.24. What do you have on day 30? $5.4 million.

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Internalizing a single nugget of wisdom can make consuming an entire book, podcast, seminar, or conversation worthwhile. Always be open to useful outlooks, approaches, or strategies from any source.

Even one new perspective, idea, or well-thought-out question can shift your outlook in life-changing ways.

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The feeling of hunger tells us when we should eat (now), not how much we should eat. Bright lights close to bedtime tell the body that it’s still daytime, as our eyes are the most important medium for delivering info to the mother ship (the brain) on the time of day.

Our bodies can misinterpret signals, and our conscious minds can convince our bodies of a false story. Two keys to correcting this:

  1. Self-awareness is a strong antidote to better interpret these signals. Are you eating more because you’re still hungry?
  2. Change your environment — if we know we’ll get better sleep by avoiding certain kinds of light at night, and exposing ourselves to light in the morning, we can make the right changes.

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If there’s a reliable way to enrage someone while also compelling them to do the exact opposite of your advice, it’s using the phrase “calm down”.

One alternative that I’ve found to work well when I really do want someone to calm down is to say…nothing. Just BE an example of calm. Mirror neurons are part of our biology. Often, people can’t help but embrace some of your calm energy.

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Optimism is hard for a reason — it’s unnatural. For our ancestors, being optimistic and “wrong” perhaps meant you missed out on an opportunity, whereas being pessimistic and wrong meant you became tiger food.

We should train ourselves to overcome this programming for a few reasons: First, many of us are lucky to live in a world where we can test theories, and create things that might be valuable. We can be wrong and “fail” many times, often with little to no personal or reputational damage, unlike our ancestors.

Second, being optimistic is a healthier mindset regardless of outcomes. And lastly, you’re more likely to improve the world (and yourself) by thinking “this might work” versus, “here are all the reasons this won’t work.”

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“Product” can mean whatever you want it to. As a business, an influencer, an artist, or even (surprise!) as a human, your product is not for everyone. As Seth Godin brilliantly states, the least helpful mantra is “you can pick anyone, and we’re anyone!”

Of all the businesses and products…in all the ways they are expressed, packaged, and distributed…in any way we engage with the market, here is one simple question that can serve as a yardstick for how our product might be measured: Would they miss it if it were gone?

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Many of us admire and are influenced by smart people. I know that I hold people I see as “smart” in high regard. Unfortunately, there’s no correlation between intelligence and morality. Sociopaths offer one example of this truth, as one of their most common traits is intelligence — they just use it to selfishly manipulate to get what they want, without regard for how it affects others.

Intelligence is a respectable attribute, and it’s a worthy cause to try to get smarter. Just don’t assume that virtues come along for the ride. The only thing intelligence and integrity have in common is the number of syllables.

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At one time, most material things that we consider an expression of our style or identity only existed for their utility. The necktie was originally a bib to protect men’s shirts. Watches told the time. The first automobiles (magically!) moved people from point A to B. And now, the pricing…

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What is the goal of communication? A seemingly tricky question with a remarkably simple answer: shared understanding. That’s it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re conveying something true or false, caring or cruel. The goal is that both parties understand what is being communicated.

One way to sharpen this skill is by examining the speech of people who are extremely articulate in expressing their ideas on complex topics (whether or not you agree with the content). Studying this shows that it’s more of an art than a science — it’s not always a matter of knowing more, but instead about using the most precise words that reflect your intent.

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Steve Acho

Steve Acho

I write very short articles (20 seconds to read) sharing perspectives on health, relationships and business that have been most helpful (SteveAcho.com for more)