#31: in retrospect

👋 Welcome to the 31st volume of Out of Curiosity, a weekly newsletter promoting ideas to help get 1% better everyday.

In this final volume of 2020, I'm sharing the most popular ideas in the last 30 issues, plus a year-in-review of some of the stuff I found exciting and interesting.

In this Issue:

⭐️ Year in review

🌱 33 things I stole from people smarter than me

🤔 Ideas that changed my life

📖 Why you should summarize the books you read

💯 Good enough is just fine

🎖 What you should be working on

⭐️ Year in review

It's been quite a year, unlike any other.

Looking back, the limitations made it difficult (and at times impossible) to pursue a lot of what I'd originally planned. But it was also an enabler to get more creative and find alternative paths to a desired outcome, destination or goal. And in doing so, coming to appreciate (and embrace) change.

I wanted to use this time of the year to share some of my best discoveries (and learnings) from communities and creators, to newsletters and books.


🌱 33 things I stole from people smarter than me

Ryan Holiday has been consolidating the same number of ideas as his age since he turned 28. And his 33rd edition is one full of wisdom.

The note on outcome vs. process is a good one.

As you become more professional at anything, you care less about results.

It’s not to say that you don’t get results, you do. But that’s because you know you can trust the systems and processes you’ve put in place overtime.

There are professional habits and amateur ones. Which are you practicing? Is this a pro or an amateur move? Ask yourself that. Constantly.

{10-min read}

🤔 Ideas that changed my life

You spend years trying to learn new stuff but then look back and realize that maybe like 10 big ideas truly changed how you think and drive most of what you believe.

This is not a typical list of ideas… A lot of wisdom is compressed here.

And the 5-minute reading time only counts the number of characters, not their respective weights!

To truly grasp them, you need longer than that. I spent half an hour digesting every idea and taking notes around them to go back to later.

One that particularly stood out to me was our tendency to make assumptions.

And how our individual experiences make up a very small fraction of what’s happening (and being experienced) in the world.

Yet, they define more or less how we see the world.

What a humbling reminder to catch ourselves next time, and consider things from different perspectives.

Start with the assumption that everyone is innocently out of touch and you’ll be more likely to explore what’s going on through multiple points of view, instead of cramming what’s going on into the framework of your own experiences.

{5-min read}

📖 Why you should summarize the books you read

Reading is one thing, but benefiting from what we read is another matter altogether.

The art of capturing and summarizing what you read can influence how much of the book you’ll end up retaining and acting on.

And the fact that you’re constantly looking out for what’s important and what’s not, helps you practice your judgement.

Also, something crucial happens when you invest a decent amount of time summarizing what you read:

10 to 20 hours is a significant amount of time to spend with someone’s thinking. It is more like doing an apprenticeship or taking a class than reading a book.

Of course you shouldn’t be summarizing (or reading) any book. Only great books.

They have to be interesting, unique, and helpful.

{20-min read}

💯 Good enough is just fine

When you finish something, are you usually satisfied with the end result?

Or do you have a sense of agitation that you could do more?

The road to perfect never ends.

Consistent is better than perfect.

Done is better than perfect.

Good enough is just fine.

And this mindset makes it possible to start something else that will move you in the right creative direction.

What we lack in perfection can be made up for with consistency.

{4-min read}

🎖 What you should be working on

What if you wrote down all that you cared about on a piece of paper.

And used that to understand how you subconsciously assess a new opportunity or project worthiness?

When Julian did this exercise, he realized writing is more important to him than starting startups.

What prompted him to consider digging into his values was pondering how Elon Musk picks what to work on:

I wondered, Is the fundamental difference between Musk and others that he's better at knowing what to spend his time on every day?

And to reassure himself that he's on the right path, he used a mental framework called Regret minimization.

Through this model, he had an aha moment:

The moment I understood I'd be more regretful if I failed to become a successful writer than a successful entrepreneur, I was no longer distracted by the urge to pursue startups. Instead, I was focused on ensuring I didn't die without becoming a successful writer.

{15-min read}

When I started writing this newsletter earlier this year, I couldn't have imagined it would provide me with the opportunity to connect with so many curious individuals around the world!

To those of you who've been around since the early days, I'm grateful for your support and feedback to help spread knowledge, wisdom and curiosity. If you've recently joined, welcome!

Happy New Year 🎉