Unsolicited Advice

I just read an excellent blog post by Kevin Kelly, entitled "68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice." It's one of my favorite articles in a long time.

While the entire list is great, here a few points that stood out to me:

  • Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.
  • A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can’t believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.
  • For every dollar you spend purchasing something substantial, expect to pay a dollar in repairs, maintenance, or disposal by the end of its life.
  • Rule of 7 in research. You can find out anything if you are willing to go seven levels. If the first source you ask doesn’t know, ask them who you should ask next, and so on down the line. If you are willing to go to the 7th source, you’ll almost always get your answer.
  • How to apologize: Quickly, specifically, sincerely.
  • Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don’t have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.
  • The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.

For fun, I spent this morning coming up with a few pieces of advice myself.

In business (and life) speed trumps virtually everything. Move quickly and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

When dealing with customer service reps, the magic number is 3. If you don't get your desired outcome, talk to 3 reps. After the 3rd, the answer is probably permanent and there's no need to waste any more time.

Invest the time to learn a 2nd language, no one cares that you will look silly. Being able to speak and think in a different language is a huge competitive advantage.

While the world can be scary, if you take some basic precautions and stay alert, you can travel and enjoy the majority of places on this earth.

Sign up for a CC that earns miles, it can pay off if done right. Learn "travel hacking."

There are a few things you absolutely know more about than the average person. Teach that skill or passion.

Learn to touch type and spend time learning your favorite apps keyboard shortcuts.

Build the habit of expressing gratitude daily, it pays off in the end.

Read books about obscure subjects. For example, I'm reading a book about pigeons right now.

No one cares. Work harder ;-)