If criticism pisses you off, this is a must read

The problem with good ideas is that they’re a dime a dozen. Once you know enough and you’ve trained your brain to have good ideas, you’ll see them all around you, and it won’t take any brain power to have them. The challenge is in balancing competing good ideas. Sometimes what separates a good idea from a great one is that the good idea exists in a vacuum, not taking into account other variables. Our world is chaotic, there’s so much going on that something that might seem like a good idea has unforeseen downsides once we take into account everything else going on around us.

As I write this, I have 20 examples of this very phenomena, and 100 tips, tricks, and pieces of proof that I can use to illustrate my point. It seems like a good idea to include as much proof as possible, and to take the time to contextualize what I’m saying so that everyone who stumbles upon this will grasp the idea, no matter where you’re coming from. But what seems like a good idea can often be 100% wrong. If I use too many examples, I might introduce confusion. If I keep trying to prove my point, I might start beating a dead horse, droning on and on, and losing the reader. Better yet, if the article is too long, you might not start reading it to begin with.

On that note, I’ll wrap this up by discussing criticism. When you receive criticism, it isn’t to say that your ideas are bad, or that what you’re doing is wrong, it’s to share additional context and information to introduce the question of “was that the best idea?”. Best is subjective. Best depends on the variables at play. If someone critiques your work and you don’t agree with it, that’s ok. Maybe the variables that matter to you are different than your criticiser. Maybe you knew about those additional variables but still think your idea is best. As long as you’re able to take in criticism, and be objective and without bias, you should be in the clear.

Good ideas are all around us. The challenge isn’t to have a good idea, the challenge is to work toward the best idea.

How to create a list of amazing content for your social media or blog

Creating content is hard. Typically you want to share something with the world, in a way that is beneficial and understandable for them. The challenge is in taking an objective look at ourselves and recognizing what we know that others don’t. The technique below will give you a head start in creating a guideline of content for you to share with the more.

This exercise should take you no more than 20 minutes. Set a timer, make sure there aren’t any interruptions, grab a pen and paper, and don’t overthink it.

Come up with as many (at least 20) ideas as possible.  They don’t have to be good…

What are the pains, fears, challenges, hardships, perspectives, tasks, etc. that you’ve seen your coworkers face that you don’t see as challenges? Write them all down.  They can be vague (public speaking) or super specific (sounding energetic and positive in an email).  Once you’ve written your list, read it through, and highlight the vague items – now try to expand those out into something more specifics.  

Some takeaways from this exercise:

  1. We’re all more skilled and capable than we give ourselves credit for.  It’s good to take a step back and realize all of the things that make us amazing and unique.
  2. This task is called brain-writing.  You’ve now gone through and created a base for our brainstorming tomorrow.  We will build off of what you’ve already come up with.  This will take off some of the pressure of coming up with things on the spot, and hopefully give us some momentum for continuing to come up with more great ideas.
  3. Pen and paper helps us remove distractions and gets our brain working better. Being creative on a computer is challenging because there is a constant pull toward other more interesting content. Pen and paper will help you focus.