Unstuck Newsletter #016 (June-10-2020)

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Weekly newsletter helping people navigate in this disoriented world, make progress and become more rational.

Hello online friends,

It’s me, Ivaylo Durmonski. And this is the 16th edition of Unstuck. A weekly newsletter designed to help people navigate in this disoriented world, make progress, and become more rational. By sharing the lessons I learn from the books I read (and other interesting things), I want to help more people find direction in this directionless world.

Last week I talked about how social media sites are steeling our attention and what we can do about it.

This week, I wanted to share my (short) thoughts about the following emerging problem: The ever-growing library of newsletters, books, sites, videos, “must-watch” talks, articles, etc.

Must-read books, sites, whatever are everywhere!

Newsletters and “life-changing” podcasts are growing like mushrooms and the trend is that such things will keep on rising.

While I love the fact that more and more people are starting indie projects, it’s almost impossible to keep up to speed with all the newly created content.

Everyone is promising that their new [insert type of content here] will change your life in 3 days or something.

But is that really the case?

Of course not. A single article, video, spreadsheet, or video course can’t transform your life.

People are simply trying to borrow a portion of your already scattered brain to sell you something.

All of this is making you stuck, buried beneath “life-changing” topics that are, in most of the cases, revised edition of familiar topics.

What we can do to avoid being traumatized by the avalanche of new information coming our way?

Personally, I follow these simple principles to keep my sanity in check:

  • Subscribe/Unsubscribe: When I subscribe to a new newsletter, I unsubscribe from a current one.
  • Don’t feel bad when you can’t check everything: A lot of the folks who send out weekly emails are doing a great job at offering various things to read. Sadly, this inability to check everything leaves a feeling of incompleteness. Or in other words, if there are 10 links inside a newsletter, I want to check everything because of FOMO. But checking everything takes a lot of time. Eventually, I learned to involve in only a small portion of what’s offered inside an email I receive.
  • Reading the essentials: The term TL;DR was something foreign to me 2 years ago. Now, I understand the importance of getting the gist of an article or a book. I think more and more people will want to read bite-sized sources, or summaries of books and big articles because time is scarce. People will only commit to something bigger if the introduction was interesting.
  • Avoid “must-check” everything: Yes, there are books and articles you surely need to read (for example, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari), but all in all, if someone tells you that an article or whatever will change your life, he’s probably trying to justify the high price.

Essentially, it all goes down to figuring out what you want to learn. Figuring out what you want to get better at and putting everything else on hold.

What are you doing to handle the never-ending sources of knowledge trying to suffocate us?

Book Summary:

  • The Path to Purpose by William Damon: This is madness! According to the text, over 45% of undergraduates display serious signs of depression. The reason? Lack of purpose and direction. Thankfully, we have The Path to Purpose by William Damon. This short book aims to give parents the tools and the vocabulary to help their kids find meaning in life.

Weekly Finds:

  • Skip the easy wins: “Let’s say you’re slogging through a hectic workweek. Your to-do list is crammed with minor tasks like answering emails or submitting invoices, as well as complex projects such as revamping your marketing strategy. In the midst of the chaos, are you more likely to choose the easy or hard tasks?”
  • Thinking About Thinking: How are you handling difficult problems? How are your children dealing with new tough tasks? To thrive, they need to learn how to handle struggles. Teach your kids (and yourself) to transition from the negative “I can’t” to the proactive “How can I?”
  • You have a hobby? You’re obsessed with something? Probably it’s not a good idea to monetize this activity. Read why, here.

Sponsored by:

My weekly newsletter is sponsored by my dearest members and Patrons. If you want to support my online project and help me produce even more eye-opening content you can become a member yourself. This way, you’ll gain access to all of the book summaries published on my site and give me the strength to continue doing what I do best – convert long books into short practical lessons.

Thank you for your time!


Ivaylo Durmonski

P.S. Readers often ask me, “is there an archive of these weekly letters?” Yes, there is. If you want to read past editions and if you want to easily share them with friends, you can check the Unstuck archive here.