In 2018 we really upped our reading/audible game and got nerdy learning about true behaviour change. “The Secret” and Tony Robbins take a seat please.
After subtracting the books that you might find drier than a hog's bath mat, we were left with three of the more important, digestible books that we read this year…
1) Atomic Habits by James Clear
This book distills complex topics into simple behaviors that can be readily applied to daily life and work. It’s packed with practical strategies that will teach you how to master tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.
Why It’s Important
Sooo many reasons but here’s one strategy that you can take action on right now…
The Two-Minute Rule - “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things.
So, if you’re trying to get fit, the first step is to just get your workout clothes on and if that leads to the gym, then fine. If you’re trying to write then just go and write one sentence and stop.
This sounds nuts but Victoria has run 63 days in a row (she wrote about it here) and credits it to the first few weeks where her only goal was to get dressed.
2) Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
As the subtitle suggests, this book argues that good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. It mostly focuses on freedom of speech at college campuses where we are treating students like customers as opposed to students.
Why It’s Important
While we believe we are looking out for the well-being of our kids and society, some actions – like over-protecting our children or being offended at everything - are actually contributing to an increase in mental health issues and a decrease in seeing each other as humans.
We really liked that the authors went into detail to show that answers to these issues are more nuanced than just good vs evil, left vs right.
Just because someone supports immigration control doesn’t make them a racist, and someone who wants tighter gun laws doesn’t necessarily want to take away all your guns.
It also makes a great case that the more adversity you are exposed to the stronger you’ll become, like this quote from Van Jones…
“I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym; that’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.”
3) Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
We give and receive feedback all the time but we never really think about how to get good at it. It’s often spontaneous, off-the-cuff and well, you didn’t f*cking ask for it in the first place.
This book offers a powerful framework to help you take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments and unsolicited criticism with curiosity and grace.
Two things that you can implement right now…
Simply ask for more of it. When’s the last time you asked “Hey partner, how am I doing over here as a husband/wife/parent.” The more feedback you ask for the better you’ll get at taking it. We’ve had 200+ members leave feedback for us since we started asking for more, and every single one had a suggestion to improve. That toughens you up.
When giving feedback try and focus on the behaviour so that the receiver doesn’t feel that their identity is being attacked. Instead of saying “You’re never around any more.” – something that might trigger them to feel like a bad partner or parent - try “I feel we’re never spending enough time together, can we discuss how we fix that?”
Now if that’s the third time you’ve tried to bring that up, just implement the Newfie Fish Wake-Up Call…
Step One – Slap ‘em with it.
Kevin & Victoria