Information Diets: Are you on one?

Hey all, happy almost Friday! I seriously love Thursday evenings because I receive the kindest and super interesting responses to my weekly email.  Last week, several of you mentioned that you’ve become much more aware of your thoughts, and what you’re choosing to plant in your mental gardens.  

Congratulations! That means you’ve become a conscious thinker. 💜

That may sound redundant to you.  After all, aren’t all thoughts conscious? But I know that by now, several of you have been surprised by how many repetitive thoughts you allow within your mind, even though you know they aren’t serving you.  A conscious thinker is someone who’s aware of these thoughts and can actively accept or reject them.

And when you’re being bombarded and overwhelmed with information over the course of a day, filtering these thoughts can get especially tough.  So this week, I’ll talk about the concept of an Information Diet in Final Thoughts.

But for now, let’s jump to our resources for this week! 🎉


💼 CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

I’ve been thinking a lot about incentives lately, especially how powerful they can be in our work relationships. So many people end up having strained or outright hostile relationships with coworkers, bosses, and employees—it happens to practically everyone at some point in their career. But so often, the reason isn’t because someone is a bad person, it’s because no one is considering the incentives that are driving the behavior.

You might think, “Why do they say one thing and do another?”

Or “Why don’t they get it?”

Or even, “Why won’t they do what I asked?”

The truth is it’s probably not because they have something against you personally. It’s just that there’s an incentive somewhere that you either aren’t understanding or can’t see. Taking a step back and thinking, “Okay, what’s motivating them to do what they do?” can be the first step toward understanding someone’s behavior—and getting a relationship back to a manageable place.  

So wherever you are in your career right now, whether you’re happy with your current job or actively job searching, it’s important you build meaningful working relationships with those around you.  If you’re feeling misaligned with a colleague, a boss, or a recruiter during an interview process, think about what each of those individuals are motivated by.  Once you understand the incentives--what makes them do what they do--you’ll be able to better understand their actions and react better.  Plus, once you understand how incentives work, you can identify them across any life situation.  I share an example in Final Thoughts.

And if you want to learn more about Incentives, or similar mental models, join the 10-Day Think Better Challenge below:

Join the challenge :)

  • If you’ve been thinking about launching your own product, service, or side-hustle, check out programs like Product Club that have been created to mentor and support emerging makers + career changers.

  • Kaam.Work has thousands of remote jobs available across the globe

  • Torch Capital launched this free resource to match people impacted by Covid layoffs to job opportunities

  • I’m also a big fan of the concept of Ikigai that relates to finding a happy and satisfying life + career.  Patricia Mou shares her staycation experience from last week, when she took a week off of work to learn and reflect Ikigai means to her


👋 SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • Mindful Monday

August 31st, 3:30 p.m. PDT

Join GA for our monthly Mindful Monday event series! Start your week off right, clear your headspace, and recharge for the rest of your work week. Let's be mindful together! Details here.

  • Unlearn Imposter Syndrome

September 1st, 12:00 p.m. PDT

Does your Inner Critic tell you that you don’t have it in you to succeed? That you are too old to change careers or have lost too much time doing something else? Being self-critical can push us to strive and excel, but the critical internal voice is not a sustainable motivator: As it wants us to be perfect at all times, it keeps us from growing and developing. The good news is that it is possible to turn the Inner Critic from a major drag into an effective support voice or even an ally. More details here.

  • Networking From Your Couch

September 2nd, 3:30 p.m. PDT

If you're looking to make a career switch, break into a new industry, or just find more professionals to interact with, now is the best time to get creative in meeting and bonding with new contacts. Join us as we talk about how to build not just professional, but authentic connections by tailoring your message in your outreach correctly. We'll discuss the best practices to keep in mind while networking over video conferencing and how to present the best version of yourself digitally. Details here.

  • Personal Branding over Brunch

September 25th, 9:00 a.m. PDT

Ever wonder how those really big brands out there came to be? How do people recognize them, use them and trust them? Want to know how you can build your own personal brand so your network recognizes you and trusts you? Let's dive in together over a virtual brunch! More details here.


⭐ FINAL THOUGHTS

So, with all the news, social media, and general content we’re exposed to over the course of a day, how can we be better about absorbing information that serves us? How can we become more intentional about what we plant in our gardens?

This is called the Information Diet: watching your consumption of information.

Whenever I’m consuming something that I’m not sure is good for me, there are four questions I like to ask myself: 

  1. What is the creator of this information incentivized by? Every person in this world does what they do because of incentives. And organizations are no different. For example, if the owner of a news publication cares about advocating for certain perspectives, they may require news stories to be presented with those perspectives in mind. And if the publication is dependent on the owner’s investment or approval, it will be incentivized to adhere to those guidelines. So when you’re reading a news story, you may be consuming a very specific bias without knowing.  That’s why it’s important to be aware that there are always incentives behind everything you see—whether it’s a news article or a social media post. 

  2. What are other opinions on this topic? This is related to the first question. When you realize everyone is incentivized by something, you recognize the importance of thinking for yourself.   And gathering a number of perspectives can help you do this. By getting all the arguments on a specific topic, you have a chance to evaluate them on your own. Maybe even play a little devil’s advocate with yourself. The more you do it, the more confidence you gain in the quality of thoughts entering your mind.

  3. What is the map I’m being shown? Let’s say you’re not looking at news right now. You’re looking for advice on a subject and, of course, you can find all kinds of opinions online. But remember, those are just maps. The reality of your life may be different. A pretty common example I hear about is starting multiple streams of income. Some people love the whole “hustle” mentality related content that’s out there. Other people find it completely off-putting. So when you find something that doesn’t quite align with your thinking, remember that it may just not be the map for you.  There are many ways to achieve the same goal.  See it as just another perspective, and if there’s anything you can learn from it, do just that and then move on.

  4. How does this make me feel? This is a big step when it comes to social media. A while back, I realized that whenever I got on social media I started feeling a lot of anxiety and envy. I knew it didn’t feel right and that I needed to make a change. Basically, I revamped my social media (who I follow and what posts I see) so that I could get info on things I was genuinely interested in—like mental models and learning—and inspirational content that uplifted me instead of putting me in a toxic mindset. It’s helped tremendously, and I think this step is one that everyone can take. If it feels bad to you, it probably is.  So be aware of how you feel when you consume certain things and be mindful of what you’re accepting within your digital and mental environment.

The more you start to ask these questions about the information you’re consuming, the more you’ll start to make careful choices about what you read, watch, and listen to. It’s like keeping a food journal when you’re trying to lose weight. The act of consciously thinking about what you consume leads you to make better choices. 

Have different tactics that help you consume information more effectively? Let me know.  Or just reply to say hi :)

Excited to hear from you,

Shireen