Systems thinking is a way of seeing the world as a series of interconnected and interdependent systems rather than lots of independent parts. As a thinking tool, it seeks to oppose the reductionist view — the idea that a system can be understood by the sum of its isolated parts — and replace it with expansionism, the view that everything is part of a larger whole and that the connections between all elements are critical.
I just spent the past month finishing “Tribe of Mentors”, the latest book by the legendary Tim Ferriss. It is packed with wisdom and tools that will change your life. The book contains more than 100+ interviews with people around the world. I made my notes, did some highlights and will be referring back to it on the need per basis. After all, I learned this trick from Tim himself.
Recently, I finished reading Ray Dalio’s “Principles” — one of the most recommended business books of 2017. One of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, Ray shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business — and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.
I would highly recommend you to do your own annual review. It’s a great exercise to self-reflect and plan out your life. We tend to overestimate what we can do in an average day but underestimate what can be done over the course of a year. Looking at a whole year in review, you may be surprised at everything you’ve accomplished.
“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive 21st-century economy.”
There is an enormous number of stories and tips contained in Creative Confidence. I have shared here the 10 creativity challenges that you can practice to be more creatively confident. Some psychologists claim that you have to practice a new behavior for 21 days before it begins to become a habit. The operative word is “practice.” The weeks, months, or years spent thinking about new behaviors don’t count. So pick your favorites or create some new experiments of your own. Start accelerating down the runway now if you want your new skills to take flight.
The future will be shaped by people who can embrace rapid change, thrive in diverse environments, and creatively problem solve as part of their everyday lives. Liberal arts skills — the ability to communicate, persevere, embrace ambiguity, work in diverse teams, and frame questions in ways that allow us to see vexing problems in new, solvable ways — are more important than ever given current global directions and trends. Being a Denison alumni makes me a better tech entrepreneur and, more crucially, makes me believe that I can make a difference in the world.