January is a natural time to reflect, though I believe our reflections should continually guide us through the year and encourage us to go after what we want. So, this month I'm inspired by stories and ideas that show a willingness to try: to put a business idea into the world, even if it's not perfect; to take a leap towards a dream, even if you're fearful; and to be vulnerable with the people around you, even if you're worried about being judged:
Vulnerability Researcher Brene Brown's New York Times bestselling book challenges what we know about building true belonging where we work and live. Brown says, "True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are." I echo her sentiment. You have to choose you and how you want to live the day, because our dreams aren't fairy tales; they're our stories waiting to be lived. This book will give you the courage to action something you've only been thinking about doing.
20 Rules for a Knight: A Timeless Guide from 1483 via Farnam Street
In 1483, Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke of Cornwall wrote a guide of life lessons to be left for his children. He said, "Often we imagine that we will work hard until we arrive at some distant goal, and then we will be happy. This is a delusion. Happiness is the result of a life lived with purpose."
Ethan Hawke has since evolved the blueprint as a path to become a humble, strong, and reliable person, with ideas coming from "other knights" like Muhammad Ali, Emily Dickinson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Mother Teresa. I like to return to this guide from time to time, especially when facing moments of self-doubt.
The History of Human Emotions, a TED@Merck by Dr. Tiffany Watt Smith
This newly released TED talk shows us that we've been conditioned by society to describe our feelings: happiness, sadness, and frustration are among a handful of basic emotions that we've come to know and build our lives on, according to Dr. Tiffany Watt Smith.
Did you know in the 12th century that troubadours believed yawning was a symbol of deep love, not boredom, as we'd come to believe today? Dr. Smith believes that by learning new words about emotions we're able to more strongly connect with our inner lives. She references cultures as examples where feelings can also explain our values in life: Amae in Japanese means the pleasure you get when you temporarily hand responsibility for your life to someone else--she says this word may be celebrated because of the country's collectivist culture.
To understand, discuss, and accept emotions where we work is becoming an increasingly important way to build trust with teams, so this is a must-watch for all entrepreneurs, founders, and managers.
Busy Is A Decision: In Conversation with Designer Debbie Millman via the Tribe of Mentors Podcast by Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss' podcast presents the tools, habits, and lessons learned from experts across different industries. I like this podcast because you get tangible advice that you can use immediately. Ferriss recently interviewed well-known designer Debbie Millman about her favourite failures. She speaks specifically of "busy as a decision," and describes it as "inauthentic and lazy." Rather, she encourages us to make the time, and follow through with what we say we want to do. The conversation is only 25 minutes, which makes it an easy listen for a commute or weekend afternoon at home.
I don't normally share Dragons' Den work on YouInc, though I like this roundup of pitches as an example of bravery, hard work, and courage to put yourself out there: a marriage proposal, a young kid who learns about stocks to help his parents make ends meet, and a grassroots project that teaches at-risk youth how to grow and make their own food. We all love a feel-good watch as a burst of motivation, so make this video a priority in the morning or evening this week.
Remember, this day is yours to live. Choose you.