The world moves pretty fast these days and I’m having a hell of a time keeping up. I know I’m not alone so I thought I’d share a few things that help me stay in the game. Especially in business because I’m the guy who spills coffee on the front of his white shirt first thing in the morning as I head into a huge meeting I’m leading.
You get to this stage in life and it gets tougher and tougher to keep up with what phone to buy, when the next generation is going to take over, where the government is blowing your money and how exactly we got the rest of the world to use toilet paper 1. All important info.
We’re older and we’re supposed to be smarter. I don’t know about you, but it feels like there’s too much information out there to fit in my brain. Like trying to pour a whole pitcher of Olympia Beer into a 16 oz. glass 2.
You can’t absorb everything. You need shortcuts. I have five quick ones that will make you smarter almost immediately. Or at the very least, make you seem smarter. And remember, perception is reality.
1) Read Wired. It doesn’t matter if you work in tech or not, the world spins around technology and impacts your life daily. Wired not only explains what’s going on now, it also does a great job of looking to the future to what your life will look like. I’ve been fascinated by articles about why The Web is Dead, the future of our energy grid, why the apocalypse will never happen and what Hollywood uses to make the brains zombies eat in TV shows like Walking Dead. Plus, they gave a killer iPad edition.
2) Follow (or read) Mental Floss (@mental_floss on Twitter). Mental Floss is a great magazine with cool facts you can use in every day conversation to be even more charming than you are now. One of my favorite posts recently was “The Difference Between Naked and Nude.” If you can’t figure out how to work that into a conversation then you might be in the wrong place. Okay, here’s one more: Toilet Paper History: How America Convinced the World to Wipe. Now, if you choose just to follow them on Twitter, be ready for facts that will make you the cool kid once again, like this: As part of David Hasselhoff’s divorce settlement, he kept possession of the nickname “Hoff” and the catchphrase “Don’t Hassle the Hoff.” You can thank me later.
3) Use Twitter – You’ve been badmouthing it for years, right? You joke that you don’t need to know what everyone had for lunch. Well, you’re dead wrong. It’s the most important social networking tool and one that everyone can use to try to overthrow a government, or just unearth really good information regardless of what you’re into. Follow smart, cutting-edge people who don’t bullshit you. Of course that means you’ll have to rid yourself of politicians. It’s also a great place to laugh — great comedians and writers testing out new stuff and commenting on the world 3.
4) Sign-up for Now I Know, the insanely popular and awesome newsletter by Dan Lewis. You’ll learn new things everyday such as: Did you know Abraham Lincoln started the Secret Service … on the day he was shot? Or that the Slinky was created by accident? Or that carrots used to be purple? Sign up here.
5) Watch Charlie Rose. People always ask me what TV shows I watch and I always include Charlie Rose. It’s such a great, no B.S. interview show where you get tons of information about politics, business, technology, creativity, movies, and everything else as Charlie interviews some of the smartest people in the world. The beauty is I say it right after mentioning Breaking Bad and That Metal Show. It has that much more impact. I DVR it every night and just delete the ones that are too boring.
(*Bonus: if you want to become instantly smarter in business, start reading the Harvard Business Review and Fast Company.)