Grow your Range

Welcome to Learn Create Share 20: Book reviews, creative challenges, and a menagerie of fine links.

We all know we should be specialist, right?

According to David Epstein in his recent book Range, that’s not always true. I finished the book last week and thought I’d give a mini review and some takeaways to kick off this week’s newsletter.

The basic summary is that it’s best to be a specialist in “kind environments” where you have immediate feedback, controlled activities and so can quickly correct (sports like golf and chess) but in “wicked environments”, where you have radically different conditions that are hard to exactly replicate (sports like tennis and football) it’s better to be a bit of a generalist so you can bring in innovations.

As you might have guessed, much of modern work is “wicked” (“kind” work can be replaced by robots more easily). So it can be rewarding to broaden our skillsets — and not just deepen them — to find unique insights.

If you are involved in recruiting, it’s good to look at candidates who have shown different shifts in career: that shows they have been searching for a path that fits them best.

As parents, it’s good to encourage your child to explore and experiment and not worry about them specializing at an early age. Don’t push them to follow a particular career path and help them change track if it isn’t a match.

To sum it up, it’s good to follow your interests and not stay rooted to past decisions. There are limits to this (like when we get bored of a project at work) but if you want to try a new hobby, or think it would be cool to learn to code, try it! You may decided it’s not for you, and that’s okay.

You may still learn something.

Creative Challenge: 10 different uses for a coin

Analogical thinking is a really powerful skill to develop. One of the easiest exercises is to think of uncommon uses for a common object. It’s a way to look at something normal and see something unusual.

Pro tip: turn the object around, put it up high or down low and look at it from different angles, it helps gain a different perspective...literally and figuratively.

Grab a coin and write down 10 different uses for it. An example could be a counter for a board game.

P.s. If you’d like more creative prompts, I made an ebook/course of 30 plus every past challenge that you can get for $10.

Nick Cave The Lyrics are never just coming

In my experience, lyrics are almost always seemingly just not coming. This is the tearful ground zero of song writing — at least for some of us. This lack of motion, this sense of suspended powerlessness, can feel extraordinarily desperate for a songwriter. But the thing you must hold on to through these difficult periods, as hard as it may be, is this — when something’s not coming, it’s coming. It took me many years to learn this, and to this day I have trouble remembering it.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Nick’s experience, especially with any songwriting I’ve done (it was a long time ago!)

Read the post

John Philipin on Funnels

There's an old poker line - "when you look around the table and you don't know who the 'mark' is, you're the 'mark'!" Meta Funnels It should be a thing! The poker line came to mind as I watched a webinar this week. It was billed as 'an introduction to funnels'.

As someone who works in Marketing, and sells a few online courses, I found John's critique here very astute. I've been around the funnel focused people. not just Get Rich Quick shysters, but marketing professionals. Sometimes I think that if only I had one of these complex marketing funnels suits, then I'd be able to turn my side business into a full time job.

It's bollocks.

The best online entrepreneurs I know have very simple funnels.

  • Give you something for free (a guide, great articles, etc) in exchange for your email

  • Make something great that you want (a book, a useful course)

  • Send you some emails telling you about it (and giving you more content along the way)

If you help people and make something good, then you don't need to worry about a complex funnel which sends follow up text messages to the segment who didn't open your webinar email to offer a special limited downsell offer.

No funnel on the other side

The Truth is Paywalled but the lies are free

It makes sense when you think about it. “Free” means ad supported and that requires more views and clicks as well as lower costs. If you don’t do as much fact checking and post more inflammatory headlines and content, you’ll get enough views to be ad supported.

No paywall...so lies?

Parents now spend twice as much time with their children as 50 years ago

PARENTS these days spend a lot more time with their offspring, or at least middle-class parents do. One analysis of 11 rich countries estimates that the average mother spent 54 minutes a day caring for children in 1965 but 104 minutes in 2012.

These stats are from 2012 so It would be interesting to see if the trend has continued...I'd also love to see the stats during the pandemic.

Sounds the same, meaning differs — The Morning Brew style guide blog

The Morning Brew — one of a couple of newsletters which I read every day — have a grammar style blog that follows the same tone as their newsletter. This article has some homophones that cause problems.

Take a grammar class

Need help starting a habit?

At the start of September, my wife and I are running a charity coaching program called Habit club. If you want to start a new habit, or keep one going that you’ve struggled with in the past, fill in the contact form. 4 spaces left.

Tell me more about habit club

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