Ever study something, but when you try to explain it realize that you'd understood nothing?

A few sips from the pool of knowledge and we think we know it all!

I find it helpful to combat this tendency by talking to others about new ideas I encounter (my wife is a very patient test subject). Sometimes I don't even say three sentences before realizing how little I learned!

Armed with a better view of my own ignorance, I know where to focus as I dig deeper into the topic.

It's even better when the person you're talking is already experienced with the topic. I recently traded perspectives with my friend Slava, an engineering manager at Google, on how to identify work your management chain cares most about.

Check out the full conversation on:

The Nonintuitive Bits episode 38: Start with Principles

Your nuggets for the week

Today's we talk about motivation and productivity:

  1. Protecting yourself from success
  2. Positive moods make you productive
  3. Hack your reptilian brain

#1 Protecting yourself from success

"Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love? --Jeff Bezos

It's scary risking your ideas being rejected, but what's the upside you give up?

Take the plunge

Create your Amazon

#2 Positive moods make you productive

Your productivity is much higher when you are in a positive mood, while a bad mood increases your desire to procrastinate.

A good mood even makes you smarter!

Research showes "doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state"

via Barking up the Wrong Tree: 6 Things The Most Productive People Do Every Day

#3 Hack your reptilian brain

"Just before I do an activity, I imagine it's completed, and focus on that feeling I'll have when it's done and went well" --Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine

What happens when you see a cookie? Some part of your reptilian brain imagines the sweet gooey goodness as you chew it. Suddenly your whole body craves that cookie.

Our brain saw how something would make us feel in the future, and pushed us to DO that thing and be rewarded!

But sometimes our brains need a nudge to notice those emotional rewards.

Try deliberately putting yourself in you future self's shoes, when the task is done and feel their feelings of success.

You just might find yourself looking forward to the task.

Your Turn 👊

Let's put Huge Jackman's idea to the test. Try taking some task on your todo list today and imagine how you'll feel once you've completed it.

Did it affect your mood at all?