so-good-they-cant-ignore-you

Here are my notes from So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.

Two different approaches to thinking about work:

  • The passion mindset: focus on what value your job offers you (most people approach their working lives in this way)
  • The craftsman mindset: focus on what value you’re producing in your job

The passion mindset

Two drawbacks:

  1. When you focus only on what your work offers you, that means you’re tuned into what you don’t like about your work, which leads to unhappiness.
  2. The passion mindset drives two serious questions: Who am I? and What do I truly love? Both of these are “essentially impossible to confirm.” So this leads to unhappiness, too.

“The traits that define great work are bought with career capital […] they don’t come from matching your work to your innate passion. Because of this, you don’t have to sweat whether you’ve found your calling—most any work can become the foundation for a compelling career.”

The craftsman mindset

In the craftsman mindset, you focus on skills that help you do your job better. If your’e a musician, that means tedious practice—an obsession on the quality of what you produce, because quality trumps appearance, equipment and personality.

Three traits that disqualify a job as providing a good foundation for building work you love (it’s difficult to apply the craftsman mindset in these circumstances):

  1. The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable.
  2. The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps evenly actively bad for the world.
  3. The job forces you to work with people you really dislike.

Deliberate practice

Feels like a “stretch”. “If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re probably stuck at an ‘acceptable level.'” You have to push past what’s comfortable and also embrace honest feedback, “even if it destroys what you thought was good.”

Results Only Work Environment (ROWE)

Results are the only thing that matters — no results, no job. It’s up to the employee to figure out how to do important work. “When you show up to work, when you leave, when you go on vacation, and how often you check email are all irrelevant.” Lets employees feel in control. Level of happiness goes up. Employee engagement goes up.

The Second Control Trap

“The point at which you have acquired enough career capital to get meaningful control over your working life is exactly the point when you’ve become valuable enough to your current employer that they will try to prevent you from making the change.”

This is because acquiring more control in your working life benefits you, the employee, but probably doesn’t benefit your employer.

The Law of Financial Viability

“When deciding whether to follow an appealing pursuit that will introduce more control into your work life, seek evidence of whether people are willing to pay for it. If you find this evidence, continue. If not, move on.”

Little bets

Make little bets. Test ideas. Fail quickly, learn from what happened, and move on.

Little bets have the following traits:

  • A project that’s small enough to be completed in less than a month
  • Forces you to create new value (new skill, produce something new)
  • Produces a concrete result that you can use to gather feedback

Spoilers for 3×23 “Finish Line”

After last week’s episode, I wrote what I thought would happen in the finale. Turns out HR sacrifices himself to save Iris. I didn’t see that coming, but it was a theory floating around, and it plays out well. So, with Iris alive, Barry doesn’t go back in time and that derails most of my speculation…but I got a couple things right.

Barry tries to save Savitar

Barry remembers Snart’s advice (“your goodness is your strength…The Flash should remain a hero”) and decides anger and hate aren’t the right motivations to beat Savitar. He needs to try helping Savitar, instead of fighting him. Barry offers to help Savitar survive the time paradox, and Savitar seems to accept Team Flash’s help. (But it’s a TRAP.)

Barry must atone for Flashpoint

After Jay Garrick is freed from the Speed Force, the Speed Force becomes unstable. Energy is leaking into Earth and destroying Central City, and it’ll get worse if a speedster doesn’t go into the Speed Force to stabilize it. Barry volunteers, no hesitation and no questions. He realizes it’s time to pay penance for the damage he caused with Flashpoint, so he says goodbye to everyone and leaves.

The season 3 finale ties up all the loose ends from the season. It ends with Barry entering the Speed Force, and that’s not really a cliffhanger—we know Barry will come back. We just have to wait to see how.

There are two kinds of personalities in the workplace when it comes to sharing knowledge: doors and windows.

Doors do not share what they know. These are people who don’t collaborate unless they absolutely have to, and even then, they can be difficult to work with. They keep knowledge to themselves, and they rarely offer to help other people. Sometimes this is unintentional. A door may be too busy and doesn’t make time to share. Or maybe doors want to focus only on their work and aren’t interested in volunteering for anything that’s outside of their normal responsibilities.

But some doors are intentional. They protect their knowledge and experience, believing they have an advantage if no one else knows what they know. They like the control. They relish feeling needed.

Windows, on the other hand, do not hold back knowledge. If these people can answer your question, they will. If they’re able to help you with a challenge, they raise their hand. They enjoy teaching what they know, and they appreciate when you share what you know, too. Windows know that it doesn’t matter if everyone knows what they know. What matters is doing the best work they’re capable of.

Being a window has its perks:

  • They get noticed because they’re willing to talk and work with anyone.
  • They become dependable resources.
  • They are known as experts, not because they know everything, but because they teach and share what they know.
  • They are offered new opportunities, because they are open to things outside their norm.

Knowledge that’s locked away doesn’t benefit anyone, so be a window instead of a door.