Seth Godin's "New Smarts"
The new skills everyone can (and should) develop
I just posted this on Medium and wanted to be sure you saw it.
Tim Denning has been publishing his “Unfiltered by Tim Denning” newsletter on Substack for about a year. I subscribed this week and received my first issue. Great stuff as usual. Go subscribe, if you haven’t already.
1. Reading the room — The ability to assess how individuals are acting as well as the general “temperature” of the room, and to develop relationships (and avoid conflicts) accordingly. Along with body language, I would include words used to better understand people’s mindsets and their worldview — that is, how they think the world works and the ways they engage with it. Deborah Tannen is a master at explaining this in practical terms.
2. Fast decision-making — This is kind of self-explanatory these days. But making fast decisions well is what needs to be learned. Tim says his decision-making speed was greatly increased by Tim Ferriss.
Use pros and cons lists to get a clear picture of a decision. Then use logic, gut feeling, and courage to decide. — Tim Denning
I would add that, depending on the type of decision, you should bounce your pros and cons list and logic off a trusted agent (mentor, co-worker, spouse/partner, or close friend).
Tim (Denning) also highlights that you want to save people time as well by communicating clearly and succinctly, and by pitching it as how much time it saves them.
3. Saving time — Again, self-explanatory, because we don’t have time to spend on everything we need to do and know. There are apps, courses, and even systems for organizing and doing, such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. I believe in GTD so much that I’ve been writing books on how to use it with various productivity tools.
4. Writing online — Doing this quickly and well is essential, whether you do it for a living or as part of your day-to-day work. You can always get better at it, saving both you and your readers time and getting your message across.
5. Make money online — This may be a new idea to some and the concept may come with some baggage, but with the speed at which the world and our work prospects change, having a side-gig like this can help. There are courses, free and paid, that can help you navigate these waters.
6. Careful curation — Denning calls this a “master skill” in that, with a discerning, well-developed, personal information management system (PIMS), you can be the person to save others time. Tim suggests using Roam or Notion, I would also throw in the new Evernote 10 and if you are graphically minded, The Brain is an incredible tool for organizing and making connections between different ideas, concepts, files, and information.
7. Self-awareness — Socrates (that old dead guy everyone talks about) said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Reflecting on who you are, your strengths, flaws, and everything in between makes you smart about yourself. This personal effectiveness is the foundation on which to build all these other smarts. There are people, books, and courses to help get you there. My go-to resource, 30 years old as it is, is Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
8. Personal responsibility — This is being mature, plain and simple. Habit 1 in Covey’s book. Being proactive, owning your responsibility, rather than blaming others. It is both strengthening and liberating.
9. Non-ego leadership — When leading yourself, again, this is being proactive and responsible. When leading others, formally or informally, this is about caring for, even serving — your subordinates, your customers, your readers, your family, etc.
What are your thoughts?
I would put self-awareness as the 9th “new smarts” because the quality and strength of all the others are based on that. You can work on each one of these at the same time, but I think we will be most effective in all of them if we keep self-awareness in mind always.
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