Five things that are worth your time: December 13

Welcome! Here are five more fun things to read this week. Nothing too serious or depressing this week, but, I did read a good article on relationship advice, a silly article on arena proposals, and a couple work-related ones. The first one is my favourite though!

Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them

Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker

I’m not sure what’s more whimsical here: The article itself, which is a ranking of how likely various mythical creatures (mermaids, unicorns, vampires) are to actually exist… or the fact that this article comes from the New Yorker’s Dept. of Speculation. Which is so whimsical, it’s like what the New Yorker would be like if Wes Anderson was the publisher. (And yes, this is the only article in the Dept.’s publishing history.) Anyway! This is a totally self-serious examination of these creatures and where myths like this originate, and why we cling to them even as we know, intellectually, that they don’t exist. (Right?)

A quote: ”Like supernatural creatures, such powers can be ranked in terms of plausibility. Which seems more likely to work: Harry Potter’s apparating ability or Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi mind trick? If you ask me, it’s obviously the mind trick, with its real-life analogies of charisma and hypnosis, not to mention its failure to defy any major laws of physics. On the other hand, apparating—vanishing from one place and appearing in another—strikes me as more plausible than time travel, possibly because we have many ways to move through space but only one way to move through time.”

You Have More Than Enough Time, You’re Just Not Spending it Right

Thomas Oppong, Thrive Global

As I’m starting to build my freelance consulting business, I’m becoming more conscious of my time and how I spend it. So far, even though I’m not working anywhere close to full-time hours, I feel just as busy I did when I was. And yet I can honestly say I’m not spending that time doing idle or unimportant things. Unimportant being relative of course; this blog isn’t “important” in the grand scheme of things but it’s something I want to be doing and enjoy doing. The days are full. This is a good thing, right?

A quote: ”Prioritization and organizing can lead to a more efficient allocation of time. Step back and figure out what is important to you. Get rid of the unimportant, de-commit, brainstorm long or short-term changes. You have all the time you need to create value, work on your best work and make an impact.”

1,500 People Give all the Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Need

Mark Manson, markmanson.net

Mark Manson wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, which I haven’t read, but I hear is well worth reading. Also well worth reading? This article on relationship advice. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here, but what makes it work is that the advice comes from real people and is offered in a very regular-person, down to earth, human way. It’s not professional therapy, or coming from a guru or self-help book. Just folks offering opinions. It’s long, and seeing some of this advice may make you feel like a bad partner if you don’t do it… but that’s OK. Take it as a nudge to do better.

A quote: ”If you have two different individuals sharing a life together, it’s inevitable that they will have different values and perspectives on some things and clash over it. The key here is not changing the other person — as the desire to change your partner is inherently disrespectful (to both them and yourself) — but rather it’s to simply abide by the difference, love them despite it, and when things get a little rough around the edges, to forgive them for it.”

New Research Answers: Is Content Marketing Sustainable?

Steve Rayson, BuzzSumo

Well, here’s some wonderful news for content marketers (like me): Content marketing is dead! OK, not quite. But Steve Rayson channels Mark Schaefer (author of Content Shock) and gives us the bad, if predictable news: There’s so much content out there now, on so many topics, that it’s incredibly difficult to stand out. People are still consuming content, but does it excite them, engage them, energize them to take action? Content marketing isn’t dead, but it is changing.

A quote: ”If you are entering a saturated content market you need to look at creating radically different and exceptional content. Less is more when it comes to content production. Another “me too” list post will sink without trace. In our experience it is better to focus all of your promotion on a single day to become the story of the day rather than spread your promotion and amplification efforts over a period of time.”

Inside the Awkward, High-Risk World of Arena Wedding Proposals

Alex Wong, GQ

Here’s my one piece of relationship advice: Unless you and your SO are both huge fans of a specific sports team, don’t ever do one of these elaborate arena proposals. Like, just don’t do it. I know it’s memorable, but come on. It’s a stunt! And I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to reduce your relationship and an otherwise intimate moment into a piece of theatre for several thousand other people… but, that’s just me. I guess everyone really is different.!

A quote: ’Bryan and Nancy have heard the criticism about arena proposals, but the moment was as special as Nancy could have imagined. “With the love I have for sports, I’ve always thought about how cool it would be to get proposed to on live television,’ says Nancy, who was previously a sideline reporter for ESPN3. Bryan is aware of the snarky comments that people have left on their arena proposal video online. ‘Every person is different and prefers to do things differently,’ he says. ‘The comments don’t bother me.’”
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That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

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