How Does Seth Godin Write for His Blog?

Seth Godin is a serial entrepreneur, writer of an army of a bestsellers and a owner of a ridiculously popular blog. When he writes, people read.

Better writing is a goal of mine this year, so I’d thought I dig in to see what Seth has to say. Below are some nuggets of wisdom about how Seth approaches his writing practice:

  • Write like you talk AND write every day. Seth writes every day and writes like he talks. Writing is a discovery process. We don’t know ex ante what will resonate with an audience. Write. See the response. Reflect. Improve. Write again. Writing daily and writing naturally have natural synergy. You can choose to pretend to be something you’re not, but, assuming your audience is smart, intelligent, excellent people, they’re gonna catch your lie. Eventually, if you survive to the other end, perhaps you’ll find that (A) you have things to say and (B) people care about it.
  • Writing isn’t typing. Seth mentions that he spends ~15 minutes typing. I spend 15 minutes flicking to Facebook every day (a lot more sometimes). There is the type of writer that writes and rewrites and then rewrites again. Then there is the type of reader who thinks. If your ideas in your mind turn into things you want to say, the only time you need is the time to type out what you already want to say.
  • Work harder. Seth mentions (probably exaggerating slightly) he studies / does research for 16 hours a day. Most of us barely spend 3 (be honest, you read Reddit at work…).

This is what it comes down to: 16 hours a day of thinking and learning and only 15 minutes of writing.

There is this camp of writers that says: “You should sit in front of a page and just write.” But perhaps a better way to approach things is: “You should sit in front of yourself and just think.”

Think until you have something to say and then say it.

How to Work Using a Squat “Desk”

For the last few months, I’ve done most of my work using a squat “desk.” Why not work and get that posture-improving squat volume in at the same time? Before I started, I could hardly squat for 5 minutes at a time. Now, just the other day, I put in 4 hours working from the squat position.

Squat desking like the boss I am.

How to set up a squat desk:

  • Find low desk or chair
  • Adjust screen (I use a laptop) height to be chest level
  • Squat

Some stuff to watch out for:

  • If you’re missing ankle ROM, you might find your back rounding. Do corrective exercises to work on this – squatting with a rounded back isn’t improving your posture.
  • Make sure the screen is high enough. Having a high enough screen forces you to activate the muscles that are weak in kyphotic posture. You should feel the burn in just a few minutes if you have bad posture.

Happy squatting!

Avoid Cognitive Dissonance: Mental Resets and Filtering

Cognitive dissonance is poison for the mind. When faced with conflicting decisions and evidence, our minds can become trapped in an eternal cycle -go left or go right? Instead, we go nowhere at all. We go from rational to emotional and start making errors. High-level thinkers must identify cognitive dissonance and move to counter it.

This is especially true for traders. Many traders are hooked up to information flow that comes in 24/7 in an unending stream. There are a dozen ways to interpret the same piece of news (noise) that can then go to affect any of another dozen mental models. End result? Overcomplexity, frustration and poor decision-making.

By the time you reach cognitive dissonance / overcomplexity, it is too late. You need to step back and do a mental reset -clear the mind and start over fresh. Like we reset a computer, we can reset our minds to try and wipe out some of the cognitive clutter than is affecting our decision making.

When I feel that I am compromised, I shut down my computer and try one of several mental reset exercises.

Some things I have been playing with:

  • Breathing exercises (Vipassana-style)
  • Picking up heavy things at the gym + loud music (surprisingly therapeutic)
  • Long walks (nowadays, 2-3 hours walking is the norm)
At first, you may think that these “waste time”. Think again. Any time you put into these will pay dividends by improving the time you do spend in your core discipline. Spend an hour on a mental reset to make back what could be a dozen hours of quality decision making later…a simple tradeoff.
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