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Mindfulness Digest Vol. 14 : Reactance & Storytelling 🐦

Mindfulness learning on reactance and freedom. Key secrets of a beautiful story from Pixar. Tobi Lutke, an inspiration.

Mindfulness learning: Reactance & Freedom

If you don’t manage your energy levels, having time to spare is useless. If you don’t manage time, you can’t get any meaningful work done. Despite the gift of energy and ideas, often we don’t have the time.

Morgan Housel in his book, Psychology of Money talks of Reactance. “People like to feel they are in control – in the driver’s seat. When we try to get them to do something, they feel disempowered”. 

Doing something you love on a schedule you can’t control can feel like doing something you hate. Psychologists call it reactance.

Morgan Housel, Psychology of Money
Psychology of money
Psychology of money

Housel gives us an insight into how wealth can create the ability to do what we want, when we want and for as long as we want. This is the highest dividend wealth can pay. 

  1. Wealth can give us a strong sense of being in control of our life, this is a predictor of positive feelings of wellbeing
  2. People make money decisions based on prior experience and emotions, and not based on facts they studied – this is wrong.
  3. Don’t focus on individuals, everyone has a different path, focus on broad patterns instead. Luck and risk are powerful forces guiding your financial success.
  4. Do not have a relative mindset – do not compare your journey of wealth to the other guy, as this comparison never ends, instead focus on making small positive changes consistently. Warren Buffet started investing when he was 10, by 30 he had USD 9 million. However, most of his wealth came after he hit 50. 
  5. Never do something to impress others, people may like the swanky car that you just got, but they don’t like you because of it. Learn the difference. Housel calls this Man in the car paradox.
  6. Wealth has more to do with generating and saving than investing (counterintuitive) 
  7. Avoid planning extreme goals. Be flexible as life changes, you should change too. 


If you are experiencing reactance, reduce clutter and simplify your life. You should also change the way you look at creating wealth. You are creating freedom from reactance.

Read a great summary of this book here

Inspiration of the week: Tobi Lutke 🛒


Born, Germany, 1981. Learnt to code at 12, dropped out of school at 16 and took up computer programming apprenticeship. 2002 moved to Canada. At age 23, launched an eCommerce startup called Snowdevil to sell snowboards online. This turned into Shopify! Net worth USD 9.6 Bn. This is not all, Tobi consistently applies mental models and is very vocal about them. For instance, Tobi and team decided against using “Powered by Shopify” on the storefronts even though it may have created a growth loop VC’s would have loved. He suggested that Shopify would like to see Merchants become successful, in the long run this is what would matter the most. Turns out, the long term value mental model was immensely successful. Merchants sold 5.1 Billion USD on Shopify on Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) Weekend.

Tobi Lutke – CEO, Shopify (Image Courtesy, Wikipedia)

My wife runs a business on Shopify and I know that nothing else even comes close. Tobi… What an inspiration! See this amazing thread by George Mack that lists all of the mental models that Tobi uses.

Fab read of the week: Storytelling tips from Pixar 💡

Storytelling is an underrated skill. Human beings are drawn to stories like moths to a flame. Great storytelling can improve your persuasion, personality, leadership and overall success.

Pixar has given us countless gifts over the years! The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Toy Story etc. are amazing feats of beautiful storytelling. We can learn a lot from Pixar.

Courtesy Brian’s blog post

6 principles we can incorporate in our storytelling

  1. Have a clear structure to the story – for instance a beginning, climax and the end. This is trivial, but a lot of people don’t even complete their stories.
  2. Basic human experiences can be universal and if we can appeal to it, we have workings of a great story. For instance, if you have experienced irrational fears as a child, play on those in your story. Focus on why you experienced something, and that will help you elicit a similar response in your audience.
  3. There is always an underdog to root for…For instance, if you are telling your own story, portraying yourself as an underdog that comes out victorious from a difficult time is incredibly impactful. Needs to be done in good taste, though. I shall leave that to your imagination.
  4. Appeal to our deepest emotions. Ability to recognise emotions in yourself and explain why these emotions exist is key to an awesome story. For instance, fear, love, desire, etc. there are many emotions that can be elicited through narration, tonality, backdrop, pauses, and sometimes simply words.
  5. Have twists in the plot. Our brains love a random surprise. As a result, too predictable stories don’t win any brownie points.
  6. Keep it simple and focused on the topic you want to address, complex plots hardly work. For instance, I have never loved stories about 6 couples going through 6 different things in their lives. Inception was probably the only complex plot that I loved. That sort of plot is an exception and requires masterful craft, which most of us do not possess. Stick to the simple.


Read the original article here.

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