Conquering Rule Overwhelm, How To Get Back On Track, Go Away Green, and More

Bring Ambition Newsletter - April 29, 2021

Hi folks and welcome aboard new subscribers!

In the Bring Ambition Newsletter, I share 3-5+ things that are fascinating me lately in the world of professional and personal development, peak performance psychology, meta-learning, side hustles, and more. You'll receive unconventional resources, cool gadgets, practical advice, and other inspiring content.

As always, if you enjoy the newsletter please share with a friend!

1.) How to conquer “Rule Overwhelm”

Here’s a tip for anyone who enjoyed my last article, “12 Writing Lessons from Ian Fleming, Creator of James Bond.”

We are so inundated with lessons, tips, hacks, cheat sheets, and best-practices. This “Rule Overwhelm” is anxiety-provoking. It makes us feel like we’re never doing enough, that we can’t trust our own ideas, that unless we follow all of some expert’s rules perfectly, we’re doomed.

Sure, it would be great to incorporate all 12 of Ian Fleming’s writing techniques into your creative repertoire, all at once, with no missteps. But that’s not reality. The truth is if you try to do too much, odds are you’ll end up doing nothing.

Instead, try this: start small and do less than you think you can handle. Choose just one tactic and stick to it — one rule to rule them all.

For me, I picked lesson #3: “Bulldoze through the first draft.” My writing process takes longer than it should because I have a bad habit of revising as I go. So now the one rule I’m trying to follow is to simply plow through the first draft, get my thoughts down, and then revise later.

Once your “one rule” is embedded into your toolkit, then you can consider expanding and incorporating more. This is true for developing creative tools, building career skills, making lifestyle changes, managing your to-do list, etc.

When I run a training program, I don’t pressure participants to incorporate every single thing we discussed. At the outset, I encourage them to think about just 1-2 specific actions they can take or test out when they get back to the desk.

Small changes lead to big changes. Your goal should be compliance and consistency, not perfection. If you try to change too much all at once, you’ll end up back where you started.

(See #3 for more about “doing less than you can handle,” and sticking with new routines.)

2.) Person I'm learning more about

Michael Crichton. I just finished a book by Crichton you might be familiar with: Jurassic Park. It's excellent, brings back childhood memories, and there's lots of overlap between the book and movie. But as always, the book is like a better extended-cut that includes more explanations, plot, internal dialogue from characters, and interesting tangents.

I learned a lot just from reading Crichton’s wiki page, and look forward to finding more of his thoughts on writing.

Crichton studied to be a doctor, writing under a pseudonym while in medical school, but never practiced medicine. He instead followed his passion, focusing entirely on writing, but leveraged his medical expertise in his novels and in creating the hit TV series ER.

He was an amazing storyteller and a pretty fascinating person. He specialized in adventurous, SciFi thrillers that explore scientific advancements gone awry. He wrote a total of 26 novels, over a dozen of which have been adapted for film and TV (e.g. Westworld, another one of his perennial hits).

Fun fact: He's the only person to have simultaneously had the number one book, movie, and TV show in the United States.

I have two other Crichton books on my reading list: Eaters of the Dead, a Beowulf-influenced story about a group of vikings battling a relict horde of Neanderthals, and his travel memoir, aptly titled Travels.

3.) How to get back on track after slipping up (habits, diet, etc.)

Have you ever fallen off track from a diet, exercise routine, new habit or ritual, etc.? Here's a helpful, quick 4-minute video from Tim Ferriss about how to do damage control and quickly get back on track.

4.) Fun fact of the day

Ever heard of Go Away Green? It's a paint color the folks at Disney created, specifically formulated to be overlooked. The muted greyish-green color is used to camouflage utility boxes, trash cans, cameras, and even secret doors.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this newsletter — What did you enjoy? What's the worst thing about it that needs to be fixed as soon as possible? You can reach me via any of the social media / contact links below.

Have a great weekend!

Jon D'Alessandro

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