Friday Roundup – 12.15.23 Edition

Each and every Friday — I outline a few of the articles and/or books that I have read over the last week or two that are worth taking a look at.

Psycho-Cybernetics By Maxwell Maltz

Since its first publication in 1960, Maxwell Maltz’s landmark bestseller has inspired and enhanced the lives of more than 30 million readers. In this updated edition, with a new introduction and editorial commentary by Matt Furey, president of the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, the original text has been annotated and amplified to make Maltz’s message even more relevant for the contemporary reader.

• Cybernetics (loosely translated from the Greek): “a helmsman who steers his ship to port.” 

• Psycho-Cybernetics is a term coined by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, which means, “steering your mind to a productive, useful goal so you can reach the greatest port in the world, peace of mind.”

Maltz was the first researcher and author to explain how the self-image (a term he popularized) has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal. And he developed techniques for improving and managing self-image—visualization, mental rehearsal, relaxation—which have informed and inspired countless motivational gurus, sports psychologists, and self-help practitioners for more than fifty years.

The teachings of Psycho-Cybernetics are timeless because they are based on solid science and provide a prescription for thinking and acting that lead to quantifiable results.

Go here to get a copy of this great book:

Marcus Aurelius: Is This Necessary

Every cause doesn’t deserve an effect. All actions don’t need a reaction. When in doubt, return to necessity.

To separate what truly matters from the noise, Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, Stoic philosopher and author of the renowned book, “Meditations,” wrote a profound advice for his own reflection:

“Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?”

It’s a deceptively straightforward question. But it cuts to the heart of our actions. Aurelius urges us to evaluate our daily choices and eliminate unnecessary burdens.

It’s a filter for habits, routines, and choices.

Aurelius’s profound question is a guide towards a life of clarity, purpose, and fulfilment. It encourages us to shed the unnecessary baggage that weighs us down, allowing us to embrace a simpler, more meaningful existence. Cut through life’s clutter.

Is this necessary? is not just a question; it’s also a productivity hack. Questioning the necessity of our actions, thoughts, and emotions helps us identify and discard things that serve no purpose.

A lot of things derail and detract us from our bigger goals. To do more great work or lead a more satisfying life, stay essential, stay impactful. That’s how you get things done. Prioritise, simplify, and thrive.

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials,” Bruce Lee said.

Aurelius was born into a lineage of emperors.

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Stoicism and The Law of Attraction: The Ancient Truth About Manifestation and Magical Thinking

“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind,” the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote. “Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”

Does that mean Marcus Aurelius and the ancient Stoics believed in the Law of Attraction, as popularized by Rhonda Byrne?

It’s a good question. And we will spend the rest of this article answering it. This is a long post. It can be read straight through or if you prefer, feel free to click the links below to navigate to a specific section:

What Is The Law of Attraction?

Does The Law of Attraction Really Work?

The Difference Between Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction

Do The Stoics Believe In The Law of Attraction?

The Discipline of Action

3 Ancient Practices That Prove The Law Of Attraction Isn’t Real

What Is The Law of Attraction?

The Law of Attraction was made popular by The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The Secret has been translated into 50 languages and sold over 35 million copies. It was made into a movie in 2006 and the two combined have grossed well over $300 million. 

Oprah Winfrey gave it perhaps its biggest endorsement on The Larry King Show, saying, “The message of The Secret is the message I’ve been trying to share with the world on my show for the past twenty-one years.” 

Byrne was then on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where we learn the story of how reading The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles led to her writing The Secret. When asked about the title, Byrne told Oprah, “we really needed to contain the knowledge in a couple of words and ‘the secret’ is the law of attraction.” 

What do you mean by that? Oprah asks.

“The law of attraction,” Byrne responds, “is the most powerful law in the universe. It is the law by which we are creating our lives. So whether we realize it or not the law of attraction is working all of the time. Now clearly, if you don’t know what the law does then then you can’t be creating the life you want. The law of attraction says that like attracts like. What we do is we attract into our lives the things that we want and that is based on what we’re thinking and feeling.” 

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Are brands better off reflecting reality or pushing boundaries at Christmas?

Fast forward to Asda’s entirely non-divisive (unless, of course, you hate him) ‘Incredibublé’ spot this year – which follows hot on the heels of last year’s Christmas-winning Elf spot – and it’s clear the supermarket decided that tackling the prickly subject of household gender roles just wasn’t for it, and has moved on to lighter stuff.

Think of this, though (and know I’m only half joking): if we agree that the success of marketers’ Christmas investments tracks with how accurately they’ve captured the current mood of the nation, and if half of the people contributing to that national mood are tired, mentally overloaded women and mothers, then you have to ask, why did Asda’s 2012 spot cause such a furore?

One argument is that the folks at the supermarket giant were simply ahead of their time. After all, we’ve seen John Lewis roundly challenge tradition by depicting a single-parent, women-led family in this year’s ‘Snapper’ spot. A festive ad that System1’s analysis has revealed is the retailer’s most effective in three years.

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Hope you enjoy these articles and books. Have a great rest of your Friday an amazing weekend!