GRANTED: Your stress probably isn't burnout and your professional decline probably isn't imminent
To figure out whether you really understand an idea, write it down. Unclear writing is a sign of unclear thinking.
Some ideas I found worthy of writing down this month:
1. Is Burnout Real? (NYT)
Yes. But don’t confuse it with stress. Feeling overwhelmed sometimes is normal—it signals responsible engagement in meaningful work. Burnout is emotional exhaustion that’s persistent and impairing. It stems from too many demands—and too little control and support.
2. Your Work Peak Is Earlier Than You Think (Atlantic)
Over time, your accomplishments hinge less on your innate intelligence and more on your earned wisdom. Although I find this take on the evidence too pessimistic and too deterministic, it’s a powerful essay. I agree that we should all invest in the next generation by being instructors, not just innovators.
3. The Mindfulness Conspiracy (Guardian)
Yes, mindfulness can help with focusing attention and reducing stress. But it shouldn't stop us from asking what's causing distraction and exhaustion in the first place, and working to change toxic cultures.
4. Make Empathy Central to Your Company Culture (HBR)
Empathy is not a hardwired trait. It's a soft skill you can develop with hard work. Ask people what their biggest hurdle is. Pay attention to what causes them pain. Show you care.
In other words: don't be a sociopath.
From My Desk:
5. How Your Strengths Can Make You Weaker (NYT)
Confidence comes from recognizing your strengths, but true power depends on knowing when and how to use them. Don't just play to your strengths. Play them in the right situations.
6. Should You Always Strive to Work at the Most Prestigious Places? Well… (NYT)
The best job isn't always in the most influential place. It's in the place where you can be the most influential. It makes sense to join a less prestigious organization when it offers more opportunities for growth.