The Art of the Question, Shipping Calamity, & More
The Friday Five: Episode LVI
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Today at a Glance:
Quote: Calm through chaos.
Framework: Question-Action Matrix.
Tweet: Lessons from climbing out of dysfunction.
Article: When shipping containers sink.
Podcast: Why do we dream?
“To bear trials with a calm mind robs misfortune of its strength and burden.” — Seneca
The ability to remain calm through chaos is a competitive advantage.
Be ready. Meet chaos with a smile.
I used to assume that the smartest people had the answers to everything—that they just knew more than the rest of us. But as I got more experience and spent more time with brilliant minds, I began to realize that this simply wasn’t the case.
The most intelligent people don't have the best answers—they ask the best questions.
These people realize that finding the truth is much more important than being right. They legitimately enjoy being wrong—they embrace new information as “software updates" to their brain.
But asking quality questions is not enough to create quality outcomes:
Asking great questions is how you uncover the truth.
Bias for action is how you build upon that truth.
My Question-Action Matrix is a 2x2 to visualize this dynamic:
You can effectively place yourself and others in one of the four quadrants:
Q1: World-changers. This is very rare. These are the people with an incredible curiosity, intellect, and engine.
Q2: Grinders/hustlers. High bias for action creates movement and results, but may need the direction set by others.
Q3: Philosophers/thinkers. Extremely thoughtful, but unable to go from brilliant idea to execution individually.
Q4: Dead zone.
A rough mental model for an organization to use here:
Invest heavily behind the Q1s if you have them.
Hire more of the Q2s to execute.
Complement the Q3s—pair them with Q2s to action their ideas.
Scrub the Q4s.
Where are you on the Question-Action Matrix? What about your team? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you can put this framework to use.
Powerful thread of hard-earned lessons—some amazing nuggets of wisdom here.
You are what you do. Not what you say or what you believe.
Getting punched in the face once permanently reduces your fear of it happening again. It’s not fun. But it’s not as bad as you think.
Good conversations are made up of questions.
Consciously exercise gratitude.
Worth reading in its entirety. It’s quick and many of them will make you think.
When Shipping Containers Sink in the Drink
The “containerization” of the world was one of the more fascinating and impactful economic developments of the last 100 years.
Interestingly, the entire revolution began when a truck driver from North Carolina named Malcolm McLean had an idea to reduce his idle time waiting to be unloaded and loaded at the ports.
This article goes deep on the economics of shipping and the unique challenges facing the industry. A few of my favorite tidbits:
When first introduced, standardized shipping containers reduced the cost to load a cargo ship from ~$6.00 to $0.16 per ton.
If a bunch of containers go overboard, something called a “general average adjustment” takes place, in which all companies with cargo aboard the ship have to contribute to cover related expenses, even if their particular cargo was not lost.
Southern Cornwall has a cult following of people who come to look for dragons on the shores—remnants of a 1997 shipping container mishap that sent a container of Lego pieces into the ocean offshore. 33,427 black dragons and 514 green dragons were lost at sea and began washing up on the shores in the months and years that followed. In NFT lingo, “looks rare.”
Interested in going further down the rabbit hole? I highly recommend The Box.
Unexplainable: Why Do We Dream?
Great short listen on the science of dreaming and our attempts to understand why we dream.
Dreaming is one of those fascinating scientific mysteries that I would love to learn more about. At one point, I got obsessed with the idea of lucid dreaming—basically a controlled dream state—and tried to engineer lucid dreams. I never was able to do it, but I might start trying again after listening to this podcast.
Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Where It Happens Podcast
How to Invent and Invest In the Future with Josh Wolfe
Watch it on YouTube and listen to it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
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The question-action matrix is wonderful. Definitely resonates with what I've observed about people. Love the simple articulation!
Hope everyone has some epic dreams this weekend!