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#029 | Jan 30th, 2020

Maker Mind

The mindful productivity newsletter

Biological virus or mental virus?

Hello friends!

It's fascinating how Plague Inc—a game which was released 8 years ago and consists in evolving a pathogen in an effort to destroy the world with a deadly plague—is suddenly one of the top grossing games in China. Mental health experts suggested it may be a way for Chinese people to alleviate their anxiety regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

This, combined with a silly late-night conversation ("do you think the coronavirus had any impact on Corona's sales?") made me want to explore the psychology behind epidemics and pandemics. What happens when we suffer from health anxiety? What answers do we tend to seek? What mental mistakes do we make?

I also wrote a complete guide to developing a growth mindset, based on a workshop I gave earlier this week at Founders Academy, a new kind of school born out of Founders Forum.

One last thing... I wanted to thank you all for your support for the Product Hunt awards. I was a Maker of the Year finalist, and Maker Mind won the runner-up award in the Side Project category. I'm so grateful for you. I celebrated by participating in a panel during the global Product Hunt meetup series.

Bonus: I was a the first guest interview on Writers Compound. We talked about long-form content, mindframing, running a newsletter, and building a writing routine.

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Brain food

A round-up of my neuroscience-based articles about creativity and productivity.

001 // Online panic: a coronavirus case study

One of the very first things we tend to do when we think we’re getting sick is to look up our symptoms. We feel some pain, we notice a weird rash on our skin, and we quickly open our browser to find answers. The medical community even has a name for it: Doctor Google.

Lately, the big bad wolf of diseases is a novel coronavirus, nicknamed “wuflu” by some, which has emerged from a seafood wholesale market in the centre of Wuhan in China.

When we go into panic mode, interesting things happen. And with the Internet, we can actually explore some of these trends. Let’s have a look at some curious phenomena such as cyberchondria, video games as a coping mechanism for anxiety, and how this novel coronavirus has impacted the Corona beer brand.

Read more

002 // From fixed mindset to growth mindset: the complete guide

If you ask someone “Do you have a growth mindset?”, most people will say yes. In fact, when I ran a poll asking my followers if they had a growth mindset, only 10% said they didn’t. This is called the “false growth mindset” and it’s a natural consequence of being human. You probably heard somewhere that having a growth mindset was good, so you automatically say you do. If you want to challenge your “yes autopilot” and take a deep dive into what is a growth mindset and how you can foster it, buckle up!

A mindset is a set of assumptions held by a person or a group of people. It is closely related to people’s worldview or philosophy of life. A deeply anchored mindset can act as a strong incentive to continue to accept or even adopt certain behaviours.

In her seminal book Mindset, American psychologist Carol Dweck explains the two main mindsets we have when approaching new challenges—or even life in general. Her research has challenged commonly held perceptions about what it means to be smart. I don’t think I could explain it better than she did, so here are her two definitions of the mindsets that impact the way you think and act on a daily basis.

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003 // Mindframing for world curation

So many aspirations, so little time. I initially designed the mindframing method to achieve specific goals, such as learning how to code or running a marathon. Mindframing consists in breaking down long-term projects into four different phases: pact, act, react, impact. And I think it’s perfect for exploring and expanding on new topics—basically curating the world.

The Pact phase is the decision to consistently repeat a specific action. For instance, coding every day, reading one book every month, or going for a long run every week. The Act phase is about executing on that commitment. This goes hand-in-hand with the React phase, where you document and share your journey, lessons, processes. Finally, the Impact phase is when you work on a larger-scale project, combining everything you learned so far.

After more than a year using this process for myself, I realised it also works pretty well when you don’t have a specific goal in mind. In my case, mindframing has a been a great all-purpose learning framework. If your goal is just to learn and grow as a person, mindframing may be a good fit.

You may use any note-taking tool you like to use—I know many readers are big fans of Notion and Evernote—but here is an overview of how I’ve been implementing mindframing inside Roam Research.

Read more

Brain candy

Didn't get enough? Even more goodness from around the web.
Reflection time. Artist Ray Bartkus painted images upside down on this building such that their reflection in Lithuania’s Šešupė River looks like rowers, swimmers, divers, swans and other figures in the water. (via Audrey)

Until next week... Take care!

Anne-Laure.
Founder, Ness Labs.

P.S. If you liked this, please forward it to a friend! It would mean a lot to me. Were you forwarded this email? You can subscribe to the newsletter or explore the past editions.
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