“Be radically open-minded and radically transparent.”
– Ray Dalio
Here’s your midweek newsletter — a gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive.
The Science Behind Apologising Better
Last week, after an hourlong argument with a few of my friends, I didn’t sleep right. I woke up and realised that it was me who was at fault and I had grossly misunderstood something that someone sent on a chat group. So, I decided to apologise for behaviour that was uncalled for and unnecessary.
That was when I recalled this podcast episode from the Science of Happiness podcast. This is about apologising and the science behind what makes an apology better.
Here’s what makes an apology whole as per Beth Polin’s research quoted in this episode. These apologies not only make the listener feel better but also induce better action in you.
- For an effective apology, start with an expression of regret.
- Then, explain as to why you did what you did. Rule of thumb that I follow here: less you sentences, more I sentences. Don’t stretch this one.
- The third is where you acknowledge how you made the other person feel.
- Then, comes the promise to trying and being better.
- The fifth is an offer or a way you suggest to mend things immediately.
- In the end, there’s a request for forgiveness.
So that’s: apologise, explain your trigger, acknowledge the impact, promise better behaviour, offer a solution, and request for forgiveness.
You can’t always have all parts in it, but it has been proven that step three — the acknowledgement of your actions — is what makes the other person feel safe and willing to take a leap of faith on you again.
The added benefit is that once you make an apology in that structure, you actually try to be better and make sure that the thing, whatever it was, is not repeated again.
That’s because you remember it instead of just an empty “I’m sorry” that is thrown around and forgotten.
Get It Done: Constraint-Binding Yourself
If you haven’t been to Nudge › How’s Instagram, you probably haven’t seen how the colours are alternating between the signature cyan and white. That’s very intentional. It’s also something that began as a random thing I was doing and then, it was something I liked so I wanted to keep it.
However, constraints are paralysing as well because now, to start with a new series of content, I would need to maintain that entire thing – given that I want this to look a certain way – which I do. So, I was thinking about a new series and what not for over three weeks now without any action.
However, on a Monday, a couple of weeks ago, I tweeted a question. Then, I deleted it and tweeted it as “Weekly check-in”. I figured I wanted to ask the same on Instagram and I wanted the question to be there.
So, I sat down, whipped a design up, and pushed it on the feed.
Now, I was sandwiched between either making sure the Mix and Merge post lands on Friday or I risked ruining a colour scheme I’m having rather fun maintaining and looking at.
Result: The Mix and Merge post when out on Friday with all the bells and whistles.
The point is, more often than not, in trying to strive for perfection or the right time, we fail to do anything at all. “Oh, I’ll do it right so I’m taking my sweet time,” we say all the time.
No, you aren’t. That’s just an excuse to not work on it. Once you bind yourself in a constraint – as I did with posting a random type of post – you have to do what you promised. That is why deadlines work so well sometimes.
So, it is better to have some tough love on us if we actually want to do something.
It worked out for the best anyway because the random, Monday check-ins are something that I’m told people have enjoyed a lot. Not to mention, those posts are getting a decent amount of interaction from you guys.
So, thank you for that, and also, that made me realise it isn’t really about bells and whistles and what works rather about the purpose for why Nudge was created – to urge us into action.
In any case, look forward to more!
Reading List: Principles by Ray Dalio
Talking about tough love, Principles by Ray Dalio quotes this phrase a lot. It also quotes Radical Transparency a lot, but those aren’t terms I’m throwing about for the sake of it. These are principles from his life that he’s shared in this (difficult to read consistently but) brilliant book.
I’ve been stuck on this book for a while now. I think I’m inching towards a month, but I’m finally picking some pace up. I love the way he has lived his life and how he built his company, Bridgewater, on principles of clarity and honesty.
I had never heard of companies having public baseball cards with stats for all employees. It sounds like a crazy idea because maybe it is, but the more I think about it, the more I feel I can get behind other people knowing my limits and strengths in the workplace.
The book isn’t all about work though. The first part is a memoir, the second is filled with principles from his life, and the third is about his work principles.
So, there’s something for everyone.
Quick Update On Nudge › How
You’re now getting four different types of content on the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, I’m working towards trying to add more value through social media on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lots of good things in store!
In case you missed it, last week’s post on the blog was about something I dub the Trickle-Down Effect of Habits. The idea is that each habit irrespective of whether its good or bad trickles down into other areas of our lives.
This can be used both for improving the quality of life by choosing better habits or by finding patterns that don’t serve you well. I’ve shared an example for the latter from my time in college.
It seems to do us well to share the bad side of things once in a while.
Oh, And One Last Thing
This is the last newsletter to get into the exclusive first-movers list for the Midweek Nudge Newsletter. So, please share this with all people you know who could benefit from the extra engagement and good stuff down the line.
I’d love to have as many people in it as possible!
P.S. Do you prefer receiving post notifications on Saturdays or would you rather get them on Wednesdays with the newsletter instead?
Let me know by replying to this email.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay focused, and I’ll talk to you next week.