Life advice, public speaking, and high agency people

May 17, 2024
Z Fellows

1: Patrick Collison’s Life Advice

Patrick Collison gets asked what he’d tell his younger self a lot. Here are a few pieces of advice:

  • Make friends over the internet with people who are great at things you're interested in. The internet is one of the biggest advantages you have over prior generations. Leverage it.
  • Aim to read a lot.
  • Make things. Operating in a space with a lot of uncertainty is a very different experience from learning something.
  • Find vivid examples of success in the domains you care about. If you want to become a great scientist, try to find ways to spend time with good (or, ideally, great) scientists in person. Watch YouTube videos of interviews. Follow some on Twitter.
  • People who did great things often did so at very surprisingly young ages. (They were gray-haired when they became famous... not when they did the work.) So, hurry up! You can do great things.

Source: Advice

2: Public Speaking Tips

Everyone speaks, but few speak well. Whether you’re raising money from investors, talking to customers, or inspiring your team… we all can improve our speaking ability.

Here are 5 quick tips:

  1. Expand your vocabulary: Your lexicon is all the words you employ on a daily basis. Your surface lexicon is the subconscious words you default to. Your deep lexicon is the vast expanse of your total vocabulary that often gets buried deep inside your brain. The most effective way to expand your vocabulary is to repeat a new word 38 times throughout your conversations.
  2. Breathe deeper with words: When asked a question, most of us rush to respond immediately. Instead, take a deep breath. Pausing buys you precious time to index a more suitable word from your deep lexicon.
  3. Prune filler words: Record yourself speaking and make a list of all the filler words you use. Then speak deliberately by paying attention not to use those filler words.
  4. Curate your language diet: Every word you use is downstream of something you’ve consumed. Run a quick audit of all the articles, books, songs, videos, and conversations that you’re feeding your brain.
  5. Tune your vocal instrument: Words aren’t just words, they’re musical notes. The best speakers speak with rhythm and variation as if they’re singing. Vary your pitch, volume, tone, and speed as you speak. A great method to develop your vocal instrument is to read poetry out loud.

Source: How I Became More Articulate With My Speaking

3: How to Spot High Agency People

  1. Weird teenage hobbies - Teenage years are the hardest time to go against social pressures. If they can go against the crowd as a teenager, they can go against the crowd as an adult.
  2. Energy distortion field - If you meet with them when you’re tired and defeated, you leave the room ready to run a marathon on a treadmill with max incline. Low-agency people do the opposite.
  3. Golden question - If you’re in a 3rd world prison cell and had to call someone to get you out, who would you call? That’s the highest agency person you know.
  4. You can never guess their opinions - The boxer who writes poetry. The advertiser obsessed with the history of war. The beauty queen who reads Nietzsche. If their beliefs don’t line up with their stereotypes, they’ve exercised agency.
  5. They send you niche content - Low agency people look at the social engagement of content before deeming its quality. High-agency people just look at the content. They spot upcoming trends very early.

Source: How to Spot High Agency People