4 Unintuitive Ways To Be Useful To People

One of my favorite humans, Derek Sivers, has a phenomenal talent.

It’s not just that he’s good at software.

And it’s not that he’s built a huge following of fans.

It’s not even that he’s articulate and kind and an all-around good person.

Probably my favorite thing about him is how he distills complexity into palatable, pithy nuggets.

It might be the single most useful thing in today’s day and age.

We’re living in the “Age of Distraction,” more than the “Information Age.”

Think about it, you get my email, along with how many others? Too many to count.

The problem isn’t having the information, it’s knowing useful information from useless information. This is where Sivers adds a ton of value.

Just like my list of 11 Rules That Will Change Your Life Forever, he’s spent his whole lifetime (so far) breaking down concepts, books, ideas, and strategies into digestible chunks. Admittedly, he’s truly a master of this.

Here’s his list of ways to be useful. I was surprised at how much I agree with him on some of these.

How To Be Useful To Others

  1. Get Famous. Do everything in public and for the public. The more people you reach the more useful you are. The opposite is hiding, which is of no use to anyone.
  2. Get Rich. Money is neutral proof that you’re adding value to people’s lives. So, by getting rich, being useful is a side effect. Once rich, spend the money in ways that are useful to others, then getting rich is doubly useful.
  3. Share strong opinions. Strong opinions are very useful to others. Those who are undecided or ambivalent can just adopt your stance, but those who disagree can solidify their stance by arguing against yours. So even if you invent an opinion for the sole sake of argument, sharing a strong opinion is very useful to others.
  4. Be expensive. People, when given a placebo pill, where twice as likely to say the pill worked when told that pill was expensive. People who paid more for tickets were more likely to attend the performance. So people who spend more for a product or service value it more and get more use out of it.



I didn’t see all of that coming, did you?

2 Minute Action:

Is what you’re doing useful? Do you want it to be?

Reply here with one of these rules that resonated with you and another that really surprised you.

And then (the most important part) write why you might be feeling this way.

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