“We just want avid learners”.
According to Pieter, our hiring policy at Double is really that simple.
Besides creating an ultra-proactive team, the policy is likely responsible for our group chat forever being filled with book and article recommendations.
One of the regular contributors is Sandy, our legendary copywriter.
I specifically use the word ‘legendary’ because I’ve been admiring Sandy’s copy skills from some 18,000km away… without actually meeting him in person. He writes for our Double Academy and leads a bunch of exciting projects.
We’ve heard a lot out of him, so I asked for his take on self-studying…
Could you tell us about the one thing you learned after university that has significantly boosted your career?
Yeah, one thing stands out by a mile: That books are essentially on-demand teachers we can learn from at any time, anywhere.
The moment I figured that out, it felt like I’d been given the keys to unlock professional skills, fix my insecurities, and discover the meaning of a healthy life (still a work in progress).
What are you currently learning? Describe your method
I’ve got three things on the go.
Firstly, I’m reading The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb and taking notes as I go (that technique is thanks to Ali Abdaal, who pointed out how much better we retain info whenever we summarize it in our own words).
Secondly, I’m taking notes on Julian Shapiro’s growth marketing handbook.
And finally, I’m doing Mike Rinard’s four-week workshop on Flow Writing. It’s all about optimising your writing process for maximum output.
It can be hard to find out which skills or pieces of knowledge are actually relevant for us at a given time. How do you go about picking and choosing what deserves your attention next?
I strike a balance between what I’m naturally curious about (The Black Swan), and overcoming current challenges (the Flow Writing course is to fix my current dilemma of finding enough time to write everything I want to, while staying healthy and social).
When trying to change the way we do things, our brains often try to find reasons to quit halfway or stick to what we know. How do you overcome those thoughts?
Bear with me on this lengthy explanation :)
I recently had my understanding of happiness and a well-lived life reframed by a book called The Courage to Be Disliked.
It explains that finding happiness and confidence is entirely dependent on us delivering service to the community around us. As soon as it clicked that the better I serve everyone around me, the more confident and happy I’ll be, I found new reserves of strength for ignoring distraction and the temptation to give up on difficult material.
How would you encourage others to become more curious, even on a busy schedule?
I’d tell them that literally any problem of ours has been faced and overcome by others before us. Because so many of those people have written about their experiences, all the answers are out there. It just takes us being proactive and looking for them.
Once you’ve got that mindset, a Kindle becomes the ultimate tool because you can search for a book and start reading two minutes later.
If you had to give advice to founders or managers interested in encouraging genuine curiosity and proactivity from employees, what would you tell them?
Here’s why I think it’s in any manager’s interests to foster a culture of continuous learning (and that includes allowing an hour or two of company time for it per week): 99% of the creative ideas that I present to Pieter and our clients are other peoples’ ideas, mixed with my own life experience.
Creativity and innovation always build on existing ideas, so why not make sure everyone’s being exposed to as many as possible?
If you’d like to hear more of what Sandy’s got to say, you’re in luck. He writes about the lessons that dramatically improve his life over here.
Written by Louise