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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gallant

Why I love origin stories and how I hope they will add value to you

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

A while ago a friend had me take a “Clifton Strength Test”. Simply put, this test allows you to map your strengths and act on them. According to Clifton, my most dominant strength is Context, which is presented as follows:

“You enjoy thinking about the past. You understand the present by researching its history”.

In other words, I am attracted to studying historical events because they help me understand present-day happenings. How true!

I love origin stories. I especially love origin stories of people, businesses, and economies. I enjoy reading economic history because it provides me with the reasoning and circumstances of events and phenomena that happen today. It helps me understand how New York became such a massive commercial center, why the Dutch settled in New Amsterdam in the early 1700s, and how the practicality that I encountered in The Netherlands shaped the “no bullshit” bluntness I experience everyday living in Manhattan.

I spend a lot of time reading, watching, and listening to content about financial history. This includes everything from non-fiction (check out The Ascent of Money by Neill Ferguson), fiction (I probably read every Robert Harris book out there except for V2 which I am starting now), audiobooks (most recently and notably Titan, the story of John D. Rockefeller), and Netflix historical dramas (I’m very sad that Marco Polo got discontinued!).

In the Yukon, visiting my friend and INSEAD housemate Scott Berdahl

Two plus years ago I created MBA without BS, with the thought of writing a book that would inspire and guide other people who didn’t have an undergraduate to pursue an MBA. In the time that passed, I didn’t write a book, but I did connect and helped a lot of people through my podcast, blog, 1x1 calls, and other resources. The conversations I’ve had through encouraged me to broaden the topic of my writing and podcasting beyond the MBA world.

As an avid content consumer myself, I know that one of the most important things to me is not only the quality of the content but also its frequency. After reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits, I became even more convinced that the key to becoming better at creating (anything) is doing it consistently.

Doing things regularly never came easy to me. Then again, I feel like nowadays many people are struggling with keeping their routines, so I’m probably not alone in dealing with this challenge. So far, the best way I found to deal with it is by creating what my friend Eytan calls “comfort systems”. Meaning, if I make things easy/comfortable, there is a greater chance I will actually do them. The other piece of the puzzle is Focus. Specifically, to reduce the number of fields/tasks/items I pay attention to.

For this reason, I spent a lot of time experimenting in finding the most “bang for the buck”, or efficient, way to create content. So far I have tried blogging, vlogging, creating video courses, producing podcasts, posting on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn (and maybe a few other things I forgot).

After a (too) long debate with myself, and for a variety of reasons which I might share one day, I concluded that the most effective, convenient, and interesting piece of content for me to create is a short weekly newsletter of 300-500 words (this one is the exception).

In each newsletter, I tell a story. That story will contain a person (alive or dead); this person’s financial, economic, or business impact; and my key lesson(s) from this person’s journey. Every now and then I might throw in a “bonus” like a product, a book, or a course that relates to the story or the takeaways.

If any of this reads to you as remotely interesting, I cordially invite you to sign up for my “people, business, education” newsletter.

If you have recommendations for interesting people or businesses, please do share them with me in the comments or via the contact form!

That’s it for now, be good!


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