I write a lesson I wished I had learned 10 years earlier, to feed our brains with intelligent content to start our week. I also share interesting articles, book quotes, and the occasional speech or TED talk to help us all get smarter, wiser and live better.

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Happy Sunday!

I have begun avoiding consuming content with clickbait titles. It’s a decision I made this week and the reason why is simple. Before I get into the reason for this decision, let me set the scene.

I was watching a video on youtube. Towards the end of the video, I scrolled down to review the comments, and I see the following two titles on the recommended videos:

  • Mark Cuban: Best Interview UNCENSORED
  • The person you really need to marry

These two videos instantly jumped out to me because of their clickbaity titles. Ordinarily, I would have been tempted to watch the videos that jump out to me, but not on this occasion. I didn’t watch either video. I figured that it’s unlikely to be Mark Cuban’s best interview. It’s also highly unlikely that a 10-minute youtube video will tell me the person I need to marry. So why waste my time-consuming content that literally will not change my life?

Clickbait titles aren’t unique to youtube videos. You also get clickbait titles on articles, newspaper headlines, content shared by friends, and pretty much any other form content we consume.

I’m sure this experience isn’t unique to me. It’s something that has happened to us all. You click on a clickbait article like “BEST Motivational Video - MUST WATCH!!!” You’re a quarter of the way through, and you’re still waiting for that moment where the video finally earns its title. You continue to watch till the end, and you feel robbed of your time. You realise that it’s not the best video ever and your life hasn’t gained much by watching the video. The clickbaity title made you watch it, but it’s been a complete waste of your time that you can never get back. There’s an opportunity cost to your time, and the video wasn’t worth it.

Clickbait titles have become very frustrating. We all know they’re annoying, yet we continue to fall for them. Setting myself this blanket rule will help me to avoid clickbait titles going forwards.

I’ve entirely stopped consuming content that has a clickbait title.

Some people will argue that “what if” the video may have been worth watching, but I’ll never know? Quite frankly, I don’t care. There’s far too many good content out there than to spend hours consuming content, because “just in case”. I’m happy to make that sacrifice. The opportunity cost of watching the video is too high. It’s not worth my time.

FOMO is the reason we’re drawn to clickbait titles.

I’d argue that clickbait titles are compensating for lack of quality in content. If the content is good, it wouldn’t need a clickbait title. If a boring title happened to get lots of views, likes and engagement, you know the content is good. It didn’t need a clickbait title to attract attention. Instead, it was widely shared and captured the attention of viewers/readers. It would have been shared several times or rewatched several times. It’s been validated by the community.

Avoiding clickbait titles is a simple mental model that gives me more control over my attention and the content I consume. I only want to consume good content - life is too short. And there’s way more good content out there than I can possibly consume over several lifetimes.

Avoid clickbait to create space for quality content in your life - like this newsletter. P.s. I’d love for you to share this with a friend.

Have an awesome week ahead,
Samuel


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This Week's Wisdom

“It is easy to get bogged down trying to find the optimal plan for change: the fastest way to lose weight, the best program to build muscle, the perfect idea for a side hustle. We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.”
- In the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear

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Final Word

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