This is an important mental model that I have been building over the past few years.
Interesting means attention-capturing. Attention is the currency that we are trading in the information age. Thus, the value of almost everything can be assessed on whether they are interesting.
Being interesting has two components: relevance and uniqueness.
To me, a film star’s divorce is unique but not relevant; medical school applications from a student with straight-A grades but nothing else is relevant but not unique. Neither is interesting.
Relevance comes from hard work. On one hand, you need to understand what the other party is looking for. On the other hand, you need to improve yourself so that your skills/qualifications are helpful to what is required of you.
Uniqueness stems from being yourself. No one can beat you at being yourself1. This is the soul of a personal brand. It is why you do what you do. In the digital age, you can ignore 99.9% of the world and still be liked by millions of people (the remaining 0.1%). In a medical school application, you just need to be loved by one school.
Most people focus on relevance when trying to be interesting: they tick all the boxes that someone gives them; they work hard on a status game (e.g. getting the best ranking) where the competition is the highest. In the end, they live a relevant but not interesting life.
This idea is from Naval Ravikant ↩︎