In the second of this weekend's link posts, an excerpt from an article by Ron Gibori on the common mistake that keeps businesses at a standstill. The excerpt below resonated this week due to writing a post about Jimmy Iovine to be posted soon.
Remove your ego and make the best decision for your company.
The simple truth is that networking and investment are priceless and necessary for any entrepreneur. Whether or not it means giving away equity, having consignments for your idea from influential thought leaders is crucial. A page in a local publication or being highlighted on a high-traffic site because you know the editor is a quick route to growth and success.
As much as you spend time working on and refining your idea, don't forget to nurture the relationships of the people around you. Nobody climbs to the top by themselves, somebody had to build the ladder.
Read the whole article here
Remembering that you have control over your own emotions and your own reactions is surely something that should not be left for people to discover when they enter the real world by chance. Unless sought out through your own reading of books or blog posts or perhaps happened upon in a corporate training session, there is nowhere else this is taught.
For a sound mind and a happy life, it is surely the best remedy. As parents, all we really want is for our children to be happy. So why is this underlying outlook on life not taught in school? Why must we happen upon it by chance?
Learning how to think is the best possible thing one could learn. Some have it naturally, some pick it up and others waste a lifetime not knowing what they are missing. Instead, through frustration and regret, or worry and anxiety, seek a quick fix from a pill because they do not know there is nothing wrong with them apart from lack of practice.
I wonder whether schools will change what they teach in our lifetimes. How many people need to remember dates of historic battles? To remember the abbreviations of the periodic table or, in fact, to know anything without looking it up via Google. Is this really a skill that is needed?
With all this "knowledge," we leave school not being taught social skills, confidence, leadership, how to run a meeting, how to sell - an idea, a product, a business - how to start, time management, prioritisation, how to actively listen, eye contact, body language, how to code, how to find our strengths, how to delegate, how to bring others on board, how to be a kind human being, charity, money management, reallocation, pensions, 401Ks, ISAs, stocks and shares and tracker funds, bonds derivatives, lessons from the past rather than dates and facts.
These are the things you need to know in the real world. All I can remember from school is 1066, the battle of Hastings - and I was an A and B student.
The twelve-week year. A 90-day challenge. It seems like even the algorithms of the internet reward you for consistency for 3 months.
Even before I heard of these, when I was busy in my day job, I found that I could cope with long hours and working weekends as long as it was in three-month bursts. I knew that during those three months I had to find a way of making all the things I was currently doing fit into a sustainable timeframe to give me a "break" by being able to work "normal" working hours for the subsequent three months. At the end of the three-month burst, I would be able to take a holiday, get back into a more moderate pace for three months before taking more one on and having a mother three-month burst.
After doing this a couple of times, it no longer took three months to sort out the next big workload. The same techniques can be implemented much quicker once you have practiced them and you start to get into a groove of your own system: cut out these meetings, replace with reports; find out who is reading the reports and cut out the ones not needed; find some areas of the business driving noise and move them to self-serve with a bit of training.
The thing that takes longer than three months is working on yourself. And that is okay. Once you have taken the time to boil things down to habits you can do every day no matter what - then do them every day, no matter what - why stop doing them? Build upon them instead. You might have identified one habit in order to get fitter. Great, well don not stop when you have done this for 90 days, just build on top of it. Find a way of making it sustainable.
Thinking of a 90-day challenge of content creation, I think this is where Gary Vee's document versus create comes from: do not give yourself the excuse of not having ideas for content, just document your day - that is the content.
Where else can you find excuses and turn them on their head? Find a way of keeping going longer than 90 days. Use the common three methods eliminate (other busy work), automate (non-important things taking your time), delegate (the tough bits or get help).
My ideal job, assuming I had to trade time for money, would be going to organisations and helping them to cut out busy work. Processes that are political rather than help results. Random thoughts from the top that send a ripple into a tidal wave as it makes its way down the organisation. The quick Excel sheet that turns into a monster model to bypass an idiosyncrasy of the system rather than fixing it. Throwing people at the problem rather than process or system. Meetings that are not focussed on creative high-level thinking, strategic planning or tactical execution (all of which are valuable) but instead are a talking shop where people try to do other people's jobs. Things that make people feel good rather than actually driving results.
Forecast and stock policy is a great example. The higher level the forecast, the more accurate it is usually. When something fails a customer order, every man and his dog wants a say on what the process should be. How could you not know that my customer needed this stock? We must change to individual forecasts and roll them up. What do you think happens then? Everyone includes a little bit of buffer and it multiplies up until the forecast is ridiculously over-egged. No chance of us failing orders anymore but now we need another warehouse that we have not costed into the sales price, so now we are not making any money.
This example can be seen in every function in every area of corporate life. The proliferation of meetings is the same. The CEO wants a numbers review every month, not an unreasonable request. So, the SE's need a pre-meeting every month. Each functional SE needs a pre-pre-meeting with their managers and they, in turn, need pre-pre-pre-meetings with their teams to know what is going on.
Meetings can be great, but only if you have the right inputs focussed on what you want to get out of it. Why does the CEO want to have a numbers review? Tell that to the people at the bottom actually doing the work and see what you get back without the managers in-between. You might be surprised.
Because it is personal. Other people do not know your goals or where you want to get to. Plus, are they much better than you? Do they have their own shit together? Are they saving enough for retirement? Are they working on multiple streams of income? Are they seeing their husbands and kids enough?
Even if so, do you trust them to put you first, or are they giving you things to work on that will benefit them rather than you? Even if, and that it's a big if to get to this point, all the above is true or irrelevant, are they any good at assessing what change will make a difference for you?
You can waste a lifetime trying to change based on other people's feedback, only to get conflicting feedback when your boss changes, you move department or change company to a different culture.
Gary Vee, as always, has a great way of thinking about other people's opinions in that he cares deeply what other people think and at the same time does not care at all.
How I see this is to care enough to listen but not to let it overcome who you are. You need other people's feedback to become self-aware but should not accept it carte-blanche or to act on it before assessing if you want to change in that area.
If Janet says you are too loud, it is not to be crippled by the thought, 'everyone thinks I am too loud, I need to be quieter.' It is just simply knowing, 'hmm, in the past, some people have found me too loud in certain circumstances. Do I want to work on this or not?'
There are so many ways to make money. Watching Young Welsh and Minted, it said there are over 12,000 millionaires in Wales. That is astonishing. Wales is tiny and most of it is hills where nobody lives. The show follows people, all making money in different ways, but the main thread is that they are all doing things that they love to do. They all reach out to their community a lot, they get a great following and therefore they make money. Whether it is modelling, talking about football, computer games or rally driving.
Now I am a parent, it is important to remember that our idea of what will make our son happy is, at some point, largely irrelevant. At the start of his life, he needs to learn that fire hurts, that falling off a slide makes him cry and that being kind is kind of good. But later, our conceptions of what he should do for a living should not matter and this is something I will try not to push on him. Who knew in the 80s and 0s that you could make more money from people watching you play video games than from being an accountant?
The jobs our kids have will likely not even exist yet. Who are we to tell them what they should be interested in? As long as they are passionate about something, I think they will be able to make a living out of it.
For the world today, it is people with a passion that are a scarce resource. After generations of being beaten down by school and what we must not do it has resulted in us having workers instead of artists, having worriers instead of doers.
Others have made the digital land grab and beaten us to it because we were too timid. Will you chose to be braver for the next opportunity? Why wait, there is still room to give value right now.
'Let's move on'. The three greatest word to change. Much better than 'this won't work' or 'tried it before' or 'you're talking rubbish.' Better than 'we're off topic,' 'no I won't,' or 'this isn't working.'
"Let's move on' can replace all of these other three-word phrases and it is charged with positivity rather than negativity. How much will the other phrases actually change anyone's mind?
It is very difficult to change someone's opinion. Why do you need to do it right now? It will take time. Realise this and let go of your position; better to build the relationship.
Let's move on.
Let's move on to a subject we do agree on. Let's move on to a better future. Let's move on to a different option.
Forward progress is all that matters. Everything is in constant flux anyway. Everything on the planet is made from the same materials that build and decompose. We are all in this together, so let's all try to move forward together.
There will be opposing forces, but let's move on. There will be people that want us to fail, but let's move on. We will doubt our own ability, but let's move on.
And keep moving on. What is the smallest step you can do? Do that. Then move on. Keep moving on. Repeat every day.
Let's move on
Let's move on
Let's move on
It is okay to not have an opinion. Why busy yourself with trivia? There is someone in my extended family that knows lots of general knowledge and has appeared on and won a number of particularly difficult TV quiz shows. But even to look at him, it is clear that knowledge is not helping him. He is massively overweight. How can someone "intelligent" that has the ability to retain knowledge let himself get that way?
Is he actually intelligent at all? A conversation with this man is, at its most benign, a bore and, at its most frustrating, a series of one-upmanship about a random subject of his choosing. Who cares? Just ask Siri, Alexa, Google. How much longer are humans going to be praised for just remembering things and regurgitating them in computer like fashion?
Hint, in the real world - not long. In school, probably much longer than is useful or necessary.
The only way to be able to accumulate value (wealth) is to give value. If your main source for income is solely predicated on how much you know, how much you remember, on which rules people should be following, then you will soon lose your income to a cheaper human or ultimately to a computer.
With globalisation and the internet, it is easy and much cheaper to employ a version of you in Eastern Europe, India or Thailand (currently). The countries will change, but the trend will not. Work will move country by country and what will you do? Soon anything that is "unskilled" enough will be done by computers and systems entirely. And unskilled is not factory workers, they have already gone. This will be accountants, lawyers, admin assistants. Why do we need humans for these jobs? Just feed in the right stuff and the right stuff will come out the other end.
You are the average of the five people you most closely associate. This is timeless wisdom that has come up again and again. But what if you are stuck? Stuck in a small town. Stuck in a job. Stuck with your family.
What if there are no inspirational people around? What if the five people that you spend the most time with are complete fuck-tards that you will never learn anything from?
You still have choices.
Stuck in a small town? Move.
Stuck in a job? Leave.
Stuck with your family? Don't visit them; ignore them; practice being tolerant.
If none of these is palatable, remember that we have lots of books accumulated over the course of history and... guess what, it is 2018 and we have the internet. You can surround yourself with virtual mentors who will teach you to think differently than your contemporaries.
Thinking differently can be dangerous. The people you currently have around you might not like that you are trying to better yourself. Well, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Did you think rising to the top would be easy? Just because you want it, doesn't mean they are going to give it to you.
Forget about your current five people and focus on your new five virtual mentors. Work on yourself, your compassion, forgiveness, tolerance. They didn't come into this town, into this job today, or into your life trying to be fuck-tards. How can you help them to help you get to where you want to be?
Some people are hard to change, and you will at some point likely need to break free from them. But at least try. If someone is hurting you to the point that it is stopping you improving yourself then whether temporary or permanently, you need to take a break from them.
This could just be in one area of your life too. Have negative parents? Well they probably mean well so rather than cutting them out of your life, just don't talk to them about that risky venture they will probably disapprove of. What's their issue and what's yours?
When you are out of inspiration to write the best solution is to just write. With no hang ups or expectations over whether it is good or not. Tim Ferriss said of one of his mentors when writing a book the goal should be to write one crappy page per day. Similarly, morning pages is just a practice of writing three pages each and every morning. No agenda, no purpose, just write.
This gets you into the habit of doing. And it is amazing what you can achieve when you make a habit of doing something small every single day.
James Altucher has a list of things that he needs to do in order to avoid himself falling off the precipice (as he has been bankrupt a number of times). One of them is to write ten ideas per day. They can be random ideas or ideas about a theme. For example, ten businesses I could start today or ten products for cats. The goal is to do the doing, not to come up with a great idea to run with. Of course, this is likely a side benefit. In having no expectations your mind will be free and will likely hit a great idea after doing this practice for a while. When you can let your mind be free, great things can happen.
How much of your current situation is a result of your current thinking and actions? All of it.
You are what you consistently do. And you do what you consistently think about becoming.
Get into daily practices that open your mind and the rest will follow.
I recently tried a flotation tank and the owner said that you rarely get out of a float what you want but you always get what you need. Some people have experiences like being on psychedelics. But if you are burned out and do not have the time to be creative then this is what you need - time and space. Or maybe just a sleep.