You have just spent all day in that meeting. The one that, at best, kept you from doing actual work and at worst kept you away from family, friends and anything else you would rather be doing with your time - the gym, a side business, the pub. You are getting paid to sit there in that meeting, the one with no outputs - or worse, actions that are so benign as to be utterly meaningless. The organisation is spending a huge amount on this hidden cost.
What should you do when you are in a meeting like this?
1. Move towards the contrary to find balance. Recurring meetings have two schools of thought - either never miss a recurring meeting or never have a recurring meeting and just hold them when necessary. For me, it depends what the meeting is for. If a meeting is required, ask, "is this a meeting we want to be in every day or every week?" If not, it is probably not a very good use of time. In contrast, if you already have a regular meeting, ask, how could we reduce or eliminate this meeting - what tools, people or processes could we use to not have this meeting or to halve the time? Continuously thinking of the opposite is what moves towards the best solution.
2. Review the inputs before the next meeting. Ask the organiser one on one, "so how will this change things if we did all of these?" Better inputs to think of: what can we do today, and every subsequent day, that will move us closer to our goal. Why do we need a meeting to do these? If we need a meeting, what needs to be true to do it in half the time? And half the time again?
3. Help the organiser be more action-oriented. Is everyone clear on when the meeting will finish? Bad meetings do not even finish on time. Great meetings finish when the objective is met ahead of time. Is everyone clear on the output we are trying to get? Is everyone clear on the actions we are trying to drive?
No one comes to work trying to do a bad job. No one is trying to trap you in meetings that go nowhere. Using a tool like MeeTime can help if you or someone you know is struggling.
If you read this far, thank you very much.
As a Valentines special, so you can get back to your loved ones today, we have five promo codes to give away to the first five people to do the following: simply visit the website (www.meetimeapps.com), go to the support page (top right) and send an email or fill in the form asking for a promo code and including your job title, where you work, how the app might help you and also mention where you consumed this article.
First come first served - good luck.
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How do we define the best? Rankings, metrics, striving to get ahead? Life is filled with competition. What is the best book? What is the best blog post? What is the best phone to get, the best TV, the best laptop?
Why does not everyone have the same stuff? Know the same things? Behave in the same way?
Now we can share information so freely, why is not everyone operating on the best way of doing things - just like pushing out an operating system upgrade. Why do not all humans already do the best thing for themselves?
Firstly, the best is subjective. What is best for me might not be best for you.
Secondly, there are outside forces not wanting us to be our best - tax law; governments; special interest groups; companies who sell arms, kill animals, stuff humans with sugar.
And thirdly because we are wired to fit in. We want to do what everyone else does. Standing out is dangerous. But standing out is what is necessary to be the best you. You will not make it to the top of any list if you do what the majority of people do.
Most people use any "free" time to consume - media, chocolate, fear. To whittle away their time on purpose - with chores, with a day job, down the pub - rather than living like mortals and using their short time with purpose.
We try to emulate the results of others without putting in the effort - this is how the middle class was created. To buy the car that they see others driving as a status symbol, not realising that the rich are buying the car using money their money has earned whilst they themselves are doing the opposite - paying for both the car and the interest on the credit they took out to buy it. Same with their house and their lavish holidays.
If you want the life of your dreams, then you better put in the work rather than dreaming. Life is a balance of effort and expectation - you can get in balance by raising or lowering each end.
The Wisdom Of Doing Something Small But Consistently Is Never Taught In School Or: Why Entrepreneurs Are Currently Born And Not Made
Entrepreneurs are currently born and not made Can it not be taught or is it just not currently taught? At the moment, school teaches you just the opposite of real life - that all energies should be focussed towards pulling a "one-off". There is no consistent trying needed in school.
Everyone should try to set up their own business, just to have the learning opportunity to do it. It does not need to make money - you can do it on the side of your day job or even on the side of formal learning, but you will learn how life actually works by doing this rather than guessing and watching from the side-lines.
What you will probably find is that your focus shifts from one thing to another in a way that is much unlike school. In school, periods are set. You have to spend as much time doing biology as you do mathematics, whether you are interested or good at it or not. Most of school is merely a memory testing we usually remember what we like or are interested in most.
When learning something to set up a business, I have found that I have an intense period of learning, only in order to fulfil a specific need. Once that task is done, if it is not repeated or cannot get better then I do not need to learn anymore.
Not sure which legal entity to start your business as? Learn the pros and cons of each then pick one. Job done. Move on. No need to do a four-year law or finance degree to understand this. If you do - hire someone that can do it for you in an hour or so.
Learning what you need to know and then putting it into practice is not how we got taught at school. Learning was its own end. But putting things into practice, whether in action or in the mind (learning about bettering ourselves) is what really matters.
To those that dropped out of school and had to make their own way, you are luckier than you know. Being good at school and then finding out that it doesn't matter takes years of adjusting to - if people manage it at all.
What will you do with your life? What will you do with your time? Our time on this earth is short and fleeting, yet it is still enough to those that spend it wisely.
How you spend your days is how you spend your life. What are you doing today?
How you spend your hours is how you spend your day. Which hours are being wasted by you or by someone else?
How you spend your minutes is how you spend your hours. Do you really want to spend ten minutes in the shower instead of five? Do you really want to watch just one more YouTube video before you start? Do you really want nine more minutes of snooze time (why is the snooze button always nine minutes anyway?)
Being mindful of your minutes is where you can carve out vast amounts of time if you know where to look. But if you do not know how to spend your time in the first place, you are unlikely to even want to try this out.
What do you want from your life? What would you do if you could not fail? What would you do if you already had $100Bn? What would you do if you thought you were better than you are?
Whatever you came up with you can do all these things now. You can be all of these people now. You might not have all that they have yet, but you can be the same type of person that you need to be and do the same actions needed. If you do these things, then you have already won. You will be the person you want to be, doing the things you want to do. Therefore, you cannot fail. You might not be able to have the things you first thought of, but if you are doing the things you want to do and already feel like the person you want to become then you are likely to not be bothered about having those things anyway.
Take the pressure off. Focus on the inputs (being and doing) and the outputs will likely come anyway.
Where do people spend their time at work? On frivolous things. On worrying what other people, who are no better than them, think.
Everyone has their own shit to deal with. Just because someone is higher than you on an org chart does not mean they have sorted everything out. Probably just the opposite.
Ask yourself why are they working here? If they were that good, why have they not started, or tried to start, their own company? Do they actually know how to market if they were spending their own money? Do they know how to sell with the pressure of not getting any income if they do not convert? Do they know about stock holding and cash flow when that same cash needs to pay the mortgage on their own house?
Are all the people above you on the org chart the critics that Theodore Roosevelt was talking about? Have they actually done anything?
Well, some have. Some have battled their way through. Some have taken hard stances. Some have tried lots of jobs to expand their knowledge and see first-hand that it is easier to criticise another function rather than do the doing that they do, day in day out.
At the same time, there are also the blow-hards. The ones that talk a good game. That set things up like a house of cards and get promoted before leaving the inevitable winds of change to knock the cards down for some other sucker to sort out. The ones that do not seem to actually know anything. That ask what they think are profound questions in the style of a leader, when in fact they are just obvious simple questions that do not require any thought.
Being mistaken for a blow-hard when you are a doer is gut-wrenching. Being mistaken for a doer when you are a blow-hard is surely the ultimate aim of the blow-hard.
The quicker you can work out which one of these you are working for, the better. Preferably in the interview before you accept the job. No need to leave your job if you find out too late - just know.
Blow-hards are always looking for doers. Just try to get directly to the people they speak to as they are likely to steal your work for their own gain. If you are working for a doer, they will give you the credit - like a brotherhood.
Which Fires Are You Putting Out And Which Are You Keeping Going Or: The Real Job You Need To Undertake To Be Successful
Everyone has their own shit going on. At home, at work, in their own minds. It is worth remembering this throughout the day. As you also have your own shit going on too.
Before you launch into a tirade, before you react to someone else, you always have the option. The option of adding fuel to the fire to the option of extinguishing it. It depends what the fire is for.
If the fire is anger, conflict, hurt, then adding fuel to this is not going to be very constructive. Do you think that when two people are feeling this way that they are going to be in the right mind-set to resolve anything? Are they likely to feel better during or even afterwards? Probably not.
What if the fire is a fire of change, of possibility, of creativity? Then better to be the person adding to this fire, to make it burn as intensely, brightly and as long as it can before it goes out. Ideally, this type of fire should never go out - and you should take responsibility for being the fire watcher.
Anyone can be a leader. It does not matter what your role on an arbitrary hierarchy is. The only decision you have to make is which type of fires are you going to keep going and which ones are you going to help extinguish? There is not much more to be done.
When people are busy, they liken this to going around putting out fires. Small blazes set alight by others who are seeking to harm you in some way. If left unattended, their fires may grow larger, they may join together in a massive blaze of negativity. On the other hand, they may just go out themselves. Others might not keep them going and they run out of fuel.
But if you go around putting out other people's negative fires, you are unlikely to have the time to start, tend to and grow your own fires into a massive blaze of creativity and positivity.
Which is easier? Which will be more successful?
No one will care if there are a few small pockets of negativity against a blaze of positivity. All your job boils down to is to manage the relative difference in size between the two.
I was listening to best life ever podcast on the drive to my day job the other day about reversing your usual thinking towards focussing on who you want to BE rather than what you want to HAVE.
It was inspiring to hear them riff together as they are so natural it is obvious that they are truly passionate about the subject and doing what they are supposed to be doing in the world - I hope that everyone can find their thing.
Anyway, it made me think of Think and Grow Rich. When I read it, I thought that the first few pages were a bit woo-woo, but that the rest of the book was one of the most practical books I have read. If you don't have money, work for someone else; work to learn, not to earn etc. Only much later after reading it, and relatively recently, I found out that the book is heralded by the manifestation community, the Secret, the "put a thought out into the world and sit and wait" brigade.
How could the same book be taken in two different ways? I got from the book that I need self-confidence and hard work, whilst others got the "think". Just think and you will be rich.
Maybe I picked up what I needed? Maybe others didn't actually read it and just read the title? I guess it doesn't matter. Anyway, the Best Life Ever episode reminded me of Think and Grow Rich as I have the affirmation from that book in my morning routine. It says, "I shall keep trying until I have developed sufficient self-confidence for its [definite chief aim in life] attainment." In fact, self-confidence is scattered throughout the book.
So, linking the two, book and podcast, I got a moment of an epiphany. To get the self-confidence to reach my goals, I just need to BE someone who has self-confidence in reaching their goals. What would that look like?
Have you ever bought anything off an unconfident salesperson? It feels awkward and creepy or just downright terrible experience. BE the opposite of that. Be passionate, be outgoing, go to conferences. Shout about your product and be proud of it.
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?
What a difference a smile makes. I have just tried the guided meditations that come with Tara Brach's Radical Acceptance and one of them makes you visualise a smile. It is pretty difficult to not start smiling from even just imagining a smile in your mind - even before you are supposed to put a smile on your lips. The joy that it gives to see my four-month-old boy smile is amazing - the first time he smiled was heart melting.
I have also been reading Win Bigly, about persuasion and how reality can be split as everyone interprets it differently. Someone going around with a frown all day is likely to perceive those around them as unkind and unfriendly. Those that go around with a smile on their face all day are likely to perceive the world as a happy, helpful place. Because reality is not fixed. It is in our own minds and our actions rub off on other people.
This also reminds me of Gaby Reece who says, "go first". When you go into a lift, don't expect others to speak to you - go first. At a party or a conference, don't expect others to approach you - go first. Want others to be kind to you? Go first.
This resonates a lot with me as I have tried to be less introverted over the years. Smiling is also going first. It is amazing how contagious it is, and it also starts to build the realisation that we can make our reality anything that we want it to be. It is in our thoughts that we have complete control. We must realise that the world around us, and even our own bodies (as the Stoics would say as we can be struck down by illness), is out of our control. But there is no reality, only our perception of it. We definitely have control over our own thoughts and choices and so we are more powerful than we imagine. We have the ability to shape our own reality through our perception of it.
Now that everything is completely global, jobs are going to the cheapest countries. IT was outsourced to India and now Ukraine and Romania. As a human population, we have the risk of massive upheaval across the globe.
Yet, when you think about a country in the context of the universe, it is an insignificant speck of dust floating on a pond of water on a rock. Really, we need to the think of the whole planet - all countries together.
I wondered if we asked all the world leaders what they would focus on first if they were the leader of the world? And then the follow-up question - what is stopping us doing that right now?
You can ask yourself the same question.
And bringing it closer to home. If you were playing yourself in a movie about your life, how would you want the main character to be like and what would they do?
Again, the follow up - what is stopping you doing that right now? What would that character in the movie do?