tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:/posts Chester Grant 2022-04-19T23:13:06Z Chester Grant tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1820787 2022-04-19T19:55:31Z 2022-04-19T23:13:06Z Summary : Breath by James Nestor

1. This book is a scientific adventure into the lost art and science of breathing. It explores the transformation that occurs inside our bodies every 3.3 seconds, the time it takes the average person to inhale and exhale.

2. Simply training yourself to breathe through your nose, Douillard reported, could cut total exertion in half and offer huge gains in endurance.

3. Egil P. Harvold’s hideous experiments in the 1970s and 80s would not go over well with PETA or with anyone who has ever really cared for animals. Working from a lab in San Francisco, he gathered a troop of rhesus monkeys and stuffed silicone deep into the nasal cavities of half of them, leaving the other half as they were.

4.The plugged-up monkeys developed the same downward growth pattern, the same narrowing of the dental arch, and gaping mouth. Harvold repeated these experiments, this time keeping animals obstructed for two years. They fared even worse. Along the way, he took a lot of pictures. The photographs are heart-wrenching, not only for the sake of the poor monkeys, but because they also offer such a clear reflection of what happens to our own species: after just a few months, faces grew long, slack-jawed, and glazed over.

5. Mouthbreathing, it turns out, changes the physical body and transforms airways, all for the worse.

6. Inhaling from the nose has the opposite effect. It forces air against all those flabby tissues at the back of the throat, making the airways wider and breathing easier. After a while, these tissues and muscles get “toned” to stay in this opened and wide position. Nasal breathing begets more nasal breathing.

7. Mouthbreathing was also making me dumber. A recent Japanese study showed that rats who had their nostrils obstructed and were forced to breathe through their mouths developed fewer brain cells and took twice as long to make their way through a maze than nasal-breathing controls. Another Japanese study in humans from 2013 found that mouthbreathing delivered a disturbance of oxygen to the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with ADHD. Nasal breathing had no such effects.

8. The nose is crucial because it clears air, heats it, and moistens it for easier absorption. Most of us know this. But what so many people never consider is the nose’s unexpected role in problems like erectile dysfunction. Or how it can trigger a cavalcade of hormones and chemicals that lower blood pressure and ease digestion. How it responds to the stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle. How it regulates our heart rate, opens the vessels in our toes, and stores memories.2 How the density of your nasal hairs helps determine whether you’ll suffer from asthma.

9. The right and left nasal cavities also worked like an HVAC system, controlling temperature and blood pressure and feeding the brain chemicals to alter our moods, emotions, and sleep states.

10. The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you’re inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation speeds up, your body gets hotter, and cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all increase. This happens because breathing through the right side of the nose activates the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight or flight” mechanism that puts the body in a more elevated state of alertness and readiness. 

11. Breathing through the right nostril will also feed more blood to the opposite hemisphere of the brain, specifically to the prefrontal cortex, which has been associated with logical decisions, language, and computing.

12. Inhaling through the left nostril has the opposite effect: it works as a kind of brake system to the right nostril’s accelerator. The left nostril is more deeply connected to the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-relax side that lowers blood pressure, cools the body, and reduces anxiety.

13. Left-nostril breathing shifts blood flow to the opposite side of the prefrontal cortex, to the area that influences creative thought and plays a role in the formation of mental abstractions and the production of negative emotions.

14. There are dozens of alternate nostril breathing techniques. I’ve started with the most basic. It involves placing an index finger over the left nostril and then inhaling and exhaling only through the right. I did this two dozen times after each meal today, to heat up my body and aid my digestion. Before meals, and any other time I wanted to relax, I’d switch sides, repeating the same exercise with my left nostril open. To gain focus and balance the body and mind, I followed a technique called surya bheda pranayama, which involves taking one breath into the right nostril, then exhaling through the left for several rounds.

15. Along the banks of the Upper Missouri, he happened upon the civilization of the Mandan, a mysterious tribe whose members stood six feet tall and lived in bubble-shaped houses. Many had luminous blue eyes and snow-white hair.

16. Having never seen a dentist or doctor, the tribal people had teeth that were perfectly straight—“as regular as the keys of a piano,” Catlin noted. Nobody seemed to get sick, and deformities and other chronic health problems appeared rare or nonexistent. The tribes attributed their vigorous health to a medicine, what Catlin called the “great secret of life.” The secret was breathing.

17. “The health benefits of nose breathing are undeniable,” he told me. One of the many benefits is that the sinuses release a huge boost of nitric oxide, a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen into cells.40 Immune function, weight, circulation, mood, and sexual function can all be heavily influenced by the amount of nitric oxide in the body. (The popular erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, known by the commercial name Viagra, works by releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream, which opens the capillaries in the genitals and elsewhere.)

18. Nasal breathing alone can boost nitric oxide sixfold, which is one of the reasons we can absorb about 18 percent more oxygen than by just breathing through the mouth.

19. Mouth taping, Burhenne said, helped a five-year-old patient of his overcome ADHD, a condition directly attributed to breathing difficulties during sleep.

20. After much trial and error, I settled on 3M Nexcare Durapore “durable cloth” tape, an all-purpose surgical tape with a gentle adhesive. It was comfortable, had no chemical scent, and didn’t leave residue. In the three nights since I started using this tape, I went from snoring four hours to only ten minutes. I’d been warned by Burhenne that sleep tape won’t do anything to help treat sleep apnea. My experience suggested otherwise. As my snoring disappeared, so did apnea. I’d suffered up to two dozen apnea events in the mouthbreathing phase, but last night had zero.

21. In the 1980s, researchers with the Framingham Study, a 70-year longitudinal research program focused on heart disease, attempted to find out if lung size really did correlate to longevity. They gathered two decades of data from 5,200 subjects, crunched the numbers, and discovered that the greatest indicator of life span wasn’t genetics, diet, or the amount of daily exercise, as many had suspected. It was lung capacity.

22. Moderate exercise like walking or cycling has been shown to boost lung size by up to 15 percent.

23. And the way the body loses weight isn’t through profusely sweating or “burning it off.”6 We lose weight through exhaled breath.

24. For every ten pounds of fat lost in our bodies, eight and a half pounds of it comes out through the lungs; most of it is carbon dioxide mixed with a bit of water vapor. The rest is sweated or urinated out. This is a fact that most doctors, nutritionists, and other medical professionals have historically gotten wrong. The lungs are the weight-regulating system of the body.

25. It turns out that when breathing at a normal rate, our lungs will absorb only about a quarter of the available oxygen in the air. The majority of that oxygen is exhaled back out. By taking longer breaths, we allow our lungs to soak up more in fewer breaths.

26. It turned out that the most efficient breathing rhythm occurred when both the length of respirations and total breaths per minute were locked in to a spooky symmetry: 5.5-second inhales followed by 5.5-second exhales, which works out almost exactly to 5.5 breaths a minute.

27. Gerbarg and Brown would write books and publish several scientific articles about the restorative power of the slow breathing, which would become known as “resonant breathing” or Coherent Breathing. The technique required no real effort, time, or thoughtfulness.24 And we could do it anywhere, at any time. “It’s totally private,” wrote Gerbarg. “Nobody knows you’re doing it.”

28. To be clear, breathing less is not the same as breathing slowly. Average adult lungs can hold about four to six liters of air. Which means that, even if we practice slow breathing at 5.5 breaths per minute, we could still be easily taking in twice the air we need. The key to optimum breathing, and all the health, endurance, and longevity benefits that come with it, is to practice fewer inhales and exhales in a smaller volume. To breathe, but to breathe less.

29. How many breaths we took per minute was less important to Buteyko, as long as we were breathing no more than about six liters per minute at rest.

30. According to several sources, Buteyko was once invited to England to meet with Prince Charles, who was suffering from breathing difficulties brought on by allergies. Buteyko helped the prince, and he helped heal upward of 80 percent of his patients suffering from hypertension, arthritis, and other ailments.

31. Meanwhile, the Papworth Method, a breathing-less technique developed in an English hospital in the 1960s, was also shown to cut asthma symptoms by a third.

32. Breathing is a power switch to a vast network called the autonomic nervous system. There are two sections of this system, and they serve opposite functions.

33. The first, called the parasympathetic nervous system, stimulates relaxation and restoration.

34. The lungs are covered with nerves that extend to both sides of the autonomic nervous system, and many of the nerves connecting to the parasympathetic system are located in the lower lobes, which is one reason long and slow breaths are so relaxing.

35. The deeper and more softly we breathe in, and the longer we exhale, the more slowly the heart beats and the calmer we become.

36. The second half of the autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic, has an opposite role.6 It sends stimulating signals to our organs, telling them to get ready for action. A profusion of the nerves to this system are spread out at the top of the lungs. When we take short, hasty breaths, the molecules of air switch on the sympathetic nerves. These work like 911 calls. The more messages the system gets, the bigger the emergency.

37. Naropa harnessed the power of his breath to keep himself from freezing to death. The practice became known as Tummo, the Tibetan word for “inner fire.” Tummo was dangerous. If used incorrectly, it could elicit intense surges of energy, which could cause serious mental harm.

38. To some researchers, it’s no coincidence that eight of the top ten most common cancers affect organs cut off from normal blood flow during extended states of stress.

39. At one point, they injected his arm with an endotoxin, a component of E.coli. Exposure to the bacteria usually induces vomiting, headaches, fever, and other flulike symptoms. Hof took the E. coli into his veins and then breathed a few dozen Tummo breaths, willing his body to fight it off. He showed no sign of fever, no nausea. A few minutes later, he rose from the chair and got a cup of coffee.

40. This practice of heavy breathing along with regular cold exposure was later discovered to release the stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine on command. The burst of adrenaline gave heavy breathers energy and released a battery of immune cells programmed to heal wounds, fight off pathogens and infection.31 The huge spike in cortisol helped downgrade short-term inflammatory immune responses, while a squirt of norepinephrine redirected blood flow from the skin, stomach, and reproductive organs to muscles, the brain, and other areas essential in stressful situations.

41. Tummo heated the body and opened up the brain’s pharmacy, flooding the bloodstream with self-produced opioids, dopamine, and serotonin.

42. Here’s the information: To practice Wim Hof’s breathing method, start by finding a quiet place and lying flat on your back with a pillow under your head. Relax the shoulders, chest, and legs. Take a very deep breath into the pit of your stomach and let it back out just as quickly. Keep breathing this way for 30 cycles. If possible, breathe through the nose; if the nose feels obstructed, try pursed lips. Each breath should look like a wave, with the inhale inflating the stomach, then the chest. You should exhale all the air out in the same order.

43. At the end of 30 breaths, exhale to the natural conclusion, leaving about a quarter of the air left in the lungs, then hold that breath for as long as possible. Once you’ve reached your breathhold limit, take one huge inhale and hold it another 15 seconds. Very gently, move that fresh breath of air around the chest and to the shoulders, then exhale and start the heavy breathing again. Repeat the whole pattern three or four rounds and add in some cold exposure (cold shower, ice bath, naked snow angels) a few times a week.

44. This flip-flopping—breathing all-out, then not at all, getting really cold and then hot again—is the key to Tummo’s magic. It forces the body into high stress one minute, a state of extreme relaxation the next. Carbon dioxide levels in the blood crash, then they build back up. Tissues become oxygen deficient and then flooded again. The body becomes more adaptable and flexible and learns that all these physiological responses can come under our control. Conscious heavy breathing, McGee told me, allows us to bend so that we don’t get broken.

45. McGee repeatedly told me, as he told all his students, to never, ever practice Tummo while driving, walking, or in “any other environment where you might get hurt if you pass out.” And never practice it if you might have a heart condition or are pregnant.

46. Several years ago, when I was early in my research, I’d heard about a practice called Holotropic Breathwork created by a Czech psychiatrist named Stanislav Grof.39 The main focus wasn’t to reboot the autonomic nervous system or heal the body; it was to rewire the mind.

47. It took some doing. Holotropic Breathwork often included a journey through “the dark night of the soul,” where patients would experience a “painful confrontation” with themselves.

48. If they got through all that, mystical visions, spiritual awakenings, psychological breakthroughs, out-of-body experiences, and, sometimes, what Grof called a “mini life-death-rebirth” could follow.

49. All the while, blends of 30 percent carbon dioxide and 70 percent oxygen became a go-to treatment for anxiety, epilepsy, and even schizophrenia.

50. For the past few months, as part as his NIH research, Feinstein has brought in patients suffering with anxiety and panic to this lab and given them a few hits of carbon dioxide. So far, he tells me, the results have been promising. Sure, the gas elicited a panic attack in most patients, but this is all part of the baptism-by-fire process. After that initial bout of discomfort, many patients report feeling relaxed for hours, even days.

51. As I breathe a little faster, go a little deeper, the names of all the techniques I’ve explored over the past ten years all come back in a rush:

  • Pranayama. 
  • Buteyko. 
  • Coherent Breathing. 
  • Hypoventilation. 
  • Breathing Coordination. 
  • Holotropic Breathwork. 
  • Adhama. 
  • Madhyama. 
  • Uttama. 
  • Kêvala. 
  • Embryonic Breath. 
  • Harmonizing Breath. 
  • The Breath by the Master Great Nothing. 
  • Tummo. 
  • Sudarshan Kriya.

52. A European study of 86 obese women showed hypoxia training led to a “significant decrease in waist circumference” and significant reduction in fat over controls. (More available oxygen in the cells meant that more fat could be burned more efficiently.

53. In the late 1950s, Wolpe was looking for alternative treatments for free-floating anxiety, a form of stress for which there is no specific cause, which today affects about 10 million Americans. He was floored by how quickly and effectively carbon dioxide worked. Between two and five inhalations of a 50/50 mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen, Wolpe found, was enough to lower the baseline level of anxiety in his patients from 60 (debilitating) to zero. No other treatment came close.

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Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1794814 2022-04-17T20:36:15Z 2022-04-17T20:38:56Z Summary : How to be a Power Connector - The 5+50+100 Rule by Judy Robinett

1. “We give people bachelor’s degrees in marketing, business, and even entrepreneurship, but we teach them hardly anything about the one subject that virtually every entrepreneur says is critically important: networking and social capital. Judy Robinett’s How to Be a Power Connector is like an MBA in networking: an advanced course in finding and developing quality relationships with the people who can make the biggest difference in your professional success.” —Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI

2. Harvard Business School (where I received my MBA) is all about networking and connecting people

3. Building a network isn’t simply exchanging business cards and eventually picking up the phone and calling people when you need them. Today I think of networking as getting to know people that I enjoy and genuinely taking an interest in them.

4. A more effective way is to put yourself in places where you can get to know people personally and figure out how to help them before you ask them for something.

5. The more people you know, the easier it is for you to access circles that you may not be able to reach otherwise.

6. You build a strong network by investing in it over a lot of years, helping people and connecting them with each other.

7. If you continue to invest in your network, it will grow exponentially; however, if you think of your network as only useful to you, then your network will eventually become weaker. 

8. You always should be thinking, How can I put two people together in a way that’s beneficial to both?

9. Your network only expands and gets deeper the more you use it.

10. A few years ago I joined the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), which is networking on steroids. With YPO, I can call anyone, in any country, and say, “I’m with YPO, Utah Chapter; can you help me with X?” and 24 hours later, he or she will put me in front of the right person.

11. Skill is fine, and genius is splendid, but the right contacts are more valuable than either. —SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

12. If you want to achieve any goal, you need other people to help you do it—and your chances of success are far greater if you can help other people achieve their goals as well.

13. Every person has a gift to give and receive, and every person has problems that he or she needs help to solve.

14. You need to (1) pinpoint the relationships you will pursue and nurture; (2) reach beyond just friends, family, and profession and build a wide network of connections; (3) use a system for adding value to those contacts regularly; and (4) become the connector between connections—the person who can help people reach a resource they would never know about and could never reach if it weren’t for you.

15. In fact, recent research stated that over 89 percent of senior executives (vice president and above) at companies with revenues of more than $100 million annually say that the strength of their personal and professional relationships has a highly significant impact on their ability to deliver business results.

16. All too often we fail to think strategically about the kinds of connections we need to make—who those people are, where they can be found, and how best to connect deeply with them, quickly and over the long term.

17. The question for most businesspeople today is not “How can I be more connected?” but “How can I identify and nurture the important connections that will accelerate my success?” And equally important, “How can I connect with people in such a way that they will take my calls and help me when I need it?”

18.Here are the five major mistakes I see people make when they try to network:

  • They network in the wrong places for what they need.
  • They network at the wrong level for their goals.
  • They have no way to assess the relative value of the connections they make.
  • They have no system for optimizing their networking efforts.
  • They fail to network in the best way to create high-value, long-term connections.

19. The key isn’t the number of contacts you make. It is the number of those contacts you turn into lasting relationships.

20. You need a plan for connecting and adding value to your network regularly. Value comes in many forms, and it is determined by the needs of the situation and the individual, but I’ve found that nearly everyone needs more and better information, income, key contacts, favors, and introductions.

21. Let’s start by defining a strategic relationship as a connection between individuals that takes into account the value that each party can provide to the other—through their contacts, introductions, information, and other forms of support.

22. You must assess the potential value of the people who come into your professional life not only from the perspective of “Do I want to know this person?” but also “Do I need to know this person?” or “Does this person need to know me?”

23. Strategic relationships must be built on a foundation of generosity, value creation, and ultimately, friendship. Your time, energy, and efforts are precious—why spend them on people whom you wouldn’t want as friends?

24. A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship. —JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER

25. A study in 2001 of Fortune 1000 companies by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University revealed that the top 25 percent of those companies focused more on relationship building than they did on sales.

26. When companies actively seek to develop, nurture, and manage a wide network of strategic relationships, they will accrue the kind of relational capital that can lead to more referrals, customer satisfaction, and success.

27. You can develop social capital in three ways. First, you can build it yourself by doing the things that insiders do—going to the same schools, joining the same professions, applying to the same clubs, and so on. The problem is that being an outsider trying to do all those things can be extraordinarily difficult.

28. Second, you can buy it. If you have the money and are willing to invest in the businesses, philanthropies, and interests of insiders, many doors will open to you.

29. Third, you can borrow it by developing informal relationships with those who already have the social capital you want to acquire. You are “sponsored” by an insider who then gives you entry to his or her world. Being mentored by someone is a classic method of borrowing social capital, as is volunteering to serve on committees and boards.

30. In my experience, the third way is the most effective because it is based on developing a strong, trusted, and robust network of connections that will help you and that you can help as well.

31. Do you think being on a first-name basis with your manager’s boss might give you an increased status? One of the reasons I suggest that people join volunteer organizations, sports teams, and cultural institutions is that it allows individuals of many different levels to meet and develop relationships that have the potential to elevate their status.

32. Professor Burt puts it simply: people who are better connected have more power and reap the higher rewards.

33. Today there are more ways to access public information than ever before—and this means that public information provides much less of a competitive advantage to individuals and businesses. However, strategic relationships can give you access to private information (often before others receive it) that can be a significant competitive advantage.

34. There is also significant research showing that strategic relationships can increase your creativity. Scientists, philosophers, artists, and creative thinkers from antiquity to the present day benefited from interacting with strong strategic networks.

35. Here are a few questions to answer about your current network: 

  • How many of your current relationships would you consider strategic? In other words, in how many of your relationships do you focus on giving and receiving value that improves both parties’ lives and businesses? What is your network’s strategic quotient (SQ)? 
  • How many people do you consistently communicate with? In how many relationships are you actively providing value at least once a week, month, or quarter?
  • How much do you know about the networks of the people in your network? Can you draw a picture of the spheres of influence of your strategic relationships? 
  • If you needed to reach a top professional, financial, and/or political figure, how long would it take? And would that person respond to your request within 24 hours? 
  • Do you have a list of high-value connections with whom you would like to develop a strategic relationship? If so, do you have a clear and written plan for reaching them?
  • Do you have a plan for managing your strategic relationships so that you can stay connected easily and frequently? If so, how is it working?

36. Strong links are the friends, family, and business associates you see almost every day. They are the closest members of your social network, and they usually have a lot in common with you.

37. But there are others in your network that are defined as weak links: friends of friends, someone at work you might chat with on the elevator, a neighbor down the street whom you wave to as she walks her dog, a fellow alumnus of your university that you don’t actually know but whom you see at a reunion, the people on Facebook or LinkedIn whom you don’t actually know. Weak links are acquaintances, likely to know you by name and perhaps what you do for a living, but nothing of the details of your life. They may be distant from you because of geographical location, life circumstances, or philosophical differences.

38. But strangely enough, weak links are actually the strongest and most important connections in your network. In a study published in 1974, sociologist Mark Granovetter asked businesspeople who had recently changed jobs how they had found their new positions. You would think that the strong links in their networks would have been most useful. Instead, five out of six people had learned about the job openings through acquaintances and individuals that they knew casually through work.

39. Granovetter describes a weak link as “a crucial bridge between two densely knit clumps of close friends.”

40. People who act as bridges between groups can become central to the overall network and so are more likely to be rewarded financially and otherwise. —RONALD BURT

41. More connections . . . are less important than the right connections. —RICHARD KOCH AND GREG LOCKWOOD, SUPERCONNECT

42. I’m known as the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex, but truthfully, what I really have are three concentric “power circles” that add up to a little more than 150 people. They are categorized as follows:

  • Top 5. The 5 people closest to me. I connect with these people almost daily. These are the people I would trust with my life. 
  • Key 50. The 50 important relationships that represent significant value to my life and business. I tend these connections carefully, and I am always looking for ways to add value to them. 
  • Vital 100. The 100 people I touch base with at least once a month. Both the human touch and added value are critical to my keeping these relationships fresh.

43. The first step, however, is to evaluate your current relationships and choose who will go in which circle. 

44. I hope that you know exactly who your Top 5 are immediately. For the Key 50 and Vital 100, however, you may need to do some thinking. You want to ensure that you are selecting the best people for your power circles and eliminating anyone who may cause you harm.

45. People who create successful strategic relationships demonstrate 10 essential character traits:Authentic

  1. Authentic
  2. Trustworthy
  3. Respectful
  4. Caring
  5. Listening
  6. Engaged
  7. Patient
  8. Intelligent
  9. Sociable
  10. Connected

46. Leeches are those who take but never give.

47.If you know of any leeches in your network, the only way to get rid of them is to cut them off completely. 

48. Unlike leeches, who quickly reveal themselves as being consumed with the need to take from you, psychopaths can pour on the charm, get you to like them, and cleverly manipulate you into giving them whatever they want.

49. Trust is the currency of power connecting. Your ability to screen your connections and pass along only the best to your network is the hallmark of a true power connector.

50. Make Your Network Wide, Deep, and Robust.

51. Businesses with more diverse social networks encouraged innovation at a rate almost three times greater than businesses with homogenous (only strong ties) networks. Diversity in social networks was a key factor in producing greater innovation.

52. To be a true power connector, however, diversity isn’t enough; your network also needs to be deep in three different ways. First, you need multiple connections in different industries, companies, interests, and so on. Say you need to reach a top official in Washington, DC; wouldn’t it be better to have three or more possible contacts rather than just one? In computer network architecture, this kind of “redundancy” makes it possible for a system to function even if one or two connections go down. You want the same for your own network. Don’t be one person away from power: be one by a factor of three. That way, if one link isn’t available, odds are the others will work.

53. Second, each person you meet has an entire network of his or her own. To deepen your network, get to know the people he or she knows.

54. One of the clearest indications of the robustness of your network is its responsiveness. Do people return your calls or e-mails promptly? Do they listen to what you say? Are they helpful?

55. A responsive network is a strong indication of the amount of value you have provided to its members over the years, and your status in their eyes. And naturally, you need to be just as responsive when someone in your network makes a request of you.

56. When you become part of an ecosystem, you have four vital advantages: knowledge, connections, resources, and opportunities.

57. Anything you want to achieve—start a business, write a book, raise money, find the best preschool for your child, and so on—has an ecosystem, and you have to know how it works.

58. I once heard someone say that you can learn more by talking to someone for an hour than by reading books for a month.

59. You must actively seek to develop trustworthy relationships with the people in the ecosystem by adding value and keeping your word.

60. Whenever I moved to a new city, I would seek to make friends with the editor of the paper, county commissioners, investors, and local businesspeople. That way I could source any knowledge, influence, money, and connections that I might need. That’s the power of connections in a wide range of ecosystems.

61. “Wealthy people follow their passions—be it the arts, social causes, politics, whatever. You need to find out what this couple is passionate about, and if you can share their passion, you need to enter that ecosystem by adding value with your time, money, or connections.”

62. “Do you like Scrabble? Table tennis? Wine tasting? Cooking? Tea? Bill Murray?” asks the founder of Concept Modeling, Winston Perez. Attending and/or creating events around the things that interest you personally are better ways to network than going to so-called networking events.” When you connect with someone over a passion, it’s a far more natural and authentic relationship.

63. In business, the people you know, the people who refer you, and the people you’ve done business with consistently will often open more doors than your pitch, idea, story, or business plan.

64. Bill Gates’s rival, Steve Jobs, also wrote a blog that said, donate to the charity of the person you want to meet, or volunteer for his or her favorite cause.

65. A friend who is a networking expert and very savvy about volunteering suggests, “Select one group and become active in it. Go to meetings regularly, and take a position on the board of directors. By doing this, you create visibility within the organization and you have the opportunity to show people what a good leader you are. When you deliver first-class work as a volunteer, people will assume you deliver the same high-quality work in your professional life.”

66. “Birds of a feather flock together.” The same is true in each ecosystem: those with power tend to go to the same meetings, belong to the same clubs, and be invited to the same events.For example, there are clubs of every kind in every major city in the world.

67. Finally, within each ecosystem you must do what you can to add value, and not just upwards but sideways and downwards as well.

68. You need to build your relationships early, and you need to base them on the same criteria as every other relationship: respect, mutual values, and a desire to benefit all parties. These fundamentals are the foundation of the power connector mindset.

69. To create your list of experiences and qualities, come up with what I call a victory log: write down 50 things you have accomplished in your life.

70. “I try to make a practice of always asking new people what they are working on, what they are looking for, and what they need. And if I encounter opportunities for someone else, I pass it along,”

71. “Every time I share an opportunity, I build a connection and a friendship.”

72. Seeking to add value first is a prominent feature of all power connector relationships.

73. “When you come from a place of service (instead of thinking of ‘me, me, me’), help and support is returned to you a hundredfold.”

74. Power connection can be broken down into four phases:

  • Phase 1, you prepare to connect by analyzing yourself and your current network and determining the people you need to add
  • Phase 2, you plan your first contact with new individuals by preparing a share, value-add, and ask. Then you ready yourself to connect immediately with the people you meet. Finally, you add value quickly and strengthen the relationship from the start.
  • Phase 3 is about assessment and consolidation: you do something to reconnect within 24 hours, evaluate the connection and place it within your 5+50+100 circles, then deepen the relationship by continuing to add value.
  • Phase 4 is where the real power of power connecting resides: connecting people within your network for their (and your) greater success.

75. Make a list of your current connections. This list includes everyone in your phone, in your Rolodex, in your Outlook program, or anywhere else that you keep contact information. Look at your LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends—anyone with whom you are currently connected in any way—and his or her role in your life. Make this list comprehensive: everyone from your local Starbucks barista to your dry cleaner, children’s babysitter, the IT consultant for your firm, mechanic, accountant, minister, printer, and the attendant at the golf club or health spa who knows your name.

76. Once you have this list, divide your contacts into personal, professional, or both. Then rate each connection as to importance and/or closeness to you by using a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being closest and 5 being just a casual acquaintance.

77. Next. put a note next to each person’s name to indicate the context of this connection: business, politics, charity, social friend, club, school, and so on. (You’ll use this information to place each connection in the proper ecosystem.) Finally, note where each individual lives and/or works. Eventually you’ll use these notes to assemble your 5+50+100 power circles.

78. When you look at your list of connections, your Top 5 should be easy to identify: they are usually close family and friends, including business associates whom you consider close friends.

79. Your Key 50 are friends and associates whom you know you can call upon for all kinds of help and advice, and vice versa. Stephen R. Covey calls this group your “circle of influence”; if your Key 50 is solid, you will have access to many of the resources you need. Usually these people would be ranked a 2 or 3 in terms of closeness, but they can have different roles and be from different contexts in your life.

80. Your Vital 100 are often the relationships that you ranked 4 in closeness (some of them may be a 5, but it’s unlikely that you’d put casual acquaintances in your Vital 100). This group should represent a wide diversity of locations, contexts, and roles. I’d suggest you see your Vital 100 as akin to athletes on the bench: you pay attention to them, add value to them, and regard them as important members of your team.

81. Your goal is to create a streamlined group of 155 key relationships—people who share your values, with whom you will consistently connect, and to whom you will add value.

82. Add two columns to your power circles chart. In the first, write the resources this connection can access. In the second, on a scale of 1 to 5, rank the level of influence this connection has within his or her ecosystems. Influence can be everything from a position, a title, a network, a level of experience, or access.

83. List three to five of your professional goals for the next three months, six months, and one year. If you don’t know where you’re going, a million contacts (or a million dollars) won’t help. Truly successful people have specific targets targets they want to attain and actionable plans to achieve those goals. Then they can approach their connections with a specific, clear, and succinct “ask.” Take a few minutes to write your top three to five goals for the next three months, six months, and one year in a new chart

84. What help do you need to accomplish these goals? What people? Opportunities? Knowledge? Funding? What ecosystems do you need to access?

85. For each of your professional goals, you are going to create what I call a CRM—a critical resource map. (You can do this on a chart, or you can use a whiteboard and Post-it notes.) Put your goal at the top, and underneath it put four categories: key people, opportunities, knowledge, and funding sources.

86. Whom do you need to add to your power circles to accomplish your short- and long-term goals?

87. Make a plan to reach out to new connections during the next three to six months.

88. Being introduced by people who already have credibility in a particular ecosystem will help you be taken seriously. It’s essentially “borrowing” their credibility in order to open the door.

89. Remember that one of the easiest ways to enter many ecosystems is by joining key groups within it. Many industries have professional associations; communities have different interest groups that support things like community planning for safer neighborhoods, after-school programs, and so on.

90. As the quality of the groups you join goes up, so does the quality of the opportunities provided. Often one of your power circle members may clue you in to a particular group where movers and shakers congregate.

91.Now you need to discover as much as possible about their interests, professional credentials, hobbies and charities, association memberships, marital status, and number of children—anything that will help you build a connection and, eventually, a relationship.

92. However, before you actually meet these people, you must answer three essential questions: Who are you? What are you ready to give? And what are you looking for? You must develop what I call your share, your value-add, and your ask.

93. I believe that you need to give people a sense of who you are before you tell them what you do, and that’s what your share is designed to do. It is a way of telling your story that educates others about your heart, head, and gut.

94. Your share should include who you are, what you’re about, and what you’re interested in. Start with personal details; talk about your family, your hobbies, and your civic or community involvements.

95. Next, include a few sentences about your business or profession that reflect your energy and passion about what you do.

96. If you doubt your ability to add value, keep these questions in mind: “How can I help?” and “Can any of my contacts be of assistance?”

97. For people to help you, they need to know what you are doing and what you need. That’s where your ask comes in. This is not a direct request—“Can you fund my start-up?”—but a clear delineation of your endeavors and whatever assistance would be of benefit, no matter who or where it comes from.

98. Do your research to find the right room and then make sure your request is appropriate for the people you’re asking?

99. Inappropriate asks indicate that you haven’t done your research, and you will be labeled an amateur.

100. Through years of doing a lot of asking, as well as helping others to ask appropriately, I’ve come up with the six secrets of a great ask:

  1. Start small. Once granted, a small request opens the door to other requests and favors. Your first ask might be for a moment of a person’s time, or a short meeting, or a referral. Small, easily satisfied requests allow you to build the relationship one step at a time.
  2. Make your ask specific.
  3. Make your ask appropriate to the person, room, and ecosystem.
  4. Build your ask around a story that expresses your passion. People buy with emotion and justify with logic, and the same is true when it comes to “selling” your ask.
  5. Be willing to ask for help. “Help” is not a word many people use easily. We are taught that we should be self-sufficient and make our own way.
  6. Whether or not people are able to fulfill your ask, express your gratitude for their time and ask them to keep you in mind.

101. Often the best thing to ask for first is advice. It puts the giver in a position of knowledge and power, and the receiver may learn something or gain a new and valuable perspective. Studies show that those who seek advice from others at work are regarded more favorably than colleagues who don’t.

102. All are appropriate depending on the individual and your particular circumstances, but the best way to connect with anyone is with a personal introduction from a mutual connection.

103. You may have heard about the Marriott “15/5 rule”: whenever an employee comes within 15 feet of anyone in a Marriott hotel, the employee acknowledges the guest with eye contact or a friendly nod. If the guest comes within 5 feet, the employee smiles and says hello. Take on the Marriott rule for yourself, and be the first to reach out.

104. Start a conversation by asking a question. Offer a sincere compliment if appropriate.

105. McCrea and Walker suggest what they call the SIM test. At the end of any conversation ask, “What surprised me? What inspired me? What moved me?” If you can’t answer at least one, you probably weren’t listening.

106. Find something in common: a person, location, experience, or point of view. When marketing and branding consultant Dorie Clark interviewed Robert Cialdini, he gave her some excellent advice: The way to get someone to like you immediately is to find a commonality.

107. Financier and philanthropist Michael Milken once said that everyone is trying to be successful, loved, and healthy, and that’s why the three things that are important to most people are their money, their children, and their health.

108. When you understand what people are passionate about and/or proud of in their careers, their families, and their lives, you open the door to the potential for lasting connection.

109. Think of value-adds as anything that can (1) save time, (2) save money, (3) save someone’s sanity, (4) eliminate stress, or (5) bring more fun to someone’s life.

110. Mention your ask, but don’t “sell” it. Only after you’ve added value should you talk about your own needs and wants.

111. “No matter what the rate, you can’t write good contracts with bad people.”

112. However, for your power circles you want a group of like-minded people, with compatible values, interested in adding value to others, knowing that their success will come from mutual assistance offered in both the short and long term. In other words, you want people who have a good head, a good heart, and who are a good bet.

113. You may already have an instinctive sense whether these individuals should be in your Key 50 or Vital 100. (Rarely do people go straight into your Top 5, as these are your closest relationships.

114. Power circles are fluid and will change over time as you grow and change, and you must be willing for members to change levels or to leave altogether.

115. I have found that slow follow-up is one of the three major places people fail when it comes to building strong relationships.

116. Once a week. Within seven days of contacts reaching out to you, you should send something of value. This can be an article, an introduction, a resource, an opportunity—it doesn’t have to be large, but it needs to show them that you (1) have them in mind, (2) understand their goals, and (3) are committed to adding value to them consistently.

117. Once a month. Every month you should reach out and add value to your Vital 100. (I do this with 25 members per week—certainly a less daunting task than all 100 at once.) If you have organized your power circles by ecosystem, it’s easy to send e-mails to groups,

118. Secret 5: Always do what you say you will. While this is a fundamental requirement of any authentic connection in business and in life, it’s absolutely vital when it comes to multiplying value. If you say you will do something, do it, and do it by the time you say you will.

119. One of the keys to success is to join groups that will provide access to whatever people might need—contacts, resources, opportunities, funding, and so on.

120. Keep in mind the fundamental principle of power connecting: add value first, add value consistently, and make sure the value you add is appropriate for the other person.

121. Conferences are excellent places to meet new people in specific ecosystems.

122. For example, the annual BIO-Europe conference is the largest life sciences meeting in the world. It’s said that more deals are made in the halls and over coffee and meals there than are made in an entire year for some companies.

123. Go where people congregate. Meeting new people is a combination of luck and synchronicity, but you can make yourself “luckier” by positioning yourself where they gather. David Bradford is a master connector, and one of his tips is, “Stand in high-traffic areas where you can be seen and heard.” At conferences, that often means by the coffee or other food service areas. Other good places to meet people include by the registration tables and by the doorways of conference sessions—anywhere people are waiting.

124. Top 10 Tips from the Titanium Rolodex:

  1. Start with the Three Golden Questions: “How can I help you?” “What ideas do you have for me?” “Who else do you know that I should talk to?”
  2.  If you’re not succeeding, you’re in the wrong room. Most people get stuck looking for love in all the wrong places. 
  3. For every tough problem, there is a match with the solution. Critical resources are attached to people. 
  4. Measure the value of your contacts not by their net worth but by whether they have a good head, heart, and gut. 
  5. Stranger danger is a fallacy. You’re an adult. 
  6. People must know, like, and trust you before sharing valuable social capital.
  7. Don’t get lost in a crowd. Create a wide, deep, and robust network of your Key 50 that you carefully water, bathe in sunshine, and fertilize to grow—and that you prune as needed. 
  8. Keep the rule of two: give two favors before asking. 
  9. Introductions are your most valuable commodities, so only curate win-win connections: What is the value proposition for both parties? 
  10. If you can remember only one tip, make it this one: engage in random acts of kindness. You never know how one small act can tip the scales.


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Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1785503 2022-01-21T22:27:43Z 2022-01-21T22:27:51Z Summary: Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

1. All I knew about the techniques we used at the FBI was that they worked. In the twenty years I spent at the Bureau we’d designed a system that had successfully resolved almost every kidnapping we applied it to.

2. Our techniques were the products of experiential learning; they were developed by agents in the field, negotiating through crisis and sharing stories of what succeeded and what failed.

3. It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing.

4. Psychotherapy research shows that when individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings. In addition, they tend to become less defensive and oppositional and more willing to listen to other points of view, which gets them to the calm and logical place where they can be good Getting to Yes problem solvers.

5. The whole concept, which you’ll learn as the centerpiece of this book, is called Tactical Empathy. This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence, to gain access to the mind of another person.

6. Negotiation serves two distinct, vital life functions—information gathering and behavior influencing—and includes almost any interaction where each party wants something from the other side.

7. Remember, a hostage negotiator plays a unique role: he has to win. Can he say to a bank robber, “Okay, you’ve taken four hostages. Let’s split the difference—give me two, and we’ll call it a day?” No. A successful hostage negotiator has to get everything he asks for, without giving anything back of substance, and do so in a way that leaves the adversaries feeling as if they have a great relationship. His work is emotional intelligence on steroids. Those are the tools you’ll learn here.

8. Each chapter expands on the previous one. First you’ll learn the refined techniques of this approach to Active Listening and then you’ll move on to specific tools, turns of phrase, the ins and outs of the final act—haggling—and, finally, how to discover the rarity that can help you achieve true negotiating greatness: the Black Swan.

9. I hadn’t yet learned to be aware of a counterpart’s overuse of personal pronouns—we/they or me/I. The less important he makes himself, the more important he probably is (and vice versa).

10. There’s one powerful way to quiet the voice in your head and the voice in their head at the same time: treat two schizophrenics with just one pill. Instead of prioritizing your argument—in fact, instead of doing any thinking at all in the early goings about what you’re going to say—make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say.

11. The goal is to identify what your counterparts actually need (monetarily, emotionally, or otherwise) and get them feeling safe enough to talk and talk and talk some more about what they want.

12. The latter will help you discover the former. Wants are easy to talk about, representing the aspiration of getting our way, and sustaining any illusion of control we have as we begin to negotiate; needs imply survival, the very minimum required to make us act, and so make us vulnerable.

13. But neither wants nor needs are where we start; it begins with listening, making it about the other people, validating their emotions, and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin.

14. There’s plenty of research that now validates the passage of time as one of the most important tools for a negotiator. When you slow the process down, you also calm it down. After all, if someone is talking, they’re not shooting.

15. That’s why your most powerful tool in any verbal communication is your voice. You can use your voice to intentionally reach into someone’s brain and flip an emotional switch. Distrusting to trusting. Nervous to calm. In an instant, the switch will flip just like that with the right delivery.

16. There are essentially three voice tones available to negotiators: the late-night FM DJ voice, the positive/playful voice, and the direct or assertive voice.

17. Most of the time, you should be using the positive/playful voice. It’s the voice of an easygoing, good-natured person. Your attitude is light and encouraging. The key here is to relax and smile while you’re talking. A smile, even while talking on the phone, has an impact tonally that the other person will pick up on.

18. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist).

19. The way the late-night FM DJ voice works is that, when you inflect your voice in a downward way, you put it out there that you’ve got it covered. Talking slowly and clearly you convey one idea: I’m in control. When you inflect in an upward way, you invite a response. Why? Because you’ve brought in a measure of uncertainty. You’ve made a statement sound like a question.

20. Mirroring, also called isopraxism, is essentially imitation. It’s another neurobehavior humans (and other animals) display in which we copy each other to comfort each other. 

21. While mirroring is most often associated with forms of nonverbal communication, especially body language, as negotiators a “mirror” focuses on the words and nothing else.

22. It’s almost laughably simple: for the FBI, a “mirror” is when you repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. Of the entirety of the FBI’s hostage negotiation skill set, mirroring is the closest one gets to a Jedi mind trick. Simple, and yet uncannily effective.

23. Psychologist Richard Wiseman created a study using waiters to identify what was the more effective method of creating a connection with strangers: mirroring or positive reinforcement. One group of waiters, using positive reinforcement, lavished praise and encouragement on patrons using words such as “great,” “no problem,” and “sure” in response to each order. The other group of waiters mirrored their customers simply by repeating their orders back to them. The results were stunning: the average tip of the waiters who mirrored was 70 percent more than of those who used positive reinforcement.

24. Which is why when you think of the greatest negotiators of all time, I’ve got a surprise for you—think Oprah Winfrey.

25. Her daily television show was a case study of a master practitioner at work: on a stage face-to-face with someone she has never met, in front of a crowded studio of hundreds, with millions more watching from home, and a task to persuade that person in front of her, sometimes against his or her own best interests, to talk and talk and keep talking, ultimately sharing with the world deep, dark secrets that they had held hostage in their own minds for a lifetime.

26. A good negotiator prepares, going in, to be ready for possible surprises; a great negotiator aims to use her skills to reveal the surprises she is certain to find.

27. Don’t commit to assumptions; instead, view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously.

28. People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.

29. Put a smile on your face. When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist). Positivity creates mental agility in both you and your counterpart.

30. Tactical empathy is understanding the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow. It’s bringing our attention to both the emotional obstacles and the potential pathways to getting an agreement done.

31. Empathy is a classic “soft” communication skill, but it has a physical basis. When we closely observe a person’s face, gestures, and tone of voice, our brain begins to align with theirs in a process called neural resonance, and that lets us know more fully what they think and feel.

32. We employed our tactical empathy by recognizing and then verbalizing the predictable emotions of the situation. We didn’t just put ourselves in the fugitives’ shoes. We spotted their feelings, turned them into words, and then very calmly and respectfully repeated their emotions back to them. In a negotiation, that’s called labeling.

33. It gets you close to someone without asking about external factors you know nothing about (“How’s your family?”). Think of labeling as a shortcut to intimacy, a time-saving emotional hack.

34. In one brain imaging study,2 psychology professor Matthew Lieberman of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that when people are shown photos of faces expressing strong emotion, the brain shows greater activity in the amygdala, the part that generates fear. But when they are asked to label the emotion, the activity moves to the areas that govern rational thinking. In other words, labeling an emotion—applying rational words to a fear—disrupts its raw intensity.

35. The first step to labeling is detecting the other person’s emotional state. Outside that door in Harlem we couldn’t even see the fugitives, but most of the time you’ll have a wealth of information from the other person’s words, tone, and body language. We call that trinity “words, music, and dance.”

36. Once you’ve spotted an emotion you want to highlight, the next step is to label it aloud. Labels can be phrased as statements or questions.

37. But no matter how they end, labels almost always begin with roughly the same words:
It seems like …
It sounds like …
It looks like …

38. The last rule of labeling is silence. Once you’ve thrown out a label, be quiet and listen. We all have a tendency to expand on what we’ve said, to finish, “It seems like you like the way that shirt looks,” with a specific question like “Where did you get it?” But a label’s power is that it invites the other person to reveal himself.

39. Labeling is a tactic, not a strategy, in the same way a spoon is a great tool for stirring soup but it’s not a recipe. How you use labeling will go a long way in determining your success.

40. What good negotiators do when labeling is address those underlying emotions. Labeling negatives diffuses them (or defuses them, in extreme cases); labeling positives reinforces them.

41. Try this the next time you have to apologize for a bone-headed mistake. Go right at it. The fastest and most efficient means of establishing a quick working relationship is to acknowledge the negative and diffuse it.

42. Research shows that the best way to deal with negativity is to observe it, without reaction and without judgment. Then consciously label each negative feeling and replace it with positive, compassionate, and solution-based thoughts.

43. In court, defense lawyers do this properly by mentioning everything their client is accused of, and all the weaknesses of their case, in the opening statement. They call this technique “taking the sting out.”

44. The first step of doing so is listing every terrible thing your counterpart could say about you, in what I call an accusation audit.

45. And no communication is always a bad sign.

46. Human connection is the first goal.

47. We have it backward. For good negotiators, “No” is pure gold. That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want. “No”

48. “Yes” and “Maybe” are often worthless. But “No” always alters the conversation.

49. While assigned to the JTTF, I worked with an NYPD lieutenant named Martin. He had a hard shell, and whenever asked for anything he responded with a terse negative. After I’d gotten to know him a bit, I asked him why. “Chris,” he said, proudly, “a lieutenant’s job is to say, ‘No.’” At first, I thought that sort of automated response signaled a failure of imagination. But then I realized I did the same thing with my teenage son, and that after I’d said “No” to him, I often found that I was open to hearing what he had to say. That’s because having protected myself, I could relax and more easily consider the possibilities.

50. This means you have to train yourself to hear “No” as something other than rejection, and respond accordingly. When someone tells you “No,” you need to rethink the word in one of its alternative—and much more real—meanings: 

  • I am not yet ready to agree; 
  • You are making me feel uncomfortable; 
  • I do not understand; 
  • I don’t think 
  • I can afford it; 
  • I want something else; 
  • I need more information; 
  • or I want to talk it over with someone else.

51. We need to persuade from their perspective, not ours. But how? By starting with their most basic wants.

52. In every negotiation, in every agreement, the result comes from someone else’s decision. And sadly, if we believe that we can control or manage others’ decisions with compromise and logic, we’re leaving millions on the table.

53. But while we can’t control others’ decisions, we can influence them by inhabiting their world and seeing and hearing exactly what they want.

54. Though the intensity may differ from person to person, you can be sure that everyone you meet is driven by two primal urges: the need to feel safe and secure, and the need to feel in control. If you satisfy those drives, you’re in the door.

55. “No” starts conversations and creates safe havens to get to the final “Yes” of commitment. An early “Yes” is often just a cheap, counterfeit dodge.

56. Gun for a “Yes” straight off the bat, though, and your counterpart gets defensive, wary, and skittish. That’s why I tell my students that, if you’re trying to sell something, don’t start with “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Instead ask, “Is now a bad time to talk?” Either you get “Yes, it is a bad time” followed by a good time or a request to go away, or you get “No, it’s not” and total focus.

57. “No” is not failure. Used strategically it’s an answer that opens the path forward. Getting to the point where you’re no longer horrified by the word “No” is a liberating moment that every negotiator needs to reach. Because if your biggest fear is “No,” you can’t negotiate. You’re the hostage of “Yes.” You’re handcuffed. You’re done.

58. In fact, “No” often opens the discussion up. The sooner you say “No,” the sooner you’re willing to see options and opportunities that you were blind to previously. Saying “No” often spurs people to action because they feel they’ve protected themselves and now see an opportunity slipping away..

59. There is a big difference between making your counterpart feel that they can say “No” and actually getting them to say it. Sometimes, if you’re talking to somebody who is just not listening, the only way you can crack their cranium is to antagonize them into “No.” 

60. One great way to do this is to mislabel one of the other party’s emotions or desires. You say something that you know is totally wrong, like “So it seems that you really are eager to leave your job” when they clearly want to stay. That forces them to listen and makes them comfortable correcting you by saying, “No, that’s not it. This is it.”

61. Another way to force “No” in a negotiation is to ask the other party what they don’t want. “Let’s talk about what you would say ‘No’ to,” you’d say. And people are comfortable saying “No” here because it feels like self-protection. And once you’ve gotten them to say “No,” people are much more open to moving forward toward new options and ideas.

62. “No”—or the lack thereof—also serves as a warning, the canary in the coal mine. If despite all your efforts, the other party won’t say “No,” you’re dealing with people who are indecisive or confused or who have a hidden agenda. In cases like that you have to end the negotiation and walk away.

63. You provoke a “No” with this one-sentence email. Have you given up on this project?

64. “That’s right” is better than “yes.” Strive for it. Reaching “that’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.

65. Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right.” The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing. Identify, rearticulate, and emotionally affirm “the world according to …”

66. There’s always leverage. Negotiation is never a linear formula: add X to Y to get Z. We all have irrational blind spots, hidden needs, and undeveloped notions.

67. Once you understand that subterranean world of unspoken needs and thoughts, you’ll discover a universe of variables that can be leveraged to change your counterpart’s needs and expectations. From using some people’s fear of deadlines and the mysterious power of odd numbers, to our misunderstood relationship to fairness, there are always ways to bend our counterpart’s reality so it conforms to what we ultimately want to give them, not to what they initially think they deserve.

68. Compromise—“splitting the difference”—can lead to terrible outcomes. Compromise is often a “bad deal” and a key theme we’ll hit in this chapter is that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

69. I’m here to call bullshit on compromise right now. We don’t compromise because it’s right; we compromise because it is easy and because it saves face. We compromise in order to say that at least we got half the pie. Distilled to its essence, we compromise to be safe. Most people in a negotiation are driven by fear or by the desire to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals.

70. So don’t settle and—here’s a simple rule—never split the difference.

71. Time is one of the most crucial variables in any negotiation. The simple passing of time and its sharper cousin, the deadline, are the screw that pressures every deal to a conclusion.

72. Whether your deadline is real and absolute or merely a line in the sand, it can trick you into believing that doing a deal now is more important than getting a good deal. Deadlines regularly make people say and do impulsive things that are against their best interests, because we all have a natural tendency to rush as a deadline approaches.

73. What good negotiators do is force themselves to resist this urge and take advantage of it in others. It’s not so easy. Ask yourself: What is it about a deadline that causes pressure and anxiety? The answer is consequences; the perception of the loss we’ll incur in the future—“The deal is off!” our mind screams at us in some imaginary future scenario—should no resolution be achieved by a certain point in time.

73. Deadlines are often arbitrary, almost always flexible, and hardly ever trigger the consequences we think—or are told—they will.

74. “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

75. In fact, Don A. Moore, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, says that hiding a deadline actually puts the negotiator in the worst possible position. In his research, he’s found that hiding your deadlines dramatically increases the risk of an impasse.

76. The most powerful word in negotiations is “Fair.” As human beings, we’re mightily swayed by how much we feel we have been respected. People comply with agreements if they feel they’ve been treated fairly and lash out if they don’t.

77. If you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives—if you can get at what people are really buying—then you can sell them a vision of their problem that leaves your proposal as the perfect solution.

78. The theory argues that people are drawn to sure things over probabilities, even when the probability is a better choice. That’s called the Certainty Effect. And people will take greater risks to avoid losses than to achieve gains. That’s called Loss Aversion.

79. The chance for loss incites more risk than the possibility of an equal gain.

80. To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.

81. That gets your point across without moving the other party into a defensive position. And it gets him thinking at higher levels. Research shows that people who hear extreme anchors unconsciously adjust their expectations in the direction of the opening number. Many even go directly to their price limit. If Jerry had given this range, the firm probably would have offered $130,000 because it looked so cheap next to $170,000.

82. The biggest thing to remember is that numbers that end in 0 inevitably feel like temporary placeholders, guesstimates that you can easily be negotiated But anything you throw out that sounds less rounded—say, $37,263—feels like a figure that you came to as a result of thoughtful calculation. Such numbers feel serious and permanent to your counterpart, so use them to fortify your offers.

83. Our job as persuaders is easier than we think. It’s not to get others believing what we say. It’s just to stop them unbelieving. Once we achieve that, the game’s half-won. “Unbelief is the friction that keeps persuasion in check,” Dutton says. “Without it, there’d be no limits.”

84. First off, calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like “can,” “is,” “are,” “do,” or “does.” These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no.” Instead, they start with a list of words people know as reporter’s questions: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.”

85. Having just two words to start with might not seem like a lot of ammunition, but trust me, you can use “what” and “how” to calibrate nearly any question. “Does this look like something you would like?” can become “How does this look to you?” or “What about this works for you?” You can even ask, “What about this doesn’t work for you?” and you’ll probably trigger quite a bit of useful information from your counterpart.

86. Here are some other great standbys that I use in almost every negotiation, depending on the situation: 

  • What about this is important to you? 
  • How can I help to make this better for us? 
  • How would you like me to proceed? 
  • What is it that brought us into this situation? 
  • How can we solve this problem? 
  • What’s the objective? / What are we trying to accomplish here? 
  • How am I supposed to do that?

87.The script we came up with hit all the best practices of negotiation we’ve talked about so far. Here it is by steps: 

  1. A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact: “Have you given up on settling this amicably?”
  2. A statement that leaves only the answer of “That’s right” to form a dynamic of agreement: “It seems that you feel my bill is not justified.” 
  3. Calibrated questions about the problem to get him to reveal his thinking: “How does this bill violate our agreement?” 
  4. More “No”-oriented questions to remove unspoken barriers: “Are you saying I misled you?” “Are you saying I didn’t do as you asked?” “Are you saying I reneged on our agreement?” or “Are you saying I failed you?” 
  5. Labeling and mirroring the essence of his answers if they are not acceptable so he has to consider them again: “It seems like you feel my work was subpar.” Or “… my work was subpar?”
  6. A calibrated question in reply to any offer other than full payment, in order to get him to offer a solution: “How am I supposed to accept that?” 
  7. If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that flatters his sense of control and power: “It seems like you are the type of person who prides himself on the way he does business—rightfully so—and has a knack for not only expanding the pie but making the ship run more efficiently.” 
  8. A long pause and then one more “No”-oriented question: “Do you want to be known as someone who doesn’t fulfill agreements?”

88. From my long experience in negotiation, scripts like this have a 90 percent success rate. That is, if the negotiator stays calm and rational. And that’s a big if.

89. In a study of the components of lying,2 Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra and his coauthors found that, on average, liars use more words than truth tellers and use far more third-person pronouns. They start talking about him, her, it, one, they, and their rather than I, in order to put some distance between themselves and the lie. And they discovered that liars tend to speak in more complex sentences in an attempt to win over their suspicious counterparts. It’s what W. C. Fields meant when he talked about baffling someone with bullshit. The researchers dubbed this the Pinocchio Effect because, just like Pinocchio’s nose, the number of words grew along with the lie. People who are lying are, understandably, more worried about being believed, so they work harder—too hard, as it were—at being believable.

90. Any response that’s not an outright rejection of your offer means you have the edge.

91. Experienced negotiators often lead with a ridiculous offer, an extreme anchor. And if you’re not prepared to handle it, you’ll lose your moorings and immediately go to your maximum.

92. The Ackerman model is an offer-counteroffer method, at least on the surface. But it is a very effective system for beating the usual lackluster bargaining bargaining dynamic, which has the predictable result of meeting in the middle. The systematized and easy-to-remember process has only four steps: 

  1. Set your target price (your goal). 
  2. Set your first offer at 65 percent of your target price. 
  3. Calculate three raises of decreasing increments (to 85, 95, and 100 percent). 
  4. Use lots of empathy and different ways of saying “No” to get the other side to counter before you increase your offer. 
  5. When calculating the final amount, use precise, nonround numbers like, say, $37,893 rather than $38,000. It gives the number credibility and weight.
  6. On your final number, throw in a nonmonetary item (that they probably don’t want) to show you’re at your limit.


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Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1754025 2021-10-31T15:01:41Z 2021-10-31T15:01:42Z Summary: Principles by Ray Dalio

1. Principles are fundamentals truths that serve as the foundations for behavior that gets you what you want out of life. They can be applied again and again.

2. Without principles we would be forced to react to all the things life throws at us individually, as if we were experiencing each of them for the first time. If instead we classify these situations into types and have good principles for dealing with them, we will make better decisions more quickly and have better lives as a result.

3. That brings me to my first principle: Think for yourself to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true, and 3) what you should do to achieve #1 in light of #2 . . .

4. I believe that the key to success lies in knowing how to both strive for a lot and fail well. By failing well, I mean being able to experience painful failures that provide big learnings without failing badly enough to get knocked out of the game.

5. Ask yourself what you want, seek out examples of other people who got what they wanted, and try to discern the cause-and-effect patterns behind their achievements so you can apply them to help you achieve your own goals.

6. My business has always been a way to get me into exotic places and allow me to meet interesting people. If I make any money from those trips, that’s just icing on the cake.

7. Visualizing complex systems as machines, figuring out the cause-effect relationships within them, writing down the principles for dealing with them, and feeding them into a computer so the computer could “make decisions” for me all became standard practices.

8. In thinking about the relative importance of great relationships and money, it was clear that relationships were more important because there is no amount of money I would take in exchange for a meaningful relationship, because there is nothing I could buy with that money that would be more valuable. So, for me, meaningful work and meaningful relationships were and still are my primary goals and everything I did was for them. Making money was an incidental consequence of that.

9. I learned a great fear of being wrong that shifted my mind-set from thinking “I’m right” to asking myself “How do I know I’m right?”

10. And I saw clearly that the best way to answer this question is by finding other independent thinkers who are on the same mission as me and who see things differently from me. By engaging them in thoughtful disagreement, I’d be able to understand their reasoning and have them stress-test mine. That way, we can all raise our probability of being right.

11. I saw that to do exceptionally well you have to push your limits and that, if you push your limits, you will crash and it will hurt a lot. You will think you have failed—but that won’t be true unless you give up.

12. By late 1983, Bridgewater had six employees. Up until then, I hadn’t done any marketing; the business we got came from word of mouth and from people reading my daily telexes and seeing my public appearances.

13. Approaching the market in this way taught me that one of the keys to being a successful investor is to only take bets you are highly confident in and to diversify them well.

14. I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.

15. But even as we grew, I never thought of anybody I worked with as an employee. I had always wanted to have—and to be around people who also wanted to have—a life full of meaningful work and meaningful relationships, and to me a meaningful relationship is one that’s open and honest in a way that lets people be straight with each other.

16. I believe that all organizations basically have two types of people: those who work to be part of a mission, and those who work for a paycheck. I wanted to surround myself with people who needed what I needed, which was to make sense of things for myself.

17. I have come to realize that bad times coupled with good reflections provide some of the best lessons.

18. I didn’t value experience as much as character, creativity, and common sense, which I suppose was related to my having started Bridgewater two years out of school myself, and my belief that having an ability to figure things out is more important than having specific knowledge of how to do something.

19. Some painful lessons that you’ll read about later taught me that it can be a mistake to undervalue experience.

20. I realized then how essential it is that people in relationships must be crystal clear about their principles for dealing with each other.That began our decades-long process of putting our principles into writing, which evolved into the Work Principles.

21. As for our agreements with each other, the most important one was our need to do three things:

a. Put our honest thoughts out on the table, 

b. Have thoughtful disagreements in which people are willing to shift their opinions as they learn, and 

c. Have agreed-upon ways of deciding (e.g., voting, having clear authorities) if disagreements remain so that we can move beyond them without resentments.

22. I also believe that for a group decision-making system to be effective, the people using it have to believe that it’s fair.

23. This included cash, which is the worst investment over time because it loses value after adjusting for inflation and taxes.

24. There is nothing to prompt learning like pain and necessity

25. To me, the greatest success you can have as the person in charge is to orchestrate others to do things well without you.

26. No matter how much effort we put into screening new hires and training them to work in our idea meritocracy, it was inevitable that many of them would fall short. My approach was to hire, train, test, and then fire or promote quickly, so that we could rapidly identify the excellent hires and get rid of the ordinary ones, repeating the process again and again until the percentage of those who were truly great was high enough to meet our needs.

27. But for this to work, we needed people with high standards who wouldn’t hesitate to eliminate people who couldn’t cut it. Many new employees (and some older ones) still were reluctant to probe hard at what people were like, which made things worse. It’s tough to be tough on people.

28. The more I did the research on people, the clearer it became that there are different types of people and that, by and large, the same types of people in the same types of circumstances are going to produce the same types of results.

29. My perspective was influenced by my own journey through life, which took me from having nothing to having a lot. That taught me to struggle well and made me strong.

30. In time, I realized that the satisfaction of success doesn’t come from achieving your goals, but from struggling well.

31. Look to the patterns of those things that affect you in order to understand the cause-effect relationships that drive them and to learn principles for dealing with them effectively.

32. Truth—or, more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for any good outcome.

33. Don’t let fears of what others think of you stand in your way. You must be willing to do things in the unique ways you think are best—and to open-mindedly reflect on the feedback that comes inevitably as a result of being that way.

34. Adaptation through rapid trial and error is invaluable. Natural selection’s trial-and-error process allows improvement without anyone understanding or guiding it. The same can apply to how we learn.

35.  It is a fundamental law of nature that in order to gain strength one has to push one’s limits, which is painful. As Carl Jung put it, “Man needs difficulties. They are necessary for health.” Yet most people instinctually avoid pain. This is true whether we are talking about building the body (e.g., weight lifting) or the mind (e.g., frustration, mental struggle, embarrassment, shame)—and especially true when people confront the harsh reality of their own imperfections.

36. If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential.

37. Think of yourself as a machine operating within a machine and know that you have the ability to alter your machines to produce better outcomes. You have your goals. I call the way you will operate to achieve your goals your machine. It consists of a design (the things that have to get done) and the people (who will do the things that need getting done). Those people include you and those who help you.

38. 

a. Have clear goals.
b. Identify and don’t tolerate the problems that stand in the way of your achieving those goals.
c. Accurately diagnose the problems to get at their root causes.
d. Design plans that will get you around them.
e. Do what’s necessary to push these designs through to results.

40. Recognize that knowing what someone (including you) is like will tell you what you can expect from them. You will have to get over your reluctance to assess what people are like if you want to surround yourself with people who have the qualities you need.

41. Great planners who don’t execute their plans go nowhere. You need to push through and that requires self-discipline to follow your script.

42. To be effective you must not let your need to be right be more important than your need to find out what’s true.

43. Don’t worry about looking good; worry about achieving your goal. People typically try to prove that they have the answer even when they don’t. Why do they behave in this unproductive way? It’s generally because they believe the senseless but common view that great people have all the answers and don’t have any weaknesses.

44. Remember that you’re looking for the best answer, not simply the best answer that you can come up with yourself. The answer doesn’t have to be in your head; you can look outside yourself.

45. I define believable people as those who have repeatedly and successfully accomplished the thing in question—who have a strong track record with at least three successes—and have great explanations of their approach when probed.

46. There are lots of people who will disagree with you, and it would be unproductive to consider all their views. It doesn’t pay to be open-minded with everyone. Instead, spend your time exploring ideas with the most believable people you have access to.

47. A few good decision makers working effectively together can significantly outperform a good decision maker working alone—and even the best decision maker can significantly improve his or her decision making with the help of other excellent decision makers.

48. If a number of different believable people say you are doing something wrong and you are the only one who doesn’t see it that way, assume that you are probably biased. Be objective!

49. Be evidence-based and encourage others to be the same. Most people do not look thoughtfully at the facts and draw their conclusions by objectively weighing the evidence. Instead, they make their decisions based on what their deep-seated subconscious mind wants and then they filter the evidence to make it consistent with those desires.

50. Know that the most constant struggle is between feeling and thinking. There are no greater battles than those between our feelings (most importantly controlled by our amygdala, which operates subconsciously) and our rational thinking (most importantly controlled by our prefrontal cortex, which operates consciously).

51. Getting the right people in the right roles in support of your goal is the key to succeeding at whatever you choose to accomplish.

52. Be imprecise. Understand the concept of “by-and-large” and use approximations. Because our educational system is hung up on precision, the art of being good at approximations is insufficiently valued. This impedes conceptual thinking. For example, when asked to multiply 38 by 12, most people do it the slow and hard way rather than simply rounding 38 up to 40, rounding 12 down to 10, and quickly determining that the answer is about 400.

53. “By-and-large” is the level at which you need to understand most things in order to make effective decisions. Whenever a big-picture “by-and- large” statement is made and someone replies “Not always,” my instinctual reaction is that we are probably about to dive into the weeds—i.e., into a discussion of the exceptions rather than the rule, and in the process we will lose sight of the rule.

54. Make your decisions as expected value calculations. Think of every decision as a bet with a probability and a reward for being right and a probability and a penalty for being wrong. Normally a winning decision is one with a positive expected value, meaning that the reward times its probability of occurring is greater than the penalty times its probability of occurring, with the best decision being the one with the highest expected value.

55. Sometimes it’s smart to take a chance even when the odds are overwhelmingly against you if the cost of being wrong is negligible relative to the reward that comes with the slim chance of being right. As the saying goes, “It never hurts to ask.”

56. Raising the probability of being right is valuable no matter what your probability of being right already is.

57. You can almost always improve your odds of being right by doing things that will give you more information.

58. Convert your principles into algorithms and have the computer make decisions alongside you. It will also take emotion out of the equation. Algorithms work just like words in describing what you would like to have done, but they are written in a language that the computer can understand.

59. Expert systems are what we use at Bridgewater, where designers specify criteria based on their logical understandings of a set of cause-effect relationships, and then see how different scenarios would emerge under different circumstances.

60. I’d rather have fewer bets (ideally uncorrelated ones) in which I am highly confident than more bets I’m less confident in, and would consider it intolerable if I couldn’t argue the logic behind any of my decisions.

61. In order to have the best life possible, you have to: 1) know what the best decisions are and 2) have the courage to make them.

62. It pays for all organizations—companies, governments, foundations, schools, hospitals, and so on—to spell out their principles and values clearly and explicitly and to operate by them consistently.

63. A great organization has both great people and a great culture. Companies that get progressively better over time have both. Nothing is more important or more difficult than to get the culture and people right.

64. To me, great partnerships come from sharing common values and interests, having similar approaches to pursuing them, and being reasonable with, and having consideration for, each other. At the same time, partners must be willing to hold each other to high standards and work through their disagreements.

65. Tough love is effective for achieving both great work and great relationships.

66.  In order to be great, one can’t compromise the uncompromisable. Yet I see people doing it all the time, usually to avoid making others or themselves feel uncomfortable, which is not just backward but counterproductive. Putting comfort ahead of success produces worse results for everyone.

67. A believability-weighted idea meritocracy is the best system for making effective decisions.

68. Idea Meritocracy = Radical Truth + Radical Transparency + Believability-Weighted Decision Making.

69. Have integrity and demand it from others.

70. Thinking solely about what’s accurate instead of how it is perceived pushes you to focus on the most important things. It helps you sort through people and places because you’ll be drawn to people and places that are open and honest.

71.  Don’t let loyalty to people stand in the way of truth and the well-being of the organization. Judging one person by a different set of rules than another is an insidious form of corruption that undermines the meritocracy.

72. Dishonest people are dangerous, so keeping them around isn’t smart.

73. Bridgewater has had uncommonly few legal or regulatory encounters, largely because of our radical transparency. That’s because it’s tougher to do bad things and easier to find out what’s true and resolve claims through radical transparency. Over the last several decades, we have not had a single material legal or regulatory judgment against us.

74. When I treated my employees like extended family, I found that they typically behaved the same way with each other and our community as a whole, which was much more special than having a strictly quid pro quo relationship. I can’t tell you how many people would do anything in their power to help our community/company and wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. This is invaluable.

75. Not everyone feels the same or is expected to feel the same about the community. It’s totally okay to opt out.

76. No matter how much one tries to create a culture of meaningful relationships, the organization is bound to have some bad (intentionally harmful) people in it. Being there isn’t good for them or the company so it’s best to find out who they are and remove them.

77. Loyalty to specific people who are not in tight sync with the mission and how to achieve it will create factionalism and undermine the well-being of the community.

78. Recognize that the size of the organization can pose a threat to meaningful relationships. 

79. That’s when I realized that having groups (departments) of around a hundred (give or take about fifty) that are bound collectively by our common mission was the best way to scale the meaningful relationship. While bigger companies tend to be more impersonal, that is just another challenge that has to be figured out.

80. Don’t have anything to do with closed-minded people. Being open-minded is much more important than being bright or smart.

81. Great collaboration feels like playing jazz. A talented duo can improvise beautifully, as can a trio or quartet. But gather ten musicians and no matter how talented they are, it’s probably going to be too many unless they’re carefully orchestrated.

82. 1+1=3. Two people who collaborate well will be about three times as effective as each of them operating independently.

83. 3 to 5 is more than 20. Three to five smart, conceptual people seeking the right answers in an open-minded way will generally lead to the best answers.

84. While the believability-weighted answer isn’t always the best answer, we have found that it is more likely to be right than either the boss’s answer or an equal-weighted referendum.

85. Treating all people equally is more likely to lead away from truth than toward it. But at the same time, all views should be considered in an open-minded way, though placed in the proper context of the experiences and track records of the people expressing them.

86. Imagine if a group of us were getting a lesson in how to play baseball from Babe Ruth, and someone who’d never played the game kept interrupting him to debate how to swing the bat. Would it be helpful or harmful to the group’s progress to ignore their different track records and experience?

87. Pay more attention to whether the decision-making system is fair than whether you get your way.

88. Once a decision is made, everyone should get behind it even though individuals may still disagree. The group is more important than the individual; don’t behave in a way that undermines the chosen path.

89. If you continue to fight the idea meritocracy, you must go.

90. Don’t allow lynch mobs or mob rule. Part of the purpose of having a believability-weighted system is to remove emotion from decision making. Crowds get emotional and seek to grab control. That must be prevented. While all individuals have the right to have their own opinions, they do not have the right to render verdicts.

91. Recognize that if the people who have the power don’t want to operate by principles, the principled way of operating will fail.

92. Ultimately, power will rule. This is true of any system. For example, it has repeatedly been shown that systems of government have only worked when those with the power value the principles behind the system more than they value their own personal objectives.

93. For that reason the power supporting the principles must be given only to people who value the principled way of operating more than their individual interests.

94. While we talked about an organization’s culture in the last section, its people are even more important because they can change the culture for better or for worse.

95.  Steve Jobs, who everyone thought was the secret to Apple’s success, said, “The secret to my success is that we’ve gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.” Remember That the WHO Is More Important than the WHAT.

96. If they can’t do the job after being trained and given time to learn, get rid of them; if they can, promote them.

97. People often make the mistake of focusing on what should be done while neglecting the more important question of who should be given the responsibility for determining what should be done.

98. When you know what you need in a person to do the job well and you know what the person you’re putting into it is like, you can pretty well visualize how things will go.

99. In the end, what you need to do is simple: 1. Remember the goal. 2. Give the goal to people who can achieve it (which is best) or tell them what to do to achieve it (which is micromanaging and therefore less good). 3. Hold them accountable. 4. If they still can’t do the job after you’ve trained them and given them time to learn, get rid of them.

100. When putting someone in a position of responsibility, make sure their incentives are aligned with their responsibilities and they experience the consequences of the outcomes they produce. As an example, structure their deals so that they do well or badly based on how well or badly you do in the areas they are responsible for. This is fundamental for good management.

101. At a high level, we look for people who think independently, argue open-mindedly and assertively, and above all else value the intense pursuit of truth and excellence, and through it, the rapid improvement of themselves and the organization.

102. We look for people with generous natures and high standards of fairness. Most important, they must be able to put their egos aside and assess themselves candidly.

103. When building a “machine,” design precedes people because the type of people you will need will depend on the design.

104. Don’t design jobs to fit people; over time, this almost always turns out to be a mistake. This often happens when someone you are reluctant to let go doesn’t work out, and there is an inclination to try to find out what else that person can do.

105. In picking people for long-term relationships, values are most important, abilities come next, and skills are the least important. Yet most people make the mistake of choosing skills and abilities first and overlooking values. We value people most who have what I call the three C’s: character, common sense, and creativity.

106. Remember that people typically don’t change all that much. This is especially true over short periods of time like a year or two, yet most people want to assume that when someone does something wrong the person will learn the lesson and change. That’s naive. It is best to assume that they won’t change unless there is good evidence to the contrary that they will.

107. Think about accuracy, not implications. It’s often the case that someone receiving critical feedback gets preoccupied with the implications of that feedback instead of whether it’s true.

108. It should take you no more than a year to learn what a person is like and whether they are a click for their job.

109. Don’t collect people. It is much worse to keep someone in a job unsuitable for them than it is to fire or reassign them.

110. Don’t lower the bar.

111. No matter what work you do, at a high level you are simply setting goals and building machines to help you achieve them.

112. Build great metrics. Metrics show how the machine is working by providing numbers and setting off alert lights in a dashboard.

113. The real sign of a master manager is that he doesn’t have to do practically anything. Managers should view the need to get involved in the nitty-gritty as a bad sign.

114. Avoid staying too distant. You need to know your people extremely well, provide and receive regular feedback, and have quality discussions.

115. Use daily updates as a tool for staying on top of what your people are doing and thinking. I ask each person who reports to me to take about ten to fifteen minutes to write a brief description of what they did that day, the issues pertaining to them, and their reflections.

116. Don’t worry about whether or not your people like you and don’t look to them to tell you what you should do. Just worry about making the best decisions possible, recognizing that no matter what you do, most everyone will think you’re doing something—or many things—wrong.

117. Goals, tasks, and assigned responsibilities should be reviewed at department meetings at least once a quarter, perhaps as often as once a month.

118.  Bad outcomes don’t just happen; they occur because specific people make, or fail to make, specific decisions.

119. Remember that if you have the same people doing the same things, you should expect the same results.

120. It is your job as a manager to get at truth and excellence, not to make people happy.

121. Build your organization from the top down. An organization is the opposite of a building: Its foundation is at the top, so make sure you hire managers before you hire their reports. Managers can help design the machine and choose the people who complement it. People overseeing departments need to be able to think strategically as well as run the day-to-day. If they don’t anticipate what’s coming up, they’ll run the day-to-day off a cliff.

122. Don’t build the organization to fit the people. Managers will often take the people who work in their organization as a given and try to make the organization work well with them. That’s backward. Instead, they should imagine the best organization and then make sure the right people are chosen for it.

123. Ensure that the ratios of senior managers to junior managers and of junior managers to their reports are limited to preserve quality communication and mutual understanding. Generally, the ratio should not be more than 1:10, and preferably closer to 1:5.

124. Create an organizational chart to look like a pyramid, with straight lines down that don’t cross. The whole organization should look like a series of descending pyramids, but the number of layers should be limited to minimize hierarchy.

125. Use “public hangings” to deter bad behavior. No matter how carefully you design your controls and how rigorously you enforce them, malicious and grossly negligent people will sometimes find a way around them. So when you catch someone violating your rules and controls, make sure that everybody sees the consequences.

126. Constantly think about how to produce leverage. Leverage in an organization is not unlike leverage in the markets; you’re looking for ways to achieve more with less. At Bridgewater, I typically work at about 50:1 leverage, meaning that for every hour I spend with each person who works for me, they spend about fifty hours working to move the project along.

127. At our sessions, we go over the vision and the deliverables, then they work on them, and then we review the work, and they move forward based on my feedback—and we do that over and over again.

128. Ring the bell. When you and your team have successfully pushed through to achieve your goals, celebrate!


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Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1732254 2021-09-05T23:42:02Z 2021-09-05T23:42:08Z Summary : What to say when you talk to yourself by Dr. Shad Helmstetter

1. Our programming determines our beliefs which in turn determines our attitudes which determines our feelings that dictates our actions.

2. If we desire to change, we need to focus on changing our  programming.

3. Our mind can view as a computer, if we can change the input we will change the output.

4. We can use what we say to ourselves to reprogram our minds, self talk.

5. If we can tell ourselves something often and strongly enough we can reprogram ourselves.

    6. Basically all self talk is in the present tense. E.g. "I am disciplined" or "I am valued"

    7. You will need around 12 statements around a particular topic that you desire to change in order to make self talk effective.
    E.g. 1. 'I am disciplined." 2. "I stick to my goals" 3." I am not easily deterred " 4. "I love accomplishing my goals." etc.

    8. An effective method of using self-talk is to record yourself and listen to it over and over.

    9. Fifteen minutes a day is the minimum for listening to self-talk sessions for effectiveness. Repetition is the secret to reprogramming your mind.


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    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1729839 2021-08-30T06:12:05Z 2021-08-30T06:17:03Z Summary: Take a nap! Change your life by Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D.

    1. Studies commissioned by the Department of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency found that lack of sleep degrades not only the ability of combat soldiers to identify and locate the enemy, but also—and even more disturbingly—their capacity to care whether they succeed or not.

    2. “No drug has yet been invented that is a substitute for sleep,” says Dr. John A. Caldwell, principal research psychologist for the Warfighter Fatigue Countermeasures Program. The alternatives only foster a false sense of staving off the effects of fatigue, a condition I call Fatigue Denial.

    3. Studies showing that sleepiness decreases attention and alertness by 50 percent.

    4. After 24 hours of sleep deprivation, the impairment is equivalent to a blood alcohol alcohol content of .10, which is well past the legal limit in every state. Also, these studies warn us that the effects increase with each additional night of insufficient sleep.

    5. This is because blood pressure decreases during sleep. So when you remain awake longer than normal, your blood pressure remains higher than normal. Our immune system suffers, too, since the number of natural killer cells created by our bodies to fight off invaders is reduced by sleep deprivation, leaving us vulnerable to colds and flu, allergies and asthma, and increasing our risk of many types of cancer.

    6. Studies have conclusively linked sleeplessness to irritability, anger, depression and mental exhaustion. This is not only because the brain is affected; other organs and body functions are, too.

    7. Both sleep deprivation and stress result in elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. Synthesized in the adrenal cortex, cortisol helps to regulate our blood pressure, heart rhythm and ability to break down carbohydrates and fats.

    8. “Overtired” isn’t just a figure of speech. Going past the warning signs of fatigue can push you into a slightly manic state in which your body revs up so fast to compensate for lack of sleep that you can be too “wired” to fall asleep when you have the opportunity.

    9. The most famous discovery in sleep science occurred in 1953, when University of Chicago physiology professor Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky stumbled on a phenomenon that would revolutionize our understanding of how people sleep. During an experiment, they observed that the eyeballs of sleeping infants darted left and right in sporadic bursts, coupled with irregular breathing and increased heart rate. Adults, they subsequently found, did this, too. They called this strange phenomenon rapid eye movement, or REM.

    10. What made this more than an “Oh, isn’t that interesting?” piece of trivia was the fact that subjects reported vivid dreaming only during this period.

    11. This established once and for all that not only is sleep more than just the absence of waking—it isn’t even correct to speak of it as a single, undifferentiated unit.

    12. Instead, sleep was divided into five distinct phases—now known as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4 and REM.

    13. During sleep, the electrical activity in the brain taps out a catchy but unwavering rhythm that goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, REM, 2, 3, 4, 2, REM, 2, 3, 4, 2, REM … and so on. 

    14. Each sequence is known as a “sleep cycle.” Stage 1 occurs only once—as a transition into the sleep state. We spend over half of our total sleep time in Stage 2, about 20 percent in REM and the remaining time in Stages 3 and 4. An entire cycle lasts 90 to 100 minutes, about the length of the average movie.

    15. Stage 1 As you sink into your pillow and close your eyes, a medium-frequency, medium-amplitude brain wave called alpha predominates as the beta wave diminishes.

    16. The identification of the alpha wave and its association with relaxation, for instance, led to biofeedback techniques that produce the same calm brain signature observed in experienced practitioners of meditation.

    17. As you cross the threshold of sleep into Stage 1, alpha subsides and generalized involuntary muscle contractions occur, accompanied by surreal visual imagery such as falling off a sidewalk. You may also find yourself momentarily paralyzed.

    18. Stage 1 lasts two to five minutes and is the least understood of all the components of sleep. It appears to be a quasi-REM state, involving nonlinear thoughts and associations, but it lacks REM’s trademark eye movements.

    19. Stage 2 After about two to five minutes, your heart rate slows and your body temperature drops. Without noticing, you’ve slipped into Stage 2 and true unconsciousness.

    20. If sleep is a soup, then Stage 2 is its stock.

    21. Not only does it provide the medium in which all the other stages “float,” but it’s pretty nutritious all by itself. At the end of the 20th century, Stage 2 was still thought of as a transition phase between the so-called “real” stages of sleep (something to keep in mind before completely writing off Stage 1); today, the latest word from university laboratories is that our generous allowance of Stage 2 plays a dominant role in increasing alertness, one of the most critical benefits of sleep.

    22. The ability to grasp the significance of what our senses perceive is associated with the thalamus, which forwards our raw sensations to the proper brain areas for processing. No surprise, then, that this plum-size relay operator is taking its own nap during this stage. 

    23. Other areas of the brain begin to take it easy, too. These include the brain stem, the ball of tissue that sits atop the spinal cord and controls breathing, heart rate, reflex response and the neuromotor aspects of speech; the prefrontal cortex, an area involved in language, abstract reasoning, planning, problem solving and social interactions; and the cingulate cortex, located just above the brain stem, which helps you override certain automatic responses for newly learned ones. 

    24. The defining wave characteristics of Stage 2 are spindles and “k” complexes. Spindles are lightning-quick oscillations that increase and decrease in amplitude—all in under a second.

    25. Spindles also play a role in implicit learning, or the learning you do without realizing it, such as familiarizing yourself with a new neighborhood. Increased spindle production has also been correlated with higher scores on some IQ tests.

    26. While we know that spindles occur only during sleep, what isn’t clear is why some things are more easily learned without sleep while for others sleep is almost essential. The best guess is that simple things tend to be more easily learned without sleep, but getting many complicated components to gel requires a sleep episode.

    27. “K” complexes are large-amplitude spikes, with a slight dip at the end as seen in a cursive letter “k.” They shoot out from the cerebral cortex, an area associated with all higher-brain functions. These characters venture out only in Stage 2, appearing once every 2 to 8 minutes and lasting up to 30 seconds each time. The function of “k” complexes is still wrapped in mystery. Science’s best detective work has determined that they’re associated with changes in blood pressure and seem to be indicative of the brain’s descent into slower.

    28. Stage 3 + Stage 4 = slow-wave sleep As you drift farther down the river of sleep, the temperature inside your head cools and the blood vessels constrict. An EEG will pick up the signal of the extremely slow delta wave, along with remnants of faster-frequency waves lingering from Stage 2. As you cross the threshold into Stage 3, you enter a deep, dark world known as slow-wave sleep, or SWS.

    29. Low-key coughing and humming—noises that would wake you up during. Stage 2—now go unheard. It will take a loud bang or a sound of particular relevance, like your name or the cry of your baby (but, oddly, not the cry of a stranger’s child), to bring you back to the waking world. For children, the noise level can actually reach over 120 decibels (think jet plane or rock concert) before they abandon the cozy comfort of slow-wave sleep.

    30. Checking your hormones now, we find that the cortisol spigot has completely shut off. This so-called “stress hormone” is no longer stripping away at your body tissue, wreaking catabolic havoc.

    31. During SWS, all the critical physical benefits of sleep are delivered. Like your own internal handyman, it restores your tissue and organs to peak condition, prolonging health and youthfulness while at the same time decreasing stress, anxiety and susceptibility to illness.

    32. As an added bonus, SWS has proven vital to the formation of declarative memory—new information consciously learned, such as a friend’s birthday, a phone number or the periodic table of elements. 

    33. While it’s tempting to regard Stage 4 as more of the same, we need to attune ourselves to a few subtle differences. The slowing of physiological processes continues, but what is unique here is the complete absence of the short, fast waves that were introduced in Stage 2. Stage 4 is our deepest sleep stage, and our systems show the greatest degree of downshifting from the waking state.

    34. REM sleep After a seven- or eight-minute rebound back into Stage 2, the most exciting stage begins.

    35. Unlike the more physical motor learning that results from Stage 2 spindles, the long-term potentiation of our higher-learning functions has to wait for REM.

    36. Mastering anything complex, whether it be a mathematical formula, riding a bicycle or even reaching for a deeply creative solution, requires REM sleep to fuse these loose pieces of string needed to connect seemingly remote brain areas.

    37. Most of the activities that require higher brain processes—memory, creativity, complex learning—depend on REM to do their business.

    38. During nocturnal sleep, our trip through Stage 2, SWS and REM is preprogrammed and we’re just along for the ride. Only during a nap does the potential exist to cherry-pick stages based on the benefits we’re looking for.

    39. All you need to do is calculate when a nap should contain an extra dose of any of these components and plan your nap time accordingly.

    40. No biological process is an island. And sleep cycles do not end just because you’ve woken up. They continue as “shadow sleep cycles” across the day.

    41. As ghostly as this sounds, these cycles are governed by two reliably scientific principles: sleep pressure, which affects SWS, and circadian rhythm, which dictates the distribution of REM. Once you learn how these components behave, the benefits of your nap are at your beck and call.

    42. From the moment you wake up, your body slowly builds the urge to go back to sleep. This phenomenon, born out of an increasing need for slow-wave sleep, is known as sleep pressure.

    43. In the morning, when your brain is relatively well rested, shadow sleep cycles will contain a small percentage of SWS. Later in the day, as the distance from your last sleep episode becomes greater, the amount of SWS also increases.

    44. Our brains have a homeostatic drive that always endeavors to maintain a balance between SWS and waking. Indeed, the generalized feeling of true sleepiness (the kind that is not related to being bored or physically overexerted) is simply the manifestation of our body’s desire for SWS. If you stay awake indefinitely, sleep pressure intensifies until finally the urge to sleep overcomes any conscious resistance and you’re “asleep at the wheel,” or wherever you may be.

    45. Once you do give in, the pressure drops with every passing cycle, much like air being allowed to intermittently escape from a balloon, so the earlier the cycle is within the nocturnal sequence, the more SWS it’s going to contain.

    46. Sleep cycles generally contain the lowest amount of REM at 9 P.M., with the percentage steadily increasing until 9 A.M. It then falls off again until it reaches its 9 P.M. trough, before beginning its inevitable climb all over again.

    47. The circadian phase is at its peak in the morning, with the highest concentration of REM sleep when you awake. Across the day, REM decreases.

    48. In people with normal sleep/wake cycles, REM and SWS pirouette nicely across the day and night. SWS predominates in the late afternoon and evening, when REM is in its natural low phase. Then, as we move toward morning and a higher REM cycle, sleep pressure has been relieved, so SWS doesn’t hog the stage.

    49. No phase of sleep can be accessed without first passing through this important and beneficial portal[Stage 2]. What is most important to remember is that the first time we enter Stage 2 in a cycle is also the longest, whether we’re napping or sleeping. It takes a minimum of 17 minutes before we can transition to our first SWS episode. This dependable phenomenon forms the basis of what is commonly known as “the power nap.”

    50. The reason this 20-minute wonder leaves you feeling restored and ready to go is that it allows you to reap the benefits of Stage 2 sleep without crossing into SWS and waking up with sleep inertia symptoms (remember, you spend around two to five minutes in Stage 1).

    51. Once sleep is underway, each successive appearance of Stage 2 will rarely last longer than eight minutes. In naps longer than 20 minutes, however, you can adjust the proportions of SWS and REM, depending on what time you wake up in the morning and what time you take your nap.

    52. I’m often asked if a nap during the day will interfere with nocturnal sleep. The answer is a definite no.

    53. Studies indicate that in a number of cases napping actually improves the ability to sleep at night.

    54. After two cycles of sleep(or three hours) you will begin to cut into your nocturnal sleep, since periods of this length disrupt

    your biologically programmed biphasic pattern.

    55. As a rule of thumb, you can count on naps earlier in the day to be richer in REM, while late afternoon naps tend to be higher in SWS.

    56. The preventive nap. This is the nap we take in anticipation of an extended period of sleeplessness. Preventive naps

    work to extend a period of alertness and stamina and serve to stave off symptoms of fatigue.

    57. A preventive nap is better than a recovery nap since one sleep deprivation sets in, you make your sleep work harder.

    58. Hypnogogia refers to the hallucinatory state called sleep-onset dreaming that people enter into when falling asleep. In this state, dreamlike thoughts begin to mix with ideas of the day. The subconscious mind has free reign, which is why it's often used  as a tool by lucid dreamers, creative thinkers and mystic seekers.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1712345 2021-07-11T18:29:48Z 2021-07-11T18:29:55Z Summary : Deep Work by Cal Newport

    1. Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.

    2. I build my days around a core of carefully chosen deep work, with the shallow activities I absolutely cannot avoid batched into smaller bursts at the peripheries of my schedule. Three to four hours a day, five days a week, of uninterrupted and carefully directed concentration, it turns out, can produce a lot of valuable output.

    3. In this new economy, three groups will have a particular advantage: those who can work well and creatively with intelligent machines, those who are the best at what they do, and those with access to capital.

    4. To understand the role of myelin in improvement, keep in mind that skills, be they intellectual or physical, eventually reduce down to brain circuits. This new science of performance argues that you get better at a skill as you develop more myelin around the relevant neurons, allowing the corresponding circuit to fire more effortlessly and effectively. To be great at something is to be well myelinated.

    5. The reason, therefore, why it’s important to focus intensely on the task at hand while avoiding distraction is because this is the only way to isolate the relevant neural circuit enough to trigger useful myelination.

    6. By contrast, if you’re trying to learn a complex new skill (say, SQL database management) in a state of low concentration (perhaps you also have your Facebook feed open), you’re firing too many circuits simultaneously and haphazardly to isolate the group of neurons you actually want to strengthen.

    7. To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction.

    8. High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)

    9. The problem this research identifies with this work strategy is that when you switch from some Task A to another Task B, your attention doesn’t immediately follow—a residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the original task. This residue gets especially thick if your work on Task A was unbounded and of low intensity before you switched, but even if you finish Task A before moving on, your attention remains divided for a while.

    10. “People experiencing attention residue after switching tasks are likely to demonstrate poor performance on that next task,”

    11. By working on a single hard task for a long time without switching, Grant minimizes the negative impact of attention residue from his other obligations, allowing him to maximize performance on this one task.

    12. There are, we must continually remember, certain corners of our economy where depth is not valued. In addition to executives, we can also include, for example, certain types of salesmen and lobbyists, for whom constant connection is their most valued currency.

    13. Put another way: Deep work is not the only skill valuable in our economy, and it’s possible to do well without fostering this ability, but the niches where this is advisable are increasingly rare.

    14. In a well-cited study, Mark and her co-authors observed knowledge workers in real offices and found that an interruption, even if short, delays the total time required to complete a task by a significant fraction. “This was reported by subjects as being very detrimental,”

    15. Busyness as Proxy for Productivity: In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.

    16. Deep work is at a severe disadvantage in a technopoly because it builds on values like quality, craftsmanship, and mastery that are decidedly old-fashioned and nontechnological. Even worse, to support deep work often requires the rejection of much of what is new and high-tech.

    17. “The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy,”

    18. Just because this connection between depth and meaning is less clear in knowledge work, however, doesn’t mean that it’s nonexistent. The goal of this chapter is to convince you that deep work can generate as much satisfaction in an information economy as it so clearly does in a craft economy.

    19. The thesis of this final chapter in Part 1, therefore, is that a deep life is not just economically lucrative, but also a life well lived.

    20. Our brains instead construct our worldview based on what we pay attention to. If you focus on a cancer diagnosis, you and your life become unhappy and dark, but if you focus instead on an evening martini, you and your life become more pleasant—even though the circumstances in both scenarios are the same.

    21.After a bad or disrupting occurrence in your life, Fredrickson’s research shows, what you choose to focus on exerts significant leverage on your attitude going forward. These simple choices can provide a “reset button” to your emotions.

    22. Even if your colleagues are all genial and your interactions are always upbeat and positive, by allowing your attention to drift over the seductive landscape of the shallow, you run the risk of falling into another neurological trap identified by Gallagher: “Five years of reporting on attention have confirmed some home truths,” Gallagher reports. “[Among them is the notion that] ‘the idle mind is the devil’s workshop’ … when you lose focus, your mind tends to fix on what could be wrong with your life instead of what’s right.”


    23. “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Csikszentmihalyi calls this mental state flow (a term he popularized with a 1990 book of the same title). At the time, this finding pushed back against conventional wisdom. Most people assumed (and still do) that relaxation makes them happy. We want to work less and spend more time in the hammock.

    24. Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.

    25. And as the ESM studies confirmed, the more such flow experiences that occur in a given week, the higher the subject’s life satisfaction. Human beings, it seems, are at their best when immersed deeply in something challenging.

    26. This, ultimately, is the lesson to come away with from our brief foray into the world of experimental psychology: To build your working life around the experience of flow produced by deep work is a proven path to deep satisfaction.

    27. The first two chapters of Part 1 were pragmatic. They argued that deep work is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy at the same time that it also is becoming increasingly rare (for somewhat arbitrary reasons). This represents a classic market mismatch: If you cultivate this skill, you’ll thrive professionally.

    28. This brings me to the motivating idea behind the strategies that follow: The key to developing developing a deep work habit is to move beyond good intentions and add routines and rituals to your working life designed to minimize the amount of your limited willpower necessary to transition into and maintain a state of unbroken concentration.

    29. If you suddenly decide, for example, in the middle of a distracted afternoon spent Web browsing, to switch your attention to a cognitively demanding task, you’ll draw heavily from your finite willpower to wrest your attention away from the online shininess. Such attempts will therefore frequently fail. On the other hand, if you deployed smart routines and rituals—perhaps a set time and quiet location used for your deep tasks each afternoon—you’d require much less willpower to start and keep going.

    30. Knuth deploys what I call the monastic philosophy of deep work scheduling. This philosophy attempts to maximize deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimizing shallow obligations.

    31. Jung’s approach is what I call the bimodal philosophy of deep work. This philosophy asks that you divide your time, dedicating some clearly defined stretches to deep pursuits and leaving the rest open to everything else.

    32. During the deep time, the bimodal worker will act monastically—seeking intense and uninterrupted concentration. During the shallow time, such focus is not prioritized. This division of time between deep and open can happen on multiple scales.

    33. The bimodal philosophy believes that deep work can produce extreme productivity, but only if the subject dedicates enough time to such endeavors to reach maximum cognitive intensity—the state in which real breakthroughs occur. This is why the minimum unit of time for deep work in this philosophy tends to be at least one full day. To put aside a few hours in the morning, for example, is too short to count as a deep work stretch for an adherent of this approach.

    34. At the same time, the bimodal philosophy is typically deployed by people who cannot succeed in the absence of substantial commitments to non-deep pursuits. Jung, for example, needed his clinical practice to pay the bills and the Zurich coffeehouse scene to stimulate his thinking. The approach of shifting between two modes provides a way to serve both needs well.

    35. Seinfeld began his advice to Isaac with some common sense, noting “the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes,” and then explaining that the way to create better jokes was to write every day. Seinfeld continued by describing a specific technique he used to help maintain this discipline. He keeps a calendar on his wall. Every day that he writes jokes he crosses out the date on the calendar with a big red X. “After a few days you’ll have a chain,” Seinfeld said. “Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

    36. This philosophy argues that the easiest way to consistently start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit. The goal, in other words, is to generate a rhythm for this work that removes the need for you to invest energy in deciding if and when you’re going to go deep.

    37. The rhythmic philosophy provides an interesting contrast to the bimodal philosophy. It perhaps fails to achieve the most intense levels of deep thinking sought in the day-long concentration sessions favored by the bimodalist. The trade-off, however, is that this approach works better with the reality of human nature. By supporting deep work with rock-solid routines that make sure a little bit gets done on a regular basis, the rhythmic scheduler will often log a larger total number of deep hours per year.

    38. Isaacson was methodic: Any time he could find some free time, he would switch into a deep work mode and hammer away at his book. This is how, it turns out, one can write a nine-hundred-page book on the side while spending the bulk of one’s day becoming one of the country’s best magazine writers.

    39. This approach is not for the deep work novice. As I established in the opening to this rule, the ability to rapidly switch your mind from shallow to deep mode doesn’t come naturally.

    40. I should admit that I’m not pure in my application of the journalist philosophy. I don’t, for example, make all my deep work decisions on a moment-to-moment basis. I instead tend to map out when I’ll work deeply during each week at the beginning of the week, and then refine these decisions, as needed, at the beginning of each day (see Rule #4 for more details on my scheduling routines). By reducing the need to make decisions about deep work moment by moment, I can preserve more mental energy for the deep thinking itself.

    41.There is a popular notion that artists work from inspiration—that there is some strike or bolt or bubbling up of creative mojo from who knows where … but I hope [my work] makes clear that waiting for inspiration to strike is a terrible, terrible plan. In fact, perhaps the single best piece of advice I can offer to anyone trying to do creative work is to ignore inspiration.

    42. In a New York Times column on the topic, David Brooks summarizes this reality more bluntly: “[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants.”

    43. Where you’ll work and for how long. Your ritual needs to specify a location for your deep work efforts. This location can be as simple as your normal office with the door shut and desk cleaned off (a colleague of mine likes to put a hotel-style “do not disturb” sign on his office door when he’s tackling something difficult).

    44. How you’ll work once you start to work. Your ritual needs rules and processes to keep your efforts structured. For example, you might institute a ban on any Internet use, or maintain a metric such as words produced

    45. How you’ll support your work. Your ritual needs to ensure your brain gets the support it needs to keep operating at a high level of depth.

    46. To maximize your success, you need to support your efforts to go deep. At the same time, this support needs to be systematized so that you don’t waste mental energy figuring out what you need in the moment.

    47. In the early winter of 2007, J.K. Rowling was struggling to complete The Deathly Hallows, the final book in her Harry Potter series. The pressure was intense, as this book bore the responsibility of tying together the six that preceded it in a way that would satisfy the series’ hundreds of millions of fans.

    48. J.K. Rowling decided to do something extreme to shift her mind-set where it needed to be: She checked into a suite in the five-star Balmoral Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Edinburgh.

    49. Rowling’s decision to check into a luxurious hotel suite near Edinburgh Castle is an example of a curious but effective strategy in the world of deep work: the grand gesture.

    50. The concept is simple: By leveraging a radical change to your normal environment, coupled perhaps with a significant investment of effort or money, all dedicated toward supporting a deep work task, you increase the perceived importance of the task. This boost in importance reduces your mind’s instinct to procrastinate and delivers an injection of motivation and energy.

    51. In all of these examples, it’s not just the change of environment or seeking of quiet that enables more depth. The dominant force is the psychology of committing so seriously to the task at hand. To put yourself in an exotic location to focus on a writing project, or to take a week off from work just to think, or to lock yourself in a hotel room until you complete an important invention: These gestures push your deep goal to a level of mental priority that helps unlock the needed mental resources. Sometimes to go deep, you must first go big.

    52. The relationship between deep work and collaboration is tricky. It’s worth taking the time to untangle, however, because properly leveraging collaboration can increase the quality of deep work in your professional life.

    53. We can, therefore, still dismiss the depth-destroying open office concept without dismissing the innovation-producing theory of serendipitous creativity. The key is to maintain both in a hub-and-spoke-style arrangement: Expose yourself to ideas in hubs on a regular basis, but maintain a spoke in which to work deeply on what you encounter.

    54. For some types of problems, working with someone else at the proverbial shared whiteboard can push you deeper than if you were working alone. The presence of the other party waiting for your next insight—be it someone physically in the same room or collaborating with you virtually—can short-circuit the natural instinct to avoid depth.

    55. I’ve summarized in the following sections the four disciplines of the 4DX framework, and for each I describe how I adapted it to the specific concerns of developing a deep work habit:


    • Discipline #1: Focus on the Wildly Important - “The more you try to do, the less you actually accomplish.” They elaborate that execution should be aimed at a small number of “wildly important goals.”
    • Discipline #2: Act on the Lead Measures - Once you’ve identified a wildly important goal, you need to measure your success. In 4DX, there are two types of metrics for this purpose: lag measures and lead measures. Lag measures describe the thing you’re ultimately trying to improve. For example, if your goal is to increase customer satisfaction in your bakery, then the relevant lag measure is your customer satisfaction scores. As the 4DX authors explain, the problem with lag measures is that they come too late to change your behavior: “When you receive them, the performance that drove them is already in the past.” Lead measures, on the other hand, “measure the new behaviors that will drive success on the lag measures.”
    • Discipline #3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard - “People play differently when they’re keeping score,” the 4DX authors explain. They then elaborate that when attempting to drive your team’s engagement toward your organization’s wildly important goal, it’s important that they have a public place to record and track their lead measures.
    • Discipline #4: Create a Cadence of Accountability - The 4DX authors elaborate that the final step to help maintain a focus on lead measures is to put in place “a rhythm of regular and frequent meetings of any team that owns a wildly important goal.” During these meetings, the team members must confront their scoreboard, commit to specific actions to help improve the score before the next meeting, and describe what happened with the commitments they made at the last meeting.

    56. “If you want to win the war for attention, don’t try to say ‘no’ to the trivial distractions you find on the information smorgasbord; try to say ‘yes’ to the subject that arouses a terrifying longing, and let the terrifying longing crowd out everything else.”

    57. Lead measures turn your attention to improving the behaviors you directly control in the near future that will then have a positive impact on your long-term goals. For an individual focused on deep work, it’s easy to identify the relevant lead measure: time spent in a state of deep work dedicated toward your wildly important goal.

    58. In my early experiments with 4DX, I settled on a simple but effective solution for implementing this scoreboard. I took a piece of card stock and divided it into rows, one for each week of the current semester. I then labeled each row with the dates of the week and taped it to the wall next to my computer monitor (where it couldn’t be ignored). As each week progressed, I kept track of the hours spent in deep work that week with a simple tally of tick marks in that week’s row. To maximize the motivation generated by this scoreboard, whenever I reached an important milestone in an academic paper (e.g., solving a key proof), I would circle the tally mark corresponding to the hour where I finished the result.* This served two purposes. First, it allowed me to connect, at a visceral level, accumulated deep work hours and tangible results. Second, it helped calibrate my expectations for how many hours of deep work were needed per result. This reality (which was larger than I first assumed) helped spur me to squeeze more such hours into each week.

    59. In multiple places throughout this book I discuss and recommend the habit of a weekly review in which you make a plan for the workweek ahead (see Rule #4). During my experiments with 4DX, I used a weekly review to look over my scoreboard to celebrate good weeks, help understand what led to bad weeks, and most important, figure out how to ensure a good score for the days ahead.

    60. Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets … it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

    61. This strategy argues that you should follow Kreider’s lead by injecting regular and substantial freedom from professional concerns into your day, providing you with the idleness paradoxically required to get (deep) work done.

    62. At the end of the workday, shut down your consideration of work issues until the next morning—no after-dinner e-mail check, no mental replays of conversations, and no scheming about how you’ll handle an upcoming challenge; shut down work thinking completely. If you need more time, then extend your workday, but once you shut down, your mind must be left free to encounter Kreider’s buttercups, stink bugs, and stars.

    63. Observations from experiments such as this one led Dijksterhuis and his collaborators to introduce unconscious thought theory (UTT)—an attempt to understand the different roles conscious and unconscious deliberation play in decision making. At a high level, this theory proposes that for decisions that require the application of strict rules, the conscious mind must be involved. For example, if you need to do a math calculation, only your conscious mind is able to follow the precise arithmetic rules needed for correctness. On the other hand, for decisions that involve large amounts of information and multiple vague, and perhaps even conflicting, constraints, your unconscious mind is well suited to tackle the issue. UTT hypothesizes that this is due to the fact that these regions of your brain have more neuronal bandwidth available, allowing them to move around more information and sift through more potential solutions than your conscious centers of thinking.

    64. This study, it turns out, is one of many that validate attention restoration theory (ART), which claims that spending time in nature can improve your ability to concentrate.

    65. Walking through nature, by contrast, exposes you to what lead author Marc Berman calls “inherently fascinating stimuli,” using sunsets as an example. These stimuli “invoke attention modestly, allowing focused-attention mechanisms a chance to replenish.” After fifty minutes of such replenishment, the subjects enjoyed a boost in their concentration.

    66. (You might, of course, argue that perhaps being outside watching a sunset puts people in a good mood, and being in a good mood is what really helps performance on these tasks. But in a sadistic twist, the researchers debunked that hypothesis by repeating the experiment in the harsh Ann Arbor winter. Walking outside in brutal cold conditions didn’t put the subjects in a good mood, but they still ended up doing better on concentration tasks.)

    67. What’s important to our purpose is observing that the implications of ART expand beyond the benefits of nature. The core mechanism of this theory is the idea that you can restore your ability to direct your attention if you give this activity a rest.

    68. Ericsson notes that for a novice, somewhere around an hour a day of intense concentration seems to be a limit, while for experts this number can expand to as many as four hours—but rarely more.

    69. To succeed with this strategy, you must first accept the commitment that once your workday shuts down, you cannot allow even the smallest incursion of professional concerns into your field of attention.

    70. So we have scales that allow us to divide up people into people who multitask all the time and people who rarely do, and the differences are remarkable. People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy. They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand … they’re pretty much mental wrecks.

    71. Don’t Take Breaks from Distraction. Instead Take Breaks from Focus. Many assume that they can switch between a state of distraction and one of concentration as needed, but as I just argued, this assumption is optimistic: Once you’re wired for distraction, you crave it. Motivated by this reality, this strategy is designed to help you rewire your brain to a configuration better suited to staying on task.

    72. I propose an alternative to the Internet Sabbath. Instead of scheduling the occasional break from distraction so you can focus, you should instead schedule the occasional break from focus to give in to distraction. To make this suggestion more concrete, let’s make the simplifying assumption that Internet use is synonymous with seeking distracting stimuli. (You can, of course, use the Internet in a way that’s focused and deep, but for a distraction addict, this is a difficult task.) Similarly, let’s consider working in the absence of the Internet to be synonymous with more focused work. (You can, of course, find ways to be distracted without a network connection, but these tend to be easier to resist.) With these rough categorizations established, the strategy works as follows: Schedule in advance when you’ll use the Internet, and then avoid it altogether outside these times. I suggest that you keep a notepad near your computer at work. On this pad, record the next time you’re allowed to use the Internet. Until you arrive at that time, absolutely no network connectivity is allowed—no matter how tempting.

    73. The goal of productive meditation is to take a period in which you’re occupied physically but not mentally—walking, jogging, driving, showering—and focus your attention on a single well-defined professional problem.

    74. To succeed with productive meditation, it’s important to recognize that, like any form of meditation, it requires practice to do well. When I first attempted this strategy, back in the early weeks of my postdoc, I found myself hopelessly distracted—ending long stretches of “thinking” with little new to show for my efforts. It took me a dozen or so sessions before I began to experience real results.

    75. Be Wary of Distractions and Looping

    76. As a novice, when you begin a productive meditation session, your mind’s first act of rebellion will be to offer unrelated but seemingly more interesting thoughts.

    77. A subtler, but equally effective adversary, is looping. When faced with a hard problem, your mind, as it was evolved to do, will attempt to avoid excess expenditure of energy when possible. One way it might attempt to sidestep this expenditure is by avoiding diving deeper into the problem by instead looping over and over again on what you already know about it.

    78. Put more thought into your leisure time. Structured hobbies provide good fodder for these hours, as they generate specific actions with specific goals to fill your time.

    79. At this point you might worry that adding such structure to your relaxation will defeat the purpose of relaxing, which many believe requires complete freedom from plans or obligations. Won’t a structured evening leave you exhausted—not refreshed—the next day at work? Bennett, to his credit, anticipated this complaint. As he argues, such worries misunderstand what energizes the human spirit:

    80. What? You say that full energy given to those sixteen hours will lessen the value of the business eight? Not so. On the contrary, it will assuredly increase the value of the business eight. One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep.

    81. To summarize, if you want to eliminate the addictive pull of entertainment sites on your time and attention, give your brain a quality alternative.

    82. To summarize, I’m asking you to treat shallow work with suspicion because its damage is often vastly underestimated and its importance vastly overestimated. This type of work is inevitable, but you must keep it confined to a point where it doesn’t impede your ability to take full advantage of the deeper efforts that ultimately determine your impact. The strategies that follow will help you act on this reality.

    83. It’s an idea that might seem extreme at first but will soon prove indispensable in your quest to take full advantage of the value of deep work: Schedule every minute of your day.

    84. Here’s my suggestion: At the beginning of each workday, turn to a new page of lined paper in a notebook you dedicate to this purpose. Down the left-hand side of the page, mark every other line with an hour of the day, covering the full set of hours you typically work. Now comes the important part: Divide the hours of your workday into blocks and assign activities to the blocks.

    85. If your schedule is disrupted, you should, at the next available moment, take a few minutes to create a revised schedule for the time that remains in the day. Your goal is not to stick to a given schedule at all costs; it’s instead to maintain, at all times, a thoughtful say in what you’re doing with your time going forward—even if these decisions are reworked again and again as the day unfolds.

    86. I maintain a rule that if I stumble onto an important insight, then this is a perfectly valid reason to ignore the rest of my schedule for the day (with the exception, of course, of things that cannot be skipped). I can then stick with this unexpected insight until it loses steam. At this point, I’ll step back and rebuild my schedule for any time that remains in the day.

    87. This is okay. As the author Tim Ferriss once wrote: “Develop the habit of letting small bad things happen. If you don’t, you’ll never find time for the life-changing big things.”

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1702778 2021-06-13T12:32:29Z 2021-06-13T17:52:56Z Summary: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz

    1. I watched how the people who had reached professional heights unknown to my father and mother helped each other. They found one another jobs, they invested time and money in one another's ideas, and they made sure their kids got help getting into the best schools, got the right internships, and ultimately got the best jobs

    2. Poverty, I realized, wasn't only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.

    3.  When you help others, they often help you. Reciprocity is the gussied-up word people use later in life to describe this ageless principle. I just knew the word as "care." We cared for each other, so we went out of our way to do nice things.

    4. I learned that real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful. It was about working hard to give more than you get. And I came to believe that there was a litany of tough-minded principles that made this softhearted philosophy possible.

    5. Until you become as willing to ask for help as you are to give it, however, you are only working half the equation.

    6. But to do so, first you have to stop keeping score. You can't amass a network of connections without introducing such connections to others with equal fervor. The more people you help, the more help you'll have and the more help you'll have helping others.

    7. In other words, the currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.

    8. Bottom line: It's better to give before you receive. And never keep score. If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.

    9. The business world is a fluid, competitive landscape; yesterday's assistant is today's influence peddler. Many of the young men and women who used to answer my phones now thankfully take my calls. Remember, it's easier to get ahead in the world when those below you are happy to help you get ahead, rather than hoping for your downfall.

    10. Every successful person I've met shared, in varying degrees, a zeal for goal setting. Successful athletes, CEOs, charismatic leaders, rainmaking salespeople, and accomplished managers all know what they want in life, and they go after it.

    11. As my dad used to say, no one becomes an astronaut by accident. 

    12. Yale's class of 1953 a number of questions. Three had to do with goals: 

     Have you set goals? 

     Have you written them down? 

     Do you have a plan to accomplish them?

    13. It turned out that only 3 percent of the Yale class had written down their goals, with a plan of action to achieve them. Thirteen percent had goals but had not written them down. Fully 84 percent had no specific goals at all, other than to "enjoy themselves."

    14. In 1973, when the same class was resurveyed, the differences between the goal setters and everyone else were stunning. The 13 percent who had goals that were not in writing were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. But most surprising of all, the 3 percent who had written their goals down were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent of graduates combined![So, apparently this never happened - Where can I find information on Yale's 1953 goal study? - Ask Yale Library]

    15. The tool I use is something I call the Networking Action Plan. The Plan is separated into three distinct parts: The first part is devoted to the development of the goals that will help you fulfill your mission. The second part is devoted to connecting those goals to the people, places, and things that will help you get the job done. And the third part helps you determine the best way to reach out to the people who will help you to accomplish your goals.

    16. From Clinton, two lessons are clear: First, the more specific you are about where you want to go in life, the easier it becomes to develop a networking strategy to get there. 

    17. Second, be sensitive to making a real connection in your interactions with others. There is almost an expectation among us that whoever becomes rich or powerful can be forgiven for high-handed behavior. Clinton illustrates how charming and popular you can become, and remain, when you treat everyone you meet with sincerity.

    18. In business, we often say that your best customers are the customers you have now. In other words, your most successful sales leads come from the selling you've already done. The highest returns don't come from new sales; they come on top of the customer base you've already established. It's easiest to reach out to those people who are at least tangentially part of your network.

    19. Sometimes I fail. I've got an equally long list of people I've attempted to befriend who weren't interested in my overtures.

    20. All of which reveals an inner truth about the skill of reaching out to others: Those who are best at it don't network—they make friends.

    21. Trust me, all people naturally care, generally above and beyond anything else, about what it is they do. If you are informed enough to step comfortably into their world and talk knowledgeably, their appreciation will be tangible. As William James wrote: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

    22. The people who are on Crain's "40 Under 40" aren't necessarily the forty best businesspeople. They are, however, probably the forty most connected. And they probably all have lunched with one another at one time or another. When you get to know these people, and the people they know (including the journalists at Crain's responsible for the "40 Under 40"), you're that much more likely to be on the list yourself the next time it appears

    23. And second, cold calls are for suckers. I don't call cold—ever. I've created strategies that ensure every call I make is a warm one.

    24. In fifteen seconds, I used my four rules for what I call warm calling: 1) Convey credibility by mentioning a familiar person or institution—in this case, John, Jeff, and WebMD. 2) State your value proposition: Jeff's new product would help Serge sell his new products. 3) Impart urgency and convenience by being prepared to do whatever it takes whenever it takes to meet the other person on his or her own terms. 4) Be prepared to offer a compromise that secures a definite follow-up at a minimum.

    25. Remember, in most instances, the sole objective of the cold call is, ultimately, to get an appointment where you can discuss the proposition in more detail, not to close the sale. In my experience, deals, like friendships, are made only one-to-one, face-to-face

    26. Secretaries and assistants are more than just helpful associates to their bosses. If they are any good, they become trusted friends, advocates, and integral parts of their professional, and even personal, lives.

    27. As important as gatekeepers are within an organization, they're that much more important when you're working from the outside.

    28. In building a network, remember: Above all, never, ever disappear. Keep your social and conference and event calendar full. As an up-and-comer, you must work hard to remain visible and active among your ever-budding network of friends and contacts.

    29. His formula is not complicated, but it is rigorous. He talks to at least fifty people each day. He spends hours a week walking his company plant talking to employees up and down the ladder. If you send an e-mail to him or his assistant, you can be sure there will be a response within hours. He attributes his success to the blue-collar work ethic and sensibilities he was raised with by his father. About his more starched white-collar colleagues, he once told me that while he had learned what these people know, they would never have an opportunity to learn what he knew.

    30. The more new connections you establish, the more opportunities you'll have to make even more new connections. As Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, says: The value of a network grows proportional to the square of the number of its users. In the case of the Internet, every new computer, every new server, and every new user added expands the possibilities for everyone else who's already there. The same principle holds true in growing your web of relationships. The bigger it gets, the more attractive it becomes, and the faster it grows. That's why I say that a network is like a muscle—the more you work it, the bigger it gets.

    31. My point is, behind any successful person stands a long string of failures. But toughness and tenacity like Lincoln's can overcome these setbacks. Lincoln knew the only way to gain ground, to move forward, to turn his goals into reality, was to learn from his setbacks, to stay engaged, and press on!

    32. I have a confession to make. I've never been to a so-called "networking event" in my life. If properly organized, these get-togethers in theory could work. Most, however, are for the desperate and uninformed.

    33. When it comes to meeting people, it's not only whom you get to know but also how and where you get to know them.

    34. Flying first class is not something most people can afford, but there's an interesting camaraderie among those front seats that you won't find back in coach. To begin with, there are always a number of movers and shakers up front, in close quarters, for hours at a time. Because they've slapped down an absurd premium for the luxury of getting off the plane a few seconds earlier than the rest of the passengers, fellow first-classers assume you, too, are important.

    35. I can't tell you how many valuable clients and contacts I've met during a conversation struck up during an in-flight meal. (By the way, this is the only acceptable time to bother your seat mate.)

    36. At a so-called "networking event," the dynamics are just the opposite. People assume you're in the same boat they are—desperate. Credibility is hard to gain. If you're jobless, doesn't it make more sense to hang with the job-givers than fellow job-seekers?

    37. Shared interests are the basic building blocks of any relationship. Race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or business, professional, and personal interests are relational glue. It makes sense, then, that events and activities where you'll thrive are those built around interests you're most passionate about.

    38. Popular blogs attract like-minded legions to their sites. The blogosphere (the community of active bloggers writing on topics that range from spirituality to sports) has grown from a dozen or so Web logs in 1999 to an estimated five million today.

    39. I have a friend who is the executive vice president of a large bank in Charlotte. His networking hotspot is, of all places, the YMCA. He tells me that at 5 and 6 in the morning, the place is buzzing with exercise fanatics like himself getting in a workout before they go to the office. He scouts the place for entrepreneurs, current customers, and prospects. Then, as he's huffing and puffing on the StairMaster, he answers their questions about investments and loans.

    40. Use your passions as a guide to which activities and events you should be seeking out. Use them to engage new and old contacts. If you love baseball, for example, take potential and current clients to a ballgame. It doesn't matter what you do, only that it's something you love doing.

    41. Your passions and the events you build around them will create deeper levels of intimacy. Pay attention to matching the event to the particular relationship you're trying to build. I've got an informal list of activities I use to keep in touch with my business and personal friends. Here are some things I like to do:

    • Fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee. It's quick, it's out of the office, and it's a great way to meet someone new. 
    • Conferences. If I'm attending a conference in, say, Seattle, I'll pull out a list of people in the area I know or would like to know better and see if they might like to drop in for a particularly interesting keynote speech or dinner. 
    • Invite someone to share a workout or a hobby (golf, chess, stamp collecting, a book club, etc.). 
    • A quick early breakfast, lunch, drinks after work, or dinner together. There's nothing like food to break the ice. 
    • Invite someone to a special event. 
    • Entertaining at home.

    42. Good follow-up alone elevates you above 95 percent of your peers. The follow-up is the hammer and nails of your networking tool kit. In fact, FOLLOW-UP IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN ANY FIELD.

    43. Making sure a new acquaintance retains your name (and the favorable impression you've created) is a process you should set in motion right after you've met someone. Give yourself between twelve and twenty-four hours after you meet someone to follow up. If you meet somebody on a plane, send them an e-mail later that day. If you meet somebody over cocktails, again, send them an e-mail the next morning

    44. But remember—and this is critical—don't remind them of what they can do for you, but focus on what you might be able to do for them. It's about giving them a reason to want to follow up.

    45. Another effective way to follow up is to clip relevant articles and send them to the people in your network who might be interested. When people do this for me, I'm tremendously appreciative; it shows they're thinking about me and the issues I'm facing.

    46. Smart salespeople—in fact, smart employees and business owners of all stripes—spend 80 percent of their time building strong relationships with the people they do business with.

    47. Calm yourself. First, you should know that giving speeches is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get yourself, your business, and your ideas seen, heard of, and remembered, and you don't need to be Tony Robbins to find yourself a forum of people willing to hear you out

    48. The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) says the meetings industry is a nearly $83 billion market, with over $56 billion being spent annually on conventions and seminars alone. That ranks conferences— get this!—as the twenty-third-largest contributor to the Gross National Product.

    49.  Study after study shows that the more speeches one gives, the higher one's income bracket tends to be.

    50.  Most people think a conference is a good time to market their wares. They rush from room to room desperately trying to sell themselves. But a commando knows that you have to get people to like you first. The sales come later—in the follow-up discussions you have after the conference. Now is the time to begin to build trust and a relationship.

    51. It has become part of our accepted wisdom that six degrees is all that separates us from anyone else in the world. How can that be? Because some of those degrees (people) know many, many more people than the rest of us.

    52. Call them super-connectors. We all know at least one person like this individual, who seems to know everybody and who everybody seems to know. You'll find a disproportionate amount of super-connectors as headhunters, lobbyists, fundraisers, politicians, journalists, and public relations specialists, because such positions require these folks' innate abilities. I am going to argue that such people should be the cornerstones to any flourishing network.

    53. Granovetter discovered that 56 percent of those surveyed found their current job through a personal connection. Only 19 percent used what we consider traditional job-searching routes, like newspaper job listings and executive recruiters. Roughly 10 percent applied directly to an employer and obtained the job.

    54. And it's quite easy to get to know a restaurateur. The smart ones will go out of their way to make your experience delightful. All you have to do is reach out and go there often enough. When in a new city, I generally ask people to give me a list of a few of the hottest (and most established) restaurants. I like to call ahead and ask to speak with the owner (though the maitre d' will do) and tell them that I go out regularly, sometimes in large parties, and I'm looking for a new place to entertain, a lot!

    55. Recruiters. Job-placement counselors. Search executives. They are like gatekeepers. Instead of answering to one executive, however, the really successful ones may answer to hundreds of executives in the field in which they recruit. Headhunters are professional matchmakers, earning their wage by introducing job candidates to companies that are hiring. Should you get the job, the headhunter gets a sizable commission, typically a percentage of the successful candidate's first year's compensation.

    56. The other advice in this area is to act as a pseudo-headhunter yourself, always on the lookout to connect job-hunters and jobseekers or consultants and companies. When you help people land a new gig, they'll be inclined to remember you if they hear of a new position opening.

    57. Studying a group of MBAs a decade after their graduation, he found that grade-point average had no bearing on success. The one trait that was common among the class's most accomplished graduates was "verbal fluency." Those that had built businesses and climbed the corporate ladder with amazing speed were those who could confidently make conversation with anyone in any situation. Investors, customers, and bosses posed no more of a threat than colleagues, secretaries, and friends. In front of an audience, at a dinner, or in a cab, these people knew how to talk.

    58. Once you know heartfelt candor is more effective than canned quips in starting a meaningful conversation, the idea of "breaking the ice" becomes easy. Too many of us believe "breaking the ice" means coming up with a brilliant, witty, or extravagantly insightful remark. But few among us are Jay Leno or David Letterman. When you realize the best icebreaker is a few words from the heart, the act of starting a conversation becomes far less daunting.

    59. I've always told people I believe that every conversation you have is an invitation to risk revealing the real you. What's the worst that can happen? They don't respond in kind. So what. They probably weren't worth knowing in the first place. But if the risk pays off, well, now you've just turned a potentially dull exchange into something interesting or even perhaps personally insightful—and more times than not, a real relationship is formed.

    60. These days, I rarely blanch at the chance to introduce topics of conversation that some consider off-limits. Spirituality, romance, politics—these are some of the issues that make life worth living.

    61. The real winners—those with astounding careers, warm relationships, and unstoppable charisma—are those people who put it all out there and don't waste a bunch of time and energy trying to be something (or someone) they're not. Charm is simply a matter of being yourself. Your uniqueness is your power. We are all born with innate winning traits to be a masterful small talker.

    62. In my initial conversation with someone I'm just getting to know, whether it's a new men tee or simply a new business contact, I try to find out what motivations drive that person. It often comes down to one of three things: making money, finding love, or changing the world. You laugh—most people do when confronted with the reality of their deepest desires.

    63. "Keith," he said, "there are three things in this world that engender deep emotional bonds between people. They are health, wealth, and children." There are a lot of things we can do for other people: give good advice, help them wash their car, or help them move. But health, wealth, and children affect us in ways other acts of kindness do not. When you help someone through a health issue, positively impact someone's personal wealth, or take a sincere interest in their children, you engender life-bonding loyalty.

    64. "Stop driving yourself—and everyone else—crazy thinking about how to make yourself successful. Start thinking about how you're going to make everyone around you successful."

    65. My point? Real power comes from being indispensable. Indispensability comes from being a switchboard, parceling out as much information, contacts, and goodwill to as many people—in as many different worlds—as possible

    66. Most of us know the people within our own professional and social group, and little more. Through other connectors, and on your own, I would urge you to make a point of knowing as many people from as many different professions and social groups as possible. The ability to bridge different worlds, and even different people within the same profession, is a key attribute in managers who are paid better and promoted faster, according to an influential study conducted by Ron Burt, a professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

    67. "People who have contacts in separate groups have a competitive advantage because we live in a system of bureaucracies, and bureaucracies create walls," says Burt. "Individual managers with entrepreneurial networks move information faster, are highly mobile relative to bureaucracy, and create solutions better adapted to the needs of the organization."

    68. To paraphrase Dale Carnegie: You can be more successful in two months by becoming really interested in other people's success than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in your own success.

    69. I f 80 percent of success is, as Woody Allen once said, just showing up, then 80 percent of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch.

    70.  I'm told that the consulting firm McKinsey and Company actually has a rule of thumb that one hundred days after a new CEO takes charge of a company, McKinsey assigns one of their consultants to call and see how McKinsey might help. One hundred days is, McKinsey figures, just enough time for the new CEO to feel that he or she knows what the issues and problems are, but not enough time to have gotten his or her arms around the solutions.

    71. My personal favorite pinging occasion remains birthdays, the neglected stepchild of life's celebrated moments. As you get older, the people around you start forgetting your big day (mostly because they think they want to forget their own).

    72. Six to ten guests, I've found, is the optimal number to invite to a dinner.

    73. Generally, when you invite someone to dinner, you get a 20 to 30 percent acceptance rate because of scheduling difficulties.

    74. In short, forget your job title and forget your job description (for the moment, at least). Starting today, you've got to figure out what exceptional expertise you're going to master that will provide real value to your network and your company.

    75. Just remember that famous and powerful people are first and foremost people: They're proud, sad, insecure, hopeful, and if you can help them achieve their goals, in whatever capacity, they will be appreciative.

    76. Sports and exercise are terrific areas where you can meet new, important people. On the field or court, in the gym or on the track, it's a level playing field. Reputation means little.

    77. Start an organization. And invite those you want to meet to join you. Gaining members will be easy. Like most clubs, it starts with your group of friends, who then select their own friends. Over time, those people will bring in even more new and intriguing people.

    78. Building a community of like-minded people around a common cause or interest is, and has always been, a very compelling proposition in its own right.

    79. Runyon's tough-luck stories about equally tough characters had a lot of emotional resonance for my dad. His favorite quote of Runyon's was "Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you."

    80. Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University researched the qualities and characteristics of high achievers in our society. What he found was that your choice of a "reference group," the people you hang out with, was an important factor in determining your future success or failure. In other words, if you hang with connected people, you're connected. If you hang with successful people, you're more likely to become successful yourself.

    81. The best way to approach utility is to give help first, and not ask for it. If there is someone whose knowledge you need, find a way to be of use to that person. Consider their needs and how you can assist them. If you can't help them specifically, perhaps you can contribute to their charity, company, or community.

    82. I think the problem in today's world isn't that we have too many people in our lives, it's that we don't have enough. Dr. Will Miller and Glenn Sparks, in their book Refrigerator Rights: Creating Connections and Restoring Relationships, argue that with our increased mobility, American emphasis on individualism, and the overwhelming media distractions available to us, we lead lives of relative isolation.

    83. Ultimately, making your mark as a connector means making a contribution—to your friends and family, to your company, to your community, and most important, to the world—by making the best use of your contacts and talents.

    84. Creativity begets more creativity, money begets more money, knowledge begets more knowledge, more friends beget more friends, success begets even more success. Most important, giving begets giving. At no time in history has this law of abundance been more apparent than in this connected age where the world increasingly functions in accord with networking principles.


    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1696366 2021-05-29T01:15:55Z 2021-05-29T01:15:56Z Summary: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

    1. The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, goes inside some of the most effective organisations in the world and reveals their secrets. He not only explains what makes such groups tick, but also identifies the key factors that can generate team cohesion in any walk of life. He examines the verbal and physical cues that bring people together. He determines specific strategies that encourage collaboration and build trust.

    2. Felps has brought in Nick to portray three negative archetypes: the Jerk (an aggressive, defiant deviant), the Slacker (a withholder of effort), and the Downer (a depressive Eeyore type). Nick is really good at being bad. In almost every group, his behavior reduces the quality of the group’s performance by 30 to 40 percent. The drop-off is consistent whether he plays the Jerk, the Slacker, or the Downer.

    3. Jonathan’s group succeeds not because its members are smarter but because they are safer.

    4. Safety is not mere emotional weather but rather the foundation on which strong culture is built. The deeper questions are, Where does it come from? And how do you go about building it?

    5. When you ask people inside highly successful groups to describe their relationship with one another, they all tend to choose the same word. The word they use is family.

    6.When I visited these (successful) groups, I noticed a distinct pattern of interaction. I made a list:

    • Close physical proximity, often in circles 
    • Profuse amounts of eye contact 
    • Physical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs) 
    • Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches) 
    • High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyone 
    • Few interruptions 
    • Lots of questions 
    • Intensive, active listening 
    • Humor, laughter 
    • Small, attentive courtesies (thank-yous, opening doors, etc.)

    7. Belonging cues are behaviors that create safe connection in groups. They include, among others, proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn taking, attention, body language, vocal pitch, consistency of emphasis, and whether everyone talks to everyone else in the group. Like any language, belonging cues can’t be reduced to an isolated moment but rather consist of a steady pulse of interactions within a social relationship. Their function is to answer the ancient, ever-present questions glowing in our brains: Are we safe here? What’s our future with these people? Are there dangers lurking?

    8. Belonging cues possess three basic qualities: 

    • Energy: They invest in the exchange that is occurring 
    • Individualization: They treat the person as unique and valued 
    • Future orientation: They signal the relationship will continue

    9. Group performance depends on behavior that communicates one powerful overarching idea: We are safe and connected.

    10. Belonging feels like it happens from the inside out, but in fact it happens from the outside in. Our social brains light up when they receive a steady accumulation of almost-invisible cues: We are close, we are safe, we share a future.

    11. Cohesion happens not when members of a group are smarter but when they are lit up by clear, steady signals of safe connection.

    12. Belonging cues have to do not with character or discipline but with building an environment that answers basic questions: Are we connected? Do we share a future? Are we safe? Let’s take them one by one.

    13. One misconception about highly successful cultures is that they are happy, lighthearted places. This is mostly not the case. They are energized and engaged, but at their core their members are oriented less around achieving happiness than around solving hard problems together. This task involves many moments of high-candor feedback, uncomfortable truth-telling, when they confront the gap between where the group is, and where it ought to be.

    14. Proximity functions as a kind of connective drug. Get close, and our tendency to connect lights up.

    15. For the vast majority of human history, sustained proximity has been an indicator of belonging—after all, we don’t get consistently close to someone unless it’s mutually safe.

    16. One study found that workers who shared a location emailed one another four times as often as workers who did not, and as a result they completed their projects 32 percent faster.

    17. Relatedly, it’s important to avoid interruptions. The smoothness of turn taking, as we’ve seen, is a powerful indicator of cohesive group performance. Interruptions shatter the smooth interactions at the core of belonging. They are so discohesive, in fact, that Waber uses interruption metrics as sales training tools. “When you can show someone numbers that the top salespeople hardly ever interrupt people, and then rate them on that scale, you can deliver a powerful message,”

    18. Spotlight Your Fallibility Early On—Especially If You’re a Leader: In any interaction, we have a natural tendency to try to hide our weaknesses and appear competent. If you want to create safety, this is exactly the wrong move. Instead, you should open up, show you make mistakes, and invite input with simple phrases like “This is just my two cents.” “Of course, I could be wrong here.” “What am I missing?” “What do you think?”

    19. “To create safety, leaders need to actively invite input,”

    20. Embrace the Messenger: One of the most vital moments for creating safety is when a group shares bad news or gives tough feedback. In these moments, it’s important not simply to tolerate the difficult news but to embrace it. “You know the phrase ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’?” Edmondson says. “In fact, it’s not enough to not shoot them. You have to hug the messenger and let them know how much you need that feedback. That way you can be sure that they feel safe enough to tell you the truth next time.”

    21. Overdo Thank-Yous: When you enter highly successful cultures, the number of thank-yous you hear seems slightly over the top.

    22. This is because thank-yous aren’t only expressions of gratitude; they’re crucial belonging cues that generate a contagious sense of safety, connection, and motivation.

    23. Be Painstaking in the Hiring Process: Deciding who’s in and who’s out is the most powerful signal any group sends, and successful groups approach their hiring accordingly.

    24. Eliminate Bad Apples: The groups I studied had extremely low tolerance for bad apple behavior and, perhaps more important, were skilled at naming those behaviors. The leaders of the New Zealand All-Blacks, the rugby squad that ranks as one of the most successful teams on the planet, achieve this through a rule that simply states “No Dickheads.” It’s simple, and that’s why it’s effective.

    25. Make Sure Everyone Has a Voice: Ensuring that everyone has a voice is easy to talk about but hard to accomplish. This is why many successful groups use simple mechanisms that encourage, spotlight, and value full-group contribution. For example, many groups follow the rule that no meeting can end without everyone sharing something.

    26. Embrace Fun: This obvious one is still worth mentioning, because laughter is not just laughter; it’s the most fundamental sign of safety and connection.

    27. “People tend to think of vulnerability in a touchy-feely way, but that’s not what’s happening,” Polzer says. “It’s about sending a really clear signal that you have weaknesses, that you could use help. And if that behavior becomes a model for others, then you can set the insecurities aside and get to work, start to trust each other and help each other. If you never have that vulnerable moment, on the other hand, then people will try to cover up their weaknesses, and every little microtask becomes a place where insecurities manifest themselves.”

    28. Normally, we think about trust and vulnerability the way we think about standing on solid ground and leaping into the unknown: first we build trust, then we leap. But science is showing us that we’ve got it backward. Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.

    29. The mechanism of cooperation can be summed up as follows: Exchanges of vulnerability, which we naturally tend to avoid, are the pathway through which trusting cooperation is built.

    30. One of the best things I’ve found to improve a team’s cohesion is to send them to do some hard, hard training.

    31. One of the most useful tools was the After-Action Review. AARs happen immediately after each mission and consist of a short meeting in which the team gathers to discuss and replay key decisions. AARs are led not by commanders but by enlisted men. There are no agendas, and no minutes are kept.

    32. Good AARs follow a template. “You have to do it right away,” Cooper says. “You put down your gun, circle up, and start talking. Usually you take the mission from beginning to end, chronologically. You talk about every decision, and you talk about the process.

    33. Make Sure the Leader Is Vulnerable First and Often: As we’ve seen, group cooperation is created by small, frequently repeated moments of vulnerability. Of these, none carries more power than the moment when a leader signals vulnerability. As Dave Cooper says, I screwed that up are the most important words any leader can say.

    34. Laszlo Bock, former head of People Analytics at Google, recommends that leaders ask their people three questions: 

    • What is one thing that I currently do that you’d like me to continue to do? 
    • What is one thing that I don’t currently do frequently enough that you think I should do more often? 
    • What can I do to make you more effective?

    35. Overcommunicate Expectations: The successful groups I visited did not presume that cooperation would happen on its own. Instead, they were explicit and persistent about sending big, clear signals that established those expectations, modeled cooperation, and aligned language and roles to maximize helping behavior.

    36. Aim for Candor; Avoid Brutal Honesty: Giving honest feedback is tricky, because it can easily result in people feeling hurt or demoralized. One useful distinction, made most clearly at Pixar, is to aim for candor and avoid brutal honesty. By aiming for candor—feedback that is smaller, more targeted, less personal, less judgmental, and equally impactful—it’s easier to maintain a sense of safety and belonging in the group.

    37. High-purpose environments are filled with small, vivid signals designed to create a link between the present moment and a future ideal. They provide the two simple locators that every navigation process requires: Here is where we are and Here is where we want to go.

    38. Create maxims to establish behavior.

    39. Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they’ll find a way to screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a good team, and they’ll find a way to make it better. The goal needs to be to get the team right, get them moving in the right direction, and get them to see where they are making mistakes and where they are succeeding.”

    40. Nonetheless a handful of “Ed-isms” are heard in Pixar’s corridors. Here are a few: 

    • Hire people smarter than you. 
    • Fail early, fail often. 
    • Listen to everyone’s ideas. 
    • Face toward the problems. 
    • B-level work is bad for your soul. 
    • It’s more important to invest in good people than in good ideas.

    41. It’s necessary to drastically overcommunicate priorities.

    42. In the 1990s, sociologists James Baron and Michael Hannan analyzed the founding cultures of nearly two hundred technology start-ups in Silicon Valley. They found that most followed one of three basic models: the star model, the professional model, and the commitment model. The star model focused on finding and hiring the brightest people. The professional model focused on building the group around specific skill sets. The commitment model, on the other hand, focused on developing a group with shared values and strong emotional bonds. Of these, the commitment model consistently led to the highest rates of success. During the tech-bubble burst of 2000, the start-ups that used the commitment model survived at a vastly higher rate than the other two models, and achieved initial public offerings three times more often.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1685224 2021-04-29T23:52:34Z 2021-04-29T23:52:34Z Summary : The Software Engineer's Guide to Freelance Consulting by Zack Burt and Jay El-Kaake

    1. I found my first client when I barely knew how to code, so I developed an early appreciation for the fact that people will pay you if you can solve problems for their business (either by making them money, helping them have to invest less money or time, or fixing something that’s broken). 

    2. Finding clients is the cornerstone to freelancing.  It’s the most important thing you will do as a freelancer aside from writing code.  It’s a fundamental skill that will make-or-break you as a successful, independent freelancer: if you develop this skill, you will find success; if you don’t, you will most likely become a full-time employee.

    3. In fact, until you have consistent work, you should be spending at least four hours a day looking for new clients.

    4. I got my start in consulting by building an app in the ‘hot space’ of the day: the Facebook platform.

    5. Because my app was at the top of the Facebook “app list”, anyone who wanted a Facebook app built could contact me and know that I would be capable of delivering something of quality – the proof was in the pudding of my existing app.

    6. I recommend being proactive in advertising your competence: one approach that’s worked particularly well for me has been Craigslist ads.

    7. I know what you’re thinking– “Craigslist?! Really?!  That site looks like something from 1999, and it’s notorious for scams.”  Those objections may be true, but since it was founded by an old-school geek, it still has a huge population of people who use it as a market to find software development.

    8. In 2017, I generated over $100,000 of new business from Craigslist ads. You can post pretty much anything you want in the “Resume” section of Craigslist.

    9. If you’ve been working a job in the tech industry, or even a job in the non-tech industry, but you happened to be in tech, it’s likely that your coworkers may have moved on to newer and greater things.  Make a list of all of your old jobs, and then for each job, make a list of the coworkers who you enjoyed working with.  Add to the list coworkers those who you had a great reputation with (for delivering excellent results).

    10. There is really no shortage of work for talented developers, and one of the biggest barriers to signing a new client is convincing them that you will actually be able to deliver the work.  You would be surprised by the reasons clients will dismiss you, but if you are dealing with someone who has already witnessed your ability to deliver quality work, first hand, then you don’t have to deal with that hurdle!

    11. I strongly recommend keeping in touch with your past clients for several key reasons: 

    • First, you can make sure that whatever you delivered to them is still delivering value.  If it isn’t, you can fix it for them (they’ll often pay you for the service), or you can figure out what went wrong in order to improve the professional quality of your work.  
    • Second, it’s important to maintain the relationship so that they think of you when they need work performed in the future.  In addition, you can just ask them outright for referrals to their personal and professional networks.  If they are happy with your work, then there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to answer with some ideas when you ask, “Can you think of anybody who would be able to benefit from my developer services?”
    • The final reason is so that they will provide you a reference that you can give potential new clients.

    12. Many people are shocked when I tell them that they can generate serious revenues through Craigslist, but it’s still a thriving market for freelance programming jobs. These are generally not going to be huge engineering projects, but utilize the ‘foot in the door phenomenon’: once you get your foot in the door with a potential client, and you deliver value, you can earn additional work from that client.

    13. The Hacker News community is a great source of leads. Here is a list of ways to monetize this community:

    • Contribute to discussion of topics where you have some technical expertise.
    • This can include both hard tech and also soft skills threads.  Make sure you have your contact information in your profile – Hacker News will not display your email address by default due to its privacy restrictions, so be sure to add your email address manually to your profile.
    • Join the #startups channel on IRC and participate in the discussion, every so often you should remind people that you are a freelancer and an expert in various technologies.
    • When people make “Show HN” threads, send an email to the authors introducing yourself.  In your message, provide feedback on their project and let them know that you are available to deliver value to them when they’re in need of development help.
    • Reach out to the community leaders of Hacker News. You can find a list here: https://news.ycombinator.com/leaders
    • Every month, there is a “Who is hiring?” thread and a “Freelancer?  Seeking Freelancer?” thread.  You can see a master list of all the threads here: https://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=whoishiring. 
    • You should email all of the companies who post in the Freelancer? Seeking Freelancer? thread.  You should also post your contact info in the Freelancer? Seeking Freelancer? thread.  I personally have found subcontractors by harvesting emails from the Freelancer threads.
    • Contribute content that you might find interesting to share through blog posts, and then submit it to the main Hacker 
    • News site for discussion. If you regularly submit content (getting upvoted to the frontpage ~7 times within a year) then you will become a name brand within the community, and people will start cold emailing you out of the blue with opportunities for collaboration.
    • There are various Facebook groups dedicated to the Hacker News community.  For example, https://www.facebook.com/groups/114326995294656/ – if you search on Facebook, you will find several. 
    • People regularly post job and consulting opportunities to these groups. Join the groups, participate in the conversations (to build your name brand: most brand building building just means repeated positive exposure to achieve recognition), and reply to the opportunities.

    13.  Blog about technical topics for new technologies. Teaching others is valuable for self-promotion, but also beneficial for reinforcing your own knowledge of the material.

    14. Don’t put your contact info in a cryptic puzzle– people won’t think that you’re clever because you avoid spam robots… they’ll think that you’re an unclear, bad communicator.

    15. If you build a big open source project that gets traction on GitHub, you may start receiving consulting requests – whether to implement your open source software, to make changes, or just to work in some other capacity because you have demonstrated yourself as a competent technologist who makes products that have an impact on the world.

    16. Solving someone’s problem for free will build your reputation and lead to consulting opportunities. Every so often, you can spend some time monitoring the StackOverflow tags for the tech that you’re an expert in and be the first to respond to inquiries.  Don’t solicit consulting work directly in the threads, but you can link to your website and to your StackExchange profiles; feel free to have an ad for your consulting work directly on your website.

    17. As one of the original “hire a freelancer” sites on the internet, Gun.io has been a mainstay in the community since 2011.

    18. Worklily (https://www.worklily.com/) is a freelancer marketplace that connects tech freelancers with prospective clients looking for technical freelance work. The great thing about this site is that it is new and focused on technical freelancers, so you can hope to get some quality leads by making a profile on it.

    19. Meetups (via meetup.com, mainly) are a great channel for finding consulting work.

    20. Give talks at meetups. At the end of your talk, you can have a slide talking about ways to contact you, and you can mention you’re available for consulting work.  Then, at the end of the talk, throw your slides up on www.slideshare.com and post them to social media (Hacker News, LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook Groups). Be sure to bring plenty of business cards that mention that you do consulting work! The culture of business cards varies from community to community.  The rule of thumb is: don’t be the only person with a business card.

    21. Early-stage startups, especially the ones that have not yet raised significant investment capital, are often eager to take on workers in exchange for payments in something other than cash -- because they don’t have much of it.  This most commonly manifests itself in the form of entrepreneurs who seek to pay pre-funding employees with sweat equity; as evidenced in the many desperate Craigslist ads. Seasoned entrepreneurs will be open to other arrangements. These are often the ones you want to work with.  Experienced entrepreneurs will hoard equity; they don’t want to trade equity for something that can simply be paid for with cash.  Instead, they may be willing to work in terms of a convertible note arrangement.  That is, you bill them, but instead of them paying you with cash, they treat the invoice balance as a convertible note to the company.  Then, when the company gets financing, they either pay you back in cash or you receive equity in the company at a discount.

    22. Don’t be afraid to ask your previous clients for referrals.  A great way to do this is to check in with them every so often in order to ask how their projects are going.  Once you’re in a conversation with them, you can just ask, “Is there anybody you could recommend who would benefit from my services?”.  It’s as simple as that.

    23. Be sure to send your clients Christmas or holiday greeting cards - it’s a great way to stay in touch and reactivate relationships. Offbeat holidays such as July 4th, Halloween, and others can help you stand out from the crowd.

    24. “It’s easier to explain price once than to apologize for quality forever.” – Zig Ziglar

    25. As a baseline, you should charge at minimum what you can get paid working full-time for a company.

    26. Can you get cash up front? Getting a retainer (deposit) is recommended, especially for new arrangements. Money now is better than money later. You may even be willing to offer a better rate if cash is paid to you up front.

    27. If the project is not something you really want to do, then you should probably want to get paid really well to do it. If the project is something that is very interesting to you on the other hand, then maybe you’re willing to do the work at a discount.

    28. Your level of interest for the work you’re doing should be very important to you, as it can affect your daily happiness greatly.

    29. Never lower your rate because a client convinced you to.

    • Don’t let clients convince you that they can find someone cheaper. If they could, they wouldn’t be talking to you.
    • Don’t let clients convince you that you’re helping them out. You’re not a doctor.
    • Don’t let clients convince you that there’s much more work to come. If there is, then they should pay for a retainer.

    30. There was a saying that was popular for many years: “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”.  That was because IBM enjoyed a reputation for providing pricey services that were always reliable.

    31. If you can reduce the risk to the business of hiring you by guaranteeing that you will deliver, then you can charge more.  If you already have a solid reputation within your community for delivering quality, then you can use that as your argument; if you don’t, and you’re still confident you can deliver, then you can simply add a clause in your contract where they are entitled to a refund if the specified functionality is not delivered within the additionally specified timeframe.

    32. The question of hourly rate vs. day rate is simple:  if you can devote entire days to specific clients, and if your client has the budget, charge a day rate instead of an hourly rate.  If you have enough demand to book yourself for an entire week, and your clients are willing to pay the weekly rate, charge the weekly rate. This is better for you (in terms of cashflow) and better for your clients because they get your full attention…uninterrupted focus is key in software development.

    33. Often times in software development, however, it’s not practical to create a fixed scope of work: there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. But the good news is that studies of software development by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister (authors of Peopleware and other software engineering classics) show that if a project is going to succeed, the data inflows and outflows must be defined 15% of the way through the entire time allotted for the project.

    34. Most commonly, though, clients will appreciate the initial consultative selling and reward you for it.  Having a fixed scope and a fixed price results in projects that are more likely to succeed and projects that are finished quicker.  After all, if you’re getting paid a flat rate, you’re incentivized to finish things more quickly so you can move on to the next project.

    35. Continuing education is the key to finding more gigs, promoting yourself as an authority, and ultimately making more money.

    36. Once you’ve got some interest, it’s time to close the sale. Closing the sale means that you are coming up with an arrangement to start freelance coding for the client under a budget. This is a very important milestone.

    37. In sales, there are five standard objections in the selling process: 

    1. Loss aversion - it costs too much, which makes spending feel like a loss.  
    2. It won’t work.
    3. It won’t work for me.  
    4. I can wait.  
    5. It’s too difficult.

    38. In a meeting, you always have the opportunity to address objections #2, #3 and #5: You can convey credibility by telling stories about how you have done exactly what they need for clients in the past.  Tell them a story and help them visualize, specifically, how long it’s going to take, what kind of ongoing involvement will be required on their part, what the final form of delivery is going to look like, and when they can expect it.

    39. “It costs too much” is addressable as long as you can deliver within their budget.  The other way to address this, if they made the budget way too low, is to help them calculate the business value of your offering.  Whatever you’re building should provide an ROI, or Return On Investment, that is standard within their industry – calculate the total cost, including your labor and their time.

    40. If it can’t be done within the timeframe being requested, then definitely communicate it.

    41. Be mindful that once you introduce clients to each other, it’s likely that they will continue talking.  If you are feeling especially ambitious, I recommend hosting a meetup where your clients can meet each other and talk about industry trends.  If you’re really feeling ambitious, cater it, and tell your clients they can invite friends. These sorts of events typically lead to lots of new business.

    42. If you have a reputation for getting tasks done quickly and reliably, soon enough clients will delegate more and more tasks to you, because you are a reliable way of speeding up the throughput of their engineering organization while maintaining reasonable cost and quality.

    43. Be cautioned, however, your speed should never come at the cost of quality. Poor quality development is a red flag that will lose you a client and reference for future clients. 

    44. Being productive leads to more accurate estimations.

    45. The typical software engineering BS of “It takes how long it takes,” and “I don’t know what I don’t know” is just not as acceptable in the consulting world.

    46. You should have a written agreement with the client, a contract. An oral agreement can usually be legally binding unless there is a law that requires it to be in writing. But, to proceed on just an oral contract is asking for trouble. As a famous movie mogul reportedly said, “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” That’s not always true, but why take any chances?

    47. Having a carefully written agreement that addresses the issues discussed below will decrease the likelihood of disputes between you and the client and increase the likelihood of getting paid.

    48. A contract is like a lock. It serves to keep honest people honest. Just as a thief will break a lock to get what he wants, a shady client will break the contract.

    49. So, the most important thing about a contract is who the other party is. So, do your homework on who the client is and whether the client has had issues with other service providers.

    50. Although you have the right to sue a client for non-payment, that is a last resort. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and uncertain in outcome. Therefore, you want to include provisions in your agreement with the client that will encourage the client to pay.

    51. Your agreement should say that if payment is not made when due, you are entitled to suspend work, and if a payment is overdue by a specific number of days, then you can stop working altogether, but that the client is still responsible for paying for all work done until the work was stopped.

    52. Another incentive for timely payment is a reasonable late charge (say, 5% or less) if the payment is late by more than a specified period. For example, you could say in the agreement that the client agrees to pay a late charge of 4% of the amount invoiced if the amount is not paid within 30 days of the date the invoice is submitted.

    53. By the way, most businesses expect 30 days to pay, but if you need more frequent payment, you can try to negotiate that.

    54. Whether or not the client agrees to a late charge for late payment, the agreement should specify that the client will pay interest on the amount due if the client does not pay within a specified number of days of the invoice being submitted.

    55. The amount of money you charge for your services can be minuscule compared to your potential liability if you don’t deliver on time or make a mistake in the work you do. The solution to this problem is to have a clause expressly limiting your liability for damages, whether for breach of contract or for negligence.

    56. Another clause to consider is one that says that you are not in breach of contract if your delay in completing the work is due to your illness or other incapacity or for causes outside your control (say, a natural disaster knocks out the electricity for a period of time or forces you to relocate).

    57. Who is the “author” of a copyrighted work? If you are an employee, the copyright to the work you produce belongs to the employer, automatically. The employer is considered the author. But, if you are an independent contractor, you’re not an employee. Who owns the copyright then? You do! At least in theory.

    58. But, when you focus on the practical aspects, there are issues for you to consider. What if in the process of writing the code you produce boilerplate code (say, a website management script or a self-contained class), code that you could easily (and would like to) use over and over again. If the client owns all the rights to your work, you can’t re-use your boilerplate code. So, you need an exception to the provision provision in the client’s form of agreement that states you have the right to copy, modify, or distribute your boilerplate code.

    59. But, you may also have written code that is not boilerplate, but that you might like to modify and use on a future project. If you’re thinking that the modified code isn’t strictly a copy, remember that the copyright includes the right to make “derivative works.”

    60. The client will probably be reluctant to let you take the work that he or she paid for and let you use it for a competitor, but the client might be more open to the idea if you agree that your right to make a derivative work of the code if it won’t be used for any software that competes with the client’s software.

    61. Making a great first impression will set the standard for your experience with the client moving forward after the first discussion. In psychology, it is referred to as the primacy effect. People will remember your first and last impressions much easier within their memory. If you set the wrong first impression, then you will be constantly battling to redeem yourself to your client.

    62. Your first meeting may seem like a big part of sales, and it is, but you should focus on being completely honest with the client and requesting 100% honesty from your client as well - even if it costs you money.

    63. Assuring the client that you are on their team sets them on a path that makes it easier for you to tell them difficult news, such as the fact that they have unrealistic expectations for the project.

    64. In early meetings where you are just getting to know the client, avoid saying things that might question your integrity, even if they are true.

    65. Dress and appearance can be extremely important to business people, especially for making a satisfying first impression; it can be the difference between charging thousands of dollars a day vs. charging twenty-five bucks an hour.

    66. Clients typically are smart enough to know if they’re engaging with a big company or a small company, so you should avoid dressing to deceive. Dress to show respect and seriousness instead.

    67. Listen and adapt your attire later to match expectations. If they’re wearing dress shirts for meetings, then so should you. If they are not, then it’s time to let your inner Software Engineer shine.

    68. In case you don’t already know, an invoice is a list of goods and services for services provided with a statement of the sum due attached. It is how you get paid for the work that you did for a client.

    69. It's important to send your clients regular invoices.  Your invoices should be formal invoices: they should have an invoice number, line items describing the charges, a date, your name, the name of the client, and payment instructions.

    70. As much as possible, describe the benefits that your work for the client provided.  This helps rationalize the charges and avoids buyer's remorse, wherein clients regret purchasing your services.

    71. Sending invoices regularly provides several benefits.  Hopefully, you structured your contract with the client such that if they are delinquent in sending payments, penalties kick in.  Therefore, it's beneficial for you to get the clock ticking as soon as possible.

    72. You should keep a file with your payment information:  

    • Your EIN or SSN (in the USA, for tax purposes) 
    • Your wire information: your name, your address, your bank's name, your bank's address, your account number, your ABA routing number, and the bank's SWIFT code.  Be sure to specify who will be responsible for paying the wire fee!
    • Your mailing information (if you would like your clients to pay you by cheque) 
    • Your PayPal information.  Be sure to specify who will be responsible for paying the PayPal fee!

    73. Some clients might outright refuse to pay, other clients might go radio silent, and others might lie about sending payment ("the check is in the mail" or "the wire transfer was already sent; the bank is processing it" are both common lies). Before we dive into solutions, I would like to reiterate that these types of issues can be avoided entirely if you ask for money up front in the form of a retainer.  Try to get a retainer.

    74. The most important tax-reducing tip you need to know is that the less money you make in profit (revenue - expenses), the less taxable income you will have in North America.

    75. Okay, don’t write off everything, that’s not legal, but always be thinking about what can be expressed as a business expense. As a small business, it is not hard to argue to the government that something is an expense and required for you to perform your job effectively.

    76. The USA is one of the only countries in the world that will tax you on your worldwide income. That is, even if you make money in a different country and then later come back to the USA, then you are still taxable on that outside income in the state that you are in last.

    77. Some countries have tax treaties that allow you to pay tax in the country that you did the work in and avoid double taxation. An  example of this is such an agreement between Canada and the USA. These two countries have a treaty that allows you to pay tax in Canada during your stay in Canada and pay tax in the USA during your stay in the USA.

    78. Effective communication can make or break your deals. It can be the difference of a fantastic relationship and horrible one. It’ll make the difference between a project well done and a happy client that refers you many more projects to come, or a lawsuit at your door, unpaid invoice, and terrible review.

    79. It is imperative that all communication to the client use proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

    80. Perfect attention to mechanics also gives you more credibility; the higher your credibility, the more you can charge.  And, many clients who have no basis or skills for evaluating a developer will instead evaluate on superficial things like grammar, spelling, promptness, and sincerity in responding to email.

    81. Don’t try to deceive your clients. If you’re a 3-man team, say so, feel proud and boast it. Don’t try to be a massive team. It is the QUALITY of your work that matters, not the size of your team. That’s why I know plenty of people getting paid $150/hr and know far fewer 10-person offshore teams getting paid that same rate.

    82. The value you provide as a freelancer is that you are nimble, quick, smart, and agile.

    83. When something breaks, and trust me - it will, take ownership.

    84. If you’re coming up on a deadline and you’re noticing that the work is much more involved and time-consuming than you first thought, then make sure to communicate with the client as soon as possible of the possibility.

    85. Don’t go “ghost”. Factor in social and emotional needs into your timelines instead. Going “ghost” is when you stop responding to all messages from your client for a short period of time.

    86. Developers typically go ghost when they are embarrassed about the amount that they actually accomplished before their deadline and they’re too occupied with something else at the time to do any “quick updates” that make it seem like they did a lot more.

    87. Start factoring in your social and emotional needs into your timelines.

    88. Expectation management can make the difference of whether or not you are viewed as a pain in the butt to the client or a hero to the client. The truth is the client and yourself will often make mistakes in estimation and execution.

    89. Underpromise and overdeliver. If something looks like it’ll take 4 hours, then estimate 6 hours, tell the client 8 and complete the task in 4.

    90. I can guarantee that if you consistently underpromise and overdeliver, you will see the client constantly coming back with a smile.

    91. Buffer your timelines, then buffer them again. Timelines aren’t really effective for agile development, but if you have to provide one, then you will want to ensure that there is at least a 50% buffer between when you think you can do the work and when you say you can complete the work. work. I can guarantee that your estimates will be wrong, everyone’s is to some degree, and when that happens, you will need to have to room to breath.

    92. If you’re working a full-time job while you’re part-time freelancing you will be in a constant state of potential job loss. The best advice I can give for this is to: 

    • Always prioritize your full-time job in the event of emergencies.  
    • Work on making yourself “unfireable” by learning as much about parts of the organization and technology that many others don’t know.
    • Set proper expectations for your day job deliverables and always deliver. If you think you’re falling behind, you probably are and should consider reducing your freelance commitments.

    93. Certainly never use company hardware and tools to do your consulting work, especially since some companies monitor employee devices.

    94. If your coworkers find out that you are part-time freelancing while you are employed full-time, this may upset them.

    95. Whether it’s simply a mean co-worker or an envious one, it is best to avoid these situations by keeping your part-time work confidential.

    96. Never do part-time freelance work during your full-time office hours or in the full-time job’s office building.

    97. While part-time freelancing and your full-time work life may seem like they have a ton of “synergies” you should always avoid mixing your day job intentions with your part-time freelancing intentions. The main reason to keep them completely separate is that it makes it easy to distinguish what intellectual property belongs to whom and reduces the likelihood of conflict arising when there is uncertainty.

    98. But, even when you’re super busy, remember: you’re never too busy to be prospecting.  Thanks, good luck, and remember: have fun!

    99. Make a list of your dream clients.  Who would benefit from your services?  Who would be in charge of the purchasing decision?  Come up with 100 dream clients – companies, not people.  For each client, try to find the person who would be in charge of that purchasing decision at that company.  If you need help on this, ask in Slack (details on joining our Slack channel are in an appendix).  When it comes to figuring out whom to contact at an organization, your best bet is to try to aim high and get a referral down the ladder.  It’s much better to have the CEO refer you to one of her lieutenants than vice versa; the lieutenants are going to be much more cautious in wasting the CEO's time, whereas a referral down to the lieutenant is almost a tacit endorsement, because if the CEO didn't believe what offering potentially had value, they wouldn't be wasting their own people's time.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1672917 2021-03-31T20:48:15Z 2021-04-26T22:06:25Z Summary : The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

    1. People say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea. That’s technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone whether your business is a good idea.

    2. The Mom Test is a set of simple rules for crafting good questions that even your mom can't lie to you about.

    3. The measure of usefulness of an early customer conversation is whether it gives us concrete facts about our customers’ lives and world views. These facts, in turn, help us improve our business.

    4. If you just avoid mentioning your idea, you automatically start asking better questions. Doing this is the easiest (and biggest) improvement you can make to your customer conversations.

    5. The Mom Test: 

    • Talk about their life instead of your idea 
    • Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future 
    • Talk less and listen more

    6. Are the following questions good or bad? Do they pass or fail The Mom Test?

    • “Do you think it’s a good idea?” - Bad
    • “Would you buy a product which did X?” - Bad
    • “How much would you pay for X?” - Bad
    • “What would your dream product do?” Sort-of-okay question, but only if you ask good follow-ups. Otherwise it’s a bad question.
    • “Why do you bother?” -Good. Points to motivation on why do things a particular way
    • “What are the implications of that?”-Good
    • “Talk me through the last time that happened.”-Good. 
    • “Talk me through your workflow.” -Good. Whenever possible, you want to be shown, not told, by your customers.
    • “What else have you tried?” - Good. If they haven't looked for ways of solving it already, they're not going to look for (or buy) yours.
    • “Would you pay X for a product which did Y?” - Bad
    • “How are you dealing with it now?” - Good
    • “Where does the money come from?” - Good. It leads to a conversation about whose budget the purchase will come from and who else within their company holds the power to torpedo the deal.
    • Who else should I talk to?” - Good.
    • “Is there anything else I should have asked?” - Good. People want to help you. Give them an excuse to do so.

    7. The questions to ask are about your customers’ lives: their problems, cares, constraints, and goals. You humbly and honestly gather as much information about them as you can and then take your own visionary leap to a solution.

    8. It boils down to this: you aren’t allowed to tell them what their problem is, and in return, they aren’t allowed to tell you what to build. They own the problem, you own the solution.

    9. With the exception of industry experts who have built very similar businesses, opinions are worthless. You want facts and commitments, not compliments.

    10. Startups are about focusing and executing on a single, scalable idea rather than jumping on every good one which crosses your desk.

    11. Questions to dig into emotional signals:

    • “Tell me more about that.” 
    • “That seems to really bug you — I bet there’s a story here.” 
    • “What makes it so awful?” 
    • “Why haven’t you been able to fix this already?” 
    • “You seem pretty excited about that — it’s a big deal?” 
    • “Why so happy?”
    • “Go on.”

    12. Ideas and feature requests should be understood, but not obeyed.

    13. Folks tend not to lie about specific stuff that’s already happened, regardless of your ego.

    14. In short, remember that compliments are worthless and people’s approval doesn’t make your business better. Keep your idea and your ego out of the conversation until you’re ready to ask for commitments.

    15. In addition to ensuring that you aren’t asking trivialities, you also need to search out the world-rocking scary questions you’ve been unintentionally shrinking from. The best way to find them is with thought experiments. Imagine that the company has failed and ask why that happened. Then imagine it as a huge success and ask what had to be true to get there. Find ways to learn about those critical pieces.

    16. Every time you talk to someone, you should be asking at least one question which has the potential to destroy your currently imagined business.

    17. There’s more reliable information in a “meh” than a “Wow!” You can’t build a business on a lukewarm response.

    18. Everyone has problems they know about, but don’t actually care enough about to fix. And if you zoom in too quickly and lead them to that semi-problem, they’ll happily drown you in all the unimportant details. Zooming in too quickly on a super-specific problem before you understand the rest of the customers life can irreparably confuse your learnings.

    19. When it’s not clear whether a problem is a must-solve-right-now (e.g. you’re selling a painkiller) or a nice-to-have (you’re selling a vitamin), you can get some clarity by asking cost/value questions like the following.

    20. “Does-this-problem-matter” questions:

    • “How seriously do you take your blog?” 
    • “Do you make money from it?”
    • “Have you tried making more money from it?” 
    • “How much time do you spend on it each week?” 
    • “Do you have any major aspirations for your blog?” 
    • “Which tools and services do you use for it?” 
    • “What are you already doing to improve this?” 
    • “What are the 3 big things you’re trying to fix or improve right now?”

    21. Rule of thumb: Start broad and don't zoom in until you’ve found a strong signal, both with your whole business and with every conversation.

    22. Pre-plan the 3 most important things you want to learn from any given type of person (e.g. customers, investors, industry experts, key hires, etc). Update the list as your questions change. Pre-planning your big questions makes it a lot easier to ask questions which pass The Mom Test.

    23. Rule of thumb: Learning about a customer and their problems works better as a quick and casual chat than a long, formal meeting.

    24. Once you have a product and the meetings take on a more sales-oriented feel, you’ll want to start carving out clear blocks of 30ish minutes.

    25. You might lose 5 minutes due to miscellaneous tardiness, spend 5 minutes saying hello, 5 minutes asking questions to understand their goals/problems/budget, 10 minutes to show/describe the product, and the last 5 minutes figuring out next steps and advancement. That's your half hour.

    26. Rule of thumb: Give as little information as possible about your idea while still nudging the discussion in a useful direction.

    27. Rule of thumb: “Customers” who keep being friendly but aren’t ever going to buy are a particularly dangerous source of mixed signals.

    28. Commitment — They are showing they’re serious by giving up something they value such as time, reputation, or money.

    29. Advancement — They are moving to the next step of your real-world funnel and getting closer purchasing.

    30. If you leave with worthless wishy washiness, I’d bet you’re falling for one (or both) of the following traps: 

    1. You’re asking for their opinion about your idea (e.g. fishing for compliments) 
    2. You’re not asking for a clear commitment or next steps

    31. Rule of thumb: If you don’t know what happens next after a product or sales meeting, the meeting was pointless.

    32. Rule of thumb: The more they’re giving up, the more seriously you can take what they’re saying.

    33. First customers are crazy. Crazy in a good way. They really, really want what you’re making. They want it so badly that they’re willing to be the crazy person who tries it first.

    34. Keep an eye out for the people who get emotional about what you’re doing. There is a significant difference between: “Yeah, that’s a problem” and “THAT IS THE WORST PART OF MY LIFE AND I WILL PAY YOU RIGHT NOW TO FIX IT.”

    35. Firstly, when someone isn’t too emotional about what you’re doing, they are unlikely to end up being one of your crazy first customers. Keep them on the list and try to make them happy, of course, but don’t count on them to write the first check.

    36. Secondly, whenever you see the deep emotion, do your utmost to keep that person close.

    37. Rule of thumb: In early stage sales, the real goal is learning. Revenue is a side-effect.

    38. The only thing people love talking about more than themselves is their problems. By taking an interest in the problems and minutia of their day, you’re already more interesting than 99% of the people they’ve ever met.

    39. Warm intros are the goal. Conversations are infinitely easier when you get an intro through a mutual friend that establishes your credibility and reason for being there.

    40.The world is a relatively small place. Everyone knows someone. We just have to remember to ask.

    41. Rule of thumb: Kevin Bacon’s 7 degrees of separation applies to customer conversations. You can find anyone you need if you ask for it a couple times.

    42. I relied heavily on advisors in my first company. We didn’t know the industry and nobody took us seriously. Our 5 advisors each had around a half percent of equity and basically just made credible intros.

    43. On a bit of a tangent, you’d be surprised by the quality of the folks you can get to join your advisory board.

    44. I’m jealous of founders who are still in (or recently out of) university. Professors are a goldmine for intros. They get their grant-funding from friendly, high-level industry folks. And since they’re investing in research, those industry folks are self-selected to be excited about new projects.

    45. Top-tier investors are awesome for B2B intros. Beyond their own rolodex and company portfolio, they can usually pull off cold intros to practically any industry. Investors can also help you close better advisors and directors than you’d be able to wrangle on your own.

    46. Remember all those people who brushed you off by saying, “Sounds great, keep me in the loop and let me know how I can help”? Now’s the time to call in those favours. Yes, they might not have actually meant it, but who cares? Reply back to that ancient email and tell them you’re ready for an intro to that guy they know.

    47. The UX community (who knows their customer conversation!) says you should keep talking to people until you stop hearing new information.

    48. Under perfect circumstances where your first guesses are mostly correct and you’re in a relatively simple industry that you already understand, then you it might only take 3-5 conversations to confirm what you already believe.

    49. If you’ve run more than 10 conversations and are still getting results that are all over the map, then it’s possible that your customer segment is too vague, which means you’re mashing together feedback from multiple different types of customers.

    50. Rule of thumb: Keep having conversations until you stop hearing new stuff.

    51. They say that startups don’t starve, they drown. You never have too few options, too few leads, or too few ideas; you have too many. You get overwhelmed. You do a little bit of everything. When it comes to getting above water and making faster progress, good customer segmentation is your best friend.

    52. Before we can serve everyone, we have to serve someone. Forgetting about all the possibilities and focusing on who would most likely buy, she decided it was moms with young kids who are currently shopping at health food stores.

    53. Rule of thumb: If you aren’t finding consistent problems and goals, you don’t have a specific enough customer segment.

    54. If there isn’t a clear physical or digital location at which you can find your customer segment, then it’s probably still too broad.

    55. A customer segment isn’t very useful if there’s no way you can get in touch.

    56. Now that we have a bunch of who-where pairs, we can decide who to start with based on who seems most:

    1. Profitable or big 
    2. Easy to reach 
    3. Personally rewarding

    57. Rule of thumb: Good customer segments are a who-where pair. If you don’t know where to go to find your customers, keep slicing your segment into smaller pieces until you do.

    58. When all the customer learning is stuck in someone’s head instead of being disseminated to the rest of the team, you’ve got a learning bottleneck. Avoid creating (or being) the bottleneck. To do that, the learning must be shared with the entire founding team promptly and faithfully, which depends on good notes plus a bit of pre- and post-meeting work.

    59. Avoiding bottlenecks has three parts: prepping, reviewing, and taking good notes.

    60. Your most important preparation work is to ensure you know your current list of 3 big questions.

    61. After a conversation, just review your notes with your team and update your beliefs and big three questions as appropriate.

    62. The review is important. Disseminate learnings to your team as quickly and as directly as possible, using notes and exact quotes wherever you can. It keeps you in sync, leads to better decisions, prevents arguments, and allows your whole team to benefit from the learning you’ve worked so hard to acquire.

    63. You can't outsource or hire someone to do customer learning. There are exceptional team dynamics where it works, but generally speaking, the founders need to be in the meetings themselves. When a hired gun brings you bad news (“The problem isn’t real and nobody cares”), properly assimilating it is difficult.

    64. Hiring out your learning is a guaranteed way to get bad signals. Until you’ve got a working business model and a repeatable sales or marketing process, the founders need to be in the meetings themselves.

    65. Any strong emotion is worth writing down.

    66. What is a better note-taking medium? Google Docs spreadsheets and Evernote are both great for team sharing, search, and retrieval. Spreadsheets are wonderfully sortable if you write your key signals in their own column.

    67. The process before a batch of conversations: 

    • If you haven’t yet, choose a focused, findable segment 
    • With your team, decide your big 3 learning goals 
    • If relevant, decide on ideal next steps and commitments 
    • If conversations are the right tool, figure out who to talk to 
    • Create a series of best guesses about what the person cares about 
    • If a question could be answered via desk research, do that first

    68. During the conversation:

    • Frame the conversation 
    • Keep it casual 
    • Ask good questions which pass The Mom Test 
    • Deflect compliments, anchor fluff, and dig beneath signals 
    • Take good notes 
    • If relevant, press for commitment and next steps

    69. After a batch of conversations:

    • With your team, review your notes and key customer quotes 
    • If relevant, transfer notes into permanent storage 
    • Update your beliefs and plans 
    • Decide on the next 3 big questions

    70. Beyond the obvious influence from Steve Blank and Eric Ries, a big thanks to some other writers who have directly helped this book with their work: Amy Hoy on worldviews, Brant Cooper on segmentation, Richard Rumelt and Lafley/Martin on strategy, Neil Rackham on sales, and Derek Sivers on remembering that businesses are meant to make you happy.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1658851 2021-02-26T13:03:53Z 2021-04-19T01:00:22Z Summary: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

    1. One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.

    2. Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Left to its own devices, the brain will try to make almost any routine into a habit, because habits allow our minds to ramp down more often. This effort-saving instinct is a huge advantage. An efficient brain requires less room, which makes for a smaller head, which makes childbirth easier and therefore causes fewer infant and mother deaths. An efficient brain also allows us to stop thinking constantly about basic behaviors, such as walking and choosing what to eat, so we can devote mental energy to inventing spears, irrigation systems, and, eventually, airplanes and video games.

    3. This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future:

    4. By learning to observe the cues and rewards, though, we can change the routines.

    5. This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop.

    6. But to overpower the habit, we must recognize which craving is driving the behavior.

    7. But countless studies have shown that a cue and a reward, on their own, aren’t enough for a new habit to last. Only when your brain starts expecting the reward—craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment—will it become automatic to lace up your jogging shoes each morning.

    8. Cravings are what drive habits. And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.

    9. Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.

    10. Belief was the ingredient that made a reworked habit loop into a permanent behavior.

    11. “Even if you give people better habits, it doesn’t repair why they started drinking in the first place. Eventually they’ll have a bad day, and no new routine is going to make everything seem okay. What can make a difference is believing that they can cope with that stress without alcohol.”

    12. “At some point, people in AA look around the room and think, if it worked for that guy, I guess it can work for me,” said Lee Ann Kaskutas, a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group. “There’s something really powerful about groups and shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.”

    13. But we do know that for habits to permanently change, people must believe that change is feasible. The same process that makes AA so effective—the power of a group to teach individuals how to believe—happens whenever people come together to help one another change. Belief is easier when it occurs within a community.

    14. How do habits change? There is, unfortunately, no specific set of steps guaranteed to work for every person. We know that a habit cannot be eradicated—it must, instead, be replaced. And we know that habits are most malleable when the Golden Rule of habit change is applied: If we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted. But that’s not enough. For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group.

    15. Some habits have the power to start a chain reaction, changing other habits as they move through an organization. Some habits, in other words, matter more than others in remaking businesses and lives. These are “keystone habits,”

    16. Researchers have found similar dynamics in dozens of other settings, including individuals’ lives. Take, for instance, studies from the past decade examining the impacts of exercise on daily routines.10 When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family.

    17. Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves.

    18. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.

    19. The second way that keystone habits encourage change: by creating structures that help other habits to flourish.

    20. At the core of that education is an intense focus on an all-important habit: willpower. Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success.

    21. “Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly than did IQ. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.… Self-discipline has a bigger effect on academic performance than does intellectual talent.”

    22. And the best way to strengthen willpower and give students a leg up, studies indicate, is to make it into a habit.

    23. Scientists began conducting related experiments, trying to figure out how to help kids increase their self-regulatory skills. They learned that teaching them simple tricks—such as distracting themselves by drawing a picture, or imagining a frame around the marshmallow, so it seemed more like a photo and less like a real temptation—helped them learn self-control.

    24. By the 1980s, a theory emerged that became generally accepted: Willpower is a learnable skill, something that can be taught the same way kids learn to do math and say “thank you.”

    25. “That’s why signing kids up for piano lessons or sports is so important. It has nothing to do with creating a good musician or a five-year-old soccer star,” said Heatherton. “When you learn to force yourself to practice for an hour or run fifteen laps, you start building self-regulatory strength. A five-year-old who can follow the ball for ten minutes becomes a sixth grader who can start his homework on time.”

    26. Simply giving employees a sense of agency—a feeling that they are in control, that they have genuine decision-making authority—can radically increase how much energy and focus they bring to their jobs.

    27. A company with dysfunctional habits can’t turn around simply because a leader orders it. Rather, wise executives seek out moments of crisis—or create the perception of crisis—and cultivate the sense that something must change, until everyone is finally ready to overhaul the patterns they live with each day.

    28. “This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”

    29. Andreasen wanted to know why these people had deviated from their usual patterns. What he discovered has become a pillar of modern marketing theory: People’s buying habits are more likely to change when they go through a major life event. When someone gets married, for example, they’re more likely to start buying a new type of coffee. When they move into a new house, they’re more apt to purchase a different kind of cereal.

    30.If a member made a friend at the YMCA, they were much more likely to show up for workout sessions. In other words, people who join the YMCA have certain social habits.

    31. It’s a variation of the lesson learned by Target and radio DJs: to sell a new habit—in this case exercise—wrap it in something that people already know and like, such as the instinct to go places where it’s easy to make friends.

    32. To market a new habit—be it groceries or aerobics—you must understand how to make the novel seem familiar.

    33. In general, sociologists say, most of us have friends who are like us. We might have a few close acquaintances who are richer, a few who are poorer, and a few of different races—but, on the whole, our deepest relationships tend to be with people who look like us, earn about the same amount of money, and come from similar backgrounds.

    34. For Aristotle, habits reigned supreme. The behaviors that occur unthinkingly are the evidence of our truest selves, he said. So “just as a piece of land has to be prepared beforehand if it is to nourish the seed, so the mind of the pupil has to be prepared in its habits if it is to enjoy and dislike the right things.”

    35. THE DIFFICULT THING about studying the science of habits is that most people, when they hear about this field of research, want to know the secret formula for quickly changing any habit. If scientists have discovered how these patterns work, then it stands to reason that they must have also found a recipe for rapid change, right? If only it were that easy. It’s not that formulas don’t exist. The problem is that there isn’t one formula for changing habits. There are thousands.

    36. THE FRAMEWORK:
    • Identify the routine
    • Experiment with rewards
    • Isolate the cue
    • Have a plan

    37. STEP ONE: IDENTIFY THE ROUTINE

    38. To understand your own habits, you need to identify the components of your loops. Once you have diagnosed the habit loop of a particular behavior, you can look for ways to supplant old vices with new routines. As an example, let’s say you have a bad habit, like I did when I started researching this book, of going to the cafeteria and buying a chocolate chip cookie every afternoon. Let’s say this habit has caused you to gain a few pounds.

    39. How do you start diagnosing and then changing this behavior? By figuring out the habit loop. And the first step is to identify the routine. In this cookie scenario—as with most habits—the routine is the most obvious aspect: It’s the behavior you want to change. Your routine is that you get up from your desk in the afternoon, walk to the cafeteria, buy a chocolate chip cookie, and eat it while chatting with friends. So that’s what you put into the loop:

    40. What’s the cue for this routine? Is it hunger? Boredom? Low blood sugar? That you need a break before plunging into another task? And what’s the reward? The cookie itself? The change of scenery? The temporary distraction? Socializing with colleagues? Or the burst of energy that comes from that blast of sugar? To figure this out, you’ll need to do a little experimentation.

    41. STEP TWO: EXPERIMENT WITH REWARDS

    42. Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. But we’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviors.

    43. To figure out which cravings are driving particular habits, it’s useful to experiment with different rewards.

    44.Think of yourself as a scientist in the data collection stage. On the first day of your experiment, when you feel the urge to go to the cafeteria and buy a cookie, adjust your routine so it delivers a different reward. For instance, instead of walking to the cafeteria, go outside, walk around the block, and then go back to your desk without eating anything. The next day, go to the cafeteria and buy a donut, or a candy bar, and eat it at your desk. The next day, go to the cafeteria, buy an apple, and eat it while chatting with your friends. Then, try a cup of coffee. Then, instead of going to the cafeteria, walk over to your friend’s office and gossip for a few minutes and go back to your desk.

    45. You get the idea. What you choose to do instead of buying a cookie isn’t important. The point is to test different hypotheses to determine which craving is driving your routine. Are you craving the cookie itself, or a break from work? If it’s the cookie, is it because you’re hungry? (In which case the apple should work just as well.) Or is it because you want the burst of energy the cookie provides? (And so the coffee should suffice.) Or are you wandering up to the cafeteria as an excuse to socialize, and the cookie is just a convenient excuse? (If so, walking to someone’s desk and gossiping for a few minutes should satisfy the urge.) As you test four or five different rewards, you can use an old trick to look for patterns: After each activity, jot down on a piece of paper the first three things that come to mind when you get back to your desk. They can be emotions, random thoughts, reflections on how you’re feeling,

    46. And why the fifteen-minute alarm? Because the point of these tests is to determine the reward you’re craving. If, fifteen minutes after eating a donut, you still feel an urge to get up and go to the cafeteria, then your habit isn’t motivated by a sugar craving. If, after gossiping at a colleague’s desk, you still want a cookie, then the need for human contact isn’t what’s driving your behavior.

    47. On the other hand, if fifteen minutes after chatting with a friend, you find it easy to get back to work, then you’ve identified the reward—temporary distraction and socialization—that your habit sought to satisfy. By experimenting with different rewards, you can isolate what you are actually craving, which is essential in redesigning the habit.

    48. STEP THREE: ISOLATE THE CUE

    49. Our lives are the same way. The reason why it is so hard to identify the cues that trigger our habits is because there is too much information bombarding us as our behaviors unfold.

    50. To identify a cue amid the noise, we can use the same system as the psychologist: Identify categories of behaviors ahead of time to scrutinize in order to see patterns. Luckily, science offers some help in this regard. Experiments have shown that almost all habitual cues fit into one of five categories:
    Location
    Time
    Emotional state
    Other people
    Immediately preceding action

    51.
    Where are you? (sitting at my desk)
    What time is it? (3:36 P.M.)
    What’s your emotional state? (bored)
    Who else is around? (no one)
    What action preceded the urge? (answered an email)

    The next day:
    Where are you? (walking back from the copier)
    What time is it? (3:18 P.M.)
    What’s your emotional state? (happy)
    Who else is around? (Jim from Sports)
    What action preceded the urge? (made a photocopy)

    The third day:
    Where are you? (conference room)
    What time is it? (3:41 P.M.)
    What’s your emotional state? (tired, excited about the project I’m working on)
    Who else is around? (editors who are coming to this meeting)
    What action preceded the urge? (I sat down because the meeting is about to start)

    Three days in, it was pretty clear which cue was triggering my cookie habit—I felt an urge to get a snack at a certain time of day.

    52. STEP FOUR: HAVE A PLAN

    53. Once you’ve figured out your habit loop—you’ve identified the reward driving your behavior, the cue triggering it, and the routine itself—you can begin to shift the behavior. You can change to a better routine by planning for the cue and choosing a behavior that delivers the reward you are craving.

    54. Put another way, a habit is a formula our brain automatically follows: When I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get a REWARD.

    55. To re-engineer that formula, we need to begin making choices again. And the easiest way to do this, according to study after study, is to have a plan.

    56. Obviously, changing some habits can be more difficult. But this framework is a place to start. Sometimes change takes a long time. Sometimes it requires repeated experiments and failures.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1646555 2021-01-29T10:48:23Z 2021-04-19T01:00:31Z Summary : Gamify by Brian Burke

    What follows are salient extracts from the book Gamify by Brian Burke.

    1. Gamification engages and motivates people across all kinds of activities using game mechanics such as badges, points, levels, and leaderboards.

    2. What’s new about gamification? Who is getting it right? How can your organization be successful with gamification? When should you think about using gamification in your organization? In this book, I will answer those questions and dig much deeper to explore the motivational power of gamification.

    3. What I found out is that gamification success is really all about motivating players to achieve their goals.

    4. Gartner defines gamification as: the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

    5. Game mechanics describes the key elements that are common to many games, such as points, badges, and leaderboards.

    6. Experience design describes the journey players take with elements such as game play, play space, and story line.

    7. Gamification is a method to digitally engage rather than personally engage meaning that players interact with computers, smartphones, wearable monitors, or other digital devices. 

    8. The goal of gamification is to motivate people to change behaviors or develop skills, or to drive innovation. 

    9. Gamification focuses on enabling players to achieve their goals—and as a consequence the organization achieves its goals.

    10. Much of what is written on gamification today reinforces the perception that it can make anything fun. There are limits to what can be achieved with gamification, and the broader trend requires a course correction.

    11. Gamification is about motivating people to achieve their own goals, not the organization’s goals.

    12. If business can identify the goals it shares with its audience or provide its audience with goals that are meaningful to them, and can leverage gamification to motivate these players to meet those goals, then the company will achieve the business outcomes it is looking for.

    13. The challenge in getting children—or most people, for that matter—to do mundane or tedious tasks is to engage them at a deeper, more meaningful level.

    14. One way to motivate people is to present them with practical challenges, encourage them as they progress through levels, and get them emotionally engaged to achieve their very best.

    15. At its core, gamification is about engaging people on an emotional level and motivating them to achieve their goals.

    16. For example, dozens of research papers on employee engagement demonstrate the correlation between high levels of engagement and increased productivity, profits, retention, and quality, among other benefits.

    17. Recent research indicates that engagement is not one-dimensional, and it is important to distinguish between emotional engagement and transactional engagement.

    19. Transactional engagement is “shaped by employees’ concern to earn a living and to meet minimal expectations of the employer and their coworkers,” while emotional engagement is “driven by a desire on the part of employees to do more for the organization than is normally expected and in return they receive more in terms of a greater and more fulfilling psychological contract.”

    20. We need to shift our focus to emotional engagement if we want to truly motivate people.

    21. Pink concludes that intrinsic motivators have three essential elements: “(1) Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery—the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves.”

    22. Gamification uses primarily intrinsic rather than extrinsic rewards.

    23.Between intrinsic and extrinsic, rewards is one of the ways we can distinguish gamification from rewards programs.

    24. Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives. In effective gamified solutions, players opt in to participate, and once they do, they make choices about how they will proceed through the challenges to achieve their goals. Players are given the opportunity to discover and learn using different paths through the solution. In some gamified solutions there are no paths at all. Players are given goals, tools, rules, and a space to “play” without being directed on the next steps to take.

    25. Mastery—the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters.

    26. But mastery is not an attainable goal, it is a journey. There are many signposts along the way that indicate progress, but there is never an end point. Gamification is about getting better at something.

    27. Purpose—the yearning to act in service of something larger than ourselves. Gamification is focused on one or more of three objectives: changing behaviors, developing skills, or driving innovation. Gamification must start and finish with a purpose that is centered on achieving meaningful player goals. It’s a goal much larger than themselves.

    28. One of the key problems in many gamified solutions is that they are focused on getting players to achieve the organization’s goals rather than players’ goals. Gamified solutions must put players’ motivations and goals first and make them the primary design objective.

    29. Sometimes players must be provided goals to adopt as their own. As we saw with Foursquare, the goal of becoming “mayor” of a location was not one that came to people naturally, rather it was provided to players and they adopted it as their own.

    30. The motivation to reach goals is often created through the community, where social norming motivates people to achieve goals that are valued within the player community.

    31. But there may be cases where player goals and organizational goals are simply not aligned, nor can they be aligned.

    32. At a detailed level, there are many different approaches to making new habits, but at a high level there are some common characteristics:
    • Set goals 

    • Use triggers 

    • Take baby steps 

    • Find kindred spirits 

    • Enlist support from friends 

    • Build complexity over time 

    • Repeat until new habits are formed 

    • Keep it fresh

    33. Set goals. The first step in changing behaviors is to set a goal, one that meaningfully engages the players. For example, if the objective is to lose weight, then the goal may be to lose twenty pounds. Keeping an eye on the longer-term goal can help people take all of the small steps along the way.

    34. Use triggers. Until an action becomes part of a routine, people need to be reminded to make a change in their behavior. A gamified solution can provide those triggers by reminding players of the specific actions they need to take and when.

    35. Take baby steps. Often, when we think about making a change in our lives, we think in terms of big goals such as getting in shape or reducing energy consumption. And sometimes the enormity of the long-term goal is overwhelming, preventing us from even taking the first step. As the Chinese philosopher Laozi remarked, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

    36. Find kindred spirits. Implementing change is hard work, but it is easier if you are part of a larger group of people who are also making the change.

    37. Build complexity over time. Most experts agree that change needs to start with simple steps, but more complex behaviors can be developed over time.

    38. Repeat until new habits are formed. Once the new behavior is learned, it needs to be repeated over a period of time until a new habit is formed.

    39. Gamification is particularly well suited to engaging communities of interest in changing behaviors. As we already know, the sweet spot for gamification is where there is overlap between player and organizational goals, and communities of interest exist because of shared goals.

    40. Gamification and learning are a natural fit. As we learned from Dan Pink’s book Drive, mastery is a strong motivator. already do—it is helping them find the path to success. The solution is to break the learning process into small steps, so that every step stretches the player’s abilities but is still within her reach.

    41. Gamification breaks the learning process into small, achievable steps and provides constant feedback and encouragement throughout the process.

    42. STEP ONE: DEFINE THE BUSINESS OUTCOME AND SUCCESS METRICS. One logical question highlights the concept: How can an organization achieve success without first defining what success is?

    43. The targeted business outcomes should be realistic, achievable, explicitly stated, and should include success metrics. For example:

    • Increase customer testimonials by X percent in X months 

    • Increase member online purchase value by X percent in X months 

    • Increase new customer acquisitions by internal sales by X percent in X months 

    • Launch X innovation projects in X months 

    • Reduce average on-boarding duration to X days 

    • Increase course comprehension by X percent

    44. STEP TWO: DEFINE THE TARGET AUDIENCE. The intent in defining the target audience is to put boundaries around the people the organization needs to engage. This limits the number of different player types that need to be addressed with the solution, and therefore directs and guides design decisions.

    45. Having a clear understanding of the target audience can avoid misaligned player objectives that result in solutions that engage the wrong target audience, or simply fail to engage people at all.

    46. Once the target audience has been identified, expect to devote considerable time to learning about them.

    47. Don’t underestimate how important it is to spend time with the target audience. Talk to them, get to know them, learn what kind of people they are. Ask them what they like and what they dislike, as well as what works and what doesn’t. If the target group is employees, ask them about their job and how they perform it. If the target group is customers, get to know what they value and what they don’t. Ask them why they buy your company’s product instead of the competitors’ offerings. Ask them how the product or service experience can be improved.

    48. Organizations seldom design gamified solutions for a single demographic or personality type. Understanding the motivations of the target audience allows the designers to engage the largest possible audience. To understand the commonalities, categorize the characteristics and create personas to represent them.

    49. A persona is an imagined individual who represents some of the common character traits of a group of people. For example, when designing We365, Free The Children and TELUS created a persona called Hannah. She is a fifteen-year-old girl who cares about causes. She lives in an urban environment in Canada and is active on social media. Then the team asked the question, “What would Hannah want?” After Hannah, the We365 team branched off to create personas for boys and other people.

    50. Creating personas helps to avoid abstract discussions about the goal being quick returns

    51. STEP THREE: DEFINE PLAYER GOALS. 

    52. STEP FOUR: DETERMINE THE PLAYER ENGAGEMENT MODEL. After defining the scope of the gamified solution and determining the players’ goals and motivations, it’s time to address decisions about how to structure the gamified solution. The player engagement model describes how the players will interact with the solution.

    53. Collaborative/Competitive. One of the basic parameters is the balance of competition and collaboration in the gamified experience. In collaborative gamified applications, players are rewarded for helping or encouraging other players to achieve their goals.

    54. The most common way of combining collaboration and competition is to create team structures within the game. Players collaborate within the team, and teams compete with each other.

    55. STEP FIVE: DEFINE THE PLAY SPACE AND PLAN THE JOURNEY

    56. STEP SIX: DEFINE THE GAME ECONOMY Jessica’s team starts to work out a system of points and rewards that will motivate the players to leverage the community and its resources and help them achieve their individual investment goals.

    57. The team must be creative in defining rewards that are both challenging to achieve and highly valued by the players. One key to the solution is to leverage the knowledge of the top performers to make them visible across the community. To do this, they will use leaderboards of “sages” that show portfolio performance over different time periods.

    58. The structure they put in place offers some easily achieved badges for early participation, to encourage members to get started. These include watching five videos and completing the test questions. But they increase the challenge level quickly so that the top-level badges are very difficult to achieve.

    59. There are four basic currencies that players accumulate in game economies—fun, things, social capital, and self-esteem—and these are implemented through game mechanics such as points, badges, and leaderboards.

    60. Self-esteem and social capital are the primary rewards of gamified solutions.

    61. In gamified applications, the most common use of fun is through surprise rewards—unexpected, random rewards that engage players with a feeling that they are never certain what will happen next.

    62. Things. This currency includes the tangible items that can be collected and sometimes exchanged within the solution. These are often implemented as points that can be redeemed for cash or rewards. Tangible rewards are really the domain of rewards programs, but are sometimes used in gamified applications.

    63. Self-esteem. As we have learned from author Dan Pink, autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the primary intrinsic motivators, and gamified applications use a number of different game mechanics to recognize accomplishments.

    64. Social capital. People are motivated when others within their social circles recognize their achievements. Designers of gamified applications can motivate players with recognition as a reward within the gamified application.

    65. Social recognition of our achievements is a powerful motivator.

    66. STEP SEVEN: PLAY TEST AND ITERATE. Gamified solutions should evolve over time to add new functionality, to engage the audience in new ways, and to keep it fresh. From the first day of the launch, you will start to learn a great deal about the audience and how they interact with the solution. This knowledge will guide the evolution of the solution over time.

    67. One of gamification’s fundamental attractions is that it provides transparency. It’s demotivating to make any change that has a negative impact on the players. Players know what rewards they can expect for the effort they invest. Tinkering with the game economy damages trust, which in turn damages engagement.

    68. Points, badges, and levels are some of the many game mechanics that are used in gamification, but they represent progress and achievement. They are not the achievement itself. They are simply signposts on the journey to mastery.

    69. Angry Birds, like most great video games, does not require players to read extensive manuals to get started. Video games can become extremely complex, but the challenge builds over time. Creating a simple on-boarding experience is one of the things that video games really excel at, and one thing that designers of gamified solutions can learn from.

    70. The first steps should be obvious, and early achievements should be very easy to reach. Sustaining engagement requires balancing skill and challenge over time.

    71. One problem that sometimes arises in gamified solutions is targeting the wrong audience with imagery and rewards.

    72. Gamification solutions are most likely to be successful when players opt in to use the system.

    73. Often, gamification is implemented as a game layer on top of an existing process. To the extent possible, the game mechanics should be transparently integrated into the solution that supports the process rather than implemented as a separate solution.

    74. “The greater the risk, the greater the reward” is a common expression to describe the risk/reward profile of investments. In gamification, the converse is true: the greater the reward, the greater the risk—the risk that someone will try to game the system.

    75. When winning becomes the objective, some players will look for a loophole in the solution that allows them to progress and achieve goals without performing the activities.

    76. To mitigate the risk, gamification designers need to think like a hacker and work to analyze the structure structure and rules of the solution to try to find the loopholes before players do.

    77. Plan the promotion of the solution and invest in building the user base from the outset of the project.

    78. Early in the project, a measurement system must be identified or established to baseline the measures that will be used. The baseline enables you to determine if the project was successful in achieving the target business outcomes that were defined at the beginning of the project. Once the project finishes, benefits must be harvested, tracked to schedule, and communicated.

    79. More effective systems integrate with social networks to reinforce motivation with social recognition.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1634192 2020-12-31T16:47:12Z 2021-04-19T01:00:39Z The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer - Highlights

    1. Our research inside companies revealed that the best way to motivate people, day in and day out, is by facilitating progress—even small wins.

    2. The negative forms—or absence of—the key three events powerfully undermine inner work life: setbacks in the work; inhibitors (events that directly hinder project work); and toxins (interpersonal events that undermine the people doing the work).

    3. Negative events are more powerful than positive events, all else being equal.

    4. Over 28 percent of the small events triggered big reactions. In other words, even events that people thought were unimportant often had powerful effects on inner work life.

    5. A 2008 study found that small but regular events, including church attendance and physical exercise at a gym, can yield cumulative increases in happiness. In fact, the more frequently that study’s participants went to church or exercised, the happier they were.

    6. Inner work life is the confluence of perceptions, emotions, and motivations that individuals experience as they react to and make sense of the events of their workday.

    7. Inner work life is about emotions—positive or negative—triggered by any event at work.

    8. Inner work life is about motivation—the drive to do something, or not.

    9. Few things can nurture inner work life as much as being successful.

    10. As long as the work is meaningful, managers do not have to spend time coming up with ways to motivate people to do that work. They are much better served by removing barriers to progress, helping people experience the intrinsic satisfaction that derives from accomplishment.

    11. This is the inner work life effect: people do better work when they are happy, have positive views of their organization and its people, and are motivated primarily by the work itself. For short periods, people can perform at very high levels under extreme stress, but this happens only under special conditions that we will discuss later.

    12. Overall, the more positive a person’s mood on a given day, the more creative thinking he did that day.

    13. Across all study participants, there was a 50 percent increase in the odds of having a creative idea on days when people reported positive moods, compared with days when they reported negative moods.

    14. Most people were more creative when they perceived their assignments as challenging, and when they had autonomy in carrying out those assignments.

    15. Other key elements supporting creativity included sufficient resources for doing the work and sufficient time.

    16. If we lowered intrinsic motivation, or increased extrinsic motivation, lower creativity resulted.

    17. Physical health is better when people experience more positive moods and fewer negative moods, possibly because mood influences the immune system. You might be surprised to learn that these findings cover illnesses as ordinary as colds and as life-threatening as strokes.

    18. You can use the connection between progress and intrinsic motivation to boost innovation.

    19. You can’t get a sense of progress unless you’re aware that you have actually made progress in your work. So how does this happen?

    20. One—probably the route most managers would think of—is getting feedback. If a manager or knowledgeable peer tells the members of a project team that their work is creative or technically sound, they can be confident that they made real progress. 

    21. Interestingly, though, the second route is preferable: getting feedback from the work itself. If a programmer labors to create some tricky new code and then runs the program through a series of tests, that debugging process gives her immediate and complete knowledge about how much progress she has made on that job.

    22. Besides progress and setbacks, we discovered two additional categories of events that also turned out to be strong differentiators.

    23. The progress principle describes the first of these key three categories of events influencing inner work life. The second is what we call the catalyst factor. Catalysts are actions that directly support the work on the project, including any type of work-related help from a person or group—such as Chester’s mention of other HotelData teams helping Infosuite during the Big Deal project. 

    24. catalysts have to do with goals, resources, time, autonomy, idea flow, and dealing with problems in the work. The third of the key three influences on inner work life is what we call the nourishment factor. Where catalysts are triggers directed at the project, nourishers are interpersonal triggers, directed at the person. They include respect, encouragement, comfort, and other forms of social or emotional support.

    25. Just as setbacks are the opposites of progress, inhibitors are the opposites of catalysts, and toxins are the opposites of nourishers.

    26.

    27.

    28. Progress motivates people to accept difficult challenges more readily and to persist longer.

    29. If you want to foster great inner work life, focus first on eliminating the obstacles that cause setbacks. Why? Because one setback has more power to sway inner work life than one progress incident.

    30. The power of setbacks to diminish happiness is more than twice as strong as the power of progress to boost happiness. The power of setbacks to increase frustration is more than three times as strong as the power of progress to decrease frustration.

    31. Clear goals are one crucial element of the catalyst factor, a broad category of events that is second only to the progress principle in the key three influences on inner work life.

    32. Micromanagement not only poisons inner work life; it stifles creativity and productivity in the long run.

    33. Over the past fifteen years, psychologists have discovered that people in many different situations can benefit from writing regularly about events in their lives. In one experiment, people who wrote briefly about their envisioned “best possible self” for four days in a row reported significantly higher levels of well-being by the end, compared with people who did no such writing.
    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1629895 2020-12-20T11:19:05Z 2021-04-19T01:00:43Z Highlights/Summary : The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

    1. Einstein said, ‘Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world.’

    2. You’ve been bamboozled for too long. There is no magic bullet, secret formula, or quick fix.

    3. Earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous.

    4. I’ll win because of the positive habits I’ve developed, and because of the consistency I use in applying those habits. I’m the world’s biggest believer in consistency. I’m living proof that it’s the ultimate key to success, yet it’s one of the biggest pitfalls for people struggling to achieve.

    5. One of Dad’s core philosophies was, “It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability. If your competitor is smarter, more talented, or experienced, you just need to work three or four times as hard. You can still beat them!”

    6. Small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference. Let me give you a few detailed examples. 

    7. Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

    8. By the end of this book, or even before, I want you to know in your bones that your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.

    9. You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you. This empowering mindset revolutionized my life. Luck, circumstances, or the right situation wasn’t what mattered. If it was to be, it was up to me.

    10. The (Complete) Formula for Getting Lucky:
     Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (a good thing coming your way) + Action (doing something about it) = Luck 

    11. My mentor Jim Rohn said, “The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.”

    12. To help you become aware of your choices, I want you to track every action that relates to the area of your life you want to improve.

    13.  Simply carry around a small notebook, something you’ll keep in your pocket or purse at all times, and a writing instrument. You’re going to write it all down. Every day. Without fail. No excuses, no exceptions.

    14.  But tracking my progress and missteps is the one of the reasons I’ve accumulated the success I have. The process forces you to be conscious of your decisions.

    15. This is where I’m going to become a hard-ass and insist you track your behaviors for at least one whole week. This book isn’t designed to entertain you; it is designed to help you get results. To get results, you have to take some action.

    16. All winners are trackers. Right now I want you to track your life with the same intention: to bring your goals within sight.

    17. Once you begin reaping the rewards of the Compound Effect, you’ll naturally want to introduce this practice into other areas of your life. In other words, you’ll choose to choose tracking.

    18. Psychological studies reveal that 95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!

    19. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.

    20. The access point to your why-power is through your core values, which define both who you are and what you stand for. Your core values are your internal compass, your guiding beacon, your personal GPS.

    21. Getting your core values defined and properly calibrated is one of the most important steps in redirecting your life toward your grandest vision.

    22. When your actions conflict with your values, you’ll end up unhappy, frustrated, and despondent. In fact, psychologists tell us that nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values.

    23. People are either motivated by something they want or something they don’t want. Love is a powerfully motivating force. But so is hate. Contrary to social correctness, it can be good to hate. Hate disease, hate injustice, hate ignorance, hate complacency, and so on. Sometimes identifying an enemy lights your fire.

    24. In one of my interviews with Brian Tracy, he put it this way: “Top people have very clear goals. They know who they are and they know what they want. They write it down and they make plans for its accomplishment. Unsuccessful people carry their goals around in their head like marbles rattling around in a can, and we say a goal that is not in writing is merely a fantasy. And everybody has fantasies, but those fantasies are like bullets with no powder in the cartridge. People go through life shooting blanks without written goals—and that’s the starting point.”

    25. Okay, now it’s your turn. Get out your little notebook and write out your top three goals. Now make a list of the bad habits that might be sabotaging your progress in each area. Write down every one. I suggest that you take some time today to make a list of your most important goals. 

    26.  One thing Jim Rohn taught me is: “If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something you pursue. What you pursue will elude you; it can be like trying to chase butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become.”

    27. Habits and behaviors never lie. If there’s a discrepancy between what you say and what you do, I’m going to believe what you do every time. If you tell me you want to be healthy, but you’ve got Doritos dust on your fingers, I’m believing the Doritos. If you say self-improvement is a priority, but you spend more time with your Xbox than at the library, I’m believing the Xbox. If you say you’re a dedicated professional, but you show up late and unprepared, your behavior rats you out every time.

    28.Next, add to that list all the habits you need to adopt that, practiced and compounded over time, will result in you gloriously achieving your goals.

    29. Triggers - Look at your list of bad habits. For each one you’ve written down, identify what triggers it. Figure out what I call “The Big 4’s”—the “who,” the “what,” the “where,” and the “when” underlying each bad behavior.

    30. For example: • Are you more likely to drink too much when you’re with certain people? • Is there a particular time of day when you just have to have something sweet? • What emotions tend to provoke your worst habits—stress, fatigue, anger, nervousness, boredom? • When do you experience those emotions? Who are you with, where are you, or what are you doing?

    31. Clean House - Get to scrubbin’. And I mean this literally and figuratively. If you want to stop drinking alcohol, remove every drop of it from your house (and your vacation house, if you have one). Get rid of the glasses, any fancy utensils or doo-dads you use when you drink, and those decorative olives, too.

    32. Look again at your list of bad habits. How can you alter them so that they’re not as harmful? Can you replace them with healthier habits or drop-kick them altogether? As in, for good.

    33. For some of your long-standing and deep-rooted habits, it may be more effective to take small steps to ease into unwinding them. You may have spent decades repeating, cementing, and fortifying those habits, so it can be wise to give yourself some time to unravel them, one step at a time.

    34. Not everyone is wired the same way. Some researchers have found that it can be paradoxically easier for people to make lifestyle changes if they change a great many bad habits at once.

    35. According to research, it takes three hundred instances of positive reinforcement to turn a new habit into an unconscious practice—that’s almost a year of daily practice!

    36. The key is staying aware. If you really want to maintain a good habit, make sure you pay attention to it at least once a day, and you’re far more likely to succeed.

    37. Any new habit has to work inside your life and lifestyle. If you join a gym that’s thirty miles away, you won’t go. If you’re a night owl but the gym closes at 6 p.m., it won’t work for you. Your gym must be close and convenient, and fit into your schedule.

    38. Instead of thinking what you can remove from your life, think instead of what you can add. The good will displace the bad.

    40. Want to cement that new habit? Get Big Brother to watch you. It’s never been easier with all the social media available. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell Facebook and Twitter. Get the word out that there’s a new sheriff in town, and you’re in charge

    41. To up your chances of success, get a success buddy, someone who’ll keep you accountable as you cement your new habit while you return the favor. I, for example, have what I call a “Peak-Performance Partner.”

    42. There’s nothing like a friendly contest to whet your competitive spirit and immerse yourself in a new habit with a bang.

    43. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and it’s a recipe for backsliding. There should be a time to celebrate, to enjoy some of the fruits of your victories along the way. You can’t go through this thing sacrificing yourself with no benefit.

    44. For bigger milestones, book a massage or have dinner at your favorite restaurant. And promise yourself a nice big pot of gold when you reach the end of the rainbow.

    45. The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines. It can be diffi cult, even futile, to predict or control what will show up in the middle of your workday. But you can almost always control how your day starts and ends. Essentially, have a morning and evening routine.

    46. Everyone is affected by three kinds of influences: input (what you feed your mind), associations (the people with whom you spend time), and environment (your surroundings).

    47. Birds of a feather flock together. The people with whom you habitually associate are called your “reference group.” According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, your “reference group” determines as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.

    48. The people with whom we spend our time determine what conversations dominate our attention, and to which attitudes and opinions we are regularly exposed. Eventually, we start to eat what they eat, talk like they talk, read what they read, think like they think, watch what they watch, treat people how they treat them, even dress like they dress.

    49.  Jim Rohn taught that we become the combined average of the fi ve people we hang around the most.

    50. If you haven’t already, jot down the names of those five people you hang around the most. Also write down their main characteristics, both positive and negative. It doesn’t matter who they are. It could be your spouse, your brother, your neighbor, or your assistant. Now, average them out. What’s their average health, and bank balance? What’s their average relationship like? As you look at your results, ask yourself, “Is this list okay for me? Is this where I want to go?”

    51. Now that you’ve started to carefully consider with whom you spend your time, let’s go a little deeper. As Jim Rohn taught me, it’s powerful to evaluate and shift your associations into three categories: dissociations, limited associations, and expanded associations.

    52. Association Evaluation Sheet : The Compound Effect - Worksheets | Darren Hardy (envisionsuccessinc.com)

    53. What’s exciting about that is, no matter where you are in your life—maybe busy at home with small children or caretaking aging parents, working long hours with people with whom you have little in common, or living out in the country far from the nearest offi ce building—you, too, can have almost any mentor you want, if he or she has gathered their best thoughts, stories, and ideas into books, CDs, DVDs, and podcasts. You have an unlimited bounty from which to draw. Take advantage of it.

    54. You’re never too good for a mentor.

    55.  I have always found it interesting that the most successful people, the truly top performers, are the ones willing to hire and pay for the best coaches and trainers there are. It pays to invest in your improved performance.

    56. “The first thing you want to remember with a mentor is that it doesn’t need to take a lot of their time. The best advice I’ve ever gotten is in short clips, having lunch or breakfast with somebody, just telling them what I’m working on and asking their advice and all. You will be amazed how successful businesspeople are willing to be mentors to people when it’s not taking a lot of time.”

    57. Remember the adage: “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”

    58. Additionally, when you’re creating an environment to support your goals, remember that you get in life what you tolerate. This is true in every area of your life—particularly within your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. What you have decided to tolerate is also reflected in the situations and circumstances of your life right now. 

    59. Put another way, you will get in life what you accept and expect you are worthy of.

    60. If you tolerate disrespect, you will be disrespected. If you tolerate people being late and making you wait, people will show up late for you. If you tolerate being underpaid and overworked, that will continue for you. If you tolerate your body being overweight, tired, and perpetually sick, it will be.

    61. “Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

    62. When you hit the wall in your disciplines, routines, rhythms, and consistency, realize that’s when you are separating yourself from your old self, scaling that wall, and finding your new powerful, triumphant, and victorious self.

    63. Take the magic penny we talked about in Chapter 1, the one that doubles in value each day, showing you the result of small compounded actions. If you just doubled that penny one extra time per week during those same thirty-one days, the compounded penny would result in $171 million instead of $10 million. Again, just extra effort in four days and the result was many times greater. That is how the math of doing just a little bit more than expected works.

    64.  If you have a cause or ideal worthy of attention, do what it takes, even the unexpected, to make your case heard. Add a little audacity to your repertoire.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1608660 2020-10-26T11:36:40Z 2021-04-19T01:00:47Z The Value of Changing Rooms

    There is a saying : “If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.” As the President of Antigua and Barbuda Chess Federation and Teacher adviser to Antigua State College's Chess Club, I have had the privilege of seeing multiple transitions from one room to the next. The college's chess club consist of mainly beginners, while the federation weekly meetup consist of more experience players. I have not encountered one player from the college's chess club that regularly attended the federation's weekly meetup and didn't improve their game, none.

    I have often invited players to come to the regular federation's weekly meetups. The commonly cited reason for not wanting to come to the weekly meetups is fear of being outmatched.  Actually, this is the case; initially, you might not win any games. It's somewhat of an informal motto "Come tek(take) yuh(your) blow." This is recognizing the fact that there are some dues to be paid to be good. Ok, you say, but "why can't I take my blows in private and come when I am strong?"

    For some reason, that doesn't seem to work. My guess, there is no one pushing you. You are winning some games, and you are satisfied. If they had been coming to weekly meetups, there is no way they would get a hit of dopamine unless they improve. I like to keep track of when players transition from losing to winning. It takes roughly a thousand games for you to start winning against more advance players. I know this is chess, but I think it has applications for other avenues of life.

    Setting Expectations - Experience persons can set realistic expectations for beginners. They know what it takes to be on top in that given sphere. For instance, when I tell beginners it will take roughly around thousand games to start beating me consistently, I set an expectation of the required effort. Also, experience persons can set expectations about resources required to be successful at a particular field. For instance, I will tell beginners that they need a chesstempo account in order to practice their tactics. Having the right expectations, allows you to know the necessary ingredients for success. Otherwise, you might get despondent after 100 games, not realizing you have 900 games left to be good.

    Shared Advice - More advance persons in your field would know the mistakes they would have made in order to become advance. If you have access to them, they will more than likely share with you. Of course you can go on the internet and get some advice, but not everyone's story can be shared over the internet. Some advice are better illustrated in person. Also, the advice given maybe useful in your context (like how to deal with a specific person or organization), while advice on the internet may not. 

    Increasing Motivation - Humans are competitive creatures. Implicitly, you are continuously asked: "How can I be more successful?"

    In summary, if you are interested in being the best, sit amongst the best.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1608144 2020-10-24T22:16:14Z 2021-04-19T01:00:51Z Common Purpose by Joel Kurtzman - Highlights

    1. What is common purpose? To me, it is that rare, almost palpable experience that happens when a leader coalesces a group, team, or community into a creative, dynamic, brave, and nearly invincible we.

    2. Common purpose is based on a simple idea: the leader is not separate from the group he or she leads. Rather, the leader is the organization’s glue—the force that binds it together, sets its direction, and makes certain that the group functions as one.

    3. Making all eighty thousand employees understand what the company’s brand stood for. “If everyone understands that,” he said, “we won’t need thick employee manuals, management training programs, or pricing schedules for the services we sell. Everyone will instinctively do the right thing.”

    4. The easiest way to create a sense of us or we—unfortunately—is to create the specter of them.

    5. And while us-versus-them is a shortcut toward common purpose, it can also be a stepping-stone to chaos, doom, and organized opposition.

    6. As Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and managing director of CEO services at Korn/Ferry, the world’s largest search firm, told me, A players pick other A players with whom they surround themselves and from whom they build their teams. But B players pick B and even C players to prevent their leadership from being challenged. Over time, B players are succeeded by the B and then C players they picked. And since leaders in hierarchical organizations can’t really be challenged, the tyranny of the B player is preserved.

    7.  For decades, studies around the world have confirmed that the overwhelming majority of people work for more than a paycheck. Research confirms that human beings working within organizations want to make a difference and be heard and recognized for their achievements

    8. The organizations that survive do so by allowing people to develop in ways that make them more productive and responsive to changes in the environment.

    9. People have a need to be heard, to be respected, and to control their space. Great leaders—common purpose leaders—grant them their space, give them their trust, allow them responsibility, and present them with opportunities and resources to do their jobs. But great leaders also hold people accountable. In other words, great leaders treat the people they work with as adults, which the current employment compact supports.

    10. Once you discover that some negative people cannot rid themselves of their negativity, they must be allowed to find their purpose, passion, and opportunities elsewhere, Fourtou said.

    11. When people disagree with your ideas, embrace them. They are your antidote to insularity. Those people may ultimately save your organization organization from a calamitous fate. But when people disagree with you—your position, authority, and level in the organization—they should seek other lines of work. When people do not respect you as the owner of your job and won’t let you control your space, it’s time to ease them out the door.

    12. “You must be brutal and quick. When someone doesn’t work out, you have to get rid of them. And you have to do it fast. If they don’t uphold your values and vision, if they don’t come around to your goals, they can do real damage. The biggest HR mistakes we’ve made were when we waited too long to fire someone because we thought that person might change.”

    13. Common purpose requires common goals. It also requires communicating what’s expected and providing feedback when people get it right.

    14. Leadership is really about guiding, coaching, or even inspiring others to reach a goal. Sometimes a leader stands in front, sometimes to the side, sometimes even behind the people he or she is trying to help reach a goal.

    15. Individuals take their cues from the way other people in the organization behave. People within organizations tend to model the behavior of the people at the top.

    16. When the people at the top of an organization are greedy or mistrustful, it is impossible to keep that type of behavior from permeating the entire organization.

    17. In research I conducted for a project on start-ups, I discovered that the chances of a company’s success are increased by as much as 30 percent when the founders of a company have worked together in the past.

    18. The job of a leader is to set goals, measure progress, hold people accountable, and remove obstacles from each team member’s path.

    19. While it may seem trite, the fact is that the best results come from people who treat others with respect, recognize recognize their contributions, and enlist their help.

    20. You cannot have a common purpose organization unless everyone is onboard with the same goals.

    21. It is difficult to overstress how important it is for teams of people working together to meet informally from time to time.

    22. Rather than obsessing about the competition, organizations should focus on the people they want to serve. One company or firm succeeds against another not by attacking that company but by satisfying its own clients’ needs.

    23. In organizations where negative emotions predominate, people withhold information and rarely take chances. When fear predominates, creativity dwindles, individual initiative diminishes, and risk taking wanes.

    24. “Positive emotions, like those associated with praise, have the effect of opening people up. When they are open, they are receptive to guidance, new ideas, and new ways of thought. When the atmosphere is positive, people are more likely to take risks.”

    25. In a flat organization, micromanaging is not only counterproductive and just plain stupid, it is destructive to the individual’s sense of well-being because it creates high levels of negative stress.

    26. We should not simply tolerate our jobs, the way we tolerate a bad-tasting medicine when we’re sick. We should enjoy them.

    27. In many organizations, however, asking for help is a sign of weakness. Leaders must be watchful for that belief and deal with it brutally. Organizations grow and become more competent when information is exchanged.

    28. The lesson from the Italian restaurant in Kyoto was that real leadership is a resource that is largely based on knowledge, and that knowledge must renewed. What you learned in college or graduate school, what you learned on your first job, might form the basis for how you lead. But you must make “pilgrimages” on a regular basis to see what innovative leaders are doing.

    29. Organizations that are not afraid to brook dissent are among the most powerful and long-living organizations around. The motto “Think,” which has guided IBM for more than half a century, is powerful and compelling because it is respectful of the individual and his or her ability to contribute. And while an organization that asks people to think may be messier and more clamorous than one that requires them to obey, IBM’s long-running success is testament to the power that can be generated when free-thinking individuals align their interests in pursuit of a goal.

    30. Leaders who help their teams achieve aims beyond their expectations find that they have no difficulty recruiting people to join them.

    31. Working on a great team, with great leaders, provides a boost to any individual’s career.

    32. If an organization allows people to disrespect each other, then you cannot consider such behavior an anomaly. It is a value. If an organization tolerates buccaneering behavior, with irrationally high rates of leverage, these are its values.

    33. Leaders must take it on themselves to make certain that the values their organizations express are the right ones. I say that because a further conclusion of my early study of systems was that values determine whether an organization will survive or fail.

    34. And as Jean-René Fourtou said, people who demand too much, do not contribute, or are naysayers and negative will take every second of a leader’s time if given the chance. To put it bluntly, these people should be dismissed.

    35. What all this means is that one primary, and usually overlooked, job of leaders is to prevent the buildup of organizational toxins.

    36. Great leaders are constantly reading, constantly replenishing their intellectual capital, constantly generating and developing new ideas. Poor leaders—those who fail at generating common purpose—are usually idea free.

    37. Ideas are especially important in today’s highly competitive economy because the surest way to succeed is by out-innovating your rivals. Innovation is the application of creativity to solve problems and create lasting advantage.

    38. Leaders must spend a lot of time searching for ideas.

    39. To be a leader, we must view ourselves as capable of creating change. We must wake up each morning with the belief that the organization in which we work can be bent to the will of a group of thoughtful human beings.


    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1574425 2020-07-17T06:24:40Z 2021-04-19T01:00:54Z 30 Highlights: The Leadership Skill Handbook by Jo Owen


    1. This handbook is different. It starts with the question, ‘How can you learn to lead?’ In our research with over 1,000 leaders at all levels in public, private and voluntary sectors the answer was clear: leaders learn not from courses but from experience, bosses, peers and role models.

    2. Finally, it is worth learning one lesson from the world’s top athletes. Each gold medallist is supreme in one discipline: they focus relentlessly on becoming the best at one thing. They do not focus on their weaknesses. No one asks weightlifters to improve their synchronized swimming skills. Leaders, like athletes, cannot succeed at everything. They have to focus on their strengths, practise relentlessly and find the context or discipline in which they can flourish.

    3. Our research found no effective leaders who were cynical about their work, their organization, themselves or their lives. They were relentlessly positive about everything.

    4. If you want a high-performing team, do not be afraid to set high expectations.

    5. To build trust with your followers, you have to be honest with them. This is hard-form honesty: telling the whole truth promptly, even when it is painful.

    6. Authority and popularity are weak currencies for leadership. Authority can be removed in a reorganization. Popularity leads to weakness: you avoid the difficult conversations; you avoid stretching the team too far; you accept excuses. Honesty and trust are the true currencies for leadership. No one can take them away from you. Honesty and trust build respect, which lasts longer than popularity.

    7. An ineffective team will all be clones of the leader. An effective team will complement the leader’s technical strengths and personal style. Your job is not to be the best person on the team. As a leader, your job is to get all the best people onto the team.

    8. Athletes, like leaders, do not win by playing to their weaknesses and imagining failure. They win by building on their strengths and rehearsing, visualizing success in their minds. From this comes four principles :

    i. Play to your strengths

    ii. Visualise Success

    iii. Think like a winner

    iv. Create a team that compensates for your weaknesses

    9. Coach yourself by following the plan-do-review cycle on all your activities:

    i. Plan - what you want to achieve and how. 

    ii. Do it.

    iii. Review it - Review stage is where you learn most and it is your chance to accelerate your career. It is your secret weapon.

    10. After any key event, ask yourself two questions:

     i. WWW. What went well? Success is not the natural state of things. When things work well, step back and ask why? This is how you will build your personal success formula.

     ii. EBI: Even better if. Ask what you could have done differently, or tried to make things work better.

    11. Warren Buffet remarked that ‘when a great manager joins a lousy company, it is normally the reputation of the company that remains intact’.

    12. Strong teams are diverse. Diversity means more than diversity of race, gender, age and faith.  It means the subtler diversity of building a team with complementary styles, skills and perspectives. A football team of 11 great goalkeepers is unlikely to do well.

    13. Failure to delegate traps you into doing low-level jobs. You cannot lead if you cannot delegate. Here is why you must delegate :

    i. Delegation is the only way to create more than 24 hours in a day. If you don't delegate, you work yourself into an early grave.

    ii.Delegation allows you to focus on the areas where you make the most difference.

    iii. It shows you have trust in the team, and most teams will respond to your vote of confidence in them by working hard to show they are worthy of your trust.

    iv. It builds and stretches your team: they have to learn new skills.

    14. Principles of delegation : 

    -Ensure clarity of the task and the eventual success criteria.

    -Make the team summarise back to you what they think the task and outcomes are meant to be. Do not assume they have understood anything until they say it back to you.

    -Ensure people have enough skills and resources to complete the job : do not delegate too much too soon.

    -Be clear about how you want to work together (progress reports). Discuss concerns before you start.

    -Be available to help, but do not interfere all the time. When they ask for help, require them to suggest solutions so that they always learn.

    -Delegate meaningful projects, not just adminstriva. Stretch people and they will rise to the challenge. Giving away mundane jobs only demotivates people.

    -Show faith and trust in the team : praise successes and do not undermine them

    -Remember, you may have delegated authority, but you cannot delegate away responsibility. You are still accountable for the outcomes.

    15. Always try to figure out how to appeal to fear, greed and idleness.

    16. Five drivers of motivation in the workplace:

    i. My boss shows an interest in my career.

    ii. I trust my boss; he/she is honest with me.

    iii. I know where we are going and how to get there.

    iv. I am doing a worthwhile job.

    v. I am recognized for my contribution

    17. The best way to communicate is to shut up. If necessary, put duct tape over your mouth and force yourself to listen. The more you listen, the more you understand. When you really understand what the other person is thinking, then you can influence them positively.

    18. Good leaders normally have a simple agenda, which boils down to three things: idea, people, money, or the IPM agenda:

    i. Idea. You need to have a simple idea about what you will do that will be different from and better than the past. The best ideas are simplest: ‘We will increase customer satisfaction’, ‘We will increase reliability’, ‘We will reduce costs’.

    ii. People. If you have the B team, you have a recipe for sleepless nights and stress. Do not assume that the team you inherited is the team you must live with.

    iii. Money. Make sure you have the right budget to fulfil your goals.


    19. SPIN – situation and specifics, personal impact, insight and inquiry, and next steps – is a classic and simple framework for giving negative feedback:

    i. Situation and specifics. Give feedback in the right situation: when the person is calm and the event is still fresh in the mind.

    ii. Personal impact. Do not judge the other person: that invites conflict. Say how his or her actions made you feel: feelings are irrefutable. For example, say: ‘You have turned up late to three client meetings; it makes me feel you think they are unimportant’, not: ‘You are a lazy idler’, ‘I was very embarrassed when the CFO saw the errors in the budget you prepared’, or ‘You are an innumerate scumbag.’

    iii. Insight and inquiry. Ask questions to see if the person understands the problem, to help him or her explore and evaluate options and discover the way forward.

    iv. Next steps. Mutually agree what happens next. There needs to be a positive way forward. You need to have thought through possible options and actions.

    20. The Art of War advocated fighting under only three conditions, all of which must be present: 1) only fight when there is a prize worth fighting for; 2) only fight when you know you will win; and 3) only fight when there is no alternative.

    21. The trust equation shows that trust (T) is a function of values alignment (V) and credibility (C) offset by risk (R): high risk means you need higher levels of trust to work together.

    22. You have no permanent friends or allies; there are only permanent interests. At some point, your interests and their interests will go different ways simply because you are in different roles and have different priorities.

    23. The more senior you become, the harder you have to push for the next step. Early in your career, if you work hard and do well you will be promoted because every firm wants to encourage the next generation of leadership talent. But as your career progresses, there are fewer opportunities and there is more competition. Leadership is not given to you; you have to take it.

    24. Everyone is selling: ideas, proposals and social events. We normally sell at three levels: features (‘ My computer has 8GB RAM memory’); benefits (‘ It can handle video editing’); dreams (‘ It could turn me into a Hollywood mogul’).

    25. Avoid selling features. At least work out the benefits, or ideally the dreams, that will appeal to the person you are selling to. Start with what the person wants, not with what you have.

    26. We have already met fear, greed, idleness and risk in motivation skills. We meet them again in selling skills. They work together: 

    -Fear: What problem am I solving for the other person?

    -Greed: What hope or dream am I helping the other person achieve?

    -Idleness and risk: Am I making it easy for the other person to agree? Have I removed the risks he or she perceives?

    27. The selling proposition varies dramatically depending on who you are selling to. You succeed when you focus less on the product and more on the buyer’s needs.

    28. It is not enough to know what to sell. You also need to know how to sell. Here is a classic seven-step sales cycle: 

    -Agree the problem/ opportunity.

    -Preview the benefits of addressing the problem/ opportunity.

    -Suggest the idea.

    -Explain how it works.

    -Pre-empt objections.

    -Reinforce the benefits.

    -Close.

    29. Many leaders come to the realization that they hire for skills and fire for (the wrong) values. Do not make that mistake. Hire to values, not just to skills.

    30. The new currency of leadership is respect. Respect is based on two vital ingredients: trust and positive challenge. Trust is dealt with extensively elsewhere in the book. As a reminder, you build trust through values alignment (you ‘talk the talk’ of the other person) and credibility (you always deliver on commitments, or you ‘walk the talk’). Trust is good, but not enough for respect. As a leader you will gain respect with positive challenge. Set ambitious goals. These goals will stretch and develop your team, and give them a sense that they are achieving something meaningful. Ambition creates a sense of purpose and fulfilment. If you stretch people but do not support them, you are simply unreasonable. You need to make the challenge a positive challenge.


    If you like this post, please give an upvote to the discussion on Hacker News here.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1564026 2020-06-24T03:05:18Z 2021-12-11T20:15:50Z Summary : Fate of Empires by Sir John Glubb

    1. The experiences of the human race have been recorded, in more or less detail, for some four thousand years. If we attempt to study such a period of time in as many countries as possible, we seem to discover the same patterns constantly repeated under widely differing conditions of climate, culture and religion. 

    2. The only thing we learn from history,’ it has been said, ‘is that men never learn from history’

    3. If we desire to ascertain the laws which govern the rise and fall of empires, the obvious course is to investigate the imperial experiments recorded in history

    4.

    The nation Dates of rise and fall Duration in years
    Assyria 859-612 B.C. 247
    Persia
    (Cyrus and his descendants)
    538-330 B.C. 208
    Greece
    (Alexander and his successors)
    331-100 B.C. 231
    Roman Republic 260-27 B.C. 233
    Roman Empire 27 B.C.-A.D. 180 207
    Arab Empire A.D. 634-880 246
    Mameluke Empire 1250-1517 267
    Ottoman Empire 1320-1570 250
    Spain 1500-1750 250
    Romanov Russia 1682-1916 234
    Britain 1700-1950 250

    4.1 The present writer is exploring the facts, not trying to prove anything. The dates given are largely arbitrary. Empires do not usually begin or end on a certain date. There is normally a gradual period of expansion and then a period of decline. The resemblance in the duration of these great powers may be queried.

    5. An interesting deduction from the figures seems to be that the duration of empires does not depend on the speed of travel or the nature of weapons. The Assyrians marched on foot and fought with spears and bow and arrows. The British used artillery, railways and ocean-going ships. Yet the two empires lasted for approximately the same periods. 

    6. In spite of the accidents of fortune, and the apparent circumstances of the human race at different epochs, the periods of duration of different empires at varied epochs show a remarkable similarity. 

    7. One of the very few units of measurement which have not seriously changed since the Assyrians is the human ‘generation’, a period of about twenty-five years. Thus a period of 250 years would represent about ten generations of people. A closer examination of the characteristics of the rise and fall of great nations may emphasise the possible significance of the sequence of generations. 

    8.  Stage one. The outburst

    9. Again and again in history we find a small nation, treated as insignificant by its contemporaries, suddenly emerging from its homeland and overrunning large areas of the world.

    10. Prior to Philip (359-336 B.C.), Macedon had been an insignificant state to the north of Greece. Persia was the great power of the time, completely dominating the area from Eastern Europe to India. Yet by 323 B.C., thirty-six years after the accession of Philip, the Persian Empire had ceased to exist, and the Macedonian Empire extended from the Danube to India, including Egypt. 

    11. Characteristics of the outburst

    12. These sudden outbursts are usually characterised by an extraordinary display of energy and courage. The new conquerors are normally poor, hardy and enterprising and above all aggressive.

    13. But the new nation is not only distinguished by victory in battle, but by unresting enterprise in every field. Men hack their way through jungles, climb mountains, or brave the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans in tiny cockle-shells

    14. Other peculiarities of the period of the conquering pioneers are their readiness to improvise and experiment. Untrammelled by traditions, they will turn anything available to their purpose. If one method fails, they try something else. Uninhibited by textbooks or book learning, action is their solution to every problem. 

    15. Poor, hardy, often half-starved and ill-clad, they abound in courage, energy and initiative, overcome every obstacle and always seem to be in control of the situation. 

    16. The first stage of the life of a great nation, therefore, after its outburst, is a period of amazing initiative, and almost incredible enterprise, courage and hardihood. These qualities, often in a very short time, produce a new and formidable nation. These early victories, however, are won chiefly by reckless bravery and daring initiative. 

    17. Commercial expansion

    18. The conquest of vast areas of land and their subjection to one government automatically acts as a stimulant to commerce. Both merchants and goods can be exchanged over considerable distances. Moreover, if the empire be an extensive one, it will include a great variety of climates, producing extremely varied products, which the different areas will wish to exchange with one another. 

    19. When a great empire was in control, commerce was freed from the innumerable shackles imposed upon it today by passports, import permits, customs, boycotts and political interference.

    20. In the eighth and ninth centuries, the caliphs of Baghdad achieved fabulous wealth owing to the immense extent of their territories, which constituted a single trade bloc. The empire of the caliphs is now divided into some twenty-five separate ‘nations’. 

    21. The inescapable conclusion seems, however, to be that larger territorial units are a benefit to commerce and to public stability, whether the broader territory be achieved by voluntary association or by military action. 

    22. The Age of Commerce

    23. Let us now, however, return to the life-story of our typical empire. We have already considered the age of outburst, when a little regarded people suddenly bursts on to the world stage with a wild courage and energy. Let us call it the Age of the Pioneers. Then we saw that these new conquerors acquired the sophisticated weapons of the old empires, and adopted their regular systems of military organisation and training. A great period of military expansion ensued, which we may call the Age of Conquests. The conquests resulted in the acquisition of vast territories under one government, thereby automatically giving rise to commercial prosperity. We may call this the Age of Commerce. 

    24. Art and Luxury

    25. The wealth which seems, almost without effort, to pour into the country enables the commercial classes to grow immensely rich. 

    26. How to spend all this money becomes a problem to the wealthy business community. Art, architecture and luxury find rich patrons. Splendid municipal buildings and wide streets lend dignity and beauty to the wealthy areas of great cities. The rich merchants build themselves palaces, and money is invested in infrastructure.

    27. The first half of the Age of Commerce appears to be peculiarly splendid. The ancient virtues of courage, patriotism and  devotion to duty are still in evidence. The nation is proud, united and full of self-confidence. Boys are still required, first of all, to be manly—to ride, to shoot straight and to tell the truth. (It is remarkable what emphasis is placed, at this stage, on the manly virtue of truthfulness, for lying is cowardice—the fear of facing up to the situation.) 

    28. The Age of Affluence

    29. There does not appear to be any doubt that money is the agent which causes the decline of this strong, brave and self-confident people. The decline in courage, enterprise and a sense of duty is, however, gradual.

    30. The first direction in which wealth injures the nation is a moral one. Money replaces honour and adventure as the objective of the best young men. 

    31. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, the Age of Affluence silences the voice of duty. The object of the young and the ambitious is no longer fame, honour or service, but cash. 

    32. Education undergoes the same gradual transformation. No longer do schools aim at producing brave patriots ready to serve their country. Parents and students alike seek the educational qualifications which will command the highest salaries. 

    33. Indeed the change might be summarised as being from service to selfishness. 

    34. Another outward change which invariably marks the transition from the Age of Conquests to the Age of Affluence is the spread of defensiveness. The nation, immensely rich, is no longer interested in glory or duty, but is only anxious to retain its wealth and its luxury.

    35. Money being in better supply than courage, subsidies instead of weapons are employed to buy off enemies. To justify this departure from ancient tradition, the human mind easily devises its own justification. Military readiness, or aggressiveness, is denounced as primitive and immoral. Civilised peoples are too proud to fight. 

    36. The conquest of one nation by another is declared to be immoral. Empires are wicked. This intellectual device enables us to suppress our feeling of inferiority, when we read of the heroism of our ancestors, and then ruefully contemplate our position today. ‘It is not that we are afraid to fight,’ we say, ‘but we should consider it immoral.’ This even enables us to assume an attitude of moral superiority

    37. The weakness of pacifism is that there are still many peoples in the world who are aggressive. Nations who proclaim themselves unwilling to fight are liable to be conquered by peoples in the stage of militarism—perhaps even to see themselves incorporated into some new empire, with the status of mere provinces or colonies.

    38. The Age of Intellect

    39. The merchant princes of the Age of Commerce seek fame and praise, not only by endowing works of art or patronising music and literature. They also found and endow colleges and universities. It is remarkable with what regularity this phase follows on that of wealth, in empire after empire, divided by many centuries. 

    40. The ambition of the young, once engaged in the pursuit of adventure and military glory, and then in the desire for the accumulation of wealth, now turns to the acquisition of academic honours. 

    41. The Age of Intellect is accompanied by surprising advances in natural science. In the ninth century, for example, in the age of Mamun, the Arabs measured the circumference of the earth with remarkable accuracy. Seven centuries were to pass before Western Europe discovered that the world was not flat. Less than fifty years after the amazing scientific discoveries under Mamun, the Arab Empire collapsed. Wonderful and beneficent as was the progress of science, it did not save the empire from chaos. 

    42. As in the case of the Athenians, intellectualism leads to discussion, debate and argument, such as is typical of the Western nations today. 

    43. But this constant dedication to discussion seems to destroy the power of action. Amid a Babel of talk, the ship drifts on to the rocks. 

    44. Perhaps the most dangerous by-product of the Age of Intellect is the unconscious growth of the idea that the human brain can solve the problems of the world.

    45.  Any small human activity, the local bowls club or the ladies’ luncheon club, requires for its survival a measure of selfsacrifice and service on the part of the members. 

    46.  In a wider national sphere, the survival of the nation depends basically on the loyalty and self-sacrifice of the citizens. The impression that the situation can be saved by mental cleverness, without unselfishness or human self-dedication, can only lead to collapse. 

    47. Thus we see that the cultivation of the human intellect seems to be a magnificent ideal, but only on condition that it does not weaken unselfishness and human dedication to service. Yet this, judging by historical precedent, seems to be exactly what it does do. 

    48. True to the normal course followed by nations in decline, internal differences are not reconciled in an attempt to save the nation. On the contrary, internal rivalries become more acute, as the nation becomes weaker. 

    49. One of the oft-repeated phenomena of great empires is the influx of foreigners to the capital city. 

    50. While the nation is still affluent, all the diverse races may appear equally loyal. But in an acute emergency, the immigrants will often be less willing to sacrifice their lives and their property than will be the original descendants of the founder race. 

    51. As the nation declines in power and wealth, a universal pessimism gradually pervades the people, and itself hastens the decline. 

    52. Frivolity is the frequent companion of pessimism. Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. The resemblance between various declining nations in this respect is truly surprising. The Roman mob, we have seen, demanded free meals and public games. Gladiatorial shows, chariot races and athletic events were their passion. 

    53. The heroes of declining nations are always the same—the athlete, the singer or the actor. The word ‘celebrity’ today is used to designate a comedian or a football player, not a statesman, a general, or a literary genius. 

    54. History, however, seems to suggest that the age of decline of a great nation is often a period which shows a tendency to philanthropy and to sympathy for other races

    55. Historians of periods of decadence often refer to a decline in religion.

    56. We have to interpret religion in a very broad sense. Some such definition as ‘the human feeling that there is something, some invisible Power, apart from material objects, which controls human life and the natural world’. 

    57. Genghis Khan, one of the most brutal of all conquerors, claimed that God had delegated him the duty to exterminate the decadent races of the civilised world. Thus the Age of Conquests often had some kind of religious atmosphere, which implied heroic self-sacrifice for the cause. 

    58. But this spirit of dedication was slowly eroded in the Age of Commerce by the action of money. People make money for themselves, not for their country. Thus periods of affluence gradually dissolved the spirit of service, which had caused the rise of the imperial races. 

    59. The habits of the members of the community have been corrupted by the enjoyment of too much money and too much power for too long a period. 

    60. The result has been, in the framework of their national life, to make them selfish and idle. 

    61. A community of selfish and idle people declines, internal quarrels develop in the division of its dwindling wealth, and pessimism follows, which some of them endeavour to drown in sensuality or frivolity.

    62. Decadence is both mental and moral deterioration, produced by the slow decline of the community from which its members cannot escape, as long as they remain in their old surroundings. But, transported elsewhere, they soon discard their decadent ways of thought, and prove themselves equal to the other citizens of their adopted country. 

    63. Decadence is not physical. Decadence is a moral and spiritual disease, resulting from too long a period of wealth and power, producing cynicism, decline of religion, pessimism and frivolity. The citizens of such a nation will no longer make an effort to save themselves, because they are not convinced that anything in life is worth saving. 


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    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1552683 2020-06-01T19:12:57Z 2020-06-01T19:12:58Z Highlights from "Daily Rituals" by Mason Currey

    1. A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.

    2. “A modern stoic,” he observed, “knows that the surest way to discipline passion is to discipline time: decide what you want or ought to do during the day, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble.”

    3. When he did find the time to compose, Feldman employed a strategy that John Cage taught him—it was “the most important advice anybody ever gave me,” Feldman told a lecture audience in 1984. “He said that it’s a very good idea that after you write a little bit, stop and then copy it. Because while you’re copying it, you’re thinking about it, and it’s giving you other ideas. And that’s the way I work. And it’s marvelous, just wonderful, the relationship relationship between working and copying.”

    4. All those I think who have lived as literary men,—working daily as literary labourers,—will agree with me that three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.

    5. Isaiah Berlin describes Marx’s habits during this time: His mode of living consisted of daily visits to the British [Museum] reading-room, where he normally remained

    6. And although he had many patients who relied on him, Jung was not shy about taking time off; “I’ve realized that somebody who’s tired and needs a rest, and goes on working all the same is a fool,” he said.

    7. In Everybody’s Autobiography, Stein confirmed that she had never been able to write much more than half an hour a day—but added, “If you write a half hour a day it makes a lot of writing year by year. To be sure all day and every day you are waiting around to write that half hour a day.”

    8. When he is writing a novel, Murakami wakes at 4:00 A.M. and works for five to six hours straight. In the afternoons he runs or swims (or does both), runs errands, reads, and listens to music; bedtime is 9:00. “I keep to this routine every day without variation,” he told The Paris Review in 2004. “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

    9. “Inspiration is for amateurs,” Close says. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

    10. “My experience has been that most really serious creative people I know have very, very routine and not particularly glamorous work habits” - John Adams

    11. The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.

    12. “I find that having a job is one of the best things in the world that could happen to me,” he once said. “It introduces discipline and regularity into one’s life. I am just as free as I want to be and of course I have nothing to worry about about money.” - Wallace Stevens

    13. Angelou has never been able to write at home.

    14. He was dismissive of inspiration, saying that if he waited for the muse he would compose at most three songs a year. It was better to work every day. “Like the pugilist,” Gershwin said, “the songwriter must always keep in training.”

    15. Heller wrote Catch-22 in the evenings after work, sitting at the kitchen table in his Manhattan apartment. “I spent two or three hours a night on it for eight years,”

    16. As a young apprentice in Thomas Edison’s New York office, Tesla regularly worked from 10:30 in the morning until 5:00 the following morning. (“I’ve had many hardworking assistants, but you take the cake,” Edison told him.) Later, after he had started his own company, Tesla arrived at the office at noon. Immediately, his secretary would draw the blinds; Tesla worked best in the dark and would raise the blinds again only in the event of a lightning storm, which he liked to watch flashing above the cityscape from his black mohair sofa. He typically worked at the office until midnight, with a break at 8:00 for dinner in the Palm Room of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

    17. “Be regular and orderly in your life like a Bourgeois so that you may be violent and original in your work.” - William Styron

    18. Descartes believed that idleness was essential to good mental work, and he made sure not to overexert himself.

    19. Dickens was prolific—he produced fifteen novels, ten of which are longer than eight hundred pages, and numerous stories, essays, letters, and plays—but he could not be productive without certain conditions in place. First, he needed absolute quiet; at one of his houses, an extra door had to be installed to his study to block out noise. And his study had to be precisely arranged, with his writing desk placed in front of a window and, on the desk itself, his writing materials—goose-quill pens and blue ink—laid out alongside several ornaments: a small vase of fresh flowers, a large paper knife, a gilt leaf with a rabbit perched upon it, and two bronze statuettes (one depicting a pair of fat toads dueling, the other a gentleman swarmed with puppies).

    20. The morning is the best time, there are no people around.

    21. “The overriding factor in my life between the ages of six and twenty-two was my father’s candy store,” Asimov wrote in his posthumously published memoir. His father owned a succession of candy stores in Brooklyn, which he opened at 6:00 A.M. and closed at 1:00 A.M., seven days a week. I have kept the candy-store hours all my life. I wake at five in the morning. I get to work as early as I can. I work as long as I can. I do this every day in the week, including holidays. I don’t take vacations voluntarily and I try to do my work even when I’m on vacation. (And even when I’m in the hospital.) In other words, I am still and forever in the candy store.

    22. (Stephen) King writes every day of the year, including his birthday and holidays, and he almost never lets himself quit before he reaches his daily quota of two thousand words.

    23. (Georges) Simenon was one of the most prolific novelists of the twentieth century, publishing 425 books in his career. The Belgian-French novelist worked in intense bursts of literary activity, each lasting two or three weeks, separated by weeks or months of no writing at all.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1527122 2020-04-04T10:08:47Z 2020-05-05T23:21:33Z While the system is down






    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1502374 2020-01-31T15:38:18Z 2020-01-31T15:47:35Z Highlights from : "Sleep Smarter" by Shawn Stevenson

    1. Get more sunlight during the day. It may sound counter-intuitive that getting more sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night, but science has proven that this is precisely the case.

    2.Avoid screens before bedtime. Cutting out some screen time at night is likely the number one thing you can do to improve your sleep quality immediately.

    3. Two hours of computer screen time before bed was enough to significantly suppress people's nighttime of melatonin. When your melatonin secretion is thrown off, it will intrinsically throw-off your normal sleep cycle.

    4. If you want to give your body the deep sleep it needs, make it a mandate to turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before bedtime in order to allow melatonin and cortisol levels to normalize.

    5. Use a blue light blocker. Extenuating circumstances come up, and you may need to be on your computer later than you want.

    6. Have a caffeine curfew. Set an unbreakable caffeine curfew to make sure your body has time to remove the majority of it from your system before bedtime. For most people, that's generally going to be before 2:00pm.

    7. Keep Cool. Studies have found that the optimal room temperature for sleep is really quite cool at around 60 to 68F. Anything too far above or below this range will likely cause some difficulty sleeping.

    8. Studies have shown that insomniacs tend to have a significantly warmer body temperature than normal right before bed.

    9. Researchers found cooling caps allowed insomniacs to fall asleep in about 13 minutes compared with 16 minutes for the healthy control group. They also found insomnia slept for 89% of the time they were in bed, which was exact amount of time the healthy control group slept in bed.

    10. If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm bath 1.5 to 2hrs before hitting the sack.  This may seem counter-intuitive, but while your core temperature will increase from the bath, it will fall accordingly and level out a little cooler right around the time you turn in for the night.

    11. There are mattress pads you can use that may help regulate your body temperature.

    12. You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours.  It's been shown that human beings get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10pm to 2pm. You get the most rejuvenating effects during this period, and any sleep that you get in addition is a nice bonus.

    13. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has now classified overnight shift work as a Group 2A carcinogen. This means that staying up  late repeatedly, and working overnight is a strong enough cancer-causing agent to be lumped in with lead exposure and UVA radiation.

    14. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who worked the overnight shift had a 30 percent greater incidence of breast cancer.

    15. Just one night of sleep deprivation can make you as insulin resistant as a person with type 2 diabetes, but extend that out to when you're not sleeping during the night at all, and you and diabetes will do more than just flirt with each other.

    16. Fix your gut to fix your sleep. Upwards of 95% of your body's serotonin is located in your gut.  The obvious sleep connection is that serotonin is the building block for the "get-good-sleep" hormone, melatonin.

    17. Incorporate magnesium-rich foods in your diet

    18. It's a well-established fact that we sleep better in a dark environment, yet so many people aren't taking full advantage of this. Studies show that exposure to room light during usual hours of sleep suppresses melatonin levels by more than 50%.

    19. Sleep experts suggest that your room be so dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face.

    20. Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia discovered that even a simple nightlight could contribute to myopia in children and lead to significant vision problems later in life. The researchers found that 10 percent of children who slept in the dark ended up being nearsighted, while 34% of the children who slept with a nightlight and 55 percent of the childreen who slept in a lightened room developed nearsightedness.

    21. Morning exercisers had up to 75 percent more time in reparative "deep sleep" stage at night than midday or night exercisers.

    22. One of the big issues with working out late in the evening is that it significantly raises your core temperature, and it take upwards of 4 to 6 hours for your temperature to come down again.

    23. Keep your bedroom reserved for sleep and sex.

    24. Data show that children with televisions in their bedrooms score lower on school exams and are more likely to have sleep problems.

    25. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that 4 hours of wireless Internet-connected laptop exposure led to a significant decrease  in progressive sperm motility and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.

    26. Lose weight. People with a healthy weight show a 5% increase in cortisol levels after consuming a meal, while overweight and obese individuals' cortisol levels increased by a whopping 51%! The biggest issue is that cortisol is as close to an anti-sleep hormone as you can get.

    27.Give your body a solid 90 minutes(more is better) before heading off to bed after eating. 

    28. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published research showing that meditation is an effective treatment for insomnia.

    29. One of the best times for meditation is when you're already close to the alpha and theta brain waves. This would be as soon as you wake up in the morning, or right before bed at night. As the American Academy of Sleep Medicine research showed, meditating in the morning is proven to help test subjects sleep at night.

    30. Chamomile can be used as a mild sedative and sleep inducer.

    31. The use of melatonin supplementation is that it can potentially down-regulate your body's natural ability to utilize melatonin on its own.

    32. Going to sleep early and waking early syncs the body clock with the earth's natural circadian rhythms, which is more restorative than trying to sleep while the sun is up.

    33. In 2008, a study from the University of North Texas found that students who identified themselves as morning people earned significantly higher grades. In fact, the early risers had  a full grade point higher than the night owls in the study with a 3.5 to 2.5 GPA respectively.

    34. A comprehensive study conducted through the department of radiotherapy and oncology at San Gerardo Hospital in Monza, Italy, found that 60 percent of patients with sleep disorders had an improvement in sleep quality after at least 2 weeks of acupressure treatment.

    35. A 2009 study found that women who slept in their bras had a 60 percent greater risk for developing breast cancer.

    36. Oxytocin is a potent anti-stress hormone. It reduces the signs and symptoms of depression, combats the negative effects of cortisol, and helps regulate blood pressure. It's also been shown to decrease intestinal inflammation and improve gut motility as well. All the more  reason to get as close as possible (Oxytocin is released during skin to skin contact for example massage, sex, or simply cuddling).

    37. Overwhelming research is mounting that shows the impressive benefits the earth's electromagnetic surface has on the human body. 

    38. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers found that when test subjects were grounded, there was a "rapid activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and corresponding deactivation of the sympathetic nervous system".

    39. Dr. Spencer is an Olympic athlete and 8 time Tour de France- winning team doctor and has been directly involved in more than 40 Olympic, World, National, or Tour de France Championships. He told me(author) that grounding technologies played a vital role in the success of his athletes. He found very quickly that earthing accelerated tissue repair and wound healing from injuries that athletes encountered during practice and competition. Among the benefits he also observed and reported from his patients: better sleep, less pain, more energy, and faster recovery.

    40. "Grounding to the earth changes your physiology immediately. The more you ground, the more you can benefit because you are at your most natural electrical state when connected to the earth."  That said, even a minute is helpful, but the longer the better. I'd say to target a minimum of 10 minutes each day.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1494960 2020-01-03T00:21:35Z 2020-06-24T10:59:54Z Highlights from: "Get Together : How to build a community"

    1. The secret to getting people together is this: build your community with people, not for them.

    2. Amateurs try to manage a community, but great leaders create more leaders. Nearly every challenge of building a community can be met by asking yourself, “How do I achieve this by working with my people, not doing it for them?” In other words, approach community-building as progressive acts of collaboration— doing more with others every step of the way.

    3. If you want to spark your own community, you’ll need to first pinpoint your people. Find your kindling— those early allies who care about what you care about enough to manifest your idea for a community into an actual gathering of human beings.

    4. No matter your community-building endeavor, the original leader should start with a clear who, then craft a why with that who in mind.

    5. You can find your team of allies by asking yourself a series of more targeted questions: 

    • Who do I care about? 
    • Who do I share an interest, identity, or place with?
    • Who do I want to help?

    6. Focus on two criteria: 

    • Who brings the energy— who are the people who already engage, contribute, or attend? Don’t try to conjure motivation out of thin air. Start with keen participants. 
    • Assuming that the community flourishes, who will you stick with? Cultivating a community is a long-term play. Who does your organization’s future

    7. In order to make sure that your community’s purpose is grounded in your people’s needs, and that it expresses what you can accomplish together, consider: 

    • What do my people need more of? 
    • What’s the change we desire? 
    • What’s the problem only we can solve together?

    8. Make your list of names: Don’t underestimate the power of personal outreach when you’re trying to spark a community. You truly become a community leader only when you establish your first early ally.

    9. No matter if you’re working solo or backed by an organization, your first members will probably stem from existing relationships, the people you already know. That personal connection eases people into taking the leap to participate in something new. Your list might start with close friends who share your passion, or with some of the most engaged users of your app.

    10. But there are three principles that any first community activity should integrate in order to start your group on a collaborative path: 

    • Make it purposeful. Tie the activity back to why your community teamed up in the first place.
    • Make it participatory. Don’t just talk at people. You gathered them because they’re passionate, just like you! Give them the chance to contribute to the purpose you share.
    • Make it repeatable. One-offs are the enemy. Relationships need time to flourish, and it’ll take a few cycles for some folks to warm up and begin actively contributing. Design the first activity with the intent to repeat it with your people over and over.

    11. Stop thinking about your community as just an audience. Instead, treat these people as collaborators. Even with your first activity, carve out ways for others to participate. People are showing up to realize a shared purpose, not to watch you realize it for them.

    12. Meaningful human connections are sticky. They make us return to shared endeavors, from Weight Watchers to team sports to church. As Scott Heiferman, co-founder of Meetup, told us during a workshop, “people show up for the meetup but they come back for the people.”

    13. Through open and ongoing dialogue, a loose group of people with a shared interest can be transformed into a community, teeming with life.

    14. To enable all the ways your people can share and collaborate with one another, you’ll have to create spaces where members can freely connect on their own time.

    15. “I don’t think there’s much secret. Get the product right, treat the customer well, and get them talking. And that’s it,” Instant Pot founder Robert Wang 

    16. Give members the space, prompts, and structure to start talking Conversations— like those unfolding daily in the Instant Pot Facebook group— don’t start without provocation. Leaders need to lay the groundwork for free-flowing communication between members.

    17. To get your community talking, figure out: 

    • Space - Where can members find each other to continue their conversations independently?
    • Prompts - How do I give people an excuse to connect for the first time? It’s scary to talk to strangers. Guide your members into discussions by modeling what good participation looks like. Craft regular prompts and make introductions for newbies.
    • Structure - What structure would make communication in this space more meaningful? When implemented with care, ground rules and moderation can facilitate and reward focused, sincere conversations. Structure also supports healthy debate when conflict arises.

    18. Appoint moderators and establish a code of conduct;  by doing so,you’re making a safe space for conflict, which is an essential part of any community.

    19. Starter questions for your code of conduct:

    • What’s our purpose? Remind members why your community exists before dictating specific rules. 
    • What is okay? How should members act? Describe the spirit of your community and introduce etiquette that keeps conversations valuable. (Bogleheads: “Discussions are about issues, not people.”) 
    •  What is not okay? List behaviors that are not allowed (e.g., no insults or hateful language) to help make members feel confident in joining the community and safe in reporting violations. 
    • How do members report violations? Give members a private way (such as an email address) to report violations. Explain who receives that report. 
    • How will you investigate and enforce the rules? Let members know how you’ll collect information on the situation and what consequences to expect when the code of conduct is violated (e.g., a private warning, followed by a temporary ban for a certain number of days).

    20. A sign of a vibrant community is that new members join because they want to. Aspiring leaders frequently forget the importance of this agency. They plop unknowing people on a list and start calling them a community.

    21. Work with your members to collectively send a clear, authentic signal about what your community is all about.

    22. Step one in attracting new members is crafting your origin story.

    23. Marshall Ganz is a Harvard senior lecturer who organized the United Farm Workers alongside Cesar Chavez from 1965 to 1981, and designed the grassroots organizing model for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Ganz’s current course is titled Organizing: People, Power, Change.

    24. Ganz believes public narratives communicate three key concepts. When you refine your origin story, follow Ganz’s lead: 

    • Tell the story of self. Make it personal. Describe the moment that you started on the path to rally your community.
    • Tell the story of us. Show that it’s bigger than you. What do you believe is made possible when this group comes together?
    • Tell the story of now. What’s one small, immediate way someone can get involved (e.g., attend a meetup, sign up for a newsletter, sign a petition)? Why should they do so now? This urgency will make people feel the pull to get started right away.

    25. Once you’re satisfied with your narrative, the next step is to make that origin story available to anyone curious about what you stand for. Share your origin story in one-on-one conversations with strangers, newcomers, and other potential community members. If you gather in person, don’t be timid.

    26. Now that you have your origin story pinned down, here’s the secret to spreading the word: attracting others can’t just be your job. Ask any traditional marketer, and they’ll tell you that word-of-mouth advertising is their most powerful tool.

    27. You can’t expect people to recruit others without a nudge. Make it clear to members that their active involvement is crucial to ensuring the vitality and success of your community.

    28. Each week, without fail, Aria takes a team photo at halftime (so that even players who have to leave early don’t get left out). “People always say, ‘I haven’t come before, I’m not going to be in the team photo,’” Aria explains. “So that photo is a moment to be like, ‘No, you’re on the team and we’re showing that to the world.’” Before practice wraps, she offers to share the team pic with anyone who wants it. Nearly everyone raises their hand. Within an hour of receiving the squad pic, many of the players have posted it on their personal Instagram accounts, coupled with captions describing their experiences.

    29. You can’t force people to spread the word. Instead, ask: How can I make it easier for them to do so on their own terms?

    30. Collect the right shareable stories for your community

    31. It’s your job to figure out how to turn your community’s unique activities into natural, simple narratives. Here are some starter ideas: 

    • Your community centers around in-person experiences.
    • Your community centers around training or learning.
    • Your community centers around contributing and sharing content.

    32. If none of these sharing strategies jumps out as a natural choice for your community, don’t fret. Look to your community members for inspiration. They’re already passing around stories. That’s guaranteed. Dig into how and what they’re sharing. Figure out which tools, information, and resources you could offer to boost their storytelling.

    33. With a refined origin story and resources for members to spread the word, the foundation to attract new people to your community is in place. Congrats!

    34. Now your job is to put a spotlight on the inspiring people in your community. In creating exposure for these exceptional folks, you’ll bring the community to life for others considering joining. And, as a bonus, you’ll celebrate what standout participation looks like, which can motivate existing members to deepen their involvement.

    35. Build a culture of reciprocity with your storytelling. Proactively seek stories from exceptional members, then share them widely to inspire others to join the fun.

    36. One way to cultivate your community’s identity is to equip enthusiastic members with badges. A badge can be anything visual that enables members to telegraph an affiliation.

    37. As your own group grows, you may want to consider localizing certain badges to help foster recognition and intimacy between individuals.

    38. Celebrate the self-expression of your members and encourage them to make their own badges. Whether those badges are physical or digital, the tools for customization are more accessible than ever.

    39. Bonds between members are fostered through the rituals they practice together, from reciting a mantra to participating in a daily standup meeting. Kursat Ozenc, a designer whoresearches, writes, and teaches at Stanford’s d.school about rituals, notes, “When you practice a ritual that others have practiced before you— or that others are practicing at the same time as you— the actions make you feel connected to them.

    40. You don’t have to meticulously design every ritual. Start by noticing and then codifying the idiosyncrasies that people are already repeating.

    41. Another way that people bond over their shared identity is by creating language unique to their community.

    42. As a start, try agreeing on a name for members. A demonym is a word used to describe someone from a certain place. For instance, people from California refer to themselves as Californians. Communities have demonyms, too.

    43. Just as she was breaking into the music scene, Nicki Minaj came up with a demonym for her biggest fans: Barbz, or Barbies.

    44. “A community is a living organism. It’s either declining or improving; there’s no steady-state in a community.” - Jennifer Sampson,

    45. Similarly, a community can only grow sustainably if newcomers find value in their first interactions, then return. If you find that your members aren’t consistently participating in or contributing to the group— they’re showing up to only one event or sending just one message— you have a leaky bucket. Your community hasn’t established the foundation it needs to proliferate.

    46. You can begin tracking and exploring your community’s retention in three steps: 

    • Collect participation data. Prioritize the tracking of member participation in community activities. The more the measured action demonstrates true participation, the better.
    • Gather info about your regular participants. Get to know the people who keep showing up. Build a Rolodex that includes notes, like where members are from and contact info. A spreadsheet is a fine start.
    • Seek insights on why they participate and what they want more of. Listen, listen, and listen. Numbers are great at explaining how many, but you’ll need to have conversations in order to ask why?

    47. It’s not enough to measure your community’s retention. You need to dig into who keeps showing up and why.

    48. Use your measurement and listening processes to search for people we call “hand-raisers.” These people are your most passionate community members, the hardcore of the hardcore. They always show up. They consistently invite friends. And most importantly, they’re raising their hands— eagerly contributing time and energy toward taking your community to the next level.

    49. Hand-raisers have the potential to become homegrown leaders of your community, your most valuable collaborators.

    50. Passing the torch to the folks who are raising their hands is how you’ll multiply your efforts as a leader and grow together as a community.

    51. But your listening processes are perhaps even more crucial during challenging times. At some point, you may make a change or decision that is not well-received. Paying close attention to your community helps you monitor sentiment, detect your missteps early, and react appropriately.

    52. “One of the things that is the death knell for a community manager is to not listen,” Mia points out. “Even if it’s a simple ‘Thanks so much for your feedback,’ you have to acknowledge people.”

    53. Spread out ownership by encouraging hand-raisers to lead in ways big and small, supercharging their efforts, and, last but not least, celebrating their accomplishments.

    54. Growing a community isn’t about management. It’s about developing leaders. With their help, your community will affect more people and sustain itself longer than you could have managed on your own.

    55. In any community, a small set of extra-passionate people will do the majority of the work to push the group forward and expand what’s possible.

    56. Mary Ellen Hannibal’s book Citizen Scientist, “the bulk of what gets done is by a small set of fanatics.”

    57. But when you’re the original leader, trusting others to take over is often a challenge. We get protective, controlling, even paranoid. We worry about people “not having the same standards” or “misrepresenting the brand.”

    58. Don’t bend to fears of losing control. As Marshall Ganz says, “Organizers think of themselves as people that develop the leadership of others.” You don’t have to toil alone. Shift your mindset from stoking the fire to passing the torch. Your community depends on it.

    59. Cultivating hand-raisers into leaders isn’t just a way to expand your reach. It’s also the only way that large communities stay relevant over the long term and that small communities ensure their own sustainability. If your community is dependent on a lone leader, it’s more at risk of collapse in the face of uncertainty and a changing world.

    60. So, what do you look for in potential leaders? Seek genuine and qualified people from your pool of hand-raisers.

    61. What should you do if you promote the “wrong” leader? Our advice: don’t be afraid to say goodbye. Just as an exceptional leader can move a community forward, a bad one can stagnate or, even worse, erode a community’s magic.

    62. In many of the communities we studied, a core contingent of extra-passionate people made an outsize impact. These exceptional leaders act as catalysts, accelerating a community’s ability to fulfill its purpose.

    63. How do you figure out what support is needed by your community leaders, and when? Your goal is to create a potent system of support instead of a bunch of disparate, semi-helpful resources. Start by mapping out the journey of the person you’re trying to help, using good ol’ pen paper.

    65. To get started, assemble a brain trust of your key leaders.

    66. Build out a flowchart of the leader’s journey by discussing these questions: 

    • What are the first steps that leaders take after raising their hands to accept a leadership role? 
    • How are they vetted? Welcomed? Onboarded? Acknowledged? 
    • What are the key activities involved in their work? What support do they currently receive?

    67. Your support should supercharge valuable activities and minimize or eliminate the others.

    68. There are many ways to buoy up leaders when they need it. You can host trainings, offer coaching, create templates, assemble a knowledge base, record tutorials, build tools, pre-write emails, develop checklists, collect best practices, start a newsletter, make a FAQ, form partnerships, streamline communications, translate documents, offer funds, line up contacts, lend credibility, buddy people up, send reminders, cut requirements, or even rearrange the order of key activities.


    If you like what you have read, please give an upvote on Hacker News here.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1494620 2020-01-01T16:49:04Z 2020-01-01T16:52:58Z Highlights from : "Vagus Nerve" by David Reyes



    1.The Vagus nerve is an incredible part of your body. It is long, meandering, and powerful. It is unique and complex. It is truly amazing! Sometimes called CNX, this is the tenth cranial nerve, and it extends from the base of your skull to your colon. Along the way down from your brain stem, the Vagus nerve makes several stops along the way, extending in various areas, and acting as an information “highway” for your body to tell the brain what it is experiencing, and for the brain to tell the body how to respond. And in many instances, this is all happening subconsciously!

    2. Your blood pressure lowers and heart rate slows down when the Vagus nerve is stimulated.

    3. Otto Loewi, a physiologist from Germany, identified the connection between a stimulated Vagus nerve and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. It was early in the 1920’s when Loewi recognized that the Vagus nerve sent the message to release this, and its primary function is to calm the body and mind when it is experiencing stress.

    4. And one of the best and easiest methods for triggering the release of this neurotransmitter is by breathing deeply very slowly.

    5. “Controlling” your Vagus nerve, or learning how to work with it, is important because you can keep it functioning properly. If it becomes over-stimulated, you can experience responses like emotional disturbances, added stress, and anxiety.

    6. An overactive Vagus nerve can lead to increased stress and anxiety. An underactive Vagus nerve can lead to gastroparesis, which then can lead to diabetes.

    7. Techniques to self-stimulate the Vagus nerve include:
    • Engaging your abdominal muscles
    • Acupuncture
    • Chewing gum
    • Prayer
    • Resting on your right side
    • Tai chi
    • Massage
    • Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting
    • Laughter
    • Engaging in positive social relationships and situations
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Chanting
    • Singing
    • Cold showers

    8. Cold temperatures: studies have indicated that when your body has to adjust to colder temperatures, it increases your parasympathetic response system to allow you to relax, thereby inhibiting your sympathetic response. This process is overseen by your Vagus nerve. And this does not need to be an extreme exposure to cold; just a small amount of cold exposure can activate your Vagus nerve. One method you can try is dipping your face in ice-cold water or taking a cold shower. You can also expose yourself to cold by going outside in cold temperatures or standing in front of the open freezer door. Drinking ice-cold water is also effective.

    9. Chant or sing. You can easily increase the variability in your heart rate when you sing. You can change this variability in different ways when you sing energetically, sing hymns, chant mantras, or hum. The reason this is effective is because of the stimulation of the vagal pump on your throat. If you sing at the top of your lungs you can engage the back muscles in your throat, activating your Vagus nerve. It also triggers your sympathetic nervous system along with your Vagus nerve. Also, singing is shown to increase oxytocin production.

    10. Laugh a lot. The more you laugh the more you stimulate your Vagus nerve and calm your body. Studies have shown many times that this really is one of the “best medicines.” There are reports where people fainted from laughing too much. This is likely due to overstimulation of the Vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sensation becomes extreme and activates the immobilization response. In addition, people that experience this response to laughter often have an illness called Angelman’s, which is a fairly rare condition.

    11. Increase the amount of zinc you consume. Zinc is a common mineral in foods and in supplements, but surprisingly many humans do not consume enough. In a study where rats were given a diet low or deficient in zinc for three days, it was clear the Vagus nerve was not functioning at full capacity. When zinc was reintroduced the Vagus nerve was activated and stimulated.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1467409 2019-10-18T17:09:26Z 2021-04-19T00:54:57Z Highlights from "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande

    1. In the 1970s, the philosophers Samuel Gorovitz and Alasdair MacIntyre published a short essay on the nature of human fallibility that I read during my surgical training and haven’t stopped pondering since. The question they sought to answer was why we fail at what we set out to do in the world. One reason, they observed, is “necessary fallibility”—some things we want to do are simply beyond our capacity. We are not omniscient or all-powerful.

    2. There are substantial realms, however, in which control is within our reach.

    3. In such realms, Gorovitz and MacIntyre point out, we have just two reasons that we may nonetheless fail. The first is ignorance—we may err because science has given us only a partial understanding of the world and how it works.

    4. There are skyscrapers we do not yet know how to build, snowstorms we cannot predict, heart attacks we still haven’t learned how to stop. The second type of failure the philosophers call ineptitude—because in these instances the knowledge exists, yet we fail to apply it correctly. This is the skyscraper that is built wrong and collapses, the snowstorm whose signs the meteorologist just plain missed, the stab wound from a weapon the doctors forgot to ask about.

    5. Avoidable failures are common and persistent, not to mention demoralizing and frustrating, across many fields—from medicine to finance, business to government. And the reason is increasingly evident: the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.

    6. That means we need a different strategy for overcoming failure, one that builds on experience and takes advantage of the knowledge people have but somehow also makes up for our inevitable human inadequacies.

    7. And there is such a strategy—though it will seem almost ridiculous in its simplicity, maybe even crazy to those of us who have spent years carefully developing ever more advanced skills and technologies. It is a checklist.

    8. Americans today undergo an average of seven operations in their lifetime, with surgeons performing more than fifty million operations annually—the amount of harm remains substantial. Moreover, research has consistently showed that at least half our deaths and major complications are avoidable. The knowledge exists. But however supremely specialized and trained we may have become, steps are still missed. Mistakes are still made.

    9. On October 30, 1935, at Wright Air Field in Dayton, Ohio, the U.S. Army Air Corps held a flight competition for airplane manufacturers vying to build the military’s next-generation long-range bomber. In early evaluations, the Boeing Corporation’s gleaming aluminum-alloy Model 299 had trounced the designs of Martin and Douglas. Boeing’s plane could carry five times as many bombs as the army had requested; it could fly faster than previous bombers and almost twice as far.

    10. A small crowd of army brass and manufacturing executives watched as the Model 299 test plane taxied onto the runway. The plane roared down the tarmac, lifted off smoothly, and climbed sharply to three hundred feet. Then it stalled, turned on one wing, and crashed in a fiery explosion. 

    11. An investigation revealed that nothing mechanical had gone wrong. The crash had been due to “pilot error,” the report said. Substantially more complex than previous aircraft, the new plane required the pilot to attend to the four engines, each with its own oil-fuel mix, the retractable landing gear, the wing flaps, electric trim tabs that needed adjustment to maintain stability at different airspeeds, and constant-speed propellers whose pitch had to be regulated with hydraulic controls, among other features.

    12. The army air corps declared Douglas’s smaller design the winner. Boeing nearly went bankrupt. 

    13. What they decided not to do was almost as interesting as what they actually did. They did not require Model 299 pilots to undergo longer training. Instead, they came up with an ingeniously simple approach: they created a pilot’s checklist.

    14. The test pilots made their list simple, brief, and to the point—short enough to fit on an index card, with step-by-step checks for takeoff, flight, landing, and taxiing. It had the kind of stuff that all pilots know to do. They check that the brakes are released, that the instruments are set, that the door and windows are closed, that the elevator controls are unlocked—dumb stuff. You wouldn’t think it would make that much difference. But with the checklist in hand, the pilots went on to fly the Model 299 a total of 1.8 million miles without one accident.

    15. Much of our work today has entered its own B-17 phase. Substantial parts of what software designers, financial managers, firefighters, police officers, lawyers, and most certainly clinicians do are now too complex for them to carry out reliably from memory alone. Multiple fields, in other words, have become too much airplane for one person to fly.

    16. In a complex environment, experts are up against two main difficulties. The first is the fallibility of human memory and attention, especially when it comes to mundane, routine matters that are easily overlooked under the strain of more pressing events.

    17. Faulty memory and distraction are a particular danger in what engineers call all-or-none processes: whether running to the store to buy ingredients for a cake, preparing an airplane for takeoff, or evaluating a sick person in the hospital, if you miss just one key thing, you might as well not have made the effort at all.

    18. Checklists seem to provide protection against such failures. They remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They not only offer the possibility of verification but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance.

    19. They calculated that, in this one hospital, the checklist had prevented forty-three infections and eight deaths and saved two million dollars in costs.

    20. The researchers found that simply having the doctors and nurses in the ICU create their own checklists for what they thought should be done each day improved the consistency of care to the point that the average length of patient stay in intensive care dropped by half.

    21. These checklists accomplished what checklists elsewhere have done, Pronovost observed. They helped with memory recall and clearly set out the minimum necessary steps in a process.

    22. Theory: under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success. There must always be room for judgment, but judgment aided—and even enhanced—by procedure.

    23. There are good checklists and bad, Boorman explained. Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on. 

    24. Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.

    25. When you’re making a checklist, Boorman explained, you have a number of key decisions. You must define a clear pause point at which the checklist is supposed to be used (unless the moment is obvious, like when a warning light goes on or an engine fails). You must decide whether you want a DO-CONFIRM checklist or a READ-DO checklist. 

    26. The checklist cannot be lengthy. A rule of thumb some use is to keep it to between five and nine items, which is the limit of working memory. Boorman didn’t think one had to be religious on this point.

    27. But after about sixty to ninety seconds at a given pause point, the checklist often becomes a distraction from other things. People start “shortcutting.” Steps get missed. So you want to keep the list short by focusing on what he called “the killer items”—the steps that are most dangerous to skip and sometimes overlooked nonetheless.

    28. Ideally, it should fit on one page. It should be free of clutter and unnecessary colors. It should use both uppercase and lowercase text for ease of reading. (He went so far as to recommend using a sans serif type like Helvetica.)

    29. No matter how careful we might be, no matter how much thought we might put in, a checklist has to be tested in the real world, which is inevitably more complicated than expected. First drafts always fall apart, he said, and one needs to study how, make changes, and keep testing until the checklist works consistently.

    30. It is common to misconceive how checklists function in complex lines of work. They are not comprehensive how-to guides, whether for building a skyscraper or getting a plane out of trouble. They are quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals. And by remaining swift and usable and resolutely modest, they are saving thousands upon thousands of lives.

    31. Pabrai has studied every deal Buffett and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, have made—good or bad—and read every book he could find about them. He even pledged $650,000 at a charity auction to have lunch with Buffett. “Warren,” Pabrai said—and after a $650,000 lunch, I guess first names are in order—“Warren uses a ‘mental checklist’ process” when looking at potential investments.


    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1457801 2019-09-21T11:03:51Z 2019-09-21T11:13:37Z 30 Highlights from "Spark : How exercise will improve the performance of your brain" By Dr. John Ratey

    1.       In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection. —Plato

    2.       It was already known that exercise increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine—important neurotransmitters that traffic in thoughts and emotions.

    3.       They don’t know that toxic levels of stress erode the connections between the billions of nerve cells in the brain or that chronic depression shrinks certain areas of the brain. And they don’t know that, conversely, exercise unleashes a cascade of neurochemicals and growth factors that can reverse this process, physically bolstering the brain’s infrastructure. In fact, the brain responds like muscles do, growing with use, withering with inactivity.

    4.       It turns out that moving our muscles produces proteins that travel through the bloodstream and into the brain, where they play pivotal roles in the mechanisms of our highest thought processes. They bear names such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and they provide an unprecedented view of the mind-body connection.

    5.       In October of 2000 researchers from Duke University made the New York Times with a study showing that exercise is better than sertraline (Zoloft) at treating depression.

    6.       If exercise came in pill form, it would be plastered across the front page, hailed as the blockbuster drug of the century.

    7.       In Naperville, Illinois, gym class has transformed the student body of nineteen thousand into perhaps the fittest in the nation. Among one entire class of sophomores, only 3 percent were overweight, versus the national average of 30 percent. What’s more surprising—stunning—is that the program has also turned those students into some of the smartest in the nation. In 1999 Naperville’s eighth graders were among some 230,000 students from around the world who took an international standards test called TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), which evaluates knowledge of math and science. In recent years, students in China, Japan, and Singapore have outpaced American kids in these crucial subjects, but Naperville is the conspicuous exception: when its students took the TIMSS, they finished sixth in math and first in the world in science.

    8.        Few researchers have tackled the question, although one study from Virginia Tech showed that cutting gym class and allocating more time to math, science, and reading did not improve test scores, as so many school administrators assume it will. Because gym class can mean so many things, research in this area has focused on the correlation between physical fitness and academic achievement. The most telling studies come from the California Department of Education (CDE). Over the past five years, the CDE has consistently shown that students with higher fitness scores also have higher test scores.

    9.       In 2001 fit kids scored twice as well on academic tests as their unfit peers. Among California’s 279,000 ninth graders, for instance, those who scored a six on the FitnessGram ranked, on average, in the sixty-seventh percentile in math and the forty-fifth percentile in reading on the Stanford Achievement Test. If these scores seem less than stellar, consider those of the students who passed only one of the six areas: they ranked in the thirty-fifth and twenty-first percentiles, respectively.

    10.   Indeed, studies suggest that simply getting on the scale every morning improves the likelihood that someone who’s overweight will shed pounds.

    11.   In 2005 the physical education staff expanded gym from one class a week to forty-five minutes a day, focused almost entirely on cardiovascular activity. In the span of one school year, the students’ fitness levels improved dramatically, and counselors reported that the number of incidents involving violence at Woodland decreased decreased from 228 to 95 for the year.

    12.   I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. It’s a handy metaphor to get the point across, but the deeper explanation is that exercise balances neurotransmitters—along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain.

    13.   Only a mobile creature needs a brain, points out New York University neurophysiologist Rodolfo Llinás in his 2002 book, I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self. To illustrate, he uses the example of a tiny jellyfish-like animal called a sea squirt: Born with a simple spinal cord and a three hundred–neuron “brain,” the larva motors around in the shallows until it finds a nice patch of coral on which to put down its roots. It has about twelve hours to do so, or it will die. Once safely attached, however, the sea squirt simply eats its brain. For most of its life, it looks much more like a plant than an animal, and since it’s not moving, it has no use for its brain. Llinás’s interpretation: “That which we call thinking is the evolutionary internalization of movement.”

    14.   Indeed, in a 2007 study of humans, German researchers found that people learn vocabulary words 20 percent faster following exercise than they did before exercise, and that the rate of learning correlated directly with levels of BDNF.

    15.   Learning and memory evolved in concert with the motor functions that allowed our ancestors to track down food, so as far as our brains are concerned, if we’re not moving, there’s no real need to learn anything.

    16.   One thing scientists know for sure is that you can’t learn difficult material while you’re exercising at high intensity because blood is shunted away from the prefrontal cortex, and this hampers your executive function.

    17.    An imbalance of these neurotransmitters is why some people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) come across as stress junkies. They have to get stressed to focus.

    18.   If you exercise or even just socialize, you’re tapping into the evolutionary antidote to stress.

    19.   Studies show that if researchers exercise rats that have been chronically stressed, that activity makes the hippocampus grow back to its preshriveled state. The mechanisms by which exercise changes how we think and feel are so much more effective than donuts, medicines, and wine. When you say you feel less stressed out after you go for a swim, or even a fast walk, you are.

    20.   Just keep in mind that the more stress you have, the more your body needs to move to keep your brain running smoothly.

    21.   A massive Dutch study of 19,288 twins and their families published in 2006 showed that exercisers are less anxious, less depressed, less neurotic, and also more socially outgoing.

    22.    Exercise also boosts dopamine, which improves mood and feelings of wellness and jump-starts the attention system. Dopamine is all about motivation and attention. Studies have shown that chronic exercise increases dopamine storage in the brain and also triggers the production of enzymes that create dopamine receptors in the reward center of the brain, and this provides a feeling of satisfaction when we have accomplished something.

    23.   A study in London in 2004 showed that even ten minutes of exercise could blunt an alcoholic’s craving.

    24.   The fact that exercise counteracts anxiety and depression directly can have a huge impact on any form of addiction, as both of these mood states undermine treatment.

    25.   And while I often suggest that people exercise in the morning, if your goal is to break a habit such as having a drink every night when you come home, exercising in the evening is probably a better strategy. You can use the aerobic shot for a different kind of buzz.

    26.   Specifically, every fifty minutes of weekly exercise correlated to a 50 percent drop in the odds of being depressed.

    27.   Population studies have shown that countries in which people eat a lot of fish have lower incidence of bipolar disorder. And some people use omega-3s as a stand-alone treatment for mood disorders and ADHD.

    28.   AEROBIC. Exercise four days a week, varying from thirty minutes to an hour, at 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate. At this level, you’ll be burning fat in the body and generating the ingredients necessary for all the structural changes in the brain I’ve discussed.

    29.   STRENGTH. Hit the weights or resistance machines twice a week, doing three sets of your exercises at weights that allows you to do ten to fifteen repetitions in each set.

    30.   BALANCE AND FLEXIBILITY. Focus on these abilities twice a week for thirty minutes or so. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, martial arts, and dance all involve these skills, which are important to staying agile.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1190911 2017-09-13T09:51:31Z 2017-09-17T03:29:41Z 200x

    In a former life, I often played poker.  A key concept that bad poker players fail to grasp is the concept of avoiding ruin. If one is to be a good poker player, one needs to be sufficiently bankrolled.  One should only spend a small fraction of their bankroll at each game. For instance if one's bankroll is $1000 and they bet all of it on chance of tripling their money with a 50% chance of winning, half the time they will lose that bet be ruined, ie broken.  A better strategy is to bet $1 with a chance of winning $3 at 50% probability, so that if you were to lose the $1 you will still have $999 more to lose and eventually if you continue playing your $1000 would have tripled without ruin.

    This concept can also be applied in life, risk little at a time.  When one innovates the goal is to extract some measure of value from the innovation, but there is always some risk involved.  As an example, you came up with a idea for a website, a site dedicated to cats wearing top-hats.  The risk you are taking are two fold, social and financial.  You could be laughed at for the rest of your days ie social risk and also the monies spending on developing and marketing the site could be lost if the website doesn't recoup a profit ie financial risk.  It is hard to assess the risk one can take reputation, thus it would be more valuable to assess one's financial risk.

    A very conservative bankroll in poker is 200 times the max buy-in for one game, ie you would need to lose 200 games or more to lose your bankroll. My proposition is that when one undertakes a venture, he should be able to do it 200+ times without ruin, also the venture he undertakes would be sufficient profitable that it would pay for any loses sustained.

    In essence, we are looking for opportunities with little risk with enormous pay off.  Such opportunities tend to come with a high risk of failure on each individual attempt.  Consider singing, each time a singer creates a song, it very unlikely it will become a hit, but if it does it will have enormous pay off. In ones lifetime one could make thousand of songs. It's opportunities like this in which one should seek to engage oneself.

    Other examples of opportunities with little risk and enormous pay off:

    1. Creating and selling Utility Software

    2. Small Game Development

    3. Writing blog[<---me]

    4. Writing and selling short stories/novels/books

    5. Writing and selling tutorials[<--I should try this]

    6. Prove a mathematical theorem

    7. Create Artificial General Intelligence[<---also me]


    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1160459 2017-06-04T08:45:32Z 2017-06-04T08:45:32Z 40 Highlights From 7 Easy Ways to Say NO to Difficult People by Stephanie Sterner

    1. Those who care about you will understand your need to put yourself first once in a while. And those who don’t will struggle to deal with the new you: someone who can no longer be intimidated by a look, a tone of voice, or an unrealistic demand. This new you will quickly learn how to respond to different types of people and situations without sacrificing what matters to you: your time, your relationships, and your good feelings about yourself.


    2. The world is full of people who aren’t afraid to ask for what they want … no matter how unreasonable the request may be. And they know that the world is also full of people who will give them what they want – with a bit of persistence.


    3.In our sometimes desperate need to feel good about ourselves, we make choices that don’t serve us. We want others to like us, and we want to believe that we’re good people. When others approve of us (as they will when we do things for them that they have no right to expect), we temporarily feel better. Guilt is replaced by a sense of relief. “I really am a good person!”


    4. But trying to keep everyone happy keeps you miserable. When you need someone’s approval, that person has power over you. When you want to avoid conflict, anyone who’s willing to argue has power over you. If you’re going to take your life back, you’ll need to let go of the idea that everyone must be (or even can be) happy. You’ll need to be willing to move out of your comfort zone when necessary.


    5. Setting boundaries allows you to see what your relationships are really based on – friendship or convenience. Do you really want to surround yourself with people who are only with you because it’s convenient – because you consistently put their needs ahead of your own?


    6. The 1st Easy Way Buy Yourself Some Time 

    7. Often we put pressure on ourselves (or succumb to the pressure of others) to make an instant decision, to know exactly what we can and cannot do without any time for contemplation. While some decisions may be that simple (“ Hey, wanna go grab a pizza?”), others are not. When the decision isn’t a simple one, give yourself whatever time you need.


    8. Once you commit to something, you’ll find it difficult to un-commit.


    9. It can be tough to find the words in the moment, so here are some great ways to give yourself the gift of time: 

       a. Let me see how my day goes. 

       b. I’ll let you know tomorrow. 

       c. I’ll check my schedule and get back to you this afternoon. 

       d. I’m not sure I feel comfortable doing that. 

       e. I’ll let you know in the morning. 

       f. I’ll need to check my other commitments. 

       g. Please send me an email with the details. 

       h. I’m taking a friend to the airport tomorrow, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it. 

       i. Can I check my schedule and get back to you in the morning? 

       j. Co-signing a loan is more than a formality. It affects what I can borrow in the future. Let me know the details and I’ll think about it. 

       k. I’ll need to give that some thought. Let’s talk about it on Monday. 

       l. I feel uncomfortable agreeing to that, but I’m not sure why. Let me think about it and get back to you.

       m. Send me your business plan and I’ll think about it. 

       n. I can’t even think about the weekend yet. Ask me again on Thursday morning.


    10.Over-explaining is a way of giving away your power. It gives the other person something to argue with. This tactic can be used to wear you down, whether you’re explaining your need for more time or the reason for your final decision. Don’t give your power to someone who will disrespect it.


    11. Stating that you’re not sure you feel comfortable lets the person know that you may come back with a no.


    12. The downside of this option is that someone who is less interested in your wellbeing may take the opportunity to pressure you. A “friend” (whom you see at social gatherings but don’t spend any one-on-one time with) may immediately want to know why you’re not comfortable. Don’t fall for this! When someone who isn’t close to you wants to know why you might not do something, it’s most likely the beginning of a long “debate.” Don’t let someone you hardly know talk you into doing something you don’t feel good about. If someone asks why, you can give a general response that simply reiterates your possible discomfort and your commitment to responding: 

    I’m just not sure. I’ll let you know in the morning.


    13. Repetition, as you’ll see later on, is a fairly powerful way of stating your boundary. It lets the other person know that you’re not backing off.


    14. When the other person has authority over you, asking is a way of acknowledging their position. When the relationship is important for other reasons (as it is with those close to you), asking can be a nice way to communicate that. 


    15. When the other person isn’t close to you and doesn’t have authority over you, asking permission is seldom a good idea. It gives the other person power over you – a power that they haven’t earned and may abuse.


    16. The 2nd Easy Way Think Outside the Box


    17. Rather than thinking about what you don’t want, shift your thinking to what you do want.


    18.Look for Other Options Your brother wants you to babysit on Friday night. You have a good relationship with him; you enjoy spending time with his children. And he doesn’t ask you for much, so you’d like to help. But you work long hours during the week, and by Friday you’re tired. Friday night is your night. You don’t want to give it to anyone – especially if it means tiring yourself out even more! You want a quiet Friday evening, but you also want to help your brother. So start with the basics: What’s happening on Friday night? Your brother wants to surprise his wife and take her to a concert. (She loves classical music.) He chose Friday because it would be nice for them to relax at the end of the week. Now that you understand his needs, it’s time to express yours. I’d love to help; you and Susan certainly deserve a night to yourselves, and I love spending time with the kids. But Fridays are difficult for me. I feel drained at the end of the week, and I really need the time to relax and recharge. I’d feel overwhelmed by the kids instead of enjoying the time with them. What about Saturday night? Would that work for you? Saturday is probably fine. And if it isn’t, keep looking for more options. Maybe Mom can join you, so that you won’t feel so overwhelmed (not ideal, but maybe you’re willing to do it for your brother). Or maybe your brother can take his children to other relatives or friends who would be happy to look after them. You don’t have to be physically present for the solution. Just help your brother to get what matters to him while still respecting your own needs. Thinking out of the box is an important skill.


    19. The trick is to understand what everyone wants and find a solution that honors everyone – including you. Often this is easier than it seems. And when it isn’t … well, there are still five more tips to help you keep those important boundaries in place!


    20. The 3rd Easy Way Recognize Flattery for What It Is


    21. “I know I can count on you when I’m in a pinch. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I can’t help you this time. But you’ll do just fine without me. The relevant facts are simple: you’re not available, and although your assistance makes things easier, it’s not necessary.


    22. This tactic contains a double whammy: the power of flattery and the power of guilt. He knows he can count on you because you’ve bailed him out before – far too many times, in fact. Taking responsibility for someone else’s mistakes on a regular basis is not a badge of honor. It’s a pattern that leads to anger and resentment – and often prevents us from doing the things that truly matter to us.


    23. The 4th Easy Way No Excuses, No Justifications


    24.  Some people will use anything you say against you. When you give them a reason, they’ll come up with a way to rearrange your life so that you can still accommodate them.


    25. So don’t say so much. Making excuses means handing your power to others; it suggests you must justify yourself to them. Unless you’re dealing with someone in authority, say as little as possible. Don’t let anyone talk you into something you’ll regret later.


    26. Here are some ways to hold on to your power and just say no: 


        I can’t help you with that. 

        I won’t be there. 

        You’ll have to manage without me this time. 

     I’d really like to help you get that job. But I’m just not willing to recommend someone who doesn’t have the experience they require. This may sound like an excuse, but it isn’t. It’s a clear statement of where your boundary lies. “I don’t really know him so well,” is an excuse – unless it’s the primary reason you’re uncomfortable with the request. In that case, consider a stronger statement: 

    I don’t know him well enough to contact him about this. It wouldn’t be appropriate. 

    I’m not taking on any more commitments for a couple of weeks. 

    If you still need help after the 15th, talk to me then and I’ll see what I can do. 


    27. If the attempts continue, simply repeat your decision, either in the same words or with something similar: 

        I [still] can’t help you. 

        I won’t be there. 

        I understand. And you’ll have to manage without me. 

        I’m sorry, but it’s just not appropriate. 

        If you still need help after the 15th, I’ll see what I can do

    28. What if they keep insisting?


    29. With a bit of practice, you’ll need excuses less and less. Excuses are another way of giving away your power. When the relationship doesn’t justify it, making excuses tells the other person that you want him to be satisfied with your decision; you need his approval – which he can (and often will) withhold.


    30. The 5th Easy Way Handle Manipulation Directly


    31. If you’re susceptible to guilt, the people who know this have a degree of power over you. They’ve learned through experience that you’ll give them what they want in order to make that horrible feeling go away. Here are some examples, along with some ways to stop them in their tracks:

     

    “You’re the only one who will help me. No one else cares.” 


    This is a classic “poor me” scenario, with you as the hero. If you feel sorry for the underdog, then this one will pull on your heartstrings. Watch out or you’ll feel terribly sorry for this poor victim ... and painfully guilty until you agree to do whatever he’s asking.


    32. “How can you be so selfish?” What this really means is, “How can you put your needs before mine?” Take a deep breath and remind yourself of this. With this understanding, all sorts of great responses come to mind. Here are just a few:

         a. I’m not going to feel guilty for putting my needs ahead of yours once in a while. Here you’re using the “g” word. You’ve named the tactic and directly stated that you won’t be giving in to it. You’ve also suggested that you’ve put the other person first more often than you should. It doesn’t get much clearer than this.

     

          b. I’ve done this out of guilt for years. My dues are more than paid. There’s that “g” word again! You’ve made it clear that your guilt has passed its sell-by date. Using it to manipulate you just won’t work.


    33. Obligations don’t last forever. At some point you’ve done enough. It’s up to you to decide when you’ve reached that point. And it’s up to you to choose how to repay your obligations.


    34. The 6th Easy Way Handle Manipulation Politely


    35. Sometimes you don’t want to be that direct – either because you’re worried about the consequences, or because you have a strong need to be polite. Some of us just can’t be that direct (even when the other person’s behavior is beyond inappropriate). Sometimes we simply aren’t willing to face the likely political consequences.


    36. “How can you be so selfish?” 


    Remember that this really means, “How can you put your needs before mine?” Once you’ve taken that deep breath and reminded yourself of this, here are some more subtle ways to let people know that this strategy just won’t work with you:


    Sometimes I need to put my own needs first. This is one of those times. You’ve restated the situation in your own terms and made it clear that you won’t accept the other’s arbitrary labels. You haven’t come out and accused the speaker of guilt-tripping, but you’ve still made it quite clear that you’re not falling for that trick. 


    How interesting ... I’m actually starting to feel guilty about putting my own needs first. I guess I’m just not used to it yet. Let me know if you need anything after the 15th, and I’ll see what I can do. Then leave, hang up or (if neither of these is an option) change the subject. You’ve made your point: this attempt to make me feel guilty isn’t working, even though I do feel uncomfortable. I see what you’re up to. And I’m maintaining my boundary in spite of the discomfort. What makes these responses less direct – and more polite? In both cases, you’ve put everything in terms of yourself. There are no accusations, no statements about the inappropriateness of the other person’s actions, statements or feelings. The focus is on you, so wounded egos and aggressive responses are less likely.


    37. The 7th Easy Way The Broken Record Technique 


    38. The broken record technique can be used to reinforce any of the previous techniques. It’s most appropriate when you’ve stated your decision clearly and someone is still trying to talk you out of it. It’s also great for someone who just won’t take no for an answer.


    This technique consists of repeating something over and over, until the other person finally figures out that you really mean it. 


    39. The formula is simple: 

         a. State your decision simply, clearly and firmly. Your words, your tone and the expression on your face should all say the same thing: Yes, I really mean it. No, it’s not negotiable. 

     

         b. Repeat as needed.

     

    40. When the answer is no, you don’t need to find ten different ways to say it. No is no. Nothing makes that point better than repetition.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1155973 2017-05-21T17:41:32Z 2017-06-14T03:48:04Z 26 Highlights from Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

    1. Let's begin your first mini habit. Read at least two pages of this book every day until you finish it. You may read more than that, but never less. It won’t require much time or effort to read two pages, so there are no excuses. 

    2. Big intentions are worthless if they don't bring results. For example, I can say that I will exercise for two hours every day, but if I never do it, the size of the intention doesn't matter. In fact, intention without action harms self-confidence. People have been shown in studies to chronically overestimate their self-control ability. These two simple points reveal why so many people struggle to change. They have big ambitions, but overestimate their ability to make themselves do what it takes to change. It's a mismatch between desire and ability. 

    3. Doing a little bit every day has a greater impact than doing a lot on one day. How much greater? Profoundly so, because a little bit every day is enough to grow into a lifelong foundational habit, and those are a big deal, as you'll see.

    4. This book exists because I did one push-up on December 28, 2012. My ability to do 16 pull-ups in a row and my improved physique result from that same push-up. I read and write every single day because of that push-up. That one push-up was the first step that led to all of these great changes in my life. Every great accomplishment rests on the foundation of what came before it; when you trace it back, you'll see one small step that started it all. Without that one push-up, I'd still be struggling to get motivated to go to the gym, and to read and write consistently. That push-up lead me to discover this new strategy, which turned into these great benefits. Are you ready to hear the story of the one small action that changed everything for me? 

    5. How It Began: The One Push-up Challenge I'm thinking about naming it “the golden push-up.” It was December 28, 2012 and the new year was near.

    6. Ever since my later years of high school, I had tried to make exercise a habit. But for ten years it never stuck, despite my efforts. Those aren't the types of results that instill confidence in oneself! My motivational bursts to change would usually last me about two weeks before I'd quit for one reason or another. Sometimes there was no reason; I'd just stop. Wanting to do something before the arbitrary January 1st starting point associated with resolutions, I decided to start by exercising right there on the spot for 30 minutes. But I stood motionless. I couldn’t get motivated. I went through my usual “get motivated” routine. Come on Stephen. True champions put in the extra work. I tried listening to up-tempo music, visualizing myself with a great beach body, etc. Nothing worked. I felt out of shape, lethargic, and worthless to the point that I couldn't do anything. A 30-minute workout looked like Mount Everest. The idea of exercise was wholly unappealing. I felt so defeated, and I was. It wasn't just the time or the effort of a 30-minute workout that intimidated me, it was the total amount of work I needed to put in to reach my fitness desires. It was the vast distance between here and there. A year's worth of workouts weighed on my mind. I felt guilty, overwhelmed, and discouraged before I had even done anything! The Turning Point Months earlier, I had read a fantastic creative thinking and problem-solving book called Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko. One of the creative thinking “toys” he talks about is called False Faces. In False Faces, you consider the opposite of what you're currently thinking, and see what creative ideas emerge from that. A crude example: instead of building a skyscraper, what if you built a structure deep into the earth? This generates creative ideas by forcing your mind to zoom out and see the spectrum of possibilities. I had a problem to solve, and this technique popped into my head, so I thought about the opposite of a 30-minute workout. Eating ice cream and watching TV would be one opposite of exercise. Then I considered that a full 30 minutes just seemed like such a huge challenge in that moment (i.e. Everest). Another opposite, I decided, could be the workout’s size. What if, instead of this big 30-minute commitment of sweat and discomfort, I did a single push-up? I would have no requirement to do more—just one push-up.

    7. The true opposite of my Mount Everest workout. I laughed off the idea, literally. How pathetic! One push-up isn't going to help anything. I really need to put in more work than that! But every time I switched back to my first plan, I couldn't do it. After I got tired of failing to do the 30-minute workout, I thought, Whatever, I'll do one push-up. I got down on the ground, did one push-up, and changed my life for good. *** When I got into push-up position, I noticed it was exactly the same as the start to an actual 30-minute workout. I did my push-up; my shoulder popped, my elbows needed WD-40; it felt like my muscles were waking up from a 24-year nap. But I did a few more since I was already in position. Every push-up was an annoyance to my underused muscles and stubborn brain. As I stood up, I concluded that it was better than nothing. Mind you, I still felt like quitting at this point. But then I had the idea to set another small challenge of one pull-up. It was too easy to turn down. I got my pull-up bar set up and did one. Then I did a few more. Interesting, I thought, this is hard, but not as hard as I was making it out to be. My muscles were warming up. My motivation to do more had definitely increased, but it was so low to start with (and I was so out of shape) that I still had plenty of internal resistance. I continued on with the same strategy, going as small as necessary to continue. During one push-up session in my workout, I had to set seven micro goals like so: ok, one more, ok, two more, now one more. Every time I baited myself with a beyond-easy challenge, I met or exceeded it. It felt nice to hit my targets, however small. When I finished, I had exercised for 20 minutes, and felt great about it. 

    8. Mini habits are for good habits only—adding positive behaviors to your life to enrich it for years. Breaking bad habits and making good habits do have the same goal—replacing a default behavior with a better behavior. With bad habits, your primary motivation for change is an away response from something bad. With good habits, your primary motivation for change is a toward response to something good. Mini habits focuses on the toward response.

    9. A mini habit is basically a much smaller version of a new habit you want to form. 100 push-ups daily is minified into one push-up daily. Writing 3,000 words daily becomes writing 50 words daily. Thinking positively all the time becomes thinking two positive thoughts per day. Living an entrepreneurial lifestyle becomes thinking of two ideas per day (among other entrepreneurial things). The foundation of the Mini Habits system is in “stupid small” steps. The concept of small steps is nothing new, but how and why they work have not been adequately dissected. Of course, small steps are relative too; a small step for you could be a giant leap for me. Saying “stupid small” clarifies it, because if a step sounds stupid relative to the most you can do, it's perfect. The power of the Mini Habits system is in the application, mindset, built-in positive feedback looping, naturally increasing self-efficacy, and of course, leveraging small steps into habits. This will be explained, but it's also built in; it's a simple system with a complex, smart backing. The way we act on these mini habits is by using a small amount of willpower to force ourselves to do them. It doesn't take a lot of willpower to do one push-up or come up with a couple of ideas. The benefit from following the Mini Habits system is surprisingly big results. First, there's a great chance that you'll do “bonus reps” after you meet your small requirement. This is because we already desire these positive behaviors, and starting them reduces internal resistance. 

    10. The second benefit is the routine. Even if you don't exceed your small requirement, the behavior will begin to become a (mini) habit. From there, do bonus reps or scale the habit up. Another benefit is constant success. A bank may be too big to fail, but mini habits are too small to fail; and so they lack the common destructive feelings of guilt and inadequacy that come with goal failure. This is one of the very few systems that practically guarantees success every day thanks to a potent encouragement spiral and always-attainable targets. Mini habits have made me feel unstoppable; prior to starting mini habits, I felt unstartable. To summarize, a mini habit is a VERY small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day. Small steps work every time, and habits are built by consistency, so the two were meant to be together. Hey, it’s still a better love story than Twilight.

    11. To summarize, a mini habit is a VERY small positive behavior that you force yourself to do every day.

    12.  A Duke University study concluded that about 45% of our behavior is from habit. They are even more important than this 45% stake suggests, because habits are frequently repeated behaviors (often daily), and this repetition adds up to big benefits or big damage in the long run.

    13.  The most-cited viable study on habit formation duration was published in 2009 in the European Journal Of Social Psychology. Each participant chose an “eating, drinking or activity behavior to carry out daily in the same context (for example ‘after breakfast’) for 12 weeks.” And what did they find?  The average time for a behavior to become habit was 66 days. But the range was wild, from 18 to 254 days, showing that there is huge variation in people's time to reach habit automaticity, and that it can end up taking a very long time in some cases. 21- and 30-day challenges are popular, but they're highly unlikely to form many types of habits. Drinking a glass of water every day could fall into the 21-day window, but something more challenging like 100 sit-ups daily could take a couple hundred days or more to become habit.  That's the bad news. The good news is that habits aren't snap on, snap off—if you do 100 sit-ups for 60 days, day 61 will be much easier for you than day one was, even if it isn't completely automatic yet. Building a habit is like riding a bike up a steep incline that levels out, peaks, and goes down.To start, you have to push with all the force your legs can muster. It gets progressively easier after that, but you must keep pedaling until you reach the top of the hill or you'll go backwards and lose your progress.

    14. Repetition is the language of the (subconscious) brain.

    15. So really, the two keys to habit change as far as the brain is concerned are repetition and reward. It will be more willing to repeat something when there is a reward. 

    16. Stress has been shown to increase habitual behavior—for better or worse! Two experiments at UCLA and one at Duke University found that stress increased people's gravitation toward habitual behavior. Based on her study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,  Professor Wendy Wood argues: “People can’t make decisions easily when stressed, are low in willpower or feeling overwhelmed. When you are too tired to make a decision, you tend to just repeat what you usually do.” This holds true for both good and bad habits and is a crucial insight for their importance in our lives.

    17. The human brain is slow-changing and stable; it has routines and a framework that allow it to respond consistently to the world. Having a slow-changing brain is frustrating at times, but overall, it's highly beneficial. Imagine if your personality and life could transform overnight—you would go crazy!

    18. The only way to create habits is to teach the rest of your brain to like what the prefrontal cortex wants. The prefrontal cortex is what resists chocolate cake (if at all possible), wants to learn French, wants to be fit, and would like to write a book someday. It's the conscious part of your brain that you'd identify as “you.”
    But the problem is that it tires out easily. Perhaps more accurately, because its functions are so powerful, it's an energy hog that tires you out. And when you tire out (or are stressed, as we covered), the repetitious part takes over. The basal ganglia isn't conscious or aware of higher-level goals that are unique to humans. But it is an efficient pattern-repeater that saves us energy. So while it may not be “intelligent” like the prefrontal cortex, it is an incredibly important part of the brain. And once we train the basal ganglia to do positive behaviors automatically, we're really going to love it.

    19. 

    When motivation is at its peak (lower right corner), willpower cost is zero or negligible. That's because you don't need to force yourself to do something you already really want to do. But when motivation drops to zero, strong internal resistance means that the willpower “cost” is high (upper left corner, where willpower cost is 100 and motivation is 0).

    20. A destructive habit to have is believing that you have to be motivated to act.

    21. The five biggest factors found to cause ego depletion were effort, perceived difficulty, negative affect, subjective fatigue, and blood glucose levels.

    22. Result with mini habits: very little ego depletion.

    23. Many times, I have planned to “just write my 50” and ended up writing 3,000 words. As I mentioned earlier, I once wrote 1,000 words with a headache and no energy. I felt like Superman after doing that. I looked back on the times I was completely healthy and energetic but wasted time, and then saw what I did with a headache and no energy, and got even more excited to share this book with the world.

    24. Another interesting and encouraging anecdote in favor of mini habits is related to Allen Carr's book titled The Easy Way To Quit Smoking. Carr’s book has produced greater-than-expected results for helping people quit smoking. And do you know what the basic technique is? Do you know what the difference between Carr’s book and most other quit smoking strategies is? Rick Paulas discusses the surprising success in his article about the book: What’s most shocking about the book’s contents is perhaps what’s missing. There are no stats about lung cancer, heart attacks, or strokes.

    25. Carr’s five-hour seminar based on the book has a 53.3% success rate, and that absolutely blows other methods out of the water (other methods have a roughly 10-20% success rate). It’s surprising, because it’s just information. It isn’t hands on. It’s not a patch that delivers nicotine to the bloodstream. And the secret? The key ingredient? The magic? He gets smokers to believe, consciously and subconsciously, that quitting smoking is easy. When you believe, as many do, that quitting smoking is so hard—doesn't it make sense that maybe your own mind is making it difficult? Mini habits make you believe that adding healthy behaviors is easy.

    26. Be the person with embarrassing goals and impressive results instead of one of the many people with impressive goals and embarrassing results.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant
    tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1152670 2017-05-09T08:51:32Z 2017-05-09T08:57:04Z After their own kind

    So, I am the School Adviser for the chess club.  How did that come about?  A former student

    wanted to form a chess club and they need a Teacher Adviser.  Someone had mention to him

    that I played chess, so I was asked to fill the position, to which I consented.  The thesis of

    this essay is after their own kind; what I mean by this is that the activities that you engage in

    would produce more of the same activities.


    I am sure if you observe your own life this is the case; the activities that you engage in, 

    you get more of the same activities.   It was the case with becoming adviser for the chess club;

    I played chess, so it was like here is more chess activity to do. Before I started teaching, no one

    I had previously asked me to tutor their kid.  These days it is pretty common for people to request 

    such of me.


    After their own kind, also works with the type of people you are around.  If you hang with liars

    and cheats, your friends circle proliferates with liars and cheats.  Please don't ask me how I know 

    this.  One person of a particular character will introduce you to others of similar nature, who then introduces

    another likeminded individual etc.  


    So, how do I do I use this observation?  Well, associate with honest, kind  and caring individuals; 

    don't engage in activities that you don't like doing or shouldn't be doing.

    ]]>
    Chester Grant