tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:/posts Chester Grant 2023-12-03T18:02:11Z Chester Grant tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/2057962 2023-12-03T16:19:06Z 2023-12-03T18:02:11Z Summary : On Mental Toughness by Harvard Business Review

1. The main obstacle to achieving “the impossible” may be a self-limiting mind-set.

2. You can’t stay at the top if you aren’t comfortable in high-stress situations. Indeed, the ability to remain cool under fire is the one trait of elite performers that is most often thought of as inborn. But in fact you can learn to love the pressure—for driving you to perform better than you ever thought you could. To do that, however, you have to first make a choice to devote yourself passionately to self-improvement.

3. People who are as self-motivated as Jack or Darren Clarke rarely indulge in self-flagellation. That’s not to say that elite performers aren’t hard on themselves; they would not have gotten so far without being hard on themselves. But when things go awry, business and sports superstars dust themselves off and move on.

4. Much of star athletes’ ability to rebound from defeat comes from an intense focus on long-term goals and aspirations.

5. The trick here is to meticulously plan short-term goals so that performance will peak at major, rather than minor, events.

6. Use the Competition - It’s common in track-and-field sports for two elite athletes from different countries to train together.

7. If you hope to make it to the very top, like Murray, you too will need to make sure you “train” with the people who will push you the hardest.

8. Smart companies consciously create situations in which their elite performers push one another to levels they would never reach if they were working with less-accomplished colleagues. Talent development programs that bring together a company’s stars for intensive training often serve precisely such a purpose. If you want to become a world-class executive, getting into such a program should be one of your first goals.

9. Shotton had an insatiable appetite for feedback—a quality I have seen in all the top business performers I have worked with. They have a particularly strong need for instant, in the moment feedback.

10. Celebrate the Victories - Elite performers know how to party—indeed, they put almost as much effort into their celebrations as they do into their accomplishments.

11.  I once worked with a professional golfer who, as he worked his way up the ranks to the top of his sport, would reward himself with something he had prized as a young player—an expensive watch, a fancy car, a new home. These were reminders of his achievements and symbolized to him the hard work, commitment, and dedication he had put into golf for so many years.

12. Indeed, our recent research has led us to conclude that one of the most reliable indicators and predictors of true leadership is an individual’s ability to find meaning in negative events and to learn from even the most trying circumstances.

13. In the late 1960s I was part of the team that discovered “learned helplessness.” We found that dogs, rats, mice, and even cockroaches that experienced mildly painful shock over which they had no control would eventually just accept it, with no attempt to escape. It was next shown that human beings do the same thing.

14. Strangely, however, about a third of the animals and people who experience inescapable shocks or noise never become helpless. What is it about them that makes this so? Over 15 years of study, my colleagues and I discovered that the answer is optimism.

15. We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable. (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”)

16. That suggested how we might immunize people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure: by teaching them to think like optimists.

17. In the living laboratory of sports, we learned that the real enemy of high performance is not stress, which, paradoxical as it may seem, is actually the stimulus for growth. Rather, the problem is the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery. Chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leads to burnout and breakdown, and ultimately undermines performance.

18. Body language also influences emotions. In one well-known experiment, actors were asked to portray anger and then were subjected to numerous physiological tests, including heart rate, blood pressure, core temperature, galvanic skin response, and hormone levels. Next, the actors were exposed to a situation that made them genuinely angry, and the same measurements were taken. There were virtually no differences in the two profiles. Effective acting produces precisely the same physiology that real emotions do.

19. All great athletes understand this instinctively. If they carry themselves confidently, they will eventually start to feel confident, even in highly stressful situations.

20. That’s why we train our corporate clients to “act as if”—consciously creating the look on the outside that they want to feel on the inside. “You are what you repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit.”

21. We have found that individuals who adopt a “stress is enhancing” mind-set in their lives show greater work performance and fewer negative health symptoms than those who adopt a “stress-is-debilitating” lens.

22. We’ve identified four lenses through which managers can view adverse events to make this shift effectively.

23. Control. When a crisis hits, do you look for what you can improve now rather than trying to identify all the factors—even those beyond your control—that caused it in the first place? 

24. Impact. Can you sidestep the temptation to find the origins of the problem in yourself or others and focus instead on identifying what positive effects your personal actions might have? 

25. Breadth. Do you assume that the underlying cause of the crisis is specific and can be contained, or do you worry that it might cast a long shadow over all aspects of your life? 

26. Duration. How long do you believe that the crisis and its repercussions will last?

27. The first two lenses characterize an individual’s personal reaction to adversity, and the second two capture his or her impressions of the adversity’s magnitude.

28. Control Questions : 

  • Specifying: What aspects of the situation can I directly influence to change the course of this adverse event? 
  • Visualizing: What would the manager I most admire do in this situation? 
  • Collaborating: Who on my team can help me, and what’s the best way to engage that person or those people?

29. Impact Questions:

  • Specifying: How can I step up to make the most immediate, positive impact on this situation? 
  • Visualizing: What positive effect might my efforts have on those around me? 
  • Collaborating: How can I mobilize the efforts of those who are hanging back?

30. Breath Questions:

  • Specifying: What can I do to reduce the potential downside of this adverse event—by even 10%? What can I do to maximize the potential upside—by even 10%? 
  • Visualizing: What strengths and resources will my team and I develop by addressing this event?
  • Collaborating: What can each of us do on our own, and what can we do collectively, to contain the damage and transform the situation into an opportunity?

31. Duration Question:

  • Visualizing: What do I want life to look like on the other side of this adversity? 
  • Specifying: What can I do in the next few minutes, or hours, to move in that direction? 
  • Collaborating: What sequence of steps can we put together as a team, and what processes can we develop and adopt, to see us through to the other side of this hardship?

32. You won’t become more resilient simply because you’ve read this far and have made a mental note to pull out these questions the next time a destabilizing difficulty strikes. To strengthen your capacity for resilience, you need to internalize the questions by following two simple precepts:

33. Various studies on stress and coping with trauma demonstrate that the act of writing about difficult episodes can enhance an individual’s emotional and physical well-being. Indeed, writing offers people command over an adverse situation in a way that merely thinking about it does not. It’s best to treat the resilience regimen as a timed exercise: Give yourself at least 15 minutes, uninterrupted, to write down your responses to the 12 questions.

34. When you’re learning any new skill, repetition is critical. The resilience regimen is a long-term fitness plan, not a crash diet. You must ask and answer these questions daily if they are to become second nature.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/2038414 2023-10-22T13:58:40Z 2023-10-22T14:21:20Z Summary: Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins

1. So I sought out pain, fell in love with suffering, and eventually transformed myself from the weakest piece of shit on the planet into the hardest man God ever created, or so I tell myself.

2. That night, after taking a shower, I wiped the steam away from our corroded bathroom mirror and took a good look. I didn’t like who I saw staring back. I was a low-budget thug with no purpose and no future. I felt so disgusted I wanted to punch that motherfucker in the face and shatter glass. Instead, I lectured him. It was time to get real.

3. “Look at you,” I said. “Why do you think the Air Force wants your punk ass? You stand for nothing. You are an embarrassment.”

4. “You are one dumb motherfucker. You read like a third grader. You’re a fucking joke! You’ve never tried hard at anything in your life besides basketball, and you have goals? That’s fucking hilarious.”

5. “You don’t see people in the military sagging their pants. You need to stop talking like a wanna-be-gangster. None of this shit is gonna cut it! No more taking the easy way out! It’s time to grow the fuck up!”

6. The Accountability Mirror kept me on point from then on, and though I was still young when this strategy came through me, since then I’ve found it useful for people at any stage in life.

7. The Accountability Mirror kept me on point from then on, and though I was still young when this strategy came through me, since then I’ve found it useful for people at any stage in life.

8. From then on, I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort. If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your fucking running shoes on. Sometimes I wussed out and had to deal with it at the Accountability Mirror. But facing that mirror, facing myself, motivated me to fight through uncomfortable experiences, and, as a result, I became tougher. And being tough and resilient helped me meet my goals.

9. That’s when I first realized that not all physical and mental limitations are real, and that I had a habit of giving up way too soon.

10. Everything in life is a mind game! Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end.

11. Taking someone’s soul means you’ve gained a tactical advantage. Life is all about looking for tactical advantages, which is why we stole the Hell Week schedule, why we nipped Psycho’s heels on that run, and why I made a show of myself in the surf, humming the Platoon theme song. Each of those incidents was an act of defiance that empowered us.

12. When the water was chest high I began humming Adagio in Strings once more. Louder this time. Loud enough for that motherfucker to hear me over the crash of the surf. That song gave me life!

13. Physical training is the perfect crucible to learn how to manage your thought process because when you’re working out, your focus is more likely to be single pointed, and your response to stress and pain is immediate and measurable. Do you hammer hard and snag that personal best like you said you would, or do you crumble? That decision rarely comes down to physical ability, it’s almost always a test of how well you are managing your own mind.

14. The reason it’s important to push hardest when you want to quit the most is because it helps you callous your mind. It’s the same reason why you have to do your best work when you are the least motivated. That’s why I loved PT in BUD/S and why I still love it today. Physical challenges strengthen my mind so I’m ready for whatever life throws at me, and it will do the same for you.

15. Failure is a part of life and now we all had to press on.

16. I felt it viscerally, and I used that concept to stuff a new kind of Cookie Jar. Inside it were all my past victories.

17. Like the time when I had to study three times as hard as anybody else during my senior year in high school just to graduate. That was a cookie. Or when I passed the ASVAB test as a senior and then again to get into BUD/S. Two more cookies. I remembered dropping over a hundred pounds in under three months, conquering my fear of water, graduating BUD/S at the top of my class, and being named Enlisted Honor Man in Army Ranger School (more on that soon). All those were cookies loaded with chocolate chunks.

18. I actually tapped into the emotional state I felt during those victories, and in so doing accessed my sympathetic nervous system once again. My adrenaline took over, the pain started to fade just enough, and my pace picked up. I began swinging my arms and lengthening my stride. My fractured feet were still a bloody mess, full of blisters, the toenails peeling off almost every toe, but I kept pounding, and soon it was me who was slaloming runners with pained expressions as I raced the clock.

19. The engine in a rocket ship does not fire without a small spark first. We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones. Think of your small accomplishments as kindling. When you want a bonfire, you don’t start by lighting a big log. You collect some witch’s hair—a small pile of hay or some dry, dead grass. You light that, and then add small sticks and bigger sticks before you feed your tree stump into the blaze. Because it’s the small sparks, which start small fires, that eventually build enough heat to burn the whole fucking forest down.

20. I’m talking about utilizing past successes to fuel you to new and bigger ones. Because in the heat of battle, when shit gets real, we need to draw inspiration to push through our own exhaustion, depression, pain, and misery. We need to spark a bunch of small fires to become the motherfucking inferno.

21. By now, I’m sure you can tell that it doesn’t take much for me to become obsessed. Some criticize my level of passion, but I’m not down with the prevailing mentalities that tend to dominate American society these days; the ones that tell us to go with the flow or invite us to learn how to get more with less effort. Fuck that shortcut bullshit.

22. Sadly, most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give!

23. But nobody taps their reserve 60 percent right away or all at once. The first step is to remember that your initial blast of pain and fatigue is your governor talking. Once you do that, you are in control of the dialogue in your mind, and you can remind yourself that you are not as drained as you think. That you haven’t given it your all. Not even close. Buying into that will keep you in the fight, and that’s worth an extra 5 percent. Of course, that’s easier read than done.

24. Most of us are motivated as hell to do anything to pursue our dreams until those around us remind us of the danger, the downside, our own limitations, and all the people before us that didn’t make it. Sometimes the advice comes from a well-intentioned place. They really believe they are doing it for our own good but if you let them, these same people will talk you out of your dreams, and your governor will help them do it.

25. That’s one reason I invented the Cookie Jar. We must create a system that constantly reminds us who the fuck we are when we are at our best, because life is not going to pick us up when we fall.

26. From this point forward, accept the following as Goggins’s laws of nature: 

  • You will be made fun of. 
  • You will feel insecure. 
  • You may not be the best all the time. 
  • You may be the only black, white, Asian, Latino, female, male [fill in your identity here] in a given situation. 
  • There will be times when you feel alone. 

Get over it!

27. In the military we always say we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

28. First, a quick reminder of how this process works. In 1999, when I weighed 297 pounds, my first run was a quarter mile. Fast forward to 2007, I ran 205 miles in thirty-nine hours, nonstop. I didn’t get there overnight, and I don’t expect you to either. Your job is to push past your normal stopping point.

29. Whether you are running on a treadmill or doing a set of push-ups, get to the point where you are so tired and in pain that your mind is begging you to stop. Then push just 5 to 10 percent further. If the most push-ups you have ever done is one hundred in a workout, do 105 or 110. If you normally run thirty miles each week, run 10 percent more next week.

30. This gradual ramp-up will help prevent injury and allow your body and mind to slowly adapt to your new workload. It also resets your baseline, which is important because you’re about to increase your workload another 5 to 10 percent the following week, and the week after that.

31. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.

32. For years I’ve lived like a monk. I don’t see or spend time with a lot of people. My circle is very tight. I post on social media once or twice a week and I never check anybody else’s feeds because I don’t follow anyone. That’s just me. I’m not saying you need to be that unforgiving, because you and I probably don’t share the same goals. But I know you have goals too, and room for improvement, or you wouldn’t be reading my book, and I guarantee that if you audited your schedule you’d find time for more work and less bullshit.

33. A lot of us surround ourselves with people who speak to our desire for comfort. People who would rather treat the pain of our wounds and prevent further injury than help us callous over them and try again. We need to surround ourselves with people who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear, but at the same time not make us feel we’re up against the impossible. My mother was my biggest fan. Whenever I failed in life she was always asking me when and where I would go after it again. She never said, Well, maybe it isn’t meant to be.

34. In life, there is no gift as overlooked or inevitable as failure. I’ve had quite a few and have learned to relish them, because if you do the forensics you’ll find clues about where to make adjustments and how to eventually accomplish your task.

35. If I was going to be the next athlete to smash popular perception, I’d need to stop listening to doubt, whether it streamed in from the outside or bubbled up from within, and the best way to do that was to decide that the pull-up record was already mine.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/2037953 2023-10-19T18:22:01Z 2023-10-19T18:46:48Z Summary: Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

1.When psychologists isolate the personal qualities that predict “positive outcomes” in life, they consistently find two traits: intelligence and self-control. So far researchers still haven’t learned how to permanently increase intelligence. But they have discovered, or at least rediscovered, how to improve self-control.

2. As Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man, “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.”

3. The researchers concluded that people spend at least a fifth of their waking hours resisting desires—between three and four hours per day.

4. To ward off temptation, people reported using various strategies. The most popular was to look for a distraction or to undertake a new activity, although sometimes they tried suppressing it directly or simply toughing their way through it.

5. Overall, they succumbed to about a sixth of the temptations. They were relatively good at avoiding naps, sex, and the urge to spend money, but only mediocre at passing up food and soft drinks.

6. When they tried resisting the lure of television the Web, and other media sirens, they failed nearly half the time.

7. When researchers compared students’ grades with nearly three dozen personality traits, self-control turned out to be the only trait that predicted a college student’s grade-point average better than chance. Self-control also proved to be a better predictor of college grades than the student’s IQ or SAT score.

8. Although raw intelligence was obviously an advantage, the study showed that self-control was more important because it helped the students show up more reliably for classes, start their homework earlier, and spend more time working and less time watching television.

9. Thus was born “ego depletion,” Baumeister’s term for describing people’s diminished capacity to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

10. People can sometimes overcome mental fatigue, but Baumeister found that if they had used up energy by exerting willpower (or by making decisions, another form of ego depletion that we’ll discuss later), they would eventually succumb.

11. The results showed that ego depletion causes a slowdown in the anterior cingulate cortex, the brain area that’s crucial to self-control. As the brain slows down and its error-detection ability deteriorates, people have trouble controlling their reactions. They must struggle to accomplish tasks that would get done much more easily if the ego weren’t depleted.

12. In these experiments, while depleted persons (once again) didn’t show any single telltale emotion, they did react more strongly to all kinds of things. A sad movie made them extra sad. Joyous pictures made them happier, and disturbing pictures made them more frightened and upset. Ice-cold water felt more painful to them than it did to people who were not ego-depleted. Desires intensified along with feelings. After eating a cookie, the people reported a stronger craving to eat another cookie—and they did in fact eat more cookies when given a chance.

13. So if you’d like some advance warning of trouble, look not for a single symptom but rather for a change in the overall intensity of your feelings.

14. Ego depletion thus creates a double whammy: Your willpower is diminished and your cravings feel stronger than ever. The problem can be particularly acute for people struggling with addiction. Researchers have long noticed that cravings are especially strong during withdrawal.

15. What stress really does, though, is deplete willpower, which diminishes your ability to control those emotions.

16. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.

17. You use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks.

18. You might think you have one reservoir of self-control for work, another for dieting, another for exercise, and another for being nice to your family. But the radish experiment showed that two completely unrelated activities—resisting chocolate and working on geometry puzzles—drew on the same source of energy, and this phenomenon has been demonstrated over and over.

19. Ego depletion affects even your heartbeat. When people in laboratory experiments exercise mental self-control, their pulse becomes more erratic; conversely, people whose normal pulse is relatively variable seem to have more inner energy available for self-control, because they do better on laboratory tests of perseverance than do people with steadier heartbeats.

20. Focus on one project at a time. If you set more than one self-improvement goal, you may succeed for a while by drawing on reserves to power through, but that just leaves you more depleted and more prone to serious mistakes later.

21. The link between glucose and self-control appeared in studies of people with hypoglycemia, the tendency to have low blood sugar. Researchers noted that hypoglycemics were more likely than the average person to have trouble concentrating and controlling their negative emotions when provoked. Overall, they tended to be more anxious and less happy than average. Hypoglycemia was also reported to be unusually prevalent among criminals and other violent persons, and some creative defense attorneys brought the low-blood-sugar research into court.

22. No glucose, no willpower: The pattern showed up time and again as researchers tested more people in more situations.

23. When you’re tired, sleep. Adults routinely shortchange themselves on sleep, and the result is less self-control. By resting, we reduce the body’s demands for glucose, and we also improve its overall ability to make use of the glucose in the bloodstream.

24. For decades, psychologists have been debating the merits of proximal goals (which are short-term objectives) versus distal goals (which are long-term objectives).

25. The group with the proximal goals outperformed everyone else when the program was over and competence was tested. They succeeded, apparently, because meeting these daily goals gradually built their confidence and self-efficacy. With their focus on a specific goal for each session, they learned better and faster than the others. Even though they spent less time per session, they got more done, thus progressing through all the material faster.

26. It turned out that the distal goals were no better than having no goals at all. Only the proximal goals produced improvements in learning, self-efficacy, and performance.

27. Psychologists distinguish two main types of mental processes, automatic and controlled. Automatic processes, processes, like multiplying 4 times 7, can be done without exertion. If someone says “4 times 7,” 28 probably pops into your head whether you want it to or not—that’s why the process is called automatic. In contrast, computing 26 times 30 requires mental effort as you go through the steps of multiplying to come up with 780.

28. Once decision fatigue set in, people tended to settle for the recommended option.

29. A quick dose of glucose can counteract this short-term thinking, as researchers demonstrated by giving people a soft drink just before asking them to make choices between quick-but-small versus larger-but-later rewards.

30. Advertising agencies figured out long ago that men are more likely to splurge on a luxury product if it’s shown next to a beautiful woman.

31. I have never known a man who was too idle to attend to his affairs & accounts, who did not get into difficulties; & he who habitually is in money difficulties, very rarely keeps scrupulously honourable, & God forbid that this should ever be your fate. —Charles Darwin, in a letter to his son accompanying a check to pay off the young man’s debts

32. Those who focused on what they had already done did not seem eager to move on to more difficult and challenging tasks. They were reasonably content with where they were and what they were currently doing. For contentment, apparently, it pays to look at how far you’ve come. To stoke motivation and ambition, focus instead on the road ahead.

33. Exercising self-control in one area seemed to improve all areas of life.

34. We’ve said that willpower is humans’ greatest strength, but the best strategy is not to rely on it in all situations. Save it for emergencies. As Stanley discovered, there are mental tricks that enable you to conserve willpower for those moments when it’s indispensable.

35. Precommitment. The essence of this strategy is to lock yourself into a virtuous path. You recognize that you’ll face terrible temptations to stray from the path, and that your willpower will weaken. So you make it impossible—or somehow unthinkably disgraceful or sinful—to leave the path. Precommitment is what Odysseus and his men used to get past the deadly songs of the Sirens. He had himself lashed to the mast with orders not to be untied no matter how much he pleaded to be freed to go to the Sirens. His men used a different form of precommitment by plugging their ears so they couldn’t hear the Sirens’ songs. They prevented themselves from being tempted at all, which is generally the safer of the two approaches.

36. What began as a precommitment turned into something permanent and more valuable: a habit.

37. The behaviors they had coded as automatic tended to be linked to habits, whereas the more controlled sorts of behaviors tended to be unusual or one-time-only actions. Self-control turned out to be most effective when people used it to establish good habits and break bad ones.

38. Some would collect information until they were ready and then write a manuscript in a burst of intense energy, over perhaps a week or two, possibly including some long days and very late nights. Others plodded along at a steadier pace, trying to write a page or two every day. Others were in between. When Boice followed up on the group some years later, he found that their paths had diverged sharply. The page-a-day folks had done well and generally gotten tenure. The so-called “binge writers” fared far less well, and many had had their careers cut short. The clear implication was that the best advice for young writers and aspiring professors is: Write every day. Use your self-control to form a daily habit, and you’ll produce more with less effort in the long run.

39. We know that self-control starts with setting standards or goals, and we can see that AA helps people set a clear and attainable goal: Do not have a drink today. (AA’s mantra is “One day at a time.”)

40. Self-control depends on monitoring, and AA offers help there, too. Members get chips for remaining sober for certain numbers of consecutive days, and when they get up to speak, they often start by saying how many days they have been sober. Members also choose a sponsor, with whom they are supposed to remain in regular, even daily, contact—and that, too, is a powerful boost for monitoring.

41. “bright lines,” a term that Ainslie borrows from lawyers. These are clear, simple, unambiguous rules. You can’t help but notice when you cross a bright line.

42. Zero tolerance is a bright line: total abstinence with no exceptions anytime. It’s not practical for all self-control problems—a dieter cannot stop eating all food—but it works well in many situations. Once you’re committed to following a bright-line rule, your present self can feel confident that your future self will observe it, too.

43. Mischel found some support for the ethnic stereotypes, but in the process he stumbled on a much bigger and more meaningful effect. Children who had a father in the home were far more willing than others to choose the delayed reward. Most of the racial and ethnic variation could be explained by this difference, because the Indian children generally lived with both parents, whereas a fair number of the African children lived with a single mother. The value of fatherhood was also evident when Mischel analyzed just the African homes: About half of the children living with fathers chose the delayed reward, but none of the children in fatherless homes were willing to wait. Similarly, none of the Indian children living without a father were willing to wait.

44. Even after researchers control for socioeconomic factors and other variables, it turns out that children from two-parent homes get better grades in school. They’re healthier and better-adjusted emotionally. They have more satisfying social lives and engage in less antisocial behavior. They’re more likely to attend an elite university and less likely to go to prison.

45. Lack of adult supervision during the teenage years turned out to be one of the strongest predictors of criminal behavior.

46. A simple commitment strategy for avoiding late-night snacking is to brush your teeth early in the evening, while you’re still full from dinner and before the late-night-snacking temptation sets in. Although it won’t physically prevent you from eating, brushing your teeth is such an ingrained pre-bedtime habit that it unconsciously cues you not to eat anymore.

47. You can also try a strategy that psychologists call an “implementation intention,” which is a way to reduce the amount of time and effort you spend controlling your thoughts. Instead of making general plans to reduce calories, you make highly specific plans for automatic behavior in certain situations, like what to do when you’re tempted by fattening food at a party. An implementation intention takes the form of if-then: If x happens, I will do y. The more you use this technique to transfer the control of your behavior to automatic processes, the less effort you will expend.

48. Successful people don’t use their willpower as a last-ditch defense to stop themselves from disaster, at least not as a regular strategy, as Baumeister and his colleagues have observed recently on both sides of the Atlantic.

49. The researchers were surprised to find that people with strong self-control spent less time resisting desires than other people did.

50. These people have less need to use willpower because they’re beset by fewer temptations and inner conflicts. They’re better at arranging their lives so that they avoid problem situations.

51. Baumeister, showing that people with good self-control mainly use it not for rescue in emergencies but rather to develop effective habits and routines in school and at work.

52. “The secret of my incredible energy and efficiency in getting work done is a simple one,” Benchley wrote. “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” 

53. Benchley recognized a phenomenon that Baumeister and Tice also documented in their term-paper study: Procrastinators typically avoid one task by doing something else, and rarely do they sit there doing nothing at all. But there’s a better way to exploit that tendency, as Raymond Chandler recognized.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/2035259 2023-10-18T12:54:59Z 2023-10-18T12:55:06Z Summary: Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck

1. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

2. The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

3. The fixed mindset makes you concerned with how you’ll be judged; the growth mindset makes you concerned with improving.

4. Not long ago I was interested to read about Marina Semyonova, a great Russian dancer and teacher, who devised a novel way of selecting her students. It was a clever test for mindset. As a former student tells it, “Her students first have to survive a trial period while she watches to see how you react to praise and to correction. Those more responsive to the correction are deemed worthy.”

5. Is there another way to judge potential? NASA thought so. When they were soliciting applications for astronauts, they rejected people with pure histories of success and instead selected people who had had significant failures and bounced back from them.

6. As a New York Times article points out, failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). This is especially true in the fixed mindset.

7. Even in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.

8. John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them.

9. People with the fixed mindset tell us, “If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.” They add, “Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.”

10. It’s also important to realize that even if people have a fixed mindset, they’re not always in that mindset. In fact, in many of our studies, we put people into a growth mindset. We tell them that an ability can be learned and that the task will give them a chance to do that.

11. These experiences make our research participants into growth-minded thinkers, at least for the moment—and they act like growth-minded thinkers, too.

12. Since this was a kind of IQ test, you might say that praising ability lowered the students’ IQs. And that praising their effort raised them.

13. Andrew Carnegie once said, “I wish to have as my epitaph: ‘Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he.’ ”

14. Jack Welch, Lou Gerstner, and Anne Mulcahy are also fascinating because they transformed their companies. They did this by rooting out the fixed mindset and putting a culture of growth and teamwork in its place.

15. First, it means that our best bet is not simply to hire the most talented managers we can find and turn them loose, but to look for managers who also embody a growth mindset: a zest for teaching and learning, an openness to giving and receiving feedback, and an ability to confront and surmount obstacles.

16. One problem is that people with the fixed mindset expect everything good to happen automatically.

17. Remember the fixed-mindset idea that if you have ability, you shouldn’t have to work hard? This is the same belief applied to relationships: If you’re compatible, everything should just come naturally.

18. When people with a fixed mindset talk about their conflicts, they assign blame. Sometimes they blame themselves, but often they blame their partner. And they assign blame to a trait—a character flaw.

19. Many educators think that lowering their standards will give students success experiences, boost their self-esteem, and raise their achievement. It comes from the same philosophy as the overpraising of students’ intelligence. Well, it doesn’t work. Lowering standards just leads to poorly educated students who feel entitled to easy work and lavish praise.

20. He didn’t ask for mistake-free games. He didn’t demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. “Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?” If so, he says, “You may be outscored but you will never lose.”

21. A growth mindset is about believing people can develop their abilities.

22. These concrete plans—plans you can visualize—about when, where, and how you are going to do something lead to really high levels of follow-through, which, of course, ups the chances of success. So the idea is not only to make a growth-mindset plan, but also to visualize, in a concrete way, how you’re going to carry it out.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1966536 2023-04-16T11:45:08Z 2023-08-29T01:40:02Z Summary : Don't make me think(revisited) - Steve Krug

1. If something requires a large investment of time—or looks like it will—it’s less likely to be used.

2. If something is usable—whether it’s a Web site, a remote control, or a revolving door—it means that A person of average (or even below average) ability and experience can figure out how to use the thing to accomplish something without it being more trouble than it’s worth.

3. As far as is humanly possible, when I look at a Web page it should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory. Don't make me think.

4. All kinds of things on a Web page can make us stop and think unnecessarily. Take names, for example. Typical culprits are cute or clever names, marketing-induced names, company-specific names, and unfamiliar technical names.

5. FACT OF LIFE #1: We don’t read pages. We scan them. One of the very few well-documented facts about Web use is that people tend to spend very little time reading most Web pages. Instead, we scan (or skim) them, looking for words or phrases that catch our eye.

6. FACT OF LIFE #2: We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice. In reality, though, most of the time we don’t choose the best option—we choose the first reasonable option, a strategy known as satisficing.

7. FACT OF LIFE #3: We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through. Faced with any sort of technology, very few people take the time to read instructions. Instead, we forge ahead and muddle through, making up our own vaguely plausible stories about what we’re doing and why it works.

8. Design for scanning :

  • Take advantage of conventions  - One of the best ways to make almost anything easier to grasp in a hurry is to follow the existing conventions 
  • Create effective visual hierarchies  - A good visual hierarchy saves us work by preprocessing the page for us, organizing and prioritizing its contents in a way that we can grasp almost instantly.
  • Break pages up into clearly defined areas  - Dividing the page into clearly defined areas is important because it allows users to decide quickly which areas of the page to focus on and which areas they can safely ignore.
  • Make it obvious what’s clickable  
  • Eliminate distractions  
  • Format content to support scanning - Use plenty of headings. Keep paragraphs short. Use bulleted lists.  Highlight key terms.

9. Don’t make me think! KRUG’S FIRST LAW OF USABILITY

10. It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice. —KRUG’S SECOND LAW OF USABILITY

11. Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left. —KRUG’S THIRD LAW OF USABILITY

12. The one thing you can’t afford to lose in the shuffle—and the thing that most often gets lost—is conveying the big picture. As quickly and clearly as possible, the Home page needs to answer the four questions I have in my head when I enter a new site for the first time:

  • What is this?
  • What do they have here?
  • What can I do here?
  • Why should I be here and not somewhere else?

13. Nothing beats a good tagline!™ A tagline is a pithy phrase that characterizes the whole enterprise, summing up what it is and what makes it great.

14. Usability tests are about watching one person at a time try to use something (whether it’s a Web site, a prototype, or some sketches of a new design) to do typical tasks so you can detect and fix the things that confuse or frustrate them.

15. Do-It-Yourself Testing:

  • Primary purpose is to identify the most serious issues. You can find more problems in half a day than you can fix in a month.
  • One morning a month includes testing, debriefing and deciding what to fix 
  • Three participants - And three users are very likely to encounter many of the most significant problems related to the tasks that you’re testing.
  • Recruit loosely, if necessary. Doing frequent testing is more important than testing actual users
  • A 1-2 page summarising decisions made during team's debriefing.

16. After each test session, list the three most serious usability problems you noticed.

17. What happens during a typical one-hour testing:

  • Welcome (4 mins) - You begin by explaining how the test work so the participants knows what to expect.
  • The questions (2 mins). Next you ask the participant a few questions about themselves. This helps put them at ease and gives an idea of how computer-savvy they are.
  • The Home page tour (3 mins). Then you open the Home page of the site you’re testing and ask the participant to look around and tell you what they make of it. This will give you an idea of how easy it is to understand your Home page and how much the participant already knows your domain.
  • The tasks (35 mins). This is the heart of the test: watching the participant try to perform a series of tasks (or in some cases, just one long task). Again, your job is to make sure the participant stays focused on the tasks and keeps thinking aloud. If the participant stops saying what they’re thinking, prompt them by saying—wait for it—“What are you thinking?” (For variety, you can also say things like “What are you looking at?” and “What are you doing now?”)
  • Probing (5 mins). After the tasks, you can ask the participant questions
  • Wrapping up (5 mins). Finally, you thank them for their help, pay them, and show them to the door.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1924110 2023-01-02T03:10:05Z 2023-01-02T03:10:06Z Summary : Altered Traits by Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson

1. We aim to shift the conversation with a radical reinterpretation of what the actual benefits of meditation are—and are not—and what the true aim of practice has always been

2. We had a big idea: beyond the pleasant states meditation can produce, the real payoffs are the lasting traits that can result. An altered trait—a new characteristic that arises from a meditation practice —endures apart from meditation itself. Altered traits shape how we behave in our daily lives, not just during or immediately after we meditate

3. Meditation is a catch-all word for myriad varieties of contemplative practice, just as sports refers to a wide range of athletic activities. For both sports and meditation, the end results vary depending on what you actually do.

4. Some practical advice: for those about to start a meditation practice, or who have been grazing among several, keep in mind that as with gaining skill in a given sport, finding a meditation practice that appeals to you and sticking with it will have the greatest benefits. Just find one to try, decide on the amount of time each day you can realistically practice daily—even as short as a few minutes— try it for a month, and see how you feel after those thirty days.

5. Just as regular workouts give you better physical fitness, most any type of meditation will enhance mental fitness to some degree.

6. We offer a clear-eyed view based on hard science, sifting out results that are not nearly as compelling as the claims made for them.

7. With mindfulness, the meditator simply notes without reactivity whatever comes into mind, such as thoughts or sensory impressions like sounds—and lets them go. The operative word here is go. If we think much of anything about what just arose, or let it trigger any reactivity at all, we have lost our mindful stance—unless that reaction or thought in turn becomes the object of mindfulness.

8. Neuroplasticity, he explained, shows that repeated experience can change the brain, shaping it. We don’t have to choose between nature or nurture. They interact, each molding the other.

9. Try this. Look straight ahead and hold up a finger with your arm outstretched. Still looking straight ahead, slowly shift that finger until it is about two feet to the right of your nose. When you move your finger far to the right, but stay focused straight ahead, it lands in your peripheral vision, the outer edge of what your visual system takes in.  

10.Most people lose sight of their finger as it moves to the far right or left of their nose. But one group does not: people who are deaf. While this unusual visual advantage in the deaf has long been known, the brain basis has only recently been shown. And the mechanism is, again, neuroplasticity.

11. The chunk of neural real estate that usually operates as the primary auditory cortex (known as Heschl’s gyrus) receives no sensory inputs in deaf people. The brains of deaf people, Neville discovered, had morphed so that what is ordinarily a part of the auditory system was now working with the visual circuitry.

12. Such findings illustrate how radically the brain can rewire itself in response to repeated experiences.

13. Altered traits map along a spectrum starting at the negative end, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a case in point. The amygdala acts as the neural radar for threat. Overwhelming trauma resets to a hair trigger the amygdala’s threshold for hijacking the rest of the brain to respond to what it perceives as an emergency.

14. Moving along the trait spectrum toward the positive range, there are the beneficial neural impacts of being a secure child, whose brain gets molded by empathic, concerned, and nurturing parenting. This childhood brain shaping builds in adulthood, for example, into being able to calm down well when upset.

15. Our interest in altered traits looks beyond the merely healthy spectrum to an.even more beneficial range, wholesome traits of being. These extremely positive altered traits, like equanimity and compassion, are a goal of mind training in contemplative traditions. We use the term altered trait as shorthand for this highly positive range.

16. Viktor Frankl has written about how a sense of meaning and purpose allowed him and select others to survive years in a Nazi concentration camp while thousands were dying around them. For Frankl, continuing his work as a psychotherapist with other prisoners in the camp lent purpose to his life; for another man there, it was having a child who was on the outside; yet another found purpose in the book he wanted to write.

17. Frankl’s sentiment resonates with a finding that after a three-month meditation retreat (about 540 hours total), those practitioners who had strengthened a sense of purpose in life during that time also showed a simultaneous increase in the activity of telomerase in their immune cells, even five months later. 24 This enzyme protects the length of telomeres, the caps at the ends of DNA strands that reflect how long a cell will live.

18. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, had novices practice daily for a few months three different types of meditation: focusing on breathing; generating loving-kindness; and monitoring thoughts without getting swept away by them. 

19. Breath focus, they found, was calming—seeming to confirm a widespread assumption about meditation’s usefulness as a means to relax. But in contradiction to that stereotype, neither the loving-kindness practice nor monitoring thoughts made the body more relaxed, apparently because each demands mental effort:

20. The loving-kindness practice, where you wish yourself and others well, understandably created a positive mood, while the other two methods did not.

21. So, differing types of meditation produce unique results—a fact that should make it a routine move to identify the specific type being studied.

22. In sum, “meditation” is not a single activity but a wide range of practices, all acting in their own particular ways in the mind and brain.

23. As we will see, there sometimes is a dose-response relationship when it comes to the brain and behavioral benefits from meditation: the more you do it, the better the payoff.

24. Richie and his colleagues developed a Health Enhancement Program (HEP) as a comparison condition for studies of mindfulness-based stress reduction. HEP consists of music therapy with relaxation; nutritional education; and movement exercises like posture improvement, balance, core strengthening, stretching, and walking or jogging.

25. In the labs’ studies, the instructors who taught HEP believed it would help, just as much as did those who taught meditation. Such an “active control” can neutralize factors like enthusiasm, and so better identify the unique benefits of any intervention—in this case, meditation—to see what it adds over and above the Hawthorne edge.

26. Richie’s group randomly assigned volunteers to either HEP or mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and then before and after the training had them fill out questionnaires that in earlier research had reflected improvements from meditation. But in this study, both groups reported comparable improvement on these subjective measures of general distress, anxiety, and medical symptoms. 

27. This led Richie’s group to conclude that much of the stress relief improvements beginners credit to meditation do not seem to be that unique.  Moreover, on a questionnaire that was specifically developed to measure mindfulness, absolutely no difference was found in the level of improvement from MBSR or HEP.

28. This led Richie’s lab to conclude that for this variety of mindfulness, and likely for any other meditation, many of the reported benefits in the early stages of practice can be chalked up to expectation, social bonding in the group, instructor enthusiasm, or other “demand characteristics.” Rather than being from meditation per se, any reported benefits may simply be signs that people have positive hopes and expectations. 

29. Such data are a warning to anyone looking for a meditation practice to be wary of exaggerated claims about its benefits. 

30. As these stressful thoughts were presented, the patients used either of two different attentional stances: mindful awareness of their breath or distraction by doing mental arithmetic. Only mindfulness of their breath both lowered activity in the amygdala—mainly via a faster recovery—and strengthened it in the brain’s attentional networks, while the patients reported less stress reactivity. The same beneficial pattern emerged when the patients who had done MBSR were compared with some who had trained in aerobics.

31. About the same time as Alan’s findings that mindfulness calms the amygdala, other researchers had volunteers who had never meditated before practice mindfulness for just twenty minutes a day over one week, and then have an fMRI scan. During the scan they saw images ranging from gruesome burn victims to cute bunnies. They watched these images in their everyday state of mind, and then while practicing mindfulness. 

32. During mindful attention their amygdala response was significantly lower (compared to nonmeditators) to all the images. This sign of being less disturbed, tellingly, was greatest in the amygdala on the brain’s right side (there are amygdalae in both right and left hemispheres), which often has a stronger response to whatever upsets us than the one on the left.

33. If you give the back of your hand a hard pinch, different brain systems mobilize, some for the pure sensation of pain and others for our dislike of that pain. The brain unifies them into a visceral, instant Ouch! But that unity falls apart when we practice mindfulness of the body, spending hours noticing our bodily sensations in great detail. As we sustain this focus, our awareness morphs.

34. What had been a painful pinch transforms, breaking down into its constituents: the intensity of the pinch and the painful sensation, and the emotional feeling tone—we don’t want the pain; we urgently want the pain to stop.

35. The more experienced among the Zen students not only were able to bear more pain than could controls, they also displayed little activity in executive, evaluative, and emotion areas during the pain—all regions that ordinarily flare into activity when we are under such intense stress.

36. In short, the Zen meditators seemed to respond to pain as though it was a more neutral sensation. In more technical language, their brains showed a “functional decoupling” of the higher and lower brain regions that register pain —while their sensory circuitry felt the pain, their thoughts and emotions did not react to it.

37. The ability to manage distress (which depends upon the connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and amygdala) will be greater in long-term meditators compared to those who have only done the MBSR training.

38. Technically, “loving-kindness” refers to wishing that other people be happy; its near cousin “compassion” entails the wish that people be relieved of suffering.

39. In the format for loving-kindness that Sharon helped bring to the West, you silently repeat phrases like “May I be safe,” “May I be healthy,” and “May my life unfold with ease,” first wishing this for yourself, then for people you love, then for neutral people, and finally for all beings—even those whom you find difficult or who have harmed you. In one version or another, this has become the most well-studied format of compassion meditation.

40. How soon? Maybe in mere minutes—at least when it comes to mood. One study found that just seven minutes of loving-kindness practice boosts a person’s good feelings and sense of social connection, if only temporarily.

41. And the Davidson group had found that after eight or so hours of training in loving kindness, volunteers showed strong echoes of those brain patterns found in more experienced meditators.

42. These various mind training methods drive the brain in different ways. During compassion practice, the amygdala is turned up in volume, while in focused attention on something like the breath, the amygdala is turned down. focused attention on something like the breath, the amygdala is turned down. Meditators are learning how to change their relationship to their emotions with different practices.

43. The neural changes from loving-kindness practice (the emerging signs of which are found even among beginners) align with those found in the brains of the super-Samaritan kidney donors.

44. Whatever specific form it takes, most every kind of meditation entails retraining attention.

45. Science now tells us the concept refers not just to one ability but to many. Among them: 

  • Selective attention, the capacity to focus on one element and ignore others. 
  • Vigilance, maintaining a constant level of attention as time goes on. 
  • Allocating attention so we notice small or rapid shifts in what we experience. 
  • Goal focus, or “cognitive control,” keeping a specific goal or task in mind despite distractions.
  •  Meta-awareness, being able to track the quality of one’s own awareness—for example, noticing when your mind wanders or you’ve made a mistake.

46. A strengthening of selective attention was found in vipassana meditators at the Insight Meditation Society who were tested before and after a three-month retreat.  After three months the retreatants’ selective attention was markedly more accurate, showing more than a 20 percent gain.

47. A surprise: mindfulness also improved working memory—the holding in mind of information so it can transfer into long-term memory. Attention is crucial for working memory; if we aren’t paying attention, those digits won’t register in the first place. This training in mindfulness occurred while the students in the study were still in school. 

48. The boost to their attention and working memory may help account for the even bigger surprise: mindfulness upped their scores by more than 30 percent on the GRE, the entrance exam for grad school. 

49. About ten hours of mindfulness over a two-week period strengthened attention and working memory—and led to substantial improved scores on the graduate school entrance exam. While meditation boosts many aspects of attention, these are short-term gains; more lasting benefits no doubt require ongoing practice.

50. The brain, it seems, stays just as busy when we are relaxed as when we are under some mental strain.

51. Raichle identified a swath of areas, mainly the mPFC (short for midline of the prefrontal cortex) and the PCC (postcingulate cortex), a node connecting to the limbic system. He dubbed this circuitry the brain’s “default mode network.”

52. While the brain engages in an active task, whether math or meditating, the default areas calm down as those essential for that task gear up, and ramp up again when that mental task finishes. This solved the problem of how the brain could maintain its activity level while “nothing” was going on

53. The default mode turns on while we chill out, not doing anything that requires focus and effort; it blossoms during the mind’s downtime. Conversely, as we focus on some challenge, like grappling with what’s happened to your Wi-Fi signal, the default mode quiets.

54. With nothing much else to capture our attention, our mind wanders, very often to what’s troubling us—a root cause of everyday angst. “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”

55. One of the great appeals of high-risk sports like rock climbing seems to be just that— the danger of the sport demands a full focus on where to put your hand or foot next. More mundane worries take backstage in the mind. 

56. The same applies to “flow,” the state where people perform at their best. Paying full attention to what’s at hand, flow research tells us, rates high on the list of what puts us into—and sustains—a joyous state. The self, in its form as mind-wandering, becomes a distraction, suppressed for the time being.

57. A basic instruction in almost all forms of meditation urges us to notice when our mind has wandered and then return our focus to the chosen target, say, a mantra or our breathing. This moment has universal familiarity on contemplative paths. 

58. This simple mental move has a neural correlate: activating the connection between the dorsolateral PFC and the default mode—a connection found to be stronger in long-term meditators than in beginners. The stronger this connection, the more likely regulatory circuits in the prefrontal cortex inhibit the default areas, quieting the monkey mind—the incessant self-focused chatter that so often fills our minds when nothing else is pressing.

59. Those who engaged in their MBSR practices for thirty-five minutes or more at home daily, compared to those doing HEP, showed a greater decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines, the proteins that trigger the red patch. 

60. This, intriguingly, supports an early finding by Jon Kabat-Zinn and some skin specialists that MBSR can help speed healing from psoriasis, a condition worsened by inflammatory cytokines (but some thirty years on, this remains a study not yet replicated by dermatology researchers).

61. To get a better idea of how meditation practice might heal such inflammatory conditions, Richie’s lab repeated the stress study using highly experienced (around 9,000 lifetime hours of practice) vipassana meditators. Result: the meditators not only found the dreaded Trier test less stressful than did a matched cohort of novices (as we saw in chapter five), but they also had smaller patches of inflammation afterward. Most significant, their levels of the stress hormone cortisol were 13 percent lower than in the controls, a substantial difference that is likely clinically meaningful. Important: these seasoned practitioners were not meditating when these measures were taken—this was a trait effect.

62. Take, for example, a well-designed study of African American men, who are at particularly high risk for hypertension, cardiac and kidney disease. Just fourteen minutes of mindfulness practice in a group who already suffered from kidney disease lowered the metabolic patterns that, if sustained year after year, lead to these diseases.

63.  After genetic scientists mapped the entire human genome, they realized it wasn’t enough to just know if we had a given gene or not. The real questions: Is that gene expressed? Is it manufacturing the protein for which it is designed? And how much? Where is the “volume control” on the gene set?

64. This meant there was another important step: finding what turns our genes on or off. If we’ve inherited a gene that gives us a susceptibility to a disease like diabetes, we may never develop the malady if, for example, we have a lifelong habit of getting regular exercise and not eating sugar.

65. Sugar turns on the genes for diabetes; exercise turns them off. Sugar and exercise are “epigenetic” influencers, among the many, many factors that control whether or not a gene expresses itself.

66. And Richie thought meditation just might have epigenetic impacts, “down-regulating” the genes responsible for the inflammatory response. As we’ve seen, meditation seems to do this—but the genetic mechanism for the effect was a complete mystery.

67. Undeterred by the skeptics, his lab went ahead, assaying changes in the expression of key genes before and after a day of meditation in a group of long-term vipassana practitioners (average of about 6,000 lifetime hours). They followed a fixed eight-hour schedule of practice sessions throughout the day, and listened to tapes of some inspiring talks and guided practices by Joseph Goldstein.

68. After the day of practice the meditators had a marked “down-regulation” of inflammatory genes—something that had never been seen before in response to inflammatory genes—something that had never been seen before in response to a purely mental practice. Such a drop, if sustained over a lifetime, might help combat diseases with onsets marked by chronic low-grade inflammation. As we’ve said, these include many of the world’s major health problems, ranging from cardiovascular disorders, arthritis, and diabetes to cancer.

69. Though these were pilot studies, an epigenetic boost was found in research with two other meditation methods. One is Herb Benson’s “relaxation response,” which has a person silently repeat a chosen word like peace as if it were a mantra. 16 The other is “yogic meditation,” where the meditator recites a Sanskrit mantra, at first aloud and then in a whisper, and finally silently, ending with a short deep-breathing relaxation technique

70. The sounder studies, we found, focus on lessening our psychological distress rather than on curing medical syndromes or looking for underlying biological mechanisms. So, when it comes to a better quality of life for those with chronic diseases, yes to meditation. Such palliative care gets ignored too often in medicine, but it matters enormously to patients.

71. All the yogis had elevated gamma oscillations, not just during the meditation practice periods for open presence and compassion but also during the very first measurement, before any meditation was performed. This electrifying pattern was in the EEG frequency known as “high-amplitude” gamma, the strongest, most intense form. These waves lasted the full minute of the baseline measurement before they started the meditation

72. Gamma, the very fastest brain wave, occurs during moments when differing brain regions fire in harmony, like moments of insight when different elements of a mental puzzle “click” together. 

73.To get a sense of this “click,” try this: What single word can turn each of these into a compound word: sauce, pine, crab?*

74. The instant your mind comes up with the answer, your brain signal momentarily produces that distinctive gamma flare. 

75. In the yogis, gamma oscillations are a far more prominent feature of their brain activity than in other people. Our usual gamma waves are not nearly as strong as that seen by Richie’s team in yogis like Mingyur. The contrast between the yogis and controls in the intensity of gamma was immense: on average the yogis had twenty-five times greater amplitude gamma oscillations during baseline compared with the control group.

76. But there’s another surprise here: the yogis’ remarkable talent at entering a specific meditative state on cue, within a second or two, itself signals an altered trait. This mental feat stands in stark contrast to most of us meditators who, relative to the yogis, are more like beginners: when we meditate, it takes us a while to settle our minds, let go of distracting thoughts that overwhelm our focus, and get some momentum in our meditation.

77. In contemplative science, an “altered state” refers to changes that occur only during meditation. An altered trait indicates that the practice of meditation transformed the brain and biology so that meditation-induced changes are seen before beginning to meditate.

78. Among meditators with the greatest amount of lifetime practice hours—an average of 44,000 lifetime hours (the equivalent of twelve hours a day for ten years) the amygdala hardly responded to the emotional sounds. But for those with less practice, (though still a high number—19,000 hours) the amygdala also showed a robust response. There was a staggering 400 percent difference in the size of the amygdala response between these groups!

79. What’s more, this means traits continue to alter even at the highest level of practice. The dose-response relationship does not seem to end even up to 50,000 hours of practice.

80. The studies of beginners typically look at the impacts from under 100 total hours of practice—and as few as 7. The long-term group, mainly vipassana meditators, had a mean of 9,000 lifetime hours (the range ran from 1,000 to 10,000 hours and more). And the yogis studied in Richie’s lab, had all done at least one Tibetan-style three-year retreat, with lifetime hours up to Mingyur’s 62,000. Yogis, on average had three times more lifetime hours than did long-term meditators—9,000 hours versus 27,000

81. Compassion meditation shows stronger benefits from the get-go; as few as seven total hours over the course of two weeks leads to increased connectivity in circuits important for empathy and positive feelings, strong enough to show up outside the meditation state per se.

82. Beginners also find improvements in attention very early on, including less mind-wandering after just eight minutes of mindfulness practice—a short-lived benefit, to be sure. But even as little as two weeks of practice is sufficient to produce less mind-wandering and better focus and working memory, enough for a significant boost in scores on the GRE, the entrance exam for graduate school.

83. Loving-kindness and compassion practice over the long term(1000hrs -10,000hrs) enhance neural resonance with another person’s suffering, along with concern and a greater likelihood of actually helping. Attention, too, strengthens in many aspects with long-term practice: selective attention sharpens, the attentional blink diminishes, sustained attention becomes easier, and an alert readiness to respond increases

84. Shifts in very basic biological processes, such as a slower breath rate, occur only after several thousand hours of practice. Some of these impacts seem more strongly enhanced by intensive practice on retreat than by daily practice.

85. At this world-class level (roughly 12,000 to 62,000 lifetime hours of practice, including many years in deep retreat), truly remarkable effects emerge. Practice in part revolves around converting meditative states to traits—the Tibetan term for this translates as “getting familiar” with the meditative mind-set. Meditation states merge with daily activities, as altered states stabilize into altered traits and become enduring characteristic.

86.  Perhaps the strongest evidence comes from the yogis’ response to physical pain during simple mindfulness-type practice: a sharp “inverted V,” with little brain activity during anticipation of the pain, an intense but very short peak during the pain, followed by very rapid recovery

87. Several labs—including Richie’s and Judson Brewer’s—have noticed that more advanced meditators can show a brain pattern while merely resting that resembles that of a meditative state like mindfulness or loving-kindness, while beginners do not. 2 That comparison of the expert meditator’s baseline with someone new to practice stands as a hallmark of the way altered traits show up in research, though it offers just a snapshot.

88. For now, as the Brewer group conjectured, meditation seems to transform the resting state—the brain’s default mode—to resemble the meditative state.

*Answer : apple 

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1922887 2022-12-30T16:25:13Z 2022-12-30T16:27:21Z Summary : "No: The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home" by Jim Camp

1. I teach and preach the system based on “no,” which in a negotiation simply means maintaining the status quo.

2. My “No” system is a set of clear principles and practices that you follow step by step by step. My system is for Mom, Dad, the kids, the entrepreneur, the professional corporate negotiator, the CEO, the teacher, the realtor, the banker, the politician, the carpenter, and the diplomat.

3. As adults, however, we’ve been conditioned and trained to fear the word, so with audiences and clients I slowly and carefully go about proving that the practice of politely saying no, calmly hearing no, and just inviting no has a beneficial impact on any negotiation. In fact, the invitation for the other side to say no has an amazing power to bring down barriers and allow for solid beneficial communication.

4. I want to be very clear: The “no” principle is not about intransigence. Just the opposite. It’s about openness and honesty. The invitation to “no” tells everyone at the table that we’re all adults here, so let’s talk rationally. Let’s slow things down. Let’s take away the fear of failure. “No” allows everyone involved to put away the need to be right, to be the smartest, to be the strongest, or to be the toughest. It prevents you from making weak—and worse, bad—decisions because of your need to feel safe and secure and liked by the other side.

5. The “No” system also makes you understand the dangers of neediness. Simply put, you do not need this deal, because neediness leads inexorably to unnecessary compromise.

6. I still use checklists in negotiations just as diligently as I did as a pilot.

7. Negotiation is a complex beast. There’s a lot going on. Checklists keep it all under control. They give us such a tremendous advantage, such ease of mind. I will use them throughout this book, and I will teach you how to use them in your negotiations. 

8. You must learn to progress from raw, unexamined emotions, which never produce good agreements, to the careful decisions that eventually do.

9. But it’s hard not to get trapped in the emotional realm, especially because of one particular emotion that dominates all others in negotiations: neediness.

10. Like it or not, we are predators by nature, and the first instinct of predators is to take advantage of the fear-racked, the distressed, the vulnerable—in one word, the needy. We humans, at least, are also capable of wonderful altruism, but we don’t see much altruism in the world of business and negotiation, despite all the sweet talk of cagey practitioners.

11.  Every time you leave a long-winded message on an answering machine providing all kinds of information, you put yourself at a disadvantage. How? You’re too anxious and therefore seem needy. Each time you answer a question with much more information than is really called for, you are showing neediness and putting yourself at risk.

12. By cutting your price without being asked to and then explaining why you felt it important to cut the price, you are showing neediness and reinforcing a bad habit.

13. Many business negotiators are expert in creating neediness by feeding the hopes and expectations of the other side.

14. When you slip and allow yourself to appear needy you are in danger and your negotiation is in big trouble.

15. Test Drive Take ten minutes at the end of the day and assess your actions and your conversations, looking for signs of neediness.

16. Honest appraisal will uncover it. Did you talk too much or too fast in a conversation, negotiation, or interview, maybe to make just the right impression? Jot this neediness down.

  • Did you leave long-winded messages? Jot it down.
  • Did you make the direct statement “I need this or that”? Jot it down.
  • Did you get excited and start looking ahead at the thought of some success, great or small? Jot it down.
  • When you’re finished making your list, think carefully about the real motivation behind each item—not the apparent motivation or the rationalized motivation, motivation, but the real one. See if you can identify the neediness.

17. In negotiation, neediness is a killer. People who understand this—who see the big ways and little ways people express neediness—use this understanding to great advantage.

18. Test Drive After you have identified your own signs of neediness on a given day, look around your world and find the signs in others: the people who talked too much in an effort to please you, who needed to be right all the time, who needed to win at all costs, who needed to be the center of attention. If you look, you’ll find the neediness.

19. The next time you watch one of the predator-prey nature shows on public television or one of the wildlife channels, watch the chase scenes carefully. There are always one or two in which the lion or the cheetah is not successful, and each time the scenario is the same: The predator gets closer to the antelope…closer…closer, then slips back slightly—and immediately gives up. On the spot. When the distance to the prey begins to widen, the hunter quits. She will never waste energy on what’s shaping up as a losing cause. She saunters off, because it doesn’t matter. There are other wildebeest, other gazelles.

20. The rule could not be simpler: If there is any need in this negotiation, it has to be theirs, not yours.

21. Talking is often an overt showing of need. Therefore this rule: No talking.

22. I exaggerate, of course, in order to make the point that talking and neediness often go hand in hand. Many people have an apparently insatiable desire to make sure their voice is heard.

23. Why? In the very worst business environment, if you can successfully cold-call, you can always get a job. More important, however—more basic—is that cold-calling is a great training ground for negotiation, period, and it can be surprisingly effective because your neediness is under control. You have no great expectations, that’s for sure, and your discipline is keen.

24. The high-pitched voice is a sure sign of need. The rushed delivery is another sure sign. While needy negotiators raise their voices, negotiators under control lower their voices. So lower your voice in times of inner turmoil. Take it easy. You do not need this deal.

25. Many people live in fear of rejection, and what is this fear, bottom line? It’s the need to be liked. If you don’t need to be liked, you have no fear of rejection. If you have no fear of rejection, you can say no when it’s called for. When you negotiate, it is imperative to understand just what rejection is and who can reject you—and who cannot.

26. The people on the other side of the table cannot reject you. Why not? Because you don’t need anything from them.

27. You must understand that you cannot go out into the world spending emotional energy in the effort to be liked, to be smart, or to be important. This is all just wasteful and dangerous neediness, often enough because of a fear of being rejected.

28. As a negotiator aspiring to excellence, you must, at all costs, avoid showing need. In order to avoid showing need, you must never feel it. I cannot say this enough: You do not need this deal.

29. You only want this deal. “Need” is death; “want” is life. Believe me, this different attitude will make all the difference in your negotiating life. It will be instantly perceived and sensed by the folks on the other side of the table. Confidence and trust go up across the board. Control and discipline go up for you.

30. Sometimes, however, the need is real. Usually it is exaggerated, but not always. Quite often, the best strategy may be to reveal this neediness to the other party. That’s right. Put it on an agenda to be discussed.

31. Turning the situation around, have you noticed how we humans tend to feel okay when we see someone who’s not-okay? You feel okay when you see someone who doesn’t quite measure up in some way.

32. Remember the old TV series Columbo? He always presents himself as a little less competent than whomever he is interviewing and a little less than perfect—or, usually, a lot less than perfect. He could get his witnesses and even suspects to talk to him because he made them feel superior and therefore comfortable. And it was all an act on his part.

33. The wise negotiator knows that only one person in a negotiation absolutely must feel okay. That person is not you.

34. Let me repeat that point: I am not suggesting that you appear unprofessional. I’m simply asking you not to be afraid of honesty—not to be afraid of being less than perfect. Do you enjoy being around the perfect person? Most of us don’t.

35. Letting other people help you is an excellent way to help them feel more okay. It also says to them, “What you see is what you get.”

36. If you want to be a successful negotiator in any field—the most successful salesperson you can be—you must not set quantitative targets, quotas, numbers, or percentages. No such “performance goals” whatsoever. None of that. Never! Those are results over which you have absolutely no final control.

37. Goals to improve your actions and behavior are the only valid goals, because they are the only ones you can control, and achieving those goals will see you through any negotiation and lead to all the “results” you desire. But concentrating on the numerical results as your goal is a terrible waste of time and energy. Think behavior. Forget results.

38. One of the characteristics of really successful negotiators is how swiftly and efficiently they shift from nonpayside activity to payside activity when the opportunity presents itself.

39. When you have the habit of setting as a goal only activity that you can accomplish and that is genuinely productive, you’ve taken an enormous step in your career.

40. Beware the seductions of nonpayside activity.

41. In the real world, the negotiation does not end when the papers are signed. In fact, tough corporate negotiators work under the presumption that contracts are easily broken, that this is just part of business.

42. I ask my students to make a commitment to daily, active self-examination and assessment and to monitor their behavior and emotions as they affect the negotiating process.

43. A negotiation is simply the effort to bring about agreement between two or more parties, with all parties having the right to veto.

44. In negotiation, “maybe” will bury you with wasted time, energy, money, and, the real killer, emotion.

45. The “yes” doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not written in blood. It’s just another word to deploy at the right time.

46. The quick “yes” may be designed by the other party to set you up, to build your neediness, to undermine your decision-making. Then it’s followed by the subtle “if,” “but,” “however,” “when,” or some other dangerous qualifier.

47. Offering an early “yes” is a reliable “tiger trick,” as I call it, used by polished negotiators taking advantage of weak win-win negotiators. It traps you in their cage. Shrewd negotiators use the “yes” trick all the time.

48. “Sure, Frank, we’re on board. We want to place the biggest order ever with Acme—50, 000 widgets.”

49. Then, one or two calls later, “I didn’t even bring it up, Frank. It seemed unnecessary. I’m assuming about a twenty percent discount at that volume. Is that what you have in mind?” Never fall for the quick “yes.” Assume nothing. Avoid the emotional roller coaster. Don’t get needy. Don’t “chase the results” that seem to be shimmering so invitingly right in front of your eyes.

50. Never take responsibility for the other side’s decisions. Never “save the relationship.”

51. The classic compromise mindset dilemma is this one: What can I give in order to gain or maintain this friendly relationship?

52. The impulse to think and act in any such save-the-relationship fashion is wrongheaded not only because it’s bad negotiating but also because the people across the table do not want to be your friend. They could not care less. They have not even thought about it.

53. For businesspeople and negotiators in any field, much more important than friendliness are effectiveness and respect. Nothing more.

54. Have you ever wondered how the jerks of the world get along? How some even get ahead? How more than a few even get to the very top? These people don’t get away with their boorish, offensive behavior for any good reason. They get away with it because they’re effective in their work and bring benefit to their business relationships, in one way or another.

55. What does friendship have to do with making good business and negotiation decisions? Not a thing.

56. Another reason people are afraid to say no is that they fear making the wrong decision. This fear of the wrong decision is one of the most debilitating emotions of all, burrowing deep beneath all aspects of decisionmaking, because it strikes a chord with our fear of failing.

57. How do you get rid of this fear? I’ll answer this question with another one: What really happens when you make a bad decision? There is a common saying among pilots: “Flying is a continuous string of decisions, most of them bad ones that must be corrected.” In training, pilots are told to just keep making decisions and pretty soon they will get it right.

58. To be effective decision-makers we must simply make the next decision, and then the next one, and then the next one. A negotiation is a series of decisions.

59.  Embrace “no” at every opportunity in a negotiation. Don’t fear the word— invite it. You do not take it as a personal rejection, because you are not needy. You understand that every “no” is reversible.

60. In any negotiation, your mission and purpose must be rooted in the world of the other side.

61. If you’re a salesperson, your mission and purpose is not about selling 10, 000 widgets and making $5 million. That’s in your world. It doesn’t benefit your customers at all. It’s also just chasing results.

62. In the broadest terms, a valid MP(mission and purpose) will effectively guide your decisions. It might well be about providing your customers with a dependable widget (if not the best widget in the world) that can sustain their company’s profitability well into the future, assuring their staying power and market share.

63. See the difference? The perspective in this statement is their world. You’re not chasing the results of your world, results you can’t even control, but you do have total control over the quality of your widget. You do have control over its pricing. You do have control over your mission and purpose. It belongs to you. It is yours to change as you see fit.

64. The process of building your own mission and purpose is straightforward. It requires dedication, but it is not rocket science. The key throughout the process is to think creatively, clearly, and completely about your business and your negotiation.

65. Pull out a sheet of paper or open a new document on your computerand list the features of what your company, your product, or your service does—or what you do. If you sell widgets, you will list their salient features regarding quality, durability, serviceability, industry reputation, and the like. Be creative. List anything and everything. If you’re the buyer of the widget, you are broadening the supplier’s market, increasing its sales, perhaps helping it unload inventory at certain times of the year. Keep going.

66. Take your time with this process. Work on your list for a while, put it down, and come back another day. When you’re reasonably confident that the list of features is complete, proceed.

67. Across from every feature on your list, write down the benefits of that feature for the other party.

68. The key here is to see clearly what you provide. What benefits are you offering that solve their problems and empower them for the future?

69. Every negotiation has more going on than immediately meets the eye. The idea here is to end up with a complete description and vision of the value for the other party that you’re bringing to the table.

70. Prioritize your list of features and benefits. What benefits do you see are most important for the other party in this negotiation? Again, immerse yourself in their world.

71. Now you’re ready to write your MP from the features and benefits on your final, prioritized list. Think in terms of your continuing task or responsibility (what you’re going to do, provide, supply, or create for the benefit of the other side) and your long-term aim (what you’re going to be, develop, or grow into long-term for the benefit of the other side).

72. My mission and purpose for this book is to provide you the opportunity to discover that if you engage in training and coaching of the “No” system, you can elevate your success in negotiation to very high levels. This will be accomplished by means of clear, concise writing that is easy to read and thought-provoking. The key word here is opportunity. My purpose is not to elevate your success regardless. That would be a performance goal over which I do not have control. I can’t be certain you’ll think about the principles in my system and apply them diligently, or that you will embrace training and coaching. I can only provide you with the opportunity to do so.

73. As you develop your own mission-and-purpose statement, keep in mind that all good MP statements are concise. All must be written.

74. In complicated, high-stakes negotiations, my clients write an MP for almost every phone call to anyone on the other side. No kidding.

75. Your mission and purpose can and perhaps should change. At first blush, this may sound completely contradictory to every previous point here, but features and benefits change, markets change, customers change, and when they do, your mission and purpose should change accordingly.

76. Perhaps the most powerful product of a mission and a purpose is the insulation it provides from debilitating emotions, especially neediness.

77. As a coach, I see people waste a great deal of energy and time on issues and questions that just don’t matter. “Did I get as much as I could?”

“Should I have done better?”

“How much did I leave on the table?”

“I hope I wasn’t too strong.”

“I hope I wasn’t too easy.”

78. Could that 18 percent discount have been 19 percent? As the buyer, you’ll drive yourself crazy thinking like that. Seventeen percent? As the seller, you’ll drive yourself crazy thinking like that. All you want to know is that the 18 percent, given or received, satisfies your mission and purpose.

79. The people on the other side are negotiating for their benefit, not for yours. This is self-evident but often overlooked, and it’s the reason your mission and purpose must be rooted in the world of the other side and bring benefits that solve their problems.

80.Mission and purpose creates, guides, and enhances vision. The vision of the other side drives the effective decision-making that leads to agreements.

81. In fact, vision drives just about everything you do. Before you decide to buy anything, sell anything, or sign anything, you have to have a vision. No vision, no decision.

82. Make no mistake about it. The most gullible shopaholics won’t buy a tencent trinket without some kind of vision of themselves or their children playing with this trinket, wearing this trinket, using this trinket, or appearing to be special because of this trinket.

83. No vision, no action. No vision, no decision. No vision, no agreement.

84. A VISION OF WHAT? In negotiations, you must have a vision of a current or future problem to be solved. It’s just that simple.

85. In every negotiation, the vision of the problem and the solution is what brings the negotiators to agreements.

86. Many people make the fatal mistake of thinking they can use their gift of gab or their nifty PowerPoint presentation or both to convince the other party with facts and figures to make the rational decision.

87. The intellectual information just throws a wet blanket on vision. It puts people into an analytical mode. You would be better off not talking at all than pounding away with all your facts and figures.

88. There is a crucial difference between seeing and understanding, and seeing must come first. We must see in a visceral way before we can understand in a rational way.

89. Since that day, Roger has understood completely the power of asking questions as a way of painting the vision for the other side, helping them see the issues for themselves.

90. You have to paint the picture that builds a vision that the other side can clearly see. A key way to do this—the simplest, safest way to do this—is to ask good questions.

91. The clearer the vision of the problem, the easier the decision-making process.

92. Plenty of healthy young people simply cannot be seduced into seeing their need for health insurance—it might be time to offer a friendly handshake and say farewell. Vision is that important. If you just can’t build it, you’re wasting your time in the negotiation.

93. Asking questions is a science and an art. The science is found in how you construct your question. The art is found in your tone of voice, your body language, and your remarks before asking your questions.

94. The good ones are led by an interrogative, not by a verb. “Who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” “how,” and “which”: These famous interrogatives are the safest questions in a negotiation.

95. The interrogative-led questions will paint vision that will move the negotiation forward without the pitfalls of verb-led questions. They don’t challenge the other party. They don’t put them on the defensive. They elicit information and build vision.

96. Consider the following set of verb-led questions juxtaposed with a corresponding set of interrogative-led questions. In every case, which is better?

  • “Is this the biggest issue we face?” versus “What is the biggest issue we face?”
  • “Is this proposal tight enough for you?” versus “How can I tighten this proposal for you?”
  • “Can we work on delivery dates tomorrow?” versus “When can we work on delivery dates?” or “How important are delivery dates?” or “Where do delivery dates fit in?”
  • “Do you think we should bring Mary into the loop now?” versus “Where does Mary fit in?” or “When should we bring Mary into the loop?” or “How does Mary fit into the picture?” “Is there anything else you need?” versus “What else do you need?”
  • “Do you like what you see?” versus “What are your thoughts?”
  • “Does it fit into your needs?” versus “How do you see it? How does it fit for you?”
  • “Can you stay competitive without this machine?” versus “How can you stay competitive without this machine?”

97. Keep your questions short. Anytime a question has more than eight or nine words, you risk complication.

98. Another key is to ask one question at a time. Simple question by simple question, answer by answer, you will help the other side build their own picture of the issue.

99. “3+”(or “three-plus”), another important tool of the trade, is the ability to remain with a question until it is answered at least three times, or to repeat a statement at least three times. This is not an original idea. Anyone who’s ever taken a speech class knows the old rule: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them. One, two, three times. I first heard the equivalent of this rule many years ago from a friend in sales and quickly learned that his advice was good.

100. The pendulum needs to be near the middle—not too positive, not too negative. This is where the good agreements are found.

101. When the excitement builds, consider tapping the brake with a positive strip line. It can only help.

102.  When a negative mood sets in, consider acknowledging the fact with a negative strip line. Join the negativity and thereby invite the other party to join you, step back, and take a second look.

103. Be a blank slate. Work with the best possible facts and information, not with assumptions and expectations that are so often dead wrong.

104. If there is one classic maneuver played by many companies and shrewd negotiators in many businesses, this is it: Build positive expectations with pie-in-the-sky numbers, then start in with the ifs, ands, and buts. This gambit is extraordinarily effective when the customer is a big company and the supplier a smaller one.

105. Neither positive nor negative expectations have any place in your work. You blank-slate and you negotiate, that’s all.

106. Take great notes. In seminars, meetings, and negotiations, I can quickly identify the most successful people around the table. They are the ones listening closely and taking notes, effectively silencing their own thoughts and learning as much as they can about everyone else.

107. One of your best ways to blank-slate and control your own emotions, first, and then perhaps influence their emotions, by your example, is with the simple tool of taking notes. 

108. Throughout this book you’ve seen how negotiators use hints of big purchases, permanent alliances, and the like to set up naïve negotiators with neediness and positive expectations.

109. The failure to find the decision-maker is a mistake I have seen committed umpteen times in all sorts of negotiations. At best, it means a waste of time, energy, and money. At worst, it means a failed negotiation, perhaps unnecessarily.

110. You can get around your basic blocker in several ways. One way is simply to start at the top. What happens if you start at the top? The top boots you down the ladder to a blocker, but this is fine, because, presumably, you’ve been introduced into the blocker’s territory with a stamp of approval.

111. Start at the top and you will be in a position to report to the top.

112. Each and every communication in a negotiation requires an agenda—and not just meetings where you’re sitting across the table from the other side.

113. You have some kind of purpose for every phone call and e-mail to anyone on the other side, right? I hope so. Well, what is it? The agenda makes this clear. The preparation of each agenda helps you see the negotiation clearly and assign

114. A good agenda will tell what to do next, how to keep your negotiation on track, how to continue making effective decisions, and how to keep your emotions at a calm, normal level.

115. A valid agenda has the following five basic categories.

• Problems - For purposes of agenda, a problem is anything you believe needs addressing —anything you see that is holding you back or blocking you from a successful conclusion.

• Our baggage - My guess is you’ve never made an agenda that included baggage, the collected life experiences and observations that all of us carry around in our lives and that may affect a given negotiation. Your Baggage Your baggage is some attitude you carry around that plays on your emotions and disrupts your decision-making. Say your company has recently acquired a reputation within the field, or within the community, for spotty bad service. This is nasty baggage. It must be addressed in an early agenda. That’s right. You bring it up, with two instant benefits. First, they’ll be surprised and impressed that you haven’t tried to hide the fact. Second, if unaddressed, that baggage puts you on the defensive for the entire negotiation.

• Their baggage - Their baggage is an educated guess on your part. You’ll be making an assumption dealing with baggage, and this is the only time an assumption is warranted. Maybe you’re wrong, but past history gives you good reason to bring it up.

• What we want - Too often people go into meetings not sure exactly what they want out of them. Your agenda solves that problem for you, because every agenda for every meeting, every phone call, every e-mail must have at least one “want.” No exceptions. The “want” requirement for every agenda requires you to think clearly about the whole negotiation—where it stands and what you want to happen next in order to move things along.

• What happens next - You must learn very quickly to take care of business by carefully negotiating “what happens next.” It protects you against assumptions. It’s a leg up on the next agenda. It’s simply mandatory.

116. Of all the issues in the negotiation that should be placed on an agenda but often are not, “wants” are supreme.

117. In the “No” system, the budget is much more than your normal itemization of projected financial costs, because the real price and the real costs in any negotiation go way beyond dollars and cents. Money is certainly part of the equation, but your budget must also take into account expenditures of time, energy, and emotion.

118. Along with money, they are the elements of a comprehensive budget that becomes another powerful tool for maintaining control and making good decisions in negotiation.

119. Here is the formula: “Time” has a value of 1x, “energy” 2x, “money” 3x, and “emotion” 4x. As important as time is, it is not as important as energy in negotiation, which is less important than money, which is less important than emotion.

120. As you monitor your own budget expenditure, you also monitor the expenditures of the other side. You want to keep your own budgets as low as possible while reaping the benefit of higher budgets on the other side.

121. Practically speaking, how do you drive up the other side’s budget and guard yours? Some budget-building ploys are transparent. The greater the investment in budget—time, energy, money, and emotion—the greater the commitment to stay the course and salvage something.

122. Protecting your time while pushing theirs can be in acts as mundane as adhering to a schedule that fits your calendar and not theirs.

123. In negotiation, the physically stronger, more energetic side definitely has the advantage. It’s a fact of life in this world. Know your own endurance level and conserve your energy.

124. Budget is yet another way for you to maintain control in negotiation. If your budget gets out of control, you cannot blame the other side.

125. A rock-solid faith in mission and purpose will be required in order to hold the line, but even then you simply may not have the budget to back you up in this negotiation. Know your actual dollars-and-cents budget, and have at least some sense of theirs. If you don’t have enough cash reserves for the long haul, your negotiation is, for all intents and purposes, over with before it even gets going, and you’ll lose not only the money but the time, energy, and emotion you have invested in a doomed cause. So don’t even get going. Seek your deals elsewhere. Say no right now.

126. If I were reading this book for the first time, I’d be asking one question right now: How do I bring together the principles of the “No” system? The answer is Checklists and Logs.

127. You prepare a Checklist before any meeting in any negotiation, any significant phone call, and any significant e-mail. After that meeting, phone call, or exchange of e-mails, you record all the significant information in your Log. You then use that Log to prepare for the next Checklist before the next encounter.

128. The basic Checklist for any negotiation includes:

  • Your mission and purpose for the negotiation  
  • Your agenda items for the specific meeting
  • Your behavior goals
  • Your activity goals
  • Any critical research that needs to be done

129. The Log prepared after any negotiation includes:

  • Statement of the problem from the other side’s point of view 
  • Estimate of the other side’s budget (time, energy, money, and emotion)
  • Identification of the decision-makers and assessment of when their decision will be reached
  • Negotiation summary

130. With the Checklist before the meeting, you set up the structure with which to build vision on the other side. With the Log after the meeting, you gather together the vision that exists at the end of the meeting, lay everything out, look at it, and find ways to build more vision and move ahead.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1919413 2022-12-22T23:25:28Z 2022-12-22T23:25:28Z Summary : The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler

1. Or, to put it another way: flow is the telephone booth where Clark Kent changes clothes, the place from where Superman emerges.

2.In fact, when Csikszentmihalyi dove deeper into the data, he discovered that the happiest people on earth, the ones who felt their lives had the most meaning, were those who had the most peak experiences.

3. They didn’t just have the most peak experiences, they had devoted their lives to having these experiences, often, as Csikszentmihalyi explained in his 1996 book Creativity, going to extreme lengths to seek them out.

4. In his interviews, to describe these optimal states of performance, flow was a term his subjects kept using.

5. He defined the state as “being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

6. A ten-year study done by McKinsey found top executives reported being up to five times more productive when in flow. Creativity and cooperation are so amplified that Greylock partner venture capitalist James Slavet, in a recent article for Forbes.com, called “flow state percentage” — defined as the amount of time employees spend in flow — the “most important management metric for building great innovation teams.”

7. Flow, on the other hand, is always a positive experience. No one ever has a bad time in a flow state.

8. Csikszentmihalyi was able to sift through the data and isolate ten core components which demarcate the state. Here’s his list:

  • Clear goals: Expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities. Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.
  • Concentration: A high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
  • A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness: The merging of action and awareness.
  • Distorted sense of time: One’s subjective experience of time is altered.
  • Direct and immediate feedback: Successes and failures are apparent, so behavior can be adjusted as needed.
  • Balance between ability level and challenge: The activity is neither too easy nor too difficult.
  • A sense of personal control over the situation.
  • The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so action is effortlessness.
  • A lack of awareness of bodily needs.
  • Absorption: narrowing of awareness down to the activity itself.

9. There are five major brain-wave types, each correlating to a different state of consciousness. 

  • “Delta,” the slowest brain wave (meaning the one with the longest pauses between bursts of electricity), is found between 1 Hz and 3.9 Hz. When someone is in a deep, dreamless sleep, they’re in delta. 
  • Next up, between 4 Hz and 7.9 Hz, is “theta,” which correlates to REM sleep, meditation, insight, and (as is often necessary for insight) the processing of novel incoming stimuli. 
  • Between 8 Hz and 13.9 Hz hovers “alpha,” the brain’s basic resting state. People in alpha are relaxed, calm, and lucid, but not really thinking. 
  • Beta sits between 14 Hz and 30 Hz, and signifies learning and concentration at the low end, fear and stress at the high. 
  • Above 30 Hz there’s a fast-moving wave known as “gamma,” which only shows up during “binding,” when different parts of the brain are combining disparate thoughts into a single idea.

10. Creativity has a brain wave signature as well: alpha waves pulsing out of the brain’s right hemisphere.

11. Exactly thirty milliseconds before the breakthrough intuition arrives, EEG shows a burst of gamma waves. These ultrafast brain waves appear when a bunch of widely distributed cells — i.e., novel stimuli, random thoughts, and obscure memories — bind themselves together into a brand-new network. It is the brainwave signature of the “Aha!” moment.

12. “But the interesting thing about a gamma spike,” explains Leslie Sherlin, “is that it always happens inside of theta oscillations. The two waves are coupled.

13. This is where athletes in flow have a huge edge — their brain is already in alpha/theta. They’re holding themselves in the only state that can produce that gamma spike.”

14. This means flow packs a double punch: it doesn’t just increase our decisionmaking abilities — it increases our creative decision-making abilities.

15. According to research done by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, not only are creative insights consistently consistently associated with flow states, but that amplified creativity outlasts the zone. People report feeling extraordinarily creative the day after a flow state, suggesting that time spent in the zone trains the brain to consistently think outside the box.

16. A runner’s high [now considered a lowgrade flow state]

17. In 2006, for example, a team of Israeli scientists discovered that when people lose themselves in a task — be it playing cards or having sex or climbing a mountain — a part of the brain called the superior frontal gyrus starts to deactivate.

18. Flow changes this entire dynamic. For starters, in the zone, the brain releases a number of powerful painkillers that deaden us to the damage being done and allow us to push our maximal strength closer to its absolute boundary (more on this in the next chapter).

19. “Because flow deactivates large parts of the neocortex,” says Eagleman, “a number of these areas are offline — thus distorting our ability to compute time.”

20. Psychologists describe flow as “autotelic,” from the Greek auto (self) and telos (goal). When something is autotelic — i.e., produces the flow high — it is its own reward. No one has to drag a surfer out of bed for overhead tubes. No one has to motivate a snowboarder on a powder day. These activities are intrinsically motivating, autotelic experiences done for their own sake. The high to end all highs.

21. While other hedonic pleasures — drugs, sex, gambling — make us feel good on their own, flow only shows up when we’re pushing ourselves to higher and higher levels of performance. “Because flow involves meeting challenges and developing skills,” explains Csikszentmihalyi in Good Business, “it leads to growth. It is an escape forward from current reality, whereas stimulants like drugs lead backward.”

22. In 2011, neuroscientists with the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) found that military snipers trained in flow decreased the time it took to acquire their targets by a factor of 2.3. Similar research run with amateur (i.e., nonmilitary) snipers found that flow cut the time it took to teach novices to shoot like experts by 50 percent. This means that flow doesn’t just provide a joyful, self-directed path toward mastery — it literally shortens the path.

23. Take external triggers, our starting point. These are qualities in the environment that drive people deeper into the zone. One tamer example comes from office design. In recent years, as the production of flow has been deemed critical to the success of organizations, organizations have reacted by trying to design environments that produce more flow. As flow requires focus, one of the first changes suggested by experts was the removal of cubicle farms, those open office plans that permit constant interruption. “These interruptions … move us out of ‘flow’ and increase research-and-design cycle times and costs dramatically,”

24. “Studies have shown that each time a flow state is disrupted it takes fifteen minutes to get back into flow, if you can get back at all.”

25. He was also depending on two other external triggers — “rich environment” and “deep embodiment” — to keep him in the state.

26. A “rich environment” is a combination platter of novelty, unpredictability, and complexity — three elements that catch and hold our attention much like risk.

27. Novelty means both danger and opportunity. To our forbearers, a strange scent in the wind could be prey or predator, but either way it paid to pay attention.

28. The last external flow trigger, “deep embodiment,” is a kind of fullbody awareness. Humans have sensory inputs all over the place; 50 percent of our nerve endings are in our hands, feet, and face. Deep embodiment means paying attention to all of these sensory inputs at once.

29. Just as flow states have external triggers, conditions in the outer environment that create more flow, they also have internal triggers, conditions in our inner environment that create more flow.

30. Internal triggers are psychological strategies that drive attention into the now. Back in the 1970s, Csikszentmihalyi identified “clear goals,” “immediate feedback,” and “the challenge/skill ratio” as the three most critical. Let’s take a closer look.

31. In 2003, Simons showed a short film of basketball players passing a ball around a court to his students, and asked them to count the passes. When the film was over, he had one question: “How many people saw the gorilla?” As it happened, midway through the clip, a guy in a gorilla costume walked to the middle of the circle of basketball players, beat his chest a few times, then walked off. As it happened, most of the students didn’t see the gorilla.

32. Simon’s “invisible gorilla experiment” has since been repeated dozens of times — most recently with radiologists looking at radiological screens and a cartoon gorilla — and always with the same result. Not many people see the gorilla. In the radiologist’s version (a 2012 study run at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston), 83 percent of doctors tested failed to spot the animal. 

33. The point is this: when the brain is charged with a clear goal, focus narrows considerably, the unimportant is disregarded, and the now is all that’s left.

34. If creating more flow is our aim, then the emphasis falls on “clear” and not “goals.” Clarity gives us certainty. We know what to do and we know where to focus our attention while doing it. When goals are clear, metacognition is replaced by in-the-moment cognition, and the self stays out of the picture.

35. “When I dive constant ballast,” says Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, “I don’t think about breaking a record, I can’t ever think about the whole dive. It’s too overwhelming. I have to chunk it down, create tiny, clear goals. I go through kick cycles. The Voice (the voice of intuition) keeps count. I want to pay attention through one cycle, then the next, then the next. Keep the count, that’s my only goal. If I keep the count, I can stay in flow the whole dive.”

36. Applying this idea in our daily life means breaking tasks into bite-size chunks and setting goals accordingly. A writer, for example, is better off trying to pen three great paragraphs at a time — the equivalent of moving through Mandy-Rae’s kick cycles — rather than attempting one great chapter. Think challenging, yet manageable — just enough stimulation to shortcut attention into the now, not enough stress to pull you back out again.

37. Immediate feedback, our next internal trigger, is another shortcut into the now. The term refers to a direct, in-the-moment coupling between cause and effect. The smaller the gap between input and output, the more we know how we’re doing and how to do it better. If we can’t course correct in real time, we start looking for clues to better performance — things we did in the past, things we’ve seen other people do, things that can pull us out of the moment.

38. Surgeons, by contrast, are the only class of physician that improve the longer they’re out of medical school. Why? Mess up on the table and someone dies. That’s immediate feedback.

39. And that brings us to the “challenge/skill ratio,” the last of our internal flow triggers, and arguably the most important. The idea behind this trigger is that attention is most engaged (i.e., in the now) when there’s a very specific relationship between the difficulty of a task and our ability to perform that task.

40. If the challenge is too great, fear swamps the system. If the challenge is too easy, we stop paying attention. Flow appears near the emotional midpoint between boredom and anxiety, in what scientists call the flow channel — the spot where the task is hard enough to make us stretch but not hard enough to make us snap.

41. How hard is that? Answers vary, but the general thinking is about 4 percent. That’s it. That’s the sweet spot. If you want to trigger flow, the challenge should be 4 percent greater than the skills.

42. “When performance peaks in groups,” he says, “this isn’t just about individuals in flow — it’s the group entering the state together, a collective merger of action and awareness, a ‘group flow.’”

43. And wherever group flow shows up, it leaves its mark. The same pleasure chemicals behind individual flow also arrive with the group variation — only we seem to like them more. In comparison studies run by St. Bonaventure University psychologist Charles Walker, “solitary flow” (what Doug Ammons experienced on the Stikine) was measured against “coactive flow” (this comes from individual activities done in groups, like surfers sharing a break) was measured against “interactive flow” (where interaction is inherent to the activity, like rock climbing with a partner). Walker discovered that the more social an activity, the higher “flow enjoyment” — the level of joy experienced in flow — was for participants.

44. Flow is an alternative path toward mastery, but, like any path, not without its pitfalls. There’s a serious dark side to flow.

45.I read Sebastian Jungers’s War and I learned something: The guys coming home are all screwed up, not because they saw people die as much as they missed the rush. I would never put myself in the same category as those fighting men, but it can be hard to get excited again. Ever. And that feeling sucks.

46. There is an extremely tight link between our visual system and our physiology: once we can actually see ourselves doing the impossible, our chances of pulling it off increase significantly.” 

47. It was Harvard physiologist Edmund Jacobson who first discovered this link. Back in the 1930s, Jacobson found that imagining oneself lifting an object triggered triggered corresponding electrical activity in the muscles involved in the lift. Between then and now dozens and dozens of studies have born this out, repeatedly finding strong correlations between mental rehearsal — i.e., visualization — and better performance. Everything from giving a speech to running a business meeting to spinning a 1080 are all significantly enhanced by the practice.

48. In 2004, for example, Cleveland Clinic physiologist Guang Yue wanted to know if merely thinking about lifting weights was enough to increase strength. Study subjects were divided into four groups. One group tried to strengthen their finger muscles with physical exercise; one tried to strengthen their finger muscles by only visualizing the exercise; another tried to increase arm strength through visualization; while the last group did nothing at all. The trial lasted twelve weeks. When it was over, those who did nothing saw no gains. The group that relied on physical training saw the greatest increase in strength — at 53 percent. But it’s the mental groups where things got curious. Folks who did no physical training but merely imagined their fingers going through precise exercise motions saw a 35 percent increase in strength, while the ones who visualized arm exercises saw a 13.5 percent increase in strength. How tightly are imagination and physiology coupled? Strength is among the most baseline of all performance measures and we humans can get stronger simply by thinking hard about it.

49. Probably the biggest insight arrived a few years before Yue’s experiment, when neuroscientists found no difference between performing an action and merely imagining oneself performing that action — the same neuronal circuits fire in either case. This means that visualization impacts a slew of cognitive processes — motor control, memory, attention, perception, planning — essentially accelerating chunking by shortening the time it takes us to learn new patterns.

50. Visualization is an essential flow hack: it shortens struggle. Visualization also firms up aims and objectives, further amplifying flow. 

51. “I’m certain we can’t answer that question,” says Michael Gervais. “At the world-class level, where talent differences are marginal, we estimate that 90 percent of success for elite performers is mental — yet this is the one measurement milestone we haven’t hit.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1917964 2022-12-19T15:15:25Z 2022-12-19T15:15:26Z Summary : Dopamine Nation by Dr. Anna Lembke

1.In Dopamine Nation, Dr Anna Lembke, psychiatrist and author, explores the exciting new scientific discoveries that explain why the relentless pursuit of pleasure leads to pain . . . and what to do about it.

2. Scientists rely on dopamine as a kind of universal currency for measuring the addictive potential of any experience. The more dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway, the more addictive the experience.

3. In addition to the discovery of dopamine, one of the most remarkable neuroscientific findings in the past century is that the brain processes pleasure and pain in the same place.

4. One of the biggest risk factors for getting addicted to any drug is easy access to that drug. When it’s easier to get a drug, we’re more likely to try it. In trying it, we’re more likely to get addicted to it.

5. Prohibition led to a sharp decrease in the number of Americans consuming and becoming addicted to alcohol. Rates of public drunkenness and alcohol-related liver disease decreased by half during this period in the absence of new remedies to treat addiction.

6. The question is: Why, in a time of unprecedented wealth, freedom, technological progress, and medical advancement, do we appear to be unhappier and in more pain than ever? The reason we’re all so miserable may be because we’re working so hard to avoid being miserable.

7. Neuroscientific advances in the last fifty to one hundred years, including advances in biochemistry, new imaging techniques, and the emergence of computational biology, shed light on fundamental reward processes. By better understanding the mechanisms that govern pain and pleasure, we can gain new insight into why and how too much pleasure leads to pain.

8. Dopamine is not the only neurotransmitter involved in reward processing, but most neuroscientists agree it is among the most important. Dopamine may play a bigger role in the motivation to get a reward than the pleasure of the reward itself. Wanting more than liking. Genetically engineered mice unable to make dopamine will not seek out food, and will starve to death even when food is placed just inches from their mouth. Yet if food is put directly into their mouth, they will chew and eat the food, and seem to enjoy it.

9. For a rat in a box, chocolate increases the basal output of dopamine in the brain by 55 percent, sex by 100 percent, nicotine by 150 percent, and cocaine by 225 percent. Amphetamine, the active ingredient in the street drugs “speed,” “ice,” and “shabu” as well as in medications like Adderall that are used to treat attention deficit disorder, increases the release of dopamine by 1,000 percent. By this accounting, one hit off a meth pipe is equal to ten orgasms.

10. In addition to the discovery of dopamine, neuroscientists have determined that pleasure and pain are processed in overlapping brain regions and work via an opponent-process mechanism. Another way to say this is that pleasure and pain work like a balance.

11. Imagine our brains contain a balance—a scale with a fulcrum in the center. When nothing is on the balance, it’s level with the ground. When we experience pleasure, dopamine is released in our reward pathway and the balance tips to the side of pleasure. The more our balance tips, and the faster it tips, the more pleasure we feel.

12. But here’s the important thing about the balance: It wants to remain level, that is, in equilibrium. It does not want to be tipped for very long to one side or another. Hence, every time the balance tips toward pleasure, powerful self-regulating mechanisms kick into action to bring it level again. These self-regulating mechanisms do not require conscious thought or an act of will. They just happen, like a reflex.

13. Once the balance is level, it keeps going, tipping an equal and opposite amount to the side of pain.

14. In the 1970s, social scientists Richard Solomon and John Corbit called this reciprocal relationship between pleasure and pain the opponent-process theory: “Any prolonged or repeated departures from hedonic or affective neutrality . . . have a cost.”

15. With repeated exposure to the same or similar pleasure stimulus, the initial deviation to the side of pleasure gets weaker and shorter and the after-response to the side of pain gets stronger and longer, a process scientists call neuroadaptation. That is, with repetition, our gremlins get bigger, faster, and more numerous, and we need more of our drug of choice to get the same effect.

16. With prolonged, heavy drug use, the pleasure-pain balance eventually gets weighted to the side of pain. Our hedonic (pleasure) set point changes as our capacity to experience pleasure goes down and our vulnerability to pain goes up.

17. Neuroscientist Nora Volkow and colleagues have shown that heavy, prolonged consumption of high-dopamine substances eventually leads to a dopamine deficit state.

18. As Dr. Volkow and her colleagues wrote, “The decreases in DA D2 receptors in the drug abusers, coupled to the decreases in DA release, would result in a decreased sensitivity of reward circuits to stimulation by natural rewards.” Once this happens, nothing feels good anymore.

19. Here’s the good news. If we wait long enough, our brains (usually) readapt to the absence of the drug and we reestablish our baseline homeostasis: a level balance. Once our balance is level, we are again able to take pleasure in everyday, simple rewards. Going for a walk. Watching the sun rise. Enjoying a meal with friends.

20. A month is usually the minimum amount of time it takes to reset the brain’s reward pathway.

21. Abstinence is necessary to restore homeostasis, and with it our ability to get pleasure from less potent rewards, as well as see the true cause and effect between our substance use and the way we’re feeling. To put it in terms of the pleasure-pain balance, fasting from dopamine allows sufficient time for the gremlins to hop off the balance and for the balance to go back to the level position.

22. Marc Schuckit and his colleagues studied a group of men who were drinking alcohol daily in large quantities and also met criteria for clinical depression, or what is called major depressive disorder.

23. The depressed men in Schuckit’s study went into the hospital for four weeks, during which time they received no treatment for depression, other than stopping alcohol. After one month of not drinking, 80 percent no longer met criteria for clinical depression. This finding implies that for the majority, clinical depression was the result of heavy drinking and not a co-occurring depressive disorder.

24. Which brings us to an important caveat: I never suggest a dopamine fast to individuals who might be at risk to suffer life-threatening withdrawal if they were to quit all of a sudden, as in cases of severe alcohol, benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin), or opioid dependence and withdrawal. For those patients, medically monitored tapering is necessary. 

25. A minority of patients (about 20 percent) don’t feel better after the dopamine fast. That’s important data too, because it tells me that the drug wasn’t the main driver of the psychiatric symptom and that the patient likely has a co-occurring psychiatric disorder that will require its own treatment.

26. The key to creating effective self-binding is first to acknowledge the loss of voluntariness we experience when under the spell of a powerful compulsion, and to bind ourselves while we still possess the capacity for voluntary choice.

27. If we wait until we feel the compulsion to use, the reflexive pull of seeking pleasure and/or avoiding pain is nearly impossible to resist. In the throes of desire, there’s no deciding. 

28. But by creating tangible barriers between ourselves and our drug of choice, we press the pause button between desire and action.

29. Self-binding can be organized into three broad categories: physical strategies (space), chronological strategies (time), and categorical strategies (meaning).

30. Self-binding is not fail-safe, particularly for those with severe addictions. It too can fall prey to self-deception, bad faith, and faulty science. But it is a good and necessary place to start.

31. As this famous Greek myth illustrates, one form of self-binding is to create literal physical barriers and/or geographical distance between ourselves and our drug of choice. Here are some examples my patients have told me about: “I unplugged my TV and put it in my closet.” “I banished my game console to the garage.” “I don’t use credit cards. Only cash.” “I call hotels beforehand to ask them to remove the minibar.” “I call hotels beforehand to ask them to remove the minibar and the television.” “I put my iPad in a safety deposit box at Bank of America.”

32. Physical self-binding is now available from your local apothecary. Instead of locking our drugs away in a file cabinet, we have the option of imposing locks at the cellular level. The medication naltrexone is used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction, and is being used for a variety of other addictions as well, from gambling to overeating to shopping. Naltrexone blocks the opioid receptor, which in turn diminishes the reinforcing effects of different types of rewarding behavior.

33. Another form of self-binding is the use of time limits and finish lines. By restricting consumption to certain times of the day, week, month, or year, we narrow our window of consumption and thereby limit our use. For example, we can tell ourselves we’ll consume only on holidays, only on weekends, never before Thursday, never before 5:00 p.m., and so on.

34. Categorical self-binding limits consumption by sorting dopamine into different categories: those subtypes we allow ourselves to consume, and those we do not. This method helps us to avoid not only our drug of choice but also the triggers that lead to craving for our drug. This strategy is especially useful for substances we can’t eliminate altogether but that we’re trying to consume in a healthier way, like food, sex, and smartphones.

35. Scientists at Charles University in Prague, writing in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, conducted an experiment in which ten men volunteered to submerge themselves (head out) in cold water (14 degrees Celsius) for one hour. This is 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Using blood samples, the researchers showed that plasma (blood) dopamine concentrations increased 250 percent, and plasma norepinephrine concentrations increased 530 percent as a result of cold-water immersion.

36. Michael’s accidental discovery of the benefits of ice-cold water immersion is an example of how pressing on the pain side of the balance can lead to its opposite— pleasure. Unlike pressing on the pleasure side, the dopamine that comes from pain is indirect and potentially more enduring. So how does it work?

37. Pain leads to pleasure by triggering the body’s own regulating homeostatic mechanisms. In this case, the initial pain stimulus is followed by gremlins hopping on the pleasure side of the balance.

38. With intermittent exposure to pain, our natural hedonic set point gets weighted to the side of pleasure, such that we become less vulnerable to pain and more able to feel pleasure over time.

39. Exercise has a more profound and sustained positive effect on mood, anxiety, cognition, energy, and sleep than any pill I can prescribe.

40. Extreme sports— skydiving, kitesurfing, hang gliding, bob-sledding, downhill skiing/snowboarding, waterfall kayaking, ice climbing, mountain biking, canyon swinging, bungee jumping, base jumping, wingsuit flying—slam down hard and fast on the pain side of the pleasure-pain balance. Intense pain/ fear plus a shot of adrenaline creates a potent drug.

41. Scientists have shown that stress alone can increase the release of dopamine in the brain’s reward pathway, leading to the same brain changes seen with addictive drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.

42. A study of skydivers compared to a control group (rowers) found that repeat skydivers were more likely to experience anhedonia, a lack of joy, in the rest of their lives.

43. People who lean too hard and too long on the pain side of the balance can also end up in a persistent dopamine deficit state.

44. If we consume too much pain, or in too potent a form, we run the risk of compulsive, destructive overconsumption. But if we consume just the right amount, “inhibiting great pain with little pain,” we discover the path to hormetic healing, and maybe even the occasional “fit of joy.”

45. In my clinical practice, I often see one member of a family get into recovery from addiction, followed quickly by another member of the family doing the same. I’ve seen husbands who stop drinking followed by wives who stop having affairs. I’ve seen parents who stop smoking pot followed by children who do the same.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1913031 2022-12-05T19:02:21Z 2022-12-05T19:03:12Z Summary : Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

1. Bullseye, a simple three-step process for getting traction. 

2. After interviewing more than forty successful founders and researching countless more, we discovered that startups get traction through nineteen different channels. Many successful startups experimented with multiple channels until they found one that worked.

3. We uncovered two broad themes through our research. First, most founders consider using only traction channels with which they’re already familiar, or those they think they should be using because of their type of product or company.

4. Second, it’s hard to predict the traction channel that will work best. You can make educated guesses, but until you start running tests, it’s difficult to tell which channel is the best one for you right now.

5. The nineteen traction channel : 

  • Targeting Blogs - Targetting blogs prospective customers might read.
  • Publicity - Publicity is the art of getting your name out there via traditional media outlets like newspapers, magazines, and TV.
  • Unconventional PR - Unconventional PR involves doing something exceptional like publicity stunts to draw media attention.
  • Search Engine Marketing - Search engine marketing (SEM) allows companies to advertise to consumers searching on Google and other search engines.
  • Social and Display Ads - Ads on popular sites like reddit, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and hundreds of other niche sites can be a powerful and scalable way to reach new customers.
  • Offline Ads - Offline ads include TV spots, radio commercials, billboards, infomercials, newspaper and magazine ads, as well as flyers and other local advertisements.
  • Search Engine Optimisation - Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making sure your Web site shows up for key search results.
  • Content Marketing - Using your company blog to get traction
  • Email Marketing - Creating a list of prospect that you can email about your offerings.
  • Engineering as Marketing - Creating a side product(e.g. free utility, microsite or app) that helps with promotion of your main product.
  • Viral Marketing - Customers referring other customers.
  • Business Development - Creating Strategic partnerships that benefit your startup and partner.
  • Sales - Focus on creating direct exchange of product for dollars.
  • Affiliate Programs -  An affiliate program is an arrangement where you pay people or companies for performing certain actions like making a sale or getting a qualified lead.
  • Weinberg, Gabriel; Mares, Justin. Traction (p. 159). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition. 
  • Existing Platforms - Focusing your efforts on attracting consumers from an existing platform that has your target audience.
  • Trade Shows - Attending trade shows to attract customers from relevant industry
  • Offline Events - Sponsoring offline events just as small meetups or large conference
  • Speaking Engagement - After speaking at events people start viewing you as an expert and may desire to purchase your service.
  • Community Building - Forming passionate communities around your products that can promote it.

6. If you’re starting a company, chances are you can build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is enough customers.

7. Having a product or service that your early customers love, but having no clear way to get more traction is a major problem. To solve this problem, spend your time constructing your product or service and testing traction channels in parallel.

8. Traction and product development are of equal importance and should each get about half of your attention. This is what we call the 50 percent rule: spend 50 percent of your time on product and 50 percent on traction.

9. To be clear, splitting your time evenly between product and traction will certainly slow down product development. However, it counterintuitively won’t slow the time to get your product successfully to market. In fact, it will speed it up!

10. You can think of your initial investment in traction as pouring water into a leaky bucket. At first your bucket will be very leaky because your product is not yet a full solution to customer needs and problems. In other words, your product is not as sticky as it could be, and many customers will not want to engage with it yet. As a consequence, much of the money you are spending on traction will leak out of your bucket.

11. These interactions also get you additional data, like what messaging is resonating with potential customers, what niche you might focus on first, what types of customers will be easiest to acquire, and what major distribution roadblocks you might run into.

12. Before you can set about getting traction, you have to define what traction means for your company. How many customers do you need and at what growth rate?

13. Your traction strategy should always be focused on moving the needle for your traction goal. By moving the needle, we mean focusing on marketing activities that result in a measurable, significant impact on your traction goal.

14. From the perspective of getting traction, you can think about working on a product or service in three phases: 

Phase I—making something people want 

Phase II—marketing something people want 

Phase III—scaling your business 

15. In the leaky bucket metaphor, phase I is when your bucket (product) has the most leaks. It really doesn’t hold water.

16. When you constantly test traction channels by sending through a steady stream of new customers, you can tell if your product is getting less leaky over time, which it should be if your product development strategy is sound. In fact this is a great feedback loop between traction development and product development that you can use to make sure you’re on the right track.

17. Once you have crossed over to phase II, you have product-market fit and customers are sticking around. Now is the time to scale up your traction efforts: your bucket is no longer leaky. You are now fine-tuning your positioning and marketing messages. 

18. In phase III, you have an established business model and significant position in the market, and are focused on scaling both to further dominate the market and to profit.

19. Phase I is very product focused and involves pursuing initial traction while also building your initial product. This often means getting traction in ways that don’t scale—giving talks, writing guest posts, emailing people you have relationships with, attending conferences, and doing whatever you can to get in front of customers.

20. The definition of traction keeps changing as the environment gets competitive. That’s why it is actually useful to look at AngelList and look at companies who just got funded; that will give you an idea of where the bar is right now.

21. With investing, always remember that traction trumps everything.

22. We strongly believe that many startups give up way too early. A lot of startup success hinges on choosing a great market at the right time. Consider DuckDuckGo, the search engine startup that Gabriel founded. Other search startups gave up after two years: Gabriel has been at it for more than seven.

23. It’s important to wrap your head around this timescale. If you are just starting out, are you ready to potentially do this for the next decade?

24. A startup can be awesome if you believe in it: if not, it can get old quickly. 

25. If you are considering a pivot, the first thing to look for is evidence of real product engagement, even if it is only a few dedicated customers. If you have such engagement, you might be giving up too soon.

26. Another factor to consider before you pivot: startup founders are usually forward thinking and as a result are often too early to market, which is another reason why it’s important to choose a startup idea you’re willing to stick with for many years.

27. How can you tell whether you are just a bit early to market and should keep plugging away? Again, the best way to find out is by looking for evidence of product engagement. If you are a little early to a market there should be some early adopters out there already eating up what you have to offer.

28. With nineteen traction channels to consider, figuring out which one to focus on is tough. That’s why we’ve created a simple framework called Bullseye that will help you find the channel that will get you traction.

29. We use the name Bullseye for our three-step framework because you’re aiming for the Bullseye—the one traction channel at the center of the target that will unlock your next growth stage.

30. The first step in Bullseye is brainstorming every single traction channel. If you were to advertise offline, where would be the best place to do it? If you were to give a speech, who would be the ideal audience? Imagine what success would look like in each channel, and write it down in your outer ring.

31. For each channel, you should identify one decent channel strategy that has a chance of moving the needle. For example, social ads is a traction channel. Specifically running ads on reddit, Twitter, or Facebook is a channel strategy within social ads. Through brainstorming, identify the best channel strategy you can think of in each of the nineteen traction channels.

32. The second step in Bullseye is running cheap traction tests in the channels that seem most promising. Go around your outer ring and promote your best traction channel ideas to your middle ring.

33. It is often the case that there are a few truly exciting and promising channel ideas in your outer ring. Stop promoting ideas where there is an obvious drop-off in excitement. That drop-off often occurs around the third channel.

34. For each traction channel in your middle ring, now construct a cheap traction test you can run to determine if the idea really is good or not. These tests should be designed to roughly answer the following three questions: 

  • How much will it cost to acquire customers through this channel? 

  • How many customers are available through this channel? 

  • Are the customers that you are getting through this channel the kind of customers that you want right now?

35. The third and final step in Bullseye is to focus solely on the channel that will move the needle for your startup: your core channel.

36. If all went well, one of the traction channels you tested in your middle ring produced promising results. In that case, you should start directing all your traction efforts and resources toward this most promising channel. You hit the Bullseye! You’ve found your core channel.

37. At any stage in a startup’s life cycle, one traction channel dominates in terms of customer acquisition. That is why we suggest focusing on one at a time, but only after you’ve identified a channel that seems like it could actually work.

38. If, unfortunately, no channel seems promising after testing, the whole process should be repeated. The good news is you now have data from all the tests you just did, which will inform you as to what types of things are, and are not, resonating with customers.

39. If you go through the process several times and no traction channel seems promising, then your product may require more tweaking. Your bucket is still too leaky.

40. In the early days, the channel strategies of sponsoring mid-level bloggers in the financial niche and guest posting allowed Mint to acquire its first forty thousand customers. 

41. When this channel maxed out and stopped moving the needle, Mint repeated the Bullseye process, and found a new core traction channel to focus on: publicity. Within six months of launching, it had 1 million users.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1894378 2022-10-23T14:05:31Z 2022-10-23T14:05:31Z Summary : Hooked - How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

1. Seventy-nine percent of smartphone owners check their device within fifteen minutes of waking up every morning.1 Perhaps more startling, fully one-third of Americans say they would rather give up sex than lose their cell phones.

2. Cognitive psychologists define habits as “automatic behaviors triggered by situational cues”: things we do with little or no conscious thought.

3. Instead of relying on expensive marketing, habit-forming companies link their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions.7 A habit is at work when users feel a tad bored and instantly open Twitter.

4. Today, small start-up teams can profoundly change behavior by guiding users through a series of experiences I call hooks. The more often users run through these hooks, the more likely they are to form habits.

5. These years of distilled research and real-world experience resulted in the creation of the Hooked Model: a four-phase process companies use to form habits:

  1.  Trigger
  2. Action
  3. Variable Rewards
  4. Investment

6.  Trigger - A trigger is the actuator of behavior—the spark plug in the engine. 

7. Triggers come in two types: external and internal. Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers like an e-mail, a Web site link, or the app icon on a phone. For example, suppose Barbra, a young woman in Pennsylvania, happens to see a photo in her Facebook News Feed taken by a family member from a rural part of the state. It’s a lovely picture and because she is planning a trip there with her brother Johnny, the external trigger’s call to action (in marketing and advertising lingo) intrigues her and she clicks. 

8. By cycling through successive hooks, users begin to form associations with internal triggers, which attach to existing behaviors and emotions.

9. Action - Following the trigger comes the action: the behavior done in anticipation of a reward. The simple action of clicking on the interesting picture in her news feed takes Barbra to a Web site called Pinterest, a “social bookmarking site with a virtual pinboard.”

10. Companies leverage two basic pulleys of human behavior to increase the likelihood of an action occurring: the ease of performing an action and the psychological motivation to do it.

11. Variable Reward - What distinguishes the Hooked Model from a plain vanilla feedback loop is the Hook’s ability to create a craving.

12. Research shows that levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine surge when the brain is expecting a reward. Although dopamine is often wrongly categorized as making us feel good, introducing variability does create a focused state, which suppresses the areas of the brain associated with judgment and reason while activating the parts associated with wanting and desire. Although classic examples include slot machines and lotteries, variable rewards are prevalent in many other habit-forming products.

13. When Barbra lands on Pinterest, not only does she see the image she intended to find, but she is also served a multitude of other glittering objects.

14. Investment -The last phase of the Hooked Model is where the user does a bit of work. The investment phase increases the odds that the user will make another pass through the cycle in the future. The investment occurs when the user puts something into the product of service such as time, data, effort, social capital, or money.

15. However, the investment phase isn’t about users opening up their wallets and moving on with their day. Rather, the investment implies an action that improves the service for the next go-around. Inviting friends, stating preferences, building virtual assets, and learning to use new features are all investments users make to improve their experience. These commitments can be leveraged to make the trigger more engaging, the action easier, and the reward more exciting with every pass through the Hooked Model.

16. Neuroscientists believe habits give us the ability to focus our attention on other things by storing automatic responses in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain associated with involuntary actions.

17. Habit formation is good for business in several ways:

  • Increasing Customer Lifetime Value - User habits increase how long and how frequently customers use a product, resulting in higher Customer Lifetime Value.
  • Providing Pricing Flexibility - Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, realized that as customers form routines around a product, they come to depend upon it and become less sensitive to price. For example, in the free-to-play video game business, it is standard practice for game developers to delay asking users to pay money until they have played consistently and habitually.
  • Supercharging Growth - Users who continuously find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it.
  • Sharpening the Competitive Edge - User habits are a competitive advantage. Products that change customer routines are less susceptible to attacks from other companies. Products that require a high degree of behavior change are doomed to fail even if the benefits of using the new product are clear and substantial.
  • Building the Mind Monopoly - As one of its findings, the study concluded that the more frequently the new behavior occurred, the stronger the habit became. Like flossing, frequent engagement with a product—especially over a short period of time—increases the likelihood of forming new routines.

18. A company can begin to determine its product’s habit-forming potential by plotting two factors: frequency (how often the behavior occurs) and perceived utility (how useful and rewarding the behavior is in the user’s mind over alternative solutions).

19.Googling occurs multiple times per day, but any particular search is negligibly better than rival services like Bing. Conversely, using Amazon may be a less frequent occurrence, but users receive great value knowing they’ll find whatever they need at the one and only “everything store.”


21. Note that the line slopes downward but never quite reaches the perceived utility axis. Some behaviors never become habits because they do not occur frequently enough. No matter how much utility is involved, infrequent behaviors remain conscious actions and never create the automatic response that is characteristic of habits.

22. On the other axis, however, even a behavior that provides minimal minimal perceived benefit can become a habit simply because it occurs frequently.

23. It is worth noting that although some people use the terms interchangeably, habits are not the same things as addictions. The latter describes persistent, compulsive dependencies on a behavior or substance that harms the user. Addictions, by definition, are self-destructive.

24. A habit, on the other hand, is a behavior that can have a positive influence on a person’s life.

25.Habit-forming products often start as nice-to-haves (vitamins) but once the habit is formed, they become must-haves (painkillers).

26. External triggers are embedded with information, which tells the user what to do next.

27. An external trigger communicates the next action the user should take. Often, the desired action is made explicitly clear.

28. More choices require the user to evaluate multiple options. Too many choices or irrelevant options can cause hesitation, confusion, or worse—abandonment.4 Reducing the thinking required to take the next action increases the likelihood of the desired behavior occurring with little thought.

29. Companies can utilize four types of external triggers to move users to complete desired actions:

 Paid Triggers - Advertising, search engine marketing, and other paid channels are commonly used to get users’ attention and prompt them to act. Paid triggers can be effective but costly ways to keep users coming back. Because paying for reengagement is unsustainable for most business models, companies generally use paid triggers to acquire new users and then leverage other triggers to bring them back.

Earned Triggers - Earned triggers are free in that they cannot be bought directly, but they often require investment in the form of time spent on public and media relations. Favorable press mentions, hot viral videos, and featured app store placements are all effective ways to gain attention.

Relationship Triggers - One person telling others about a product or service can be a highly effective external trigger for action.

Owned Triggers - Owned triggers consume a piece of real estate in the user’s environment. They consistently show up in daily life and it is ultimately up to the user to opt in to allowing these triggers to appear. For example, an app icon on the user’s phone screen, an e-mail newsletter to which the user subscribes, or an app update notification only appears if the user wants it there. As long as the user agrees to see the trigger, the company that sets the trigger owns a share of the user’s attention.

30. Companies may be lulled into thinking that related downloads or sales spikes signal long-term success, yet awareness generated by earned triggers can be short-lived.

31. Yet external triggers are only the first step. The ultimate goal of all external triggers is to propel users into and through the Hooked Model so that, after successive cycles, they do not need further prompting from external triggers.

32. When users form habits, they are cued by a different kind of trigger: internal ones.

33. When a product becomes tightly coupled with a thought, an emotion, or a preexisting routine, it leverages an internal trigger. Unlike external triggers, which use sensory stimuli like a morning alarm clock or giant “Login Now” button, you can’t see, touch, or hear an internal trigger.

34. Internal triggers manifest automatically in your mind. Connecting internal triggers with a product is the brass ring of habit-forming technology.

35. Emotions, particularly negative ones, are powerful internal triggers and greatly influence our daily routines. Feelings of boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and indecisiveness often instigate a slight pain or irritation and prompt an almost instantaneous and often mindless action to quell the negative sensation. For instance, Yin often uses Instagram when she fears a special moment will be lost forever.

36. The study demonstrated that people suffering from symptoms of depression used the Internet more. Why is that? One hypothesis is that those with depression experience negative emotions more frequently than the general population and seek relief by turning to technology to lift their mood.

37. Products that successfully create habits soothe the user’s pain by laying claim to a particular feeling. To do so, product designers must know their user’s internal triggers—that is, the pain they seek to solve.

38. The ultimate goal of a habit-forming product is to solve the user’s pain by creating an association so that the user identifies the company’s product or service as the source of relief.

39. “[If] you want to build a product that is relevant to folks, you need to put yourself in their shoes and you need to write a story from their side. So, we spend a lot of time writing what’s called user narratives.”

40. Dorsey believes a clear description of users—their desires, emotions, the context with which they use the product—is paramount to building the right solution. In addition to Dorsey’s user narratives, tools like customer development,11 usability studies, and empathy maps12 are examples of methods for learning about potential users.

41.  One method is to try asking the question “Why?” as many times as it takes to get to an emotion. Usually, this will happen by the fifth why. This is a technique adapted from the Toyota Production System, described by Taiichi Ohno as the “5 Whys Method.” Ohno wrote that it was “the basis of Toyota’s scientific approach … by repeating ‘why?’ five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”

42. Remember, a habit is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought. The more effort—either physical or mental—required to perform the desired action, the less likely it is to occur.

43. If action is paramount to habit formation, how can a product designer influence users to act? Is there a formula for behavior? It turns out that there is.

44. Fogg posits that there are three ingredients required to initiate any and all behaviors: (1) the user must have sufficient motivation; (2) the user must have the ability to complete the desired action; and (3) a trigger must be present to activate the behavior.

45. The Fogg Behavior Model is represented in the formula B = MAT, which represents that a given behavior will occur when motivation, ability, and a trigger are present at the same time and in sufficient degrees.

46. Fogg states that all humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain; to seek hope and avoid fear; and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection.

47. Consequently, any technology or product that significantly reduces the steps to complete a task will enjoy high adoption rates by the people it assists.

48. Evan Williams, cofounder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, echoes Hauptly’s formula for innovation when he describes his own approach to building three massively successful companies: “Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time … Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.”

49. Fogg describes six “elements of simplicity”—the factors that influence a task’s difficulty. These are: 

  • Time—how long it takes to complete an action. 
  • Money—the fiscal cost of taking an action. 
  • Physical effort—the amount of labor involved in taking the action. 
  • Brain cycles—the level of mental effort and focus required to take an action. 
  • Social deviance—how accepted the behavior is by others.
  • Non-routine—according to Fogg, “How much the action matches or disrupts existing routines.”

50. The action phase of the Hooked Model incorporates Fogg’s six elements of simplicity by asking designers to consider how their technology can facilitate the simplest actions in anticipation of reward. The easier an action, the more likely the user is to do it and to continue the cycle through the next phase of the Hooked Model.

51. After uncovering the triggers that prompt user actions and deciding which actions you want to turn into habits, you can increase motivation and ability to spark the likelihood of your users taking a desired behavior. But which should you invest in first, motivation or ability? Where is your time and money better spent? The answer is always to start with ability.

52. Naturally, all three parts of B = MAT must be present for a singular user action to occur; without a clear trigger and sufficient motivation there will be no behavior. However, for companies building technology solutions, the greatest return on investment generally comes from increasing a product’s ease of use.

53. The fact is, increasing motivation is expensive and time consuming. Web site visitors tend to ignore instructional text; they are often multitasking and have little patience for explanations about why or how they should do something. Influencing behavior by reducing the effort required to perform an action is more effective than increasing someone’s desire to do it. Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.

54. There are many counterintuitive and surprising ways companies can boost users’ motivation or increase their ability by understanding heuristics—the mental shortcuts we take to make decisions and form opinions.

55. The Scarcity Effect - The appearance of scarcity affected their perception of value.

56. The Framing Effect - Context also shapes perception. In a social experiment, world-class violinist Joshua Bell decided to play a free impromptu concert in a Washington, D.C., subway station. Bell regularly sells out venues such as the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall for hundreds of dollars per ticket, but when placed in the context of the D.C. subway, his music fell upon deaf ears. 

57. Almost nobody knew they were walking past one of the most talented musicians in the world. The mind takes shortcuts informed by our surroundings to make quick and sometimes erroneous judgments.

58. The Anchoring Effect - People often anchor to one piece of information when making a decision.

59. The Endowed Progress Effect - Two groups of customers were given punch cards awarding a free car wash once the cards were fully punched. One group was given a blank punch card with eight squares; the other was given a punch card with ten squares that came with two free punches. Both groups still had to purchase eight car washes to receive a free wash; however, however, the second group of customers—those that were given two free punches—had a staggering 82 percent higher completion rate.

60. The study demonstrates the endowed progress effect, a phenomenon that increases motivation as people believe they are nearing a goal.

61. The third step in the Hooked Model is the variable reward phase, in which you reward your users by solving a problem, reinforcing their motivation for the action taken in the previous phase.

62. The study revealed that what draws us to act is not the sensation we receive from the reward itself, but the need to alleviate the craving for that reward.

63. In the 1950s psychologist B. F. Skinner conducted experiments to understand how variability impacted animal behavior.

64. First, Skinner placed hungry pigeons inside a box rigged to deliver a food pellet to the birds every time they pressed a lever. Similar to Olds’s and Milner’s lab mice, the pigeons learned the cause-and-effect relationship between pressing the lever and receiving the food.

65. In the next part of the experiment Skinner added variability. Instead of providing a pellet every time a pigeon tapped the lever, the machine discharged food after a random number of taps. Sometimes the lever dispensed food, other times not. Skinner revealed that the intermittent reward dramatically increased the number of times the pigeons tapped the lever. Adding variability increased the frequency of the pigeons’ completing the intended action.

66. Variable rewards can be found in all sorts of products and experiences that hold our attention. They fuel our drive to check e-mail, browse the web, or bargain-shop. I propose that variable rewards come in three types: the tribe, the hunt, and the self.

67. Rewards of the Tribe - We are a species that depends on one another. Rewards of the tribe, or social rewards, are driven by our connectedness with other people. Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included.

68. Sites that leverage tribal rewards benefit from what psychologist Albert Bandura called “social learning theory.”8 Bandura studied the power of modeling and ascribed special powers to our ability to learn from others. In particular Bandura determined that people who observe someone being rewarded for a particular behavior are more likely to alter their own beliefs and subsequent actions.

69. Here are some online examples of rewards of the tribe:

  • “Likes” and comments offer tribal validation for those who shared the content, and provide variable rewards that motivate them to continue posting.
  • Stack Overflow devotees write responses in anticipation of rewards of the tribe. Each time a user submits an answer, other members have the opportunity to vote the response up or down. The best responses percolate upward, accumulating points for their authors
  • League of Legends, a popular computer game, launched in 2009 and quickly achieved tremendous success. Soon after its launch, however, the game’s owners found they had a serious problem: The online video game was filled with “trolls”—people who enjoyed bullying other players while being protected by the anonymity the game provides. To combat the trolls, the game creators designed a reward system leveraging Bandura’s social learning theory, which they called Honor Points. The number of points earned was highly variable and could only be conferred by other players. Honor Points soon became a coveted marker of tribe-conferred status and helped weed out trolls by signaling to others which players should be avoided.

70. The need to acquire physical objects, such as food and other supplies that aid our survival, is part of our brain’s operating system.

71. Here are a few examples of products that create habits by leveraging rewards of the hunt:

  • Slot machines provide a classic example of variable rewards of the hunt. Gamblers plunk $1 billion per day into slot machines in American casinos, which is a testament to the machines’ power to compel players.16 By awarding money in random intervals, games of chance entice players with the prospect of a jackpot. Naturally, winning is entirely outside the gambler’s control—yet the pursuit can be intoxicating.
  • The Twitter timeline, for example, is filled with a mix of both mundane and relevant content. This variety creates an enticingly unpredictable user experience. On occasion a user might find a particularly interesting piece of news, while other times she won’t. To keep hunting for more information, all that is needed is a flick of the finger or scroll of a mouse. Users scroll and scroll and scroll to search for variable rewards in the form of relevant tweets.

72. We are driven to conquer obstacles, even if just for the satisfaction of doing so. Pursuing a task to completion can influence people to continue all sorts of behaviors.

73. Surprisingly, we even pursue these rewards when we don’t outwardly appear to enjoy them. For example, watching someone investing countless hours into completing a tabletop puzzle can reveal frustrated face contortions and even sounds of muttered profanity.

74. The rewards of the self are fueled by “intrinsic motivation” as highlighted by the work of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. Their self-determination theory espouses that people desire, among other things, to gain a sense of competency. Adding an element of mystery to this goal makes the pursuit all the more enticing.

75. Rewards of the self are a defining component in video games, as players seek to master the skills needed to pursue their quest. Leveling up, unlocking special powers, and other game mechanics fulfill a player’s desire for competency by showing progression

76. Variable rewards are not magic fairy dust that a product designer can sprinkle onto a product to make it instantly more attractive. Rewards must fit into the narrative of why the product is used and align with the user's internal triggers and motivations. They must ultimately improve the user's life.

77. To change behavior, products must ensure the users feel in control. People must want to use the service, not feel they have to.

78. Experiences with finite variability become less engaging because they eventually become predictable.

79. For example, games played to completion offer finite variability, while those played with other people have higher degrees of infinite variability because the players themselves alter the gameplay throughout.

80. The more users invest time and effort into a product or service, the more they value it. In fact, there is ample evidence to suggest that our labor leads to love.

81. The more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it; we are more likely to be consistent with our past behaviours; and finally, we change our preferences to avoid cognitive dissonance.

82. The last step of the Hooked Model is the investment phase, the point at which users are asked to do a bit of work. Here, users are prompted to put something of value into the system, which increase the likelihood of their using the product and of successive passes through the cycle.

83. Unlike in the action phase of the Hook, investments are about the anticipation of longer-term rewards, not immediate gratification.

84.In Twitter, for example, the investment comes in the form of following another user. There is no immediate reward for following someone, no stars or badges to affirm the action. Following is an investment in the service, which increases the likelihood of the user checking Twitter in the future.

85. Also in contrast to the action phase, the investment phase increase friction. This certainly breaks conventional thinking in the product design community that all user experiences should be as easy and effortless as possible. In the investment phase, however, asking users to do a bit of work comes after users have received variables rewards, not before. The timing of asking for user investment is critically important. 

86. The collection of memories and experiences, in aggregate, becomes more valuable over time and the service becomes harder to leave as users' personal investment in the site grows.

87. The company found that the more information users invested in the site, the more committed they became to it.

88. Reputation makes users, both buyers and sellers, more likely to stick with whichever service they have invested their efforts in to maintain a high-quality score.

89. Investing time and effort into learning to use a product is a form of investment and stored value. Once a user has acquired a skill, using the service becomes easier.

90. Once users have invested the effort to acquire a skill, they are less likely to switch to a competing product.

91. I recommend that you progressively stage the investment you want from users into small chucks of work, starting with small, easy tasks and building up to harder tasks during successive cycles through the Hooked Model.

92. Users set future triggers during the investment phase, providing companies with an opportunity to reengage the user.

93. You are now equipped to use the Hooked Model to ask yourself these fundamental questions for building effective hooks:

What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? (Internal trigger) 

What brings users to your service? (External trigger) 

What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? (Action) A

re users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? (Variable reward) What “bit of work” do users invest in your product? 

Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product with use? (Investment)

94. Creating a product that the designer does not believe improves users' lives and that he himself would not use is called exploitation.

95. Start-ups are grueling and only the most fortunate persevere before finding success. If you only build for fame or fortune, you will likely find neither. Build for meaning, though, and you can’t go wrong.

96. The Hooked Model can be a helpful tool for filtering out bad ideas with low habit potential as well as a framework for identifying room for improvement in existing products.

97. Building a habit-forming product is an iterative process and requires user-bebavior analysis and continuous experimentation.

98. Habit Testing offers insights and actionable data to inform the design of habit-forming products. It helps clarify who your devotees are, what parts(if any) of your product are habit forming, and why those aspects of your product are changing user behavior.

99. Habit Testing:

  • Step 1 - Identify. First define what it means to be a devoted user. How often "should" one use your product? Publicly available data from similar products or solutions can help define your users and engagement targets. Educated assumptions must be made if data is not available.
  • Step 2 -Codify. Atleast 5% of your users should be habitual users initially. Once your exceed this bar, the next step is to codify the steps they took using your product to understand what hooked them. You are looking for a Habit Path -- a series of similar actions shared by your most loyal users. For example, in its early days, Twitter discovered that once new users followed thirty other members, they hit a tipping point that dramatically increased the odds they would keep using the site.
  • Step 3 - Modify. Armed with new insights, it is time to revisit your product and identify ways to nudge new users down the same Habit Path taken by devotees.

100. Identifying areas where a new technology makes cycling through the Hooked Model faster, more frequent, or more rewarding provides fertile ground for developing new habit-forming products.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1885432 2022-10-01T18:10:15Z 2022-10-05T07:39:11Z Summary : Contagious by Jonah Berger

1.One reason some products and ideas become popular is that they are just plain better. We tend to prefer websites that are easier to use, drugs that are more effective, and scientific theories that are true rather than false. So when something comes along that offers better functionality or does a better job, people tend to switch to it. Remember how bulky televisions or computer monitors used to be? They were so heavy and cumbersome that you had to ask a couple of friends (or risk a strained back) to carry one up a flight of stairs. One reason flat screens took off was that they were better. Not only did they offer larger screens, but they weighed less. No wonder they became popular.

2. Another reason products catch on is attractive pricing. Not surprisingly, most people prefer paying less rather than more.

3. Advertising also plays a role. Consumers need to know about something before they can buy it. So people tend to think that the more they spend on advertising, the more likely something will become popular. Want to get people to eat more vegetables? Spending more on ads should increase the number of people who hear your message and buy broccoli.

4. But although quality, price, and advertising contribute to products and ideas being successful, they don’t explain the whole story.

5. People share more than 16,000 words per day and every hour there are more than 100 million conversations about brands.

6. Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.

7. In fact, while traditional, advertising is still useful, word of mouth from everyday Joes and Janes is at least ten times more effective.

8. Word of mouth tends to reach people who are actually interested in the thing being discussed. No wonder customers referred by their friends spend more, shop faster, and are more profitable overall.

9. Research by the Keller Fay Group finds that only 7 percent of word of mouth happens online.

10. Fifty percent of YouTube videos have fewer than five hundred views. Only one-third of 1 percent get more than 1 million.

11. Further, by focusing so much on the messenger, we’ve neglected a much more obvious driver of sharing: the message. To use an analogy, think about jokes. We all have friends who are better joke tellers than we are. Whenever they tell a joke the room bursts out laughing. But jokes also vary. Some jokes are so funny that it doesn’t matter who tells them. Everyone laughs even if the person sharing the joke isn’t all that funny. 

12. Contagious content is like that—so inherently viral that it spreads regardless of who is doing the talking. Regardless of whether the messengers are really persuasive or not and regardless of whether they have ten friends or ten thousand.

13. After analyzing hundreds of contagious messages, products, and ideas, we noticed that the same six “ingredients,” or principles, were often at work. Six key STEPPS, as I call them, that cause things to be talked about, shared, and imitated.

14. Principle 1: Social Currency - How does it make people look to talk about a product or idea? Most people would rather look smart than dumb, rich than poor, and cool than geeky.

15. So to get people talking we need to craft messages that help them achieve these desired impressions. We need to find our inner remarkability and make people feel like insiders.

16. Principle 2: Triggers - How do we remind people to talk about our products and ideas? Triggers are stimuli that prompt people to think about related things.

17. People often talk about whatever comes to mind, so the more often people think about a product or idea, the more it will be talked about. We need to design products and ideas that are frequently triggered by the environment and create new triggers by linking our products and ideas to prevalent cues in that environment. Top of mind leads to tip of tongue.

18. Principle 3: Emotion - Naturally contagious content usually evokes some sort of emotion. Blending an iPhone is surprising. A potential tax hike is infuriating. Emotional things often get shared.

19. Principle 4: Public Can people see when others are using our product or engaging in our desired behavior? The famous phrase “Monkey see, monkey do” captures more than just the human tendency to imitate. It also tells us that it’s hard to copy something you can’t see. Making things more observable makes them easier to imitate, which makes them more likely to become popular.

20. Principle 5: Practical Value How can we craft content that seems useful? People like to help others, so if we can show them how our products or ideas will save time, improve health, or save money, they’ll spread the word.

21. Principle 6: Stories What broader narrative can we wrap our idea in? People don’t just share information, they tell stories. But just like the epic tale of the Trojan Horse, stories are vessels that carry things such as morals and lessons.

22. These are the six principles of contagiousness: products or ideas that contain Social Currency and are Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable, and wrapped into Stories.

23. Word of mouth, then, is a prime tool for making a good impression—as potent as that new car or Prada handbag. Think of it as a kind of currency. Social currency. Just as people use money to buy products or services, they use social currency to achieve desired positive impressions among their families, friends, and colleagues.

24. Give people a way to make themselves look good while promoting their products and ideas along the way. There are three ways to do that: (1) find inner remarkability; (2) leverage game mechanics; and (3) make people feel like insiders.

25. Remarkable things are defined as unusual, extraordinary, or worthy of notice or attention. Something can be remarkable because it is novel, surprising, extreme, or just plain interesting. But the most important aspect of remarkable things is that they are worthy of remark. Worthy of mention. Learning that a ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber is just so noteworthy that you have to mention it.

26. Remarkable things provide social currency because they make the people who talk about them seem, well, more remarkable.

27. One way to generate surprise is by breaking a pattern people have come to expect.

28. People don’t just care about how they are doing, they care about their performance in relation to others.

29. Game mechanics help generate social currency because doing well makes us look good. People love boasting about the things they’ve accomplished: their golf handicaps, how many people follow them on Twitter, or their kids’ SAT scores.

30. Leveraging game mechanics also involves helping people publicize their achievements. Sure, someone can talk about how well she did, but it’s even better if there is a tangible, visible symbol that she can display to others. Foursquare, the location-based social networking website, lets users check in at bars, restaurants, and other locations using their mobile devices.

31. Effective status systems are easy to understand, even by people who aren’t familiar with the domain.

32. Giving awards works on a similar principle. Recipients of awards love boasting about them—it gives them the opportunity to tell others how great they are. But along the way they have to mention who gave them the award.

33. Word of mouth can also come from the voting process itself. Deciding the winner by popular vote encourages contestants to drum up support. But in telling people to vote for them, contestants also spread awareness about the product, brand, or initiative sponsoring the contest. Instead of marketing itself directly, the company uses the contest to get people who want to win to do the marketing themselves.

34. Scarcity is about how much of something is offered. Scarce things are less available because of high demand, limited production, or restrictions on the time or place you can acquire them.

35. Exclusivity is also about availability, but in a different way. Exclusive things are accessible only to people who meet particular criteria.

36. Scarcity and exclusivity help products catch on by making them seem more desirable.

37. Scarcity and exclusivity boost word of mouth by making people feel like insiders. If people get something not everyone else has, it makes them feel special, unique, high status.

38. If word-of-mouth pundits agree on anything, it’s that being interesting is essential if you want people to talk. Most buzz marketing books will tell you that. So will social media gurus.

39. Unfortunately, he’s wrong. And so is everyone else who subscribes to the interest-is-king theory. And lest you think this contradicts what we talked about in the previous chapter about Social Currency, read on. People talk about Cheerios more than Disney World. The reason? Triggers. 

40. Interesting products didn’t receive any more word of mouth than boring ones.

41. Sights, smells, and sounds can trigger related thoughts and ideas, making them more top of mind. A hot day might trigger thoughts about climate change. Seeing a sandy beach in a travel magazine might trigger thoughts of Corona beer.

42. But triggers can also be indirect. Seeing a jar of peanut butter not only triggers us to think about peanut butter, it also makes us think about its frequent partner, jelly. Triggers are like little environmental reminders for related concepts and ideas.

43. More frequently triggered products got 15 percent more word of mouth. Even mundane products like Ziploc bags and moisturizer received lots of buzz because people were triggered to think about them so frequently.

44. So rather than just going for a catchy message, consider the context. Think about whether the message will be triggered by the everyday environments of the target audience.

45. The more the desired behavior happens after a delay, the more important being triggered becomes.

46. One product that used triggers brilliantly is Kit Kat. “Give me a break, give me a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!” Introduced in the United States in 1986, the Kit Kat tune is one of the most iconic jingles ever made.

47. Products and ideas also have habitats, or sets of triggers that cause people to think about them.

48. Competitors can even be used as a trigger. by making a rival’s message act as a trigger for your own.

49. A famous antismoking campaign, for example, spoofed Marlboro’s iconic ads by captioning a picture of one Marlboro cowboy talking to another with the words: “Bob, I’ve got emphysema.” So now whenever people see a Marlboro ad, it triggers them to think about the antismoking message.

50. Researchers call this strategy the poison parasite because it slyly injects “poison” (your message) into a rival’s message by making it a trigger for your own.

51. Triggers can help products and ideas catch on, but some stimuli are better triggers than others. The more things a given cue is associated with, the weaker any given association.

52. Triggers work the same way. The color red, for example, is associated with many things: roses, love, Coca-Cola, and fast cars, to name just a few. As a result of being ubiquitous, it’s not a particularly strong trigger for any of these ideas.

53. Compare that with how many people think “jelly” when you say “peanut butter” and it will be clear why stronger, more unusual links are better. Linking a product or idea with a stimulus that is already associated with many things isn’t as effective as forging a fresher, more original link.

54. It is also important to pick triggers that happen near where the desired behavior is taking place.

55. Triggers and cues lead people to talk, choose, and use. Social currency gets people talking, but Triggers keep them talking. Top of mind means tip of tongue.

56. As we expected, both characteristics influenced sharing. More interesting articles were 25 percent more likely to make the Most E-Mailed list. More useful articles were 30 percent more likely to make the list.

57. Sadder articles were actually 16 percent less likely to make the Most E-Mailed list. Something about sadness was making people less likely to share. What?

58. More recently, however, psychologists have argued that emotions can also be classified based on a second dimension. That of activation, or physiological arousal.

59. Arousal is a state of activation and readiness for action. The heart beats faster and blood pressure rises. Evolutionarily, it comes from our ancestors’ reptilian brains. Physiological arousal motivates a fight-or-flight response that helps organisms catch food or flee from predators.

60. Some emotions, like anger and anxiety, are high-arousal. When we’re angry we yell at customer service representatives. When we’re anxious we check and recheck

61. things. Positive emotions also generate arousal. Take excitement. When we feel excited we want to do something rather than sit still. The same is true for awe. When inspired by awe we can’t help wanting to tell people what happened. Other emotions, however, have the opposite effect: they stifle action. Take sadness. Whether dealing with a tough breakup or the death of a beloved pet, sad people tend to power down.

62. In their wonderful book Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath talk about using the “Three Whys” to find the emotional core of an idea. Write down why you think people are doing something. Then ask “Why is this important?” three times. Each time you do this, note your answer, and you’ll notice that you drill down further and further toward uncovering not only the core of an idea, but the emotion behind it.

63. And it did. Among students who had been instructed to jog, 75 percent shared the article—more than twice as many as the students who had been in the “relaxed” group. Thus any sort of arousal, whether from emotional or physical sources, and even arousal due to the situation itself (rather than content), can boost transmission.

64. A key factor in driving products to catch on is public visibility. If something is built to show, it’s built to grow.

65. Observable things are also more likely to be discussed. Ever walked into someone’s office or home and inquired about a weird paperweight on the desk or a colorful art print on the living room wall?

66. The more public a product or service is, the more it triggers people to take action. So how can products or ideas be made more publicly observable?

67. One way to make things more public is to design ideas that advertise themselves.

68. Every time current Hotmail customers sent an e-mail, they also sent prospective customers a bit of social proof—an implicit endorsement for this previously unknown service. And it worked. In a little over a year Hotmail signed up more than 8.5 million subscribers. Soon after, Microsoft bought the burgeoning service for $400 million. Since then more than 350 million users have signed up.

69. Take Apple’s decision to make iPod headphones white. But because most devices came with black headphones, Apple’s white headphone cords stood out. By advertising themselves, the headphones made it easy to see how many other people were switching away from the traditional Walkman and adopting the iPod. This was visible social proof that suggested the iPod was a good product and made potential adopters feel more comfortable about purchasing it as well.

70. Designing products that advertise themselves is a particularly powerful strategy for small companies or organizations that don’t have a lot of resources.

71. But sharing something useful with others is a quick and easy way to help them out. Even if we’re not in the same place. Parents can send their kids helpful advice even if they are hundreds of miles away. Passing along useful things also strengthens social bonds.

72. If Social Currency is about information senders and how sharing makes them look, Practical Value is mostly about the information receiver. It’s about saving people time or money, or helping them have good experiences.

73. One of the main tenets of prospect theory is that people don’t evaluate things in absolute terms. They evaluate them relative to a comparison standard, or “reference point.”

74. The prices of the dresses were the same in both versions of the catalog. So using the word “sale” beside a price increased sales even though the price itself stayed the same.

75. Another tenet of prospect theory is something called “diminishing sensitivity.”

76. While almost everyone is willing to endure the drive for the cheaper clock radio, almost no one is willing to do it when buying a TV. Why? Diminishing sensitivity reflects the idea that the same change has a smaller impact the farther it is from the reference point.

77. As prospect theory illustrates, one key factor in highlighting incredible value is what people expect. Promotional offers that seem surprising or surpass expectations are more likely to be shared.

78. Another factor that affects whether deals seem valuable is their availability. Somewhat counterintuitively, making promotions more restrictive can actually make them more effective.

79. But offers that are available for only a limited time seem more appealing because of the restriction. Just like making a product scarce, the fact that a deal won’t be around forever makes people feel that it must be a really good one.

80. Researchers find that whether a discount seems larger as money or percentage off depends on the original price. For low-priced products, like books or groceries, price reductions seem more significant when they are framed in percentage terms. Twenty percent off that $25 shirt seems like a better deal than $5 off. For high-priced products, however, the opposite is true.

81. A simple way to figure out which discount frame seems larger is by using something called the Rule of 100. If the product’s price is less than $100, the Rule of 100 says that percentage discounts will seem larger. For a $30 T-shirt or a $15 entrée, even a $3 discount is still a relatively small number. But percentagewise (10 percent or 20 percent), that same discount looks much bigger.

82. Useful information, then, is another form of practical value. Helping people do things they want to do, or encouraging them to do things they should do. Faster, better, and easier.

83. So while broadly relevant content could be shared more, content that is obviously relevant to a narrow audience may actually be more viral.

84. Of the six principles of contagiousness that we discuss in the book, Practical Value may be the easiest to apply.

85. Virality is most valuable when the brand or product benefit is integral to the story. When it’s woven so deeply into the narrative that people can’t tell the story without mentioning it.

86. Sure, you can make your narrative funny, surprising, or entertaining. But if people don’t connect the content back to you, it’s not going to help you very much. Even if it goes viral.

87. Using scarcity and exclusivity early on and then relaxing the restrictions later is a particularly good way to build demand.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1876074 2022-09-04T11:49:12Z 2022-09-04T11:49:13Z Notes : The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

1. The best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control. Knowing how you are likely to give in doesn’t, as many people fear, set yourself up for failure. It allows you to support yourself and avoid the traps that lead to willpower failures. Research shows that people who think they have the most willpower are actually the most likely to lose control when tempted.

2. Willpower is about harnessing the three powers of I will, I won’t, and I want to help you achieve your goals (and stay out of trouble).

3. In other words, when Gage lost his prefrontal cortex, he lost his will power, his won’t power, and his want power. i.e. The Preforntal Cortex is what gives us the ability to control ourselves.

4. Most of us don’t have to worry about ill-timed railroad explosions robbing us of our self-control, but we all have a little Phineas Gage in us. The prefrontal cortex is not always as reliable as we’d like. Many temporary states—like being drunk, sleep-deprived, or even just distracted—inhibit the prefrontal cortex, mimicking the brain damage that Gage sustained.

5. Some neuroscientists go so far as to say that we have one brain but two minds—or even, two people living inside our mind. There’s the version of us that acts on impulse and seeks immediate gratification, and the version of us that controls our impulses and delays gratification to protect our long-term goals. They’re both us, but we switch back and forth between these two selves. Sometimes we identify with the person who wants to lose weight, and sometimes we identify with the person who just wants the cookie.

6. Baba Shiv, a professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has shown that people who are distracted are more likely to give in to temptations. For example, students trying to remember a telephone number are 50 percent more likely to choose chocolate cake over fruit at a snack cart. Distracted shoppers are more susceptible to in-store promotions, and more likely to go home with items not on their shopping lists.

7. Or you could do something a lot simpler and less painful: meditate. Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and selfawareness. People who meditate regularly aren’t just better at these things. Over time, their brains become finely tuned willpower machines. Regular meditators have more gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, as well as regions of the brain that support self-awareness.

8. One study found that just three hours of meditation practice led to improved attention and self-control. After eleven hours, researchers could see those changes in the brain. The new meditators had increased neural connections between regions of the brain important for staying focused, ignoring distractions, and controlling impulses. Another study found that eight weeks of daily meditation practice led to increased self-awareness in everyday life, as well as increased gray matter in corresponding areas of the brain.

9. “What was my body doing?” Science is discovering that self-control is a matter of physiology, not just psychology.

10. The good news is that you can learn to shift your physiology into that state when you need your willpower the most. You can also train the body’s capacity to stay in this state, so that when temptation strikes, your instinctive response is one of self-control.

11. While your body was getting ready to defend your life, the alarm system in your brain was busy trying to make sure that you didn’t get in the body’s way. It focused your attention and senses on the saber-toothed tiger and your surroundings, making sure no stray thoughts distracted you from the threat at hand. The alarm system also prompted a complex change in brain chemicals that inhibited your prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain in charge of impulse control. That’s right, the fight-or-flight response wants to make you more impulsive. The rational, wise, and deliberative prefrontal cortex is effectively put to sleep—the better to make sure you don’t chicken out or overthink your escape. Speaking of escape, I’d say your best bet in this situation is to start running. Now.

12. Suzanne Segerstrom, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, studies how states of mind like stress and hope influence the body. She has found that, just like stress, self-control has a biological signature.

13. Segerstrom calls those changes the pause-and-plan response, which couldn’t look more different from the fight-or-flight response.

14. Your instincts are pushing you toward a potentially bad decision. What’s needed, therefore, is protection of yourself by yourself. This is what self-control is all about. The most helpful response will be to slow you down, not speed you up (as a fight-or-flight response does). And this is precisely what the pause-and-plan response does. The perception of an internal conflict triggers changes in the brain and body that help you slow down and control your impulses.

15. The single best physiological measurement of the pause-and-plan response is something called heart rate variability—a measurement most people have never heard of, but one that provides an amazing window into the body’s state of stress or calm.

16. Heart rate variability is such a good index of willpower that you can use it to predict who will resist temptation, and who will give in.

17. Studies also show that people with higher heart rate variability are better at ignoring distractions, delaying gratification, and dealing with stressful situations.

18. You won’t find many quick fixes in this book, but there is one way to immediately boost willpower: Slow your breathing down to four to six breaths per minute. That’s ten to fifteen seconds per breath—slower than you normally breathe, but not difficult with a little bit of practice and patience. Slowing the breath down activates the prefrontal cortex and increases heart rate variability, which helps shift the brain and body from a state of stress to self-control mode. A few minutes of this technique will make you feel calm, in control, and capable of handling cravings or challenges.

19. Heart rate variability steadily increases as your breathing rate drops below twelve per minute.

20. One study found that a daily twenty-minute practice of slowed breathing increased heart rate variability and reduced cravings and depression among adults recovering from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

21. Exercise turns out to be the closest thing to a wonder drug that self-control scientists have discovered. For starters, the willpower benefits of exercise are immediate. Fifteen minutes on a treadmill reduces cravings, as seen when researchers try to tempt dieters with chocolate and smokers with cigarettes. The long-term effects of exercise are even more impressive. It not only relieves ordinary, everyday stress, but it’s as powerful an antidepressant as Prozac. Working out also enhances the biology of self-control by increasing baseline heart rate variability and training the brain.

22. If you are surviving on less than six hours of sleep a night, there’s a good chance you don’t even remember what it’s like to have your full willpower. Being mildly but chronically sleep deprived makes you more susceptible to stress, cravings, and temptation. It also makes it more difficult to control your emotions, focus your attention, or find the energy to tackle the big “I will” power challenges.

23. The good news is, all of this is reversible. When the sleep-deprived catch a better night’s sleep, their brain scans no longer show signs of prefrontal cortex impairment. In fact, they look just like the brains of the well-rested.

24. In one study, five minutes of breath-focus meditation a day helped recovering addicts fall asleep. This added one hour a night to their quality sleep time, which in turn significantly reduced the risk of drug use relapse. So for better willpower, go to sleep already.

25. This may seem to work in the short term, but in the long term, nothing drains willpower faster than stress. The biology of stress and the biology of self-control are simply incompatible. Both the fight-or-flight and pause-and-plan responses are about energy management, but they redirect your energy and attention in very different ways. The fight-or-flight response floods the body with energy to act instinctively, and steals it from the areas of the brain needed for wise decision making.

26. Welcome to one of the most robust, if troubling, findings from the science of self-control: People who use their willpower seem to run out of it. Smokers who go without a cigarette for twenty-four hours are more likely to binge on ice cream. Drinkers who resist their favorite cocktail become physically weaker on a test of endurance. Perhaps most disturbingly, people who are on a diet are more likely to cheat on their spouse. It’s as if there’s only so much willpower to go around. Once exhausted, you are left defenseless against temptation—or at least disadvantaged.

27. Researchers have found that self-control is highest in the morning and steadily deteriorates over the course of the day. By the time you get to the stuff that really matters to you, like going to the gym after work, tackling the big project, keeping your cool when your kids turn the couch into a finger paint masterpiece, or staying away from the emergency pack of cigarettes stashed in your drawer, you may find yourself out of willpower.

28. The more a person’s blood sugar dropped after a self-control task, the worse his performance on the next task. It appeared as if self-control was draining the body of energy, and this energy loss was weakening self-control.

29. Low blood sugar levels turn out to predict a wide range of willpower failures, from giving up on a difficult test to lashing out at others when you’re angry. Gailliot, now a professor at Zirve University in Turkey, has found that people with low blood sugar are also more likely to rely on stereotypes and less likely to donate money to charity or help a stranger. It is as if running low on energy biases us to be the worst versions of ourselves. In contrast, giving participants a sugar boost turns them back into the best versions of themselves: more persistent and less impulsive; more thoughtful and less selfish.

30. Other studies have found that committing to any small, consistent act of self-control—improving your posture, squeezing a handgrip every day to exhaustion, cutting back on sweets, and keeping track of your spending—can increase overall willpower.

31. The widely observed scientific finding that self-control is limited may reflect people’s beliefs about willpower, not their true physical and mental limits.

32. When your willpower is running low, find renewed strength by tapping into your want power. For your biggest willpower challenge, consider the following motivations: 

  1. How will you benefit from succeeding at this challenge? What is the payoff for you personally? Greater health, happiness, freedom, financial security, or success? 
  2. Who else will benefit if you succeed at this challenge? Surely there are others who depend on you and are affected by your choices. How does your behavior influence your family, friends, coworkers, employees or employer, and community? How would your success help them? 
  3. Imagine that this challenge will get easier for you over time if you are willing to do what is difficult now. Can you imagine what your life will be like, and how you will feel about yourself, as you make progress on this challenge? Is some discomfort now worth it if you know it is only a temporary part of your progress?

33. Ayelet Fishbach, professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Ravi Dhar, professor at the Yale School of Management, have shown that making progress on a goal motivates people to engage in goal-sabotaging behavior.

34. The problem with progress is how it makes us feel—and even then, it’s only a problem if we listen to the feeling instead of sticking to our goals. Progress can be motivating, and even inspire future self-control, but only if you view your actions as evidence that you are committed to your goal. In other words, you need to look at what you have done and conclude that you must really care about your goal, so much so that you want to do even more to reach it. This perspective is easy to adopt; it’s just not our usual mindset. More typically, we look for the reason to stop.

35. How do you focus on commitment instead of progress? A study by researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and the University of Chicago provides one strategy. When they asked students to remember a time they turned down a temptation, moral licensing ensued, and 70 percent took the next opportunity to indulge. But when they also asked the participants to remember why they had resisted, the licensing effect disappeared—69 percent resisted temptation.

36. We wrongly but persistently expect to make different decisions tomorrow than we do today. I’ll smoke this one cigarette, but starting tomorrow, I’m done. I’ll skip the gym today, but I’m sure I’ll go tomorrow. I’ll splurge on holiday gifts, but then no more shopping for at least three months.

37. Behavioral economist Howard Rachlin proposes an interesting trick for overcoming the problem of always starting a change tomorrow. When you want to change a behavior, aim to reduce the variability in your behavior, not the behavior itself. He has shown that smokers asked to try to smoke the same number of cigarettes every day gradually decrease their overall smoking—even when they are explicitly told not to try to smoke less.

38. How does the reward system compel us to act? When the brain recognizes an opportunity for reward, it releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine tells the rest of the brain what to pay attention to and what to get our greedy little hands on. A dopamine rush doesn’t create happiness itself —the feeling is more like arousal. We feel alert, awake, and captivated.

39. When dopamine is released by one promise of reward, it also makes you more susceptible to any other kind of temptation. For example, erotic images make men more likely to take financial risks, and fantasizing about winning the lottery leads people to overeat—two ways daydreaming about unattainable rewards can get you into trouble. High levels of dopamine amplify the lure of immediate gratification, while making you less concerned about long-term consequences.

40. The reward system of the brain also responds to novelty and variety. Your dopamine neurons eventually become less responsive to familiar rewards, even ones you really enjoy, whether it’s a daily mocha latte or the same old lunch special. It’s not a coincidence that places like Starbucks and Jack in the Box are constantly introducing new variations of the standard fare, and clothing retailers roll out new color choices for their wardrobe basics. Regular cup of joe?

41. Businesses also use smells to manufacture desire where none existed. An appetizing odor is one of the fastest ways to trigger the promise of reward, and as soon as the scented molecules land on your olfactory receptors, the brain will begin searching for the source.

42. The promise of reward has even been used to help people overcome addiction. One of the most effective intervention strategies in alcohol and drug recovery is something called the fish bowl. Patients who pass their drug tests win the opportunity to draw a slip of paper out of a bowl. About half of these slips have a prize listed on them, ranging in value from $1 to $20. Only one slip has a big prize, worth $100. Half of the slips have no prize value at all—instead, they say, “Keep up the good work.” This means that when you reach your hand into the fish bowl, the odds are you’re going to end up with a prize worth $1 or a few kind words. This shouldn’t be motivating—but it is. In one study, 83 percent of patients who had access to fish bowl rewards stayed in treatment for the whole twelve weeks, compared with only 20 percent of patients receiving standard treatment without the promise of reward. Eighty percent of the fish bowl patients passed all their drug tests, compared with only 40 percent of the standard treatment group. When the intervention was over, the fish bowl group was also far less likely to relapse than patients who received standard treatment—even without the continued promise of reward.

43. We humans find it nearly impossible to distinguish the promise of reward from whatever pleasure or payoff we are seeking.

44. When you’re feeling down, what do you do to feel better? If you’re like most people, you turn to the promise of reward. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the most commonly used strategies for dealing with stress are those that activate the brain’s reward system: eating, drinking, shopping, watching television, surfing the Web, and playing video games. And why not? Dopamine promises us that we’re going to feel good. It’s only natural that we turn to the biggest dopamine releasers when we want to feel better. Call it the promise of relief.

45. The brain, it turns out, is especially susceptible to temptation when we’re feeling bad. Scientists have come up with clever ways to stress out their laboratory subjects, and the results are always the same.

46. When smokers imagine a trip to the dentist, they experience off-the-chart cravings for a cigarette. When binge-eaters are told they will have to give a speech in public, they crave high-fat, sugary foods. Stressing out lab rats with unpredictable electric shocks (to the body, not the brain’s reward center!) will make them run for sugar, alcohol, heroin, or whatever reward researchers have made available in their cage. Outside the laboratory, real-world stress increases the risk of relapse among smokers, recovering alcoholics, drug addicts, and dieters.

47. Neuroscientists have shown that stress—including negative emotions like anger, sadness, self-doubt, and anxiety—shifts the brain into a reward-seeking state. You end up craving whatever substance or activity your brain associates with the promise of reward, and you become convinced that the “reward” is the only way to feel better. For example, when a cocaine addict remembers a fight with a family member or being criticized at work, his brain’s reward system becomes activated, and he experiences intense cravings for cocaine.

48. While many of the most popular stress-relief strategies fail to make us feel better, some strategies really work. According to the American Psychological Association, the most effective stress-relief strategies are exercising or playing sports, praying or attending a religious service, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends or family, getting a massage, going outside for a walk, meditating or doing yoga, and spending time with a creative hobby. (The least effective strategies are gambling, shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, playing video games, surfing the Internet, and watching TV or movies for more than two hours.) 

49. The main difference between the strategies that work and the strategies that don’t? Rather than releasing dopamine and relying on the promise of reward, the real stress relievers boost moodenhancing brain chemicals like serotonin and GABA, as well as the feel-good hormone oxytocin. They also help shut down the brain’s stress response, reduce stress hormones in the body, and induce the healing relaxation response. Because they aren’t exciting like the dopamine releasers, we tend to underestimate how good they will make us feel. And so we forget about these strategies not because they don’t work, but because when we’re stressed, our brains persistently mis-predict what will make us happy. This means that we’ll often talk ourselves out of doing the very thing that will actually make us feel better.

50. It doesn’t take planes flying into buildings to press our inner panic buttons. In fact, it doesn’t even take real deaths to set us spending—television dramas and movies can have the same effect. In one study, watching a death scene in the 1979 tearjerker film The Champ made people willing to pay three times as much for something they didn’t need (and would later regret). Importantly, the participants in this study were oblivious to the fact that watching the film had influenced what they were willing to pay.

51. Not surprisingly, people who drank too much the previous night felt worse in the morning— headaches, nausea, fatigue. But their misery wasn’t limited to hangovers. Many also felt guilty and ashamed. That’s where things get disturbing. The worse a person felt about how much they drank the night before, the more they drank that night and the next. The guilt was driving them back to the bottle. 

52. Welcome to one of the biggest threats to willpower worldwide: the “what-the-hell effect.” First coined by dieting researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman, the what-the-hell effect describes a cycle of indulgence, regret, and greater indulgence.

53. Any setback can create the same downward spiral. In one not-so-nice study, Polivy and Herman rigged a scale to make dieters think they had gained five pounds. The dieters felt depressed, guilty, and disappointed with themselves—but instead of resolving to lose the weight, they promptly turned to food to fix those feelings.

54. And yet getting rid of guilt kept the women from overindulging in the taste test. We may think that guilt motivates us to correct our mistakes, but it’s just one more way that feeling bad leads to giving in.

55. If you think that the key to greater willpower is being harder on yourself, you are not alone. But you are wrong. Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In contrast, self-compassion—being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure—is associated with more motivation and better self-control.

56. Whether we look to economics, psychology, or neuroscience for an explanation, many of our problems with temptation and procrastination come back to one uniquely human problem: how we think about the future.

57. One reason we’re so susceptible to immediate gratification is that our brain’s reward system did not evolve to respond to future rewards. Food was the reward system’s original target, which is why humans are still exceptionally responsive to the smell or sight of anything yummy. When dopamine was first perfecting its effects in the human brain, a reward that was far off—whether by sixty miles or sixty days—was irrelevant to daily survival.

58. To delay gratification, the prefrontal cortex has to cool off the promise of reward. It’s not an impossible feat—after all, that’s what the prefrontal cortex is there for. But it has to fight a feeling that’s been known to make rats run across electrified grids and men blow their life savings on a slot machine. In other words, it’s not easy.

59. To really overwhelm our prefrontal cortex, the reward must be available now, and—for maximum effect—you need to see it. As soon as there is any distance between you and the temptation, the power of balance shifts back to the brain’s system of self-control.

60. Anything you can do to create that distance will make it easier to say no. For example, one study found that just putting a candy jar inside a desk drawer instead of on top of the desk reduced office workers’ candy consumption by one third. It isn’t any more difficult to open a drawer than to reach across a desk, but putting the candy away reduced the constant stimulation of desire. When you know your own triggers, putting them out of sight can keep them from tempting your mind.

61. Ten minutes might not seem like much time to wait for something you want, but neuroscientists have discovered that it makes a big difference in how the brain processes a reward. When immediate gratification comes with a mandatory ten-minute delay, the brain treats it like a future reward. The promise-of-reward system is less activated, taking away the powerful biological impulse to choose immediate gratification.

62. To find out, he created a measure of “future-self continuity”—the degree to which you see your future self as essentially the same person as your current self. Not everyone views the future self as a total stranger; some of us feel quite close and connected to our future selves.

63. His most recent work shows that people with low future-self continuity behave less ethically in business role-play scenarios.

64. It is as if feeling disconnected from our future selves gives us permission to ignore the consequences of our actions. In contrast, feeling connected to our future selves protects us from our worst impulses.

65.You can help yourself make wiser choices by sending yourself to the future (DeLorean not required 27 ). Below are three ideas for making the future feel real, and for getting to know your future self. Pick one that appeals to you and try it out this week. 

  1. Create a Future Memory. Neuroscientists at the University Medical Center HamburgEppendorf in Germany have shown that imagining the future helps people delay gratification. 
  2. Send a Message to Your Future Self. 
  3. Imagine Your Future Self. Studies show that imagining your future self can increase your present self ’s willpower. One experiment asked couch potatoes to imagine either a hoped-for future self who exercised regularly and enjoyed excellent health and energy, or a feared future self who was inactive and suffering the health consequences. Both visualizations got them off the couch, and they were exercising more frequently two months later than a control group that did not imagine a future self.

66. Willpower failures may be contagious, but you can also catch self-control.

67. When Christakis and Fowler looked at participants’ weight over time, they saw what looked like a real epidemic. Obesity was infectious, spreading within families and from friend to friend. When a friend became obese, a person’s own future risk of becoming obese increased by 171 percent. A woman whose sister became obese had a 67 percent increased risk, and a man whose brother became obese had a 45 percent increased risk.

68. As unsettling as it may be, the implication is clear: Both bad habits and positive change can spread from person to person like germs, and nobody is completely immune.

69. What does all this mean for your self-control? The good news is, goal contagion is limited to goals you already, at some level, share. You can’t catch a brand-new goal from a brief exposure the way you can catch a flu virus. A nonsmoker is not going to catch a nicotine craving when a friend pulls out a cigarette. But another person’s behavior can activate a goal in your mind that was not currently in charge of your choices. As we’ve seen, a willpower challenge always involves a conflict between two competing goals.

70. When we observe evidence of other people ignoring rules and following their impulses, we are more likely to give in to any of our own impulses. This means that anytime we see someone behaving badly, our own self-control deteriorates (bad news for fans of reality television, where the three rules of high ratings are: Drink too much, pick a fight, and sleep with someone else’s boyfriend). Hearing about someone cheating on their taxes might make you feel freer to cheat on your diet.

71. We may be willing to give up our vices and cultivate new virtues if we believe that it will more firmly secure us a spot in our most cherished tribe.

72. The best predictor of whether a student cheats is whether he believes other students cheat, not the severity of penalties or whether he thinks he will be caught. When students believe that their classmates cheat, a relatively honest class can become a class full of students who text their friends for answers during an exam (yes, I have caught a student trying this).

73. Look for a new “tribe” you could join. It could be a support group, a class, a local club, an online community, or even subscribing to a magazine that supports your goals. Surrounding yourself with people who share your commitment to your goals will make it feel like the norm.

74. People who imagine how proud they will feel when they accomplish a goal—from quitting smoking to donating blood—are more likely to follow through and succeed. Anticipated disapproval works too: People are more likely to use condoms when they imagine feeling ashamed if others knew that they had unprotected sex.

75. Even when shame is anticipatory, it may fail us when we need it most. When health-conscious individuals are asked to imagine a chocolate cake in front of them, and then imagine the shame they would feel if they ate it, they are less likely to (hypothetically) eat it. However, when researchers actually placed a large piece of chocolate cake from the Cheesecake Factory on the table, complete with a bottle of water, fork, and napkin, shame had the opposite effect. Only 10 percent resisted the temptation. Anticipatory shame might be able to keep you from walking into the Cheesecake Factory, but when the temptation is in front of you, it has no power over the promise of reward. Once your dopamine neurons are firing, feeling bad intensifies your desire and makes you more likely to give in.

76. Pride, on the other hand, pulls through even in the face of temptation. Forty percent of participants who imagined how proud they’d be for resisting the Cheesecake Factory cake didn’t take a single bite. One reason pride helped is that it took people’s minds off the cake. In contrast, shame paradoxically triggered anticipatory pleasure, and the participants reported more temptation-related thoughts like “It smells so good,” and “It will taste great.” Another reason boils down to biology: Laboratory studies reveal that guilt decreases heart rate variability, our physiological reserve of willpower. Pride, on the other hand, sustains and even increases this reserve.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1845147 2022-06-22T00:28:28Z 2022-06-22T00:28:35Z Summary : Wanting by Luke Burgis

1.  Imitation is natural to man from childhood, one of his advantages over the lower animals being this, that he is the most imitative creature in the world. —Aristotle

2. This is a book about why people want what they want. Why you want what you want.

3. Girard discovered that most of what we desire is mimetic (mi-met-ik) or imitative, not intrinsic. Humans learn—through imitation—to want the same things other people want, just as they learn how to speak the same language and play by the same cultural rules. Imitation plays a far more pervasive role in our society than anyone had ever openly acknowledged.

4. I don’t claim that overcoming mimetic desire is possible, or even desirable. This book is primarily about growing more aware of its presence so that we can navigate it better.

5. An unbelieved truth is often more dangerous than a lie. The lie in this case is the idea that I want things entirely on my own, uninfluenced by others, that I’m the sovereign king of deciding what is wantable and what is not. The truth is that my desires are derivative, mediated by others, and that I’m part of an ecology of desire that is bigger than I can fully understand.

6. The two characters don’t even have to meet for this relationship to happen. Don Quixote, alone in his room, reads about the adventures of the famous knight Amadís de Gaula. He is inflamed with a desire to emulate him and become a knight-errant, wandering the countryside in search of opportunities to prove the virtues of chivalry.

7. In all of the books Girard taught, desire always involved an imitator and a model.

8. “Human beings fight not because they are different, but because they are the same, and in their attempts to distinguish themselves have made themselves into enemy twins, human doubles in reciprocal violence.”

9. He found that mimetic desire was closely related to violence, especially the idea of sacrifice. The biblical story of Cain and Abel is about Cain killing his brother, Abel, after his ritual sacrifice pleased God less than Abel’s. They both wanted the same thing—to win favor with God—which brought them into direct conflict with each other. In Girard’s view, the root of most violence is mimetic desire.

10. Thiel left the corporate world and co-founded Confinity with Max Levchin in 1998. He began to use his knowledge of mimetic theory to help him manage both the business and his life. When competitive rivalries flared up within his company, he gave each employee clearly defined and independent tasks so they didn’t compete with one another for the same responsibilities.

11. A company in which people are evaluated based on clear performance objectives—not their performance relative to one another—minimizes mimetic rivalries.

12. When there was risk of an all-out war with Elon Musk’s rival company, X.com, Thiel merged with him to form PayPal. He knew from Girard that when two people (or two companies) take each other as mimetic models, they enter into a rivalry for which there is no end but destruction—unless they are somehow able to see beyond the rivalry.

13. Facebook was built around identity—that is to say, desires. It helps people see what other people have and want. It is a platform for finding, following, and differentiating oneself from models.

14. Models of desire are what make Facebook such a potent drug. Before Facebook, a person’s models came from a small set of people: friends, family, work, magazines, and maybe TV. After Facebook, everyone in the world is a potential model.

15. Facebook isn’t filled with just any kind of model—most people we follow aren’t movie stars, pro athletes, or celebrities. Facebook is full of models who are inside our world, socially speaking. They are close enough for us to compare ourselves to them. They are the most influential models of all, and there are billions of them. Thiel quickly grasped Facebook’s potential power and became its first outside investor. “I bet on mimesis,” he told me. His $500,000 investment eventually yielded him over $1 billion.

16. Mimetic desire, because it is social, spreads from person to person and through a culture. It results in two different movements—two cycles—of desire.

17. The first cycle leads to tension, conflict, and volatility, breaking down relationships and causing instability and confusion as competing desires interact in volatile ways.

18. It’s possible to transcend that default cycle, though. It’s possible to initiate a different cycle that channels energy into creative and productive pursuits that serve the common good. This book will explore these two cycles. They’re fundamental to human behavior.

19. Buried in a deeper layer of our psychology is the person or thing that caused us to want something in the first place. Desire requires models—people who endow things with value for us merely because they want the things.

20. You may be wondering, then: if desire is generated and shaped by models, then where do models

21. We are tantalized by models who suggest a desire for things that we don’t currently have, especially things that appear just out of reach. The greater the obstacle, the greater the attraction. Isn’t that curious? We don’t want things that are too easily possessed or that are readily within reach. Desire leads us beyond where we currently are.

22. We are attracted to things when they are modeled to us in an attractive way, by the right model. Our universe of desire is as big or as small as our models.

23. The danger is not recognizing models for what they are. When we don’t recognize them, we are easily drawn into unhealthy relationships with them. They begin to exert an outsize influence on us. We often become fixated on them without realizing it. Models are, in many cases, a person’s secret idol.

24. Mimetic theory exposes our models and reorders our relationship with them. The first step is bringing them to light.

25. In one of his best-known experiments, conducted in 1977, he went to a hospital in Seattle (along with his co-researcher, M. Keith Moore) and stuck out his tongue at newborns. While the mean age of babies in this study was thirty-two hours, an infant as young as forty-two minutes mimicked his facial expressions, mapping onto them with surprising accuracy.

26. In the passage from childhood to adulthood, the open imitation of the infant becomes the hidden mimesis of adults. We’re secretly on the lookout for models while simultaneously denying that we need any.

27. He gave the illusion of autonomy—because that’s how people think desire works. Models are most powerful when they are hidden. If you want to make someone passionate about something, they have to believe the desire is their own.

28. NAME YOUR MODELS Naming anything—whether it’s emotions, problems, or talents—gives us more control. The same is true for models. Who are your models at work? At home? Who are the people influencing your buying decisions, your career path, your politics? Some models are easy to name. They are what we typically think of as “role models”—people or groups we find exemplary, people we want to emulate in a positive way. We’re not ashamed to acknowledge them. Others we don’t think of as models. Take fitness. A personal trainer is more than a coach—she is a model of desire. 

29. People don’t only model the desire for third parties or objects; they can also model the desire for themselves.

30. Playing hard to get is a tried-and-true method to drive people crazy, but few ever ask why. Mimetic desire provides a clue. We are fascinated with models because they show us something worth wanting that is just beyond our reach—including their affection.

31. A friend and collaborator of Girard’s, the psychoanalyst Jean-Michel Oughourlian, recommended a shocking tactic to people who came to him in his clinical practice complaining that their spouse no longer seemed interested in them: he would suggest they find someone to compete with the spouse for their time and attention. Even the remote suspicion that someone else might be competing for a spouse’s time can be enough to arouse and intensify desire.

32. Shader was caught up in a mimetic value game. The investors who modeled their own desirability—who postured as selective and demanding—took on a higher value in his mind than the one investor who didn’t.

33. Paradox of Importance: sometimes the most important things in our lives come easily—they seem like gifts—while many of the least important things are the ones that, in the end, we worked the hardest for.

34. We are generally fascinated with people who have a different relationship to desire, real or perceived. When people don’t seem to care what other people want or don’t want the same things, they seem otherworldly. They appear less affected by mimesis—anti-mimetic, even. And that’s fascinating, because most of us aren’t.

35. Nobody likes to think of themselves as imitative. We value originality and innovation. We are attracted to renegades.

36. First we’ll see how desire is affected differently by people who are at a great social distance from us (celebrities, fictional characters, historical figures, maybe even our boss) and those who are close (colleagues, friends, social media connections, neighbors, or people we meet at parties).

37. In the first situation, where there is a large difference in status, models live in a place we’ll call Celebristan. From where I stand, residents of Celebristan include Brad Pitt, LeBron James, Kim Kardashian, and the founders of unicorns (start-ups with billion-dollar valuations).

38. Celebristan is where models live who mediate—or bring about changes in our desires—from somewhere outside our social sphere, and with whom we have no immediate and direct possibility of competing on the same basis.

39. We’re more threatened by people who want the same things as us than by those who don’t. Ask yourself, honestly: whom are you more jealous of? Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world? Or someone in your field, maybe even in your office, who is as competent as you are and works the same amount of hours you do but who has a better title and makes an extra $10,000 per year? It’s probably the second person.

40. That’s because rivalry is a function of proximity. When people are separated from us by enough time, space, money, or status, there is no way to compete seriously with them for the same opportunities.

41. We don’t view models in Celebristan as threatening because they probably don’t care enough about us to adopt our desires as their own.

42. There is another world, though, where most of us live the majority of our lives. We’ll call it Freshmanistan. People are in close contact and unspoken rivalry is common.

43. In Celebristan, there is always a barrier that separates the models from their imitators.5 They might be separated from us by time (because dead), space (because they live in a different country or aren’t on social media), or social status (a billionaire, rock star, or member of a privileged class).

44. This brings us to an important feature of Celebristan models: because there’s no threat of conflict, they are generally imitated freely and openly.

45. Hierarchies in companies can create barriers to competition, making it practically impossible for some people to compete with others for the same roles and accolades.

46. In Celebristan, people don’t compete with their imitators. They may not even know they exist. This makes it a relatively peaceful place. In Freshmanistan, however, fierce competition can arise between any two people at any time.

47. Freshmanistan is the world of models who mediate desire from inside our world, which is why Girard calls them internal mediators of desire.

48. Authority is more mimetic than we like to believe. The fastest way to become an expert is to convince a few of the right people to call you an expert.

49. People worry about what other people will think before they say something—which affects what they say. In other words, our perception of reality changes reality by altering the way we might otherwise act. This leads to a self-fulfilling circularity.

50. USE IMITATION TO DRIVE INNOVATION There’s a false dichotomy between imitation and innovation. They’re part of the same process of discovery. Some of history’s most creative geniuses started off by simply imitating the right model.

51. Zappos had eliminated the management hierarchy, but they couldn’t eliminate the network of desire and the need that people have to be in relationship to models. There is always a hierarchy of desire from the perspective of an individual: some models are worth following more than others, and some things are worth wanting more than others. We are hierarchical creatures. This is why we like listicles and ratings so much. We have a need to know how things stack up, how things fit together. To remove all semblance of hierarchy is detrimental to this fundamental need.

52. “People were less secure in their jobs . . . less clear on how they could hold on to their roles and their jobs. However, you still had a few people who had infinite power because they had a strong relationship with Tony.” There was a hidden web of desire that nobody could decipher.

53. René Girard saw that for thousands of years humans have had a specific way of protecting themselves in a mimetic crisis: they converge, mimetically, on one person or group, whom they expel or eliminate. This has the effect of uniting them while providing an outlet for their violence. They protect themselves from what they want—from their mimetic desires, which have brought them into conflict with one another—by directing their desire to vanquish their rivals to a single fixed point: someone that has become a proxy for all of their enemies. Someone who is unable to fight back. A scapegoat.

54. In his study of history, Girard found that humans time and time again turned to sacrifice in order to stop the spread of mimetic conflict.5 When societies were threatened with disorder, they used violence to drive out violence. They would expel or destroy a chosen person or group, and this action would have the effect of preventing more widespread violence. Girard called the process by which this happens the scapegoat mechanism.

55. The scapegoat mechanism, he found, turns a war of all against all into a war of all against one.

56. Girard found versions of scapegoating rituals in nearly every ancient culture. The scapegoat is often chosen randomly. But the scapegoat is always perceived to be different, marked with some distinguishing feature of an outsider—something to get them noticed.

57. Scapegoats are often insiders who are perceived to violate the group’s orthodoxy or taboos. Their behavior makes them appear as a threat to the group’s unity. They come to be seen as cancers or monstrous outsiders who have violated or destroyed the social bonds that hold the group together.

58. Accusations are dangerously mimetic. The first accusation is the hardest. Why? Because there’s no model for it. Only in the light of overwhelming evidence would most of us accuse a person of something truly terrible. But in a situation of extreme fear or confusion, the standards change.

59. Author Elias Canetti, who fled Nazi Germany in the late 1930s, wrote about this phenomenon in his masterpiece, Crowds and Power, first published in 1960. “As soon as a man has surrendered himself to the crowd,” Canetti writes, “he ceases to fear its touch. Ideally, all are equal there; no distinctions count. . . . Suddenly it is as though everything were happening in one and the same body.”

60. The scapegoat mechanism is most operative at times of instability. Prior to the rise of the Nazi Party, Germany had been thrown into economic and social chaos after its loss in World War I. Other genocides—including but not limited to the Armenian, Rwandan, and Syrian genocides—also came at times of great social instability. Less conspicuous examples include single, localized incidents of scapegoating in which one person, often someone universally viewed as evil, provides a cathartic relief through his or her death or expulsion.

61. The scapegoating mechanism does not hinge on the guilt or innocence of the scapegoat. It hinges on the ability of a community to use a scapegoat to accomplish their desired outcome: unification, healing, purgation, expiation. The scapegoat serves a religious function.

62. Another distinguishing feature of scapegoats, which Girard named in his 1972 book, Violence and the Sacred, is that they are disproportionately kings or beggars—and often both at the same time.

63. “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The words threw everything off balance. The cycle of destructive violence was knocked off its course. One by one, the men standing around the woman began dropping their stones and walking away. First one, then another, then the pace accelerated. What happened? Why was throwing the first stone so hard? Because the first stone is the only stone without a mimetic model.

64. They found that anger spreads faster than other emotions, such as joy, because anger spreads easily when there are weak ties between people—as there often are online.

65. The tactic Jesus used to prevent the stoning was depriving the crowd of a violent model and replacing it with a nonviolent model. Instead of a violent contagion taking hold, a nonviolent contagion happened instead. The first person dropped their stone. Then, one by one, the rest followed. Cycle 1, mimetic violence, was transformed into Cycle 2, a positive mimetic process.

66. Thick desires—desires that are not hyper-mimetic, desires that can form the foundation for a good life.

67. One approach I recommend for uncovering thick desires—the one I’ll focus on here—involves taking the time to listen to the most deeply fulfilling experiences of your colleagues’ (or partners’, or friends’, or classmates’) lives, and sharing your own with them.

68. A key goal of this exercise is identifying core motivational drives. A motivational drive is a specific and enduring behavioral energy that has oriented you throughout your life to achieve a distinct pattern of results.

69. “Actions follow being,” wrote Aristotle twenty-three centuries ago. He meant that a thing can only act according to what it is. We can know something about the essence of a thing based on its actions.

70. But in the case of humans, we also need insight into the interior dimension of action: What was the person’s motivation for taking it? What were the circumstances? How did the action affect them on an emotional level?

71. One organization that I’ve worked with for many years has codified common motivational patterns into an assessment (trademarked under the name the Motivation Code, or MCODE)

72. EXPLORE: People motivated to EXPLORE want to press beyond their existing limits of knowledge and experience to discover what is unknown or mysterious to them.

73. MASTER: A person motivated to MASTER wants to gain complete command of a skill, subject, procedure, technique, or process.

74. COMPREHEND AND EXPRESS: A person with this core drive wants to understand, define, and then communicate their insights in some way.

75. Cycle 2 is a positive cycle of desire. It begins when someone models a different way of being in relationship—a non-rivalrous approach, in which the imitation of desire is for a shared good that can be had in abundance.

76. If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea. —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

77. Leaders are intentional about helping people want more or want less or want differently than they did before.

78. Magnanimous, great-spirited leaders are driven by transcendent desire—desire that leads outward, beyond the existing paradigm, because the models are external mediators of desire. These leaders expand everyone’s universe of desire and help them explore it.

79. The passionate pursuit of truth is anti-mimetic because it strives to reach objective values, not mimetic values. Leaders who embrace and model the pursuit of truth—and who increase its speed within the organization—inoculate themselves from some of the more volatile movements of mimesis that masquerade as truth.

80. Silence is where we learn to be at peace with ourselves, where we learn the truth about who we are and what we want. If you’re not sure what you want, there’s no faster way to find out than to enter into complete silence for an extended period of time—not hours, but days.

81. In my experience, the most effective context for discerning desires is a silent retreat—ideally, at least five days (but a minimum of three) of being unplugged from all noise and screens, in a remote location, completely off the grid.

82. You can be extremely active in silence. People come from all over the world to walk the Way of Saint James (known in Spanish as the Camino de Santiago), the approximately 490-mile pilgrimage from Saint-Jean-Piedde-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela near the western coast of Spain.

83. INVEST IN DEEP SILENCE Set aside at least three consecutive days every year for a personal silent retreat. No talking, no screens, no music. Only books. Deep silence is the kind of silence you enter into when the echoes and comforts of normal noise have completely receded and you are alone with yourself. A five-day retreat is ideal because often the noise of the world doesn’t fully recede from our minds until the end of the third day (and the major benefits of the silence flow once that has happened)—but three days is a good place to start. Find a special place for it. The further you are removed from the noise of everyday life (like ambulance sirens and horns, if you live in a city), the better.

84. Mimetic desire manifests itself as the constant yearning to be someone or something else (what we called metaphysical desire). People select models because they think the models hold the key to a door that just might lead to the thing they have been looking for.

85. Taking hold of your greatest desire necessarily means taking hold of models. We can’t access our desires without models.

86. So stalk your highest and noblest desire, but you will have to find it in the form of a model. On this particular day, as you read these words, it might be a character from a book, a leader, an athlete, a saint, a sinner, a Medal of Honor winner, a love, a marriage, a heroic action, the greatest ideal you can possibly conceive.


88. In the meantime, and probably at all times, we have something warm to sink our teeth into: wanting what we already have.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1837970 2022-06-03T19:49:11Z 2022-06-03T19:52:41Z Summary : Obesity Code By Dr. Jason Fung

1. SAM FELTHAM, A qualified master personal trainer, has worked in the U.K. health-and-fitness industry for more than a decade. Not accepting the caloric-reduction theory, he set out to prove it false, following the grand scientific tradition of self-experimentation. In a modern twist to the classic overeating experiments, Feltham decided that he would eat 5794 calories per day and document his weight gain. But the diet he chose was not a random 5794 calories. He followed a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet of natural foods for twenty-one days.

2. Feltham believed, based on clinical experience, that refined carbohydrates, not total calories, caused weight gain. The macronutrient breakdown of his diet was 10 percent carbohydrate, 53 per cent fat and 37 per cent protein. 

3. Standard calorie calculations predicted a weight gain of about 16 pounds (7.3 kilograms). Actual weight gain, however, was only about 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms). Even more interesting, he dropped more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) from his waist measurement. He gained weight, but it was lean mass.

4. Perhaps Feltham was simply one of those genetic-lottery people who are able to eat anything and not gain weight. So, in the next experiment, Feltham abandoned the low-carb, high-fat diet. Instead, for twenty-one days, he ate 5793 calories per day of a standard American diet with lots of highly processed ‘fake’ foods. The macronutrient breakdown of his new diet was 64 per cent carbs, 22 per cent fat and 14 per cent protein—remarkably similar to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. 

5. This time, the weight gain almost exactly mirrors that predicted by the calorie formula—15.6 pounds (7.1 kilograms). His waist size positively ballooned by 3.6 inches (9.14 centimeters). After only three weeks, Feltham was developing love handles.

6. Our bodies possess an intricate system guiding us to eat or not. Body-fat regulation is under automatic control, like breathing. We do not consciously remind ourselves to breathe, nor do we remind our hearts to beat. The only way to achieve such control is to have homeostatic mechanisms. Since hormones control both Calories In and Calories Out, obesity is a hormonal, not a caloric, disorder.

7. Reducing Calories In works only if Calories Out remains stable. What we find instead is that a sudden reduction of Calories In causes a similar reduction in Calories Out, and no weight is lost as the body balances its energy budget. Some historic experiments in calorie reduction have shown exactly this.

8. A detailed study of total energy expenditure under conditions of reduced caloric intake was done in 1919 at the Carnegie Institute of Washington. Volunteers consumed ‘semi-starvation’ diets of 1400 to 2100 calories per day, an amount calculated to be approximately 30 per cent lower than their usual intake.

9. The participants experienced a whopping 30 per cent decrease in total energy expenditure, from an initial caloric expenditure of roughly 3000 calories to approximately 1950 calories.

10. The fundamental biological principle at work here is homeostasis. There appears to be a ‘set point’ for body weight and fatness, as first proposed in 1984 by Keesey and Corbett. Homeostatic mechanisms defend this body set weight against changes, both up and down. If weight drops below body set weight, compensatory mechanisms activate to raise it. If weight goes above body set weight, compensatory mechanisms activate to lower it.

11. Insulin is a key regulator of energy metabolism, and it is one of the fundamental hormones that promote fat accumulation and storage. High insulin secretion has long been associated with obesity: Patients who use insulin regularly and physicians who prescribe it already know the awful truth: the more insulin you give, the more obesity you get. Insulin causes obesity.

12. The newest class of medication for type 2 diabetes is the SGLT-2 (sodium-glucose linked transporter) inhibitors. These drugs block the reabsorption of glucose by the kidney, so that it spills out in the urine. This lowers blood sugars, resulting in less insulin production. SGLT-2 inhibitors can lower glucose and insulin levels after a meal by as much as 35 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. But what effect do SGLT-2 inhibitors have on weight? Studies consistently show a sustained and significant weight loss in patients taking these drugs.

13. A recent study suggests that 75 per cent of the weight-loss response in obesity is predicted by insulin levels. Not willpower. Not caloric intake. Not peer support or peer pressure. Not exercise. Just insulin.

14. Highly refined carbohydrates are the most notorious foods for raising blood sugars. High blood sugars lead to high insulin levels. High insulin levels lead to weight gain and obesity. This chain of causes and effects has become known as the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis.

15. Insulin resistance is Lex Luthor. It is the hidden force behind most of modern medicine’s archenemies, including obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. But while Lex Luthor is fictional, the insulin resistance syndrome, also called the metabolic syndrome, is not.

16. Reversing the high insulin levels reverses insulin resistance.

17. WHERE DOES FRUCTOSE fit in? High levels of fructose will cause fatty liver. Fatty liver is absolutely crucial to the development of insulin resistance in the liver.

18. Fiber has the ability to reduce absorption and digestion. Fiber subtracts rather than adds. In the case of sugars and insulin, this is good. Soluble fiber reduces carbohydrate absorption, which in turn reduces blood glucose and insulin levels.

19. One other traditional food may help protect against the modern evils of elevated insulin: vinegar. Two teaspoons of vinegar taken with a high-carbohydrate meal lowers blood sugar and insulin by as much as 34 per cent, and taking it just before the meal was more effective than taking it five hours before meals. The addition of vinegar for sushi rice lowered the glycemic index of white rice by almost 40 per cent.

20. All foods, not just carbohydrates, stimulate insulin. Thus, all foods can cause weight gain. Dietary fat, though, tends to have the weakest insulin-stimulating effect. The surprise here is dietary protein. The insulin response is highly variable. While vegetable proteins raise insulin minimally, whey protein and meat (including seafood) cause significant insulin secretion.

21. Substituting large amounts of lean, often processed meat for carbohydrates was not a winning strategy. Reducing sugar and white bread was good advice. But replacing them with luncheon meats was not. Furthermore, with increased meal frequency, the protection of the incretin effect was diminished.

22. Obesity is a hormonal disorder of fat regulation. Insulin is the major hormone that drives weight gain, so the rational therapy is to lower insulin levels. There are multiple ways to achieve this, and we should take advantage of each one. In the rest of this chapter, I will outline a step-by-step approach to accomplish this goal:

  • FIBER CAN REDUCE the insulin-stimulating effects of carbohydrates, making it one of the main protective factors against obesity, but the average North American diet falls far short of recommended daily intakes. Vinegar is also a protective factor. Used in many traditional foods, it may help reduce insulin spikes.

23. Two major factors maintain our insulin at a high level. The first is the foods that we eat—which are what we usually change when we go on a diet. But we fail to address the other factor: the long-term problem of insulin resistance. This problem is one of meal timing.

24. If all foods raise insulin, then the only way for us to lower it is to completely abstain from food.

25. When we talk about fasting to break insulin resistance and lose weight, we are talking about intermittent fasts of twenty-four to thirty-six hours. Fasting is the most efficient and consistent strategy to decrease insulin levels, a fact first noted decades ago.

26. Studies of eating a single meal per day found significantly more fat loss, compared to eating three meals per day, despite the same caloric intake.

27. Intermittent fasting tips 

  • Drink water: Start each morning with a full eight-ounce glass of water. 
  • Stay busy: It’ll keep your mind off food. It often helps to choose a busy day at work for a fast day. 
  • Drink coffee: Coffee is a mild appetite suppressant. Green tea, black tea and bone broth may also help. 
  • Ride the waves: Hunger comes in waves; it is not continuous. When it hits, slowly drink a glass of water or a hot cup of coffee. Often by the time you’ve finished, your hunger will have passed.
  • Don’t tell everybody you are fasting: Most people will try to discourage you, as they do not understand the benefits. A close-knit support group is beneficial, but telling everybody you know is not a good idea. 
  • Give yourself one month: It takes time for your body to get used to fasting. The first few times you fast may be difficult, so be prepared. Don’t be discouraged. It will get easier. 
  • Follow a nutritious diet on non-fast days: Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you like. During non-fasting days, stick to a nutritious diet low in sugars and refined carbohydrates. 
  • Don’t binge: After fasting, pretend it never happened. Eat normally, as if you had never fasted.

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.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1794814 2022-04-17T20:36:15Z 2022-08-01T07:33:19Z 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.

Chester Grant
tag:www.chestergrant.com,2013:Post/1785503 2022-01-21T22:27:43Z 2023-01-03T18:30:13Z 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.

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.


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!

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.

    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.

    • Identify the routine
    • Experiment with rewards
    • Isolate the cue
    • Have a plan


    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.


    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.


    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:
    Emotional state
    Other people
    Immediately preceding action

    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.


    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


    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.


    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.



    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