This is an excerpt from my May 2013 Monthly Financial Review. I thought it was worth reposting here.
A lesson in negotiation
I've been reading a lot lately, mostly business and personal development books. Here's a quote from Sebastian Marshall's Ikigai:
A note to self, that turned out to be a near universal truth to all young entrepreneurs.
No, I am not ahead of the game.
I do not have ample time.
Nothing is guaranteed.
Voice 1 tells me to go for the stars. Voice 2 tells me I'm not good enough.
Voice 1 speaks of unbreakable self-worth. Voice 2 is a fickle status whore.
The first book club call (50th Law) went really well and we are going to continue.
The book for May is Hannibal and Me.
If you want to join, please let us know.
It would be pretty awesome if we all had plenty of mental energy to stay motivated and disciplined all day long, to be highly productive and highly creative whenever we needed, and to always feel vibrant and optimistic about the future.
However, the more you try to control elements of your life – whether it is to improve your health, wealth, social life or whatever – the more apparent it is how finite and scarce this “mental energy” can be.
In particular, it seems that whenever we use willpower – in any form and for any reason – we are using up resources from this pool of mental energy, much faster than the pool is replenished.
Psychologists have carried out plenty of experiments that strongly appear to confirm this model of willpower – Jason Shen and Sebastian recently put together a great post about it here: http://sebastianmarshall.com/developing-willpower-by-jason-shen which is very much worth reading if you haven't already!
Psychologists have also shown that decisions on matters that affect us can deplete the same mental resource as willpower. In some sense, these decisions and willpower are the same:
When Julius Cesar was little more than a rebel against the Roman Republic, he faced near certain ruin against Pompey's great international armies.
The night before the final battle, outnumbered more than 2 to 1, Cesar ordered his army: "Pull down your own ramparts and fill in the ditch, so that if we fail to win we shall have nothing. And the enemy shall see that we lack a camp, and that necessity compels us to make our quarters in theirs."
The took the battle with no hope of retreat. The only two options were win or die.
We had the call for the last book club (on Hannibal and Me) this morning and it went really well. Lots of fascinating insight from this one, and dividing up the chapters and taking turns leading definitely led to a little more in-depth discussion.
You can check out our notes from the talk here.
Next month, we're going to move more in the direction of taking a biography and pulling the strategy insights out of it ourselves. The book we've chosen is a biography of Alexander the Great.
The call is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, July 7th at 7PM EST. If anyone else wants to get involved, shoot one of us a PM and we'll get you in on the preliminary Google doc.
Right now I'm supposed to be working on an e-book I'm writing. It depends heavily on interviews with other people and I find myself dragging my feet. It's like I have a mental fog, the way forward seems very vague and unknown. In short: I don't know what the next action is and I can't seem to find the focus/energy/headspace to figure it out.
Knowing that next actions have a way of appearing when you do stuff, I've decided to set an arbitrary but quantified goal. I will reach out to 10 people today and ask if they want to help me with my book. Doing so will force me to take action and see opportunities. And it will get my mind into clarification mode automatically.
It's a very random approach but we'll see if it produces any results.
Pretty popular piece these days, but it is really worth reading. It's good for a whole lot of reasons I'd not expected. When I read the title, I thought would be just hype.
Taking in a bunch of info is fun and great, whether it's from blogs, podcasts, audiobooks, whatever.