Well, this is cool and flattering. "Hey You - Yeah YOU - You can be an entrepreneur" was featured in The 22 August 30Startups Weekly Link Roundup.
Looks like a great site - I like the article 65+ Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, I see a couple tools in there I'm going to check out. Particularly, I've been in touch with a lot of people recently and I'm juggling a few different projects, so I'm going to check out some of the management and CRM tools linked up. It looks like a pretty carefully selected list, so I'm excited to go through that.
I dropped the site owner David Glassanos a line, I'd like to find out more about what he's up to and doing. I'll see if I can get some observations from him and share them with you - he spec'd out a concept and put some pretty interesting content and a cool design to it very fast. I'd love to hear more about how and what he's doing.
Happy to be featured there! I'll report back if I can twist Mr. Glassanos's arm into sharing some of his wisdom with us.
About three weeks ago, I recognized a common phenomenon that's hard to describe.
A lot of times, you know something, but you're not doing it. Or you're not living it regularly.
When you come across information you've already read or seen, the temptation is to say, "I already know this." Okay, you know it - but are you living what you know? If not, you might want to keep studying and practicing on that topic, even if you feel like you "know" it.
When I start reading a book on managing money, or managing time, or setting goals, sometimes I have a reaction. I say, "I already know this." But then I stop myself. Stop. And I ask, "Am I living it?" Okay, I need some goals and I need to look at them regularly. Am I doing it? If not, I'll re-read the section, or watch another video on it.
I'll be honest - it's somewhat boring going through information you've already come across. But it's necessary if you're not doing/living it.
A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:
"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."
"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."
I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.
A few days ago, I got six pieces of news ranging from good to exceptional, and one piece of bad news. Of the good news were well wishes, opportunities, advice, and connections from people I care about. The bad news was almost trivial and there isn't much I could do about it.
Today I was out for a run in the park when it started raining hard. It's rainy season in Vietnam, and it came down pouring. After a minute, I gave up trying to stay dry, and enjoyed my run in the rain. I was enjoying it, mostly having my mind turned off and enjoying the audio I was listening to - a really wonderful story called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by a guy named Og Mandino. Really a beautiful piece to listen to, read by its author 30 years after he wrote the book.
And yet, that damn bad news comes back to mind! What is this? I have so many opportunities I could think of, jump upon. I could create, produce, serve, connect, relax, enjoy, train - the whole world is open before me, and I think of trivial shit that I can't change.
I'm going to willpower this off of my mind. Being human is a strange thing.
The way I see it, if you were born into one of the Socialist Soviet Republics in 1960, you had five basic options:
1. Be a member of the proletariat, work in the Soviet machine, take what the social controllers give you.
2. Join the Party, become a social controller yourself.
3. Try to fight/overthrow the Party. You'd probably lose and get executed.
4. Mildly subvert the Party - be a black marketer or capitalist. I met a woman in Los Angeles whose family black marketed goods from West Germany into Poland, amazing woman and amazing family. Apparently they'd take defective West German products like women's pantyhose with runs in them and sell them to little kiosks for money... they were one of the wealthier families in Poland.
Kashif Razzaqui just emailed a copy of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Sometimes I get an idea and think "My life should be like that" - I try write it down right away.
I just leave this little things to work on in a file and look at it occasionally. Every now and then I'll make one of them active in my Time and Life Tracking and start paying attention to it every day.
Here's what's in the list right now:
In my opinion, one of the worst and most destructive trends in Western society is that entrepreneurship has become a lionized mysterious pursuit.
There's nothing magical about it. You get some inputs (your time, knowledge, resources, goods, whatever), you add some value to it by improving or rearranging the inputs, and you sell them for more than it cost you to get them. Profit.
"Oh, but it's so hard! And I have no money! What will I do?"
Okay. Here's a can of Club Soda (actually, two cans of club soda, to be precise):
Section 4.9: Don't get praised by the whole empire.
"It is not the height of excellence to fight and win, and have the whole Empire say, "Well done!" and praise you... what the ancient fighters called a thoughtful warrior is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage."
-Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter IV: Tactical Dispositions
Version of the Art of War I listened to on audio:
It's particularly challenging with tasks that require intense bursts of time and energy. Coding, writing, inteking strange new behaviors and worldviews. These are things that require intense focus, energy, and enthusiasm and just the right mental state. That can be very hard to maintain, and in fact, is often not even beneficial to maintain in other areas of your life that you have a higher degree of mastery and require less arousal to reach your optimal performance. So I think it's natural to fall into and out of this "high-energy" mode, which many of us associate with exponential productivity.
But there are some easy traps to fall into here.
One of the biggest is ignoring the skill of putting yourself in this mode at will. There is not actually a magic genie in your walls. You need to be able to say, tomorrow morning I have time to write, and I will write, and a part of that is getting yourself into "the zone." If you are failing to get yourself into "the zone," then you need to step back and work on that skill independently. Maybe that means re-awakening your original inspiration (thinking about all the people you will help with this book) or maybe it is preparing your vessel (low-fat, high fiber diet the day before, 6 hours of sleep, wake up, run, then get right to work... or whatever ritual ends up working). But these are factors that need to be evaluated.
I think another big one is denial. Thinking that you can maintain this state longer than you can, physio/psychologically or just within the constraints of the rest of your life. It's important to "pump yourself up" to the very high levels necessary to achieve your goals. It's also important to deal with the realities and interruptions and diversions of life as they come, then be able to return to that state.
Anyway, with regard to myself and my major goals, this week was largely a wash.