Got an email from a Nigerian engineer asking for my take on where he's at. Basically, he's on a steady upward career track but he doesn't care for his field of engineering. So he's got a tough decision at hand - he's already got a great credential and skills, but he really wants to do more abstract/entrepreneurial work - but he doesn't currently have the skillset for it. He had two kinds of questions - a high level strategic question about whether the tradeoffs between switching professions are worth it, because he'd be losing out on a lot of his current credentials/skills and be behind other people. And second, tactical questions on getting started on the creative/entrepreneurial path even though he's got a good full-time job right now that he doesn't love, but doesn't want to quit.
He felt pretty unhappy and stuck when he wrote - good solid job right now, not a ton of other opportunity in his area, and worried about how his skills and life would transfer to his desired field. Here's my reply -
Okay. You're obviously a highly intelligent guy. I think one problem that people have is when they decide to become ambitious, they see there's 10,000 ways they could improve and it's easy to kind of panic or get overwhelmed.
Don't panic. Don't get overwhelmed. Calm down, pick 1-3 things to work on, improve those areas like crazy, then pick the next ones. Rome wasn't built in a day.
Hello, reader of my blog!
I meet lots of people.
I can't keep track of everyone.
This is costing me all sorts of bad things. I'm missing opportunities to connect with good people, and since 90% of interesting things in life are the result of connecting with good people, I think this is really a big leak of good things from my life.
I've decided to get a CRM-like system. CRM stands for "customer relationship management" - it's commonly used in sales to track what communication you've had with a prospect/client/etc in the past. Have they gotten a brochure? Have you talked with them on the phone? Did you followup after they bought? How happy were they? Did they fill out a testimonial? Did they refer anyone? Did you send them a gift for referring someone? What's their birthday? Etc, etc.
More Dalio -
200) Think about the appropriate time to make a decision in light of the marginal gains made by acquiring additional information versus the marginal costs of postponing the decision. There are some decisions that are best made after acquiring more information, and some that are best made sooner rather than later. The later a decision is made, the more informed it can be; however, making it later can also have adverse consequences (e.g., postponing progress). Understanding the trade-off between the marginal gains of acquiring the extra information against the marginal costs of postponing a decision is an important factor in the timing and preparation of decision-making.
Brilliantly put. Don't postpone a decision unless you stand to make it better by an amount larger than the cost of the delay.
"Principles" is highly recommended if you haven't gotten around to grabbing a copy yet.
I came across Ray Dalio's "Principles" recently, and I'm totally enamored with this book. It's one of the most clear thinking, accurate, useful pieces of writing I've ever seen.
I haven't been this excited about a work I've come across since first finding Clauswitz's "On War" - the work which defined modern military science.
Clauswitz is amazing because it's all clear, point by point thinking, with no unnecessary flourish and no grand nonsense. It's all worth thinking through, and almost entirely correct-ish.
Of course, the details vary. Things change. But the gist of Clauswitz is broadly applicable.
Dalio is like that. Except, instead of being about military science (which has limited direct impact on daily life), it's about running your life by Principles and is broadly applicable to the actions you take, decisionmaking, building teams, etc.
I came across an academic analysis of Hagakure. "Embracing Death: Pure will in Hagakure" by Olivier Ansart, University of Sydney.
It's extremely well-researched, but the author can't wrap his mind around the concepts because they're so alien to him.
Here's a footnote, for instance - emphasis added:
There would indeed be some conceptual contradiction, or at least tension, in the notion of a blind obedience that would depend on reward. The ideal of unconditional, or gratuitous, service was of course frequently encountered in the moral discourses of the period – and was later often singled out as one striking difference between the feudal relationships in Japan and in Europe. However in practice, cases where harshness, ingratitude and shabby treatment of the retainers by their master all but dissolved the obligations they felt to his person or family were even more common. After all, absent a favor to be returned could there be an intelligible reason for good and loyal service?
It's funny, because Ansart is staring at the whole picture. He has thoroughly digested the words of Hagakure, but can't think like its meaning.
Shoot me an email if you'd like to grab a coffee or late lunch. I've got lot of things to do, but I've enjoying meeting all sorts of people.
A lot of people, maybe most people, try to make a big self-improvement push in their lives sooner or later.
They start eating better, or change how they spend and invest money, or whatever.
It keeps going for a while. There's progress. There's success. And then, the person falls off a cliff.
I'm now thinking it usually happens due to a convergence of bad events. That would be when a lot of little things hit you all at once, or a big thing hits when you're not in the best place to absorb the blow.
Question on "The Persistent and Timely Will Inherit the Earth" -
Which is the best methods for dealing with people that correspondences aren't as much interesting as many with other people, and that you don't feel there is a fit, but they are really nice and want to connect with you ?
One thing I've learned is that you never know who is going to rise in the world.
Just writing to a random stranger on the internet shows a decent amount of tenacity on someone's part. Most people won't do it. So you're already filtered down to people who will put themselves out there a little bit and take a bit of action.
I know a guy who applied to work for me in a job when he was still in high school some years ago. I couldn't say yes to that - didn't want to deal with labor law, signing a contract with a minor (including IP assignment, work for hire... I don't know, seemed like it would have been a nightmare) - but he seemed like a good guy, so I took him out to lunch at a little Greek restaurant near my office and just asked what's going on his life.
I've been in touch before, and found it to be a highly valuable exchange. I was just reading your post titled 'Watching the Lightning' and had a couple of questions, if you don't mind?
Firstly, do you find 4-7 hours sleep per night sustainable? I note the post was written a few months ago so I imagine this has been enough time to measure the success of getting aforementioned amount of sleep. I've tried to limit myself to 6 hours sleep a night, but found it a struggle after 2 or 3 days. I plan to push through the struggle as I imagine it will become easier after time, which leads me to my second question: what steps did you take when planning to reduce your time spent sleeping?
I have my highest performance levels overall when I'm average 7.5 hours per night. But often I get there in a funny way - a mix of 4 hour nights and 12+ hour nights. Beyond that, I think napping is valuable, diet/exercise/health is extremely important if you want to do it, consistency is important, and also getting high quality sleep in general.
I've recently come of the opinion that most people get very little really good sleep - too much artificial light, not enough exercise, bad diets, stimulant usage (caffeine...), inconsistent schedules, and so on. I think it'd be possible to run at the 4-6 hour sleep range with maybe a 30-120 minute nap each day, but you'd need to be near perfect across the board on all the good sleep elements with serious discipline about consistent schedule, total darkness and minimal artificial light before you're going to sleep, regular exercise, a perfect diet, maybe quit caffeine entirely?, and similar.
The original title of this post was, "The Reason We Didn't Meetup When I Visited Your City" and it was geared towards explaining what it's like to be busy with lots of correspondence. The post grew past this. This one will be useful for people who expect that they might have huge correspondence increases in the future - rarely do people talk bluntly about what it's like. It'll also be useful for the expansive sort of person who reaches out to people they don't know, so you can understand the mindset of who you're reaching out to. It rambles a little bit in the middle, but I think the mindsets and details could be useful for you.
The Reason We Didn't Meetup When I Visited Your City...
...is because I'm disorganized and you didn't drop a line again.
So, I get a lot of correspondence. Which is great. I really dig that. A couple days ago, I had a great Skype chat about international investing and business expansion with a really smart and cool guy out in SF, and then I met three people locally in Tokyo who are all exceptionally cool guys. I learned a lot, and I think so did the guys I got to hang with, and it was good. I like seeing other people thrive and make money, and got to have some good talks on business and entrepreneurship with everyone I met - I think everyone can hustle a bit more cash here or there.
I really enjoy that. I like meeting smart and enterprising people. I say that everyone - on my site, in posts, on my "About" and "New? Start here" pages,