Book Summary: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman.

Learn how things work, that includes the rest of the world. If you have a hypothesis, theory, or idea, test it before you make a judgement. And most importantly, always keep your integrity – it never pays to sell out. Finally, never pass on an adventure. 

Advertisements

Networking 

I hate the term. It just seems so cliche. Business buzz words drive me nuts.

And, it doesn’t help that most networking is useless. Did you go to that conference to be productive and meet people? Or did you go to get out of the office for a day.

Then, what did you do with the contacts you received? If you answered ‘put them in your tickler file’, you lose. Did you even get any contacts?

Even worse, do you wait for them to come to you? If so, you’re not ‘selling’, you’re being an order-taker. You’re just there representing the company, which is guess is still better than nothing. But if you want to make the most of networking opportunities, you need to make it happen.

Like anything, you have to look at your process to make sure your getting the most out of the event. Planning, execution, and then the follow-up. And which do you think is most important? You might be surprised.

For most, networking is about getting out of your comfort zone and striking up conversations. That’s step one. For your typical ‘high I’ sales person, it’s about shutting the fuck up and listening. Just go to one of these conferences and you’ll find that that guy within 30 seconds.

But after that, it’s about taking action items on the opportunity. THAT is the most important part.

Set time on your calendar for the next week to take action on the event. Email or call (or both) each contact you made. Talk to them. Ask them how you can help them, then do that.

You WILL see the return.

On Picking Up The Phone

You may get orders and business through email, but you’re not going to get the relationship. And that’s where the real money is. 

Tinder works to make the connection, but you need to meet and talk and laugh to really build something special.

A bot may refund your money, but it’s not going to get you to spend again.

The art of picking up the phone or meeting for coffee, has been lost. Especially in business.

Maybe you don’t need the phone in your line of work. Maybe you can accomplish what you need through tech. That’s just fine. But you still have a voice and a personality. And here’s the thing, your business does too.

So, is your business’s voice nice and encouraging and happy? Or is it stern and matter-of-fact and short.

Think about this, because it matters. 

Action items: pick up the phone today. Call a friend, or your Mom or Dad, or a customer. Thank them. Ask how they’re doing, then, get this, listen to the answer.

Can you help them? If so, how?

Read your copy. How does it sound? Would you buy from you?

Reading, and how I’ve been doing it wrong

I read over 50 books in 2016. My goal was 36, but I ended up going way beyond. 

Full disclosure, I count audiobooks, and I have a two hour commute each day. So racking up the pages is quite easy for me.

Anyway, 50 books. I started with mostly novels. Harry Potter had me Stupified by it’s wonderous dark magic. They were the most beautiful books I’d ever read. 

Plus, self-help used to put me to sleep. But now, that’s really all I read. I’m super into personal development right now. But if you don’t take notes, and set actionable next steps, it’s a waste. 

Here’s the thing: it’s not like I didn’t get anything from the books, the opposite, really. There’s almost always one thing I take from each thing I read. But it’s not storable or archived. I can’t search for it. My brain isn’t that good.

I read an article by James Clear about reading, and how to optimize it. He writes a 3 sentence review of each book he reads. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings and Tim Ferriss – author of Tools of Titans – both make notes in the margins. They both use the highlighter function on Kindle too. You can hear their conversation here.

Anyway, I didn’t do any of this. I was more interested in hitting that goal of 50 than retention. Which is fine for habit building. I wanted to read more, and I did.

But now, I’m 7 books into 2017 and I haven’t taken notes once. That’s 60 books in 16 months and I’ve only busted out the highlighter maybe twice.

So, this blog post is a contract to myself to start doing just that.

Got it? Great. Now you’re my accountability partner. 

If there’s anything I can help you with, let me know. I’d love to help.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s something to be said for reading for entertainment. Because you enjoy it. And that’s fine too. 

In fact – and my wife and I talked about this last week – I’d argue that self-help is just another form of consumption. It’s no better than watching The Real Housewives. Unless you take what you learn and use it to make yourself better.

Otherwise, it’s like scrolling through Facebook. I’m not going to call it a waste of time, because we all do it, and because time means different things to everyone. Not to mention, and, fucking duh, that why most people read.

But if you want to read to improve your life/trade/health, then you’ll need to do more than just read. You’ll need to get after it and work your ass off.

Side note: if you opened this and saw that I read 50 books in one year and got hung up on that, because you’d like to read more, here’s a tip. Pick a book, and read 5% of said book each day. So, if that’s a 300 page book, you’re only reading 15 pages per day. Which is very, very doable.

Anyway, there ya have it. Oh, and I’ll start posting those book reviews here. Keep me honest if I don’t, accountability partner.

Have a nice night.

Conviction

For a long time my biggest problem was that I had a lack of conviction.

I was not confident when speaking to bosses and colleagues, to my parents, and especially to women. It made me look weak. It made me feel like I had nothing to say. Like I wasn’t smart or funny or attractive.

It was punishing. It made me feel 3′ tall. Which, of course, made things worse.

And, looking back on it, there’s really no one to blame but myself. Here’s why:

It’s my job to show why I deserve to be in the room. It’s that simple.

No one is going to give you something they don’t know you need, or teach you something they don’t know you want to learn.

It’s very much your responsibility to grow and get better. And so I did. It started with leaving a job that didn’t provide me with a clear path to grow. Some people can do the same thing for 30 years for a good wage. I can’t. 

The job market empowered me. It made me realize that I have something to give. That confidence – that conviction – is what helped me land my next job.

Then I got fired from that job.

And I was back to square one. And then again, it was in large part my ability to speak with conviction about my experience that landed me my current position. Now I’m in a place with a career path, a place that empowers their people to have a voice and to have hobbies and passions and interests outside of work.

We don’t get beat down on a weekly basis for not hitting an arbitrary goal. We look inside ourselves. We reverse engineer our processes. We read.

I feel like I should mention that I’m thankful every day for my roots and how I got my start. I really am. The skills and techniques they taught me made me better. They taught me how to be a professional, and sometimes, how not to act.

But I’m also just happy to be where I am.

I’m just grateful as fuck.  

Life Operating System

I believe that everyone should have a Life Operating System, or a way they live their life. 

Basically, it’s a set of rules that help ensure you’re being a good person, do the right thing more often than not, and keep moving forward.

I don’t care if it’s philosophy, religion, or The Beatles. As long as you have a process. 

I think people go wrong when they don’t have a process to fall back on. Reality TV and light beer don’t count. Strip joints and casinos definitely don’t count.

Meditation, prayer, reading, painting, working out, spending time with your parents, playing with your kids, etc.

Anything that reminds us how good we have it, is crazy important.

I rely on Stoicism, just like Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday

I also use Mindfulness techniques, taught by a host of people, including Chade Meng-Tan, in Joy on Demand. 

More than anything, I just try to be a good person as often as possible. I lift weights when I’m stressed. I try to learn about the world and have empathy for others.

I love the fuck out of my family. I give, serve, and help, whenever I can.

These are things we can all do. And I can do WAY better. But what I do is better than nothing.