Expecting more from yourself is a great practice. And expecting more from those around you is just as rewarding. Managers take notes.
Having high expectations of others’ capabilities, and making them aware of this, makes them feel good that you feel they’re worthy of that pedestal.
It also rubs off on their own expectations of themselves. They expect more of themselves and they want to reach their own expectations. Then it just becomes a self-fulfilling cycle of greatness.
Have you found yourself re-reading a book years later and a bunch of brand new information pops out at you?
I’ve been running into this a lot lately. The first time I would read it my mind wasn’t open enough to grasp the lessons between the lines. But the second time there’s earth-shattering stuff to be found in there all over the place.
It also means two individuals will likely find different information in the same book.
This leads me to believe that we have an infinite spring of knowledge inside us already. It isn’t just the book providing us with it, it’s been in there all along but we haven’t had the ability to dip into that part of the brain before.
In essence this is where inspiration comes into play. Inspiration is that missing ingredient that creates the chemical reaction we call learning. It can’t be forced out, it can only be freed.
This is what they mean when they say “think freely.” Aha!
What is a luminary? A luminary is a leader. Someone who is using their talents and skills to bring light to others, whether through business, art, education, philanthropy, or any other avenue of choice.
What do luminaries read? Here are some of my all time favorite reads by category:
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield If you’ve ever been in a slump or just don’t know how to make your mark on the world, read this
The Twelve Universal Laws of Success by Herbert Harris The author uses techniques from religion, business, motivational speaking, psychology, and mysticism to set us on the right course towards our dreams. Read, then re-read eight to ten more times. Powerful stuff
The Dip by Seth Godin A champion knows how to choose their battles. Seth sheds light on how to survive the inherent dip any endeavor brings with it
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield What makes a true professional? Pressfield sure knows. Do yourself a favor and READ THIS
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield Another masterful piece by Mr. Pressfield on getting down to business and leaving excuses behind. Read this after War of Art and before Turning Pro
Your Starting Point for Student Success by Arel Moodie Arel set out to write a book for students who need a little push in the right direction; however, pound for pound (word for word) it’s one of the most useful tomes I’ve read on planning for success
Succeeding When You’re Supposed To Fail by Rom Brafman Anyone who has overcome brutal hardships and emerged successfully on the other side can proudly call themselves a “tunneler.” Brafman points out what characteristics they all have in common
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi Probably the single most influential book in my life thus far. Relationships determine your success and Ferrazzi gives us a roadmap to building win-win relationships in business and life. READ THIS!
I’ve always been fascinated with thinking about where good ideas come from. It is obvious that execution is just as important as the actual idea, but where does that small kernel which explodes into a game-changer come from?
Many thinkers have surmised that winning ideas don’t belong to a specific person, instead they belong to a specific place and time. To me this makes perfect sense when you realize that good ideas never stop coming. Great new writers are made each day, great cutting-edge entrepreneurs are also made each day. These people become great when they figure out the process of mining for great ideas, but then they apply these ideas to the current time we’re in now. Despite the billions of humans who have lived on this earth, individuals still keep having new ideas. Why? Timing. More specifically, adapting to the current time.
For Steven Pressfield the birthplace of ideas is the Muse, that invisible spirit which bestows momentary flashes of brilliance upon us. But the Muse only rewards hard work. Lazies need not apply.
The essential thing for us to increase our chances of getting great new ideas is to constantly be putting in effort thinking of new things and exposing ourselves to new ways of thinking. Even better than this is actually testing these ideas in the real world. This is the hard part, and the reason many would-be millionaires never materialize.
There are hundreds of these great ideas for new products, books, songs, all out there in the ether. We just have to be able to grab them from thin air.
I really want to be one of the lucky ones who can grab a few of these ideas. But then again what does luck have to do with it? I just want the work ethic. The Muse will eventually reward me.
Why is it that so many successful people seem to have reached their status despite the odds being stacked against them? I’ve always been fascinated with this idea because it seems like we all have to overcome some adversity at some point in our lives to become great. Many of us went through tough childhoods, or experienced major career turbulence, or were just plain victims of sudden unfortunate circumstances. For those of you who don’t do as many Barnes and Noble runs as I do, I’d like to share some ideas from a pop psychology book called Succeeding When You’re Supposed To Fail by Rom Brafman.
The book labels overachievers as Tunnelers, because they seem to have tunneled their way under or through adversity to emerge unscathed on the other side. So what makes tunnelers special? According to Brafman they all have some important attributes in common. Here are the ones I think are most important to acknowledge:
1) Limelight Effect: Tunnelers don’t blame the outside world for the outcomes in their lives. Their limelight of responsibility is always pointed internally at themselves for both good and bad situations. Essentially it’s about being accountable for the position you are in now. Attributing events externally robs us of the drive we need to effect change and navigate out of adversity.
2) Meaning Making: Tunnelers find ways to make meaning for themselves. The book talks about a prisoner of war who managed to survive years of brutal prison life by giving himself goals like staying mentally and physically sharp. He ran miles in little figure-8′s inside his cell, and gave himself exhausting math problems to solve. He didn’t pin his hopes on his eventual release which was outside of his control.
3) Unwavering commitment: This is the capacity to stick with something until completion. Those who succeed are the ones who see obstacles as challenges and not setbacks.
4) Even-tempered: Tunnelers succeed because they avoid emotional rollercoasters in the face of adversity. They are able to cut themselves some slack when they fail. Think about it, if your friend failed at something you would still be supportive as long as they tried. Why do we punish ourselves when we fail then? We need to treat ourselves no differently than we would our close friends.
5) Presence of a satellite: A satellite is a mentor of sorts. All tunnelers have a satellite at one point or another in their journey. Someone who’s there to support them mentally and emotionally when times get rough. According to Brafman “The right satellite can awaken new potential and possibilities in our lives and help overcome gaps in achievement.”
These are the main attributes of those who succeed against adverse odds. So ask yourself, am I a tunneler? Do I have the five qualities mentioned above? Even if you answered no, it doesn’t mean you can’t develop and train yourself to possess these important traits when times get tough. And they always do, but they don’t last as long as tough people do.
Can you think of any other important traits that I missed? Let me know in the comments section below.
Who says there’s no recipe to creating a masterful piece of work?
The process can and will vary, but the ingredients rarely change.
It all starts with the inventors. The people behind the effort have to be unwilling to compromise with the important stuff. Stubbornness is good in this case. Stubborn innovators are the only ones who change the world.
The second key piece is the materials that go into the work. Whether it’s a tangible product, a painting, or a service. Using only top-quality inputs starts you off on a higher plane. The best raw materials, the best paint, the best staff. This is what you want to build with.
The last element, which is often overlooked, is inspiration. It’s the little bit of magic that you need to put the finishing touches. Something can work without inspiration, but it won’t cut through the clutter like you want it to.
Great (inventors + materials + inspiration) = masterpiece
Inspiration is a shifty little vixen. She wants to elude you, she doesn’t want to be cornered. Inspiration will rarely just fall on your lap.
The majority of times the only way to get inspiration is to chase her down and catch her. Just like your destiny wants to stay one step ahead of you if you let it, so does inspiration, teasing and eluding you cruelly. Always close enough for you to see its behind, but far enough to stay out of your grasp. Only when you put your head down to the wind and run faster are you able to catch up with it.
If you’re still reading this then chances are that you’re aware inspiration is very useful in our quest for success. If you’re like me and most others, then you need a dose of inspiration every now and then to keep you trucking along when energy is wavering.
So how do you catch up and obtain inspiration? One way is by reading. Reading not just material related to your path, but try picking up something on a completely unrelated subject. Many things in this world work under the same rules, so shifting the subject might bring forth new revelations you can apply to your situation.
Another way is by problem-solving. Involve your brain in something that really pushes it to the limit. This can be a puzzle, math problem, or technical task. Once your brain is up and running with sufficient energy you’ll find it easier to be inspired since your mind is now fully open to new solutions.
Putting yourself in tough situations is also a sure-fire way to score some inspiration. Most of the time it won’t matter what type of situation it is, as long as it makes you uncomfortable, a bit worried, and committed to finding a way out of it. Einstein said “Problems cannot be solved from the same level of thinking from which they were created.” Tough situations elevate your thinking.
Try any of these three suggestions, and if by some chance it doesn’t work, move on to the next suggestion. Difficulty increases from top to bottom, so if you’re really feeling ambitious start from the bottom one. Sooner or later you’ll run into inspiration by the boatload.
Nothing great ever comes from operating out of fear. We all know that fear is the enemy of creativity.
When approaching a new project, we need to make sure our drive is creativity and inspiration, not that ugly beast we call fear. There are several important reasons why this is a universal truth. When you’re operating out of fear, you only do the bare minimum required to get by unharmed. “How can I escape this as quick as possible?” “How can I avoid pain and suffering?” “I don’t care if it’s good, I just want to BE DONE WITH IT!!” It’s our survival instinct. And outside of immediate physical harm, it’s of very little use to us.
When operating from fear, we also default into playing by others’ rules. We only see one solution to solve a problem, when in reality there are always numerous solutions to any problem. You’re essentially giving up any competitive advantage you might have because your fear makes you feel you have to play THEIR game, not yours. A problem might require finesse and speed like the game of basketball, whereas your shortsightedness might force you to play a game of strength and attrition like football, which plays into the opponent’s hands.
However, when we approach a new project with inspiration, we bring the ball into our court. We see alternatives that might not be visible to the naked eye. We try new things. This inspiration is our rocketship to greatness.
Now, no one said that leaving fear behind in exchange for inspiration is an easy task. It takes boldness, and boldness works best when we train it like a muscle. Not too many people have the discipline to do this. But merely thinking about what inspires you next time you feel like you’re defaulting to fear can go a long way towards sparking this boldness. Fear is the enemy of creativity, and creativity comes from inspiration. Wrestle the ball back into your court if need be.
“Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
If the great inventor Thomas Edison said it then it must be true. Some of you might already be good at putting in the perspiration needed to innovate and market your business, but what if you’re falling short on the inspiration part? I know I always get inspired by reading about new products that have been released to the marketplace, or by ones that are coming down the pipeline. This could be in the areas of electronics, consumer goods, fitness equipment, science, etc. See below for a couple sites that I visit often to get inspiration for new business ideas:
PSFK – Probably my favorite of these types of sites. What makes the site so good is that you get a little bit of everything. They highlight the newest proliferations is scientific breakthroughs, new gadgets, virtual gaming, grooming products, etc. You name it, they got it. Make sure to keep this site on your watch list if you’re into product development.
Wired’s Gadgetlab – Another great blog. A large part of their focus is on electronics like phones and tablets, as well as phone accessories. They also feature a lot of cool, trendy, and weird add-ons for bikes and kitchen appliances. Paradise if you’re a hipster.
TechCrunch’s gadgets – Also a site focusing mainly on phones, tablets, and peripherals. They get a lot of exclusive first-access to new stuff so they’re definitely a site to visit often.
co.design by Fast Company – This one runs the gamut in terms of ideas. They also integrate a lot of sci-fi thinking as well as graphic design elements. A cool way to stay inspired if you consider yourself an artist AND an entrepreneur.
There are a couple more sites I visit to get my brain brewing ideas, but the four I highlighted above are the cream of the crop, and a great starting point. I’d love to get more suggestions on sites I might not be aware of yet, so if any of you have more for me please write it in the comments. You can also tweet them to me @AlexCpds.
Tomorrowfy>> your ideas.