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Weekly Review #36: Cold showers, loving hard, and the portfolio of productivity

I’m one week into a strict cold shower regimen and loving it. It’s a great SIDCHA (self imposed daily challenge) that wakes me up fast, force me to confront discomfort, all while saving water and energy. Joshua Spodek is a month ahead of me and has even more great reasons to give them a try. (I’d heard of cold showers a long time ago, but always wimped out. Now I wake up determined not to quit!)

I discovered this week – great portfolio of entrepreneur interviews and learnings. The founder Andrew Warner has quite the story as well – he named his first company Bradford and Reed because ‘it sounded like a company people would accept calls from’

Big study on fertility and happiness finds that kids decrease happiness at first, but increase it once you pass 40.

  • Our analysis of World Values Survey responses from 86 countries indicates that, globally, happiness decreases with the number of children parents have.
  • Most importantly, the association between happiness and fertility evolves from negative to neutral to positive above age 40
  • These results suggest that children are a long-term investment in well-being, and they highlight the importance of both the life-cycle stage and macro contexts to the happiness/fertility association.

An interview with the CEO of Craigslist (hint: not Craig) was interesting for many reasons. (Craig stepped down because he knew Jim was a better manager, and besides, he was happier with customer service anyway). I particularly like his response to a question about donating to charity:

  • “We give away at least 1% of revenue, but we haven’t had a chorus of users suggesting that we should run ads to generate funds for charity. People have that money now, and they can give it away. We’re not in a position to be an arbiter of where that money should go.”

My friend Adrienne Tran has a great post on relationships:

  • If you’re going to love, love hard. It’s a lack of open communication that leads to love pain, not the emotional investment.
  • Prioritize the person over the relationship. Otherwise things become binary (future wife or just a friend).
  • “Our relationship is not defined by my constantly looking into the future and weighing the value you could add to my life — it’s defined by the deep experiences that we’ve shared in the past to create the meaningful relationship we have now.”
  • “When you meet someone you believe is worth emotionally investing in, instead of asking, “Is he the one?”  ask, “Am I building something amazing with this person?”” turns thought leading blogs into pretty books quickly and easily.

Ever heard of the sales challenge to “Sell me this pen?”. The Senator Club has a clever answer to blow that out of the way.

I’m back into a routine with a daily commute, so that means a whole lot more Competitive Edge Summaries! Brace yourself.

Tactics from Wiley Cerilli, CEO of SinglePlatform

  • Never ask your friends for advice on your ideas. Instead, tell them “Oh, my friend has this idea”, then your friends won’t be afraid to shoot it down and damage your self esteem
  • The four mindsets of people being sold to: controllers, who look for persuasion, analyzers, who look for data, stabilizers, who look for harmony, and controllers, who want to get it done.
  • Whenever somebody asks you about your company, respond with “Well, what do you want to know?”  Then they will tell you exactly what they’re interested in, which you can use to harmonize with them.
  • Powerful quote: “if you want to sail the sea, you don’t gather a bunch of men and tell them to build you a boat. You teach them to yearn to sail the sea and they will build you that boat”
  • ‘I think it’s a complete fallacy that a CEO and a leader can motivate people but what they can do is provide an environment where motivated people can excel’ – Brad Felt
  • There are two stages of a business: the testing phase (small team, everyone doing everything, figuring out if there is a business there), and the tuning phase (tune the thing to scale it up, people start to specialize)
  • Don’t brag that “We worked with Google”. Say “One of the things Google loved about us was X”
  • “The winner between an alligator and a bear is determined by the terrain.” CEOs want to dominate water and land, but you have to say, screw it I’m a bear and then dominate just one. SinglePlatform did this by focusing on serving only bars at the beginning.
  • “Set your life on fire and then seek those who light your fire”

Chris Bailey from a Year of Productivity

  • Productivity is a confluence of three things: your time, your energy, and your attention. Where they overlap is how productive you are
  • Slow down and ask myself “Why am I doing what I’m doing right now?” Oftentimes, it’s just because you’re bored, or because you are on autopilot entertainment. Observe the intentions behind your actions
  • 40% of everything we do on a daily basis is a habit.
  • Ask yourself at the beginning of the day “By the time this day ends, what do I want to have accomplished?”
  • Chris keeps his phone in airplane mode from 8pm to 8am, even though he sleeps from 9 to 5.
  • Your life is a portfolio of 7 things: mind, body, emotions, career, finances, relationships, and fun. You need to make sure you diversify your investments.
  • Martin Seligman: “How happy something makes you is determined by three factors: the pleasure it gives you, how engaged you are with it, and how much meaning it gives your life.”
  • “People are more motivating than really anything else you do, except maybe the basics like eating well and sleeping.”
  • The biggest mistakes people make with productivity is that they don’t exercise, get enough sleep, or eat well. Everything else is built upon that.
  • Make a list of all the work activities you do in the course of a month, and ask yourself “If I could only do three of these activities all month, which would it be?” Chances are those three things are the things you are the best at and enjoy the most.

Sebastian Marshall

  • There are two kinds of knowledge – the cognitive and the experiential. You can understand that someone’s parents are dead, you know what happened, but you don’t really know how it feels. You don’t ‘actually get it’. Be aware of this difference.
  • Scott notes that he doesn’t read many books, because he’s learned better in real life doing things. Sebastian notes that its easy to focus on what you’re good at, so if its books, you may focus on that at the expense of experience, or vice versa.
  • Sebastian thinks that you don’t really decide your thoughts so much as think whatever you body is primed to do so given the situation. So shape your time and surroundings to help you think and do what you really want to.
  • If you can handle yourself being bored or aggravated, you can live a lot more intentionally. The next time that happens to you, just own it. Recognize that you are bored or aggravated, but don’t do anything about it. It’ll pass.
  • Oftentimes you do harmful things to yourself as a compromise to worldly minutiae (like accepting toast at a restaurant when you’re gluten free). Who is better off because you accepted that toast? Nobody. Who is better off if you deny it? You.
  • Recognize what you are vain about. The preservation of your vanity or ego is often damaging to your life goals. You’re the only one who really cares about your vanity, and you’re the only one suffering from it. Let it go.
  • Make things binary: “Did I eat healthy or didn’t I?” Less room for weakness, easier to make the right choice.
  • Make universal rules for your life that allow you to avoid getting stuck fighting fire.
  • Like IF-THEN statements: IF it rains during my run time, THEN I will still go out and do a lap of one block before deciding whether to continue
  • When Sebastian tries to adopt new habits, he aims for at least 70% success rate. If he can’t hit that, he scales down so that he does. If he does, he ratchets it up.
  • Study your successes. If something went well or you did it well, stop and look at what went into making that successful. Then you can recognize what worked and use it elsewhere.
  • The arrival fallacy – “Once X happens, then I’ll be happy”. Recognize that you can be happy even when things don’t happen as you wanted them to. Recognize that each day as a battle you could lose and still win the war of life.
  • Peter Gollwitzer, NYU professor on goals and decision taking

Andy Drish on finding your unique genius

  • ‘the people who are closest to you don’t want you to change because if you change, the ways in which they used to manipulate you won’t work any longer’. The expectations you set for yourself are the expectations set by your peer group
  • Dan Sullivan’s ‘Unique Ability’ book, Gay Hendricks ‘The Big Leap’
  • Ask yourself “What’s your favorite movie character? How would you describe them/what characteristic do you think they embody? How much does that align with the perception you have of yourself?” You gravitate towards characters who are like you.
  • Write down the tasks you loved in your favorite jobs. Find common threads.
  • Four types of tasks – incompetent (you’re bad at it and hate it), competent (can do it but don’t like it), excellent (can do it well) and genius (do it well and love it)
  • When two people are having a conversation and you join them, how does the feel of the group change? What is added or subtracting in the groups’ feelings?
  • taylor_8

    I’m more of a fan of just turning off the shower tap to soap up — the same environmental benefits, but without the spartan challenge!