In order to accomplish your dreams, you must become an idea machine. It is important to stretch your idea muscle and maximize your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energies.
The New World
The world is fundamentally changing. The middle class is getting wiped out. Wages for most people have been stagnant while the cost of college, houses, and healthcare are increasing significantly. In the new economy, corporate security is an illusion. Technology and outsourcing are replacing normal jobs. There are too many people who can make major decisions over your life. Protect yourself by working on multiple projects. Anyone can become an entrepreneur. It just requires the ability to fail, ability to come up with ideas, execution, and persistence. You must start small. Abundance comes from enhancing the lives of people around you.
Become an Idea Machine (The Daily Practice)
I start by reading something inspirational first. After, come up with ten ideas. They can be about anything. I usually write them in themes. e.g. 10 things I learned, 10 books I can write, 10 ways I can save time, etc. Combine ideas. Make something old new. Typically after six, your brain really has to work. No idea is so big you can’t take the first step. You have to try multiple ideas to see which generates excitement. Fail quickly. In order to be effective, you must make sure your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energies are doing well. This will take at least six months before you start seeing major results. There is no failure. Celebrate the trying of new things. Your job is to prepare.
- Physical – Sleep well. Eat well. Exercise
- Emotional – Be around people you love and love you back. Ignore everyone else. Engage with nobody who is bad to you.
- Mental – Write down 10 ideas everyday or your idea muscle atrophies
- Spiritual – Distance yourself from anxiety. Say “I notice I’m feeling anxious”. Think of at least one new thing you are grateful for
Friendships outweigh almost any other factor in selling. I only do business with people I like. Learn to say no, opportunity costs can be huge. Deliver more value than they are paying you for. Never take no for an answer. Learn the art of checking-in. Be the source of valuable information. Make friends and direct them to better services than yours. This will build trust. You are selling everything: your offering, your service, and yourself. Not just about the product but the dream. Don’t under-deliver, be as good as the dream. Don’t be afraid to fire customers. Becoming an idea machine will help you survive difficult situations. The best new customers are old customers. Method Act: When talking to customers, imagine they already said yes. Focus on the four U’s: Urgency, Unique, Useful, Ultra-specific. I’d also throw in User-friendly. People are self-interested. Focus on their desires and what they seek.
Become a leader and lead yourself first. You will be in a good place if you desire more success for others. After 30 employees, it can be hard for a leader to know everyone. You need to tell a visionary story to connect everyone. A good story starts with a problem, goes through the painful process of solving, and has to be a solution better than anything else. People must believe the story. Learn to be comfortable with change, life will be more insecure, but free. Pain is an opportunity to live in a bigger and more abundant world. Have dignity. If you don’t treat your projects with respect, how do you expect others to? There is always a good reason and a real reason. A good solution solves one problem. A real solution solves hundreds. Every success tomorrow is determined by success today. Every leader needs to communicate with people. Study comedians (jokes, timing, presence, etc). Do not use powerpoint. Pausing allows people to think. In Q&A, always tell a story. Don’t give advice. You can only talk of your own experiences. Don’t create an artificial divide. You aren’t better than anyone, just happen to be speaking.
If you can’t give yourself permission to think about it, it’s not a negotiation. Don’t low ball to get to a middle ground. Say what you want and why. Let the other side help. Ask the other side what they would do if they were you. They want the deal to close too. Helps you learn about them. Always prepare and make a bigger list. Give up nickels for dimes. Know your value and have options. If you can’t walk away, you are not negotiating. Negotiation should be easy, don’t waste time chasing down when difficult. If you don’t live gently, you will deplete your energy. Not about your investment, but what value it brings to them. Infinite patience brings immediate results. Structure your business and life to have infinite patience. Negotiate with your gut. Following your gut leads to more happiness. Negotiate with people you like. Renegotiate. Breaking a contract isn’t illegal if both sides agree. Come with the new value you can offer and what you need to succeed. Negotiate from strength (phy, emo, men, spirt). A good negotiation doesn’t feel like a negotiation, you are enhancing their lives.
Think about how you can help others get ahead. Introduce people who can provide value to each other. Get permission from both sides. Host dinners. Follow-up. Reconnect. Show up for things. Interview people. Produce value for people.
Most people can become pretty good at something. Explore by 1) listing everything you enjoyed prior to college 2) combine sub-talents 3) find a topic you’d be willing to read 500 books on. Hard to do more than four hours of dedicated practice in a day. Balance yourself out the rest of the time. Study the history of the area you want to succeed in. Will provide context. Study failures not just winning hands. To become a master at anything, requires love. When it come to mastery, you will have big failures. You must believe you can become the best and realize there’s a way out. Persistence creates luck. Always more forward, but don’t rush, because you might miss all the pleasures and mysteries along the way.
People believe their own excuses because it gives them a reason not to do something. Use excuses to learn about yourself. Learn to tune the real reason. Tell yourself you can do something until you rewire your brain. You don’t need a degree. There are many ways to show you can deliver value. Validate yourself through your work. Nothing is too crazy, create a road map.
To Do Lists
Don’t make to-do lists. Doesn’t highlight the importance of something and just causes stress. Make themes lists. You will naturally do what is important to you. Focus on maximizing your four energies. Make a I-did-it list.
Understanding trends and demographics can lead to big opportunities. All things end and innovation is always happening. Major changes and advancements are currently happening in biotech, healthcare, observation, temp workforces, robotics, chemistry, and financial technology. Most predictions are wrong, but some trends are irrefutable. People are getting older. The nature of the work force is changing. People want alternative energy. The economy is becoming more globalized. Use of robotics is increasing. Wearable computing is getting larger.
Don’t be afraid to do something manually at the beginning. Provide free quality content on the front page. Outsource in incremental stages. Iterate based on feedback. Diversify, don’t let one company decide your fate. Don’t worry about competitors. Focus on serving a need, how it will cost them nothing, will provide big benefit, and will be easy to use. Combine your interests. Make it something you would use. Be willing to stop if you don’t see some form of traction. Build a community by hand. Build the product first, and take VC money as last resort. Can provide a service first and then productize. Execute on as many ideas as possible, the right idea will pick you. Blog about your experiences and all your problems. Customers are attracted to honesty. Life can be long. Doing what you love keeps you alive. Success is when you can’t distinguish between work and pleasure. In a negotiation, the person with more ideas has the upper hand. Can look at the same thing, but see value where others can’t. Peter Thiel’s model of a good business: Monopoly, Scalability, network effect, brand. You can get a good deal on a business with 3 D’s: death, divorce, debt. Marcus Lemonis uses the 3 P’s: People, Process, Product.
Owning a home is not a good idea. It is highly illiquid, adds leverage, doesn’t have good historic returns. College is not necessary. It only guarantees a big bill. There are other ways to learn and explore. A job does not bring stability and wealth. There is not one right way to do things. Don’t put more than 2% of assets in one thing. If your house is underwater, don’t pay, you made a contract with the bank on what happens if you don’t pay. Not unethical. Don’t repay your credit card debt. Bank sells to hedge fund at cents on the dollar after a few months of non-repayment. Cost of doing business. Why help rich people get richer? Will hurt your credit, but don’t get a credit card again.
Don’t day trade. The people who make money 1) hold forever, 2) high frequency trade, or 3) cheat. Buy stocks that 1) will be around in 20 years, 2) honest management team, 3) stock has crashed, 4) strong brand name, 5) attractive demographic trends. Don’t put more than 3% in any one stock, but if it grow past keep. Look at 13G forms to see what price smart people bought certain stocks at. Leverage all their research. No more than 30% of portfolio in stocks. S&P 500 is the best hedge against inflation, but not hyperinflation. With your cash, invest in yourself, it almost costs nothing to start a business, invest in experiences, buy books. Investing in yourself is the best hedge against hyperinflation. Don’t focus on saving more, focus on making more. If you constantly focus on alternative ways to make money, you will. Don’t think about money, focus on being around good people you love and respect. Gratitude is abundance. Financial wealth is a side effect of real inner wealth.
Health is important. People are attracted to a cubicle job because the pain is subtler. Laughter is essential to survival. Life is a billion moments, don’t let one have too much control. Some good mental models of life:
- Antifragile – systems that get stronger when they get hurt
- four hour workweek – build a business. outsource what you can.
- Outliers – 10,000 hours to mastery. May not need to get 10,000 hours, but focus on deliberate practice to improve
- Idea sex – Combine ideas
- 80-20 Rule – 20% of your effort will yield 80% results. 1% of effort roughly 50% of results.
- 1% rule – If you improve 1% everyday, in one year, 38x improvement.
- Four Agreements – be impeccable with the world, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, always do you best
- Don’t buy things
- Don’t do anything you don’t want to do
- Don’t try to please people
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep
- Run, don’t walk
- Don’t wait for them to say yes
- Don’t steal paper clips from the office
- Don’t consume bad things
- Practice freedom everyday