Archive for January, 2014

What you think about yourself is much more important than what others think of you

11 Extremely Successful People Share Their Best Productivity Hacks

This Is A Brilliant Approach To Making Better Decisions

Bob Sutton’s new book, “Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less,” contains an interesting section towards the end on looking back from the future, which talks about “a mind trick that goads and guides people to act on what they know and, in turn, amplifies their odds of success.”

We build on Nobel winner Daniel Kahneman’s favorite approach for making better decisions. This may sound weird, but it’s a form of imaginary time travel.

It’s called the premortem. And, while it may be Kahneman’s favorite, he didn’t come up with it. A fellow by the name of Gary Klein invented the premortem technique.

A premortem works something like this. When you’re on the verge of making a decision, not just any decision but a big decision, you call a meeting. At the meeting you ask each member of your team to imagine that it’s a year later.

Split them into two groups. Have one group imagine that the effort was an unmitigated disaster. Have the other pretend it was a roaring success. Ask each member to work independently and generate reasons, or better yet, write a story, about why the success or failure occurred. Instruct them to be as detailed as possible, and, as Klein emphasizes, to identify causes that they wouldn’t usually mention “for fear of being impolite.”

Next, have each person in the “failure” group read their list or story aloud, and record and collate the reasons. Repeat this process with the “success” group. Finally use the reasons from both groups to strengthen your … plan. If you uncover overwhelming and impassible roadblocks, then go back to the drawing board.

Premortems encourage people to use “prospective hindsight,” or, more accurately, to talk in “future perfect tense.” Instead of thinking, “we will devote the next six months to implementing a new HR software initiative,” for example, we travel to the future and think “we have devoted six months to implementing a new HR software package.”

You imagine that a concrete success or failure has occurred and look “back from the future” to tell a story about the causes.

Pretending that a success or failure has already occurred—and looking back and inventing the details of why it happened—seems almost absurdly simple. Yet renowned scholars including Kahneman, Klein, and Karl Weick supply compelling logic and evidence that this approach generates better decisions, predictions, and plans. Their work suggests several reasons why. …

1. This approach helps people overcome blind spots.

As … upcoming events become more distant, people develop more grandiose and vague plans and overlook the nitty-gritty daily details required to achieve their long-term goals.

2. This approach helps people bridge short-term and long-term thinking.

Weick argues that this shift is effective, in part, because it is far easier to imagine the detailed causes of a single outcome than to imagine multiple outcomes and try to explain why each may have occurred. Beyond that, analyzing a single event as if it has already occurred rather than pretending it might occur makes it seem more concrete and likely to actually happen, which motivates people to devote more attention to explaining it.

3. Looking back dampens excessive optimism.

As Kahneman and other researchers show, most people overestimate the chances that good things will happen to them and underestimate the odds that they will face failures, delays, and setbacks. Kahneman adds that “in general, organizations really don’t like pessimists” and that when naysayers raise risks and drawbacks, they are viewed as “almost disloyal.”

Max Bazerman, a Harvard professor, believes that we’re less prone to irrational optimism when we predict the fate of projects that are not our own. For example, when it comes to friends’ home renovation projects, most people estimate the costs will run 25 to 50 percent over budget. When it comes to our projects however, they will be “completed on time and near the project costs.”

4. A premortem challenges the illusion of consensus.

Most times not everyone on a team agrees with the course of action. Even when you have enough cognitive diversity in the room, people still keep their mouths shut because people in power tend to reward people who agree with them while punishing those who have the courage to speak up with a dissenting view.

The resulting corrosive conformity is evident when people don’t raise private doubts, known risks, and inconvenient facts. In contrast, as Klein explains, a premortem can create a competition where members feel accountable for raising obstacles that others haven’t. “The whole dynamic changes from trying to avoid anything that might disrupt harmony to trying to surface potential problems.”

Read more:

you don’t need a reason to help people

Sometimes you wish it was easier, but if it was, everyone else would do it , Then you remember you don’t want to be like everyone else.

Will it be easy not? Worth it ?absolutely

How To Have A Fulfilling Life

How To Have A Fulfilling Life


Remember, for the majority of your waking hours, you’ll be at work. That’s a lot of time to spend being miserable and/or surrounded by people whose company you don’t enjoy.

Is there a key to living a happy and fulfilling life? Science, it seems, says yes. According to the Harvard Grant Study, which followed several hundred American men — all of them white but of different backgrounds — over the course of 70 to 80 years, happiness isn’t achieved by material gain, professional success or the wielding of power, though those do, of course, matter. 

More important, says George Vaillant, who directed the study for over 30 years and recently published a book on it, is the sense of connectivity with other people: your relationships and love. According to Vaillant, the friendships and connections you make with other people ultimately matter more to your happiness, especially later in life, than amassing wealth. The old adage that “Money doesn’t buy happiness” is now officially sanctioned by science. 

Vaillant adds that being connected to your work also matters (again, to a degree — more so for some than others). But to a growing number of young entrepreneurs, happiness, professional satisfaction, relationships and financial stability are all part of the same package — and are all achievable. 

Some of them are at the forefront of what’s called the B-Corp movement: benefit corporations, companies that do good while making money, whether by donating a pair of glasses or shoes for every one sold retail, or selling better construction materials

Here are some people who decided that the best way to live life is on their terms, and the lessons you can learn from their success. 

Enjoy Whatever It Is You Are Doing

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s always worth emphasizing. Remember, for the majority of your waking hours, you’ll be at work. That’s a lot of time to spend being miserable and/or surrounded by people whose company you don’t enjoy. 

Jon Rose founded Waves for Water in 2009. The charity provides simple, cheap and easy-to-use water filters to people who, due to natural disasters or lack of infrastructure, don’t have access to clean water. It’s done using an unusual delivery system: footloose surfers. Rose recruits fellow surfers and asks them to bring the filters along with them as they travel the globe looking for waves to ride. 

And although surfing and surfers have certain peculiar lifestyle associations tagged to them, delivering water filters is an important job, with very serious real world consequences. But that hasn’t stopped the 35-year-old from having a good time. 

“I always like to bring everything back to center, to my driving force, my DNA, which is completely based around fun,” he says. “My dad used to ask me when I was a kid if I was having fun when I was doing something. If I said no, he’d say, ‘Then why are you doing it?’ I’ve never lost sight of this. Our entire mantra for W4W is, Go do what you love, and help along the way. So that’s exactly what we do — we go out into the world and follow our passion, and then we plug the purpose into that — not the other way around.” 


Be True to Your Yourself

Everyone knows the story of the scorpion and the frog, right? Aesop’s story about the scorpion stinging the frog, even though it means they both will drown, because the scorpion cannot fight its own nature? There are a couple of morals there, aside from not giving a lift to a scorpion. One is, your true nature will come out, one way or another, so it’s best you don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re something you’re not, even if you are making a lot of money doing it. If you want to give up an advertising career to pursue comics, for instance, you can do it; you’ll make a lot less money, but you may very well wind up being happy — and you might inspire someone else to do the same. 

Bill Watterson should know. The reclusive creator of Calvin and Hobbes, arguably the greatest newspaper comic strip in history, quit a lousy job as a graphic designer before he became a full-time comics artist. There’s a good chance you’ve read his inspiring quote that’s everywhere on social media these days, the one attached to a wonderfully drawn homage to Watterson by Australian illustrator Gavin Aung Than. It goes like this: “Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success… To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.” 

Aung Than thinks the quote pretty much describes his life: He himself gave up an unsatisfying though lucrative job as a graphic designer to concentrate on his own personal projects. The point, though, isn’t that creative people are better people than suits — it’s that creative people will usually be unhappy if forced to adopt a suit’s values and lifestyle. 

Watterson is right. Creating the right life for you can be tough, but it is still allowed.

Passion Is Its Own Reward

If you really want to make a difference, be prepared to shed sweat and tears (probably not blood, though). For some, the desire to make life better for others makes their life harder. Take Steve Larosiliere of STOKED, a nonprofit that mentors at-risk youth through action sports like surfing and snowboarding. The 37-year-old took a big risk and, happily, it paid off — eventually. 

“When I first started, I made a lot of personal sacrifices,” he says.” I didn’t know anyone in the action sports industry and had no experience running a nonprofit. I personally went into debt, couch surfed and relied on mentors to guide me along the way. I wouldn’t change anything about my path; because of it I, too, feel like the young people that we serve.” 

Note that Larosiliere says he relied on mentors. So as well as providing the kindness of strangers, he benefited from it too. Mentoring can have an invaluable impact on people’s lives, both for the mentor and the protégé. Mentors build leadership and communication skills, learn new perspectives and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing a young person advance in his or her field. The protégé takes in benefits of experience, learns about the field, understands issues from different angles and builds a professional network. 


Take A Look Around

Who gets help? There are billions of people around the world who could benefit from a helping hand in one way or another, but sober realities — time, money, mortality, general lack of superpowers — ensure that help is better given by focusing on specific needs. So that means zeroing in on achievable, tangible goals. They don’t have to be modest — by all means, aim as high as you dare. But sharing inspiration and opportunity can be easier, more efficient and more rewarding by doing it close to home. 

Over at STATE Bags, 34-year-old Scot Tatelman realized that the best way to make a difference for underfunded communities was to go there and immerse himself in them. Thus the GiveBackPack program. Tatelman’s company donates one backpack to underprivileged kids for every one it sells retail, and does so by sending child-development specialists — usually young, hyper-energetic people — to schools to giving upbeat, fun, motivational speeches. 

There are billions of people around the world who could benefit from a helping hand in one way or another, but sober realities — time, money, mortality, general lack of superpowers — ensure that help is better given by focusing on specific needs.

“There is a genuine need right here in the States,” says Tatelman. “I try and engulf myself as much as I can in the neighborhoods so I am continually reminded as to why we do what we do… and why it’s essential to strive to do it differently.” 

He adds that his company doesn’t end its connection with the kids it helps after they drop off the bags. He thinks engaging with them, talking with them and being interested in their lives will inspire them long after the STATE PackMen (the child-development specialists) leave. “We are about more than just a material handout,” he says. They’re about “positive messaging and role-modeling as well.” 

Take It All In

Everybody needs a kick in the rear from time to time. Having the willingness to do something good for someone else is easy; the hard part is getting up the gumption to actually do it. All it took for Aran Dasan was quitting a boring technical job to pursue his passion of getting people to eat bugs. 

The 27-year-old Londoner behind ento, a company that is pushing insect-based cuisine on an unsuspecting Western palate, wants us to change the way we eat to something more sustainable and healthy. As anyone interested in eating insects will tell you, a lot of them are chock full of protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and a good source of nutrients like omega-3. He argues that insects are also a far more efficient way of consuming protein per pound and take up for less arable land to cultivate. 

But what Aran and his co-founders did was look at edible insect production systemically — putting their engineering background to use to develop a sustainable method of harvesting food in a rapidly growing, and ever hungry, world. 

He says he actively seeks people whose energy and passion seep into him. He gets jazzed by “looking up my heroes — people that really inspire me, whose work I really enjoy, or who live life with a philosophy I admire (a lot of these people I enjoy having as friends). Whenever I’m in a rut, or need a change in general, I talk to these people, and get excited about projects, plans and life again.” 

But Dasan also adds that he likes to be the one inspiring other people, too. Whether it’s by having the drive to take a concept that might repel most people and running with it, or by simply being a good friend, the choices we make and the things we do have a ripple effect on the people around us. So even if your choices don’t lead to immediate tangible benefits, be aware that what you are doing is not going unnoticed.

Care About Others, But Don’t Forget To Care About Yourself

Giving back is good. But, like a tired parent, even the best givers need a break. Q-Mars Imandel is an expert on investing in yourself, despite his young age (29). Although he runs The GIVE Project, a small organization in L.A. that does raw- and natural-food-related good deeds like giving the homeless fresh juice, Imandel says that by living the life you want, the life that you envisioned for yourself and feel is your destiny, you set the example and inspire others to do the same.

Imandel writes in an email, “One time I posted a YouTube video about ‘Investing in YOU,’ sharing about how important it is to not only invest in business, real estate and other financial avenues… but also to invest in YOURSELF by doing things that feel good to you and make you feel like you are caring for yourself. This could be a massage every week, going horseback riding regularly or anything that makes you feel good.”

Imandel says that by living the life you want, the life that you envisioned for yourself and feel is your destiny, you set the example and inspire others to do the same.

It makes sense: Who’d take advice, or anything else, from people who are always crabby because they spend all their time thinking of other people? Treat yourself right, and others may want to treat themselves right, too.

Change Is (Almost) Always Good

On a planet with a growing population and dwindling resources, everyone from local governments to international agencies are worrying about access to vital, life-sustaining necessities like food and water, and how to share them properly. One movement that’s been gaining traction over the past decade or so is that of rooftop farming — growing sustainable, healthy food right in the heart of the city, and selling them in large (-ish) quantities.

One of the more successful entrepreneurs who got into the rooftop gardening game in a big way is Montreal’s Mohamed Hage. The 32-year-old’s Lufa Farms opened its first commercial rooftop greenhouse in 2011 and is committed to growing urban farming as a large-scale supplement to traditional factory farming. All its food is organically grown, produced locally and pesticide-free, and uses recycled and rainwater to avoid overtaxing the city’s water system. By moving away from traditional industrial growing techniques, he says Lufa is “rethinking the food chain.”

It’s a pretty bold rethink of the way we consume, but Hage believes that’s the point: We have to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s not a new concept, but it is a powerful one if you approach it with the right frame of mind. “I think of change as evolution that we can directly affect,” he says. “I believe that we need to constantly strive to make our lives better. Every day is an opportunity to advance.”


Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.

A year from now you’ll have wished you had started today

11 Extremely Successful People Share Their Best Productivity Hacks

11 Extremely Successful People Share Their Best Productivity Hacks

Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson

Most of us have had those days when we’ve come in to work, been confronted by a massive to-do list, and had no idea how to get it all accomplished.

For people running large organizations, that can be the case nearly every day. Many manage the chaos with a variety of techniques and hacks that increase their effectiveness and reduce their workloads.

LinkedIn asked more than 60 of its influencers to share the best productivity hack they’ve developed. We’ve broken out a few of our favorites.

Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson: Take care of your eyes. 

“One of the things that helped improve my productivity more than anything was right in front of my eyes all along: it was my glasses.

“… While some people have 20/20 vision, and many people will have differing eyesight that can be helped in different ways, concentrating on your eyesight can help you be far more productive.

“As so many of us spend hours glued to our mobile, laptop or tablet screens, if you aren’t careful you can damage your creativity as well as your eyes. By resting your eyes from the screen you can also relax your mind and create the space to come up with new ideas.”

Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal: Skillful delegation is the most powerful productivity hack.

“Being productive is not about the sheer quantity of stuff you get done — it’s about maximizing your effectiveness. That’s why the ultimate productivity boost is delegation. Delegation is about creating high-functioning teams by dividing and conquering — but in order to conquer, it’s critical to divide thoughtfully.”

GE CMO Beth Comstock: Create a Venn diagram for how you use your time.

“Almost everyone remembers Venn diagrams, those circles with the shaded areas where they overlap. For me, they’re more than a throwback to high school; they’re the key to how I can make the best use of my time. When I think of my schedule, I picture three interlocking circles: what I love to do, what I have to do and what I hate to do. My creative challenge is finding the intersection between what I have to do and what I love to do. And turning the hate to do into something more tolerable (especially when it can’t be outsourced).

“… A few years ago, my boss, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, told me that he controls his calendar very strategically, so I thought I would do well to follow. I call it my weekly workout with my calendar. It’s how I align to the Venn.”

Kabam CEO Kevin Chou: Hold stand-up meetings every day.

“The productivity hack I’d like to discuss is not one that increases my personal productivity, but my team’s productivity. As a CEO, my focus is on ensuring a much broader set of people beyond me can make the most productive use of time. I think this holds true for anyone that manages or influences other people, and I hope this advice will be helpful to you. My best productivity hack is this: I hold daily stand-ups for my direct team every morning at 9:15 a.m. that lasts for about 10 minutes.

“Our daily stand-ups are like a football huddle, in which the team quickly discusses execution and roadblocks. It’s not meant to be the in-depth Monday after game discussion that is deep in strategy or a business review. The goal is to simply make sure everyone is making the best use of their time for the next 24 hours.”

Bloomberg News editor-at-large Tom Keene: Read more by reading less.

“There are things to read cover to cover. I read Meghnad Desai’s “Marx’s Revenge” cover-to-cover. I am reading every word of The McKinsey Global Institute’s QE and Ultra-low Interest Rates: Distributional Effects and Risks.

“But for most reading the great hack is to cut the paragraphs by two-thirds. Call it a planned and highly practiced skim. It can be as simple as take in the top, pound through a part of the next several paragraphs then, and this takes nothing but a practiced eye, find the author’s key idea. Longer pieces may have more than a few key ideas…a 20-page report may take about 7 pages of reading. And, always search for the single chart that floats your Euclidian boat. With opinion pieces, always read the top then the last two paragraphs in search of the author’s main point.”

Former Bank of America executive Sallie Krawcheck: You get the most work done when everyone else is sleeping.

“When I was in corporate America, I tried for awhile to schedule no meetings on a couple of Fridays every month, thereby giving myself the luxury of blocks of time to think. It worked … sort of. But I had one significant problem: email. Some people can ignore email, but I have never formed the discipline of not checking email repeatedly and obsessively during the course of the day.

“So now I work when others sleep.

“I am never more productive than at 4 a.m. I brew a cup of coffee, I keep the lights pretty low, I sometimes light a fire in the fireplace, and I let my daughter’s cat sleep next to my computer. My mind is clear, not yet caught up in the multiple internal conversations that we all conduct with ourselves once we gear up for our first meeting of the day.”

New York Magazine writer Kevin Roose: Turn your computer into a typewriter when you need to get real work done.

“A few years ago, I bought a vintage typewriter at a flea market, hoping that it would make me more productive. I was halfway through my latest book, and I was sick of getting distracted by emails, Facebook messages, and Twitter notifications while slogging through a particularly tough part of the manuscript.

“A day later, I’d given up. I liked the old-timey feel of the typewriter’s keys, and I was more focused without the diversions my iMac offered. But typewriters are slow, and I was spending far too much time typing over errors, aligning sheets of paper, and hitting the carriage return. I missed my computer’s speed, its automated spell-check, and the ability to manipulate and move around large chunks of text with ease.”

Roose instead uses Freedom, an app which lets you shut off internet connectivity for a set period of time, and full screen view in Microsoft Word to effectively turn his computer into a typewriter.

BP Capital Management Chairman T. Boone Pickens: Actually talk to the people at your company.

“Want to work smarter in 2014? Try talking to people. Not tweeting them or texting them but good, old-fashioned conversation.

“Talking generates ideas, and it makes companies – and individuals – grow. Our public affairs director, Jay Rosser, tells me I would have been a good reporter. I work a beat constantly. I like to walk into people’s offices and hear what they’ve got to say. I want to know what my people are hearing, reading, and thinking. If they aren’t talking to me, I’ll reach out and ask them. And they know that I listen.”

Asana CEO Justin Rosenberg: Figure out the reason you’re procrastinating.

“I procrastinate. But it’s not because I’m lazy. I procrastinate because something about my highest-priority task makes me subtly (or not-so-subtly) uncomfortable. Fortunately, I’ve found an indispensable three-step process for reliably moving from procrastination to action: (1) face whatever I’m putting off, (2) be honest with myself or a friend about why it’s uncomfortable, and (3) identify one easeful next step.”

Bloomberg anchor and editor-at-large Trish Regan: Always get the airline app. 

“Travel apps make a serious difference — I’d estimate that they save me, on average, at least 40 minutes per trip — and, perhaps most importantly, a lot of stress. You can check in while still in the car, you don’t need to print a boarding pass, and perhaps most importantly, the app saves you from getting frustrated with those ticket machines at the airport that always promise to read your credit card but never actually can.

“I was recently on a return trip home from London and as I surveyed the masses of people at Heathrow airport and counted the number of people waiting in line to print their boarding passes, I thought, thank god for technology. So, why aren’t more people embracing it? Why is anyone with a phone waiting in line to print a boarding pass?”

Venture Capitalist Brad Feld: Eliminate business travel.

“For the past 20 years I’ve traveled 75% of the time during the week. The companies I’ve invested in are distributed around the U.S., in Boston, New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Kansas City, and a few other places.

“Last June I quit. Cold turkey. No more travel. I simply cancelled all of my upcoming trips and declared myself a no-fly zone through the end of 2013.

“… For seven months I got up and went to sleep in my own bed, next to my wife Amy with our dog Brooks at the foot of our bed. I didn’t experience the stale smell of an airplane a single time. I didn’t have any delayed or missed flights. A TSA person didn’t feel me in any inappropriate places. I didn’t have grab an imitation candy bar, disguised as an energy bar, a single time.”

Read more:

Don’t give up just because of what someone said. Use that as motivation push harder

%d bloggers like this: