The 4 Arts of Self Sabotage

The equation for human performance is the following:

Performance = Potential – Self-Sabotage

Blowing myself up, Photo credit: Heberger Site

That is it. You achieve not what your boss lets you, not what the others let you… you achieve what you don’t screw up for yourself.

In the years since I first wrote this equation up in a class and people said “No… it can’t be that” I have become more and more convinced that the greatest devil in our own lives is the 4 Arts of Self Sabotage.

The 4 Arts of Self-Sabotage

  1. Distraction: Lack of Focus
  2. Fixed mindset: “I have what I have now because of who I am, not how hard I have worked”
  3. Arrogance: sometimes seen as Denial, sometimes as Nostalgia, sometimes as Victim, sometimes as Sole Hero
  4. Inability to Handle Anxiety (or anger, or rage, or fear)

Success in life, whether sporting success, writing success or financial success has more to do with overcoming these 4 arts of self-sabotage than any level of original brilliance or one-time shots of luck.

Intentionality and Defiance

As I grow ever older, staying fit requires ever greater intention.  I sometimes wish to myself that it might be a little easier, but then quickly realise that this is my inner saboteur distracting me.

If you are going uphill then you are going towards success.  I so often want writing to become easier.  I live with the hope that if I really work at my fitness, at my writing: I will find that they become easier.  It does not work this way.  Eka told me that the better I get at something, the better my inner saboteur becomes.  I am wise enough to see through the excuses of 10 years ago, but now I have new, more sophisticated, more subtle, more dangerous excuses.

Photo Credit: DanieleCivello via Compfight cc

John Maxwell shares a story of a tree in a garden.  He says “if I take up my axe and swing at the tree, will I chop it down?”  Not in one blow, unless it is a very small tree.  In 5 blows? maybe?  If I go out every day and swing the axe at the tree, will the tree fall?  Yes.  When?  eventually.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow… but if I keep on chopping, the tree will fall.  It could be a Californian Sequoia, it could be a towering British Oak: if I keep on chopping, the tree will fall.  It doesn’t matter the quality of the blows, it doesn’t matter the strength in my arms: if I keep on chopping, the tree will fall.

If you want to be successful: do what you have to do to be successful.  Not what you want to do, not what you wish you could do, not what you feel like doing…  what you have to do.

What are the 5 things you have to do to be successful?  You don’t need a PhD to figure these out.

“If you are not growing, you are dying” Jim Rohn

If I don’t have a plan for growth, the natural is not to stay in good fit shape.  If you are not moving forward, it is likely that you are being left behind.

I do have a plan for growth.  I have a plan for health, a plan for writing, a plan for teaching.  However, in the last few weeks I have grown comfortable.  I have stopped doing what is hard and only done what is easy.  I have allowed my inner saboteur to move me off the uphill path.  I was hoping for some automation, some easing of the uphill journey.  My friend Florian says “only dead fish swim with the flow”.  To be alive, is to swim against the natural flow.

“The only thing automatic in life is death” John Maxwell

Life is simple.  We live for a short moment, and then we die.  It is easy to be hopeless in the face of this simple equation.  It is easy for me to tell myself that anything I do is meaningless.  It is easy for me to excuse myself from the hard work.  In the face of the equation of life, there is only one heroic response.

The heroic response to challenge: Defiance.

Defiance in the Face of Difficulty

I cannot control the external forces of my life.  I cannot control whether people read my writing or like my writing or learn from my writing.  I cannot control when I get ill.  I cannot control when those that I love suffer, get ill.

I can always control my reaction.  To react is to give up the heroic response.  To respond in a way that resonates with the best version of myself, to be defiant in the face of difficulty: this is the heroic response.

If you want to grow, you have to be intentional.  What’s your plan for growth? What do you do every day to ensure that you are growing?

Most people live their entire life and never plan to intentionally grow.

There are no secrets to success: You don’t have to do it all day.  You do have to do it every day.  The 20 mile march, daily progress.  I don’t get to brush my teeth 7 times on a Sunday to make up for not brushing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday…

(PS You may have already guessed: the read audience for this post is myself, to make myself go for a run today)

Become Indispensable: Solve Interesting Problems

Question for you: What do you have as your description line in your LinkedIn profile?

Mine says “Moving People to Action”

 

What does your LinkedIn Description say?

I see several varieties of description.  Some people just put their job title: “VP Marketing at Corporation Inc”.  Some people an abstraction of their past experience “Experienced Manager in Telecoms Industry”.  Some people describe what they aspire to be.  I leave it at the somewhat vague “Moving People to Action”.  What is your profile description?  It is important.  The founder of LinkedIn says so.

I am reading Reid Hoffman’s book “The Startup of You” at the moment.  He speaks of treating your own career like an entrepreneurial startup.

Life on Permanent Beta

One powerful idea from the book is to keep your career on “Permanent Beta”.  Beta is an IT term for a not-yet-fully-tested version of the software.  We release beta software so we can find out how it is really used by customers and make many iterative changes before the final delivery of finished software.  Permanent beta is to assume that I am never finished, I am always a work in progress.  Permanent beta is to stop the search for a comfortable, coasting job that pays the bills with little or no effort on my part.

Plan A, B & Z

He speaks of Plan A, Plan B, Plan Z thinking.  Plan A is your current career.  Plan B is your aspirational career.  Plan Z is what you would do if Plan A and Plan B fell apart, the worst-case scenario.

An example in the case of myself 11 years ago:  Plan A was working as a manager in Accenture and working towards promotion to partner.  Plan B was starting up my own company.  Plan Z was living off my savings for a year while studying.

Moving forward to today, Plan A is teaching at IESE, speaking and writing.  Plan B is unclear and needs some work.  Plan Z would be living off my savings for a year or two.  I clearly need to do some work on Plans B & Z.  Reid says you are in danger of unexpected environmental changes if you don’t have some meat on the bones of these 3 plans.

Plan B should be based around the Meaningful Contribution venn diagram.  Jim Collins calls it the hedgehog concept.  It is a combination of what you do well, what you enjoy doing and what the market will pay you to do.  Reid calls them:

  • Your assets
  • Your aspirations and
  • the market realities.

Your assets include hard assets like money in the bank; however the really important inventory is your soft assets – skills, network, personal brand.  What are you known for?  Reid is very, very strong on taking choices that value learning over monetary reward.  The more you learn, the more valuable you can become.

Who you know is What you know

I haven’t read this chapter yet, so I am assuming…  but in a world where google, wikipedia and youtube allow us to find any knowledge in an instant, it is no longer of great value to know stuff.  Practical wisdom – which increasingly is knowing who to call, and knowing that they will answer and take action because it was you that called is the valuable stuff.

Are you Indispensable?

If your boss gives you lists of tasks to complete, you are dispensable.  You are not “you” at work, you are a processor of standardised tasks.  The recipe for being “you” can be written down, and will be outsourced to cheaper labour.

If your boss gives you interesting problems to solve, you are of value.  You are “you” at work.

If you are the one that identifies the problems, and ask others the interesting questions: then you might just be on the path to Indispensable.

Become Indispensable.

How does one become indispensable?  The first step is changing the profile description on your LinkedIn profile.  If your description is your current job title, then it is likely that you have no Plan B.  You are not actively investing in yourself to make Plan B a reality.

To become indispensable, first make your profile description your Plan B “aspirational” title.  Click here to begin that change.

Now, start to invest time, money and energy in making yourself ready to live up to that aspiration.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and dreams and aspirations are supposed to take some work.

Curiosity, Learning and Adaption.

Curiosity is the first step towards Learning.  Explore beyond. How did he do that?  Why did they do that?  What is happening here?  Curiosity is to wonder at the things I do not yet understand.

Learning is the most important daily task to adapt to the changing reality.

Rapid Adaption for yourself and for those around you: you become indispensable.

If you are not indispensable, you are dispensable.

If you are dispensable, you are commodity.  You are competing on price.   There are some mighty cheap people out there, cheap & able to follow recipes, cheap & able to follow a process manual.

Knowingly Bad

You can’t begin to improve at something until you are “knowingly bad”.

If you are not aware of the lack of something, you haven’t got “taste” yet.  If you think you are the best blogger in the world, two things could be true:

  1. You really are the best blogger in the world
  2. You are blind to the real criteria for what makes a great blogger

Taste is the beginning of Knowingly Bad

You got Taste? Photo Credit: RobertCross1 

The development of taste is the beginning of “knowingly bad”.

Taste is the ability to tell what is good.  Taste is what you develop as you progress that actually grows your disappointment with your results.  As you go through development, your talent grows slowly, but if you are going to be good, your taste grows rapidly.

As taste grows, the disappointment grows.

Ira Glass says “For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.  But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.”

Don’t Quit at Disappointment

When you have posted your 8th blog post and you feel it is going downhill, your posts are getting worse, your progress feels like it is backwards…  do not be afraid.  This is the beginning of “Taste”.

I know 2 types of anxiety-free public speaker.  Type 1 has never developed “Taste” and so has no capacity to concern himself that he could do poorly.  He is blind.  He makes no connection between the audience’s use of email on their phones and the bad-ness of his speech.

Type 2, if you are interested?  Type 2 cares so much about the message that the speech is not about him or herself.  The message is so important that his own performance doesn’t even enter the equation.  The message is so important that he has given the speech 100 times, over coffee, in airport lounges.

If I want taste in writing, I have to read a lot. I have to know why one author is better than another, and specifically what that author does that I am not yet able to do.

If you are writing and and not satisfied with the paragraph you are producing: Great! You have taste.

If you are speaking and are not satisfied with your quality of impact on the audience: Great! You have taste.

If you are leading a team and are not satisfied that you are a good enough leader: Great! You have taste.

If you are a parent, and are not completely satisfied that you are doing it well: Great! You have taste.

The Role of Teachers

Great teachers focus on developing taste as well as developing talent – because with taste, you can grow beyond the teacher.  If they don’t help you with taste, you depend on them.  I spend more and more time these days helping the participants in my seminars give structured feedback on themselves than I used to.  If I tell them what to improve, that’s ok… but if I help them develop that ability in themselves, they are getting “Taste”.

Why is it a Must for You?

Photo by my daughter Alexandra

Most people know what they would have to do if they really wanted to get where they want to go.

But, they don’t get there.

Most don’t even start.

To Must or Not To Must

If it is not a must for you, it is not going to happen.

What is the holy grail between someone taking action or not? Must. I must fear more the path of non-action than the path of action.

It is very, very easy to talk myself out of action. It is very, very hard to talk myself into taking action.

It is much easier to not go for a run than to go for a run.

Unless… unless there is a lion chasing me. Or a tiger, or a shark… in fact anything with big teeth… but its the lion that changes the deal.

The lion re-balances the scales.

What’s your lion?

When you take action, next action becomes easier. When you don’t take action, procrastination becomes easier.

There is no defeating The Resistance. You must have a lion chasing you.

What’s your lion? What’s going to happen if you don’t take action. You are going to regret? You are going to be stuck where you don’t want to be. What will it feel like?

Leaders Go First. The First Steps on Learning Leadership.

Leadership: You Have to Go First.

I love this little Dilbert storyline from Scott Adams:

Employee: “I find it rather demotivating that you never praise me for a job well done.”
Boss: “You’ve never done a job well.”
Employee: “That’s because I’m demotivated.”
Boss: “You have to go first.”
Employee: “Wouldn’t that make me the Leader?”

The 1-minute Leader

Ken Blanchard’s popular and accesible book The One Minute Manager suggests that a leader does 3 things, in the following order:

  1. 1-Minute Praising: Hunt for something the person does well, and publicly praise them – immediate and specific positive praising on actions.  Praise the Person.
  2. 1-Minute Goal-Setting: Agree on goals (no more than 5) with staff. Make sure each goal is clearly written on a separate piece of paper and kept visible daily. Keep Goals limited and focussed.
  3. 1-Minute Reprimand: If the person has the skills to do something right, and it is not done right – in private let them know “I know you are a great person, but this behaviour/result is not up to your talent. Reprimand the Behaviour.

The 4 Most Important Traits of Leaders

Jim Kouzes has spent over 30 years asking millions of people “what do you admire in the leaders that inspire you?”.  He has compiled the information over many years into his bestselling book: The Leadership Challenge.

The top 4 traits that followers seek in leaders are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Competence
  3. Inspiring
  4. Forward Looking

Work harder on honesty

Honesty is 3 times more important than the rest of the top 4 traits combined.  There is no point in working on competence, inspiration or forward looking if people don’t now perceive you as honest, as trustworthy (Read: What is Trust?).  People hate it when a leader doesn’t play it straight with them.  People hate it when a leader doesn’t have the courage to speak the honest truth about their performance, about the state of the organization, about what is going on in the team.

Credibility is the Base

The traits honesty, competence and inspiring are really about perception more than any absolute.  It is not enough to just be honest, you need to be perceived as honesty by the group.  It is not enough to be competent, you need to be perceived as competent by the group.  It is not enough to spray out messages that you think are inspiring, you really need to be perceived as inspiring by others.

Forward Looking is the Leadership Differentiator

Credibility gives you the permission, but that alone does not make the leader.  You need to build an ability to create a shared vision of the future, a forward looking but real-feeling sense of direction for the group.  How can you do this?

There are 3 aspects to being able to share a forward looking vision.

  1. WIIFM: I show others how their long term interests can be realised
  2. Connect: I appeal to others to share an exciting dream
  3. Storytelling: I describe a compelling image of what our future could be like

The key here is not the ability to see the future, it is the ability to communicate it meaningfully and tangibly to the people around you.  The crystal ball is not as valuable as the ability to communicate persuasively.   (My free online course “Speak as A Leader” can help http://bit.ly/practicespeak )

Getting Started on Vision

How can you get started on the path to a better visionary leader?  If you do nothing more than go around you asking people these 4 questions you will become clear on what you can do to contribute.

4 questions for people around you:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?
  3. What can be done?
  4. What else is on your mind?

If you do nothing more than ask these 4 questions repeatedly and reflect the answers back to the group, you will be leading.

Further Reading:

Conor Neill’s TEDx Talk: Who Would You Bet On?

I had an opportunity to give a talk at TEDx University of Navarra.  You will find here the video and a transcript of my speech.

Now over 700K views of this talk

November 2017

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXCiv4sc5eY]

If you had 1000€ and you could invest that money in someone’s future, who would you bet on? Is it yourself?

Here is a wonderful 1 page summary of the TEDx talk from @in.sight.out

Social Media

Thanks to Sara Navarro Cuesta for being the first to share: Thanks to IESE Business School for a widely-read tweet

Transcript

Who would you bet on?

Imagine you had the two hundred people you know best in the world sat in this room and i gave you this deal:

you come, today, come up here to me, you give me a thousand euros and you give me a name, and for the rest of that person’s life I will pay you ten percent of everything they make, every month, month after month, month after month.

Ten percent.

Who would you choose?

Imagine that. Here in the room, if you look around the faces you see in this room -some good faces to bet on in this room- but if you put the two hundred people you know best from school, from university, through family connections,… Who of all the people you know, will be the one person that you would put on my paper and bring to me? Who would you bet on? I was asked this question seven years ago. The man in the picture is Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, at times the richest man in the world.

Warren Buffett doesn’t invent things;

Warren Buffett doesn’t sell things;

Warren Buffett doesn’t manage a company.

Warren Buffet takes one decision every day:

Would I bet on this person?

And the results would seem that he does this quite well. But seven years ago when he asked this question to a hundred and fifty MBAs. In my mind, three or four faces came to my mind…

Three or four faces…

And I hope as you’re thinking about this now

-Who would you bet on?- Some faces come to your mind. Some faces come to mind. People you know,

if you have this bet to make you choose them.

So let’s work a little bit on this.

If we’re gonna do this properly which we put together a process.

The question:

What criteria will you use in making this decision?

What criteria is your mind already using when it puts up a couple of faces in your mind’s eye?

What are you looking for when you see in someone the capacity have a massive impact in the world? I’m assuming you wanna do this bet well, because you do it well you can use that money for a lot of good causes.

What criteria would you use?

One idea -let’s go through some ideas- one idea: let’s get the two hundred people present in the room to bring their grades from school and university and we put them in order from the best to the worst grade and we choose number one.

Good idea?

The really scary thing is if I asked a group of twelve-year-olds they would laugh at the idea. Twelve-year-old already see the grades in school is not the criteria.

What are the criteria we’re using?

What about best friends? Patxi, I’ll choose you if you choose me! Best friends! Wonderful for friendship but a very dumb-way to take this decision.

What criteria would you use?

What criteria is your mind already using when it starts to put some ideas in your mind?

Who would you bet on?

So if grades from school isn’t it; best friends isn’t it; What would you use?

Now Warren Buffett takes this decision everyday, and Warren Buffett has three criteria.

But before I get into these three criteria of Warren Buffett

I wanna move to the world of psychology -I studied psychology- and to this day, from the beginning of psychology, there’s one test that above any other tests in life predicts future success on every measure: wealth, quality of relationships, grades in school, length of relationships, happiness, measured on every scale wether qualitated or quantitated

And the test is called the Marshmallow Test.

This here is a marshmallow.

The marshmallow test can be conducted on children three or four years old: the psychologist brings the child into the room and says “this is yours, this is yours to eat. I need to leave the room for a couple of minutes, when I come back if it’s still there you get two”.

And the psychologist leaves the room.

And the kid looks at the marshmallow: its his marshmallow! you can use it in any way you want.

So fifty percent eat the marshmallow; fifty percent don’t eat the marshmallow.

And the fifty percent that don’t eat the marshmallow go on to live lives that are qualitative and quantitatively better than the kids that do eat the marshmallow.

But you can go and look at this on Youtube.

You can go and see this experiment being carried out. And what is most illustrative is what the children do that don’t eat the marshmallow.

The kids that eat the marshmallow do something similar:

they stare at the marshmallow, they look at it.

The kids that don’t eat the marshmallow -can you imagine three-year-olds, four-year-olds? it’s kind of obvious- the kids that don’t eat the marshmallow: they put their head on their hands, they get up and stare at the wall, they look at their shoes.

Because at the age of three they’ve already realized how little power they have over themselves, over their own nature.

The lesson:

the diet fails in the supermarket, not at home. If I go to the supermarket and I buy chocolate, and that chocolate gets to my house, my willpower might get me through one day, it might be getting through the end of the week, it might get me to the end of the month, I might last a year…

But one day something bad will happen: I’ll come home tired my willpower will not be there and I will eat that chocolate.

The marshmallow test: the most powerful tool, on three or four-year-old children, to determine the quality of their lives the rest of their life.

Now, marshmallows don’t work on grown adults, so I wouldn’t recommend we use the marshmallow test to make your decision of who’d you bet on.

Let’s go back to Warren Buffett and his three criteria:

the three criteria of Warren Buffett.

And Warren Buffett makes this decision pretty damn well: sixty billion dollars of Net worth through deciding “would I bet on this person or not?”. And if you look at the structure of a lot of his deals he takes ten percent of all the future income of this person, of this team, of this company, on these three criteria.

The second criteria of Warren Buffett:

Energy.

Energy is health and a bias to action:

healthy people, people who don’t get ill often, people when they get a cold there back to work tomorrow cuz they recover quick, they sleep well.

Bias to action: people have a tendency to take action over thinking about action.

Energy is about vitality and a bias to action.

The third criteria of Warren Buffett:

Intelligence.

But not chess intelligence, not business school intelligence, not sitting in a room for four years designing a strategy intelligence.

He’s talking about adaptive intelligence: when you’re running down the street and a lamp post is coming towards you, adaptive intelligence is the intelligence to see the pattern, see the lamp post coming and change your course just enough but instead of taking it in the forehead you take the blow on the shoulder and you keep moving.

So number two: energy.

Number three: intelligence.

But without number one Warren Buffett and I would rather you were dumb and lazy.

Without number one you’ll be a danger to yourself.

Without number one you’ll be danger to your family and to society.

Number one, Warren Buffett’s number one criteria…

Number two is energy. Number three, intelligence. But without this those two are dangerous.

Number one is integrity.

But integrity is that you say no to most things.

Integrity is really about an alignment between what your calendar says you do and what you say you. And if you say yes to most requests, if you can’t think of the time you said no in the last day, in the last week, your life has been divided into thousands of little pieces and spread amongst the priorities of other people.

So to live an integral life, to live a life true to your own values means that you say no very often.

Integrity, energy and intelligence.

Do they seem like good criteria?

Do they seem like good criteria?

They worked for Warren Buffett… They seem like good criteria?

Did you use these criteria in taking this decision? in choosing the one person to own ten percent of all their future income?

These three seem like good criteria for me, I use them, I often use them.

They seem like good criteria. Now, there’s a person in this room that without paying me a thousand Euros, without doing anything different, without raising your hand, without moving, you owe more than ten percent: you own one hundred percent.

The person in this room that you don’t have to pay money, you don’t have to go to me, you don’t have to speak to anyone, and you will own one hundred percent of everything, month after month, after month.

So I very much hope that you each day work very hard to maximize integrity, maximize energy maximize intelligence.

Because if you bet on someone else for ten percent, I damn well hope, you put everything you can into maximizing these three in your own life.

And given that we got a few minutes, How about some tools?

I’ll leave you with some tools: one tool to maximize your intelligence, one tool to maximize your energy, one tool to maximize your integrity. And you can put these into action right now.

Intelligence: write stuff down.

If you write down ideas you’ve had today, if you write down people you’ve met, describe things that are going on, six months from now you won’t be the intelligence of one moment: you’ll be the accumulated intelligence of six months of ideas, six months of things written down, six months of people’s quotes.

When I was fourteen years old my biology teacher made us write down five minutes everyday, whatever we wanted. I remember day one. Pen touched paper: “This is stupid, What are we doing?”

Day two, again: “This is stupid. What are we doing?” Day three: “He’s still doing this!”

Day four: “Strange thing happened to me on the way to school today…”.

Day five: “My brother said something to me this morning…”.

I’ve written everyday of my life since I was fourteen years old. I know where I was every day of my life since I was fourteen: I know what I was thinking, I know what I felt like, I know who I was with.

Start writing down your life, it’s the most valuable resource you have: your own life. But so few people take the time to document it. Write your life down, describe the marshmallow.

Energy: high-performance athletes. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last five years interviewing the high-performance athletes of Spain: Josef Ajram, Kilian Jornet, Miquel Suñer.

Josef Ajram: ten times he’s competed in the Marathon des Sables. Two marathons a day, six days across the Sahara.

And Josef tells me: he finishes because he never thinks about more than fifteen minutes ahead. He runs for fifteen minutes he stops, has a drink, another fifteen minutes, another fifteen minutes, his mind never goes beyond fifteen minutes.

He says “anybody can run for fifteen minutes”.

He’s run the Marathon des Sables because he’s never, ever, let his mind see more than the next fifteen minutes.

Miquel Suñer swims open water, without a wetsuit, across the english channel. No wetsuit! Forty two thousand strokes to leave the english coast over to france.

Fourteen, fifteen-degree water; the cold seeping in with every stroke. How does he do it?

Because his mind is never further than stroke, stroke, breath; stroke, stroke, breath. Hour after hour, swimming, but he’s never allowing is mind to go anywhere beyond: stroke, stroke, breath.

With the marshmallow: deal with one marshmallow at a time, one marshmallow at a time.

What’s the next step? Do not let your mind jump forward and see the biggest thing. Alpine climbers see the next inch.

Ranulf Fiennes, oldest man from europe to climb Everest: failed three times; on his last attempt his wife said “Ranulf, climb it like the horses”.

He looked at her: “What you mean like the horses?”.

She’s an animal trainer: “A horse has no concept of the finish, a horse runs until it collapses. Climb everest one step at a time. Ask yourself one question: “can I take one more step?” “Yes!” take it. “No!” pause. “Yes!” take it, “Yes!” take it.

And on one of those steps he stood on the summit.

Energy: deal with next unit, one marshmallow at a time, one marshmallow at a time.

Integrity: Do you know how a child spells love?

How does a child spell love?

T-I-M-E

This world is full of good intention… But, the way you see if an executive really is behind an initiative you open their diary and you count the hours.

If you say your parents are important to you, open the diary and show me the hours.

The coherence between a diary and your values is where integrity begins.

And it’s kind of horrific when you start to count, when you start to look and start to become aware of where your time goes… So little of my time really goes to the things that I know and I mean to do. So often I slip off into facebook and what was supposed to be a minute, is an hour, and then lunch comes.

But those minutes, once you start to get the minutes dedicated things that matter…

And the truly important thing to remember about the marshmallow test is that there’s hundreds, and thousands, and millions of marshmallows in your life: hundreds of little decisions, minutes after minute, day after day that all sum up.

And success in life is not one massive good decision, not one marshmallow not eaten;

and failure, is not one marshmallow eaten, or one poor decision.

Failure is repeated bad decisions;

success, is repeated, consistent, good habits.

We so underestimate what we can achieve in a year and so overestimate what we can achieve in a day. A page a day and you have a book in a year: you’ll never write a book in one day.

But this time, once you started dedicate the time right, I had the privilege is spending a day with Kilian Jornet -probably Spain’s top athlete, ultra man- when I met him he just finished running the Lake Tahoe Rim Run: 288 kilometers, 19 kilometers of vertical ascent and he run it in 36 hours.

What the hell goes through a man’s mind as he runs for 36 hours?

But when he runs, do you know what the other competitors say about Kilian?

“He looks like he’s enjoying it”.

The other runners are suffering and they’re looking down:

Killian is running touching the leaves as he runs past, smelling the smell of the forest, feeling at the end of the track beneath his feet.

He runs for thirty six hours because he’s absolutely there, his mind is nowhere else but in the run, in the path, in the forests, feeling completely alive.

But when you do get your diary too much up to your values, getting your life one hundred percent present, and experiencing every little piece,is what took Killian to be #1 in the world in the hardest sport in the world.

So the lesson, rule #1 for success -and I brought a few for all of you to see if you can achieve it- the rule for success: when you have a marshmallow don’t stare at it.

The diet doesn’t fail because of weakness of will, the diet fails because the chocolate is there.

If you want to stop watching television take the batteries out of the remote.

If you want to do more exercise, put your running shoes next to the door.

It’s small, small changes…

And when I come back five years from now, and I ask: “Who did you bet on?

the answer that I want:

Yo mismo! (Spanish for myself)

When I come back ten years from now, the answer that I want is “Yo mismo!”

And twenty years from now, I want you to have written stuff down;

I want you have dealt with one step at a time;

I want you to make sure your diary aligns completely, you say “no” to the things that don’t fit with what’s important to you.

And twenty five years when I come back here I will look out on the most successful group of people, because they’ve lives their lives fully.

Who would you bet on?

How do I become a … ?

Good speaker?
Writer?
Dancer?
Singer?
Runner?

How do I become one? How does the whole thing come together? How will I know if it really is my thing? Will it be worth it?

There is only one way to find out. There has really only ever been one way.

The way to mastery in the past, the way to mastery in future… And the way to mastery today:

Start.

Take a single step.

Do it now while you are rubbish.

Don’t wait to feel “ready”. Don’t expect that you will ever feel that you have finally reached excellence. The moment you achieve something, it immediately becomes something that you can achieve – and no longer special.

Einstein didn’t feel like “Einstein” while he worked and thought – he felt like you, like me- not quite “there” yet, slightly unsure… But willing to keep moving anyway.

I wonder often why our minds are so rigged up to stop us beginning important work. Is it an evolutionary beneficial tendency? Perhaps it is the “cowards” that survive. The coward gene has been evolving for many, many, many generations.

Mere survival for a lifetime might be what your genes want, but it is not what your spirit wants.

This then is the daily war between the spirit that wants to change the world, and the genes that want you to hide beneath the duvet covers.

Who will win?

7 Typical Challenges of Weak Communicators

7 Challenges of Weak Communciators

These are 7 challenges that can be overcome if you take the time to improve your communication skills.  Some have very quick fixes, others require considerable practice to turn into strengths.

  1. I lose people’s attention easily
  2. People agree, but then do nothing
  3. People avoid my phone calls (… at least I think so!)
  4. People avoid giving me feedback (or only “sugarcoated”)
  5. I have difficulty listening to others
  6. People never agree with me
  7. People “hijack” my meetings, my presentations, my conversation

Resources

What are your Communications Challenges?

50,000 views of Video “Improve Your Speaking”

The big news at YouTube: Whilst Psy’s Gangnam style is rapidly approaching 1 billion views, one of my uploaded videos achieved 50,000 views today.

50,000 video views today

The top demographics are: “Male, 45-54 years”, “Male, 35-44 years”, “Male, 25-34 years”

So, whilst Psy’s video Gangnam style is reaching 1 billion views, I am dominating the “Male, 45-54 year” category…  hehe.

What is the Most Important thing you can do in the next 10 days to Improve Your Speaking?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8_BIamLESg]

Transcript of “Improve Your Speaking”

Thinking… What’s the most important thing you can do in the next 10 days to improve your speaking?

and for this Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book 3 years ago: “Outliers”, “Los que Sobresalen” [in Spanish]

What does it take to achieve World-Class?
What does it take to be truly Excellent?
As a musician?
As a sportsman?
As a speaker?

and he looked at multiple different cases…
Is it talent?

Do Irish people just have this inmate knack that they can be great public speakers? and people from Chile will never get there?
The answer is “No”.

What is it that leads to excellence?
in programming?

and the answer:
10,000 hours of practice.

No matter where you start from,
no matter how talented a kid was in school

it’s the kid that practices 8 hours a day that’s now playing as a soloist with the top orchestras of the world.

Leo Messi wasn’t born with a better right knee and a better left foot than anyone else in the world.

It’s what he chose to do every day after school
every weekend
that means he is where he is today.

The most important Commitment you can make to yourself  …you can listen to all of this and if you don’t do this it’s a waste

so, as you are considering that €6,000 that you’ve mentally paid and you are thinking “how do i get a Return on Investment?”…

Every laptop comes with a webcam. I want each of you to decide that you’re gonna spend 3 minutes every day for the next 10 days.
You can call them workdays so you don’t have to do it at the weekend.
for 3 minutes every day, start a little program that records
and explain a product…
explain your CV…
explain your vision…
explain what is a good life…

One speech that i get my students in IESE to do towards the end “A Value You Would Share with a Child as the Basis of A Good Life”

So, Day 10 that’s your challenge…  3 minutes: your answer to “What value would you share with a child as the basis for a good life?”.

So, nothing I can do here is going to turn you into a great speaker. No amount of watching YouTube videos of Bill Clinton is going to turn you into Bill Clinton

No amount of reading is going to turn you into a writer
only by speaking…  that you turn into a speaker

But there are people who are fifty five years old they’ve been in more than 10,000 hour’s worth of meetings and they’re crap at meetings; the 23-year-old who started yesterday is better at making meetings run effectively

So it’s not just about 10,000 hours…
it’s about:
deciding that it’s important
deciding you can get better
and the video allows you the feedback that you can watch and see

Here, there was a pottery class in the United States.  Ceramics. Making pots.
And the teacher took half of the class and she said at the end of this term your grade will be given on the weight of pots that you create. Here is a weighing scales, at the end of the class whoever’s total production of pots weighs the most will get the highest grade;  to the other half of the class she said you’ll be evaluated on your one most finished piece of pottery.

The group that were told “sheer weight”: what was their way of carrying on everyday?
They produced 5,6,7 pots
they tried random experiments
they tried weird things
they try different ideas
but their hands were on clay from the first moment.

The group that we’re told that they would be evaluated on the most finished pot
they read…
they thought…
they talked about concepts
they talked about philosophical ideas
they read more…
then went to galleries to look at other people’s pots
and the first time they touched clay was about 3 days before the end of the class.

All of the best pots were made by the group that focused on weight.

So, your way of being in the pottery group that was measured on weight is get the webcam going every day if you do it for 10 days you’ll get a lot better if you keep it going…

3 minutes doesn’t get you very quickly to 10,000 hours

10,000 hours…
8 hours a day is 5 years
4 hours a day 10 years
2 hours a day 20 years
but… we will all still be alive
20 years from now
even 30 years from now

Imagine.

if you set a target of really practicing, trying… trial…

and the greatest musicians when you listen to them practice: it’s horrible
when I play piano I play the pieces I know
the greatest musicians when they’re practicing are trying things they don’t already know. They are trying experiments, they are trying random things

So with the webcam don’t just give your perfect speech, try random things because no one else has to see it. It can be deleted rather quickly. but just be careful that no one gets to your PC while you’ve got all the silly ones left on the desktop

so the first Answer is…

This is a waste of time if you don’t decide to dedicate 3 minutes for the next 10 days to put into practice,
to experiment with some of the ideas.