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.
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)
In the next 10 years through to 2024, 1 Billion jobs will be taken over by machines. Google cars will replace taxis. IBM’s Watson will replace customer service staff. We cannot out-reason the machines.
We must change the way we teach, the way we parent and the role of “I don’t know” in our society.
I ask for your help. I will ask for your commitment not to say “I know”, when you don’t. I will ask you to use “I don’t know” more. Let’s let our connected intuition have the space it needs to work as it was originally designed.
At the end of every course I teach at IESE Business School, all participants give extensive feedback on their experience of the course, the facilities… and on my role as a teacher.
When the summarized feedback reaches me a couple of weeks later, I open the pdf in a state of nervous tension. I am preparing myself emotionally for the news contained in the report. If the report is positive, I start to relax and enjoy the feeling of professional competence.
However, the last few quotes on the report are always the “areas for improvement”. I get tense again, and start already to justify myself before I even start reading.
I love positive feedback. I hate “developmental” feedback. I pretend sometimes to appreciate it, but I resist it fiercely inside my mind.
I am pretty sure that I am not alone.
I rationally know that it is the developmental feedback that can most help me improve, but I find it very hard in the moment to accept it and work with it. I feel it as a personal attack, not as an objective opinion of a friendly student who wholeheartedly wishes to see the institution of IESE Business School improve with their advice.
What do you do to “accept” developmental feedback? Are there any things that have changed your willingness to be open to and even seek out developmental feedback?
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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:
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?
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.
[friedice5005] Powerpoint isn’t the problem. It’s a very useful tool to augment information you are trying to get across. The problem is people people who are bad at it using it as a crutch. Powerpoint should basically be an outline of what you’re talking about with MAJOR discussion points and any images or graphs you need to show. It should not be blocks of text that you read verbatim.
[via Yajirobi ] if you dont integrate people into it, they just sleep. Forcing them with made up questions is a bad idea too. Getting random questions from the audience is the best way to do it. Its a GIFT. They make the presentation good for you, without any effort from your part.
[via EngineerVsMBA]I experienced this system, and I loved it. I will use it in every job from here on out. Let me explain why:1.) It requires meaningful preparation by the presenter. They cannot hide behind pretty slides, and you can’t use the usual confusion tactics. If you can’t fit it in six pages, you didn’t prepare enough…
After the Flood
After the flood, what changed?
The real simple answer… nothing much. The blog has gone back to its previous daily visitor numbers. I had a moderate upsurge in email subscribers to my Free Online Speaking Course. I had 16 comments on the post. The post did get 2,200 Facebook Likes, it got 1,324 ReTweets, 821 LinkedIn Shares – so there is a sort of residual flow of new visitors.
It is a strange sensation to watch the visits rack up, and then just float away.
A good reminder that fame is illusive… and not really the goal… and a dangerous distraction 😉 Anyone know what’s up with Psy of Gangnam Style these days now that the frenzy has past?
Maybe I could do a little bit of work on improving conversion of visitors into readers, and readers into subscribers? Anyone got good ideas on how to make a blog into a community, or make it a more “sticky” destination?
Four millionaires are sitting on a park bench. Its a sunny Thursday morning. While many others are working the 9 to 5 routine, George, David, Jonathan and Paul are relaxing in the park.
As you look at George, David, Jonathan and Paul nothing much stands out. 4 standard guys in a park. They don’t flaunt their money.
However, they took four very different routes to get the money.
Paul bought a lottery ticket on a whim about 7 months ago. The ticket won. He became an instant millionaire.
Jonathan had a distant relationship with his parents as a child. He spent his adolescence in boarding schools. His family would gather on Christmas, but the relationships were not deep. 5 months ago his parents passed away. When the will was read, Jonathan discovered that he received a million. Another instant millionaire.
David set up a company 7 years ago. He has worked hard. Over the years the company grew in employees, grew in clients and grew in value. 2 years ago a US company contacted David about working more closely together. This year that US company made an offer to buy-out David’s company. Another millionaire.
George joined a bank after graduation. He suffered through the painful early years giving 120 hour weeks, but he learnt how to work the system. He has moved steadily up through the ranks and this year finally made it into the upper echelons. His bonus this year: about a million.
What do you think about Paul, Jonathan, David and George? How do you judge their path to wealth? Is lottery worse than inheritance? Is banker worse than entrepreneur?
Who, in your opinion, has the most “Right” to their money?
I haven’t written anything on the blog for a couple of weeks now and know that if I leave it for much longer this habit of blogging will become harder and harder. So I’ll write this post.
What to write about when I have nothing to write about?
Idea 1: Lists
Where to start. One good idea for blog posts is coming up with lists.
7 ways to make money with a blog
5 types of people you meet at airports
16 things that are supposed to be cool, but are not
11 reasons FC Barcelona lost to Bayern Munich
27 places I would love to visit this year
Idea 2: Anecdote
Another way to start is a short anecdote about something that happened to me, and a reflection on what it means.
Two days ago Raul and I caught a taxi at 6:45am from central Manila to the airport. We told the driver specifically to bring us to Terminal 3. We were in a little bit of a rush and were hoping that the terrible Manila traffic would not cause us to be late for our flight.
The driver made good progress. He informed us that it was a holiday, labour day, in Manila. This was our salvation. No traffic.
The driver sped up into the airport. I saw a sign for Terminal 1, another for Terminal 2.
The driver stops the car and says “We are here”. The fee is 180 php. He has no change (I suspect a “strategy”). I only have a 500 php bill, but Raul has 200 php so at least we are only ripped off by 20 php (about €0.40).
We make our way into the building. As we approach security we tell the guard our destination. He says “wrong terminal”.
This is not a great feeling. We had gone from a downer as we caught the taxi, to elation as we reached the airport on time… and now it is the wrong airport.
Another driver mysteriously appears and says “I can take you to Terminal 3”. He grabs our bags and makes headway for his nearby car.
We are too caught up in the rush to catch our flight to negotiate anything. We just want to know how long it will take.
We reach Terminal 3 in about 20 minutes… to find a massive queue, about 400m long, of people just trying to get into the terminal building.
We rush to the front of the queue and ask in our best polite words to be let in at the front. A kind family and an understanding security guard allow us.
We make the flight.
The question that remains… was driver 2 in an organized scam with driver 1? Raul and myself are still debating.
Idea 3: A photo
As we arrived into Manila and stood in line for immigration control we passed this sign. “Naia is a no ‘Wang-Wang’ zone. Please fall in line to avoid embarassment.” Raul and I debated “what is ‘Wang-Wang'”?
Any ideas on Wang-Wang? Answers in the comments below!
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Old Irish way of saying Goodbye
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