Seth Godin on Failing Until You Succeed

Here’s a great video from Seth Godin about the importance of failing, not being afraid to take risks, and taking initiative. Worth watching.

The Importance of Being Results-Oriented

As I continue to progress in my career and life, I am continuously reminded the importance of being results-oriented. There are many benefits, however, I will boil it down to five –

1. It forces you to define your priorities – Defining the desired outcome forces you to define what’s most important before taking action.

2. It forces you to take ownership – Without defining your goals, you’re hoping something good will happen without taking ownership of the outcome.

3. It allows you to be flexible – With a predefined target, you’re now focused on achieving a goal versus executing a strict plan. You’re now free to be creative. Your Plan A may not work perfectly – so you must create and execute a Plan B, C, D, and so on to reach your target.

4. It allows you to measure your progress – Without a goal, you don’t have a benchmark. You may feel busy, but without a benchmark it’s difficult to determine whether your efforts are taking you in the right direction.

5. It gives you a greater chance of being successful – Without a goal, there is no concerted effort towards success – energy is being wasted on countless random efforts. With all efforts focused on hitting a target, you’re much more likely to be successful.

 

(Don’t Just) Follow Your Passion

I love this video. Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown, suggests people shouldn’t just “follow their passion,” as mainstream media would suggest. This is too abstract, he says, as it suggests that people should first discover their passion without any real experience. In this video, he presents a much more concrete solution to obtaining a life you’re passionate about –

1. Pick an interesting field and start working in it
2. Discover through experience what you really want
3. Gain rare and valuable skills in your current position
4. Leverage those skills to get what you want 


And that’s it, folks. Trade your skills upwards for a life you want.


Audiobooks: A Revelation

One of my “looser” new year’s resolution was to read a book a month. I say it was loose because, who has time to read a book a month? Enter: the audio book. I’ve finished four books in three weeks, and I’m loving it. There’s something reassuring about knowing how long it will take you to finish a book, down to the second. In the event I lose interest while listening, I know the the audiobook will end in exactly one-hour-twenty-three-minutes-and-fourty-seconds. Perfect – I can hang on for that long. With normal books, I can become quickly disinterested – see Figure 1 below.


Before + After Audiobooks

Fig. 1: Before audiobooks vs. After audiobooks (source: culturalcat.com + funnyshare.org)

I recommend using Audible.com, which connects to your Amazon account. The iPhone app has some room for improvement, but the audiobooks are generally cheaper than on iTunes. In addition, Audible offers two free books for signing up.

With that, I’ll leave you with my remaining audiobook tips:  Don’t buy an audiobook until you’re ready to listen to it. Listen to a book while driving or instead of watching tv. And lastly, don’t force yourself to listen – that’s one quick way to lose a good habit.


Sources of Revenue

Found this little gem while researching business models. It provides a quick overview of how some top tech companies make money

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Keep Your Head Up

Amy Cuddy gave a TEDtalk a while back about body language, and I noticed recently I was guilty of holding what she calls a “low-power position.”  My resting head position is down – when I’m not talking, when I’m walking, and sometimes when I drift off.  I don’t intentionally do this, it’s just a natural resting position for me.  There are, however, a few problems with this – 1) it’s not good for your posture, 2) it’s not perceived well, and most importantly, 3) it affects your confidence.

I wanted to change this. As a result, I embarked on a week-long experiment to make an improvement. Whenever I was walking, talking, or idle, I kept my head firmly up, no matter what. I of course expected to inherit better posture, however, I encountered an unexpected result – I was forced to engage. This wasn’t the case before – when I used to put my head down, I would unknowingly remove myself from the situation. In retrospect, some of these situations I may have subconsciously avoided –  silence, heated arguments, or even boredom. This past week, however, I was forced to be present through each moment.  Keeping my head up forced me to walk through those situations, as opposed to walking around them.

While this was a small experiment, I’ve gained a lot from a little. I’ve learned to partake in life more by simply not removing myself from situations.  Discomfort sometimes arose, however, this passed and I was left with a moment I was actually a part of.