Love this from retired SEAL, Goggins.
Whatever you are going through, use it to get stronger.
In fact, seek out shit that forces you to get stronger.
Steel is forged, hardened, by heat and being beaten against an anvil.
Love this from retired SEAL, Goggins.
Whatever you are going through, use it to get stronger.
In fact, seek out shit that forces you to get stronger.
Steel is forged, hardened, by heat and being beaten against an anvil.
I’m no longer making time to write here, but I did make time to post this word of the day.
Whatever you want.
Whatever you are doing.
Bring more mettlesome.
You’ve got this!
If you’d asked me 10 years ago I wouldn’t have said this…
But, over the years it’s become obvious that the most important skill in all business is…
If you doubt it, try running a company without any revenues.
All of us all the time are being sold and selling.
To win as an employee, at the least you must be good at selling yourself inside your firm.
In most jobs, it’s the most important thing to driving your business too.
If you’re a business builder, your job is selling employees, customers, vendors, everyone…
Yet, because many of us think we already know what selling is, few people train.
e.g. What leads someone to buy? Smart-sounding ideas is the norm, but none of us buy logic. Need a new iPhone already?
e.g. How specifically do you clear an objection? Mitigating factors and counter-arguments are the tried and true approach for amateurs but pros play differently.
This 65 page research report on capital raising is selling in a specific context, but the method fits all contexts.
We were told some of you had trouble downloading the report, so we put it here where you can access it directly.
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Made to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
There are a handful of things that even many highly successful people are fearful about and amateur at doing.
Public speaking is often talked about, but one that haunts us daily is our fear of selling.
All day every day we’re “selling” ourselves and our ideas, but even many who sell for a living lack the skills they need to do it well, let alone confidently.
Fearful being “salesy.” Fearful asking for the order. Fearful hearing no. Fearful being rejected. Fearful facing objections…
Perhaps in some contexts ignorance makes your life better but not when it comes to the most important skills of success.
Competence equals confidence, and at selling, many of us lack both.
Even many who have selling on their business card haven’t developed the skills they need to do it confidently, let alone excellently.
Then there are people like many investment bankers who live in denial that their job is selling, so few ever learn the skills they need to succeed. (hence, nearly all fail to become rainmakers, wondering why)
Capital raisers have the same problem, where all day every day investment managers run around meeting potential investors “trying” to sell them on their fund.
They’re smart people. Highly successful. Professionals at investing.
But few approach capital raising the same way.
I asked my friend.
“About a 6.”
We agreed to do some work.
Every minute we can choose whether we settle for something less or bring the…
He is a happy enthusiastic fellow building a great business.
He wakes up energized, gets focused on great stuff, powers through his day.
He loves what he does, but it’s far from easy.
Back to back days.
Lots of responsibility. An organization to manage. Business to build.
He’s constantly stretching. It takes a toll.
Most days he feels good. Some days he feels great. Every day we want him to feel more hells yeah.
This fancy chart I marked up captures where I’m coming from.
The thermometer on the left is “normal” human thinking,
As I write about often, it’s not our fault, our brains and world are built with a negativity bias, so it’s easy to get stuck here.
Think positive can be an atlas-worthy goal but that’s not all we aspire to, is it?
If you’re serious about developing yourself you already know the hardest part.
You’ve gotten clear on what ways you want to transform.
You know exactly how you’re doing it.
But, damn, it can be hard to get yourself to do it, right?
A client is focused on being an “Enhanced” version of himself.
Akin to the movie Limitless, he has two ways of being.
“Regular” he walks, talks, thinks, be’s a certain way.
Regular is good, in fact, regular is very good because he’s already spent years developing himself he’s very much the man he wants to be.
But Enhanced is a level beyond.
Here he’s unstoppable. Nothing phases him. Worries him. He’s never short on confidence or belief or the will to keep creating his dream life.
Over years he’s modeled the “Enhanced Character.”
He knows exactly how he wants to be but as we discussed last night, he’s still not good enough at being it.
I told him.
What he’s doing is positively herculean.
Few people ever change.
You meet them 10 years later and they are more or less the same person, walking, talking, being the same way.
Our brains are set up for consistency.
They revert back to our Regular / habituated / conditioned thoughts and behaviors, which changing can take a massive amount of personal power.
Grrrrrrrr I heard the guy at the gym screaming as he was putting up a big weight.
It’s not enough. Power can only take you so far.
So too can motivation. It might get you to want to change, but really, truly making transformational change takes a lot more than desire.
Like developing a business, it takes a disciplined approach that you put to work every day, possibly for years, decades, a lifetime.
Grandad hunted Nazis for a living.
Hitler didn’t give him a chance to do what he wanted.
He dropped behind enemy lines to save us from a monster.
We can never repay our debts to the greatest generations, but we can do more for veterans today.
When I was a kid veterans were the tough old war dogs who could still make it to the annual parade.
War felt like pageantry.
I never knew Grandad, or anyone in the military. It felt like looking back to a brutal world left behind.
Today I see veterans all around, many a generation younger than me, with young families and lives ahead.
At best war leaves scars, and many veterans struggle to get their lives back on track.
Some have troubled minds. Others need guidance in getting a job, building a business, or otherwise righting the ship.
I used to want to help.
No veteran I’ve met wants help.
They are strong women, and men’s men.
Who put their life on the line for the rest of us.
The last thing they want is “help,” but they often appreciate support in helping themselves.
“Have you read Think and Grow Rich?” he asked.
“That’s a reason I’m still pissed at my parents and teachers,” he said.
Laughing out loud I asked what he meant.
When I discovered that book,” he told me “it changed my life so much that I was frustrated nobody had told me to read it sooner.”
“It’s not their fault,” I responded to this fellow I had met at a book signing, “the keys to unlocking our minds are hidden from most of us.”
But we all should want it.
I didn’t “need” to read Think and Grow Rich, any self-help books, any blog, or listen to any so-called experts to elevate my life from working in factories to Goldman Sachs.
“Success” was easy for me, merely a matter of working 80+ hour workweeks in high school and university.
I’m blessed with a good memory for ROTE learning and the will to work 7 days a week forever, but that’s hardly a worthy secret of success.
Sure, this approach got me to Goldman Sachs, but only a few years later asking myself “What am I doing with my life?” I wanted far better answers.
The paradigms for success that our society promotes—e.g. hard work, sacrifice—are down-right painful and mostly miserable, when anyone who explores development quickly finds better ways.
“Indeed thoughts are things,” is how Napoleon Hill opens his book.
The best-selling self-help book in history with over 100 million copies sold is cited, quoted, and ripped off by many so-called experts.
Although it’s implied in the title, the book isn’t about making money, but about creating a rich life through unlocking the power of your mind.
This hidden power of the mind might be the greatest secret of this game of life, and those of us who are “pro gamers” spend our lives hunting the keys.
What’s more human than progress?
No matter how far we’ve come, there’s something inside that keeps us striving to the next level.
What is this for you?
What does it take for you reach it?
What do you need when you get there?
About reaching the next level is that, by definition, it requires something beyond this level.
Whether it’s taking your career/business to another level, getting in better shape, getting more skilled, or any other goal requires something beyond where we are now.
In gaming, leveling up requires navigating your current level, collecting keys, earning points, overcoming an ordeal, whatever it is demands you collect what you need before ascending.
This test determines if you’re qualified to pass, and also ensures you have what you need to succeed at a higher level.
When a hike turns into technical climb it’s too late to turn around and go get your rope.
To pass to the next level you must be ready when you arrive.
In our careers it’s natural to think we get promoted when we’re successful, but in fact we get promoted to test if we can succeed at a higher level.
An NFL player doesn’t succeed by playing college ball.
We can be fooled into chicken and egg thinking that when we make it to the next level we’ll step up our game, but by definition we step up to be here.
This isn’t only having the capabilities we need to succeed, but also the self-image.
As was perhaps best put by Maxwell Maltz some 70 years ago, we only achieve goals that are consistent with who we perceive ourselves to be.
And to reach the next level we must not only become this person, we must be them now.
Acting as if, we fail.
Daniel Craig does a nice job acting as a cold killer, but you’d hardly want him covering your six in a gunfight.
To reach that next level, we can’t fake it till we make it, we must make it now to take it there.
Popeye is a weakling relative to most of us.
He has to pop a can of spinach to grow his muscles, but we have our worry muscles pumped ready to go.
The best feedback I’ve received this year from anything I’ve written was in response to Winning Like A Loser.
Wake up stressed. Fill your mind with overwhelm. Worry about everything. Go to bed at night feeling like you failed to get it done and looking forward to losing another day…
Plenty of people told me that they were ROFL reading it, before going on to tell me how much it resembled their days…
Writing about the insane way we’ve been conditioned to live I was laughing all the way to the publish, but I was also shining a light on something serious.
Because I’ve spent decades ridding my head of the human condition I can never go back to “not-living” that way, but for plenty of years I did.
Back then I didn’t see a problem with it.
It was “normal” to wake up whining about my job (just talk to many people, even at Goldman Sachs), confused what my life was about, terrified it wouldn’t work out as I dreamed, worried about the utter lunacy of the world.
If you’d asked me I would have told you I was completely justified living that way, “it’s just how it is,” I would have said I was “happy,” but now I’d rather be the walking dead.
As I wrote about here, for most of my life I believed that when I was doing what I want I would feel amazing, but now I know we only feel as amazing as we train ourselves to feel.
You have a standard routine for dressing in the morning. Maybe underwear first—not you, P—then socks, perhaps your pants or skirt before.
No matter your “process,” I know every time it’s the same.
You shower and brush in the same sequence too, because just about everything we do is habit.
And while this serves us in many ways—e.g. you don’t have to figure out whether your socks go on before your shoes—our habits of thinking tend to punish us the other way.
The data is astounding—each day we have somewhere around 60,000 thoughts, of which some 90% are redundant and 80% are negative.
It’s sad, but when you consider the nature of the human predicament, it’s obvious why it’s true.
We’re not built for happiness, but survival. Our brains aren’t set up to wander through predator-infested territory smelling the roses but to fixate on what might eat us.
Biologically we’re built with a negativity bias, and we live in a predatory society that feeds on our fears, which ensures many of us are world-class worriers.
His hands are often beaten.
And to a mind that has been feeding on worry, and developed a Popeye-sized worry muscle, there’s always something more to worry about.
See, the problem with muscles is that once you’ve built them you’ve gotta feed them, and indeed mental muscles do a nice job of feeding themselves.
And this means even if there’s nothing “real” in our life to fear—e.g. unlike our ancestors, no Neanderthals are predating us—the brain will find plenty of fake fear to binge on.
Sadly this means, once you’ve built these muscles, it’s near impossible to be happy, other than pretending to be happily-worried all the time.
Us humans are facing an ever-growing health crisis.
All the time you see headlines like World Faces Staggering Obesity Challenge, yet where does this get us?
People are getting fatter and fatter. They are dying of preventable illness. Their quality of life is significantly diminished by the way they look and feel and as a society what do we do for them?
It’s only in recent years that companies like Dove, with its Real Beauty campaign, and plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday have made it socially acceptable to not look like Kate Moss.
Yet even recently, when Cosmo put Tess on its cover, she was forced to defend herself from shamers, beautifully telling them “Not to worry about my fat ass…”
Of course our definition of beauty is skewed towards tall, strong, chiseled, handsome men, and thin women, yet we all know that’s not what we are.
We are “normal.” Some of us are taller, fatter, skinnier, smarter, dumber, sexier, geekier than others…
And that’s all good. Our society measures us using the same stick, yet that ugly stick beats many of us down.
Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
We all come from a different mold, and what matters most is that we are good with who we are.
The next best feedback you can ever give someone is, Keep doing what you’re doing.
Even if they’re doing a terrible job, you’ll avoid conflict and also ensure they won’t get so good that they outshine you.
Although some people pretend to want honest feedback, you know nobody wants to hear the truth, let alone improve, so just get their tail wagging with a pat on the head and keep doing what you’re doing.
Just like in school, a couple check marks and not getting held back each year is all any human ever wants, why encourage anyone to get better?
Improving is for people who can’t work hard enough to keep doing what they’re doing.
Like Rafael Nadal, of course it’s true that people who keep getting better tend to win more, but they also only keep getting promoted to the point where other people fail.
The Peter Principle demands that you must be good enough to keep getting promoted, but not so good that you actually excel.
As one of my favorite book titles states, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, and keep doing what you’re doing is the surest way to avoid succeeding to ultimately fail.
It’s scary to drive and you’re much better off just keeping your head down.
Maybe you could avoid that wall you’ll eventually hit, but with your head down driving hard you might even punch through concrete.
Some people say, pick your head up, set goals.
What the hell do they know? Once you’ve set goals, now you’re on the hook, you likely have to get better, and that will only lead you to fail more successfully anyways.
As I wrote here, no good loser wins that way. Who cares where you’re headed…
I’m starting a podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, VCs, PEs, and others who have built winning businesses.
Doing so we blasted a big list, which included serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Ted Rheingold.
I didn’t know Ted and didn’t know he died a year ago, but his auto-response still deeply touched me more than many humans who claim to still be alive.
His message asks us to “keep these very important messages in place,” so I’m passing it on.
Was the subject line. He went on to write:
My cancer (ccRCC, metastic) has gotten the upper hand and I’ll be putting all my resources into managing it.
In my stread, please keep these very important messages in place:
* be good to each other
* enjoy evert day
* wanting is suffering
* The journey is still the destination, now more than every
* the trend of purpose is coming like a tidal wave, get out a heard of
it. enjoy the ride. die fulfilled.
* Reframe your thinking of “what your career can do for you,” into
“what can your career do for others,” and wonderful, meaningful work
The best way to win is through brute force.
Everyone knows that hustle is the secret to winning, and that demands that you never have a minute you’re not ferreting away.
Most people are far too lazy for this approach.
Some people are just too stupid to run themselves ragged chasing success, but those who are truly ambitious know exactly how to win.
As soon as you wake up you must get yourself fired up.
And we all know that the absolute best way to motivate yourself is with fear.
Immediately, as soon as you wake up, you want to start thinking about EVERYTHING that you need to get done today.
The best “hack” for getting your anxiety started is to keep your phone by your bed so that within 30 seconds of waking you can check your email.
Of course if you’re serious about winning, you never want to let that anxiety get away from you while lazy people are sleeping, so keep your phone dinging all night.
The most insightful question we should all ask ourselves is, “What keeps you awake at night?”
And then every night before going to bed you want to fill your mind with those things so your brain will keep waking you up to hustle.
It might seem small but just waking up a few times through the night to check your email can make a massive difference. People will know how much you hustle, you’ll feel like you’re all over it, and with just a few thousand sleepless nights you’ll be crushing it.
Now you’ve got your nights sorted and are waking up with the right terror, you want to drive your day the same way.
If you’re serious about success, after you check your email, you want to start filling your mind with all the ways that you might fail, and especially, all the things that might go wrong today.
Instead of paying attention to your spouse, kids, pets, or others you love, you want to be fully in your head thinking about all those things that are happening elsewhere.
A great way to keep building up your fear and overwhelm is to tune into the news, and of course start scrolling through social media, paying careful attention to all the bad things that are going on that have zero impact on you, and you have zero control.
By far Twitter is the best.
It’s only soundbites, so you can easily scroll through thousands of brain farts and overwhelm yourself with noise in just a few minutes.
Once again, if you’re truly ambitious, you’ve been doing this throughout the night, but for those of you who aren’t as committed, there’s still plenty of time to build enough overwhelm to start your day.
When I sat back and read last week’s newsletter I felt this feeling wash over me.
Most my life I’ve been baffled by what we are and how we live, and I’ve solved it, at least to satisfactory answers for me.
I know it sounds lofty or arrogant or nutso to say “I’ve figured out life” and of course I hope there’s plenty left to learn…
But, truth is, I found the three (one redacted…) SIMPLE answers that I’ve spent my entire adult life obsessively seeking.
This is the most fundamental mystery of our lives…
When it should be the most basic, obvious, and teachable skill of being human.
Left to figure it out on our own few of us do. 5+ billion of us live in abject poverty, at best most of us live and die a life that was good enough, with few of us truly living our dream.
How on earth could we when nobody teaches us how?
With our heads stuffed full of information masquerading as learning, none of us are given even the slightest hint on how to make our way through this world.
Bombarded by a world of noise most of us struggle just to make it through our days, let alone chart our ideal course.
I bleed for humanity. Since I was a child I’ve felt an unshakable sadness and unwavering fight that so many of us are forced to settle for so little.
From about age 11 this has been my focus, and since 2000, more or less, my sole focus.
I ONLY ever wanted to live the most amazing life I can imagine, and I spent a good 20 years obsessed with how you do it.
Here I give away the answer for a fraction of the cost of wasting your life watching Netflix, but I’m done with trying too hard getting people to read…
A buddy told me that in writing about my most amazing discovery on feeling how you want, I alluded to an uber secret to happiness and then dropped the mic and walked off stage.
It’s somewhat true…
In some ways my work is done. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years obsessively seeking answers to 3 life questions and this was the final piece.
The answer to feeling amazing at will, The Ultimate Solution, is so SUPER SIMPLE, and laughably ludicrous, yet it’s not easy to unpack, even with my clients who are deep on these topics.
That’s because it requires you to “out evolve” our most fundamental biological and social conditioning.
Poor baby is crying because she’s got a dirty diaper.
Notice what the “because” does to that sentence…
It rationalizes feeling crap. It makes sense to kick and scream because of a dirty diaper, right?
Wrong. That’s the problem.
At our most basic level we’re conditioned to believe that not getting/doing what we want is cause for us to “feel worse,” and satisfying our wants is cause for us to feel better.
Of course I’m not suggesting that we should leave baby in a soiled diaper to teach it to feel good irrespective of conditions, I’m merely highlighting how this pattern gets conditioned throughout our lives.
A few years later a bigger baby doesn’t get the ice cream it wants and throws a tantrum. Or is begging for a new toy that will absolutely satisfy it… until it’s crying for the next.
20 years later the even bigger baby is upset because they didn’t get the new sweater in mauve or is so desperately seeking that partner to feel complete.
It’s true that biologically we move away from what we don’t want and towards what we do, but that’s different to growing up believing this is the cause of how we feel.
Hidden inside that seemingly innocent question is the cause of much misery in our world.
Why do we need a “because” to feel happy? Why do we need a cause, instead of being happy for no reason? (because many people are unhappy blaming some reason)
I recently saw a quote from a double amputee that said something like, “People ask me how I can be so positive without my legs, I ask them how they can be so negative with theirs.”
Do you see what’s implied? That having legs “should” cause you to be happy, and having them removed should cause misery.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we should be indifferent to having our legs cut off but I am pointing out that if legs were the cause of happiness we wouldn’t live in a Prozac world.
Because it relies on this flawed cause and effect thinking, nearly all of the research on happiness is wrong.
In the last couple of decades, the focus of my work has been through three major evolutions:
In the old days it was about getting what you want because I believed that would make my life everything I imagined.
Coming from a place of lack the brain seeks those things it thinks will make it feel full, but we all know this feeling is fleeting.
And after many years of getting and still not feeling “complete,” I came to see doing is where it’s at.
“It’s not about getting somewhere,” I would have said, “It’s about being immersed in doing what you want…”
Nice try… It’s true, but still incomplete.
Feeling is where it’s at.
Growing up working poor I figured that when I got what I wanted I would feel how I wanted.
I was right, then, quickly, wrong…
How often do we get what we want, only to then set our sights on the next thing that we “think” we want?
All the time!
We’re no happier than we were after WWII because we quickly adapt to what we have.
We live inside a half-empty brain that no matter what it gets seeks more things to fill it up.
But that brain can never feel full. Enough is never enough.
Like a yin that at its deepest level is missing yang, it’s incomplete wiring leads the brain to constantly seek that next thing it needs to feel good.
A reason is that our thinking and feeling faculties are separated like a car and driver. The thinking mind can’t feel anything and projects lack onto the feeling body, which means no amount of getting is satiating.
Seeing through this lie of thinking, I saw beyond getting, to doing.
Getting stuck in my massive goals shredded my mind.
In the past I chased down goals like a cheetah, but when I left Wall Street to do this, I was shot in my tracks.
What I called the chest feeling. The inability to sit down and work, let alone write. The painful thinking on thinking that dominated my head in those early days.
I had a dream to do something big, but I couldn’t even get myself to do it small.
It’s for this reason that I build highly systematic approaches for myself and my clients to wake up and crush our days, and I can’t emphasize enough the power of daily systems like this.
Yet it was from years of stuck thinking on massive goals that I discovered the secret is…
Our brain is the most powerful time machine we know that can imagine anything and everything at all times in every future.
One moment we’re thinking about what happened as a kid. The next we’re thinking about 30 years from now. Five seconds later that brain has jumped to what happened last weekend or what might happen next.
Forever stuck in this time machine we can become too overwhelmed by all the things we might do, and focus too little on doing what matter most now.
Instead of living in the world of the actionable, we get stuck in the world of the possible…
If I had written a book for every time I said that, I would have written a library of books on not knowing what you want…
But I knew how to do that well enough, so instead I wrote the one book that helped me solve it!
It’s a big book. There’s plenty of stuff in there, but there’s also a very simple process that drives from front to back.
For many years I was stuck in my own head, confused, worried, frustrated, thinking all the time, What Do I Want?
But after grinding my gears on the same question for a decade, I could see it was false.
Berating myself because I didn’t know what I wanted kept me confused, but I got lucky that every day I was taking the small steps that eventually would lead me to clarity.
The brain can keep questioning forever, and, in fact, being stuck is desirous for the brain craves certainty, even if that certainty is not knowing what you want!
Yet, by continuing to take steps, as I wrote about here, even without knowing what you want, you are navigating your way there.
His problem wasn’t unique.
Each of my Do What You Want books I open by telling a story about two business leaders, Gary Cohn and Jeff Bezos, at similar crossroads.
Bezos was at DE Shaw, wondering do I leave this great job to build the everything store. Cohn had been sitting as president of Goldman Sachs with his eye on the CEO seat, thinking about how to ascend or make a move.
The executive sitting next to me on the plane was in the same bind.
From the ground level he’s climbed his way to the near top of a towering company, where he sits an arms-length from the corner office.
Unclear of how long it will be before the CEO retires, and facing plenty of internal competition for the top job, constantly he’s asking himself…
For most of the flight we were busy being anti-social on a plane, but as the flight attendants began preparing the cabin to land at Newark, we started talking.
“So, what do you do?” he asked.
“I do what I want” is my playful answer, but wanting to avoid all that I dodged his question, “I’m a consultant. How about you?”
Like most top executives, unsatisfied with my evasive answer he went deeper, “What type of consulting?”
“Our consulting firm is focused on systematic winning in your business, but my work is far more personal, working with leaders in getting what they want.”
“I’m a leader, I want to get what I want,” he half-joked, “I wonder if you’ve had any experience with this type of problem I’m facing…”
Often when people present problems to me they’ve spent so much time wrapping themselves around the axle that they think their problem is super complicated and unique.
Vista Equity Partners crushes it because they figured out that the types of companies they buy can be optimized the same way, and our problems are much the same.
Sitting back and taking a big sigh, he told me how much he loved his job, how his career had been a rocket ship, but, now, he found himself stuck at a crossroad…
Like an actor taking a gulp of air before delivering his big line, slowing his voice and looking me deep in the eyes, he said, “I just don’t know if I should stay in my job or leave to start this new venture…”
Within 15 seconds I could see exactly where he was stuck.