Self-Management for Entrepreneurs – Managing Ourselves – Part 3
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) money you have; we all only have one shot at this thing called life.
How is it that some people are able to get so much out of life – and yet others seem to be consistently miserable with their lives?
In Secret #36 from Making the Most of Our Lives, Ari provides a very clear framework for making the most of our lives. He uses Zingerman’s 12 Natural Laws of Business as the backbone of this frame work.
Instead of attempting to relay the powerful lessons Ari presents in Secret #36, I’m going to quote directly from this chapter. This, hopefully, will give you a glimpse into the wisdom and practical advice found in this chapter.
Let’s dive in…
Successful People Engage in Compelling Activities
“Successful people, quite simply, do stuff that others are drawn to, that excites both them and those around them.” – pg 231
“People spontaneously say good things about people with compelling personalities, folks that bring positive energy into the world and pursue interesting paths. Quite simply, successful people do compelling things. They engage in out-of-the-ordinary activities. Their lives are devoted to doing things they believe in…
When what you do is different and interesting, interesting people want to be around it; they want to meet you, they want to buy what you’re selling, they want to engage, learn more, and benefit from your example.” – pg 232
Without Good Finance, You Fail
“Without trying to oversimplify things, “good finance” is about having as much money as you want to have and living accordingly, and effectively, within those means.
a) “While money definitely does not buy happiness, it does buy some stuff that forms a foundation of solidity and safety, without which a mindful life is difficult to construct.”
b) “Success is a personal thing. Whether it’s about money or almost anything else in life, there really isn’t any objective standard.” – pg 235
“Natural Law #3 is all about getting some clarity about what financial success means to you, and then going after it.” -pg 236
People Do Their Best Work When They’re Part of a Really Great Organization
“Like it or not, we’re all impacted by the environment in which we work. As Steven Johnson says in Where Good Ideas Come From, “Our thoughts shape the spaces we inhabit, and our spaces return the favor.” – pg 236
“The reality of the world is that most of us will gravitate towards the direction in which others around us are already going.
When we’re around others who are at peace with mediocrity, most of us will move towards the middle of the road as well. When we’re surrounded by cynicism, eye rolls become an everyday activity. But when we’re with a high-achieving group that’s going for greatness well, you guessed it, we’re pretty likely to start going for greatness too.” – pg 237
If You Want To Be Successful, Start with a Service Mindset
“The courtesy and respect with which we treat ourselves and those around us is the cap on our ability to lead and succeed. If we want to do great things in the world, if we want to have a great life, we’re going to have a better shot at it if we treat ourselves with the same respect and dignity that we would deliver to others we serve.” – pg 242
Be Clear About Expectations and Give Yourself the Tools to Help Yourself Meet Them
“Lack of clarity about our own expectations of ourselves will lead to lack of focus, which inevitably leads to diffusion of energy which, in turn, brings on frustration and feelings of failure. Getting clear on what we expect from ourselves, and learning to come clean with others about what our expectations are of them, can only help to make everything we do more efficient and more effective.” – pg 245
Successful People Do Things That Others Know They Should…But Generally Don’t
“Everyone who’s great at anything will almost always be doing all the little, if less-than-glamorous, things that ultimately add up to greatness. Sure, the big stuff makes a big difference too. But there are so many struggling people I’ve met who are waiting for the “big one” to land, to win the lotto (of life, if not the state-sponsored jackpot), to get lucky – that they don’t do the little things they know in their hearts they really ought to do.” – pg 248
“They’re rarely glamorous in the moment, and there are always about eight hundred good reasons to get out of doing them on any given day.
This grueling work is vital.
It’s all about the things that we know in our gut are good to do but for which we have a hundred excuses handy that help us to avoid them.
These little things often seem extraneous and unimportant to casual observers and low achievers, but they add up to make a very big difference.” – pg 248
To Get to Greatness You’ve Got to Keep Getting Better, All the Time!
“Whether it’s being parent, a professor, a professional athlete, or even an anarchist, the best of the best, the people who go places, make positive waves, and get the world’s great wok done are, quite simply, always trying to get better.
If all one’s doing is essentially just what one was doing last year or five years ago, one is falling steadily behind.” – pg 250
Success Means You Get Better Problems
“There are always going to be problems – the question was really just which problems I wanted to have.” – pg 252
“Understanding that success simply meant I’d get the problems I wanted was hugely freeing. I stopped stressing about most of the challenges in my life, because I realized they were issues I’d basically picked and frequently had worked hard to create.” – pg 253
Whatever Your Strengths Are, They Will Likely Lead Straight to Your Weaknesses
“For instance, if we look at what we very strongly dislike, it’s usually a piece of ourselves that we’re uncomfortable with, or things that we work hard and long to avoid.
Conversely, the behaviors we actively admire in others are usually the ones we would do well to work on more for ourselves.” – pg 255
It Generally Takes a Lot Longer to Make Something Great Happen Than People Think
“Even Albert Einstein, a generally acknowledged genius, embodied the import of this natural law. ‘It’s not that I’m so smart,’ he said, ‘it’s that I stay with problems longer.’
It typically takes two years from the time of startup to get a new business to equilibrium and four years or so to be good. At six, you might start to go for great, and at eight, you might have a shot at greatness, if you keep working really hard at it and get a few breaks here and there.” -pg256
Successful People Are Appreciative, Laugh More, and Have More Fun
“…the people who are doing well in the world are those who find the joy and seek the sun rather than descend into and then live their lives in the dark and the dim.” – pg258
“Robert “Servant Leadership” Greenleaf writes, ‘Purpose and laughter are the twins that must not separate. Each is empty without the other. Together they are the impregnable fortress of strength as the word is used here: ability, in the face of the practical issues of life, to choose the right aim to pursue that aim responsibly over a long period of time. Joy is inward, it is generated inside. It is not found outside and brought in. It is for those who accept the world as it is, part good, part bad – and who identify with the good by adding a little island of serenity to it.'” – pg 259
If you’re committed to making the most of your life, then this chapter, in my opinion, is a must read. The beauty of this chapter is the balanced approach presented. Making the most of our lives isn’t about being wildly successful in one area while at the same time letting all the other areas of your life fall by the wayside. It’s about being fully present in each moment – and making the most of it.
If you like the little glimpse into Secret #36 from Managing Ourselves I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the book here.
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