“Good”

I have one bumper sticker on my car. It just says the word “GOOD” with a picture of a man who is known for saying it-Jocko Willink. Jocko tells the story of how his subordinates in the Seal teams would come to him with a problem, some major issue, and he would always look at them and just say, “Good”. He would always say that no matter the situation or what is going on, there is going to be some good that comes from it.

“Didn’t get promoted?”-“Good, more time to get better.”

“Mission got canceled?-“Good, we can focus on our other one.”

“Got beat?”-“Good, you learned.”

“Unexpected problems?-“Good, we have the opportunity to figure out a solution.”

I love this. Whatever happens, you control how you respond to it. Figure out the problem, find the good in the midst of the bad, because your circumstance does not determine the end result.

I had a friend who used to always say, “Perception is reality” meaning that how someone perceives something is what’s real to them. He would always say it in regard to how other people perceive you, but it applies to yourself. How you perceive the situation becomes the reality in your eyes. If you perceive that everyone is against you and nothing ever goes your way? Guess what. You’re going to find more and more that everyone is against you and nothing ever goes your way. Why? Because that’s what you’re looking for. “Seek and you shall find…” Whatever you are searching for you will discover.

The point is; control the controllable. Keep the right perspective. There’s no point in complaining. Look for the good, find the good, and if you can’t see it then bring some good into the situation.

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Authenticity and flexibility in the workplace.

The topic of politics in the workplace has come up a lot recently. Most of the people I talk to hate how they feel like they have to suck up to their boss in order to get promoted. They think that the people who get promoted at their jobs only get promoted because they suck up to the boss, or they cry favoritism because the boss likes the person who got promoted. (What a concept, getting leadership on your side is a good idea…)

I’ve definitely seen some people who completely change who they are and how they act when the boss shows up as opposed to when the boss isn’t there. I have been guilty of it myself a few times. There are also people who aren’t willing to flex their behavior/perspective to that of leadership and they call it staying true to who they are.
There’s problems when you go to either extreme. No one likes a suck up, and they’re rarely respected in the workplace.
The person who isn’t willing to flex to leadership and adapt is only seen as stubborn and they become an obstacle instead of an asset.

There should be a balance between staying true to who we are, and flexing to leadership’s preference. There’s things that you should hold onto with a closed fist, and there’s things that you should be open to change based on who you’re working for/with. Standing up for what you believe is right and good, but at times it makes more sense to drop your perspective and adapt to what leadership wants to happen even if you don’t agree. Adapting to change can be very valuable, but there’s times when you should hold your ground and state what you think, even if you step on some toes in the process.

The challenge is figuring out the correct response in each circumstance. I imagine the ability to figure that out will only come through time and experience.

What makes you stand out in a world of technology

One of the things that makes humans different is the ability to create and the ability to innovate. Factory jobs and most retail jobs that are one consistent thing done over and over again have very little value. Why? Because most people can do them with a little bit of training. There’s very little skill required to organize some shelves.(Don’t get offended, it’s part of my job too)

What makes us unique, what gives value to the rest of the world, is our creativity. As children we’re constantly creating. Drawing, building, and imagining all kinds of things. Over time we grow up, decide to civilize ourselves, and only do the things that need to be done. Most of us lose that sense of wonder about the world as we get older. It might be because of fear, or because someone mocked us, or because we just get too busy. We have to take the time to cultivate our creativity. It’s not about getting recognized or making money, those should be perks and not the end goal. It’s about not missing anything. There could be something extremely valuable inside of you for the whole world, or maybe just for one other person. It’s worth the time it takes to draw it out.

Cultivate your creativity.

Where are you going?

Ask yourself three questions, and really ponder the answers.

What have I done?

What am I doing?

Where am I going?

(A lot of people will stop here after reading these questions because they’re difficult. Dealing with reality is something that’s easier to avoid than confront.)
For most, if we really evaluate ourselves it’s quite sobering. Most of us come to the realization that we’re a pretty crappy person if we’re honest with ourselves. Haven’t really done anything worthwhile, not really happy with where we are, not sure what we’re going for in the future…

There’s value in asking the first two questions, even when the answer is that you haven’t done anything in the past and you’re not doing anything currently. Once you know that you’ve been kind of worthless, well, at least you’re no longer delusional about that. You now have a clear understanding of where you stand. Once you have assessed your past and present you can now map out your future. Now, if you look at your past and present and see insignificance, then your future will be the same… barring some major changes.

So, if your past and present are not ideal, then what would have made them ideal? What could you have done differently? Why would you do it that way?

Once you have answered those questions, you can start to map out your future. Map out who you will be, where you will go, what you will do… Map out the ACTIONS required to do all of these things

Life can beat you down and be quite “blah” as a whole. However, if you can look back at your past and see progress instead of laziness and wasted time… That will make it better.

Disciplines will become desires

“Make it a discipline, and it will become a desire” I heard this from a preacher a few years ago and it’s stuck with me. It was meant in the context of prayer and reading the Bible, but applies to most of life in general.

If you discipline yourself in doing things that are good for you, they will no longer be disciplines, but desires. Right now most of us want to scroll through our phones, binge-watch netflix, eat food that’s terrible for us, etc. You never had to discipline yourself to do these things, they’re easy, and they’re addictive so you just kept doing them. It’s fascinating that whenever we stray away from these things for a time we crave to go back to them:

…Pick up your phone-maybe someone sent you a text…All you really need is to sit back and watch a few episodes of the office to unwind-it’s been a long day after all…. I know we just had a burger and fries, but some ice cream would really hit the spot to end the meal…

We crave them because of that hit in our brains that makes us feel good, that feeling of pleasure when you take a bite of that chocolate cake that was soooo worth it. (Surprise! Diabetes. Not worth it after all.)

Getting out of these addictions is so hard because of those cravings. We want that good feeling and our mind draws us back to it again and again. There’s nothing wrong with checking facebook every now and then or a little sweets here and there, but consistently? Doing these things week after week? That’s going to cause problems.

Let me start this next thought with a preface-I’m still dealing with the addictions above. Far from perfect and plenty of other disciplines that I need to implement in my life. With that being said; one thing that I have started doing that has become a positive craving is working out. It’s funny, when you first start working out you feel like death. You listen to all these people who talk about how great they feel after working out, then you get all motivated to go work out, then hate every second of it. If you can’t stay disciplined you’ll quickly leave the gym and the only running you will do is to pick up some morning donuts. It’s when you apply discipline and push through the first few times, (Takes longer for some) that you really start to see what those motivational people were talking about. It feels good to push yourself, to set a new personal best in a workout, and to see a little bit of definition in your body. Slowly, you find yourself enjoying going to the gym. Slowly, the thing that was so painful at first is no longer a discipline, it’s a desire. You start to crave that feeling of going to the gym and pushing yourself. You can crave good things…

You can crave eating right, working out, serving others, keeping your house clean, managing finances well, etc, etc…. It’s just a matter of whether you’re willing to go through the discipline phase first.

Fear of failure

One of the biggest reasons that we will not start on a journey is the fear of failure. We fear putting a lot of work into something, giving it all we can, and falling short. For men, this falls back to our fear of being incompetent. The most innate fear for men is that one day we will be found out that we don’t match up, that we’re not good enough. For a lot of men that fear is crippling. The problem is that we know if we don’t do anything to expose ourselves, no one can ever find us out. So we live lives of “quiet desperation” and trudge along in the safety of not trying-The safety of apathy. In doing this we avoid pain, but we are also avoiding pleasure. Men stay out of the game for the potential failure, but the failure is not to be feared, it’s part of the story.

The man who tries and fails over and over again and eventually comes upon what his life is meant for- he is the success story. That’s the story that we all want. The problem is that we don’t want to go through the pain and failure that is necessary.

Try things. Put all of your heart and mind into them. Let every ounce of who you are be poured into what you’re doing. When you fall short, take it as part of the story. You have to open yourself up the pain of “not matching up” to learn from it. Failure is part of everyone’s story. If you cannot fail and are not willing to fail, you will never have a story to tell. If you cannot fail your life will be full of mundane nothingness.

Open up to the pain. Embrace the process of it all. Take heart and take hope that you’re shaping your story. The truth is that even if you never get your happy ending, your trials and efforts make a story in and of themselves.

10 Best Business Books I Have Read

I hope you’re able to get the same value from these books that I did. Enjoy.

1. ”Start with why” by Simon Sinek. A book about finding the meaning in the midst of everything. Essentially the most important aspect of what you do-why you do it. (Also, “Leaders Eat Last”)

2. “So good they can’t ignore you” by Cal Newport. Why following your passion is bad advice, and what you should be doing instead. (Also, “Deep Work”)

3. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. While it’s not necessarily a “business” book. It applies to life as a whole. (Also, “Turning Pro”)

4. “The rich employee” by James Altucher. How to navigate the world of entrepreneurship while being an employee, and why it’s okay to not be an “entrepreneur”. (Also, “Choose yourself, and “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth”)

5. “Anything you want” by Derek Sivers. How to do business the right way. Putting customers first, thinking outside the box, and not accepting what’s expected. A great short book.

6. “Perennial Seller” by Ryan Holiday. Not his most famous book, but one that points out how to make something that will leave a lasting impact. (Also, “Ego is the Enemy” and “The Obstacle is the Way”)

7. “How to fail at almost everything and still win big” by Scott Adams. An honest book that gives valuable insights with humor integrated. Easy to read and easy to get value. (Also, every “Dilbert” comic strip.)

8. “Money, Master the game” by Tony Robbins. While it’s a personal finance book, and a behemoth at that, there’s tons of knowledge to get here from some of the top minds in finance. (If this book is too big and daunting, try “Unshakeable” by Tony as well.)

9. “Never Split the difference” by Chris Voss. A hostage negotiator’s tactics to persuade people. Extremely valuable for salespeople, and anyone in the business of persuasion….So, it’s extremely valuable for everyone.

10. Seth Godin’s daily blog. This man is ridiculously insightful on a daily basis, and he’s made it free to everyone. Read what he has to say, there’s more value on his site than most of these books put together. He writes in his blog every. single. day. He’s done it for years. It’s a powerful example that he continues to write and put something out to the world every day without ever missing a day. Do yourself a favor and go read what this man has to say.