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Discover Your Telos
A wise man will be master of his mind, a fool will be its slave. Publilius Syrus.
Aspiration, when viewed through a Freudian lens, is governed by the superego - thus happiness is predicated on what one dreams. Dreams, symbols, and idols are powerful aspects of our existence. The right model can be the difference between becoming a Nobel prize winner or being strung out on the streets of Portland Oregon.
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Happiness is the difference between where one currently is vs where one feels they ought to be. So, where should you be or better yet, where should you be going?
Many people would be better off being ruthlessly realistic with their lot and capabilities and adjusting aspirations accordingly. Not everyone has an IQ two to three standard deviations over the mean or is 6’3. Life is not fair. Internalize this now and learn to overcome.
An asymmetry between capabilities and aspirations leads to unhappiness. Not everyone is destined for greatness, and that is ok for those mediocre people. But for those amongst us who want it all and have the capabilities attain it all, know that continually striving for excellence requires a stoic resolve and aristocratic habits. That means you cannot eat your cake and have it too. Skip the cake entirely, give it to the mediocre chap you saw bench pressing 215 and move on. Its not easy to constantly refine, fail, refine, and repeat. The greats never quit.
Establishing a primary focus in life is of paramount importance. If one does not know what to aim for one will never be able to fulfill ones true potential. Many such cases… However, it is important to calibrate ones aim because an aim for the wrong end will lead to misery. You are probably not going to make it on Wall Street if you can’t spot trends and crunch numbers like Drunkenmiller. So, stick your money in an ETF - set it and forget it and learn to be a tradesman. Somebody has to barbecue or those poor souls making wood pellet machines will go bankrupt.
Failure to fulfill one’s potential often leads to unhappiness and illness. So, one either needs to lower ones expectations or continually strive for excellence until death. Choose wisely as the wrong decision will lead to unhappiness and a feeling of failure. I for one choose the latter, but that is not the path for everyone. I am not average and if you are reading this, chances are you are not either.
Excellence is never achieved but it is the mark one should always aim for. Don’t sacrifice good for great is a staying for the mediocre. If you at fine being good that hats off to you. I’m going to stay over here striving towards excellence. One is never done refining oneself, one can always be better. If this seems foreign to you, start studying truly successful people and discover what they do well compared to you. It will illuminate myriad aspects of their lives and how they do what they do at a high level internalize those habits and you too might become successful. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man…
I have a competition in me. I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people. - Daniel Plainview: There Will Be Blood
Develop and then follow a plan of self improvement and growth. This is how one reaches the top and stays there. Observe and experiment with all the people and things around you. Find out why people do what they do. Track the most successful person you know and the least successful person you know and observe their habits.
Studying successful people shows you how they have achieved their success and how they overcame obstacles They always push forward and succeed. "I will live until I die". Studying the unsuccessful people allows one to learn what not to do. This is very valuable in its own right. The study of the good and the bar allows one to create upper and lower bounds to thrust off the support and blast through the resistance.
Never underestimate your own brain power and overestimate the other mans. This is easy to do nowadays. You see the guy on YouTube with a Porsche, mansion, and a Rolex and think to yourself “I must be an idiot”. However, the amount of intelligence you possess doesn't matter, it is how you apply it. It's all about thinking and pattern recognition that guides intelligence. Learn to see patterns and act accordingly when something worthwhile presents itself and reap the rewards. Remember that interest and enthusiasm are keys to success in the ventures you seek to undertake. Knowledge is power when it is put to use.
Become an idea person that can turn those ideas into practical uses. An idea person is more valuable than a facts person. Hyper rationality is not always the best strategy in life. Oftentimes creativity is what is needed to be successful. But, don't be a wishful thinker. Figure out how you can achieve the things you desire. You are never too old or too young to start on something. Whatever you plan to do, you can achieve. Make your own luck through preparation and mastery of skills. Forecasting is overrated while preparation is underrated.
Fear of the events of success hinders greatness and limits opportunities. All confidence is acquired and developed through action and action defeats fear. Think, what kind of action can one take to conquer fear? When put into a fearful position at work or in the wild (children’s athletic events can get quite testy) figure out what you can do to fix it.
Doing what's right will keep your conscience square. Think confidently, act confidently. Be a first mover, make eye contact, walk faster, speak louder, and smile bigger.
Don't be too conservative and limit your opportunities, taking risks is supremely valuable. "Know Thyself" what effect do the words you use have on other people? When you speak or write try to paint a vivid picture for the listener/reader- this will have more impact. Successful people are positive forward thinkers. Eliminate petty thinking to eliminate quarrels and arguments. Before engaging in a quarrel ask yourself is this really important? Think big and don't focus on little unimportant minutiae.
Don't be intimidated by other people, they are just like you. When talking to someone internalize that you both are important human beings. This will level the mental playing field and instill confidence. I’m not saying you should start arguing String Theory with Sean Carrol, but you can debate the merits of the Mediterranean diet or zone 2 training.
Look at things not as they are, but how they can be. For example establish how much a customer is really worth on an annual basis. Don't just look at the myopic view or the micro impact. Look for potential in people and investments. Add value to yourself, you can become whatever you envision.
Stay focused on big objectives, use big positive words, don't sell yourself short, stretch your vision, master your current job. Grow big by thinking big.
Think and dream creatively: creativity is making things better. Believe it can be done. Once you believe your mind will go to work for you and discover ways to make it possible.Your mind will create a way if you let it.
Average people resent progress and change. Become receptive to all ideas, soak up ideas and strategies, be an experimental person, be progressive not regressive. Think how can improve the quality of my performance? How can I do better? constant progress is the most important thing. How can I get better at my job and as a leader?Capacity is a state of mind. One can always become more efficient.
The success combination: do what you do better and do more of what you do. Then ask how can I do more? This reminds me of the Productivity rule- If you want it done, give it to a busy man. The busy man always delivers, he knows what it takes to get the job done and pick up more responsibilities because he asks how can I increase my output?
Big people monopolize the listening while small people monopolize the talking. Top level leaders ask for more advice than they give. Ideas of others help spark ideas of your own that you can enact. Present a problem and then listen. The ideas can help you solve the challenge.
To sell John brown what John brown buys you must see things through John Browns eyes.
Encourage others to talk. Test your own views in the form of a question. Concentrate on what other people are saying. Join a professional group of your peers as these conversations will lead to many great ideas. Join a group of professionals outside of your current profession. Ideas need to be cultivated and refined to come true.
Don't let ideas escape. Write them down.
Review your ideas. File them in a way that leads to easy recall.
Cultivate and fertilize your ideas. Investigate all angles to make it work.
Make the ideas sellable. You will need to do this to make them truly happen. You need to sell them to yourself, investors, employees, and customers. Put them in a visual form- diagrams, PowerPoint, pictures, etc. The visual component helps with the sale.
You are what you think you are: thinking regulates actions. To be important you must first think you are important. Always maintain a high level of self respect. Look and dress important, it helps more than you think. "Dress right. You can't afford not to." Look sharp it will help you think sharp. The better you are packaged the more public acceptance you will have. Respect your appearance. Pay twice as much and buy half as many. Quality over quantity is key. Look your best and you will think and act your best.
Think your work is important. Think positively towards yourself and your work. A person who thinks their job is important receives mental signals on how to do his job better, and a better job means more promotions, more money, more prestige, and more happiness. People- children and adults imitate their leaders/supervisors/parents. We pick up their fears, preferences, and mannerisms. Thoughts and actions are influenced by these people. The way we think towards our job determines how our subordinates think towards their jobs. Successful people have and use enthusiasm. Think enthusiastically and optimistically. Ask yourself- "Am I worthy in every respect to be imitated? "Are all my habits as such that I would like to see them in others?"
Give yourself a pep talk several times a day to remind yourself of how great you are. Think more of yourself and there will be more of you. Build a sell yourself to yourself commercial. Why you are great and successful. Intelligence, height, thirst for knowledge, good hair, confidence, humor, care, blue eyes, strength, chest, creativity, analytical, and philosophical/leader.
Upgrade your thinking. Think like important people think. Is this the way an important person does it? Manage your environment: Go first class The mind like the body is what it is fed. The mind reflects what the environment feeds it. You are a product of your environment. How you will change and progress is determined by your environment present and future.
Recondition yourself for success. Be First. Never surrender. Always strive to be the best, to move forward with your goals and ambitions. Big men do not laugh at big ideas. Always look for two sides of a question. You are judged by the company you keep. Birds of a feather flock together.
Seek advice from people who know: successful people are typically the most humble and willing to give advice to those wanting to become successful. When hiring people for top level positions vet their home life as well, a successful productive home life will help them be successful and productive at work. Make an effort to plan your downtime/weekends so it is productive and creative. Plan things with a diverse group of people to maintain stimulation and avoid ruts. Become an expert in understanding people. Responsibility and positions of importance gravitate to the people who can see both sides. Avoid gossip as it is poison for the mind.
Make your attitudes your allies: You do not have to speak the same language to read someone. You can tell by their facial expressions, tone, inflections, and mannerisms. When our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness and good results inevitably flow. Right attitudes win in every situation. I'm activated, I'm important, and Service first. To activate others you must first activate yourself. To inspire enthusiasm you must be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm can make things immensely better.
Dig into it deeper, dig up interest in everything you do. In everything you do, live it up: Start with an enthusiastic lively handshake, it is a sign of a successful person. Color your words with sincerity. Broadcast Good News: Good news lifts people up, bury the bad news and don't dwell on it. Always speak positively of the wether, this allows you to stay optimistic no matter what. "Give me a good word or none at all."
Grow the you are important attitude: Everybody wants to feel important. Every encounter you have should be predicated on making that other person feel important. This will carry you forward to success. Humans are unique- as far as species go we are a rarity on this earth. People do more for you when you make them feel important. It pays to make little people feel like big people. Make big people feel even bigger, the visualization of their best self will drive them to get better. When you help others feel important, you feel important too.
Practice appreciation. Practice calling people by their names. Don't hog glory, invest it instead. What can I do each day to make my wife happy? Use planned time to give undeclared attention to those special to you.
Want to make money? Then get the put service first attitude: money can't be harvested unless you plant the seeds to grow money. The seeds are service. Service is the difference in displaying quality and making people come back. Put the service first and the money takes care of itself.
Always give people more than they expect to get. - Schwartz.
How can I give more than is expected of me? Think right toward people: Success depends on the support of other people. The likability factor is typically weighted more so than then technical acumen. People are not pulled up to a higher level job, they are lifted up by their likability.
Lyndon Johnson's keys to success:
Learn to remember names. Inefficiency may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing.
Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you.
Acquire the quality of relaxed-easy going so that things do not ruffle you.
Don't be egotistical. Guard against thinking you know it all.
Cultivate the quality of being interesting so that people get something of value from association with you.
Study yourself to get rid of negative personal qualities, even the ones you may be unaware of.
Sincerely try to heal and right grievances.
Practice liking people until you do so genuinely.
Never miss an opportunity to congratulate someone on an achievement or express sympathy in times of sorrow or disappointment.
Give strength to people and they will be affectionate towards you.
Do not try to buy friendship with gifts or money- it doesn't work. Take the initiative in building friendships - leaders always do. The most important person present is the introducing himself to the most people.
6 ways to win friends:
Introduce yourself to people in every opportunity.
Be sure the other person gets your name straight.
Be able to pronounce their name correctly.
Write down the other persons name
Drop a personal note or make a phone call.
Say pleasant things to strangers.
Recognize the fact that no person is perfect. Recognize the fact the other fellow has a right to be different. Don't be a reformer. Practice conversation generosity. Successful people tend to listen more than the speak. Ask questions to get desired answers. How you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.
Get the action habit: Get things done, get results. Leaders act and get thumbs done. Acting on a so so idea is better then never acting at all. To wait for the perfect set of circumstance is to wait forever. Expect future difficulties and obstacles. Meet problems and obstacles as they arise. Give your ideas value by acting on them. Act on ideas and gain mental tranquility. Use action to cure fear and gain confidence.
Start your mental engine mechanically: Action must precede action. Don't wait for your mind, body, or spirit to move you. You need to move, don't over think- act. "Don't put of tomorrow what you can do today." Come forward with your constructive ideas. Initiative is a special kind of action. It is doing something productive without being told to do so. Having initiative will make you successful. Be a crusader- when you see something that needs to be done pick up the ball and run with it. Be an activationist and crusade. Be a volunteer. Get down to business.
How to turn defeat into victory: be persistent and never feel defeated. Study successful people and you will find they have had to overcome sone major setbacks. Salvage something from every setback. If you don't produce you don't get to where you want to go. Defeat is only a state of mind, nothing more. Critique your self objectively. Constructive self criticism is what will make you continually better. Combine persistence with experimentation. Tell yourself- "There is a way." Back off and start afresh. Sometimes a vacation or removal from your current setting will spark the idea to turn it around. Don't get bogged down with the details.
Avoid: self depreciation, security itis, and parental dictation. Follow your desires. Goals cure boredom and give you renewed energy. Set goals, target dates, deadlines, and personal quotas. Longevity is predicated on weight, heredity, habits, diet and psychic tension. Progress is made one step at a time. Will this help take me where I want to go?
Prepare to take detours in stride. The most important investment is self investment. Invest in education. Believe in competency not diplomas. It's all about how well you think, not how much information you have stored. Invest in idea starters. Invest in one good book a month and two journals/newspapers to keep you stimulated.
How to think like a leader: Trade minds with the people you want to influence. Appeal to the masses don't just think what would please you. Put yourself in their shoes and try to channel their wants and perspectives. Use the right vocabulary and language when targeting certain demographics. Never make them feel inadequate. Always consider income, intelligence, interest, and background when talking/selling to a group.
Think: What is the human way to handle this? Lead by being a human. Handle dismissals humanely. Let the person know you think their skills would be better suited so where else and then help them establish that new opportunity. "Whoever is under a mans power is under his protection too." When reprimanding someone do so In private, tell them about the things they're doing well, point out the one thing they can do better and help them find a way, finish with praise about their good points. Show people through your actions. Practice praising people.
Think progress, believe in progress, and push for progress. "He stands for progress" develop a forward look. Think improvement in everything you do. Think high standards in everything you do. Think, talk, act, and live the way you want your subordinates to do and they will follow suit. Do I think progressively toward my work? Do I think how I can make my work more efficient? Do I praise my company, products, and employees? Are my standards high? Am I setting an excellent example? Do I think progressively toward my family, myself, and my community? Am I getting better each day?
Take time out to confer with yourself and develop your supreme thinking power. Spend time in solitude to dwell on your on thoughts undisturbed. All great leaders spend time alone. Clear and concise decisions are made in solitude. Do directed and undirected thinking alone either in the morning or late at night. Directed thinking is tackling challenges head on. Undirected thinking is letting your subconscious take you to where it wants. Planning on next moves and self improvement. The job of a leader is thinking.
Use goals to help you grow: All great ideas big and small started with visualization. "Conquer health and wellness." A goal is a dream being acted upon. The important thing isn't where you were, where you are, but where you want to get. You should plan at least ten years ahead. Envision who and what you want to be in ten years. Without goals we cannot grow. Before you start out, know where you want to go.
Visualize in 3 departments you life plan: at home, at work, and social. Demand clear and concise answers to:
What do I want to accomplish in my life?
What do I want to be?
What does it take to satisfy me?
Visualize a bright future and go get it. You need that sheer desire to get ahead. Desire when harnessed is power. Failure to follow your desire, to do what you want most leads to mediocrity. Success takes heart and soul effort.
Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.