Category: Ramblings

Friends…Choose Wisely

“A friend is one to whom you can pour out the content of your heart, chaff and grain alike, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away”

Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. If as the saying goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who are those 5 and are they the ones you know they should be?

As my beautifully wise Mom told me at one point when I was a boy, true friends you can probably only count on one hand… the kind that will drop everything just to help you regardless of what is going on in their own life. Regularly tell these people you are grateful for them…they are nearly impossible to replicate.

If you’re married, consider that your significant other is probably your best friend… do you treat them that way? If not, time for you to do better.

To make more friends, ask yourself at the end of the day…”who did I help today?”… you have to take a risk to be somebody’s friend… put yourself out there. See your relationships as the place you go to give, not a place to take.  Friendships of convenience in the moment usually end poorly…look for long term potential.

Always be elevating your associations…not for more money but for people that will challenge you. Really good friends will help push you out of your comfort zone… associate with people that will do you this kindness.

Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is in reality your worst enemy because of his negative influence on your mind? Sometimes the truest friends come in disguise. You may not recognize their true beauty at first. The same is true in reverse. Choose wisely!

“It doesn’t matter how many friends you can count, but how many you can count on. It is more about quality than breadth… go deep” -Jason Gaignard

Secret Formula to Getting What You Want: Give, Give, and Give Some More

“I shall pass this way but once. Therefore any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again” –Stephen Grellet

Wow, this is a hard one: ever feel like your giving is a one way street? You can’t do anything about the other side, except keep giving. After giving enough, you have every right to ask, but don’t count on it being favorable. Here are some thoughts on giving:

  • Pay it forward… give first
  • Give, give, give, give, give, then ask if you must
  • Do the unexpected or no one will ever remember you. Tell a good story of why you do things this way

If there is already an exchange of giving:

  • Focus your life on appreciation, not expectations…let gratitude fill your soul
  • Always give a little more than you promise… under promise and over deliver

If you give without thoughts of receiving, whatever it is will grow…isn’t that the idea anyway? Be grateful and be wary of desire… things in excess tend to become their opposite.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” -Albert Einstein

10 Ideas a Day

I got this idea from James Altucher’s Choose Yourself book. If you haven’t read it or listened to his podcast, give it a whirl…I thoroughly still enjoy both (yes, I read the same books more than once…or at least my own notes…over and over…I know, dork squared!).

Anyway, the idea is that to keep yourself fresh and relevant, you should work every day to come up with 10 new ideas. This may sound daunting, but we aren’t talking about setting the world on fire, all that is required is to pick a topic and just start freewheeling. “I can’t do that” you say. Well, I beg to differ…it really doesn’t take that long and it is fabulous for getting your mind stimulated and even invigorating your outlook. Here are some starting points:

  • Childhood passions
  • Hobbies
  • Things that could be improved
  • Things that you’d really like to buy that don’t exist
  • Things that would make your day easier
  • Things that could be fixed at your place of work
  • Things that could be fixed at your kids school
  • 10 people you should introduce to each other
  • Things that your favorite business could do to be better
  • Ideas for songs, movies, books, blogs, etc.
  • Things your favorite team could do to improve their season
  • On and on

It really doesn’t matter…the idea is to get your “idea muscle” working. At first, no doubt it will be hard, but trust me after a few goes at it, you will get better and better and really enjoy the exercise. You don’t even have to keep the 10 ideas…throw them away, give them to a friend or business, whatever. The idea is just to start exercising your brain.

Well, what if I come up with a doozy that I want to execute on. Well, start working on the next steps…what are the 10 things you need to do to push this forward and get started today. Remember this…the ideas are worthless in and of themselves, execution is everything, so don’t worry that someone is going to run off with your ideas either.

If you do this for a whole year consider that you will have almost 4000 ideas! Want to have some more fun, do as James Altucher suggests and start having “Idea Sex”…marry one idea to another and see what comes of it. I have a friend that once suggested just looking up patents and marrying them to each other and then filing for a patent on the combo…you aren’t having to do the hard labor of creating something new, just marrying what already exists.

Here’s his detailed Idea Machine post on the topic. Have fun with it!

Law of Compound Interest

The more you save, the longer you save it (earlier in life), and the higher the rate of return (careful of that which is too good to be true), the bigger your pile…

compound interest

Notice the earlier you save at the same rate, the lesser the amount of money you need to put away every month. If you can get a higher rate of return (again, be careful of too good to be true…S&P 500 Index is just fine at 8-9%/yr), the bigger your pile as well…

rate of return

Still have your doubts, try this compounding experiment… fold a napkin on itself 50 times…when done, it could go to the moon and back 1,179 times! If you figure you can double your income every 8 years at 8-9%/yr, imagine the possibilities!

Education

education“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” -Gandhi

Let’s start with how we learn
Education theory says that to learn anything new we must hear it at least 200 times. In learning anything, first you imitate, then you identify, and then you internalize. Exposure is more important than knowledge

Don’t just learn… apply

There’s a great quote from Napoleon Hill, “knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when and if it is organized into definitive plans of action and directed to a definitive end.” “If we aren’t careful, ‘learning’, becomes endless avoidance of the work in front of us.” Ramit Sethi, “learning and changing are two different things… it is better to apply one book than read 20”

Some better ways to go about it

Read as little as feasible about the last 20 years… time can act as a cleanser of noise of overhyped work.

Before choosing something that requires you to dedicate years of your life to school for training (like a doctor), volunteer (at a hospital if a doctor) and see if you like the atmosphere/people first. I personally know many people who got their law degree only to hate being a practicing lawyer and give it up after spending years toiling away.

Combining disciplines can make you more unique/creative.: Software + biotech, EE + MBA, etc. there is also less competition when you combine disciplines… you can be an expert with only 500 hours of work instead of 10,000.

If you want to learn French, you will learn 10-20X faster if you move to France and get a French girlfriend…motivate yourself to learn.

Use the 5 Why’s to continually ask questions and learn more deeply.

To avoid just having a 40 year gap between college and retirement with nothing to show, work on: skills, relationships, character, hustle… these will always translate to something new.

Instead of teaching kids to suppress natural urges (aggression, sex, etc.) teach them how to better deal with them. If you suppress them they usually come out later even uglier.

Think about your 20s as you being in charge of your own education system

A few stats

At one point, 80% of Americans were farmers… now that number is 2%. Always keep learning as jobs of today will be replaced by jobs of tomorrow.

By about 8th grade kids start saying they aren’t good at this or that (I can’t draw, I can’t do math, etc.)…always be learning!

Other ideas

The Future Project” is a program that puts a “Dream Director” in schools… kids dream it and then they help them try to achieve it. I’ve never worked with these folks, but heard about it through someone else and really like the idea…helping kids make their dreams come true.

Looking for some inspiration for something greater? Hear are some good YouTube videos to learn from with Richard Feynman and Elon Musk…fun stuff (I guess that depends on your idea of fun, but to each his own.)

Keep after it, kids!