(Book) What matters now – things to think about (and do) this year

Kurt.nzBooks read, Lifestyle, family, community

I’ve just finished this great little booklet about what matters, from various thought leaders such as Seth Godin, Kevin Kelly, Arianna Huffington, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Pressfield, Derek Sivers and more.

You can find it here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/files/what-matters-now-1.pdf

It’s only 82 pages so you should read the whole thing, but the highlights for me were:

Generosity – Seth Godin

When the economy tanks, it’s natural to think of yourself first. You have a family to feed a mortgage to pay. Getting more appears to be the order of business.

It turns out that the connected economy doesn’t respect this natural instinct. Instead, we’re rewarded for being generous. Generous with our time and money but most important generous with our art.

If you make a difference, people will gravitate to you. They want to engage, to interact and to get you more involved.

This year, you’ll certainly find that the more you give the more you get.

Strengths – Marti Barletta

Forget about working on your weaknesses —> Focus on supporting your strengths.

The beautiful thing about being on a team is that, believe it or not, lots of people love doing the things you hate. And hate doing the things you love. So quit diligently developing your weaknesses. Instead, partner with someone very UNlike you, share the work and share the wealth and everyone’s happy.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for both men and women to appreciate each other’s strengths so we all work on what comes naturally?

Momentum – Dave Ramsey

Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an “Outlier.”

FOCUSED INTENSITY over TIME multiplied by GOD equals Unstoppable Momentum.

Not many people in our A.D.D. culture can stay FOCUSED, but those who can are on their way to winning. Add to the focus some serious pull-your-shirt-off-and-paint-yourself-blue-at-the-football-game INTENSITY, and now you have a person who is a difference-maker. But very few companies or people can maintain that FOCUSED INTENSITY over TIME. It takes time to be great, it takes time to create critical mass, it takes time to be an “overnight success.” Lastly, you and I are finite, while GOD is infinite. So, multiply your efforts through Him and watch the areas of your life move toward winning like never before.

Power – Jeffrey Pfeffer

John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause, noted that nothing gets done without power. Social change requires the power to mobilize resources. That’s why leaders are preoccupied with power. As Michael Marmot and other epidemiological researchers show, possessing the power to control your work and social environment—having autonomy and control over your job—is one of the best predictors of health and mortality.

Obtaining power requires will and skill—the ambition to do the hard work necessary, and the insight required to direct your energy productively. Power comes from an ability to build your reputation, create efficient and effective networks of social relations, act and speak in ways that build influence, and from an ability to create and employ resources—things that others want and need.

Stop waiting around for bosses and companies to get better and complaining about how are you treated. Build the skills—and use them—that will permit you to create the environment in which you want to live.

Tough-mindedness – Steven Pressfield

We live in the age of distraction, of Twitter and multi-tasking and short attention spans. Even these micro-essays are part of it. Whereas what produces real work (and happiness for each of us, in my opinion) is depth, focus, concentration and commitment over time.

The antidote to these scattering influences is tough-mindedness, which I define as the ability to draw lines and boundaries within which we protect and preserve the mental and emotional space to do our work and to be true to our selves.

Evangelism – Guy Kawasaki

The future belongs to people who can spread ideas. Here are ten things to remember:

1. Create a cause. A cause seizes the moral high ground and makes people’s lives better.

2. Love the cause. “Evangelist” isn’t a job title. It’s a way of life. If you don’t love a cause, you can’t evangelize it.

3. Look for agnostics, ignore atheists. It’s too hard to convert people who deny your cause. Look for people who are supportive or neutral instead.

4. Localize the pain. Never describe your cause by using bull shiitake terms like “revolutionary” and “paradigm shifting.” Instead, explain how it helps a person.

5. Let people test drive the cause. Let people try your cause, take it home, download it, and then decide if it’s right for them.

6. Learn to give a demo. A person simply cannot evangelize a product if she cannot demo it.

7. Provide a safe first step. Don’t put up any big hurdles in the beginning of the process. The path to adopting a cause needs a slippery slope.

8. Ignore pedigrees. Don’t focus on the people with big titles and big reputations. Help anyone who can help you.

9. Never tell a lie. Credibility is everything for an evangelist. Tell the truth—even if it hurts. Actually, especially if it hurts.

10. Remember your friends. Be nice to the people on the way up because you might see them again on the way down.

Passion – Derek Sivers

Some people ask, “What if I haven’t found my true passion?”

It’s dangerous to think in terms of “passion” and “purpose” because they sound like such huge overwhelming ideas.

If you think love needs to look like “Romeo and Juliet”, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly.

If you think you haven’t found your passion yet, you’re probably expecting it to be overwhelming.

Instead, just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level.

If you find yourself glued to Photoshop, playing around for hours, dive in deeper. Maybe that’s your new calling.

You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you everyday, not by trying to find your passion.

Productivity – Gina Trapani

Getting things done is not the same as making things happen.

You can…
…reply to email.
…pay the bills.
…cross off to-do’s.
…fulfill your obligation.
…repeat what you heard.
…go with the flow.
…anticipate roadblocks.
…aim for “good enough.”

Or you can…
…organize a community.
…take a risk.
…set ambitious goals.
…give more than you take.
…change perceptions.
…forge a new path.
…create possibility.
…demand excellence.

Don’t worry too much about getting things done. Make things happen.

Willpower – Ramit Sethi

We love to believe that willpower determines our actions. “If I just try harder,” we tell ourselves, “I can lose that last 10 pounds.” Or save $200/month. Or improve our time management.

The problem is, it doesn’t work.

It turns out we “know” we need to do all kinds of things, but we often need the right defaults—a small nudge—to actually change our behavior.

Can you help design the right defaults to help people in pro-social ways?

Enough – Merlin Mann

Sometimes, I forget to eat lunch. So, 3:30 arrives, and I attack an infant-sized hillock of greasy takeout. I inhale it, scarcely breathing, a condemned man with minutes ‘til dawn.

Two minutes later stopping, yes; I feel like I’m going to die. Filled with regret and shrimp-induced torpor, I groan the empty promise of the glutton: “never again.”

What happened? How’d I miss when I’d had enough?

I wonder the same thing about folks who check for new email every 5 minutes, follow 5,000 people on Twitter, or try to do anything sane with 500 RSS feeds.

Some graze unlimited bowls of information by choice. Others claim it’s a necessity of remaining employed, landing sales, or “staying in the loop.” Could be. What about you?

How do you know when you’ve had “enough?”

Not everything, all the time, completely, forever. Just enough. Enough to start, finish, or simply maintain.

Unfortunately, foodbabies only appear after it’s too late. And, if your satiety’s gauged solely by whether the buffet’s still open, you’re screwed. Like the hypothalamus-damaged rat, you’ll eat until you die.

Before the next buffet trip, consider asking, “How do I know what I need to know — just for now?”

Then savor every bite.

Social Skills – Penelope Trunk

Research that really blows me away is that people would rather work with someone who is incompetent and likable than someone who is a competent jerk. And then I saw that in some cases elite British crew teams will put a weaker, but very likable, rower on a boat because people row faster if they row with people they like.

In fact, it’s not just getting a job. Or giving a job. Getting or giving anything is about social skills. The world is about being comfortable where you are and making people feel comfortable, and that’s what social skills are. What’s important is to be kind, and be gracious and do it in ways that make people want to do that for someone else.

Things that I’m going to think about (and do) this year:

Be generous. I have enough so I don’t need to worry whether a particular action is going to immediately benefit me. Now’s the time to sow into other people’s lives. Give and it will be given to you.

Focus. Get rid of all the unnecessary and distracting things in my life so I can focus on what’s important. I’ve spent so long starting and managing things that I’ve almost forgotten what I really enjoy. I need to slow down, remember what excites me and do more of that.

Connect. Actually figure out how I can help the people I know (or will get to know this year). With that comes influence and power, power to do good and create a positive change in people (including myself).