During my sophomore year in college, I got a call at two in the morning. It was my friend Quattro.
“Brian, can you come pick me up from the hospital?” “Sure” I said, “I’ll be right there” As I got dressed, I wondered what had happened. It turns out that he had been hit by a drunk driver. His truck was totaled but he was okay.
Incidents like that make you think about why we have friends. Are they there for your own recreation? Or do they serve a greater purpose? I know at least a hundred people that would gladly help out if something happened to me. These people know that in a heartbeat I would do the same for them. A community of genuinely loyal people is the greatest asset one can possess.
Not only does our community shield us from uncertainty, but without it we couldn’t be successful in life.
Imagine you are a construction contractor. Will you make more money if you,
A. Save money by performing all of your own physical labor, equipment leasing, accounting, marketing, and taxes?
Or B. Commission experts as your company grows?
If you would like to be anything more than a helpful neighbor, the choice is clear. Becoming a financially successful contractor requires strong relationships with experts like subcontractors, accountants, and laborers.
In the book good to great; great companies are proven to focus on one thing and improve on it, year after year. These are the companies that are successful for decades on end. This principle applies to individuals as well. Organizations become successful when their members focus on being the best at one thing and then share that contribution with the group. Trying to do everything at once is like trying to boil the ocean, it's simply impossible.
When applied to our personal lives, the principles of loyalty and focus enable what we can never achieve alone.
While less than 15% of college students join fraternities, the vast majority of presidents in the last century have been in them. While the social fraternity may not be for everyone, we can all learn from their successes.
What follows is a random fraternity experience that I had:
I was at a gathering on Saturday night; two guys from a band were visiting and talking with a few of the brothers. They were from El Paso and had been in town for a few days promoting their music.
"We're in Austin promoting our band" Stated the Bassist. "We've been playing shows and we're looking to make it big".
"Talk to Eric, he works with KVRX." (an Austin radio station) One of the fraternity guys replied.
That casual statement opened the door that took the band to the next level. Utilizing Eric’s experience in communications allowed the band to focus on what they do best, writing great music.
Your community could be a church, a non-profit, a sports league, a sewing circle, whatever you are interested in. The stronger the bonding experience, the better.
1. Become extremely good at one thing and share it with your community.
2. Develop meaningful relationships with trust and loyalty
In this world, you get what you give. The more loyal you are to your community, and the better you get at that one thing, the more successful you will be.
That was how long it took for my computer to fail. I was knee deep in a new version of my business plan and now all I could do was watch my PC as it restarted itself over and over. Not only was my computer broken, but I could no longer access my work. If I reformatted, all of my data would be lost. Three weeks worth of research was now stuck in some algorithmic black hole, I could only hope that it wasn't lost forever. The only solution was to cross my fingers, pay 35 bucks and take it to a computer repair store.
Four days later I had a broken computer, and a burned CD with my multi-million dollar business plan on it, hanging on for dear life.
Almost 100% of patients who successfully beat cancer report the experience as having a positive impact on their life. Though not as serious, nearly losing all of my work got me seriously thinking about improving my relationship with my computer. Looking for a solution, I started thinking about computer terminals at the library, or at school. Every time someone sits down, the computer is as good as new. It restores itself to normal and runs quickly, like the first day it was used. If library users could enjoy this "New Computer Smell" year round, why couldn't I?
After asking around for a few days, I discovered a program called Deep Freeze. The program works by restoring windows to the same state, every time it is restarted. Like getting to use a brand new computer every day. I also discovered that by creating a "partition" on your hard drive, you can virtually create two separate hard drives. By "Freezing" the one that windows is on and keeping the other one "Thawed", you can now save your data while making sure that windows works as well as it did the first day you bought it.
I reformatted (or erased) my hard drive, reinstalled windows, and installed deep freeze. That was more than a year ago. Since that day I have never had a single computer problem.
How to get rid of viruses forever
1. Save your important data (a burn CD or USB drive will do)
2. Stick in your Windows CD and start a normal reinstall.
3. Setup will ask you where you want to install, it will give you the option to create a partition. It looks like this. Create a smaller partition and install windows on it. (20 GB) Format the remaining space as the D: drive.
4. After installing, configure windows how you like it and move My Documents to your second hard drive.
5. Download and install Deep Freeze. (A free trial can be downloaded here) Set it to freeze your C: drive, keep your D: drive thawed.
To install a new program, simply use deep freeze to "thaw" your computer, Make your changes, and then restart back into a frozen state.
Your computer is now bulletproof. You can open your Windows folder and delete system files, change all of your settings, or download viruses; once you hit restart your system it will operate as well as it did the day you bought it.
I toured the Google campus on Friday with the fitness program benefits director Josh Glynn. It's true, Google is almost certainly the best place to work in the country.
Things you can find at Google...
- 5 or 6 eclectic cafeterias
- Fitness centers all over campus
- A program for authors to come and speak
- Politicians, Tech specialists, and other influentials regularly touring the campus
- A program allowing engineers to spend 20% of their time on their own projects
- Bright decor that has a positive effect on your mood
- The same 250 square feet of space per employee that most companies use, but instead of having solitary cubicles and offices, 3-4 Googlers will share a workspace. These work spaces foster collaboration and provide the health benefits of human interaction
- Grand pianos, Foosball, Ping Pong, Public bicycles and masseuses.
How can the benefits of Google culture be easily applied to any company?
1. Initiate shared work spaces. Shared workspaces increase collaboration and decrease heating costs. Josh went from solitary offices to a shared space. He says that he misses his coworkers when they aren't around. This collaborative environment increases creativity and mental health.
2. Create an athletic program. Paul Carrozza of Runtex has stated that his corporate running program decreased health insurance claims by 60%. Exercise also improves cognitive health. Astute employees create astute profits.
3. Use a horizontal corporate structure. At Google there is very little hierarchy. Tasks are more based on creativity than the requests of a boss. The best solution to your company's marketing problem could be contributed by an electrical engineer, or vice versa.
4. Brighten up the decor. Google recognizes that color affects your mood. The logo reflects this philosophy .
Check out this photo essay on the Googleplex
I can't help it, I have to link to this Seth Godin entry. It's called
Why bother having a Resume?
The guy has a great sense of how to work for fun. It's contagious.
It is possible to become 66% smarter by using simple mental simulation techniques.
Brain scans show that when people imagine a flashing light, they activate the visual area of the brain; and when they imagine someone tapping on their skin, they activate the tactile areas. A review of thirty-five studies featuring 3,214 participants showed that mental practice alone - sitting quietly, without moving, and picturing yourself performing a task successfully from start to finish- improves performance significantly. Overall, mental practice alone produced about two thirds of the benefits of actual physical practice.
Think about how much idle time you spend each day. Time spent acting is a fraction of the time we spend waiting for that moment. Instead of just watching TV, imagine what's going to happen next. Instead of merely sitting in the car on the highway, imagine who you are going to talk to that day and what you are going to say to them. The more visualization you do the smarter you get. Some of the best visualizers can predict what people are going to say, what happens at the end of a complicated movie, and yes, solve complex mathematical equations.
Mental simulation is a simple technique that you may already use. Mental simulation is the reason people use bathing or showering as a brainstorming technique. Bathing takes away distractions that keep us from visualizing the future. It's no wonder that Alan Greenspan spends two hours a day soaking in the tub.
Mental simulation improves skills, problem-solving, and emotional management.
Mental simulation can build skills. Mental simulation helped people weld better and throw darts better. Trombonists improved their playing, and competitive figure skaters improved their skating.
Mental simulation helps with problem solving. Even in mundane planning situations, mentally simulating an event helps us think of things that we might otherwise ave neglected. Imagining a trip to the grocery store reminds us that we could drop off the dry cleaning at the store in the same shopping center. Mental simulations help us anticipate appropriate responses to future situations. Picturing a potential argument with our boss, imagining what he will say, may lead us to have the right words available when the time comes (and avoid saying the wrong words). Research has suggested that mental rehearsal can prevent people from relapsing into bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, or overeating. A man trying to kick a drinking problem will be better off it he mentally rehearses how he will handle Super Bowl Sunday: How should he respond when someone gets up for beers?
Mental simulations help us manage emotions. There is a standard treatment for phobias of various kinds - spiders, public speaking, airplane travel, and others. Patients are introduced to a relaxation procedure that inhibits anxiety, and then asked to visualize exposure to the thing they fear. The first visualizations start at the beginning of the fear. For example, someone who's afraid of air travel might start by thinking about the drive to the airport. The therapist leads the patient through a series of visualizations that get closer and closer to the heart of the fear ("Now the airplanes' engines are revving up on the runway, sounding louder and louder..."). Each time the visualizations create anxiety, the person pauses for a moment and uses the relaxation technique to restore equilibrium.
Notice that these visualizations focus on the events themselves - the process, rather than the outcomes. No one has ever been cured of a phobia by imagining how happy they'll be when it's gone.
An Entrepreneur is someone who starts companies, right?
Well, yes. But an Entrepreneur also creates Ideas and Relationships. An Entrepreneur can create things as large as political movements or things as small as road trips. By definition, an entrepreneur creates wealth. Wealth can be defined in many ways.
An Entrepreneur creates Wealth
Wealth = Friendship, Knowledge, Financial Security, Freedom, Love, Intelligence, Achievement, Anything of personal value.
The same basic skills apply to professional entrepreneurship, as they apply to any other type. Three Universal stages apply to wealth creation,
1. The Idea - Ideas often occur organically, a good entrepreneur appreciates problems for the opportunities they provide. Ideas can be simple - like inviting someone to a party, or complicated, like harvesting the motion of waves on the coast to generate energy. Often, in economic entrepreneurship, the person who crates the idea is not the person who starts a company around that idea. Ideas have far reaching consequences that can change the world for the better. Ideas have many forms, like a new joke, or style of golf swing.
2. The Introduction - Ideas can be introduced intentionally or by example. Once an idea is introduced, the responsibility of communicating and acting on that idea is shifted to it's followers. Without followers, an idea is merely a thought. during introduction, the majority of the idea is created in the shortest amount of time. Presenting an idea empathetically, and with confidence will give your movement good character throughout it's life.
3. Growth/Fruition - Some ideas require leadership, some don't. As your ideas become successful, just remember - it is easiest to perpetuate movements that benefit your followers. That can mean making complicated ideas simple, gifting shared moments of humor, or creating communities for people to be a part of. Think in terms of others, and you will be amazed at the changes you can make.
Destruction is a form of creation
- Donnie Darko