What book did you apply to your life that had a great impact within a year?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What book did you apply to your life that had a great impact within a year. Follow me on Quora.

https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1451673442

It’s a 30 day blueprint on bringing gratitude into your life. It starts with some basic exercises of how to in a few minutes a day practice gratitude.

It’s amazing what a simple practice can bring into your life. Gratitude is just as she describes it, Magic. It doesn’t supplement knowledge and hard work, but it’s a multiplier for all that.

Gratitude creates the mental framework for building on happiness and letting go of envy. You want the things you have in your life instead of wanting the things you don’t have. It’s the skill of finding more serendipity in your life. When you’re grateful, you become a better person and more good things start to happen.

It’s surprising how simple it is and how dramatically it can change things.

You don’t have to read the book to get started. Start by simply writing down three things you’re grateful for every day. They can be simple things. Then review each and feel that gratitude within you. It’s best to write these down, but you can do this at any point in your day as well.

 

What should I do as I failed my third and final interview at Google?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What should I do as I failed my third and final interview at Google. Follow me on Quora.

In 2009, I was rejected by Facebook after final interviews for a position.

In 2010, I was rejected by Google after final interviews for a position.

In 2011, I started my own business, one of the first influencer marketing agencies. We’re now a leading company in a space that’s seen dozens of competitors launched in the last two years.

I don’t think I ever truly thanked Facebook and Google for rejecting me and keeping me on the path that would lead to me starting and running a successful business in the tech space. Had I been offered jobs at either, I would have accepted and pretty sure I wouldn’t be where I am now.

How do I know that I am on the right path?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: How do I know that I am on the right path. Follow me on Quora.

We think we want happiness, we’re told we should want happiness, we’re surrounded by images of happiness and so we chase it. We see happy people and imagine the lives they live and what brings them there: money, success, love, attractiveness, etc. We imagine these people spring out of bed in the morning, don’t know the meaning of “the Mondays,” have never been tempted by the snooze bar on their alarm, smile their way through meetings, and skip to work every day.

But we don’t actually want happiness. Happiness is the result of conditions in your life, sometimes it lasts for a moment or a concert or a night out or a vacation. Sometimes more. But ultimately we’re faced with the reality that life isn’t happiness. And life shouldn’t be just happiness because life is so much more.

But wanting happiness is part of the illusion that steers so many people in the wrong direction. We think we want money but what we actually want is the security and freedom that comes with having enough money. We think we want to be attractive but what we really want is to feel valued and loved. We think we want success but what we really want is to contribute to something in a meaningful way and be recognized for that contribution.

What we really want is fulfillment.

And the rub of life is that fulfillment is so much harder to find than happiness, but it sticks in a way that happiness can’t.

When you’re on the right path in life, you’ll have that feeling of fulfillment. And you’ll know fulfillment when you feel it. Chase that and not happiness.

How do I prepare if I want to start my own company?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: How do I prepare if I want to start my own company. Follow me on Quora.

  1. Learn sales. This may be the single most valuable skill as an entrepreneur. If you can sell, you will not fail. That’s the mantra. It’s take years to get good at sales. Get started right away! Read books, attend seminars, and most importantly get out and sell. Imagine that every $1 you spend learning sales, will come back to ten fold. Assume you’re terrible at sales and understand that it’s a learnable skill that you can continue to improve upon until mastery. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly selling. You’re selling your ideas, your services and your business. It’s a prerequisite to being an entrepreneur.
  2. Meet everyone. Yes, everyone. At your company, at competing companies, at companies looking to partner with you. Attend all the meetings with outside groups with outside parties. Ask to join meetings with outside companies that aren’t completely in your purvey. Connect with these people on LinkedIn, send them a brief thank you note, and then follow and engage with them on social channels like Twitter, Quora and others. (This is really just the basic of networking, which you should also learn to be very good at. And yes, like sales, it’s a learned skill.)
  3. Make friends with the folks in sales and business development at your current company. Take them out to coffee or lunch. Ask them for advice, what are valuable skills they’ve learned, etc. The best sales people are exquisite listeners, but they also aren’t afraid to talk about themselves. Absorb everything you can. Your life when you start your new company will be sales and business development. Get prepared now for it.
  4. Become a leader. Don’t wait until you start a company to become a leader. Become one now. There’s not a company that exists that doesn’t have extra projects or worked needed to done. Find those pain points in your company. Discuss what you’ve discovered and what you’re proposing to do with your manager or the company leadership. Almost every time, provided it doesn’t encroach on yours or others responsibilities, they’ll be impressed about your leadership and self-starter-ness. You’re going to be busy as an entrepreneur. Get busy now. Take on as much work as you can and aim to deliver outstanding results.
  5. Learn to communicate. Communicating well and effectively is one of the cornerstones of leadership and entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you will have difficult conversations you’ll want to delay or avoid. Don’t. You’ll have to ask for things you might be shy or scared to ask for. Don’t. Get started now. Have the difficult conversations in your company. Now. Ask for a raise. Negotiate discounts with vendors. Schedule a meeting with your boss and outline your goals for your work at the company, ask for feedback, set milestones (albeit for what will be a stay with the company). What will surprise you is that when you don’t procrastinate those difficult conversations, when you learn to speak and as for what you want, it will have a huge impact in your personal life as well. You’ll never what you can get, until you ask for it. Read about Noah Kagan’s Coffee Challenge (How to Earn More Money: By Asking) and how asking got him $2,000 more.
  6. Learn to manage. Your success as an entrepreneur will be predicated on building a team. It’s one of the first things you’ll realize. No business can grow and scale without a proportionate scaling of the team. So pretty soon, you’ll be managing. Managing people well will be one of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur. If you don’t want to manage people, don’t become an entrepreneur. If you want to succeed, then learn to manage. The best way is to learn from experience. So, position yourself at your current job to manage. Ask for that responsibility. A lot of people don’t want it and are happy to pass it on, so don’t be surprised if they give it to you right away. Otherwise, suggest a new project and bring on a couple interns and manage them. That’s about half of management, the other half comes with the next point.
  7. Imbibe knowledge. Read all the books anyone’s ever suggested on entrepreneurship and starting a company. It’s a bit like learning to dance by reading a book. Reality is so different than what you’ve read, but at least you’ll have some basics and steps to fall back on. Find and read the best books on entrepreneurship, business, marketing, sales and anything other relevant topics. I’m in my fourth year as an enpreneur, and I can’t read enough. My goal this year is to read two books per week. The more I read, the more I discovered I don’t know. Warren Buffets estimates he spends 80% of his days reading and thinking. He read as many as 600-800 pages/day when he first got started. Warren Buffet on learning.
  8. Connect. Meet and connect with other entrepreneurs. This may be harder than it seems because if they’re successful, they tend to have very limited time so best to stick within your social circle or attend networking events. People are much more likely to agree to a face to face meeting after you’ve met them than through an email. Ask them questions about their business, their success, challenges and struggles. Take it all in.
  9. Ideate. Brainstorm ideas. Come up with lists of business. Create lists of pain points in your current business or field or just in life in general and how you could solve them. Narrow your ideas down and rank them. Ask your friends for feedback. And listen, selectively. Keep an open mind and be ready to address criticism, but know that not everyone will see your vision or feel that it’s a business or market. Before starting my business, I had lunch with a friend who told me it was a terrible idea. After that lunch I reviewed my lists and re-justified my business to myself and countered his arguments. I launched two months later and had my first customer within a week.
  10. Tell everyone. When you’ve come up with your idea and are ready to move forward, tell every single person you know. Tell your family, cousins, coworkers, friends, acquaintenaces, everyone. This does a few things. First, it absolutely commits you to launching. People will get excited for you,and you’ll now be accountable. When you see them again, the first thing they’ll ask is how the business is coming along. Second, you are going to be amazed at how once you’re committed to starting something, how supportive everyone is. America has a long and proud history of innovators, disrupters, leaders and entrepreneurs. From this, it’s built a very supportive mentality. You’ll be amazed at how many people will offer to introduce you to people in the field or working on similar projects. Follow up with these introductions, and you’ll see how powerful networking can be.
  11. Get inspired. Entrepreneurship is like nothing else. Yes, it’s hard. It might be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But without a doubt, it will one of the most rewarding in every way. So find those deep sources of inspiration, those things you can dig up when you’ve quit your job and you feel like you’ve made the wrong decision and you want your old life back, desperately. Read those books and biographies, bookmark those quotes and snippets, file away those images, talks and videos so you can recall them when you most need them. When everything feels stacked against you and nothing’s going your way, you can know then that countless others have done it before you, have faced worse odds, and harder hardships and that you’ll pull through it all to success.

What are some uncommon ways to work smarter instead of harder?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What are some uncommon ways to work smarter instead of harder. Follow me on Quora.

I’m a CEO and founder and a productivity and work smarter geek. I subscribe to feeds, search articles and read about every hack out there. I’ll share with you my one silver bullet work smarter hack.

Starting, running and growing a business is enormously stressful work. Stress is negative feedback loop. The more you get stressed out, the less well you perform, the less efficient you become, the more stressed you become, the less well you sleep, etc.

After starting my business, I found myself in this vicious cycle. Every day I woke to a pit in my stomach and anxiety throughout the day. It’s an awful and at times paralyzing feeling. I was busy all day long with no time to think. This compounds itself when you’re running a company because it can lead to leaving your head buried in the sand instead of thinking, working and seeing strategically. I vowed this year to change these habits and take the steps to ease that pit in my stomach and my anxiety.

This is the result of years of confusing being busy with being productive.

A couple months ago, I heard Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he talked about suffering from anxiety when he was younger. He resolved this by meditating every day for a year. Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)

I was stuck by two things. First, other successful people have these issues and suffer from this! And by other people, one has been the former Mr. Universe! And second, it’s fixable.

So I started meditating. Every day. I bought a year calendar, and I check a box off every day that I meditate. I’m up to over 60 consecutive days. Already, I’ve felt big differences. That pit in my stomach is no longer there. Most of my anxiety is gone. I’m much clearer minded, focused and productive at work. Instead of working in a fury, jumping from task to task and swimming in email all day, I’m much better able to single task which leads to much greater productivity.

It started out as a chore. And there often days I struggled to sit down to do it. Now, I look forward to it. To the peace and state of mind it brings, and to the huge beneficial affects it has in my day to day life.

What would people advise a (hypothetical) 22-year-old college graduate to do with his or her life?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What would people advise a (hypothetical) 22-year-old college graduate to do with his or her life. Follow me on Quora.

  1. Read. Ferociously. Everything you can get your hands. Join a book club. Imbibe books about personal development, communication, achievement, biographies, leadership, success, marketing, sales, business, entrepreneurship. You’ll do many things you may regret, but you will never ever regret spending time reading. Good sources of reading lists are Quora, blogs (Google 10 best books for …), Amazon (look for recommendations in categories, popular books with high ratings).
  2. Accept uncertainty. This comes from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams: Deepak Chopra, a must read for getting started out. There’s uncertainty to everything, the sooner you can embrace that the sooner you’ll be able to leverage it. “You must give up the life you have planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell
  3. Agree. With everything and everyone. Stop arguing, stop trying to control every scenario, stop trying to prove yourself right. You’ll never change anyone’s opinion through argument, and no one will remember if you’re right. Seek consensus. Groups, teams, life move much better when harmonized than with discord.
  4. Be curious. There’s a vast, fantastic world out there. Foster your curiosity, and it will lead you to amazing places.
  5. Be open minded. Your opinions will change drastically on many, many things. The opinions you hold with absolute conviction may be very different in a few years. Don’t let those opinions get in the way of meeting people and experiencing things.
  6. Learn from adversity. You’ll experience challenges and adversity you can’t imagine right now. You’ll have a choice when you have these experiences, either see it as an obstacle or focus on what you can learn and how you can grow from the experience. It won’t be easy, but choose the later relentlessly, and you’ll grow in ways you can never imagine.
  7. Foster the growth mindset. Watch this:
  1. Get out of your comfort zone. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you stay within your limits, you’ll never know what your capable of.
  2. Don’t hold onto the wrong things. Grudges, anger, opinions. Let them go, quickly.
  3. Travel. Get out and explore. Another thing you will never ever regret. Go to places you’d never think you’d go. Max out your vacation time every year. Take a few weeks off between jobs and travel. Save up for a year and take a few months off.
  4. Don’t wait for the right time or the right thing to say. For anything. Most of the time you wait for the right time, you’ll be too late. Those who win in the world are the ones who speak up and take immediate action. You might say a few things you later regret, but you’ll regret more not saying anything.
  5. Don’t look for the perfect scenarios, partner, job. Everyone sees success and wonders how Jobs and Wozniak found each other, the perfect partners. Well, it wasn’t the one in a billion odds they found each other, they made each other the perfect partners, pushed each other’s knowledge and expertise and built Apple on their collective knowledge and energy. The vision of your career might include a high profile company or opportunity (e.g. work at Google, live in San Francisco), don’t get hung up on these. Focus on the motivation behind that scenario rather than that goal.
  6. Provide value in the world. Money and success are common goals but so many people often don’t achieve these in spite of their being a nearly universal goal. Money and success are important, but focus on creating value in the world first. The biggest disrupters didn’t do it because it would lead to money or fame. They did it because they wanted to change things. They saw a different future and created that. Look at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg built a tool for Harvard students originally. It now has over 1.4 billion users! Wake up and think about what you can do to create value in the world to your friends and family, your company, your coworkers, your country.

Interpersonal Interaction: What is the quickest way to get people to trust you?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: Interpersonal Interaction: What is the quickest way to get people to trust you. Follow me on Quora.

I sell for a living.

A better way to describe that is to say: I get people to trust me for a living.

Regardless of what industry, sales is about approaching complete strangers and shortly after meeting them, ask them for money. There may be not better test of whether people trust you. Sales skills are people skills.

After over 10 years of sales, I had an experience that I never dreamed of could happen when I started working in sales.

I started a routine sales call with a potential client (whom I reached out to with a cold email just the week before). He was head of marketing at a hot consumer start up.

After the routine pleasantries, he announced that he talked to dozens of marketing companies, and they had passed on them since the internal marketing team were doing a great job growing the brand . He said he didn’t really think that we had much unique to offer and that it was pretty unlikely they try us out, but he’d give us a few minutes of time. It’s not uncommon for sales calls to start out with a healthy degree of skepticism, but what happened next is uncommon.

I agreed with him. I told him that I read about his brand in the press and that whatever they were doing was working very well because they’d just been covered by a major news outlet. Then I asked him how in a crowded and competitive space and against huge established competitors, they were able to so well distinguish themselves.

He talked for the next 40 minutes. I asked him a couple questions here and there, but he did 99% of the talking.

He said he didn’t need to see a proposal and asked for us to send over the contract. Authorizing a contract without even seeing a proposal has never happened before.

I had spoken for in total less than 1-2 minutes.

How did this happen?

Sales is often misunderstood. It often doesn’t have a great reputation and is rarely a sought after career. People often believe sales people are fast talkers, that they talk people into deals and  that they are untrustworthy. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Any entrepreneur knows that selling is one the most critical skills to success, and many of the best entrepreneurs are exceptional sales people. Great sales people are exceptional listeners and have a high degree of integrity and trustworthiness.

Sales is predicated on getting people to trust you, quickly. How else would they give you their money? What works in sales translates to life as well.

It starts with great questions. In a 30 minute call the client does almost all of the talking. That’s the best type of sales call. I just guide them by asking insightful questions, and listening intently. By asking insightful questions, you can steer the conversation, identifying the clients needs and then eventually showing them how what you offer is a fit for their needs.

More importantly though when people feel listened to, they feel understood and validated. When they feel understood and validated, they like you. When they like you,they trust you. And when they trust you, they’re willing to do a deal.

When you meet anyone they are subconsciously evaluating you for your trustworthiness. I don’t know the exact psychology of it, but I would suggest that it’s the primary criteria people are assessing (mostly subconsciously).  When they walk away after meeting someone new and say “I liked them,” they’re really saying “that person seemed trustworthy.”

With lessons from sales, here’s how to  get people to trust you quickly:

  1. Greet them warmly – greet people as if you were greeting an old friend you hadn’t seen in a while. Smile deeply. A great smile is remembered. When you smile deeply, you positively affect your mood and physiology and you exude warmth. A colleague told me at his first job doing sales for a brokerage, he’d have to do a minimum of 200 cold calls a day. His boss put a mirror on everyone’s desk. They were supposed to look in the mirror before the call and smile. Before every sales call, I take a quick break, breath deeply and then smile.
  2. Talk slowly – being a fast talker has negative connotations. In fact you don’t have to communicate much at all, so say it slowly.  People respond better to someone who talks slowly and deliberately. Be conscious of this because many people who are nervous and in new situations tend to talk faster and people subconsciously react to this. Exude calmness and be measure in your speech. Don’t talk or feel rushed.
  3. Validate yourself – people are looking for external validation. Mentally, they’re looking to check a box that they can make some sort of affiliation with you, however distant. It’s why people play the name game (I believe this has evolutionary roots harkening back to when humanity was a series of disparate tribes and when encountering someone new or strange, they needed to validate who the stranger was and whether they were trustworthy). Before sales calls, I research on LinkedIn and social networks to find any sort of commonality, shared interests and common connection. I bring this up early in the conversation. For example, “I see you went to school in …,” “you also know …,” etc. It’s usually a quick confirmation. “Yes, Tom’s a great guy, I went to school with him. How do you know him?” But it goes a long ways in terms of building trust.
  4. Listen intently – listen as if they were the only person in the room and make them feel that way. Look them in the eyes. Show them that you’re listening by focusing on what they’re saying. Sounds intuitive, but you’d be shocked how many people drift off, check their phone, let their eyes wander, etc. There’s no quicker way to show disinterest in someone. Don’t interrupt them or finish their sentences. When they finish saying something, wait a second before responding. This gives the perception you’ve really listened, and you’re taking it in.
  5. Ask great questions – most greetings start out with typical small talk, “How’s your day?,” “Where are you from?” There’s nothing wrong with these, but take them a step further and ask questions like “What was it like growing up there?,” “Tell me about what you do,” instead of “What do you do?” When you ask a question, act as if they’re about to tell you an incredible story. You’ll probably need to fake this at first, but as you do it more and ask better questions, you’ll start finding more interesting aspects of people and it will start becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. Great questions, lead to great answers. My old boss used to tell me how he would meet the most interesting people on airplanes, which was the complete opposite of my experience of flying. I eventually realized that this happened because he’d talk to them and get them to share the most interesting parts of their lives, not because he happened to always sit next to interesting people. Everyone has an amazing story to share, find that story.
  6. Validate them – this most often comes in the form of agreeing with them. With the example sales call, the potential client started out declaring that it wasn’t likely he was going to need our services because they were doing such a great job on their own. The first thing I did was to say that I’d heard about them through an article in a top publication so they must be doing a great job. I could have instead launched into my sales pitch and tried to argue for why they needed us. That’s what everyone else typically does. However, he was geared to tell us why he didn’t need us, and instead I agree with him. If I’d tried to pitch ourselves, I would have been disagreeing with him and when people sense disagreement they put up barriers, reinforce their reasoning and create distance – all really bad things to happen in sales calls. In improv, this principal is called “Yes, and…” It’s how you build on a story and create spontaneity and consensus. In a conversation, similar phrases are “that’s incredible, I love that. Tell me more…” In sales, this is part of the process, but really one of the most important aspects. You can’t just skip all this and ask people for their money. The worst sales calls come from sales people just jumping into their pitch, telling you why you should buy their product and then trying to “close” you on a deal. Trust is never established or built.

Think of the times you’ve met someone new and walked away with a good impression. Look back on the encounter and think of what made you feel that way. Chances are what you really felt was validated and listened to.

I am in my late 20s and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late for me to achieve something worthwhile?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: I am in my late 20s and feel I have wasted a lot of time. Is it too late for me to achieve something worthwhile. Follow me on Quora.

I was 26 when I graduated college.

I postponed medical school for a few years and ended up in sales in Biotech instead.

I got fired in 2007 when I was 33, and decided to take some time off to start a business.

Then 2008 hit. I was 34 years old, broke, $250K in debt, had been without a job for over a year, and had to borrow money to pay rent. Creditors called me all day long. I had to stop answering my phone.

I couldn’t go back to my old industry because LA, where I had moved to, didn’t have much in Biotech. I had pretty much zero experience in my new industry (online media and Internet), but I persisted, networked and applied to every job I saw. I can’t count the number of jobs I applied for. I had to liquidate anything of value to pay the rent (camera, stereo, etc). Eventually, at the absolute end of finances, I landed a job in online media. I had been without a job for over a year during the worst recession since the great depression.

Fast forward five years. I started and now run one of the leading businesses in my industry. I started the company with $100 after nearly being fired from my last job (I quit before they could fire me). My company has twelve employees, and we’re continuing to grow.

Follow your interests and don’t compare yourself to others or create expectations of where you’re supposed to be. Drop any comparisons altogether. Cultivate a practice of gratitude. Practicing gratitude will help you appreciate what you have, not what you don’t have or haven’t achieved.

Realize you’re young, and it’s not a race. Focus on growth and learning and providing value to the world. You will always be rewarded and paid for providing value. When you provide enough value, you have a business.

 

How can I stop being average?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: How can I stop being average. Follow me on Quora.

“Life expands or contracts depending on one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

I sat on a rocky point in El Salvador as the biggest swell in 10 years tore through the surf break. Monstrous waves reeled down the point and stormed into the bay, breaking over the pier at the end of the bay. The wave faces were 20-30 feet.

The previous day, the break had been packed with 50 or more local surfers in the 10 ft surf. It has been so crowded that it was hard to even get a wave. None of those locals were anywhere to be seen today. Not on the point, not on the beach nor the pier.

Multiple surfers had tried before us to paddle out through the break to get to the waves and only 3 had made it out. They sat dwarfed by the size of the waves coming through. The waves were easily 10 ft bigger than anything else I had surfed. I was tired from a week of non stop surfing, and my board was too small for the surf.

There were a thousand reasons I had not to paddle out; but I told myself that I wanted one of those waves. I was filled with fear. I knew the longer I watched this spectacle, the more the fear would set in. So I cleared my head, walked to the edge of the water and paddled my ass off. I made it out. My friends got swept through to the break on three separate attempts to get out.

The fear didn’t end with just paddling out into the surf. Now I had to paddle into one of these beasts. The waves were truly monstrous. Every 10 minutes, we’d see the hint of a set on the horizon that seemed bigger than the last, and the 5 of us out there would paddle to the horizon will a mad fervor and our heart in our throats to avoid being caught inside.

I ended up only catching a couple waves that day; but every moment of the memory still stands out to me 10 years later. In terms of skills, I remain a completely mediocre surfer; but paddling out that day crushed anything average about my surfing ability. Not many surfers have every paddled out and survived 30 ft surf.

“How can a man be brave if he’s afraid?” Rob Stark asked his father.  “A man can be brave only when he’s afraid.” Rob Stark – George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones [TV]

There was a recent short documentary about big waves surfers at a particular surf break in Mexico (Puerto Escondido). These surfers were taking on 40-50 ft waves. Waves so powerful they would drown all but a handful of the best surfers. The surfers describe wipe-outs as being as jarring as car crashes.

These guys are typically described as fearless in the press and in advertisements, but the truth is far from it. They talked about fear being so bad as to keep them awake all night the night before. They live on a precipice of fear. One surfer talked about how the high he’d get surfing big waves was a mix of equal parts fear and adrenaline.

The truth is: it’s human to have to fear. Without fear, we either don’t understand what we’re doing or are completely reckless. You don’t vanquish fear; you embrace it and learn to live with it.

It’s not that being average means you’re afraid, it’s more than you don’t know you’re courageous and don’t know what being courageous can do in your life. You may also believe that courage is something innate. People have it or don’t. Courage isn’t a trait; it’s an action. One we’re all capable of.

Being courageous also just doesn’t mean doing activities that put your life on the line. It means in most cases recognizing what’s holding you back from your ambitions and goals and confronting those challenges.  It’s pushing your comfort zone and overcoming voices in your head that promote doubt, say you’re not worthy or that something is out of reach.

There’s a lot of ways to be average (not setting goals, not working hard, not creating a positive, supportive environment, and hundreds of others); but the fastest way to stop being average is to recognize the possibilities of living with courage and doing so.

 

What were you dead wrong about until recently?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What were you dead wrong about until recently. Follow me on Quora.

Being right.

In the sense of proving yourself right to others, or correcting and arguing with others about thoughts and opinions.

The ego is enormously strong and wants to be right about everything. It’s cantankerous and prickly if you let it. It wants the attention it thinks might come with being right.

I’ve been in fierce arguments about things I ultimately did not care about. All it did was create a divide between myself and the other person. I took stand and then felt the need to defend it. I’ve battled over opinions that I changed a year or two later.

When your ego senses resistance, it digs in. Acquiescence feels like defeat. Your ego builds walls and becomes polemic about your position.

Let people have their opinions and beliefs. You’ll find when you don’t question them or disagree, they’ll move on pretty quickly from talking about it.

Better yet agree with them. The whole issue will dissolve instantly. You’ve found common ground and that’s something to build off of.