July 7, 2020

Advice and lessons from my favourite thinkers

One of the inspirations and who I would consider a mentor in my life, Shawn, always blows my mind. At one of his keynotes, there was a Q&A and the person asked what advice he had for everyone there today that they could do right away. His answer surprised me (and likely the audience too). He said “do something that could get you fired”.

How is that for advice?

What he is saying is that there are far too many companies out there that are trying to play it safe. They think that with disruption, advanced technology, artificial intelligence and more out there, that their company is too big to fail. It is safe. It won’t be disrupted.

When you are faced with the decision of buying one book or another, buy both of them – Ramit Sethi

Sometimes, you want to learn about a new topic and so you decide to look up recommendations for books on the topic. You might find that there is one definite book, which makes your buying decision easy. But in most topics, you may find multiple book recommendations. You then decide that you will do research on each and every one of the book recommendations, analyzing reviews, pouring over recommendations to land on the ‘best’ book on the topic.

Ramit Sethi provides this advice: buy both (or all of them). Why waste the time trying to find the ‘best’ book on the topic? If you can come away with a $100, $1000 or $10,000 idea from a $30 book, any $30 book, then the investment will be worth it.

Any time you find yourself critical, instead, be curious – Ramit Sethi

Many people are critical of others ideas. I myself feel my inner critic step in any time someone tells me any idea. Some similar advice that I heard in the past is that when people start telling you about an idea they have, don’t ask them ‘what’ or ‘why’, it is better to ask them ‘how’. Because an idea could be good or bad, but the execution is where the idea becomes real. People probably thought that car sharing was the worst idea out there when it was first suggested. Or that renting out your apartment to strangers all over the world would be a bad decision.

Ramit Sethi says that instead of being critical or disparaging, be curious instead.

  • ‘Hey that food stand around the corner is still there even with little foot traffic. They must be doing shady things’ VS ‘I wonder whether they have other sources of income coming in.’
  • ‘Your cousin has an e-mail list of 100,000 people? What is he giving away free stuff all the time?’ VS ‘Hey, I wonder how he got 100,000 people to subscribe to his e-mail list?’

What would happen if I did the opposite for 48 hours? – Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss started out working in sales. As he was doing cold calls, he wondered what would happen if he tried the opposite. He figured he had nothing to lose since his cold calling strategy provided the same ROI as others and that he could shift back to the strategy if his experiment did not work.

Instead of focusing on calling from 9 – 5, he decided that he would call from 6 – 9 or from 5 – 7, that is, the hours before and after work. Interestingly enough, he managed to avoid the gate keepers (the secretaries or administrative assistants) and got through to executives and managers themselves who often came into the office early or stayed late to work. Instead of competing with other sales callers to get through during the ‘busy’ hours of 9 AM to 5 PM, he focused on the hours before and after work, working fewer hours than others AND getting through to the key people much more often.

To achieve balance in your life, you need a not-to-do list – Michael Hyatt

I know many people have to do lists to help them blast through their work for the day. But how many of you have not-to-do lists? That is, a list of items for you to NOT do? It sounds strange, but having a not-to-do list helps clarify what things should go on your to-do list.

Why does this make a lot of sense? It makes sense because rather than trying to get more things done, you should consider whether you need to get it done in the first place. By eliminating, delegating or deferring tasks, you cut down on the tasks that you need to do and therefore, are able to use more time and energy to focus on those tasks that you, in particular, need to do.


What are some lessons that you have learned from your favourite thinkers?

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