Since I left school around 20 years ago and in that time I’ve learned some things, that might just be a short cut for you. I’m not going to explain them – just state them. This list is non exhaustive and here they are:
- Taking longer to make decisions rarely improves the final result of said decision.
- Large companies primarily make decisions to protect income, startup companies primarily make decisions to grow income.
- Hard work from an average person invariably has better results than average work from a smart person.
- We remember and revere events much more than we do so for things. We should know which one to accumulate.
- People who have money problems while on low incomes have them on high incomes as well. It’s the habits that matter.
- Spare time is a poor choice to allocate anything important to (read here family, exercise, reading).
- Large companies most often reward people on cultural alignment more than actual results of tasks.
- Passion projects often take a lifetime to bare fruit. The short term favours sacrifice of belief systems.
- Great technocrats always get paid well. Great leaders and influencers always get paid more.
- Being aligned to your partners values is more important than alignment of interests. True for business and love.
- Financial independence is always a function of spending less than your income. Regardless of income size.
- Technology is recalcitrant towards the status quo and history. It forges ahead regardless.
- Informal and self education is of greater value than the formal version. It should also never end.
- Over time, prices for most everything relative to income drop. The only exclusion I know of is land.
- The most valuable things in life cannot be bought or sold, they must be earned. Respect, love, health…
- Secrets kill the soul.
- Ideas should be shared.
- Generosity is rewarded on the long run but may be invisible.
- We all have valuable skills, and these skills can leveraged in many ways once we stretch our imagination.
- The people we spend our days with has a greater impact on happiness than the work we do.
What are some of the philosophical things you’ve learned?
I’m an avid surfer and in the pre-internet days I would video tape television shows featuring surfing and watch them over and over. I have over 20 of these 3 hour video tapes and can still remember every word of the dialogue off by heart. Today I was thinking about one of the tapes. It was from the Coca-cola classic held at Manly beach in Sydney in 1987. At the start they interviewed the top 5 surfers in the world. One of which included Martin Potter and he said this:
“The one thing to do in surfing is win the world title. And until I get it, I’ll be going for it. And when I get it, I’ll be gone.”
This statement is carved into my brain with blood. I’ve never forgotten it. It was just so succinct, said with such confidence, belief and direction. He even sounded cool as a cat when he said it. Two years later he blitzed them and won the world title. Shortly after that he left the circus that was the world surfing tour and went on to other things in the surfing arena. I always felt as though he wanted to prove what he was capable of, but not be a slave to the system once the game was one.
The question for entrepreneurs is what kind of a victory or proof point are we really after, and when is enough, enough? This is something we should know before we start or we may never know when or if to call it a day.
One of the most inspiring Business coaches I listen to is the late Jim Rohn. While he comes from the old school of American Motivation, he does have some very sensible philosophies worth paying attention to. I usually listen to him while jogging. And the other I was doing just that when he said these 3 words. He went on to talk about why they were important, but by this time my mind was already wondering into my own interpretation of what they mean, why they matter and why they are actually in order. And here’s is what I think.
Philosophy: The first thing that has to change is how we view the world. We need to embrace of philosophy of self responsibility. The first thing that must change is our mind. But this on it’s own is not enough. How many smart people have you met who can talk a good game, but never do anything about it?
Attitude: It’s no point knowing about something valuable unless we truly believe it is possible, and that it is possible for us. I actually find the word attitude interesting as it is referred to in aviation. The attitude of an aircraft is its angle of flight, or orientation in reference to the ground. Basically, the direction it is headed… While flying, attitude is something which requires constant attention and maintenance.
Activity: It all means nothing if it is just mental. We’ve got to act on the two above factors, or we’ll just end up as another one of those people know the path, but never actually walk it.
I heard a great new (old?) terminology the other day called “Seagull Management”
Fly in, shit over everything, steal any hot chips or good food and fly away.
Of course all the other seagulls fight over the food that was stolen in the first instance. It’s an intersting idea we see in many corporate scenarios, less often in start ups.
Here’s an alternative idea “Koala Management”
Give birth to new things, put them on your back while you teach them to navigate the world, nurture them until they are strong enough to stand on their own two feet (four claws?).
No wonder seagulls have such a bad name, where Koalas are so loveable.
As soon as we decide, we must begin. We must use what little knowledge we have and move forward. Put some of our litle knowledge immediately into action. We must not wait until we know it all. Especially as it pertains to entrepreneurship we must use what we know and let the rest be unfolded and revealed as we progress.
The analogy is simple: On a foggy night, if you can only see 100 feet in front, once we walk that 100 feet, the next 100 feet of the journey is revealed. And wanting too much knowledge will create inertia and ultimately fear to act. If I knew how hard it was to get rentoid.com up and running, I might not have started. But now I’m in and letting it reveal what needs to be done as I go. And I’m loving it.
The thing that struck me is that Mick has a really cool philosophy which is evident when you meet him. And it was exactly the same as the philosophy I imagined when I read the words on the Pollenizer website. Which is very cool, because all too often people don’t act the way they claim too.
Actually it’s a pretty simple business or startup philosophy. Are we what our customers imagine? Do we meet or beat expectations? Turns out this has little to do with technology, more to do with attitude and it has a lot to do with our ultimate success.