July 17, 2017
By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com Article
“Tasks, decisions, and initiation…
Doing, choosing, and starting…
Each of the three adds value, but one is more prized than the others.
Tasks are set up for you. Incoming. You use skill and effort to knock em down one at a time and move to the next one.
Decisions often overlap with tasks. There are alternatives, and you use knowledge and judgment to pick the best one.
And initiation is what happens when you start something out of nothing, break the pattern, launch the new thing and take a leap.
When we think about humans who have made change happen, institutions who have made a difference, cultural shifts that have mattered, we must begin with initiation.
What value-add did you spend yesterday engaged in? How about tomorrow?”
July 17, 2017
By Geoffrey Smith via fortune.com Article
“… useful to draw attention to a survey released … by Quest Diagnostics, which shows that drug use among the U.S. workforce has risen to its highest in 12 years.
‘This year’s findings are remarkable because they show increased rates of drug positivity for the most common illicit drugs across virtually all drug test specimen types and in all testing populations,’ said Barry Sample, PhD, senior director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions. The only crumb of comfort in the report is that positivity rates for heroin, the most destructive opioid, is plateauing.
A part of the rise in positivity rates is clearly due to the legalization of marijuana. In Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize recreational use of pot, the results of urine tests on employees suggest a rise of over 10% in use of the drug by employees, more than twice the national average. The growing number of states to follow them down that path can surely expect a similar trend in the future.
More worrying, arguably, is a clear and unbroken rising trend in cocaine and methamphetamine use. Positivity rates for cocaine rose 8% last year; Meth rates have risen 64% over the last four years.
Quest very rightly points out that there is no substitute for vigilance among employers. Accident risks rise and performance suffers when people come to work with drugs still in their system (alcohol being the most obvious and the most common example).”
July 17, 2017
By Meiko Patton via flipboard.com Article
How Very Successful People Think Differently
“Would you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?
- I wish I had fewer problems in life.
- I wish I didn’t have to struggle so much in life.
- I wish I had the opportunities that other people have.
If you agreed to any one of the above statements, then you are not thinking like an incredibly successful person. Success leaves clues. What clues can we glean from incredibly successful people? Let’s break down each of the above statements.
1. I WISH I HAD FEWER PROBLEMS IN LIFE.
… The only way you grow in life is when you face your problems head on. Stop wishing for fewer problems. Whatever you focus on grows, so instead of focusing on your problems, focus on the solutions. A great way to do that is by becoming more skillful. Get useful advice from a mentor. Attend that seminar. Make the needed changes.
… Incredibly successful thinkers are a lot like Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born into poverty and struggled to overcome every setback in his life. His mother died while he was young. He accumulated debt and struggled to pay it back. Lincoln ran for office and lost more than once. A fiancée died, prompting a nervous breakdown. Still Lincoln did not give up. … If Lincoln had not encountered all those setbacks, would he have known how strong he really was? …
2. I WISH I DIDN’T HAVE TO STRUGGLE SO MUCH IN LIFE.
… New York Times best-selling author Brendon Burchard says incredibly successful people make it their job to go learn what they don’t know. “They take their current limitation and put it on their agenda as a job to do, as a thing to figure out, as something to make happen.” …
3. I WISH I HAD THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE.
There are only two ways in which change happens in your life. Either you create something new in your life or something new will come to you without you having to work at it all. Which one do you have control over?
Incredibly successful people don’t wait for circumstances to come looking for them. They go out and find it, no matter how long it takes. Opportunities in life are created by incredibly successful thinkers — people like inventor Thomas Edison.
Where would any of us be without the lightbulb? Suffice it to say, all us are immeasurably grateful that Edison did not give up after the struggle. It has been estimated that he failed more than 1,000 times before he created the lightbulb. Now, what if he just stopped trying, or what if he just kept wishing that he had the opportunities that the wealthy have?
Each so-called failure got him one step closer to the real thing. As Jim Rohn said, ‘Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.'”
July 17, 2017
Via discovery.com Article
Starting a Budget With the 50/20/30 Rule
“Let’s face it: The task of starting a budget sounds about as exciting as an afternoon of dental work. That’s because most people think it involves hours of entering all your expenses into a spreadsheet, followed by denying yourself anything fun that costs money.
As it turns out, you can complete a budgeting exercise in much less time than you think — and still have room in your budget for things like dining out and concert tickets. Budgeting will also make it easier to save for mid-range goals, like an annual vacation or buying a home in three years.
The 50/20/30 Rule provides an easy-to-remember framework when creating your budget. Begin with this as your guideline:
- 50% of your income pays for your needs (housing, transportation, food, utilities, etc.)
- 20% goes toward savings and debt repayment (savings includes both short-term goals like emergency savings and long-term goals like investing for retirement)
- 30% pays for your wants (the fun stuff that is definitely important, but your survival doesn’t rely on it)
You can alter the percentages a bit based on your personal situation, but this is a good starting point.
Separating Needs From Wants
Here comes the most complicated part of this budgeting exercise: What is a need, and what is a want? And when does something you think you need begin to creep into ‘wants’ territory?
Needs and wants are highly personal. Everyone needs a place to live, food, and transportation. But you might choose to not own a car so you can afford to live in a more expensive urban area, for example. Or you might limit restaurant meals to once a week because you want to save up for one expensive vacation a year.
A good question to ask yourself is, ‘What do I value?’ Is it a spacious home? Close proximity to your job? Access to good public schools for your kids? Reliable internet access at home so you can start a small business? A close-knit community in your neighborhood? The things you value will shape where you spend your money.
And remember — no one else can tell you what to value! Make these choices based on what’s really important to you.”
July 10, 2017
By Seth Godin sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/ Article
“Ask someone what they do, and they’ll probably talk about where they work. ‘I work in insurance,’ or even, ‘I work for Aetna.’ Of course, most of the 47,000 people who work for Aetna don’t do anything that’s specifically insurance-y. They do security for Building 7, or they answer the phone for someone, or they work in the graphic design department.
Most people have been trained to come to work in search of familiarity and competence. To work with familiar people, doing familiar tasks, getting familiar feedback from a familiar boss. Competence is rewarded, coloring inside the lines is something we were taught in kindergarten.
People will do a bad (a truly noxious) job for a long time because it feels familiar. Legions of people will stick with a dying industry because it feels familiar.
The reason Kodak failed, it turns out, has nothing to do with grand corporate strategy (the people at the top saw it coming), and nothing to do with technology (the scientists and engineers got the early patents in digital cameras). Kodak failed because it was a chemical company and a bureaucracy, filled with people eager to do what they did yesterday.
Change is the unfamiliar. … Change creates incompetence. … That’s why it’s so difficult to change the school system. Not because teachers and administrators don’t care (they do!). It’s because changing the school system isn’t what they signed up for.
The solution is as simple as it is difficult: If you want to build an organization that thrives in change (and on change), hire and train people to do the paradoxical: To discover that the unfamiliar is the comfortable familiar they seek.”
July 10, 2017
By Matt Levine via bloomberg.com Article
Ethics, Quants and Cold-Calling
I used to be a lawyer, and lawyers have a code of ethics. Now I am a journalist, and journalists have a code of ethics. One thing that strikes me about these codes is that they are opposites. Oversimplifying massively, the basic rule for a lawyer is that your obligations are to your client, and you have to act in her best interests, even if that is against the interests of accuracy; legal ethics is then mostly a set of exceptions to this principle. Oversimplifying massively, the basic rule for a journalist is that your obligations are to the public, and you should be accurate even if that is against the interests of the people you talk to; journalistic ethics is then mostly a set of exceptions to this principle. In both cases the exceptions are huge and important: You’re not supposed to lie to the public as a lawyer, or mislead your sources as a journalist, etc; none of this is meant to be any sort of ethical advice. But if someone says to you ‘oh yeah I murdered someone,’ as a lawyer, your baseline expected response would be not to tell anyone; as a journalist, your baseline expected response would be to tell everyone.
Obviously these opposite rules make sense in their respective contexts; the role of a lawyer is different from that of a journalist, and each profession’s ethics are well adapted to doing their jobs usefully. Still it is weird to think of them as ‘ethics.’ They are both functional systems adapted to the work of their professions, not absolute moral-ethical rules handed down by a higher power. Keeping a murderer’s secret is not absolutely ethical for humans, and disclosing that secret is not absolutely ethical for humans; each is ethical or unethical depending on its social context.”
July 10, 2017
By Jessica Stillman via.com Article
3 Killer Persuasion Techniques You Can Learn From Billionaire Warren Buffett
“According to psychologist Robert Cialdini … A huge chunk of persuasion happens before people even know what you’re selling, he says. … ‘Research done in the last 15 years shows that optimal persuasion is achieved through optimal pre-suasion: the practice of arranging for people to agree with a message before they know what’s in it,’ he writes in The Los Angeles Times.
So how do you learn this skill? You can do a lot worse than observe billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Cialdini says.
1. Build unity
When it comes to persuading people, trust often matters more than the content of your ideas, and you get people to trust you by demonstrating that you’re all on the same team. … Aiming to convince readers that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, could continue its improbably long run of incredible success, he opened by saying that the message contained in the letter, was ‘what I would say to my family today if they asked me about Berkshire’s future.’ That’s a masterstroke, according to Cialdini. …
2. Admit mistakes
Admitting your errors upfront might sound like a terrible way to persuade people. After all, who would have confidence in someone who bumbled badly in the past? But Buffett proves that showing you’re human straight off can actually be a brilliant move, Cialdini says.
On The James Altucher Show (hat tip to Business Insider), Cialdini praised Buffett’s 2012 shareholder letter for this reason. Buffett kicked it off with an admission that ‘for the ninth time in 48 years, Berkshire’s percentage increase in book value was less than the S&P’s percentage gain.’
‘It’s disarming every time he says, ‘You know, we made this mistake.’ I believe the next thing he says to me–and that’s where he puts the strength of the last year,’ Cialdini explains. …
3. Make fun of yourself
… Every year, at their annual shareholder meeting, Buffett and his right-hand man Charlie Munger play a video that makes them the butt of jokes. These videos ‘humanize them and make them seem like they’re not arrogant, know-it-all types, but very much in keeping with the image of who they are as honest, straight-talking people who will reveal their foibles if those foibles exist,’ Cialdini told Yahoo Finance.”