1. You make better decisions and you learn more by assuming that you’re dumber than everyone else.
the reason this was something that took me a long time to learn is that when I was in college it was all about showing how smart you were.
It was about talking more in the group meetings. About raising your hand more in the classroom.
I took that and started translating in the real world and I realized that I didn’t learn very much. Because I was the one talking all the time. And it only took a few times of me getting introduced to somebody. Someone would introduce us. And I would basically spend the whole time blabbering on about how great I was and how much I knew, only to find out later that this person was way above me in business and whatever things that I was pursuing at the time.
And then I felt tons of Shame and embarrassment about how stupid I was for doing that.
I had to shift the way that I talked to new people and the way that I entered rooms.
And I’ll be real, I still talked probably too much, but at least being aware of that lesson as early as I could. I wish I had learned it earlier.
Fundamentally you can’t learn if you’re talking and so if you’re trying to learn then not talking is the first requisite for doing that.
And if you want to make better decisions than you need to learn. This was a big Epiphany I had.
I got introduced once to somebody I was walking peripherally after I had left. And somebody else went up to them and asked do you know who that guy is? and in that moment I realized that my positioning was now Sky High because I didn’t have to be the one to say it.
The idea that I realized was how can I get other people to edify me. Because what I had to allow people to do was to make the same mistake that I used to make.
Which is that someone young someone inexperienced someone less aware whatever would come up and then start posturing themselves and blathering on about everything that they’re doing. and me I might be way ahead of them but
- But I would listen and see if there’s anything interesting. and so in that conversation I learned more than they did.
- I learned what type of person they are.
- I learned where they’re at with their career.
- If they had anything interesting that would be worth following up with.
They learned nothing. They felt good about themselves and then later would feel bad about themselves when that other person went over and told them and so I was like: of these two scenarios which would I rather do? Would I rather have someone have a conversation with me and then not know who I was, but be able to learn. because that’s the worst case scenario. Or would I rather blather on, learn nothing.
Either I am above them and then they’re like well shit that guy he brags or I’m below them and I’m the shit so I stopped doing that so that was lesson number one
2. Respect to be earned is one’s own
What I realized and this was something that was really hard for me, is that I had a pretty bad reputation in the very beginning of my college career. in all of my high school career. and it was because I drank too much. I was irresponsible. I slept around a lot. and I wasn’t representing the tempers that I wanted to be. and so I felt ashamed of the behaviors that I did but I didn’t change them.
And so it was only through a conversation I had with my father where I said ‘how do I change my reputation how do I get these people to stop saying this stuff?‘ and I thought there was some like PR marketing angle that I could take that I could control the narrative. and he said ‘why don’t you stop being a piece of shit?‘ and he said that in his own words and I was like ‘that can’t be it!‘
I’ll figure out a way when parents talk to kids they’re listening but they’re not listening. that really stuck with me and I started thinking about it and so I said like well
‘if I wanted to be somebody who’s respectable what would I do?‘
and so then I tried to start acting in that way to be someone whose respect, my own, I would earn. and so when I started doing that nothing changed externally. people still treated me like I was a piece of shit. and they were probably right. but my behavior began to change and then slowly so did my reputation. but it started with me trying to respect myself first and then others began to respect me as a result.
3. if you want to control what people think control what they say.
this is the third lesson I learned and this is more of a business marketing lesson.
but if you want to talk about products and services you have to equip people with the words to describe what you have because otherwise you’re asking them to solve the problem of how to describe your business.
And if right now you can’t even figure out how you’re going to describe your business and you own the darn thing how do you expect them to do it in half second when they’re telling their friend. And so this is really about equipping people with simple language so they can communicate what you do. so for example at acquisition.com the mission when I started the business was to document and share the best practice of building world-class companies.
most people don’t know what that means and so I have now and we probably will shift the language to make real business education available to everyone. they functionally mean the same thing but giving people the words to describe it in a way that they understand allows me to give them more so they can explain to somebody else.
4. you get more out of reading one book that’s great five times than out of reading five mediocre books
I don’t read many books. and what I mean by that is I buy lots of books.
I skim most of them and quickly realize that it’s not worth reading and so then I toss them aside. because just because someone wrote a book doesn’t mean you need to finish it. It has nothing to do with you. It means that they didn’t organize it well. I have found that books that are older in general tend to be better because the reason the person wrote it had a different intention. They wrote it because they wanted to transmit knowledge to the Next Generation.
whereas the people who write books now are either writing for money,writing for notoriety, or writing them to sell other shit. if you find books where the author is actually writing because they want to convey knowledge to the Next Generation: those tend to be better books, in my experience, because the intent is to actually teach not to persuade.
when you do find those gems, I have realized that if I read something once end to end I still don’t know it yet, I will read a book two times, three times, four times, five times, until I can teach the book.
when I feel like it is worth learning and then once I have like squeeze the book for everything that it has to the point where I can convey the message to somebody else. like I can teach the concepts of the book which is something that I’ve done many times. or I’ll actually make a presentation on the book so that I can wrap my own Frameworks around is how I can remember it .that’s where a lot of these Frameworks come from. because it’s me trying to make sense of the world in a way that I can remember.
if your behavior doesn’t change as a result of reading a book it means you’ve learned nothing.
which means it was a waste of time and many people who read books are just wasting their time because their behavior doesn’t change. and so I consolidate. once I find something that’s good I plug everything I possibly can into it and suck the juice out of it so that I can change my behavior as a result.
which comes from the Frameworks and how I think about it how deeply do you understand the knowledge of the book. there’s a handful of books that if you just did them for the rest of your life you’d win because if you just did how to make friends and influence people and you put it into your DNA you would be successful.
5. Most Champions do not have something that you do not; they lack something that you have
it’s a different thought process (inversion) because if all of us have the exact same hours per day. it means that they’re allocating their time differently. many times they eliminate things that you are still doing. they have sacrificed more. they have given up things that you have continued to have on your tree as branches that are distracting from growing up.
Champions when I look at the people who are further ahead of me they’re even more ruthless with their time. they even have lower tolerance for friends, family people around them that are not at the bar that they hold themselves to. for me going through college or you know when I was younger
I always thought it was about adding to your plate saying yes to everything saying yes to opportunity say yes say yes yes. when all I did was I just completely got distracted and spread super thin. what most Champions have is singular focus and they are willing to say no to everything else and that took me too long to learn
6. Goodwill compounds faster than money
like if you actually think about what Goodwill is it’s that you have positive sentiment and you have a degree of influence over a person’s behavior. that’s what goodwill is if one person has Goodwill with you and then shares your stuff with somebody else and you create Goodwill in that next person you can double your Goodwill or 10x your Goodwill in a matter of 12 weeks.
10x-ing your money in a matter 12 weeks is very very unlikely.
Goodwill, because it’s based on audiences and humans can compound significantly faster than money can. and when I realized that, that Goodwill could be translated into money, if I so desired at a future date, then I realized and rather than focusing on the money that I’m trying to make today, I focus on the compounding vehicle that compounds at a much faster rate than money does.
Goodwill compounds tax-free by the way.
building the audience is tax free and then when you choose to have the conversion event you can do that at your own choosing. but if you focus on the audience you focus on the Goodwill that will grow significantly faster than any kind of monetary move, but you can still translate that later into money when you want
7. You’re going to die. two weeks after you die most people have forgotten about you and six months after you died no one will talk about you
and if they’re not caring enough then it certainly doesn’t matter what they think about your life now. because if that’s the most significant event that’s going to happen in your life which is that you stop living, how much credibility or weight should we give to other people’s opinions on what we should do with our lives. in my opinion very little.
unless the person has a vested interest in seeing you succeed. and in this context to provide the advice most of the times it’s just worth ignoring because they’re trying to live their own life. and they’re projecting their own beliefs and experiences on you. and you’ve spent all this time trying to improve your own view of reality. the beliefs that you’ve shed and shifted that they have not. and so what they believe to be true is what they’re casting on to you and if you don’t like the life they have then I don’t think it’s worth listening to
8. extraordinary accomplishments come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary periods of time
this is just me speaking about me but when I was younger my actions showed that I was more impatient. I always was willing to sacrifice what I had today to get the quick Buck. I, you know, I was always. I was Shifty like that because I just thought that was how it worked. I thought there was some Shortcut I didn’t know about. and I would see the guys on stages being like this is what we do. we do the basics and we do a lot of it. I was like they’re just trying to hold the secrets back.
and I’m here to tell you that that is not true like I wish I could go and shake my college self and be like if you do one thing for a very long period of time you will get very good at it and it will Compound on to itself
and maybe I would listen to me if my future self showed up in my living room. now I would totally listen to him but you know what I mean and so I can’t do that so the next best thing I can do is try and Shake You by the collar
the thing that makes the action extraordinary is the commitment to it not the nature of the action itself
working out and doing reps is not extraordinary if you saw one set of a workout from me at the gym you wouldn’t think oh this guy is amazing look at them quads. it’s the fact that you do it for 20 straight years is what compounds on itself if you listen to one guy make one phone call. you listen to one major league baseball player at bat. nothing about that is extraordinary. it’s the dedication to doing it over and over and over and over again,
despite feeling like there’s better opportunities.
despite people approaching you with new and exciting things
but saying that you’re committed to the original Vision you had. and that reality has not changed in such a way that your native beliefs are no longer true. you said I believe that X Y and Z is true and as long as that remains to be true then I will continue on this path for an extraordinary period of time. and that not the action itself but your commitment to the action is what makes someone extraordinary
9. if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well
this is a really great saying. I shortcutted so much stuff when I was younger. I just wanted to like get it done. get it done. get it done rather than doing it well.
there’s kind of two ways you can take the saying which is why I like it so much. is that if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well because many times I was doing things that were not worth doing.
I didn’t have the time to do things well because I was doing so many things that were not worth doing.
- the first criteria is what problem are we solving.
- what am I hoping to accomplish.
- is this worth doing at all?
because if it is worth doing then I have to understand that to do it right, to do it well, it’s going to take this much time. now given that: is it still worth doing?
and if it passes that test of being worth doing in the Long Haul and because it is worth doing, it is worth doing well, then it gives us this lens through which to see the activities we do. so that we can prioritize the things that will make us the most money are going to get us closer to the goals we have. and so younger me had more energy than me does now.
I make way more money than younger me did is because I do fewer things and I do different things than I did then. and now if I write a book I’ll take a year on writing the book because if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well. because I understand that taking one year today will mean that that book might sit and sell and distribute itself to millions of people over the next 50 years or 100 years. or after I’m dead, compared to me just putting words on a page that are pretty good, and then shipping it.
and I think the vast majority of people don’t get the difference between good and great.
the Ocean between good work and great work is vast. it’s five times, ten times the work to go from something good to something great. which is why you have to be really selective about the few things you choose to do that are worth doing and in being worth doing: worth doing well
10. be willing to negotiate everything except your values
and so there were so many things when I was coming up that, like in college, even right after college, is jobs like I always just took things at face value. so prices. terms. relationships. everything I took it face value so whatever someone presented I said yes or no to.
I have now realized that virtually everything is negotiable. people present with basically their best bad guess. and they’re hoping that someone takes them by the hand and says ‘you know that makes no sense.
what if we did it this way? what problem are you solving? what problem am I solving? and then ask the right questions to get someone else’s true desires and wants. and then knowing what your own true desires and wants, and what you’re willing to give up, allows you to make better deals.
and so I used to think of negotiating as a zero-sum game.
and it’s not at all. you can find a way where both parties get better than they were before. which is the entire point. that is how negotiating works if you’re doing it well and so I didn’t understand that.
I thought everything was an arm wrestle. so I thought everything was like this for that Tit for Tat like. no give and I also thought really short about it. I was like I was trying to get one over. I was ruthless with vendors.
I swung in the other direction. so first I didn’t negotiate anything, and then I found out you could negotiate, and then tried to get everyone to give me their last penny. but then I realized that this, long term, doesn’t create good relationships. and they will not be loyal to you at all. which long term has a more negative impact than giving them the extra 10% and having an amicable relationship.
you want to negotiate everything except for your values.
I negotiated everything in that second example including my values because I was doing business in a way that was contrary to the values that I wanted to espouse, wanted to embody. because the deals we do with acquisition.com for example like I could probably ask for significantly more than I do and I’ve had many times where people like I want to give you this I’m like I don’t want that because I don’t think you know what that means.
this is what I think is fair today and in 10 years. and so it’s balancing both your need today and your need in 10 years and their need today and their need in 10 years. and you have those four points and you try and find the closest point given your reality and you can explain that this is how you’re thinking through it with them and I think they will appreciate all four data points on the map to come to the best solution for today and tomorrow
This is a big one because I want to be a different voice on this. because I have heard all over the Internet recently people saying humility is stupid. if you looked up what the word means you wouldn’t want to be it because if you look it up on Google it says thinking less of oneself.
this is why looking up and defining terms is important because if you look at Merriam-Webster for example
it’s lack of Pride or arrogance
I don’t think people would say you wouldn’t want that. I was like no. I think I think people are okay not being popular arrogant. I think that’s okay but even more so. and the definition that I have taken on is actually the exact opposite of that which is it is not decreasing your regard for self but increasing your regard for others
that’s from Clayton Christensen who’s a Harvard Professor. I thought that posturing, when I was younger, was the thing that would get people to like me. but what I realized later was that
you gain status by giving more to the group than you get
this is especially true for guys. it’s probably true for girls but I can’t speak to that.
- if you want to gain status the way you do it is by sacrificing more for the group that everyone else does.
- if you want to gain status in a company you give more to the company than anyone else does. more than the company gives you back.
because what do they do? they reward that behavior. the group rewards the person who gives to the group. it’s how it works. the people who take from the group they only go in to get status from the group, end up getting banished by the group and batted down because everyone wants to keep that person down because they don’t serve anyone else.
and so it was only by realizing that I had to give my life in order to get it. I had to give status, I had to serve, because when you serve someone: you’re giving them status. you’re increasing your reguard for others.
when I gave status I got it back. when I gave respect first I would get respect back. and it was understanding that group dynamic which is what made me president of the fraternity that I was in. all of these things started compounding when I realized that truth. and if you do that I promise you you will have all the status you want
12. the happy man has a thousand wishes the sad man has one
this is a little bit more of a heartfelt one for me because when I was younger I was definitely angrier. probably darker in general. and a lot of that came because I had expectations that were fictitious, real or otherwise from other people. in my mind that existed who were constantly judging the behaviors and actions I was doing every day and were telling me that I was not enough in some ways.
that created and reinforced behaviors that I still continue to this day… in terms of the actions I take.
but the way that I feel and think about them has shifted.
when you are sad you want to not be sad. that’s the main focus. you want to feel better. and many times people will take the short-term way of getting out of that which is alcohol drugs etc. because in the moment they can feel better.
everyone just wants to feel better.
and so when I think about things that I used to think people were wronging me. right you know get all angry and I’d spin myself out.
I use a different frame now which is they just wanted to feel better.you think it had nothing to do with me and they just wanted to feel better about themselves. and that has given me a lot of Peace about many of the things that used to anger me. being able to quiet the hundreds of non-existent voices in my head that were constantly judging the activities that I was doing.
and labeling them good or bad. or good enough or not good enough, Etc took up a tremendous amount of my attention and because of that all of my focus was on feeling better and so I couldn’t actually have any energy left over to do stuff because all I was focused on was feeling better and all I was spending my day was in my head trying to not feel like shit, and doing both short and long-term things to do that.
and so it was only when I came up with a mantra which I have said before but shit happiness which sounds ironic because I said
the person who’s happy has a thousand wishes
but in choosing not to admit the deficiency between my current state and the future state of what I desire to be I was able to accept where I was and then the deficiency of not being good enough, not being happy enough disintegrated in my mind.
and then I was able to focus on just doing things and then when I started doing things I started making progress. when I started making progress I started looking back and feeling proud of how far I had come. because it wasn’t about the many voices outside it was about the only one that mattered.
and so that shift is what I think genuinely from spiritual standpoint is the thing that was able to give me the strength to do some of the things we have done. but I wouldn’t have been able to ever start on this path because I was paralyzed about what I thought other people were going to think about me, only to realize that they weren’t thinking about me at all
13. failure leads to learning. learning leads to success. success leads to complacency. complacency leads to failure
and so a lot of times I remember thinking that there was a destination. but I think the actual entrepreneurial cycle, it’s not a destination. it’s not linear. it’s cyclical. and so that’s why I talk about entrepreneurship in terms of Seasons because there are Cycles where you learn a lot. I used to say this a lot where I’d say either the business is growing or I am.
- either I have learned lessons and I am applying those lessons to the business and the business is growing,
- or the business is not growing and has problems and now I am the one receiving the lessons from the business.
and until I learned the lesson that I’m supposed to learn, the business will cease to grow, until I have learned this lesson. until I beat this boss at this level.
and the difference between video games and real life is that sometimes in order to beat that boss you’re not doing it in 10 minutes it might take you 10 years recognizing that you are not above the cycle but that cycle is inevitable because you have failure-learning-success-complacency.
the goal is, if you can identify that, how quickly can you get back to learning-success-learning-success and try and skip the complacency step altogether.
it still happens to a degree when I can start feeling the feelings and it’s rearing its head, I’m aware of it and it allows me to speed through it faster. the same degree I stop labeling things as good or bad because
- if I’m failing it means I’m about to go through learning and I see learning is good and on the flip side
- if I’m succeeding and succeeding is good.
and so either way they lead to my success.
and framing it that way took a lot of the judgment and the label and the depression around non-achievement away from me. and also when things are good it allowed me to not be so high because I knew that whenever things were good
everything good is followed by something that is not as good
and so you always have regression to the mean. you have regression to the mean and so things are amazing then it means they can only go down from here if things are terrible it means it can only go up
14 is that I would pay any amount of money to make obvious truths real for me</3>
there is a reality that no one can see right now true reality and no one can see it because we are shaped by the many things that we’ve been told throughout our lives and many of those things were not true.
much of the path of Entrepreneurship, in my opinion, means shedding these false truths so that you can see the world more clearly. if you see these business people are super far ahead and all of a sudden it’s like they can lose it and then they can get it all back and things seem so seamless for them.
it’s because they have a more accurate view of reality than you do.
and so imagine trying to hit a target with a blindfold on. you’re just gonna keep missing and keep missing and keep missing.
now imagine there’s a guy next to you who’s got a blindfold on too but it’s clear and he’s just nailing it. and you’re like what the hell? I’m doing the same thing with my wrist. I’m doing you know I’ve got I’ve got all this technique down! it’s simply because he sees the Target and he sees all the environment around it more clearly than you do.
and for me the whole concept of ignorance tax and ignorance debt has been one that I have taken with me for life.
I actually heard a speaker said this on stage and he was using it as a close for the audience.
he said how much is not making a million dollars a year costing you?
He’s like well if you make fifty thousand dollars a year right now he said it cost you nine hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year to not know how to make a million dollars. and I thought about that and I was like shit, we were paying a Debt Service to a false reality in order to get to the real one.
and so for me: I will pay any amount of money to speed that process up. to see the world more clearly in a way that is true. and if the views that I have do not serve me and someone else is further ahead of me in the game, than they are better at the game of business than me in some way and in that way I can learn from them. doesn’t matter what they’re doing. some people are like ‘oh this guy’s unethical‘. you can learn from everyone. i
If they’re making more money than you: you can learn from them. and so taking that and taking my ego hat off and saying like I’m the student here this guy’s better in some way. what does he believe to be true about the world I don’t? or what do I believe to be true that isn’t? and simply trying to observe to see those realities is something that I will always pay for.