Seeing the Future

No matter how smart you are, no person can ever see even 5 years from now.

If you put yourself back to where you were 5 years ago – the place, the people, the work, your health, your ambitions, it is likely that fate had other plans.

It is better to be nimble than to be all knowing.

Harvard Business School was among the many universities that used to teach its students to do 5 year plans when they entered the business world.

But 5 years is an eternity.

Could you have known that SnapChat, the audio and video social network that allows users to destroy content after it has been viewed would be bigger than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social medium?

It’s been only ten years since the iPhone came along so, could you have built a business plan around a world that never puts its phone down?

Could you have predicted the election of the president or the prospects for the economy?

Could you have predicted your health or that of loved ones near you in that period or the people you have lost?

Being nimble is the virtue that allows us to maximize our chances for health, wealth and happiness not futilely trying to channel Nostradamus.

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Social Media Breaks

What’s the harm of taking a 30-second social media break to see what’s happening and who is liking your posts?

Nothing.

But with one caveat.

Knowing WHEN to take such breaks and how often to take them.

Social media – and in fact the entire smartphone itself – is like a morphine pump instead, it’s loaded with dopamine to which we easily have become addicted.

A 30-second check when we are not engaged directly with another person. 

Or when we are part of a team meeting (and that includes virtual meetings even though the other participants cannot see us).

Strict limits to make sure our short social media check does not become a minute and a half or longer.

A smoking break is deleterious for a healthy person so a social media break is a good substitute as long as you don’t do both.

Getting the hang of how to take a social media break as opposed to living as a slave to the next post means we can share it with our children because it’s hard to ask them to pay attention when we’re more distracted than ever.

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Bill Belichick’s Advice to Millennnials

The New England Patriot’s coach and winner of 5 Super Bowls is not a fan of social media.

He calls it “InstaBook”, SnapFace”, “ChatRun” on purpose and has vowed to do everything he can to fight its use as it pertains to his football team and life.

Here is advice to Millennials …

  1. Make sure your career is motivated by love— passion over money.
  2. Talent shortcomings can be overcome by hard work– he cites Tom Brady who “is not a great natural athlete … not even close” but he worked hard for what he achieved.
  3. Fight for your big ideas – just because they are unusual or have never been done before is no reason not to use them.
  4. Put away social media and concentrate on building real relationships face-to-face– success comes from relationships with people and not how many likes you get online.

Belichick:” success is more about who you know than what you know”.

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Giving Up

You can’t tell how the show is going to end if you leave in the middle.

Same is true about life.

About relationships.

And careers where a total dead end perceived one day could mean unanticipated advancements the next day if given the time.

Giving up is shooting ourselves in the foot.

No matter how challenging, no matter how discouraging the one thing we never want to do is give up.

We may lose.

We may win.

But throwing in the towel means removing the outcome that could be positive before it has a chance to reward us.

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Turn a “To Do” List Into a “Success” List

The book One More Thing posits that by doing less, going small rather than big and focusing on one thing – the most important thing – outcomes turn out better.

Don’t focus on being busy. Focus on being productive.

Allow what matters most to drive your day. 

Whether you say “later” or “never,” the point is to say “not now” to anything else you could do until your most important work is done.

Don’t get trapped in the “check off” game.

The 80/20 rule still applies.

80% of our productivity comes from 20% of our effort.

Drill down deeper to the core activity that will bring you success.

In baseball everything comes down to the team that scores the most runs.

A one-hitter – not important if that one hit is a game winning home run and you lose.

How far you hit the ball, not important in the context of things. A bunt can win you a game, too.

If ball players focused on stealing bases, fewer strikeouts, the way the ballpark looked over scoring the most runs, they might be helping their efforts but not playing baseball.

In the end, every little thing essentially can be seen as mattering, but scoring the most runs is at the top of the list.

When we learn to think like this, we find a level of focus that makes us hard to beat.

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