No. 494 — October 16, 2022
Brain Food is a weekly newsletter with the insights you need.
One of the biggest things that hold people back they’re not aware of:
When we want to improve our value to an organization, we gravitate toward the skills we need to develop, working extra hours or increasing our responsibilities. We miss the secret hiding in plain sight: reducing friction.
Marshall Goldsmith on self-limiting beliefs:
“I think we have a lot of self-limiting beliefs. And the self-limiting beliefs, a lot of these come from inside us. Basically, I can’t do this. I can’t do that. This is just the way I am. One of the most common problems is, this is just the way I am as if we have some “real” fixed identity that lives throughout time. And I have to really work on people to change that. Even smart people say things like this, “I can’t listen. I can’t listen. I’ve never been able to listen.” I’ll look in their ears. “Why not? You got something stuck in there? Why can’t you listen? Do you have an incurable genetic defect that is prohibiting you from listening?” As long as we tell ourselves, “That’s the way I am.” Two things happen, both bad. One, we inhibit the odds of ever getting better. Two, even if we do change our behavior we don’t seem authentic to ourselves. We feel like a phony because if the real me can’t listen and you say, “I’m a good listener. You know what I’m thinking?” Well, that’s not the real me. I’m just pretending to be a good listener because the real me is no good at that.”
— Listen and Learn or read the transcript.
Jeff Bezos on wandering as a counter-balance to efficiency:
“Sometimes (often actually) in business, you do know where you’re going, and when you do, you can be efficient. Put in place a plan and execute. In contrast, wandering in business is not efficient … but it’s also not random. It’s guided – by hunch, gut, intuition, curiosity, and powered by a deep conviction that the prize for customers is big enough that it’s worth being a little messy and tangential to find our way there. Wandering is an essential counterbalance to efficiency. You need to employ both. The outsized discoveries – the “non-linear” ones – are highly likely to require wandering.”
There are a lot of things in life that only work when you commit.
I don’t mean dabble. I don’t mean half-in. I mean commit.
Commitment means all in, all the time.
It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that if you put in half the effort, you can get 80 percent of the results. While that might work for some things, it doesn’t work for anything important.
If you’re half trustworthy, you’re not trustworthy.
If you’re often reliable, you’re not reliable.
If you’re mostly consistent, you’re not consistent.
The key to doing anything well is commitment. Not only does commitment help you become better at what you do, but it also makes other people want to help you.
If you see your job as punching the clock, not only will you never be great at it, but your employer won’t invest in you. The best relationships are the ones where both partners go all in all the time to make the relationship amazing.
If committing sounds like a lot of work, it is. That’s why so many people are half-in. The problem with half-in and half-committed is that it doesn’t get you the results you want. If you’re not committed, get out.
The committed person gets both the opportunity and the results.
All in, all the time.
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Rafal Nadal on why hard is good:
“One lesson I’ve learned is that if the job I do were easy, I wouldn’t derive so much satisfaction from it. The thrill of winning is in direct proportion to the effort I put in before. I also know, from long experience, that if you make an effort in training when you don’t especially feel like making it, the payoff is that you will win games when you are not feeling your best. That is how you win championships, that is what separates the great player from the merely good player. The difference lies in how well you’ve prepared.”
Fatal flaws that everyone sees:
“Everyone knew, deep-down, that middle-school geometry doomed the design, but everyone also fervently believed that it could somehow be overcome by sheer will, or hard work, or a stroke of genius. The theme here is that the cultures that arise around products, methods, and inventions often grow to exclude discussion of their fatal flaws, and instead find elaborate ways to paper over them — to find more and more clever ways to pretend they don’t exist.”
P.S. Surprisingly clever editing.
P.P.S. “Most successful people are just an anxiety disorder harnessed for productivity.”