Mistakes

We make mistakes. We focus on the wrong things. We get too far down a slippery slope. We steal. We cheat. We lie. We deceive others. We deceive ourselves. We see crime or fraud and don’t speak out.

You can be a good person and still exercise poor judgment.

We’re human. We all make mistakes.

Mistakes are bad, no doubt, but not learning from them is worse. The key to learning from mistakes is to admit them without excuses or defensiveness, rub your nose in them a little, and make the changes you need to make to grow going forward. If you can’t admit your mistakes, you won’t grow.

Failure is an event, not a person.

How you choose to interpret your failures will either move you forward in life or hold you back. Every failure can be turned into a stepping stone to success. Every mistake is a lesson in what not to do. Every setback is an opportunity to dig deeper in to yourself, to access resources you didn’t know you have and to acquire wisdom you could gain no other way.

It’s not the failures that define us so much as how we respond to them.

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11 Lessons On Why Winners Never Cheat from Jon Huntsman

winners-never-cheatYou may not have heard of Jon Huntsman. But you have used his products hundreds of times. This self-made billionaire founded the Huntsman Chemical Corporation which developed the Styrofoam that is used in McDonald’s clam-shell burger containers. Life was not all smooth sailing for this rags-to-riches businessman. Not one bit. He has been cheated and lied to countless times, but his moral compass stayed true.

Recently I finished reading Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times by Jon M. Huntsman, here are 11 lessons on why Winners Never Cheat from Jon Huntsman:

Lesson 1: Check your Moral Compass
No one is raised in a moral vacuum. It doesn’t matter what your background or religion is, you know when something just isn’t right. When something doesn’t seem right, step back and evaluate the situation. If that uneasiness doesn’t leave, then you are near dangerous territory. Don’t do it. You must find another way or abandon your current path altogether.

“We know darn well what is right and wrong.”

Lesson 2: Play by the rules
Character is most determined by integrity and courage. Character is also how you act when no one is watching. Cutting in line will often get you short term gain but its long term consequences never work out. The game is always more fun when everyone plays fair.

“Which rules we honor and which we ignore determine our personal character.”

Lesson 3: Set the Example
Whatever your job or title, you have an opportunity to lead with honor. Others are watching, whether it be a supervisor who is looking for that next leader, or a subordinate who is looking for an example to follow. Always know that others have moments of uncertainty and they might be looking to you for direction. You will never regret doing the right thing.

“Strong leaders accept responsibility for problems and deal with them swiftly and fairly. If the problem is your responsibility, then so is the solution.”

Lesson 4: Keep your word
Individual and corporate integrity must become the hallmark of the marketplace. Deep in our hearts, we all have a basic understanding that when we shake on something, it’s supposed to stick. A handshake should always be as binding as an iron-clad legal documents. If you conduct your business in that manner, you will develop a loyal following of customers, vendors and lifelong friends.

“When a handshake is given, it must be honored – at all costs.”

Lesson 5: Don’t Cross the Line
You know when you are about to do something that is dishonest. You don’t need a lawyer to tell you that. If accept dishonesty, you will find yourself in a new environment where there will be even more temptation to do more dishonest things. Eventually you will find yourself with consequences that make you wish you could undo it all. Guess what? Here is your chance, don’t cross that line.

“Our values, if properly anchored, will see us through these storms.”

Lesson 6: Pick Advisers Wisely
If you don’t have knowledge of something, find people who do. It is important to ascertain people by their values, character and deeds, not by their looks, background or school they attended. Seek others who have skills far above your own and are willing to stand up for what is right. After all, you are not able to oversee all of their decisions. You need to ensure they are doing right in your absence.

“Surround yourself with associates who have the courage to say no.”

Lesson 7: Get Mad, Not Even
We have all been hurt by those we trusted. Guess what? The hurt will never stop as long as you are on this earth. Learn to move on. There is a better more productive route if you can get past the hurt and accusations. The only one dwelling on the past is you. To make matters worse, it will stiffly your business and worse, start to change your heat. Transform those hurts into laser-like focus and passion. You will then be able to pursue your dreams with even greater ferocity.

“Revenge is unhealthy and productive, learn to move on.”

Lesson 8: Graciousness is Next to Godliness
Graciousness embodies love, kindness, sensitivity and charity. When we treat others with honor they can become lifelong business associates or even great friends. Honorable actions can often attract other people with similar values. These people react in kind, which is often good for business.

“Treat competitors, colleagues, employees and customers with respect.”

Lesson 9: Operate your business as if it is family owned
To create a culture of respect and honor, you must treat employees like they are part of your family. When they see how much you care, they will start to share your values. A family culture, no matter how large the company, is absolutely necessary to having a business that can endure through good times and bad. After all, competition is out to get you and you need to have employees that ‘have your back’.

“The greatest dividends are those paid to hardworking men and women through bonuses, gifts, scholarships and praise.”

Lesson 10: Give Back
Somewhere, somehow, all of us received help from others along our way. Many times, events went our way that an only be described as “larger forces” at work. We owe a portion of our success to others and the only way to repay that assistance is by sharing your good fortune. The ironic thing is that when you start to give, others take notice. They desire to do business with you in ways that can often leave you with more than before.

“Nobody is completely self-made; return the favors and food fortune.”

Lesson 11: Don’t give up
Life is hard. It always has been and always will be. However, remember that others have gone before you and persevered. Don’t give up. Find the joy in life and keep that in perspective as you tackle your daily challenges. Better days lie ahead…I promise.

“In difficult and challenging times, we must embrace the many positive things in our lives, however small – children and loved ones, flowers and other beauties of nature, the gifts with which we are blessed.”

Winners Never Cheat is mentioned in the book Give and Take several times, citing Jon Huntsman as an example of how a business man conducts himself negotiating and dealing with others along with the focus of conscious giving. The book is full of poignant quotes that drive home the message of the book. It’s worth the price just for this alone, if you enjoy quotes as much as I do.

 

Learn more and laugh more

bill-gates-and-warren-buffet

In July 2016, Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and now a philanthropist, wrote a memoir on his 25 years of friendship with Warren Buffett, the world’s best investor ever and one of the most-followed businessmen.

Here is how Gates started his memoir –

I don’t remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffett I do. It was 25 years ago today: July 5, 1991.

I think the date stands out in my mind so clearly because it marked the beginning of a new and unexpected friendship for Melinda and me—one that has changed our lives for the better in every imaginable way.

Warren has helped us do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more.

Source: 25 Years of Learning and Laughter

I think the most important message from above paragraph is “learn more and laugh more”.

Pay attention

David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan said: “Einstein didn’t invent the theory of relativity while he was multi tasking at the Swiss patent office.” It came after, when he really had time to focus and study.

Goldfish Has a Better Attention Span Than You Do

A typical goldfish has an attention span of about 9 seconds and the average person used to be at 12 seconds. According to a study by Microsoft the average person has an attention span of 8 seconds which is less than a goldfish.

Attention is a habit and letting your attention slip and wander builds bad habits and enables mistakes.

You will never complete all your tasks if you allow yourself to be distracted with every tiny interruptions.

Your attention is one of the most valuable resources, don’t let it slide.

Your Attention Is For Sale

Attracting your attention and then keeping it has become a big business. From entertainment to the media, from Google to Facebook… screens persistently compete for our eyeballs.

But the market for our attention isn’t new, it’s been developing for well over a century. Before clickbait, there were tabloid newspapers laden with lurid headlines and risque images.

This flood of data can be so overwhelming that it can leave us wasting our time on things we don’t even care about.

Our attention is one of our most valuable commodities, because where we direct our focus determines the quality and content of our lives.

“A man is what he does with his attention and mine is not for sale.” -John Ciardi

Decide to take control of your life, by taking control of where you direct your attention.

Make conscious decisions about what you watch and read.

Disconnect from the constant flow of information for a period of time during the day, and learn to filter out that which is not useful to the life you desire.

Don’t sell your attention…decide instead, where you will spend it.

Read more:

  • [Article] https://markmanson.net/attention
  • [Book] The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu
  • [Book] Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

In defense of being bored

“It isn’t necessary that you leave home. Sit at your desk and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t wait, be still and alone. The whole world will offer itself to you to be unmasked, it can do no other, it will writhe before you in ecstasy.” – Franz Kafka

Most of us think of being bored at work as a negative experience, but there’s some fascinating research on the role of boredom in promoting creative thinking.

In the first study, conducted by Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman, participants had to copy names from a phone book. It wasn’t even a cool phone book with fantasy names like Dumbledore or Flitwick. It was a standard phone book that pretty much nobody uses anymore.

After participants copied the names from the phone book, they engaged in divergent thinking exercises where they had to come up with multiple uses for an object. This bored group scored higher in divergent thinking than the control group.

They later modified this study by having participants read the phone book instead of writing out the names. This group reported higher levels of boredom and proved more successful in the divergent thinking exercise of naming multiple uses for an object.

The second study (by Karen Gasper and Brianna Middlewood) required people to watch videos that would elicit specific emotions. The group that watched only boring videos had to then look at three objects that were seemingly unrelated and determine how they were related. Unlike the first study, this group’s activity was focused more on convergent thinking.

Note the differences in both studies. The first experiment required participants to engage in a tedious, repetitive task. However, they were actively engaged in it. The second study required participants to sit passively through boring content. The first focused in divergent thinking and the second focused on convergent thinking.

However, both studies demonstrated that a period of boredom actually increased the level of creative thinking afterward.

Boredom Is The Start Of Creativity

It sounds counter-intuitive, but several recent studies show that boredom can actually fuel the creative process. Read more…..

We are all confident idiots

We think we know more than we do.

We’ve all done this, right—pretended we know something that we really don’t? This phenomena is known as Dunning-Kruger effect, written by David Dunning, professor of psychology at Cornell.

He’s written this excellent article on “We are all confident idiots,” explaining how confidence in one’s answers tends to be high for people who don’t know what they’re talking about. He says, “What’s curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

We are simply not very good at knowing what we don’t know.

Dunning’s article is a long read but it’s definitely worth checking out: We are all confident idiots (psmag November/December 2014 ).