Making notes on my daily routine helps me work towards how I want to live. It gives me a good insight into how I am geared and what sort of dad, husband and business owner I want to be, verses the existing reality. It is confronting but when you read over the notes, it maps some interesting paths about your life.
Early in my business life, I read a quote from Richard Branson. “Start something before you feel ready”. I wrote it down and it has stayed with me everyday of my business life. Mr Branson refers to it as one of the most powerful things that has helped him succeed.
I have shared 9 of the notes from my Evernote quotes File worth sharing. These are notes that have helped me. They are not related and cobbled together and the most, written by other people. Some of this is original, most taken from other sources, but it is all helpful.
1. Never Ignore Your Itches!For the past 14 years. I have always followed my itch. I have a certain fear of death and I am constantly reminded by how short our lives are by my mum. She is famous for stating “where have all the years gone”. This is been a profound quote for me. I want to make them as adventurous as I can.
When the Guardian asked a nurse for the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, one of the most common answers was that people regretted not being true to their dreams:
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until we no longer have it.
As they say, there are seven days in the week, and “someday” isn’t one of them.
2. In the new world, virtual teams can outperform face-to-face teams.A 2009 survey by Cisco of thousands of teleworkers found 69 percent said their productivity was higher when they worked remotely and 83 percent said their communication with other team members was either unaffected or enhanced by being dispersed. And in 2009, a research team led by Frank Siebdrat assessed the performance of 80 software companies around the world and found that more dispersed teams often outperformed “co-located” teams.
Siebdrat and his colleagues said the most important factor in the success of a remote team was having processes in place to make sure each member contributes fully, including adequate support and communication. Other good practices include scheduling time for virtual camaraderie building, including chatting in an informal context.
3. Spend More Money on Experiences, rather thanks things.Truly happy people are very mindful of spending money on physical items, opting instead to spend much of their money on experiences. “Experiential purchases” tend to make us happier, at least according to the research. In fact, a variety of research shows that most people are far happier when buying experiences vs. buying material goods.
Here are some reasons why this might be, according to the literature:
Experiences improve over time. Ageing like a fine wine, great experiences trump physical items, which often wear off quickly (“Ugh, my phone is so old!”). Experiences can be relived for years.
People revisit experiences more often. Research shows that experiences are recalled more often than material purchases. You are more likely to remember your first hiking trip over your first pair of hiking boots (although you do need to make that purchase, or you’ll have some sore feet!).
Experiences are more unique. Most people try to deny, but we humans are constantly comparing ourselves to one another. Comparisons can often make us unhappy, but experiences are often immune to this as they are unique to us. Nobody in the world will have the exact experience you had with your wife on that trip to Italy.
We adapt slowly to experiences. Consumer research shows that experiences take longer to “get used to.” Have you ever felt really energized, refreshed, or just different after coming back from a great show/dinner/vacation? It is harder to replicate that feeling with material purchases.
Experiences are social. Human beings are social animals. Did you know that true solitary confinement is often classified as “cruel and unusual” punishment due to the harmful effects it can have on the mind?
Experiences get us out of our comfort zone, out of our house, and perhaps involved in those close relationships we need to be happy.
4. Get Out of the BuildingRadio host Garrison Keillor makes sure to get into the “observable world”:
“I don’t think that one should sit and look at a blank page. The way around it is to walk around with scrap paper and to take notes, and simply to take notes on the observable world around you. If you walk into this room and see these great columns and think this was once a savings bank, you could put those two things together, and make some notes here – that would be the start of something.
I think everything – everything – starts with the observable world, and even though you may cut that out of your last go, nonetheless I think this is where it always starts, and with overheard conversations. There are a lot of conversations here that could be overheard, and you’re probably more likely to get them in the back of the room”.
5. The best teams communicate outside of formal meetings.Researchers at MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory have found conversations outside of formal meetings are the most important factor that contributes to team success. Their research showed that the energy and engagement of these informal interactions accounts for one third of the differences in productivity between groups.
There are simple steps we can take to increase these valuable encounters, including scheduling coffee breaks so that all team members get to chat with each other and planning social events. Related to this, the most productive creative teams are those that strike the perfect balance between “exploration” and “engagement” – sourcing new ideas from outside the team and integrating ideas within the team.
6. Consider worst-case scenarios.What’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone doesn’t like you, doesn’t think as highly of you as you’d like, a meeting ends in anger, a sale doesn’t happen, the business fails. How bad is this worst-case scenario? How likely is it to happen? How would you cope if it did? Honestly, I think you’d be fine no matter what.
7. Watch for anxiety.When you start feeling anxious (and that will always happen, probably many times a day), look in for the source of the anxiety. What are you hoping will happen that’s making you anxious? This awareness is the key to everything. By the way… do nothing when you’re anxious. Why did they call at 5 p.m. on a Friday night and say, “We HAVE to talk. Well, I guess you’re not there. Talk Monday?” Ugh! I hate that! Why 5 p.m.? What did they have to say? I should call her house line. I should write. I should drive up and visit (“Hey, just stopping by! So, uhh, what was up with that phone call?”). There is nothing that is ever so important it can’t wait. And if it was that important, then it’s a roadmap to you and not the situation. It’s an opportunity to say, “What about my life can be rearranged so that this one thing doesn’t throw me off so much? What things can I change?” And then have fun changing them.
8. Admit you don’t know.This is hard because we often want to think we know, or at least that we can make certain things happen the way we want them to. We think we can will things to happen. That’s not true. Many things fail despite Herculean efforts to make them succeed. We don’t control the future, we can’t know the future. We don’t know. Admit it to ourselves, and to others.
9. Envision What You Will Be Remembered ForRapha founder Simon Mottram often writes fake business articles to help him plan:
“One thing I used to do is write faux business pieces, “Financial Times” or “Wall Street Journal” articles, about a company in the future. So you can say, “That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”I wrote one for Rapha in early 2005, when we’d been going for about seven or eight months. I wrote a piece that I pitched as being December 2010 in Fortune magazine. (Obviously the world’s a bit different now, and Fortune magazine isn’t quite what it used to be.)
But it talks about Rapha revolutionising the cycling market and leading more people to discover road racing as a lifestyle and a fundamental part of their lives. It talks about 25,000 Rapha customers meeting at Rapha cycling cafes, going for rides together, consuming Rapha coffee, being all part of a club. It talks about some of the products, reading magazines that Rapha publishes… Five years on, the way it described the business was actually very right to where we were last year in December 2010”.
10. Embrace Discomfort for MasteryHappy people have least one thing they’ve become proficient at, even if the learning process made them uncomfortable.
Researchers found that although the process of becoming proficient at something took its toll on people in the form of stress, participants reported that these same activities made them feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on their day.
So in closing; This remains embedded in my day to day and I hope you take this away with you: The cartoon Adventure Time famously said, “Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something”. The best thing you can do now is start. Only good will come of it. The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort that is caused by learning or taking a leap.