Andrew Carnegie and Wealth Generation

Well, we all know that Andrew Carnegie started poor but ened up as the richest man int he world. He sold his steel works to J.P Morgan for an unbelievable sum. And when he conjectured what would have happened if he had demanded much more? Morgan said he would have paid it.

right. so in terms of success as value added, Carnegie cannot be ignored. What was his secret? How did he manage to generate so much value added? Carnegie himself believed that it was not his individual genius, but his application of certain principles. What were they? Here is a list of ten.

The first of the ten is to “define your purpose”. In the article, the explanatoin is

Create a plan of action and start working toward it immediately.

Well, this  is not really what a purpose is. A purpose is the thing that engages you. It makes you get up in the morning. It is what seduces you to get out of yourself and into the real world. You define it when you translate the abstraction (like I would like to be rich) into a tangible interpretation of what “rich” means.

got that? Good. do it.

Penelope Trunk and SuperPeople

Penelope Trunk wants your money. And to get it, she promises to make you superhuman.

It is an attractive offer. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to be superhuman? Penelope’s idea for you is to unleash your creativity so that you you producing more ideas that can be implemented by others and sold. If you assume that role, you won’t have to work very hard because you can “value bill” – one second of your time might be worth thousands.

Is this possible? Yes. All humans have roughly equal capacity for creative thought. We all are capable of generating ideas. We do not all do this for reasons other than our genetic inheritance. And so if you start thinking more carefully about what holds you back, you will bump into a character who needs to be controlled. This character is a pain in the ass. he or she (depending on you) puts you down and holds you back.

This character, of course, is you.

You, Yourself as a Third Person

I have seen this advice from time to time: if you are stuck and cannot decide how to address a problem that plagues you, pretend you are a third party who is giving you advice. Step outside of yourself for a moment and you will find that the difficulties  may be less than they appeared.

This is not just a problem solving tool. It is also a strategic idea for better understanding how to live. Borges brings this out rather well in his conversations. He refers to himself as a third party all the time. A person who did certain things for certain reasons that he can now comment upon. Here is an example.

The benefit is that this sort of commentary takes you beyond the moment into a more historical sense of things.

Tony Robbins and Leverage

Why is it that delegating responsibilities tends not to work very well? Why managing employees is a bit like herding cats? Indeed, why is it that managing ourselves sometimes has the same feeling?

The problem, according to Tony Robbins, is in the idea of delegation itself.

When you delegate a task to employees, you tell them what you want and when you want it by. You check in with them once, on the due date, and if it’s not finished or done properly, you become frustrated with both them and yourself. With delegation, “you’re always going to be disappointed,” Robbins said.

In other words, a “command and control” system will always have to spend heavily on the “control” part in order to get any results at all.

Is there another way? There is. If a person is engaged in what he or she does, he will tend to do it better. Engagement arises when we act upon our own interests -. when we see how what we do will benefit us. According to Robbins, building engagement is a matter of aligning the interests of the manger and the staff member

With leverage, you inspire employees to do something rather than order them to. “When I leverage something, I help people understand exactly what I want and why I want it, and then I let them come up with many ways to get it done,” he said. “I check with them multiple times before it’s due to make sure they’re supported.” This way he’s not surprised about how a particular task or project turned out.

In other words, leveraged employees need support rather than controls.

How good are you at building leverage in your relationships?

good question. Tony Robbins answers it this way

Robbins said that he wouldn’t have gone from nothing to the head of a coaching empire “if I was doing it all myself or if I was delegating. There’s no way in hell that would happen. But I know how to leverage effectively.”

Who are You?

The sense of self is a powerful feeling. We all know instinctively what this means. We fear death. We fear anything that could cause us injury. We are hard wired to preserve ourselves.

But what is the self? It is more than our “bags of bones” – our bodies. And it is more than our mind. It is, perhaps best understood as our story. Who we are can be traced from where we have come from and where we want to go.

And it appears to us that these things are somewhat fixed. We have memories of our past that pop into our minds to remind us of “who we are”. But it appears more and more that the self is more of a construction than a reality. The self is not a fixed thing, but a variety of things in motion.

So what? Well, consider that if the self is in fact not a fixed thing, it is a thing that we cannot know completely. We are at least in part a mystery to ourselves. We uncover these mysterious parts via our reactions to our experiences.

Which brings us to an interesting self-building challenge. How well do we track our reactions to our experiences? How much do we focus on learning who we are?

These answers do not come easily. They come when they are needed.

Creating Time

“Where does the time go?” I hear that question at moments when friends feel nostalgic for a given experience that they had enjoyed int he past.  They would like to experience more of what they had got.

But we know that the amount of time spent enjoying a given thing does not moment for moment add to its pleasure. Indeed, our capacity for such pleasure is limited. And we know that adding pleasure upon pleasure does not produce happiness.

So perhaps we need to take a moment to re-think our relationship with time itself. Any moment might give us incredible happiness. Indeed every moment could in one way or another. But there is a condition. We must be ready to receive it.

Consider this quote about some quiet moments spent with Leonard Cohen (from Brain Pickings)

Sitting still with his aged Japanese friend, sipping Courvoisier, and listening to the crickets deep into the night, was the closest he’d come to finding lasting happiness, the kind that doesn’t change even when life throws up one of its regular challenges and disruptions.

“Nothing touches it,” Cohen said, as the light came into the cabin, of sitting still… Going nowhere, as Cohen described it, was the grand adventure that makes sense of everywhere else

Do You Push Yourself?

This story about Elon Musk is instructive.  Here is the ending. But check out what leads up to that point.

Working with him isn’t a comfortable experience, he is never satisfied with himself so he is never really satisfied with anyone around him. He pushes himself harder and harder and he pushes others around him the exact same way. The challenge is that he is a machine and the rest of us aren’t. So if you work for Elon, you have to accept the discomfort. But in that discomfort is the kind of growth you can’t get anywhere else, and worth every ounce of blood and sweat.

Celebrating Neurodiversity

I will come clean. I did not see the term “neurodiversity” before yesterday. I had not even considered the idea that is behind it very carefully.

So what is that idea? The idea is that not all humans think alike. Not all of us have the same capacity or even use the same processes to become who we are. Some of us, such as folks with autism or dyslexia or assbergers, have issues that force them to deal with reality in different ways. In the old days, these folks were considered to be sick. They were pitied, but not accepted.  But should it be that way?

Some would argue that the answer is “no”. Even if these folks may not be able to achieve at the highest level, it does not mean that they cannot achieve at all. It does not mean that they should be ostracised, And yet they are. Check this article out to consider this issue in more detail.

More on Carol Dweck

I have posted before on the power of “mindset.  It is a perspective on the mind proposed by Stanford Professor, Carol Dweck. It is important because of its power.  One either had a “fixed” or “growth” mindset.  Brain pickings gets int the difference. And here is a provocative idea.

At the heart of what makes the “growth mindset” so winsome, Dweck found, is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.

Do you know people who constantly seek out approval? have you ever wondered why?

Want to Change Your Life?

Most of us do want to change our lives, but not too much. We also want to hold onto what we consider to be “precious”. And what is so precious? Perhaps it is our identity – the sense that we are the authors of our own life histories. As authors, we want to decide ourselves what changes to make.

And that is the rub. Usually we have little or no idea of what changes those would be. We don’t know and we cannot listen to others, or lose our precious sense of identity. So we get stuck.

There is a way out, of course, Instead of trying to change ourselves, we might commit to changing things outside of ourselves. Make something better — just a little bit — and the world changes for the better. Whether you change or not is not really important. You are the author of change and that is a great life story in itself.

Having said all of that, you might want to access a few books that can help you focus better. Here is a list from Legal Nomads