Reality Check

Reality Check
  1. You will not be rewarded for bad behavior
  2. Being told “No” is a part of life. Get over it.
  3. You are free to make your choice. You are not free of the consequences.
  4. Life is not fair.
  5. You are not the boss.
  6. The world does not revolve around you.
  7. Respect is earned. It is not given.
  8. The world owes you nothing. Work for it.
  9. Fits and tantrums will get you nothing. Stop wasting your time.
  10. You put yourself here. You need to fix you.
  11. Shut your mouth. Open your ears.

Real life

Real life

If you want to make the Olympic soccer team, join a symphony orchestra or get into medical school, the path is well lit. It’s not easy, but the goals are clear and the boundaries are obvious.

Day by day, achievement by achievement, it’s a linear race. You know the rules, you can see the competitive landscape and you can train. It’s rare that the rules change along the way.

This is irresistible for some people, and if it ends, or they don’t make it, they’re often lost in the wilderness.

That’s because real life doesn’t have clear goals and obvious boundaries.

Real life is not organized around an 800 on the SATs, or a FGA average that’s the highest in the league.

Instead, real life has changing rules, hidden rules, rules that aren’t fair. Real life often doesn’t reveal itself to us all at once, the way the rules of baseball are clearly written down.

And so, the first challenge of real life is: find some goals. And the second: figure out some boundaries.

It doesn’t pay to get stressed out that these goals and these boundaries aren’t the same as everyone else’s. It doesn’t pay to mourn the loss of the rigid structures that worked in the world you used to be in.

You’re in real life now.

So, find some goals and find some boundaries.

Then you can get back to work.

– By Seth Godin

The 10 Cannots

The 10 Cannots
  1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  3. You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  4. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  6. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  7. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  9. You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
  10. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

– William J. H. Boetcker Wikipedia

Suck less

Suck less

This is a simple lesson with an oversized impact.

Companies set inspiring goals. They tend to want to constantly exceed the (often less-than-optimally informed) expectations of Wall Street Analysts. They tend to invite motivational speakers to get the employees to think differently, push through to new frontiers, CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!


I completely understand this pattern. Who does not want to shoot for the moon or massively exceed their mom’s expectations?

I’ve come to learn that this desire to overachieve also comes at a very heavy cost—it drives sub-optimal behavior.

Instead, I recommend this as the #1 goal for your company:

Suck less, every day.

Whatever you do today, consciously suck less at it.

Take your product, and make it suck a little less today.
(Make the packaging a little easier to open. Fix the small bugs that annoy 20% of your users, even if it won’t get you the Engineer of the Year award. Why can’t I tweet with a full-sized image using my mobile browser, but I can using the desktop browser? Make the spokes on your bicycles last 10% longer.)

Most of your life is spent in meetings; do something to make them suck less. 
(No status update meetings. Adapt them to introverts. End them 10 mins early. Come with a plan, leave with AIs. Have 5 chargers in every conference room for company laptops and phones. Book a two-hour meeting on Friday afternoon for a lot of people, then cancel it so that they can go home early.)

Go to your company website, and please, please, please, make it suck less.
(The Starwood WiFi login page at this hotel only works in Edge! The Hyatt site wants my login and password AND last name?! Why can’t your site give me accurate shipping info? For Krishna’s sake, why don’t you have Chat support in 2018? Realize auto-playing videos during page load is evil. Have a crystal clear return policy—don’t hide it, either.)

Take your employee performance review process, and make it suck less.
(Don’t reject promotions because you value the Why over the What—the omelette of progress requires breaking some eggs called inertia. Ensure that there is no systematic gender or racial bias. Don’t surprise people with their ratings. Be publicly explicit about how you make decisions.)

Bust bureaucracy.
(Twice a year, let everyone on the ground submit bureaucracy busters, and fix every single one that takes less than 30 days. Look at your PO process; eliminate one signature. Increase the limits on when an employees need to submit a receipt—I suggest $75. Democratize power.)

Once you start sucking less, you start seeing opportunities everywhere…

~ Consider your retail store layout. Imagine a stressed parent walking in—now change two small things that make her/his life better.

~ Empower your Customer Support team to spend a certain amount of money to fix a customer’s problem, no questions asked.

~ Your emails are too pimpy, and too frequent! What would you do differently if you personally received them every day? That, do that.

~ Print out your banner ads with less than 1% click-thru rate, burn them in a bonfire, and have the marketers dance around the fire. After this cathartic experience, stop running all those ads and start anew with fresh imagination.

~ Kill 50% of your automated reports. No one will miss them. A month later, delay the other 50% by a week. Now you’ll know the 5 reports out of 80 that people actually find valuable.

~ Automatically refund shipping when the customer receives their order more than 48 hours late—and tell them. Oh, and fix the problem!

~ There is a sign at Avis LAX: If you prepay for fuel at Avis here, it is $3.34/gallon. In the middle of this massive city, if you return the car with less than full gas, it is $9.94/gallon. Oh, and if you drive “short distances” (52 miles in my case) they’ll still go ahead and charge you $14.99 Fuel Service – though I returned the fuel tank full. If your company’s name evokes the word “scumbags!” – though you have lots of great employees – it is time to urgently suck less.

Bottom line: A certain amount of attention needs to be paid to radical innovation (TMAI 114), because companies need that to last for a very long time. However, that can’t be your all-consuming focus. That radical innovation can’t be your main slogan. If you adopt the suck less, everyday mantra, all the small things will add up to a lot.

It might not be sexy, but sucking less is a valid path to radical peace + radical profits.

Carpe diem!


~ Call your mother more often, tell her how much you appreciate her.

OK, so maybe that’s not for your company. But you and I can apply the suck less mantra in our personal lives, too. 🙂

This was taken from the Avinash Kaushik email newsletter. 

Read the web version HERE. 

8 Mindset Changes

8 Mindset Changes

1. Don’t Change Others, Change Yourself

If changing myself is considered tough, imagine how little of scope that leaves for changing others.

2. Enjoy the Journey, Don’t Dwell on the Results

I must learn to appreciate the things the journey teaches me while I’m trying to achieve my goals, all my ups & downs happen for a reason & teach me something very important.

3. Use Your Imagination, Be Creative

The only way to be successful is if I do it my way & use my imagination to bring forward the best ideas in innovative ways.

4. Don’t Pay Heed to Negative Thoughts

The more attention I pay to negative thoughts the more I’m practicing feeling that emotion in my head which in turn makes me believe it more.

5. Believe in Yourself

Success will come along only when I start validating myself & patting my own back & saying “I’ve come so far & I have the ability to go further.”

6. Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

Distractions can come in so many forms & will always test my willpower & patience. If I want to succeed, I will have to wave goodbye to the distraction, move past it, & concentrate on what’s important to me.

7. Plan, Plan & Plan

When I plan, I am organized & I can utilize the resources I have in the best possible way to get the best possible income.

8. Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

The only way I’ll know if I’ve failed is if I refuse to get back up.