Posts Tagged ‘seth godin’

When I am asked “Why do you write”, its usually followed by a “Everyone  knows most writers don’t make a living out of it. So, why would you do something like that?”

In answer to this,  the following quote by James Baldwin resonates with me.

“You write in order to change the world…. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.” – James Baldwin

If you keep this in mind, you can sense the difference writers’ and authors’ tribe makes to this world. And in pursuing this passion, you come to a point, when you meet and interact with many people who are changing the world one article and one book at a time. Seth Godin says, “He writes because there is no better way to spread ideas”… I agree. So, if you look at this Tribe of authors you will see their commitment to spreading ideas, sharing ideas – like a free trade of exchange of ideas to shift the world view in a medium called “language” which is what separates human beings from animals.

When I wrote my eBook, PINk and Grow RICH, I was sharing the idea that ” RICH means different things to different people. Most successful people did not start with the motive to get rich. They were more interested in helping others”. And then it was a matter of time when I saw the power of sharing ideas through social media. I found an aspect of “creativity” and “community” that I did not know.

Creativity

This was brought forth for me by Roger C Parker, who shared his review on his popular blog leveraging social media to do so . His review focused on sharing ideas on content, design and picking a title – ideas exchange for those writing or considering to write an eBook.

Read below his post on content and design

Content & design tips for e-book success

Read below his post on choosing a title for your book

Choose a memorable book title before you begin to write your book

Community

This became visible with post from William Reed and an interview with Rajesh Setty. They became part of the community that helps you spread the ideas using social media.

Read below article by William Reed
Lessons in Leadership from Deepika

Read below interview with Raj Setty
Pink and Grow Rich; Interview with Deepika Bajaj

And their respective communities “Tweeted” and shared it with their communities. And I became part of a bigger community – a larger community powered by social media.

So, as a gift this holiday season, I am taking 40% off the price on my ebook (regularly priced at $9.95, now $5.99).

We all have people who give us material gifts, this season give an idea as a gift and become part of the larger community of folks who share your interests. Make this Holiday count for someone, who is not stepping up to his maximum potential Or someone who feels robbed of his dreams Or someone who thinks if he had more money, he would be happy….Get your copy now and gift it to as many people…and become an agent to spread the ideas.

I feel a fraud writing on self-discipline. I started this post over 6 weeks ago. Yet, here I am—just days before deadline–finally coming back to push through the hard work of completing it and making it readable.

I am definitely not a guru or master of self-discipline. More times than not, I am a master of procrastination. I am brilliant at finding important interruptions to fill my time when I have a big project sitting there.

But, I’m forced to address these issues because of the fundamental truth: A small step completed is a million times better than a big plan thought about. Seth Godin says that “Professionals ship”. Ship means they finish what they start. There are many, many people who are like bullfrogs in a china shop – they make lots of noise, but no actual action (or breakage) happens.

So, I’m dedicating this Topic to exploring ways we can all ship more often?  A little over a year ago I wrote my most-read-ever post – 17 Habits for a fulfilling life – and Self-Discipline was habit #1.

What would my parents say?

My parents would laugh to see me, Conor, writing on self-discipline! Alter all, they observed my high-school years where they watched me avoid studying, avoid starting essays, leaving homework to the last possible minute (and often somewhat later).

Likewise, my housemates from my time at university would be falling off their chairs laughing if you were to point them to this post.

Why I’m taking a fresh look at self-discipline

I began writing seriously about 2 years ago. This has led me to have a deep interest in why I am highly productive in some periods and totally useless during other periods. Through these musings, my hope is that some day those useless periods will be smashed to smithereens and I will become a “proper writer”.

I am not going to write a post today that says that you must become totally disciplined in order to be successful. There are some tricks, there is some psychology, there is a lot of pushing through and keeping working when things don’t look so easy.

What would Nike say?

I have spent a lot of time during the past few months interviewing high performance athletes. My goal was to understand their motivations, how they train, how they prepare mentally, and how they face anxiety.

In many cases these successful athletes have an ability to focus on the one next step and, in the words of Nike, Just do it!

Josef Ajram, Spain’s top endurance athlete, tells himself “I will run another 15 minutes. Come on. Anyone can run another 15 minutes.”

In Josef Ajram’s words, he has completed the Marathon de Sables – 243km across the Sahara desert in 6 days – by only ever allowing himself to think about the next 15 minutes!

The Pomodor Technique

Today, when I write, I use an execution tool called The Pomodoro Technique.

This was created by Italian student Francesco Cirillo during the time that he was writing his university thesis. He was having a hard time getting started.

One day, he went to his mother’s kitchen where he found a cooking timer in the shape of a tomato – pomodoro in italian. He took the pomodoro timer back to his desk and thought “right, I am going to set this to 20 minutes and I will keep writing until the timer finishes”.

He began to use this execution tool on a daily basis and quickly got on top of the thesis he had to write. He has documented the full method and provides tools at the Pomodoro technique home page.

So, set a timer and focus on just taking one small step.

Why do we procrastinate?

Why do we sabotage ourselves even when we know what we should do to move towards our goal? I read a great post by Leo Baubata of Zen Habits a couple of months ago where he talked of 4 reasons why we procrastinate:

  1. It provides Instant Gratification – It feels better right now
  2. It avoids Fear – If I do it wrong what will they say? What will they think of me? If I don’t act then I avoid the risk of making a mistake.
  3. It has no immediate negative consequencesJim Rohn says “We all have the choice of one of two great pains in the world – the pain of regret or the pain of discipline”. The pain of discipline is here and now. The pain of regret comes later… but is by far the worse pain.
  4. I overestimate my future self – I have some inner belief that I will be smarter, better, faster in the future. This is a strong belief. The work that is hard today must somehow be easier for the better future me? But, what if’s not? I am deceiving myself.

Good and Bad Procrastination.

There is good and bad procrastination. Putting off going to the supermarket so that I can finish this article because I am on a roll would be good procrastination; checking my email because I am hitting a wall in my writing of this article would be bad procrastination.

Many highly productive people manage to succeed by procrastinating on important work when avoiding unimportant tasks. My desk here is quite a mess. I should tidy it, but writing this article is my way of procrastinating away from cleaning up.

Building Your Support Community

Which co-workers and friends want to see you succeed? Who are the people in your life who like to see you make progress on the things that are important to you? If you want to get big things done, you must spend time with others who are on this journey and support your journey.

Self-discipline grows with use

Self-discipline, like muscle, grows with use. Keep one promise, the next one will be is easier. Run tonight, tomorrow easier. Write now, tomorrow easier.

The other side of the coin, however, is that without use, discipline shrinks! No run today, harder tomorrow. No writing today, harder tomorrow.

How can you develop your self-discipline?

Here are some simple “first steps” you might want to try after reading this article:

  • Try the Pomodoro technique. Do 10 minutes on something important right now.
  • Take time each morning to reflect on what is important
  • Avoid “the watercooler gang” – the groups in our offices and schools who are happily unproductive and enjoy helping others take their place in the group. Make a list of 2-3 people who support you when you talk of your progress in something important in your life.
  • Never underestimate the role of practice and persistence and hard work in success. The “3 steps to untold riches programs” don’t work. The “flat tummy in 1 week while watching TV plan” doesn’t work. There are no shortcuts. Don’t waste time looking.
  • Inspiration tends to come when you have trudged through 40 minutes of painful effort and have not allowed yourself to check email, make a coffee, eat chocolate, check IM… You have to push through to get to inspiration.

Summary (or how to change the world…  one step at a time)

The only people who can change the world are those that want to. Many don’t want to. Some want to, but don’t accept the discipline of hard work. Anything you want will never be as hard as you imagine it will be! So, get started and push on through. Do it “just because.” Even if it is a failure as a product, it will teach you. You will come out stronger.

In my next post we will look at how to take Imagination, Ambition, Learning and Self-Discipline and make the journey easier with each day. A friend of mine, Verne Harnish says: “Routine sets you free.” I welcome your comments, retweets and general link-love!

Working Hard – Still no progress?

by Vijay Peduru on August 18, 2010

We all work hard but don’t seem to make much progress. In a lot of organizations, people seem to be praised high for working long and hard, but they never seem to get promoted or get noticed. Why is this. It is because the definition of “hard work” changed. A lot of people still believe in the industrial age definition that hard work is using your “body” to work hard , but if we look at our current situation, the majority of us do work sitting at a desk in front of a computer.

Many people are not aware that we have transitioned to an information age from an industrial age. According to most economic historians, the Industrial age ended about 20Yrs ago in 1989 when the Berlin wall came down and the internet came up.

In the industrial age, working hard meant, using our body and working long hours i.e physical labor . That is how machines worked and humans had to work similar to machines and humans were rewarded for this.

Now though, the majority of us are not working with machines, we are working with computers using our mind more instead of our body. Now hard work means emotional labor.. exerting our mind. Sure, we still work on long hours and weekends, but this is still not working hard as hard work is still translating into long hours. As Seth Godin says ” Hard work meant more work in the past. But the past doesn’t lead to the future.The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that’s really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It’s about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.

A lot of successful people work the same hours or less than we work, but they are still successful.  They get ahead because they do the new “hard work” As Seth Godin says

“Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you’d rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you’ve done that, to do it again the next day.”

So, the easiest way to do hard work is to love change,train ourselves to love challenges and question the status quo all by using and exerting our mind.

From now on, let us start training ourselves in baby steps to do the new “Hard work” i.e “exerting emotional labor”.

A recent report from Nielsen Company demonstrated that more and more Americans are spending time on Social Networks. Share of US internet time spent on social networking is 22.7% which clearly dominates the time (as highlighted in the list above) of where users spend their time online. There is an increase of 43% from 2009, which clearly indicates that it is no more an activity embraced by early adapters but now is part of the main stream population.

Social Networking goes mainstream

  • The most surprising part is that it part exceeds the time people spend on playing games or emailing. This surely means that people are connecting for personal and professional reasons on social networks. A social networking report just pointed out that there is an increase in traffic on Facebook from middle-age users and users with same college since 2009.
  • In a demographic view of social networking activity on mobile devices, women were found to use their phones to “tweet” and “friend” 10% more than men. Also, the 35-54 age group had more active mobile social networkers than any other group.
  • If you are in the U.S.  and use social networks like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn, chances are you’re more affluent and more urban than the average American according to Nielsen Claritas

Mainstream Behavior

“Intimacy prevails” – In spite of the explosion of social networking users studies show only 5-10% of FB users leave comments on statuses, photos and walls of their friends though women are more active. People who are members of online social networks are not so much ‘networking’ as they are ‘broadcasting their lives. So, it is common for people to comment on their activities and updates. In effect, as Godin, the author of Tribes, says every tribe becomes a media channel.  It is most important to notice that humans may be advertising themselves more effectively. But they still have the same small circles of intimacy as ever. So, even if you are “broadcasting” to a wider, exponentially expanding network, people who are engaged with you is a small, intimate circle of friends who are part of your professional or personal tribe.

Social Media and Tribes #1: Tribal behaviors 2.0

by Deepika Bajaj on May 26, 2010

Media was designed to be an medium for the message of man. It was a way to broadcast a message to be able to connect with a community that might have interest in what you might have to stay. MOST importantly it was the extension of our Human Tribe. A Tribe which was based on interaction of the social community – where commerce was created through referrals, recommendations and participation. The objective was to tap into the intrinsic behavior of the TRIBE and most often people were motivated by certain social behaviors and NOT necessarily by money.

In traditional media, the idea was to blast something to everyone who had a device like TV, radio to receive it. These medium was designed to interrupt people like an ad within a TV program, a song on the radio or an article in the newspaper. It was an intrusive way of marketers to grab attention and shove their message. They wished that people will be touched by their message and will be moved into action to buy, refer or participate.

Here is the major issue with all of this, the media channels eventually took over the control of what will be printed. Newspaper won’t print anything you sent them. Sometimes, you have to advertise with huge sums of money to get a spot on TV, radio or newspaper. Over time, the power of community to share information over media got depleted. And the Human Tribe which was based on many-to-many communication was reduced to a DICTATOR model of one-to-many communication.

And then arrived social media, suddenly you could print anything on your blog, upload any video and even make your podcast on whatever you fancy. And media became TRIBAL.  We were able to share our opinions, our businesses and our tribes.

Speaking of tribes, the predominant characteristic of tribes throughout time is the need to communicate. So what social media can do combined with a tribal structure is very quickly mobilize a shared interest and becomes a powerful way to communicate. In effect, as Godin, the author of Tribes, says every tribe becomes a media channel.

Keeping this in mind, ActiveGarage team launched 99tribes, a premier site to discover people on twitter who share your interests and become part of their own media channel.

Here is how tribes are shaping their media channel:

  1. Communities as Tribes. People are able to find like-minded people and declare their interests. This allows for them to make themselves “discoverable” by those who share their interests. Given how hard it is to find people in the real world who share your interests, here is a way to become part of YOUR tribe – your own media channel.
  2. Think Tribes Not Market Segments. Modern human tribes are based on our need to use language and communicate. This enables the tribes to reciprocate, help or even hoard each other. This is your tribal broadcast media channel.
  3. Chalk your Tribal path. Each person becomes a valuable contributor of the Tribe and shapes its journey. And brings along people who then shape the tribal path – what will your Tribes journey look like now depends on you. Share and shape the journey on your Tribal media channel.

So, I invite you to become the part of your Tribe. If you have a Twitter account, you can join 99tribes by simply clicking on “add me to the tribes”… and if you don’t, create a Twitter account, join 99tribes and create your own media channel!

That Art of getting what you want

by Vijay Peduru on February 22, 2010

Before proceeding .. Please consider reading this Post from Seth Godin.


We all want to succeed in Business, want to get healthier  and we know how to do it… but it doesn’t happen.  Business is helping a group of people (niche) better than anyone else out there ( think Apple’s iphone).  Health is just a change in diet and doing some exercises. We know this , but we still can’t do it. Why? It is because deep down in our brain.. inherited from millions of years ago is our lizard brain which fights for survival. Anything which causes pain it will avoid at any cost.


By the way, we have many different brains.. I like to call them minds. but let us talk about the two major ones.. The Lizard brain and the Possiblities brain. One (Lizard brain) always takes care of survival and reproduction and the other (Possibilities brain) takes care of possibilities . Both are needed. The lizard brain will save us when we cross the street, so we are not hit by the truck. It will save us when we are walking barefoot and see a nail. Fundamentally it will save us from anything that we interpret as “painful”.


The obvious next question is: How do we interpret “painful”? There are two ways.
  1. By instinct.
  2. By our “Past Memories”


In one way,  Instincts are also the “default” memories which come along with the package (you) when we are born. Ever seen a new born chicken running away from an eagle? Or consider when you pulled your fingers when you touched a heat source like a stove.. that is instinct.  Your body by instinct knows that too much heat is dangerous. After this, now you have a memory that you cannot touch a stove. The next time you are near a stove you will “remember” the danger.


The other brain – The Possibilities brain knows deep down you are a born genius and you have the potential to do what you want to do. That is why you dream about things you want like getting rich, getting healthier etc.  fundamentally it wants freedom..


So, anytime you want to make a change like for e.g. if you want to get healthier and you want to change your diet. the lizard brain interprets this as “change” and any change will cause pain which it will try to avoid. How do we get out of this? Simple… by using your “possibilities” brain and changing your interpretation of the situation. Let us take an example to better illustrate this.


Let us say there is a overweight 18 year old boy going to college. If his dad or friends says ..do exercise he “interprets” exercise as boring and painful.  His dad keeps pestering him to do the exercise but he doesn’t do it.  Let us say after a few months this prince meets a beautiful young princess and thinks that she likes a boy who is strong and muscular. He immediately hits the gym and it (going to the gym) suddenly does not occur as painful but in fact, joyful. What changed? The context. At first, the context was “Be healthier” which changed to “I need to impress this princess with my body”.  Now the exercise occurred as joyful.


What happened here is the lizard brain interpreted this as “joy” and not as “pain”.  If you see great men and women, they “failed” a lot of times, but kept going and ultimately succeeded.  This is because they interpreted “change” as joyful and so failure occurred as positive for their “lizard brain” and they could continue.  I agree this may not be the case in all great men and women but fundamentally they made sure that the lizard brain does not come in the way of what they want.. by resisting it by the use of willpower OR by befriending it.


One of the most effective way to overcome the lizard brain is by “befriending it”. Like any good long-term relationship.. issues will arise continuously but as long as we are committed to be friends with our lizard brain for life, it will work out. You can count on the fact that every time the lizard brain senses change, it will get perturbed. At this moment notice it and use your “possibilities” mind , create a powerful and inspiring context and let him know that this change is not painful but a joyful one.


In my life, I recently learned yoga. Everyday my body was aching and I hated getting up everyday to do this. Everyday after the yoga, my pains were more. If fact I quit for a couple of days. Then I remembered the  “context” concept after reading it in the “The three laws of performance” book and hearing it in a class from  “Landmark education“.  I changed my context of “doing yoga for health” to “Spending one hour out of 24hrs with my spiritual teacher”. It shifted completely and my “Lizard brain” interpreted it as a good thing and I haven’t stopped one day from then and I love doing yoga now.


Special Thanks: Seth Godin in his brilliant book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” talks about the Lizard Brain. For a brief Introduction to the lizard brain check this post , this video and this short e-book


Your brain would not want to read this book because your lizard brain interprets this as painful. Imagine you had lived your whole life being manipulated by a system without you knowing it. Isn’t it painful… Hey, you are aware of it now. But consider changing your “context”… The “context” is “Here is a book which will show me how to live my life with freedom”

If it ain’t broken, break it!

by Himanshu Jhamb on January 4, 2010

What Matters NowThis post is inspired by Tom Peters. In fact I have taken the topic of this post from Tom’s write-up on “Excellence” straight from the free e-book “What Matters Now” that Seth Godin recently released on his blog and a number of other sites (including Active Garage).

I fell in love with this quote as soon as I saw it and was deeply moved by all that it could mean. Here are a few that got triggered in my thinking:

  1. It challenges mediocrity at all levels… because mediocrity deals with accepting what is, as-is. Being in status-quo. Adjusting. Compromising. Coping.  Mediocrity does not produce stellar results. It always produces the same, common result and thus gets priced in the marketplace. That’d explain the gap between the movers and shakers, and the common people.
  2. Call for Action: It is a beautifully constructed statement that clearly Calls for Action. Nothing happens without action… Nothing that you intended, actually.
  3. It is Purposeful: It is Purposeful, in that, it is a step that needs to be taken in order to do something new.
  4. It is a Precursor to Creating: Without creating a space where something new can be brought about, no creation is possible. In other words, until the old takes up the space, the new cannot get in!
  5. It is Risky! – Yes, it is… because it will take us to the unknown. But, the unknown is not always undesirable. Just ask Christopher Columbus OR Albert Einstein OR Yourself (when you last stepped into the unknown)

I invite you to reflect on this for a while with work, your entrepreneurial venture, and your life and contribute to this incomplete list of what all this could mean… perhaps this could even make it into your New Year’s resolution list!

Happy New Year!

Should we fear change or embrace it?

by Vijay Peduru on January 1, 2010

ChangeOur natural instinct is to fight change. We always want stability. Our ancestors in the jungle had to be extra cautious about any change in the surroundings  and that instinct still remains in our genes and we fear change. We imagine something bad is going to happen and that is why we fear change.

In the Industrial Revolution, change was slow..  People went to the same factory and almost did the same job and their day was almost the same the whole 40 years of their working life.

If we look at the current reality in our knowledge economy , Change is happening at lightning pace in the world. If we live in this ever changing world and if we fear change. we are stressed every moment. When we are stressed, the side effects are unhappiness and health problems.. Is there a way out.  Yes there is and… it is to learn to embrace change. Like any other skill this can be learnt and can become enjoyable.

There are three ways to learn to embrace change:

  1. Accept that most of the time change cannot be anticipated and we will always live in uncertainties : If we look at it, we cannot stop the change happening in the world, so accept it. Seth Godin in his book “Survival is not enough” talks about the following article he read in the New york times. It explains why most of the time, we may not be able to anticipate change  The title was “What happens when the Jaguars die”
  2. “Jaguars, as it turns out live is Mexico. Their favorite food is rabbits. And when jaguars die(due to encroachments on their habitat by people), the rabbits multiply like , well, rabbits. And when the number of rabbits dramatically increases, the grassland turns to desert. In other words, a small change in the status of one animal ( the jaguar) can lead to millions of acres becoming a desert.

    The ecosystem is very responsive. kill off one crop and entire species that depend on it become extinct–Just like the ecosystem your business operates in. A small change– say the availability of competitive pricing data to your customer base– can have implications for the way your company must run all of its operations in order to succeed”

    There are very few ecosystems which are stable but the majority of them are unstable. So accept that we cannot always anticipate change and will have to accept uncertainty.

  3. Know that we are capable of embracing change: In our workplace or in any endeavor we don’t like, change appears as bad and threatening.. but you change the context – for example, lets say you are planning to go on a vacation… suddenly Change is fun, exploring is fun. mystery is fun. This indicates, that we are capable of embracing change if we decide to embrace it.
  4. Embrace Change: The only way, species in our planet earth survived is by evolving themselves. Seth Godin recommends to to get into the habit of making frequent small changes first, then work your way to bigger and bigger things.  He calls it zooming .. Zooming is about constant change, for no particular reason, and with no particular goal.

Zooming is about stretching your limits by adapting to new ideas, opportunities, and challenges without triggering our inherent human change-avoidance reflex. Zooming is about adapting small changes over time. You can practice zooming in everyday life,  Seth Godin proposes the following five simple things to try in our daily lives.

  1. For dinner tonight, eat a food that you’ve never tasted. Then try another one tomorrow night.
  2. On your way to work tomorrow, listen to a CD from a musical genre that you hate or that’s new to you.
  3. Once a week, meet with someone from outside your area of expertise. Go to a trade show on a topic in which you have no interest whatsoever.
  4. Read a magazine you’ve never read before.
  5. Change the layout of your office.

…or just do something for the first time, as often as possible. Once you master these five steps, you are much more likely to invent five more steps and gradually you will view every change as an opportunity. Companies that zoom do the same thing.

Keep Zooming…

What Matters NowI am privileged to have had the opportunity to preview Seth Godin’s upcoming ebook What Matters Now prior to its launch. First off, there is little I can write here that will be of any substitute for reading the actual ebook.

This is a brilliant work and you must read it for 4 key reasons:

  • Timing – It is the end of the year and those pesky new year’s resolutions are upon us. This book will provoke your thoughts, stimulate your ambition and orientate you for action in the coming year.
  • Power – Seth Godin has brought in 72 thought leaders to provide their version of “What Matters Now.” This is providing us a sneak peek into the minds of these thought leaders with minimum time investment from us.
  • Network – Through this book you get access to the recognized thought leaders of today, what they are up to and how to tap into their networks – very valuable.
  • Diversity – Each contributor has presented their work in their own desired format, which in conjunction with the powerful messages produces a lesson in the art of communication.

The eBook comprises a page per topic word, with diverse topics as Strengths; Poker; Harmony; DIY; Change; Confidence; Productivity, to which a contributor per topic has shared their insight and knowledge, primarily producing a sense of reflection and thought to each topic.

I found it triggered many emotions and thoughts associated with each topic. As fast as they were triggered, when I flipped the page to read the next topic, the sensation was repeated – it is like being in a conversation with the author of each topic.

Later in the  day after reading the book, as I moved about I found I was pondering my situation and reflecting back on what I had read earlier. I think this is one of those books you keep with you as a guide. The format makes for a very easy read and great if you need to read in byte-size slots.

To give you a little insight to the content and contributors – Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App: How to win business and Influence Friends wrote on the topic of Confidence – Tim speaks of confidence as the “Rocket fuel for your business life”. He then exposes the problem in confidence – “Most people don’t cultivate confidence – it just lands on them due to favorable conditions… Good times make for confident people. Bad times crush them, along with their daring point of view”

How true has this been over the last year? Tim then prescribes some sensible action to avoid this situation.

To demonstrate the contrast in presentation Jessica Hagy, author of the blog Indexed drew a simple picture on an index card and it produced just as much thought on the topic of Facts!

facts-by-jessica-hagy

Do yourself the favor and download the ebook – but more importantly read it! If you can’t do that then please send the link to someone you care about because they will appreciate it.

Download free now –What Matters Now