Talent and mastery of any given subject is equally a function of perseverance in the face of the self-defeat naturally experienced when challenged by the trials of the novel task as it is a circumstantial luck granted by a genetic code that supports your natural proficiencies. Oh, and you gotta like what you do – that’s crucial. You can’t master something you don’t love.
My crazy British friend once advised me that the wise man has a diverse set of interests and spends time in learning about each. If the books that he has are any indication of his diverse interests, than they include the Kama Sutra and Applied Mathematics for Mechanical Engineers. I think he’s right though, there’s something refreshing about meeting that person in a Harlem Starbucks who you can discuss not only the complications of the technology-centric medicine industry, but also the challenges of writing a captivating plot-line to a story in efforts to help people you have never met to viscerally experience the same spectrum of euphoria and depression you have endured during your life’s challenges. I don’t watch TV or follow sports, not because I’m an elitist asshole that thinks I need to prove myself in some capacity to anyone, but because I just think there are so many other things to do that are much more fulfilling.
I’m trying to remember that in life there really is no ‘promised land’ of achievement that you will reach eventually reach and be infinitely satisfied. The very essence of human nature is to desire what we don’t have. Given this, I am actively trying to appreciate every challenge as something that I will look back and smile upon – because only through facing each challenge do we gain the capacity to appreciate the pleasures of overcoming that challenge and attaining the fruit of its completion. As Tim Krieder once put it, happiness is not an end-goal, but an experience achieved through being fully engaged in the business of living your life. We could never comprehend happiness had we never felt the pains of loss and failure. If Andy Weir is right, this incubation period that we have entitled as ‘living’ is simply a cyclical process of preparation and learning prior to the next step in our soul’s journey to some currently undefined end state.
“The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets. The prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.”
Just some thoughts. Time to refill on my light roast.
to start a conversation is to become a student of everything.
to anyone, in any language? The word which warms the heart the moment it’s spoke.
Say it when you meet them a couple times. Say it when you compliment them. Say it instead of “he” or “she”. I guarantee you you’ll notice a warming effect of their attitude towards you.
Note: This is observable pretty much every time he is conducting an interview at the end of his show.
Jon Stewart is not only smart, quick witted, and entertaining – he leverages his body language to embody his best characteristics.
When he is reflecting on a point his interviewee has stated, he always looks away with a slight squint.
When he is processing what he is about to say, he looks away from audience and interviewee both and straight down at his table
When he is building the context to his point, he first places his hand on the table with only the finger-tips touching, close proximity to his body
And finally, when he makes his final point / rebuttal, with his hand in the same posture he moves it closer to the interviewee, almost indicative of forward progress or a new point the interviewee must consider.
All of these moves in combination create a powerful body-language orchestration of information intake, processing, and coming back with a counter-point.
I’ve started using this body-language strategy as of a couple months ago in business and casual settings both, and perhaps I’m biased, but I can feel the difference created in the vibe of the conversation. I can feel the pensive and serious undertones created when making a point
live in a world where the traditional ways of climbing the ladder are obsolete to those that wish to leverage the resources and abilities that they have been blessed with. Forget Web 2.0, we in World 2.0. You do not have to stick with one company for very extended periods of time all while attempting to impress superiors by working late and such. I think the paradigm has shifted from “Work Hard” to “Work Smart”; depending on your angle, sometimes they’re synonymous. But the advantages of “Work Smart” accelerate and launch you much farther than just putting in that “Work Hard.” Work Smart requires you to be proactive, requires you to learn and leverage the tools around you, and it requires you to think creatively instead of following the very familiar traditional Corporate ladder path. It many times will enable you to create a niche by blending your interest with your career motives – but the creativity needs to be flowing in order for this to happen. I think Work Smart is career self-actualization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs).
That said, still the best way to make moves? Relationships. Talk, network, connect, go in from the angle of providing a mutual benefit. Negotiate what you want, never be afraid to ask for too much otherwise you make it too easy on them.
The two keys to interpersonal success
What is the sweetest sound to anyone, regardless of race, spoken language, ethnicity, culture, etc?
1) Their Name – Say their name, remember their name.
What is the one thing all humans absolutely crave?
2) Appreciation – Be lavish in serving it even when the end result may not have been what you wanted/expected.
If you can leverage these two facts to every interpersonal situation you encounter, you will indoubtedly be successful.
A quick example – Why do you dress a certain way? Why do you work longer hours at your job? Why do you go out of your way to do things that you may otherwise not have to do?
There may be components of many reasons embedded, but boiled down to the bare bones, it’s that desire to be appreciated, be noticed, be complimented, be wanted. Why do people want to be celebrities? Why is it human nature to talk about yourself? Why do we always talk about ourselves more than others?
Think about it, then apply it!
Know your greatest strength and leverage the shit out of it.
Of the many things I lack, the ONE thing I can do really well is develop and manage relationships. I am a networker, I network by personality. Because of this I have a consulting job on the east coast, a budding freelance career, and potentially an opportunity to travel overseas to help build the next Bangalore of the Middle-East.
Im not the best looking, most intelligent, most smooth, etc – but I will remember your name on the first introduction and I will give you big smiles, kind words, and I might squirrel my way into your trust zone. It’s been working thus far.
After another usual late-night conversation with my roommate on the topic of why certain people succeed and others do not with regards to professional/personal career success, we came across an interesting point which truly resonated clear in my head; the need for vision.
Our information stream is infinite; we no longer need to spend days at a time researching a topic to ascertain a good understanding, it is served directly to us with the technologies of the 21st century and so forth. The bottle-neck variable now seems to be more so motivation versus lacking the necessary resources. Needless to say this constant and endless stream of options and information has an overloading effect.
I feel as though many times we are aware of the possibilities of our future, but the possibilities seem distant and highly varied. There are endless options of careers, and many of them require a foundational effort which can be difficult to manifest without a clear vision.
Vision meaning, somehow, instilling in an individual the knowledge that this is possible, and providing a very rough roadmap on how the vision can be achieved. E.x. I want to work for NASA – therefore I must attend a 4 yr university, major in some sort of aeronautic science, likely relocate to an area where a NASA base/office is located, and continue working/planning from there — as simple as this idea of “a vision” sounds, I feel it is not correctly provided to many.
It’s hard to achieve what you know exists but do not know how it is possible. A vision sheds light on a roadmap to achieving what you want. I feel that many people never actualize a vision.
I’ve come realize my greatest problem when it comes to development of anything computer related. And maybe this is a glimpse into a greater problem from an abstract level. If I have time (or don’t have time, for that matter), I will try to crank out as many half-baked solutions to a development problem as I can possibly come up with, basing these hypothetical solutions on anecdotal evidence of what the problem could be. Rarely do I step back, clear my head, and really consider all variables in the problem to derive a single solution. Though this approach has a lesser “physical” property to it, because I’m not vigorously scratching my head and typing, it truly solves more in the long run.
I guess the point here is that though doing “accessory” things like typing out half baked ideas, sending a couple emails, etc may SEEM productive and give false sense of some sort of accomplishment, the real goals are achieved when you step-back and analyze the problem as a whole, and find THE most important leg of the problem and tackle that first. In my case, typing a bunch of solutions is just wasting time; what I really need to do is look out the window, consider my problem, figure out which details I need to figure out which will help me come closer to deriving a solution to a problem.
I hope this makes sense, but I think this is a really important life lesson.
Washington DC can be summed up in a few key words: politics, Bens Chili Bowl, brunch, and networking.
There are three types of connections you make in DC, and quite possibly the world at large for some, friends, acquaintances, and professional connections. Friends are real, acquaintances are that massive conglomeration of people that you “sorta know but don’t closely associate with” due to lack of common ground, social anxiety, lack of motivation, etc. And then there are professional connections. This term is likely very applicable in the sphere of DC where climbing the ladder means making large networks of people that will be able to help. Sometimes professional connections can be friends, but rarely; many times they are acquaintances. Rarely do they help you if they are neither in your social sphere.
I’m not advocating the development of professional connections, I’m just pointing out the reality. When I meet people, I like to know them at a relatively personal level. The people I simply do not connect with (something I think I, and many others, figure out within 5 minutes of meeting someone) I keep at as an acquaintance.
Networking events are interesting, I attended one last evening and it was the same story. Break into each somewhat ongoing conversation, learn the names and positions (including some history), and discuss the current situation. This type of conversation gets old but at a networking event, it’s almost necessary. You can break the social norm and discuss topics outside of these foundational blocks; but it can be difficult especially if no common ground is shared.
I consider myself hyper-social, my mood is directly affected when I’m not around others. At the same time, i’m not one for large social events i.e. big networking events or parties. I used to be, not anymore. At this point I want to hack the block of people and find the few that I truly want to develop some sort of relationship with. Many others I meet at these events I find distant or almost intentionally choose to bar themselves from you. That or maybe in the silent exchange of adjudicating looks and personality they are either putting you as their acquaintance or simply dismissing you. Or perhaps they lack confidence in a social setting like a network event to open up to particular personalities. I don’t know.