Learning To Work and The Great Divorce (Day Two Yours.org)

This is the second of 12 days I’m posting my daily blogs on Yours.org


17 years of school trains you for a world that doesn’t exist.

Throughout school and college, you are in a finite work environment. An arbitrary world with a constrained workload. If you have too much to do, the school has overworked you and is responsible for you bad results.

The total amount of “work” is fixed at a “reasonable” level and the things you work on are assigned, never chosen. Year after year, you learn how to get a finite amount of assigned work done, but you never learn how to work in an environment where you have to choose the work, and there are countless options.

Many intelligent people do well in school and learn to thrive in this environment with limited assigned tasks. With a hard deadline, a defined task, and clear grades for success they can work a handful of projects. But when they are thrown into a more dynamic environment where they need to exercise judgment and choose from countless options they are paralyzed by fear.

They don’t know how to define what is important, so they think they should do almost everything. As a result, they don’t finish what they want to get done. For anyone who has worked in almost any job, this is a common feeling. There is always more you could do, and you need to get comfortable with pushing yourself to do the best you can do without sacrificing in other areas.

But for the school-bred perfectionist, they are faced with a daily feeling of failure that they don’t know how to handle. Guilt seeps from the edges as an occasional signal, to be a dominant emotional experience. Guilt, fear, and anxiety dominate their day to day experience, their confidence drops, their results suffer, and eventually, they break and quit or are fired.

They retreat from complex work into more basic roles that limit the need to make decisions. Fleeing from complex work creates a lot of peace and ease, but in the long term, it creates dissatisfaction, pain, and envy.

Read the rest of the post at: https://www.yours.org/content/learning-to-work-and-the-great-divorce-71f3ff193e3a

 

New Blog Post On Yours.org

Over the next twelve days, I’m going to be posting my blog posts on yours.org. Yours is bringing a market to blogging. It is fascinating to play with and I strongly suggest you check it out.


Right now, the prices of cryptocurrencies are very dependent on belief and speculation. People are investing in coins without understanding the underlying philosophy or use cases. They simply see prices going up and pile on. As a result, there are wild swings in prices between different cryptocurrency projects. Bitcoin was way up, then Litecoin exploded, and now Ethereum and Ripple are making a run.

As various coins charge up and down the charts, it’s easy to get lured into a fear of missing out. Watching Litecoin go up makes you question BCH. Watching Ethereum makes you wish you bought earlier. It is easy to lose sight of the long-term in the short-term ups and downs.

A lot of people will make a lot of money by correctly predicting what the money of the future is, but that is insignificant compared to the benefit of cryptocurrency in the long-run.

…..Check out the rest of the post on Yours.org 

Gap and Gain

Dan Sullivan’s Multiplier Mindset podcast has been one of the most valuable assets for me this year.

I’ve written a few times about his 4 steps to a breakthrough idea (here and here), which has probably been the most impactful idea I’ve picked up. But right behind that is the concept of the gap and gain.

To put it simply, focusing on the gap is comparing your progress to an ideal that is moving further into the distance. The gain is comparing your progress to your starting point.

If you focus on the gap, you will be disappointed and frustrated. If you focus on the gain, you will be motivated and confident.

Having an ideal in mind is not a bad thing. To succeed, we need to have a vision of for the future that we are working towards. That future ideal is a great motivator, but it is a terrible measuring stick. If you fixate on it and compare your progress to an unrealistic ideal, you will feel regular disappointment and find yourself losing confidence day by day.

Instead, you should still embrace the ideal and work towards it, but when you measure your progress, you should always pause and look back to where you started.

I often use the gap vs. gain model as a tool for reflection at the end of the day. I make a list of the gap, the things that happened (or didn’t happen) during that day that are on my mind as non-ideal.

Then I write a list of the gain. All the things big and small that went well and helped me make progress to becoming a better version of myself.

It is a small and quick exercise, but the simple act of drawing your focus to the things that went well at the end of the day can make a dramatic change in how you feel the day went and how excited you are to get back up and go back to work the next day.

Technical “Analysis”

In the past, a lot of the content around Crypto was focused on philosophy, economics, politics, technology, but more recently as the prices climb there are more finance types dominating crypto content.

If you go on Youtube today and search bitcoin, most of the top videos are what you could call technical analysis.

You could call it technical analysis, I prefer to call it stupidity.

Most of this “analysis” focuses on looking at charts displaying the price information of cryptocurrencies over time and pretending that past shapes on the charts somehow predict the future price.

Watching these videos genuinely boggles my mind. These guys are able to seriously deliver predictions about the price of cryptocurrencies without mentioning the actual use cases or ideas behind the product.

A rediulous example of this happened in November when a proposed fork of Bitcoin was called off and as a result the price of Bitcoin Cash immedietly spiked. To these technical “analysts” they were explaing this by looking at how BCH hit a “level of support” and “broke out from a wedge”. They were completely lost in the abstaction and unable to realize that the price was changing in relation to the actual product.

 

The price of something is determined by how much people are willing to pay for it. The price that someone was willing to pay in the past is a good first guess at what the price will be in the future. But if you are trying to predict what a price will do in the future, you need to pull your head out of your…. abstraction and think about the economics of the situation and not draw shapes on Bloomberg charts.

You Don’t Like Your Job Because You Suck at Your Job

The working for the weekend, Mondays suck, I just want to win the lottery attitude, does not come from the external environment in which people work, but from the lack of self-esteem that people derive from their work.

They complain about their manager, their coworkers, their company, and all the external issues that make them want to leave, but the real reason is that they do not feel proud of the work they do.

They feel guilt, shame, and fear around their work and are looking for a way to escape. Instead of improving their skills or perspective so they can approach their work with more confidence, they pull the escape hatch and look for a new opportunity.

But the exact same issues will inevitably repeat in the next opportunity until they confront the reality that the reason they are unhappy is not that their job isn’t good, but that they aren’t good at their job. 

 

Why Businesses Hire

A business will hire anyone they believe will make them more money than they cost. It is as simple as that, but most people think about employment and jobs in a complex and abstract way.

People talk and think about jobs like they are things. Like you can possess one, lose one, or like you need to go get one from someone. So they go to job boards looking for the people who are giving away jobs. They go through the societal rituals that are expected of job seekers. But they are making a fundamental mistake–because jobs are not things, they are abstractions.

Getting lost in this abstraction causes a lot of pain and confusion. Seeing past the abstraction lets you see the countless opportunities you have available to you.

A job is an abstraction to describe a relationship between one person and another individual or group of people that agree to a certain type of ongoing trade. To get a job, you don’t need someone to create it and give it to you; you simply need to convince someone that you can make them more money than you cost.

Resumes, interviews, degree requirements, and references checks are tactics to help businesses measure their confidence in your ability to make them money. But at a fundamental level, all that you need to do to get a job with any business in the world is convince them that you are going to make them more money that you will cost.

What you cost is more than just your salary though. There are employment taxes, legal risks, and training costs on top of the money you are paid. Businesses need to be confident in your ability to make them money over the long-term to enter into an ongoing relationship with you. That is why references, previous work experiences, and projects you’ve completed are valuable. They show that you can actually create value.

When you see jobs for what they truly are, the world opens up to you. Like Neo learning to play with the rules in the Matrix, you can see the path forward to countless opportunities. You simply need to increase your ability to create value and your ability to convince others that you can create value.

Being Remembered Isn’t Worth It

Society admires dead heroes.

Great statues, famous painting, modern books, and federal holidays pay homage to great figures from the past. These historical heroes are held in high esteem, so people today admire and sometimes envy their position. People alive today decide that they too want to be remembered by history.

This urge to be remembered is based on a prediction that it would feel good to be in that position. We desire the position of status and esteem, because of an imagined feeling. A projection of what it would be like to be held in the same regard. Without thinking about it deeply, we unconsciously feel that it would feel good to be remembered by history. But we forget that when you’re dead you don’t feel anything.

A clear example of this is Franz Kafka. Kafka is one of the most popular and significant authors of the 20th century. If you visit Prague today you can visit the Kafka museum, you can see where he grew up, you can read plaques about him around the city, and take tours that tell the story of his life. He is remembered by history, but he died before publishing any of his work.

He was incredibly self-critical, didn’t like his work, and before he died he requested that a friend dispose of his manuscripts.

Many artists admire Kafka, they aspire to reach a position of similar esteem. To be considered great. To revolutionize the trajectory of their craft. But to Franz Kafka, all of this remembrance is worthless. He died unhappy and with no knowledge of the impact that his work would have. He did not take any pleasure from his work.

Doing something significant in your lifetime often means that you are remembered when you’re gone. But being remembered should never be the goal. It is a side effect of living a life of meaning and having a positive impact on the people around you. But when you’re dead it doesn’t matter how many people know your name. What matters is the fulfillment and meaning you derive from your work while you are living.

Forged Not Built

The most valuable skills and capabilities are not built in advance, they are forged through experience.

We like to think that we can build new capabilities before we are actually challenged to put them into action. This the big theory behind the school system. It will help you build skills that will make you’re ready to enter the real world.

But that is not how reality works.

Real growth happens when you throw yourself into the fire and let your environment shape you.

If you struggle with procrastination and organization, it is natural to think that you shouldn’t take on new responsibilities until you’ve improved to a point where you feel confident in your ability to get things done. This is the idea that you should build your capabilities in organization and productivity before you take more on.

But if you don’t have the extra responsibilities pushing you to your limit, you will never have the motivation to make a change.

Instead, if you throw yourself into a context that pushes you to your limits, you will find that you don’t even think about Facebook, YouTube, or other forms of social media. Once you feel the pain day to day of being disorganized you will find it enjoyable and easy to invest time in implementing an organization system.

This applies too much more than organization. If you want to truly learn something, put yourself in a context where you will have to learn it or else you will fail spectacularly. In that context, you will forge the skill from experience instead of being unsuccessful in trying to build it in preparation.

 

 

A Generation Without Borders

In the past, our concepts of generations only extended to the developed world.

Generation X was an American phenomenon, and it may have applied to people the same age in Italy, but not in India.

But to the rising generation — teenagers today— culture has no borders. The internet has killed the boundaries. There are still differences between cultures and countries, but they are shaded, not hard lines.

The best example I’ve seen of this was just under one year ago when we were traveling Myanmar and a young server in Mandalay was helping us wearing a Yeezy for president t-shirt.

In another more rural town, we visited there was a teenager wearing a hoodie and knock off Beats headphones.

These young connected Burmese teens are certainly an exception. Most people still dress fairly traditionally, but in a country that has only had widespread access to the internet for 4 years you can see a stark divide between the traditional 22-year-olds and 15-year-olds with skateboards, hoodies, and ripped jeans.

They are from a country that was oppressed and isolated until very recently. The oppression didn’t stop, but the disconnection from the outside world did and people were finally able to access affordable mobile phones and data and tune into culture on the internet.

Wide-culture

If your thirty, what country you’re from deeply impacted what you know and what you believe.

If you 14 that is not the case to anywhere near the same extent.

14-year-olds are dressing like Beiber in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines.

Kids from Indonesia are learning how to rap like they are from Atlanta.

Kids are watching popular YouTubers no matter where they live. Some speak the same language, some are English, but all are a part of a bigger culture that extends across every single border on earth.

The rising culture is the first truly global generational culture. They are not defined by where they are from, but instead by what they are interested in and identify with.