Small wins, every day.

From Robin Sharma:

From James Clear

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Techniques: To fit everything in make sure you prioritize “rocks” over “pebbles” - the famous example by Dr. Stephen Covey

Steven Covey studied the habits of high performers and published his results in the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” In this video, he shows how important it is to choose to do the big, important things first.

To do this, he uses an analogy to make his point about avoiding “getting bogged down in the thick of thin things.”

In the analogy, he uses a jar to represent our available time. Our activity is represented by pebbles and most important projects are represented by rocks.

He then has an audience member come up to run an experiment. There are two examples here of how to get everything in the jar.  

In the first example, we start with pebbles and get them all in first. The pebbles are the small, easy, less important activities. The jar (time) is then filled up so that the pebbles get in the way of fitting on all of the rocks - the important things.

In the second example, if we take the opposite approach, starting with the big rocks first (the important things) and then trying to fit in all of the pebbles, everything fits.

The point this makes is that starting with small activities that are not important will prevent you fitting in all the big things that are important. On the other hand if you start with the big things that are important, you can fit even small, less important things in as well as all of your big important projects.

The metaphor has been used as one of the foundations of the popular Entrepreneurial Operating System and many personal productivity systems.

Manifesto examples

Companies and organizations sometimes publish a “manifesto” to outline their core beliefs and their “why” and/or reason for being. First Round Capital’s First Round Review sums theirs up succinctly:


Manifesto

We believe that there is powerful, untapped knowledge out there that can transform the way people build technology.

There's just one problem: It's trapped in other people's heads — people who are at the top of their fields, who rarely have time to share what they've learned (even when they want to). The Review is about liberating this knowledge to inspire and accelerate action. To deliver on this mission, we'll make you three promises...

1) We'll get out of the way and let experts speak directly to you about what they believe is most important. (That's why we choose not to use bylines.)

2) Every article will serve up tactics that you can use today to change your company and your career.

3) We will never be boring. The stories you find on here are crafted to teach, to engage and to stick.

We launched The Review to cut through the noise so that you can make an impact. We can't wait to see what happens next.

How LinkedIn thinks about vision

First Round Capital publishes the First Round Review - a super useful online magazine that highlights tactics and strategies that have propelled their most successful startups to success.

In this article on LinkedIn’s management framework, they share CEO Jeff Weiner’s thoughts on vision and mission and the role they take.

Many people working in tech use the terms ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ interchangeably, and usually fail to implement them beyond lip service from executives. Weiner is convinced that clearly defining both, and living by them every day is a key defining aspect of building a successful technology company.

“Vision is the dream,” says Weiner. “A company’s true north. It’s what inspires everyone day in and day out. It’s what you constantly need to be aspiring to.” He defines LinkedIn’s vision as “Creating economic opportunity for every professional,” where ‘professional’ refers to every single one of the over 3.3 billion people in the global workforce.

The mission, on the other hand, defines how the company strives to fulfill that vision. For LinkedIn, that means “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Here the term ‘professional’ is all about the company’s immediate audience of more than 600 million knowledge workers in its network, and the opportunity to change their lives.

Visions aren’t immediately achievable. They’re pie in the sky ideals that may take generations, many partnerships, and many people to achieve — and even then, perhaps only in part. Missions, however, can be defined in terms of concrete objectives, and a company can be measured by how well it achieves them, Weiner says. Most companies, even startups, will only have one or the other. But a vision without reference to what the company actually does is unmoored from reality, and may not serve its purpose to inspire and organize employees.

Weiner uses Google as a prime example of a company with a mission that includes the hallmarks of an effective vision statement: it wasn’t “to be a faster search engine that also offered marginally better first-page results.” It was “To organize the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful.” The search engine and the company’s other products aspire to fulfill that mission. It’s how Google built a team of missionaries and not mercenaries. It’s how you can get the best people and inspire them to be great, Weiner says.
— First Round Review "The Management Framework that Propelled LinkedIn. to a 20B company"

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset, a short overview by John Spencer

Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset, a short overview by John Spencer

Researcher and professor Carol Dweck uses the term “mindset” to describe the way people think about ability and talent.

Dweck delineates between two different mindsets that exist on a continuum. The first is a fixed mindset, which suggests that your abilities are innate and unchangeable.

The second is a growth mindset, which views it as something you can improve through practice. In a fixed mindset, you view failure as permanent but with a growth mindset, you see failure as a chance to learn and pivot.

A definition of focus from Steve Jobs

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

— Steve Jobs

This quote was featured in Shane Parrish’s excellent article on speed versus velocity.

Techniques: stop screwing yourself over (from Mel Robbins)

In this now famous talk, Mel Robbins introduces her “5 second rule.” Use it to the activation energy necessary to get things done. It’s a solid talk and a solid technique. If you are pressed for time, set your YouTube preferences to 2x speed.

After the talk, try to use the rule at least once a day for 10 days.

For the transcript and similar content, check it out at TED.com

Use this as your personal mission statement 1.0 so you can discover your 2.0

If you don’t have a strong sense of personal mission, it’s no problem. Brendon Burchard outlines why that’s a healthy part of personal development. Set up your mission to live the best quality of life that you can through growth, self mastery and contribution in all of the areas of your life.

You can use this to drive your discovery and growth process- mission 2.0 will emerge from the process. Whether that process takes years or months, it’s all healthy.

Key take aways: Don’t get hung up on a perfect mission, instead, become intentional about growth and your mission will emerge over time as you follow your interests.

And if you feel lost, ask “How can I help? How can I serve?”

To develop into the best version of myself
— Brendon's sample mission

Improvisation: The Power of "Yes... and..."

Improvisation: The Power of "Yes... and..."

We're often at a disadvantage when it comes to problem-solving because we think too fast, and our analytic brains shut off new ideas before they have even emerged. Improvisation, on the other hand, creates "a set of experiences that allow you to fine-tune and hone all of the necessary skills needed to think on your feet and simply react and adapt." So says Bob Kulhan who has been studying, performing and teaching improv comedy for nearly two decades.

Kulhan introduces the two key tools of improv, which are captured by the two-word phrase "Yes, and." Kulhan says "Yes" means accepting a certain idea or situation at face value. The "and" part involves taking that idea and building onto it, whether that involves taking the idea apart or approaching it from a different angle. Kulhan says this approach creates both openness ("Yes") and a bridge to your thoughts ("and") that will foster creativity and fearlessness, eventually leading to innovation.

Kulhan, who teaches improv techniques to foster creativity in business settings, says it is important to take our critical hats off and not be afraid to take a chance, or be afraid to fail. Once that kind of environment has been established, then it is time for our analytical minds to kick in and focus on convergent thinking.

Divergent thinking has delivered "a great collection of ideas." Convergent thinking, on the other hand, involves "separating the sand from the gold and the good ideas from the bad ideas, and you start editing those out." The key to improv is simply to not allow yourself to start editing too quickly.