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  1. Think back to a winning sports team you followed.
  2. How'd you feel?
  3. How'd your fellow fans feel?

You thought you were the kings of the world, flying sky-high, rocking the world to infinity and beyond.

That winning team you followed made you:

  1. more confident
  2. success-oriented
  3. happier

And, when you lost, what happened?

  • *!$-!-^@!$-PIECE-OF^@$^!%HIPPO!!

With every loss:

  1. Your confidence drained.
  2. You looked forward to failure.
  3. You wanted to escape a million miles away.

You felt like Notre Dame.

NOTRE DAME.

"WHY?!" you cried.

The Value of Victories

Fighting a freakish goal that takes several months/years to accomplish?

  • Your team will be "losing" every step of the way toward that drawn-out victory.

Instead, tattoo this to your huge biceps:

The Winning Gameplan

  1. Victories -- no matter how small/insignificant/etc. -- builds confidence among peeps.
  2. People want to be part of winning teams.
  3. That makes them super-rifically-ka-duper more excited to rock toward success.
  4. ...resulting in productively-ridiculosity work.
  5. ...resulting in fatter profits to provide for your company.

According to Harvard's Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Walter Kiechel and their research:

Confidence [involves] positive behaviors such as open communication, self-scrutiny, respect, teamwork, accountability, collaboration, and initiative that result in winning. In turn, winning breeds greater confidence and raises the company to an even higher level.

Winning = more confidence = more winning = high-five!

So:

  1. Set short 1-day/half-hour/1-hour goals.
  2. Set yourselves on pace to achieve victories-upon-victories.

Win.

Sweet victories. Constantly.

Posted on May 14

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  1. You're working super-duper-rifically hard.
  2. You go to "relax", where you start thinking about more work.
  3. When you come back, your brain becomes discombobulated.

You end up sucking.

Why?

When you're thinking about work on your break, you force yourself to run a never-ending marathon.

Instead of refilling your brainpower capacity, you deplete that brainpower until you're running on S.U.C.K. fuel.

Boo.

Instead, refill your brainpower fuel reserves to optimize your efficiency.

Here's how.

Refresh Your Brain/Mind/Body/Spirit

When you're on your break, do this:

  • Get amnesia.

That is:

  1. Try to empty your brain.
  2. Try to go brain dead.
  3. "I don't remember anything! OH NOES!!!111one"

Go completely blank for as long as you can.

Meditate for the first two minutes if you need that.

KABAMOZILEINGO!

What happens?

Freshness Happens.

Completely/totally/100% refreshing yourself from your work gets you fabulously stronger for that next session.

  1. You regenerate your brainpower to full capacity.
  2. You optimize yourself to another session of I-will-kick-this-work's-@^^-like-it-stole-my-mama.
  3. You're able to rock fuller and longer and awesome-er.

It's like you're a mid-engined Formula 1 car:

  1. You just raced several laps of a Grand Prix, averaging 997687965908709865 miles per hour.
  2. Now, you're heading to the pits.
  3. You completely stop/refresh/get-filling/water/love/life.
  4. You refresh yourself to dominate several more laps.

Win for you.

  1. Get amnesia.
  2. Rock more work.

Go brain bye.

Posted on May 13

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  1. You have Task Bumblebee that's absolutely essential to your company.
  2. Only Mike really has the skills to handle Task Bumblebee.
  3. The work is mundane, boring, and more @^^% boring.

What should you do?

  • Option A: Ask him nicely.
  • Option B: Propose two different solutions.

Say You Choose Option A

An hour into the work, Mike goes:

  1. "This work is so boring!"
  2. "What the EFF?!"
  3. He gives you the middle finger.

Mike, starting to feel dissuaded from the work's drabness, sees his inspiration draining to kick big boo-tay.

  1. His productivity plummets.
  2. You don't know if he'll be able to accomplish the project.
  3. You continue giving him water trying to maintain his sanity.

You run off crying.

Now, let's say you picked the other option:

Say You Choose Option B...

You offer up two different solutions -- but not just any two solutions.

You offer Mike:

  • Task Y: (something horrifically, exponentially disgusting -- far worse than doing Task Bumblebee)
  • Task Z: Task Bumblebee

What Mike's thinks:

  • "Task Y would make me want to shoot myself in the buttocks; but, Task Z magically saves my day."

So:

  1. Mike chooses Task Z (Bumblebee).
  2. He sees Task Bumblebee in a much brighter light because he could've done far, far worse.
  3. He maintains his morale to get Task Bumblebee finished.

Win for all.

Behavioral economists/psychologists call that the contrasting principle.

The Power of The Contrasting Principle

It goes like this:

  1. We don't define our decisions/thinking in absolute terms.
  2. Instead, we define them in relative terms.

For instance:

  1. The hottest person you saw yesterday is totally hot, OH YEAH!
  2. But, compared to Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt, yesterday's hot person ain't no thang-but-a-chicken-wing-on-a-string.

That is:

  1. You compared yesterday's hot person to everybody else you saw that day -- and relatively, s/he was "OH SO HOT"-est of 'em all.
  2. "But, s/he's ain't so hot when compared to Brangelina! OH NO!" you tell yourself.
  3. So, you don't jump for joy like you did yesterday.

When you reframe undesirable-but-essential work, you make the work much more desirable, much less de-motivating -- and plenty more doable.

Result:

  1. You get a more motivated Mike.
  2. You amplify his chances of getting essential work done with style.

Hooray for all.

Boring-er the mofosoko.

Posted on May 12

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  1. You have $1000.
  2. You spend $5 freely.

Now peep this:

  1. You have $10.
  2. You spend $5 freakishly wisely.

Why?

The more money you have, the less you value the dollar bill.

That's why lottery winners quickly become poor chaps:

  1. "Ooooooooooh! I have so much cash!"
  2. "I will spend like @^^$%^%$^! Armani! Jimmy Choos!"
  3. ....
  4. "WHERE'D ALL THE MONEY GO?! OH NOES!!"

How to Spend Wisely

Here's how to trick yourself, and save chunks of cash by spending ridiculously smarter -- and keep your company financially healthy.

  1. Jot down your cash: _.
  2. Imagine you have 50% less. (or choose your own percentage to fit your situation)
  3. Spend accordingly.

What happens?

  1. You'll spend more wisely.
  2. You'll put much more value into the dollar bill.
  3. You'll find innovative ways to boost cash.
  4. You'll leave yourself a much bigger security blanket.

Win!

Spend like somebody just robbed you.

Posted on May 08

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Jacko:

  1. "In ten years, I will exercise, eat healthy, and live life to the fullest."
  2. "But today, I will lounge on the couch, eat chili fries, and live like there are a million tomorrows!"

Lebron:

  1. "Next year, I will build the most ridiculous startup the world has ever seen!"
  2. "But today, I will read message boards!"

Dikembe:

  1. "Tomorrow, I will start on my project."
  2. "But today, I will relax!"

How We Human People Suck

We psychologically overrate our futures.

Thinking tomorrow will bring us brighter days, we consistently sacrifice our today/now/this-minute time to the freakish wolves.

  1. "Tomorrow will be better!"
  2. "Oh, don't mind how I suck now!"
  3. "Because, I will be smiling tomorrow!"

That's why we:

  • put things on credit card
  • take out freakish loans
  • put off exercise
  • eat junk food
  • avoid healthy conflicts
  • lease expensive cars
  • procrastinate on our projects

Thinking our futures will be oh-so super-duper-riffic-o, we use our today/now/this-minute-time wastefully destroying that very future.

BOO!

Let's Reframe Our Perspectives

Try this:

  1. Stop thinking 'in the future.'
  2. Whatever you do for the rest of your life depends on how you spend today/this-minute/this-second.
  3. Done.

If you ever start with a sentence with,

  • "In the future, I will..."

...do this:

  1. Look in the mirror.
  2. Slap the @^^% out of yourself.

Then tell yourself:

  1. "I will most-likely-probably-like-99% never do anything 'in the future'."
  2. "If I want something in the future, I make progress -- even if it's teeny-tiny-tiny progress -- toward that future today."

For instance:

  • "I'll be super-fit in the future!"
    Do 5 push-ups this minute.

  • "My company will be financially-dope in the future!"
    Jot down 1 idea that will cut costs.

  • "I'll build one ridiculous business someday!"
    Take 5 minutes to register your domain name.

High-five yourself.

You just made your future a closer reality.

Now-iz-dee-timez.

Posted on May 07

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  1. Yesterday, you set 10 goals.
  2. You finished nothing.

You see your goal-setting becoming an ugly trend:

  1. You set goals.
  2. You fail.

"I really suck," you tell yourself.

But...

  1. You don't suck!
  2. You just suck at setting goals!
  3. High-five!

Here's the sweet way to accomplish your goals.

Take Baby Steps

First, admit that you suck:

  1. You can't accomplish 10 goals because you suck.
  2. You can't even accomplish half of your goals because you suck.

Babies suck at walking correctly.

But, they have one thing on you:

  1. They take baby steps!
  2. KABAM!

To accomplish your goals, take baby steps.

Baby Step Yo-Self

Instead of setting 10 goals today -- something that you haven't accomplished in your entire life -- do this:

  1. Set one goal today.
  2. Accomplish it.

Then, for the next ten days, accomplish one goal you set everyday.

What happens?

  1. You'll notice accomplishing goals gradually becomes easier.
  2. You'll start a healthy daily habit of accomplishing goals you set -- like brushing your teeth.
  3. You'll see yourself increasing the number of daily goals you do (as accomplishing goals becomes much easier).

You'll gradually work your way up to completing 10 goals daily/weekly/monthly/etc.

Ridiculously good goal-setting-accomplishing first takes baby steps.

Baby-step that mofo.

Posted on May 06

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  1. Without embracing failure, you'll keep yourself stagnant.
  2. Failure speeds up learning.
  3. Failure accelerates successful innovations.

But, how do you encourage failure?

Peep this.

The Warcraft Mindset

Why do peeps love playing games?

  • Because if you fail, you barely lose anything.
  • It's so ridiculously-easy to try again.

Likewise, with your innovations:

  1. Make every failure ghetto-cheap.
  2. Make it ridiculously-easy to retry-retry.

How?

You have $1000.

You want to successfully deploy a Product ABC to Customer Segment XYZ.

Scenario A

  1. You spend $1000 on Strategy A.
  2. Strategy A fails.
  3. You fail.

Scenario B

  1. You spend $100 on Strategy A.
  2. Strategy A fails.
  3. You just learned (1) what didn't work, (2) a clearer picture of what might work -- and oh, you still have $900 to try various different strategies.

Scenario B = Rock.

By giving yourself a fatter-more-obese safety-net when you fail, you make every failure insignificant.

"But, what if I need lots of $$$?!"

If you said that to our amigo Supertreezy, he would:

  1. slap you

Startups spend fractions of what the multi-billion-dollar behemoths spend, and can still succeed.

How do they save $$$?

  1. By getting creative with their money.
  2. By cutting costs wherever @^^% possible (e.g. using eBay, using open-source, buying basic, buying generic, etc.)
  3. By getting experienced talent/mentors to speed up learning/pace.
  4. By exploiting technology to the fullest extent -- as necessary.
  5. By being the ghettoest-of-ghetto in every possible way.

When you do that, failure becomes:

  1. cheap
  2. so-much-farkingly-easier to bounce back from

You'll soon see yourself failing forward, quickly and easily -- accelerating your successful innovations.

To create a culture where failure becomes ain't-no-thang-but-a-chicken-wing-on-a-string:

Make failure cheap.

Posted on May 05

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Typical Manager Charlie gives a brief orientation to new-hire Andrea:

  1. "Works goes from 9-5."
  2. "You have a 30 minutes of lunch."
  3. "I expect you to get Step A done by 10, Step B by 11, Step C by 12...."

Contrast that with this from Senor Supertreezy:

  1. Here's the mutha-@^^%!^ task.
  2. Just get it done by Friday.
  3. Free Yo-Self!

Where would you rather work?

"The latter of course, did you really have to ask? Because, I know you didn't have to ask..."

  1. Hard-working people crave freedom.
  2. Give them an endpoint, and they'll compile their resources to get the task done in time, with style.

Babysit them every-step-of-the-way?

  1. You'll strip their motivations/spirits/drive to rock some task.
  2. They start worrying about making the manager happy instead of focusing fully on rocking some task.

Diverted attention = shoddy work.

Kaboo.

"Get the mutha-freakin'-freak out of the way!"

Feel like somebody needs constant babysitting?

  • You got the wrong person.
  • Seek folks with initiative -- those who can accomplish work to your standards without you constantly correcting them.

Have initiative folks?

  1. Get out of the way.
  2. Let them find their own way to accomplish Task XYZ.

And, also:

  1. Let them set their own hours.
  2. Let them choose their lunch times.
  3. Let them go missing for days.
  4. Let them buy stuff from a budget.
  5. Let them work from home.

As long as they consistently accomplish tasks with style by your deadline dates, nothing else really matters.

  1. Just give them the resources they'll need.
  2. Support them anyway you can.
  3. Watch them rock.

The Value of Flexibility

According to a study by researchers at Wake Forest's School of Medicine, you'll make your employees happier, more loyal, and more productive when you give them flexibility to choose how they get things done.

Flexibility additionally:

  • grants you more time to be productive in your own work
  • saves on employee babysitting costs
  • kabooms the bottom line

Hooray-oh-yeah.

The steps to empower:

  1. Set destination.
  2. Let Andrea choose her routes.
  3. Win.

Set 'em free like a butt-fugly/coke-induced butterfly.

Posted on May 02

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(Dmitri kindly translated this article in Russian as well.)

  1. You sit on your chair.
  2. You browse the internet.
  3. You get nothing done.

Why?

When you sit on your chair for freakish long time, you're relaxed like a Mother Bear drinking apple mutha-@^%$^% juice.

  1. Your pace is slow and methodical.
  2. You're sluggish.
  3. It's like you're high.

So, you get little done.

How to Get More Done

Two steps to do throughout the day:

  1. Stand up.
  2. Work.

Hip-hip-hooray!

What Happens When You Stand

Standing intermittently throughout the day increases your productivity by kabillions.

That's according to a study (pdf) by Miami University Researcher Marvin Dainoff:

The 'Non-Standers' were shown to take an average of 47% more workbreaks, with the average workbreak being 56% longer than the average workbreak of the 'Standers'.

(Here's an anecdote by Jamis over on 37signals.)

Standing-while-working (SWW) helps you:

  1. spend less time wasting time ("I'm standing! I don't want to tire my legs out!")
  2. take less breaks
  3. focus more time on rocking your work

You win.

Stand!

Posted on May 01

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Employee Johnny is building a brand-new mousetrap.

  • It's been an arduous two weeks in-the-making.
  • You've seen stagnant progress.
  • You doubt you'll see profitable customers.
  • Johnny's tirelessly building something that doesn't want to stay up.

What should you do?

  • Option A: "Hey, you can still do it. You've almost built the perfect mousetrap!"
  • Option B: "You've worked on a sucky project. Let's do something else!"

Did-your-sex-ay-boo-tay choose Option B?

Well, if you did, you are correct.

Praising Unpromising Work Drives People to Fail More

When you prop up Johnny's work for the last two stagnant weeks -- thinking all he needs is a little motivation to succeed -- YAY! -- what happens?

  1. He'll continue to disappoint you with more sucky work.
  2. He'll consume more resources to fruitlessly try make his project a success.

Money: down the tubes.

Oh no.

Say NO! to Motivational Guru Talk

The motivational gurus will probably tell Johnny:

  1. "Hey! You can succeed if you believe in yourself! Yay!"
  2. "You must think happy thoughts to make what your dream a reality! OH YEAH!"

But, if you notice employees making stagnant progress on their work, your motivation will just drive them to suck more.

By praising the shoddy work, you're actually reaffirming the sweetness of the work to the employees -- according to Kellogg (Northwestern U.) and London Business School researchers studying the effects of self-esteem:

The more that people’s feelings of self-worth are wrapped up in a poor decision they’ve made, the greater their impulse will be to justify it in some way.

"Let's do better stuff!"

Instead of keeping employees on a path to destruction, encourage them to recommit to more promising stuff.

What happens as a result?

Some benefits:

  1. You'll stop your company's bleeding.
  2. You'll boost employee morale.
  3. You'll make your bottom line much more attractive.

Win for all.

Trash ugly employee work like it's a two-headed stepchild who can't sing.

Posted on April 30

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