On one hand, there’s the 2020 most people will remember. Like 1969, 2001 or 2016 it’s one of those years that in years to come I expect we’ll see books, movies and series written and created about that focus on the main stories that set the underlying theme for the year. So on the one hand, there is that. There is the 2020 that is commonly remembered. On the other hand?
There is the 2020 I remember- the year as it was for me, personally. At the start of every new week, I think of one thing that was great about the past week and I write it down on a post-it note. I then fold up that post-it note, slip it into a jar and over the course of the next 12 months, 52 post-its accumulate until (at the beginning of the new year) I tip out the contents of that jar and open up each of those memories- great or modest- that underscored the year just gone by for me.
Yet what I also do is ask myself if there was anything of note that I learned over the past week? Was there anything that particularly stood out, whether it was something new or something I’d known ages ago but was given a fresh reminder of? If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know I write these articles at the dawning of every new year. So what I’ve done again is pick just one thing I learned from every month in 2020- and share it here with you, whether it’s a new idea or something that’s simply worth hearing for a second time:
The Rule of 27- you may well have to fail 26 times in a row for success at last on that 27th attempt. So as long as your heart is set towards it, never give up.
There is that often played Michael Jordan v/o from an old Nike ad. You might have heard it:.
I’m well familiar with the idea of failing several times over, but hadn’t heard it as an actual formula: https://cameronherold.com/marketing/the-rule-of-27/
So essentially, you have to go through 27 failures or rejections for that one time you succeed. This is why it pays to be clear on what your objective is, so you can save time and reach your outcome more quickly!
With patience and a problem-solving attitude, even problems that appear insurmountable can be fixed easier than we might think.
It may come as a surprise to you, but I’m not the most tech-savvy guy. I’m not a technophobe as such, it’s more that I’m usually hesitant to adopt new technology or systems unless I can see real advantages to doing so beyond window dressing or minor changes. So early in the year when my trusty laptop began to show symptoms of ageing (slow to process information, randomly lagging for up to 30 seconds at a time having barely done anything etc) I wondered if it was time for a new laptop?
But instead, I decided to first see if I could fix the problem myself. Time was the most important commodity and I couldn’t afford to lose much of it- but still I contacted Apple Care, explained the issues and thankfully, they suggested there was a way beyond dipping into my long-term savings account and springing for a brand new MacBook! Long story short, I had to save my entire HD to a backup disc, wipe the HD and then reinstall everything. It took about half a day in the end, but here I still am, and the laptop is going strong, at speeds I hadn’t enjoyed in a while!
What had appeared like a giant frustration and inevitable waste of time that hit me in the pocket, instead turned out to be something I could fix myself with a little guidance. I had this moment where I thought “Maybe this doesn’t just apply to this thing, but to most other issues that come up in life: first find the right guidance and see if you can’t manage it yourself”.
The Tony Robbins golf analogy/ plastic surgery analogy: the results you’re looking for are found in that 1-2% you do differently.
I don’t remember the actual title of the video unfortunately, but there was something in the heading that made me click. It was a video in which Tony Robbins is speaking at a conference and he recalls taking up golfing lessons. He was failing to clear the ball off the tee correctly, mostly hitting dirt and he was about ready to give up. But then his instructor explained that Tony wasn’t far off- and then Tony realised this success principle applies everywhere, from golf to our very definition of beauty- I talk more about it here:
The way I persuade people is similar to the way I enjoy certain songs over others: the lyrics (words) might have a message that’s relatable, but the way it makes you feel is key. So in order to be Persuasive, think about how I want the other person to feel- and aim for that, first and foremost. Making them feel the right way is the key to all kinds of opportunities…
If you write your own copy, internalising this is one of the most important things to take stock of when reading back what you’ve written: regardless of how articulate or how clever your writing (your message) is- how do you want your audience to feel? If you get too bogged down on the small technicalities, you can miss out on getting your ideal result while other less able, less eloquent, less _________ people unlock all kinds of opportunities, simply because their message resonates with people.
Think of it- how many of your favourite songs do you enjoy purely for the lyrics, as opposed to how you feel when you listen to that song? The same principle applies here…
Seeking to be a leader one day (be it professionally or in your relationships) means living as a leader does now.
It really boils down to the idea that in order to become it, first you must be it. To enjoy the privileges of leadership means having to make adjustments, compromises and sacrifices now that many don’t or won’t do.
Being present means not concerning yourself with the mistakes you made in the past, nor worrying about missing shots you haven’t even taken. It means only bothering yourself with the things you can influence and control.
Like many, one of the Netflix series I enjoyed most in 2020 was ‘The Last Dance’, the story not just of the Chicago Bulls 1997/98 run to their 6th NBA title of the decade, but the whole story of Michael Jordan up to that moment in time. But there was this comment in the final episode that resonated with me. The Bulls have flown to Utah, and provided they win this 6th game in the final series, will clinch their 6th NBA title in 8 years. Footage shows Michael on the coach into town from the airport, kicking back and listing to Norah Jones on his Discman (remember those?), then joking about on the court during pre-game practise and goading his team-mates. Then the voice-over mentions how Michael didn’t see the point in worrying about shots he hadn’t taken yet, concerning himself with missed opportunities that hadn’t even presented themselves at that current point in time. Instead, he was always present.
“The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement, you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or defeat. Let nature take its’ course, and your tools will strike at the right moment”
Thinking about how we were complete or that when we do x we will be ‘complete’ is pointless- because with every new opportunity comes a compromise of some sort. Instead, it’s about doing our best and enjoying what we have from where we stand right at this moment
In short? It’s all about gratitude. I go more in depth on how important this is, here:
If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. My time is now.
It’s one thing to recognise your worth, but it’s a whole other step to go out and put it into action. This might mean making some uncomfortable changes in the process, adopting strange new things while having to rid old habits in thinking or action that don’t benefit you. But if you have a real belief in your worth, then there’s no better time to stand for it than right now!
What can feel like a challenge is, in fact, often a lay-up for us to reach new levels, break new ground and set new records…
“Sometimes, opportunity comes to us disguised as a man-eating lion”. I don’t recall where I heard this, but needless to say that it’s changed how I regard uncertain or adverse situations ever since. And often we don’t realise we actually grew or reached a new level until we look back. Similar to how you can’t fully appreciate the view or how high up you are until after you’ve climbed the mountain:
If there’s something you don’t like in your life, change it- or work out what’s going to give you the best chance of changing it, and then do that.
It’s one thing to complain about what we don’t want in life- but another thing to take actions (however big or small, usually the latter) to change that. This year marks 10 years since I did just that- and the rest is history. But it didn’t change overnight- it was a process. You can read more about what caused me to make this decision right here:
It’s important to do the best we can and turn up, because sometimes (just from making the effort and being present) we put ourselves in line for great situations to turn out and opportunities to present themselves that bring us what we seek.
Effort and being in the right place doesn’t always get you what you seek. And failing usually sucks, to some degree let’s face it! But just being present (wherever we need to be or where we think we need to be) and putting our best effort in is a winning move in and of itself. Any success you gain from it is just the icing on the cake- you know what I’m talking about. I can think back to countless examples where (for whatever reason) the temptation was there not to turn up or to back off and not put in the full effort- but I did it anyway and got a great result after it. The satisfaction is always the equivalent of a cold beer after working outside on a hot summers’ day- such a relief!
To take the road less travelled by might not necessarily mean it’s a road less-travelled by other people. It could be a highway compared to the trails we’ve been taken. But to US, it could be the road we haven’t travelled, and that might just be the reason we should take it!
One of the gifts I got for Christmas was Matthew McConaughey’s recently published autobiography ‘Green Lights’. It was funnier than I expected it to be, yet throughout the book Matt shares notes that he’s kept in his journals over the years and revelations he’s enjoyed along the way. He has this way of talking/ writing that makes me think of Owen Wilson’s character Kevin from ‘Meet The Parents’ and sometimes the way Matt talks/ writes about ideas he’s had or stuff he’s done made me laugh when it wasn’t intended to be funny. But there’s plenty of great ideas he shares and on those grounds alone I recommend it, besides being an entertaining read. But there’s one revelation that stood out to be:
See, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Robert Frost poem “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less travelled by- and that has made all the difference.” And ever since hearing it, I’d always presumed that the road less travelled meant doing what most people won’t. But it was Matt pointing out that in fact, it’s about taking the road that is less travelled for us. Maybe something we’ve never done is something most people have? Sometimes, taking the more conventional or mainstream approach might be the one thing missing that makes all the difference for us.
So as you figure out for yourself what is your “road less travelled” I wish you all the best in 2021!