You’re Just Average If You’re Working For The Man

It’s a hard pill to swallow but, if you’ve got a job (especially one at a big company), you’re likely (updated 2/24/15) just average.  Now, now I’m not intending this to be a virtual slap across the face, or something to bring you down it’s just to get you to see things the way they are.  Hey…before you start calling me high minded, or haughty just keep in mind that I’ve worked for 3 of the largest corporations in the world…so I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this club.  And my wife has a job with the man…and I’m very thankful for it.

The reason I say you’re just average if you’re working for a company, especially a big one is that corporations don’t want to hire brilliant people.  They want average ones.  So while it’s possible to be really good at your job, to be really smart, you, nor I for that matter, aren’t Einstein.

Why Corporations Don’t Hire Brilliant People

Truly brilliant people are rare and hard to find, and when found they are they’re expensive to hire, and typically impossible to work with (a common trait in truly brilliant individuals)(think Einstein, Jobs, and Gates).  So finding a team of them to build a company is almost impossible.  So successful companies don’t even try.

The industrial age formula for success was based on being able to hire average people, to do average things, over and over again.  Don’t take my word for it read Michael Gerber’s best seller The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.  This is why McDonalds doesn’t make a great burger; they hire average people, to make an average one, that they can sell billions of times.  The combined effort becomes something brilliant (selling a billion burgers) but the product, and service remains average (have you ever gone into McDonalds and said to yourself…that kid that served me my burger was just brilliant.)

Even when brilliant people start brilliant companies the operations don’t tend to stay that way.  Because you just can’t build a company that last around a single individual.  What happens if she get’s sick, pregnant, or finds some place else to work.  So brilliant entrepreneurs know that in order to build companies that last they need to be able to fill positions quickly, and cost effectively.  What’s the best way to do that?  With the people who are most readily available….the average ones.

Google Hires Brilliant People…Don’t They? (updated July 20th, 2016)

No the brilliant people started Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin)…the really smart people work for them. Same goes for Uber, Apple P&G or just about any other brilliant company you can think off.

Why It’s So Hard To Get Brilliant While Working For The Man

If you think you can get brilliant while doing your job chances are you won’t.  There’s only 168 hours in a given week and here’s how the average worker spends hers.

  • 47 hours working for the man every night and day (yes..I through a little Ike Turner in there)
  • 56 hours sleeping (at least you should be)
  • 5 hours commuting
  • 5 hours making herself pretty for work
  • 35 hours watching TV to zone out in hopes of alleviating the work related stress

That’s 148 hours leaving you with about 20 to work on getting brilliant, or exceptional at something.  Which is quite a bit of time, but you haven’t cleaned the house, done any grocery shopping, mowed the lawn, walked the dog, or picked the kids up from soccer practice yet.

I’m not suggesting you quit your day job.  Perhaps you can cut back on TV, or hire someone to mow the lawn.  The thing is if you really want to become exceptional at something you’ve got to find the time.



Positive Reinforcement

Last week I heard a story about an elementary student who found a loaded gun in his school bag.  The young man notified his teacher and the school provided positive reinforcement of the behavior by publicly rewarding him for doing so.

Positive Reinforcement

Magnify Positive Outliers

Publicly applauding positive social behavior reinforces it, gives it a platform, and is the best way for an organization to get the behavior it desires (in the classroom, or in the office).

Everyone in your organization is keenly aware of what you choose to focus on, be it rewarding positively deviant behavior, or a hyper-focus on what you view as the wrong behavior.

Effective leaders know that they can either spend their time stamping out the fires of poor behavior, or take a faster more rewarding route to cultural change by finding unique and creative ways to spread the word about what people are doing right.

Eat That Elephant – How To Accomplish Goals

How to accomplish goals

That elephant is the mammoth goal you set which seems impossible to accomplish.  It’s daunting. Weighs you down to think about it.

  • It’s the 5 inches I want to lose off my waist.How to accomplish goals
  • It’s the $1,000,000 in new sales you want to do this year.
  • It’s the 4.0 you want this semester
  • It’s the $100,000 in crowd funding you want to attract
  • It’s becoming a movie star
  • or just about any monumental goal you can think of

How to accomplish goals

To eat that elephant do 3 things

  1. Stop looking at it as a whole elephant.  You can’t eat an elephant…no one can.  Instead break the elephant down into small bite size chunks…yum!
  2. Automate those small chunks where possible.
  3. Never, never give up

How to view that elephant as bite sized chunks

Set large goals that challenge you, but not so large they paralyze you.  Break a large goal like, doing $1,000,000 in sales into small manageable easily measurable chunks.  For example: You could say I will meet with 10 new prospective clients each week.  I will do 5 proposals each week.  See measurable and attainable.

The power of automation

The idea here is to think less and act more.  Once you know the correct thing to do automate it.  If you put yourself in a position to think sometimes you’ll convince yourself not to do that thing you’ve already figured out is the right thing to do.

Example: Losing 5 inches on my waist will boil down to mostly small changes in my diet (at least I hope so).  What I already know: for best results eat within 3o minutes of waking (breakthefast), eat nuts,  low fat greek yogurt, and drinking lots of water everyday.  So I automate it.

Each week I buy ten 5 ounce cups of greek yogurt and stick them in the frige.  I keep large packs of walnuts on hand.  First thing I do when I wake up each morning: drink 16 ounces of cold water (yes I measure it), eat one 5 ounce cup of yogurt, and have a handful of walnuts as a snack about 2 hours later.

I’ve automated my first two meals of the day.  I don’t think about it. I just do it. No thinking allowed until lunch.  Look for ways to automate the small task (the chunks) that lead to the greater success (the elephant) you want.

Never giving up

This may sound over rated but the fact is most people simply give up to soon.  They don’t stick with their weight loss habits.  They tire of rejection so they stop making calls.

The most difficult part of anything is the start.  Once you get going don’t guit.  Find the necessary motivation to keep pushing forward.  Every step you take brings you closer to your goal.

Something to make you go…Hmm!

Early in life basket ball hall of famer Ervin Magic Johnson decided he wanted to go to the NBA (definite elephant).  To accomplish this he made a smaller goal to shot 100 free throws every day.  His neighbors tell stories of him as a kid shooting the free throws outside in rain and snow storms (commitment).

More insight and motivation on how to accomplish goals and eat elephants:

See It Through

7 Things Anyone Can Do To Be Successful

How To Achieve Any Goal

Photo Credit: bocavermelha-l.b. via Compfight cc

Moving With Purpose


Move like you’ve got a purpose in life!  That’s what Drill Sergents would yell at us recruits durining basic training if they caught us moving slowly (way back in 1987).Purpose

We knew what our purpose was.  To become lean, mean, green, killing machines.  Everything we did, read, and ate was toward fullfilling that purpose.

What’s your purpose in life, for your business, family, etc.  If you don’t know then you can’t move with purpose.  Instead you’re likely tossed about by every wind of doctrine.

By the way, this is not something I’ve got down 100% for myself.  I’m preaching to me here more than to you.

Regaining Mental Clarity

regaining mental clarity

When things are not going our way we humans can have a tendency to focus on the urgent not the important.

Here are 8 things I do to help me regain mental clarity and focus on what’s important.

  1. Get quiet and take time to renew my spirit:  In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey tells a story that demonstrates the need for rest, refreshment, renewal and re-awakening in our regaining mental claritylives: You come upon a man in the woods feverishly sawing down a tree. “You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?” “Over five hours,” he replies, “and I’m beat. This is hard.” “Maybe you could take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw. Then the work would go faster.” “No time,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing.”
  2. Get alone: I truly love being around people, especially the fun loving type, but I find that being alone gives me the power to regulate and adjust my life.  My favorite thing to do is to head out to Valley Green take a walk along a trail and find a nice big rock to lay on and reflect.
  3. Read my plan:  It’s easy to get off track.  But I find that when I write my plan down I can go back to it and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
  4. Remember my blessings:  When every thing seems to be going wrong sometimes I start to fret.  I’ve worked hard to develop a discipline of focusing on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong.
  5. Take a hot shower:  One of my favorite things to do to pamper myself is to turn on the hot water, close the bathroom door and allow the bathroom to fill with steam.  I get in the shower strike a few yoga poses, and then sit and breathe deep for a half hour or so.  I’ve emptied my 50 gallon hot water tank on a number of occasions doing this. I find that this helps me to unwind and clear my thinking.  The idea for this very post came during such a session.
  6. Meditate:  I picked up the habit of meditating last year after reading Russell Simmons book Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All.  Meditating has been scientifically proven to improve over all health.  I find that even after a short 20 minute session I can regain mental clarity.
  7. Take a walk: Both Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were advocates of walking walking to clear their heads.  Today medical professionals know that walking improves focus and clarity by delivering oxygen to the brain which keeps thoughts clear and focused and increases creativity. I get many of the ideas for my blog post while on a walk.  When something comes to mind I take out my iPhone and either record what I’m thinking or jot it down in the notes section.
  8. Take a nap: Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were nappers.  In fact Einstein dreamed the Theory Of Relativity and then set out to prove it.  This alone speaks volumes to the benefits that sleeping has on our mental capacity.  Scientist now know that while you are sleeping your brain works to put together the puzzles you couldn’t solve during waking hours.  I find that I’m the most creative when I first awake in the morning.  Most of the writing I do for the blog is done between the hours of 6 and 9 am.  I’ve recently committed to daily napping since discovering I suffer from sleep deprivation