Growth

Grit – Angela Duckworth

Grit – by Angela Duckworth
Date read: 10/30/18. Recommendation: 8/10.

A detailed look at what sets apart highly successful people. Top performers, as Duckworth suggests, are unusually resilient and hardworking. But they’ve also developed something else–a deep awareness of what they want. Grit is this combination of direction and determination. She discusses the importance of effort, deliberate practice, purpose, and stamina over intensity. The best thing about the book and her writing is that she makes it real. It’s not about a magical experience that leads you to your passion, purpose, or life’s work. Instead, she emphasizes that this comes through a discovery period–often messy, serendipitous, and inefficient–followed by years of refinement, and a lifetime of deepening. It’s not going to happen overnight. You have to figure out what you’re working towards and what you can sustain indefinitely.

See my notes below or Amazon for details and reviews.

My Notes:

Grit = Direction and determination
-Highly successful people are unusually resilient and hardworking, AND know in a deep way what they want.
-Grit corresponds with well-being, no matter how you measure it.

Effort:
-An ability to suffer (effort) proves far more important than talent. It factors in twice.

-Talent x Effort = Skill, Skill x Effort = Achievement

-When you quit showing up, effort plummets to zero, skills stop improving. 

Darwin and Grit:
-“For I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think this is an eminently important difference.” Darwin

-Darwin didn’t possess supernatural intelligence or genius. He made slow, meticulous progress through his power of observation and attention to detail. Forced himself to ponder difficult questions and ideas for years, instead of giving up or tabling it for later and forgetting.

Power of small, calculated actions, decisions, habits:
-“The most dazzling of human achievements are, in fact, the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is, in a sense, ordinary.” -AD

-“Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills or activities…There is nothing extraordinary or superhuman in any one of those actions; only the fact that they are done consistently and correctly, and all together, produce excellence.” Dan Chambliss

-“Greatness is doable. Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable.” Dan Chambliss

Prefer mystery to mundanity:
-We want to believe people are prodigies, we don’t want to sit on the pool deck and watch Mark Spitz progress from amateur to expert.

-“No one can see in the work of the artist how it has become.” Nietzsche

Stamina > Intensity:
-“Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time–longer than most people imagine.” AD

-“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” AD

-What can you sustain indefinitely? Have to hold the same top-level goal for years. 
*Make sure mid-level goals correspond to unifying top-level goal.

Passion as a compass:
-Think of these ideas as interchangeable with authenticity

-Takes time to get right, constantly adjust, realign, recalibrate. Takes you on wandering journey to where you want to be. The obstacle is the way. 

-“Passion for your work is a little bit discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.” AD

Discovering your interests:
-Not through introspection but interactions with outside world. Can be messy, serendipitous, and inefficient. 

-Early interests can be fragile, vague, and need years of refinement.

Deliberate Practice:
-Clearly defined stretch goal, full concentration and effort, immediate feedback, repetition with reflection and refinement

-Supremely effortful, working at the far edge of your skills. Only sustainable for an hour at a time.

-Deliberate practice is a behavior, flow is an experience. Don’t always go together.

-Deliberate practice is for preparation, and flow is for performance. 

-Self-awareness without judgment. 

Purpose:
-Higher scores on purpose (importance of living a meaningful life) correlates with higher scores on grit scale.

-But purpose isn’t a magical entity waiting to be discovered, requires years of dedication and exploration.

-AD: Someone who had inkling of her interests in adolescence. Clarity about purpose in twenties. Experience and expertise to find and calibrate with single top-level, life-organizing goal.

Leadership:
-Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), looks for three things on leadership team: capability, character, and how they treat people.

Writing:
-"Writing is failure. Over and over and over again.” Ta-Nehisi Coates

-Challenge of writing is to see your bad writing and go to bed. Wake up, refine it, make it not so terrible, go to bed. And do this on repeat until you have something decent.

Your Move – Ramit Sethi

Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business – by Ramit Sethi
Date read: 9/20/18. Recommendation: 8/10.

Ramit Sethi is one of my favorite humans and writers (I Will Teach You to Be Rich is a gem, if you haven’t read it). He’s someone who gets it. Whether it’s finance, or in this case business, he’s always focused on the things that matter and assigning things their proper weight. In Your Move he offers insight into handpicking customers, being more selective about who you target, and why that’s fundamental to success. He emphasizes authenticity and crafting a message that resonates with your target audience’s hopes, dreams, pain points, and fears. It’s a book that should be able to point you in the right direction whether you’re struggling with your initial idea, defining your audience, or putting yourself and your product out there. There’s actionable insight for each.

See my notes below or Amazon for details and reviews.


My Notes:

A successful business doesn't mean more money. It means more success, peace of mind and time.

Don't give things away for free:
-People value what they pay for
-Huge difference between free reader and paying customer
-Paying customer is far more likely to engage/open/use whatever they've paid for

"Most people reading this will not become millionaires because it involves extremely hard work and insane perseverance." -RS

Invisible risk of doing nothing > risk of starting a business

If you create value, people will be more than happy to pay for it.

Authenticity matters. Listening matters. When you sit down with customers, encourage them to open up by saying "Tell me about that." Or if you're sending emails, ask "What are you struggling with today?"

Make sure you've identified and are talking with your target market.
-If Ramit had talked to people his parent's age when writing his first book, he probably would have heard something about saving for retirement earlier. That message doesn't resonate with someone in their early 20s who wants to know what to do with their money, make it work for them, and buy a round of drinks for their friends.

Be selective and handpick your customers
-Allows you to target wants, needs, hope, fears, desires of that audience with pinpoint accuracy (and create products they want).
-"Students for life" philosophy.
-Regularly encouraging people to unsubscribe from newsletter (those who stick around are highly committed and engaged).

"Your biggest challenge is customer selection. You pick the right customer, you win. You pick the wrong customer, you lose. Focus on helping great people get better." -Marshall Goldsmith

Learn to embrace mistakes, otherwise, you get stuck in analysis paralysis (thinking instead of acting).

"Focus on being decisive and less on trying to make the 'right' decision. You'll never know until you try, and if you're wrong, you can always try again." RS

Beginners focus on the wrong things – worry about minutiae that won't change a thing and ends up exhausting.

Experienced pros have gone through this and know what to pay attention to (and what to ignore).

"Anyone can be 'efficient'–meaning they can do a given task pretty well. But very few can be 'effective,' meaning they select the right things to work on in the first place. Focusing on the right things is a true superpower." RS

Focus on your audience more, your competition less.

"Be different to be better. Don't be different for the sake of being different." RS

When you nail the right audience, price is a mere triviality. People will pay substantial money if you're solving a problem that's important to them AND they believe you can solve it.

Systems mentality: Life is always going to be messy. Successful people don't rely on "motivation or "working harder" to make things happen. They have systems for the big wins and let the inconsequential stuff fall by the wayside.

To sell you need to know four key things about your customers: their hopes, dreams, pain points, and fears.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The things that worked from $0 to $100,000 won't always work when you're trying to crack $500,000.

Change the words you use to sell your products and you can drastically increase revenue.
-Focus on the reader and their pains, challenges and frustrations as they relate to your niche.
-Articulate their biggest hopes, dreams, and goals.
-What do they want? What's frustrating? What's going on inside their heads?

Product or service tiers (i.e. intro, intermediate expert) changes the question from if I should buy, to which should I buy?

If you view yourself as their trusted advisor and you have a product that will help them, you should be doing everything in your power to let them know about it.

"Stop and ask yourself: Are your products awesome? Do they really help people? If the answer is 'No,' then you need to make a better product." Graham Cochrane

30% Raise:
-Change the words on your promotional pages (take focus off product, shift towards customers)
-Offer more expensive option (tiered pricing)
-Begin selling sooner and more often