There is something called the Lindy effect and it states that you can predict the future life expectancy of a non-perishable thing like an idea, or a restaurant, or a book based on how long it’s already been around. The longer something survives, the longer we can reasonably expect it to exist in the future.
Or as Nassim Taleb brilliantly put it:
“If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print for another fifty years…Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy.”
That’s how classics become classics.
And even though certain things change with the disrupting effects of technology, human growth lessons stay the same. That’s why Dostoevsky and The Prince are still relevant today.
With all this in mind, the following lessons from books aren’t some “nice-to-have” things that don’t necessarily need to know. They’re actually underlying principles that will continue to guide leadership in the decades to come.
Every lesson that follows consists of a short description of the principle so that you can get the gist of it. But in case you need further information, we will have a book recommendation that you can read to explore the concept in depth.
1. Resilience is the key
Resilience is the key to—well—almost anything in life. Obstacles are always going to be standing in the way of our success, and resilience is the key trait that will help us overcome them.
If history teaches us anything, it’s that great men became great men because they had great obstacles in their way. You grow stronger by encountering obstacles—but only if you get past them. To do that, you need to become resilient.
Problems can (and will) knock you down in life, but don’t let them knock you out of life.
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
“It’s simple. Simple but, of course, not easy.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Obstacle Is The Way.
2. Focus on only one step
There is an interesting perspective to life called “the Worms’ perspective.” A worm can see just a tiny bit in front of himself so he has no other options than to focus on things that are standing right in front of him.
We can see wide and far. But if we want to lead effectively in this decade and beyond, we need to learn how to focus more intently on the one step that is in front of us. That focus will help us lead effectively, taking us one step closer to our goals. And if you follow all of those (correct) steps, you will get to your goal.
“Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus … when you spread yourself out, you end up spread thin.”
“What is the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The One Thing.
3. Know when to quit
If there is one myth that all people believe about successful people is that they don’t quit. And phrases like quitters never win and winners never quit are not helpful.
It’s true that winners don’t quit—but only when they find the thing that is worthy of them not quitting. Founders and leaders who became successful quit many things before they became successful CEOs and leaders.
The difference is that they knew when to quit something and focus their attention and resources on something else that would provide a bigger ROI.
Slack, the business communications platform, was originally a video game company. But that direction didn’t prove to be a good one, so they shifted gears.
And luckily they did, because the Slack we know wouldn’t exist today if it didn’t—and neither would it’s $13.75 billion market cap (at the time of this writing).
“Spend zero time on what you could have done, and devote all of your time on what you might do.”
“That’s the hard thing about hard things—there is no formula for dealing with them.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things.
4. Start with Why
If you sell a product just to sell a product, people will buy because of the merit of that product.
When you sell something that people believe in, they will stick with you through good and bad times. And they may even send recommendations on how to do things better and be a brand advocate for you and your product.
Apple doesn’t merely sell laptops, phones, and gadgets. They sell a vision. You are not a person who has an iPhone. You are a round peg in a square hole, the crazy one, the misfit.
If you start with why and then provide your product as proof of that mission, people will follow you.
“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Start With Why.
5. Talent hardly guarantees success (be passionate and follow through your commitment)
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work. But people somehow forget this. And when they look at someone successful, they think that the person was just talented to get to where they are.
Talent is an advantage. But without hard work, talent is wasted.
When assessing your team members and looking at their potential growth, it’s better to assess their habits and their amount of grit and determination than it is to look at their raw talent.
Because talent is common, and grit, determination, and endurance are rare.
“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Grit.
6. Always give feedback and do it appropriately
Do you know why people enjoy games so much even though they are hard, repetitive, and not always easy to win? It’s because they provide instant feedback loops. Players immediately know if they did something good because they get a reward and if they did something wrong because they get punished.
In business, we have to wait until the yearly performance review to know if we are doing a great job or completely failing. Shortening the period to as little delay as possible will make your employees grow and will make them grow fast.
One way you can implement immediate feedback loops in the workplace is through gamification.
“The more frequent the feedback loops, the more improvement possible.”
“For the average millennial, feedback is indeed ‘the breakfast of champions.’ “
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Feedback Imperative
7. Do something new and original
There is nothing wrong with doing the same old things and copying what others have done before you. Those things might work to some extent. But if you’re just copying someone else, you won’t get to the next level.
You will never be a leader in your space nor will your company achieve its maximum potential by just copying what someone else did. If you want to lead in your space and your industry, you have to take a risk and do something new and original.
There is no guarantee that new things will work out. In fact, most of them will fail. But the ones that succeed will pay off all the failure beforehand.
“Zero to One moments in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network.”
“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Zero to One
8. Be a business leader first (and an HR professional second)
You are first running a business and then being a finance, communications, or HR professional at the same time.
This is important to keep in mind as you make decisions. What you choose to do will impact your field and your team. But it will also affect your company in a serious way.
A business leader will always juggle both of these things, keeping the balance delicate and making sure no team is left behind.
“We believe that an emerging metric for HR will be ROI (meaning return on intangibles) because HR professionals position their organization with their investors.”
“Culture is not only norms, behaviors, and values, but the norms, behaviors, and values that will induce targeted customers to have a more intense relationship with the firm.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading HR from the Outside In.
9. Humility, respect, and trust build great teams
You are a leader not because you can do everything by yourself but because you understand and know that you need others to make great things happen.
Your attitude and behavior are what makes or breaks your success. Either by having humility, respect, and trust or by being arrogant, distrustful, and aloof.
Great teams constantly have great leaders and they embody humility, respect, and trust. So, you should look to elicit and embody those qualities and the team members will take care of the rest.
“Traditional managers worry about how to get things done, while leaders worry about what things get done…(and trust their team to figure out how to do it).”
“Fitz treated Jerry like an adult, Jerry always got his work done, and Fitz never had to worry about Jerry being at his desk, because Jerry didn’t need a babysitter.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Debugging Teams.
10. Subtle behaviors make an ultimate difference
It’s the little things that make the big things—not the other way around.
You don’t leap a 10,000-step journey. You take one step at a time. The small steps, when added together, make the ultimate difference.
That’s why leadership is hard. It’s the small and subtle things that make the difference. It’s about the way you greet your team members, how focused you become when you listen to them, and how you make them your one and only priority when they come to you with a problem.
The subtle behaviors add up and in the end. Turns out that, over time, small things make big differences.
“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.”
“We are all paid to solve problems. Make sure to pick fun people to solve problems with.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Culture Code.
11. Measure what matters
You get what you track and you improve what you measure. So measuring activities isn’t some arbitrary thing. It’s the tool that can either push your culture and results forward or is a stepping stone to getting great things done.
Not only do the measures need to be clear, meaningful, and quantifiable, but they need to be the right measurements—the ones that matter to the company’s vision, mission, bottom line, and employees.
“When people have conflicting priorities or unclear, meaningless, or arbitrarily shifting goals, they become frustrated, cynical, and demotivated.”
“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Measure What Matters.
12. Listening is a consistent effort—and you should do it!
The wise one isn’t the person who speaks. It’s the one who listens.
And listening in today’s world is a lot harder than it used to be. In a typical conversation, only 7 percent of meaning is transmitted with words. The rest is done with the tone of voice and body language.
Considering the main channel of communication today is chat where you can’t see the person’s body language or gauge their tone of voice, it’s important to listen deeply and make sure you get the right meaning out of every conversation, even when it’s text-based.
It’s not what is being said; it’s how it’s being said. And it’s not what’s written, it’s what’s omitted and found between the lines.
“During many conversations, you get just 7 percent of the meaning from the actual words, which could be typed.”
“If you start listening to everyone as you would scan headlines on a celebrity gossip website, you won't discover the poetry and wisdom that is within people.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading You’re Not Listening.
13. Avoid issuing orders and request, imply, or make suggestions instead
When you issue orders, people will follow them because—well, they have to.
But by giving out orders, you will prevent the growth of autonomy and responsibility in your employees. On the other hand, by requesting, implying, and making suggestions, you will still appear as an authority—one that trusts their coworkers and employees and leaves them to decide what is right.
This is how you coach your employees and make them grow as individuals—both on a personal and on a professional level.
“If subordinates, or people in general, know that they genuinely have easy access to their leader, they’ll tend to view the leader in a more positive, trustworthy light.”
“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Lincoln on Leadership.
14. Tiny habits lead to big results
Big results are a compound effect of tiny habits. It’s like building trust with your employees. It won’t happen with a single, grand gesture or activity like a conference. While such events are beneficial, they won’t create a sense of trust on their own.
You create trust through tiny habits and daily activities that compound over time. And it’s not just trust—all big results stem from tiny habits done consequently.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Atomic Habits
15. Things are better than we think
Our minds aren’t equipped to deal with the abstract. Big numbers and our heuristics cause us to constantly make bad judgments about our environment.
The media isn’t helping us out here either. They show us 1 percent of things that happen around the world and tell us it’s the news.
Only when you look into the data can you see that things are better than they seem. But to do that, you need to know about something Daniel Kahneman calls WYSIATI: What you see is all there is.
Suspend the judgment before looking at the data because things are better than we think.
“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”
“The world cannot be understood without numbers. But the world cannot be understood with numbers alone.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Factfulness.
16. Make stuff you believe in
The company’s profit is like the air you breathe in. Without air, you can’t breathe. But that doesn’t mean we devote our entire lives to breathing.
A company needs profit to make a living. But that shouldn’t be the only reason a company exists.
Companies should exist to make a difference, and profit is the one thing that enables that. So don’t make stuff that will just make you money—make stuff that you believe in, the things that will make a difference. Use profit as a benchmark to see if you’re getting there.
This will make things clear and will make decisions easier because you will know why you do what you do.
“You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.
“Vision without execution is hallucination. .. Skill without imagination is barren. Leonardo [da Vinci] knew how to marry observation and imagination, which made him history’s consummate innovator.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Steve Jobs.
17. Be proactive
Don’t be reactive. Be proactive because things don’t happen to those who just wait, but to those who go out there and make things happen.
Opportunities will rarely just come to you. For the most part, you will need to go out there and create them for yourself. If you want to hire great talent, don’t wait for them to accidentally find you over a friend’s friend.
Create the best job ad that you can and put it everywhere. Be proactive and things will find their way to you.
“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, I choose otherwise.’”
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
18. No, we’re not supposed to work until we’re 60
People want to do good work because good work is, most of the time, meaningful work. But most people don’t want to work on a job they don’t like.
HR is going through an evolution where clocks are no longer the way to measure productivity. Results are.
And most people want more time to do the things that matter to them. So we should start thinking about how they can still be a productive member of our company and have the time to do other things they want besides work.
“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.”
“There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The 4-Hour Work Week.
19. We are more likely to agree with people that are similar to us
When you open up Facebook, you mostly see posts from the people who think what you think, believe what you believe in, and do the things you approve of. And it’s no wonder that we agree more with people who are like us.
That’s why people who want to start a business go to Silicon Valley and those who want to study dance, drama, and music go to Julliard.
We go to places where we can find people who are like us, who want and like the same things as us, who believe in what we believe in.
So the best place to find people who would be a great match for your company would be the places that you yourself would like to visit and live in.
“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
“Apparently we have such an automatically positive reaction to compliments that we can fall victim to someone who uses them in an obvious attempt to win our favor.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Influence.
20. You negotiate a lot more than you think—you’re just not aware of it
Negotiating doesn’t only happen on the movie screen where a police officer tries to convince the criminal to let go of the hostages and surrender.
Negotiation happens almost every single day to every single one of us. It’s when you try to have your friends visit a new coffee shop that you like or ask the waiter to help you figure out a new dish in your favorite restaurant to try.
You negotiate whether you realize it or not by making subtle gestures to all sorts of people around you.
And if you make yourself aware of this reality, you can learn valuable lessons about negotiating. And you will be able to use them in critical situations when needed.
“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”
“Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Never Split the Difference.
21. Love your workplace and do meaningful work
There is a misquote of Steve Jobs that goes around constantly: Do what you love.
Here's what he actually said: Love what you do.
There is a massive difference in those two sentences. The first one tells us to only do the things we already love to do. But the second sentence, the actual quote, tells us that we need to learn how to love the things we already do.
It’s not about finding a passion that will somehow, magically, make you happy and worry-free. It’s about going through the problems in your workplace, figuring out how to solve them, actually solving them, and changing your perspective so that you appreciate the work that is being done and the resulting impact.
If you do that, you will be able to love your job and do meaningful work every day.
“It’s not ‘what do you want to do with your life when you grow up’ but ‘whom do you wish to be as you mature.’”
“It’s an extraordinary amount of fun to find the intersection between the interests and background of a donor, and the needs of the institution. If you find that intersection, that’s the sweet spot. And my personal attitude is that we are really doing the prospective donor an enormous favor by asking for support. Because their gift will provide a meaning and a consequence in their lives that will otherwise not exist.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Start Now.
22. Attention is money, time is just a concept
A human being today has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. We have an eight-second attention span while a goldfish concentrates for nine.
In today’s world, attention is where the money, success, and good work lies.
It’s easy to get distracted with all the notifications jumping up and down, left and right. The ones who are able to create a “vacuum” around them to be able to do great work which can’t be easily replicated. These are the ones who will reap all the rewards in this decade and beyond.
Attention is the new currency. As such, attention management will be a prerequisite for time management and, ultimately, productivity.
Learn how to manage your attention. Otherwise, it will manage you.
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
“Many people still promote the idea of ego depletion, perhaps because they are unaware of the evidence that exists to the contrary. But if Dweck’s conclusions are correct, then perpetuating the idea is doing real harm. If ego depletion is essentially caused by self-defeating thoughts and not by any biological limitation, then the idea makes us less likely to accomplish our goals by providing a rationale to quit when we could otherwise persist.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Indistractable.
23. People should compare themselves with themselves more
The only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday. Don’t measure and compare yourself to other people. It will only lead you to a spiral that doesn’t have a happy end.
Stay within your circle of control and do the things you can do. Become better than you were yesterday because those are the variables inside of your scope of control.
Dave Mustaine sold more than 40 million records with his band Megadeth. His motivation was to be better than the band that kicked him out when he was younger.
But the band that kicked him out was Metallica, one of the most successful—if not the most successful—band in the history of music.
Mustaine later on crumbled in front of the camera, realizing the foolishness of his comparison. He had been comparing himself to others, not himself. It took him 30 years to learn this lesson.
“‘No tree can grow to Heaven,’ adds the ever-terrifying Carl Gustav Jung, psychoanalyst extraordinaire, ‘unless its roots reach down to Hell.’”
“Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading 12 Rules for Life.
24. Have a small number of highly important goals
The word priority came from Latin. It meant prior, the first, the only one. A priority meant having a single goal and pushing it forward.
Today, almost everything in a company seems like a priority. To be able to accomplish important goals, you need to focus on less.
It’s about doing less to achieve more. We do that by focusing on a small number of highly important goals. Once they are accomplished, they will have a spillover effect toward everything else in the company.
It’s like diversifying and building multiple companies. First, build a single one and achieve success with it. That will have a spillover effect. Focus on one until you succeed, and then diversify.
“Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.”
“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Deep Work.
25. Ego is the enemy most of the time
It’s remarkable what people can accomplish if they don’t care who gets the credit. But most of the time, people do care. And that leaves many great ideas and projects as mere potential.
Ego is the enemy in these situations. If you can reign in your ego, you will manage to accomplish much more than you could ever dream of.
Ego is a great servant. But problems come when it becomes the master. Make sure that doesn’t happen.
“Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.”
“Most successful people are people you’ve never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Ego Is the Enemy.
26. Seek for new and creative ways to crack the code
Look at the world of ideas from a perspective nobody has. And look for those ideas where nobody looks. And if you can’t find a place where nobody looks, try looking at “forbidden” ideas.
More often than not, you can find something that could help you crack the code in ways nobody else could.
Innovation doesn’t just mean looking at things more deeply. It means connecting different branches to form a new idea and breakthroughs.
That’s how people merged the mathematical problem of Zeno's paradox to solve a philosophical problem of infinite regress. Or how some authors took the second law of thermodynamics and applied them to relationships.
It isn’t always just about going deeper, Sometimes, it’s about combining two unconnected ideas to crack the code and make a breakthrough.
“In times past, the biggest bazaars had hundreds of physical stalls offering their wares. Today’s global bazaar has hundreds of thousands of digital stalls that entrepreneurs can visit online.”
“It’s much easier than ever to rapidly build a new disruptive economy, at least in the early stages, with limited capital.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Billion Dollar Brand Club.
27. The common people and the great men and women are all defined by how they deal with life’s unfairness
No matter which generation or what kind of era people live in, there will be struggles in their lives. And the character that will be created in those situations will depend on the responses ordinary people give in the face of life’s unfairness.
Problems will hit you sooner or later. So you need to prepare. How you respond to adversity is the test that will make or break your character.
“At some point we will all confront a dark moment in life. If not the passing of a loved one, then something else that crushes your spirit and leaves you wondering about your future. In that dark moment, reach deep inside yourself and be your very best.”
“Those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Make Your Bed.
28. Indecisiveness is the enemy of morale
Being meek and indecisive shows the people who follow you that you’re not sure and that you’re constantly second-guessing your actions and decisions.
When you lead people, you need to show them the decisiveness behind your actions and lead like that option is the right one.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t question things. In fact, you need to do that before you make a decision.
Ask for information and input and think long and hard about the right course of action. But once you make up your mind, stick to it.
“True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.”
“If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Ride of a Lifetime.
29. The mental and physical limitations aren’t set in stone
There is something Navy SEALs call the rule of 40 percent. It states that when your mind tells you that you can’t go any further, that you’re done, that you’ve exhausted every ounce of your energy, you are really only 40% done.
Mental limitations and physical limitations aren’t set in stone—they are movable obstacles. The more you practice, the harder you can push them. And when you think you’re done, you’ve only reached 40% of your capacity. So push on.
So push yourself to grow. And when you think you can’t anymore, push a little bit further. That’s how greatness happens.
“In the military, we always say we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Can’t Hurt Me.
30. Incremental improvement is a powerful engine
Kaizen is a Japanese word that means continuous improvement. And incremental and continuous improvement shouldn’t be underestimated since, over time, it can yield massive results.
If you start checking two emails per day and increase that by just one more once a week, you will clear out your inbox in less than a year.
If you start reading three pages of a book a day and increase the number by one page every two weeks, you will read around 11 books a year. And if you increase the number by one page every week, you will read 47 books a year.
Incremental improvement is a powerful engine. If you start by doing less today and keep at it, you will do more in a year.
“When kaizen events are designed with the purpose of only improving processes or driving financial savings but not challenging people to develop their skills, kaizen becomes noninfectious.”
“The culture changes when the leaders focus on the process and quit blaming the people.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Creating a Kaizen Culture.
31. Risk and failure should be encouraged
Success is a destination with a path filled with failures. If you want to succeed at anything—whether it’s a business, an ambitious goal, or personal record—you need to encourage risk and failure. Because you will never succeed if you don’t fail.
Of course, you can play it safe. But that often always leads to oblivion. Tons of companies that played it safe instead of taking risks are no longer open for business.
So take risks and fail because the success that awaits at the end of the path is going to be worth it.
“If your goals are ambitious and crazy enough, even failure will be a pretty good achievement.”
“All it takes is a belief that people are fundamentally good—and enough courage to treat your people like owners instead of machines. Machines do their jobs; owners do whatever is needed to make their companies and teams successful.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Work Rules.
32. Long-term sustained performance can be built into cultural DNA
Good is the enemy of great. And long-term sustained performance isn’t something you get to achieve once and ride the wave forever. It’s a continuous process where you need to iterate on things to be able to provide a consistent experience to everyone in the company—an experience of sustained performance.
Culture isn’t created overnight. In order for people to realize that a company has long-term sustained performance baked into its DNA, you will need to work on it for a long time.
But the rewards that you will reap will be worth all the trouble you went through to establish the culture.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Good to Great.
33. Social norms can screw up our rational thinking abilities
A strong manager who doesn’t take objections well is a problematic manager because they will create what’s called groupthink.
It’s when a team desires harmony or conformity in the group in spite of irrational and dysfunctional decision-making. And it often happens because of fear of repercussions.
This is just one of the examples of how social norms can affect rational thinking abilities. But there are plenty more, and all of them can plummet the team’s performance and productivity.
Being aware of them is a successful first step.
“Giving up on our long-term goals for immediate gratification, my friends, is procrastination.”
“People are willing to work free, and they are willing to work for a reasonable wage; but offer them just a small payment and they will walk away.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Predictably Irrational.
34. Laws and regulations can go hand in hand with creating productivity
For a real and lasting change to occur, you need to change four different things:
- The individual’s mindset (thought pattern)
- The individual’s actions (behavior)
- The group’s mindset (culture)
- The group’s behavior (laws and regulations)
The fourth thing, laws and regulations, are rarely addressed. But they play an important role in change management.
It’s how you systematically support the culture, behavior, and mindset that you want to see in your company.
So, the laws and regulations that you have should be motivating people to pursue the appreciated behavior and reward them for it.
“Sound training brings valuable benefits to employers and employees alike, including new and enhanced skills, increased productivity, and improved employee morale.”
“When employees are unhappy in the workplace, when morale and productivity lag and turnover is high, the root problem is usually not compensation.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The HR Answer Book.
35. Changing your environment starts with the simple step of changing yourself
The first step in any change is always changing ourselves. We have control over ourselves and, therefore, can decide how we want to respond to our environment.
It isn’t easy going against the grain, but that’s how change starts.
Our environment does really affect us. But we can affect it, too, and provide examples to others on how we should respond to the difficult situations we are put into.
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”
“It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Awaken the Giant Within.
36. People don’t trust advertisements, they trust their peers
The only form of advertisement that doesn’t have a diminishing return is word-of-mouth marketing.
Most people will take notice of an ad. But they won’t trust it from the get-go.
If their peers are talking about it and discussing how important it is, then they will start to take an interest in the item, product, or service and think about getting it.
So if you want to put something out there, don’t plan out a massive advertising campaign. Give it to people and ask them to tell their friends and colleagues what they think about it. That will make a bigger impact than anything else.
“People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”
“Contagious content is like that—so inherently viral that it spreads regardless of who is doing the talking.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Contagious.
37. True wealth and experience is a mindset first
The actions we do every single day don’t come out of nowhere.
They come from our own thoughts, feelings, motivations, and inclinations.And the same thing applies to true wealth and experience. It’s a mindset first. It’s thinking about it first in a proper way that will make sure you realize it in the world through your behaviors.
When you want to implement a change, you need to first believe in it and your actions and behaviors will follow your mindset. If you don’t, you’ll lose the battle before you even start.
“People love to say that knowledge is power. But the truth is that knowledge is only potential power.”
“When it comes to the areas of your life that matter most—your family, your faith, your health, your finances—you can’t rely on anybody else to tell you what to do. It’s great to get coaching from experts in the field, but you can’t outsource the final decision. You can’t give another person control over your destiny, no matter how sincere or skilled he or she may be.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Unshakeable.
38. We are terrible at predicting the things that will make us happy and satisfied
More, more, and more won’t make us happy if we don’t know why we want it. And even when we think that certain things will make us happy, we will realize that they won’t but only when we accomplish them.
This is the general problem when it comes to all humans. We are terrible at predicting what will make us happy and satisfied.
At this point, we come to the importance of learning from other people’s experiences and not our own. Because we might spend precious time, energy, and resources in achieving something that we thought would make us successful, happy, and fulfilled only to realize that it made us—well, nothing out of the sort.
“My friends tell me that I have a tendency to point out problems without offering solutions, but they never tell me what I should do about it.”
“Economies thrive when individuals strive, but because individuals will only strive for their own happiness, it is essential that they mistakenly believe that producing and consuming are routes to personal well-being.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Stumbling on Happiness.
39. Impulsiveness is not our fault, it’s in our nature
There are a lot of things that are ours by nature and we shouldn’t “blame” our system for that.
It isn’t about shutting down that part of us but learning how to use it to thrive in today’s world. Aggressiveness toward others is wrong and bad. But using that drive to build a business is a good manifestation of something nature gave us.
And there is a way you can use all of your impulsiveness and cognitive biases to your advantage. But it will take time, effort, and mastery.
“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”
“The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Thinking, Fast and Slow.
40. Cooperation can be taught from gangsters, criminals, and pirates
When you think about certain groups of people, your first reaction would be a certain kind of moral judgment toward them (e.g., good, bad, moral, evil, right, wrong, left, right, etc.).
But that kind of black-and-white thinking will make you miss the intricacies and the lessons you can learn from those groups or people.
And the same rules apply to learning about cooperation from gangs, criminals, and pirates. Why do young people have such a strong bond toward gangs? How are criminals so well-connected but yet appear hidden from anyone who isn’t in that world?
The intricacies of those answers will provide insights that would remain hidden unless you were bold enough to look where nobody else would.
“So why do we have this impression of pirates as bloodthirsty savages? It’s called marketing. It’s much easier, cheaper, and safer to have people surrender quickly because they’re terrified of you than it is to fight every battle, so pirates were sharp enough to cultivate a brand image of barbarity.”
“The majority of successful prison gangs on record were created not as a way to further evil but as a way to provide protection to their members while incarcerated.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Barking Up the Wrong Tree.
41. Use resources to attain influence, not buy stuff
The value of funds isn’t in buying more stuff, but in buying influence.
When looking at resources, it’s about figuring out how to get the biggest return on investment (ROI) on your invested funds. And one of the biggest ROIs is influence—the influence to decide where to go in future, to have key decision-makers on your side, and to have great connections with stakeholders and shareholders.
Use your resources to attain influence—not buy stuff.
“Understand that people value what they pay for. You’re not doing them a disservice by charging them, you’re actually doing a profound service for the people who want to take action.”
“Do that, and it means you’ve created something good enough that people say, ‘Yes, I need this!’ When they pull out that credit card, you know they really mean it. They’re not just saying they need it because they’re worried about hurting your feelings.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Your Move.
42. The ancient doctrine has immense power to teach us all things human
Take a look at this quote: “We have fallen upon evil times, the world has waxed old and wicked. Politics are very corrupt. Children are no longer respectful to their elders. Each man wants to make himself conspicuous and write a book.”
You could read it today and nod your head thinking it was written sometimes in the past couple of years. But then you take a look at the author of the quote and see this: Naram Sin, 5000 B.C.
Many of the problems we have today are also the problems people had in the past. And if we want to look at how to live with those problems and solve them, it’s good to take a look at the past and see how the wise people of yesteryear dealt with those problems.
We might just be surprised at what they have to say.
“Nothing stands still—everything is being born, growing, dying—the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline—the law of rhythm is in constant operations....”
“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding."
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Plato, The Republic.
43. Be the best version of you when it’s most needed, and teach your organization to do the same
Success is inevitable when opportunity meets preparation. But we never know when the right opportunity will knock on our doors. So it’s better to take it upon ourselves to always be prepared. Work on yourself and grow into the best version you can be.
And once you’re on your path, show to your company and business how the process looks like and put it on the same path.
At that point, it’s just a matter of time before the opportunity will come your way. This time, you and your company will be ready.
“Apply yourself everyday to just becoming a little bit better.”
“While you can’t control what happens to you, you can control how you react.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Wooden on Leadership.
44. Managing employees is a measurable and technical skill
People want to make leadership an elusive skill that is impossible to learn. But it isn't. And great managers know that. There is a technical skill behind their success and success of their team.
Yes, leadership plays a role in it. But there is also the managerial side that is more technical in nature and requires the manager (and leader) to know how to set up systems in their team to be able to provide a consistent experience that provides the best results.
And managing employees this way is a measurable and technical skill which every manager can learn.
“The development of HR’s strategic role has been an evolution… The next step in the evolution is for HR professionals, and particularly senior HR professionals, to develop what we call analytic literacy.”
“The more relevant information we have linked, the better chance we have of understanding the big picture of what is actually going on.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Predictive HR Analytics.
45. Running a business as a soulful business
We have reached the stage where more technology might not always have the effect that we want. The law of diminishing returns is in place and more technology might not help us proceed to new plains.
We will need to fundamentally change how we operate a business. We will need to think about business from a different perspective, think about our employees in a different way, and completely reinvent what a purpose and a hierarchy mean for a business.
The leaders of tomorrow will be the innovators of today. It’s up to you to take the role.
“We have reached a stage where we often pursue growth for growth’s sake, a condition that in medical terminology would simply be called cancer.”
“Extraordinary things begin to happen when we dare to bring all of who we are to work.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Reinventing Organizations.
46. Fundamental problems cannot be solved at the same level of thought that created them
Every new solution to an old problem creates at least two new problems. But we can’t solve problems that exist by applying the same level of thinking that created those problems in the first place.
It’s a what got you here, won’t get you there type of situation.
So, innovating not only to solve the problems, but also to completely redesign the way we look at the problems in the first place, can help us solve the problems that have marked the past 20 years.
“The crisis of our time isn’t just a crisis of a single leader, organization, country, or conflict. The crisis of our time reveals the dying of an old social structure and way of thinking, an old way of institutionalizing and enacting collective social forms.”
“Leadership is about being better able to listen to the whole than anyone else can.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Theory U.
47. Tribes fought for the cause, we should be doing the same thing
Before we discard and disregard the old as “old” and unnecessary, we need to take a minute to look at the effects those “old” things had on us and our systems.
Because there are things we should be preserving from the past. Of course, there are also some things we need to innovate on.
It’s the point of including and transcending. Take the community created by the tribe but leave out the exclusivity and aggression it had.
The growth is always in inclusion and transcendence.
“Leadership is about being better able to listen to the whole than anyone else can.”
“Without the leaders building the tribe, a culture of mediocrity will prevail. Without an inspired tribe, leaders are impotent.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Tribal Leadership.
48. 21st century is bringing radical changes, we should adapt
The only thing that is certain is that things will change in the future.
We are living in unprecedented times where things evolve quickly and any long-term predictions are almost a roll of the dice.
So to prepare for the changes of the 21st century, we need to see the things that won’t change and continue doing them. At the same time, we should be exploring the things that will change in the future and seeing if we could be the market leader in those areas.
Human nature will hardly change. But the machinery and technology we use will change for sure. It’s up to all of us to tinker and innovate to make that happen. The best way to predict the future is always to create it, so you’d be wise to listen to that advice.
“This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom—we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.”
“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Homo Deus.
49. Plan sprints, not the longer unpredictable periods. Technology is ever-changing, and you should be able to adapt while maintaining structure
Business plans are almost a thing of the past since the main attribute of a successful company today is agility. You need speed and willingness to change, and change fast, to keep up with the market.
It’s the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn that will mark the success in the 21st century. And with that in mind, you can only prepare for short sprints—not long marathons.
So, plan the short bursts and fast projects that can be implemented in a shorter cycle. Leave the big plans out since things change so fast. In a month, some plans could already be old and outdated.
Be agile and stay on your feet. the market today rewards speed.
“If you are thinking about Agile as a set of tools and processes, you’re looking for the wrong thing. You can’t go to the store and ‘buy some Agile management.’”
“Small batches of work, small teams, short cycles, and quick feedback—in effect, “small everything.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Age of Agile.
50. We always easily recall on big moments in life; we should know how to bring them to the reality
Big moments play an important role in our personal and professional lives.
Oftentimes, something in the moment might seem unimpactful. But the emotional connection and experience created during those moments is what will anchor the experience and make a mental map we can draw from in the future.
You might not remember the agenda from a conference you had a couple of years ago. But you do remember the feeling you got while doing a team-building exercise with your colleagues—the fun you had and the bonds you created.
Big moments are there to make emotional connections. We shouldn’t look at them through a cost-benefit lens and ask for an immediate ROI. These gestures will have a long-term, immeasurable effect on the quality of your team’s experience.
“To elevate a moment, do three things: First, boost sensory appeal. Second, raise the stakes. Third, break the script.”
“The reason people hate meetings is that emotion is deliberately squeezed out. Participants sit and listen to programmed presentations. But this is a choice, not an inevitability. You can just as easily conduct a meeting that has drama, meaning, and connection. You cannot bring two teams together by simply talking about unity. They must experience unity. That’s what makes it a defining moment.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Power of Moments.
51. Precision beats power, timing beats speed
A boxer who throws punches just to throw punches isn’t going to last very long in the ring. They will grow tired, their focus will disappear, and they will show holes in their defense—holes that the opponent can easily take advantage of.
So it’s not about just running around and “being busy.” It’s about being precise in your intentions and actions.The right timing of action beats the speed of just running around and throwing the right punch. In other words, being precise beats immense power.
“The typical worker reaches the most unproductive moment of the day at 2:55 p.m.”
“Decisions and negotiations, should be conducted earlier in the day”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading When.
52. How to talk to strangers and build rapport
Interpersonal skills will be more important than ever since the new decade will require even more cooperation and collaboration to solve more complex tasks and problems.
And with the rise of technology, social media, and smartphones, many people will be ill-equipped in the art of building rapport.
As such, it’s even more important for you to be able to build rapport—and build it quickly. Sometimes, you will only have a couple of minutes to talk to someone. So you better know how to build an initial connection that can grow into a partnership, a business deal, or a great addition to your company’s talent pool.
“A wise politician, when asked if he were for or against Prohibition, answered: If by alcohol, you mean the dangerous drink which destroys families, then I am fully for Prohibition. But if, by alcohol, you mean noble drink which promotes good fellowship and makes every meal a pleasure, then I am against it.”
“Take consolation from the fact that the brighter the individual, the more he or she detests small talk.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading How to Talk to Anyone.
53. Making people like you is not a trick or a technique, it’s a real honest engagement
The general problem with influence and any other book that teaches social interactions is that they fall into the “short-term” trap.
The short-term trap is give me something I can use right away to deal with this problem. And, of course, it’s okay to provide exactly that—people need pragmatic solutions to their problems and things that can make their lives easier right away.
But, in many cases, the underlying cause of the problem is still there. And the books that preach the short-term effects (dealing with effects) should also preach the long-term effects (dealing with causes).
The long-term solution is genuinely working on yourself so that you no longer need the trick, gimmick, or technique to engage with people. You simply become the type of person who would do that instantly.
It’s not about faking it until you make it. It’s about “faking it” until you become it.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading How to Win Friends and Influence People.
54. No matter the odds, you can still try, fail, and laugh about it
No matter how bad it seems, it can always become worse.
But the ability to laugh and make jokes about the problems you face will make you indestructible.
Sometimes, everything that can go wrong will go wrong (thank you, Murphy’s law). The ability to deal with the pressure in those situations will either make you or break you.
If you can look at your problems from a funny perspective and laugh about them, they won’t have power over you. Or as an article said: “Nobody can be frustrated while saying bubbles in an angry voice.”
“In life, you can choose to cry about the bulls*it that happens to you or you can choose to laugh about it. I choose laughter.”
“Life is a story. It’s full of chapters. And the beauty of life is that not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter. It determines whether it’s comedy or tragedy, fairy tale or horror story, rags-to-riches or riches-to-rags. You can’t control the events that happen to you, but you can control your interpretation of them. So why not choose the story that serves your life the best?”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading I Can’t Make This Up.
55. We owe it to the introverts
This is the world of extroverts—or so we think.
Since most extroverts get the media spotlight on them, we think that they are the rulers of the world, making things happen, building businesses, and making important decisions.
But the quiet people in the background are often the ones who make things happen and then—for most of the time—let someone else take the spotlight. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak, Warren Buffett has Charlie Munger, Martin Luther King had Ralph Abernathy, and Walt Disney had Roy Disney.
So don’t disregard the introverts. We owe them a lot more than people think.
“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”
“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Quiet.
56. The cross-cultural understanding is an indispensable path for collaboration
Different cultures bring in different inputs, perspectives, and viewpoints. And the more you have, the easier it gets to solve a problem because you are able to look at it from different angles.
That’s why cross-cultural understanding is important. There are certain perspectives that you might never consider. But someone from a different culture might have that solution top of mind.
So, understanding other cultures and the way they approach a problem is crucial if you want to be on the same page and successfully collaborate on projects.
“Objectivity arose from subjectivity—the recognition that two minds could have different representations of the world and that the world has an existence independent of either representation.”
“The Chinese believe in constant change, but with things always moving back to some prior state. They pay attention to a wide range of events; they search for relationships between things; and they think you can't understand the part without understanding the whole. Westerners live in a simpler, more deterministic world; they focus on salient objects or people instead of the larger picture; and they think they can control events because they know the rules that govern the behavior of objects.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Geography of Thought.
57. The human mind works in mysterious ways
When it comes to the human mind, there are more things we don’t know than things we do know. It works in mysterious ways. And by trying to understand it, we can start to slowly get a glimpse into other people’s way of thinking.
Even though we don’t know a lot, there are still things that provide a way for us to understand not only others, but also ourselves, our emotions, motivations, and decision-making process.
“The supposedly immaterial soul, we now know, can be bisected with a knife, altered by chemicals, started or stopped by electricity, and extinguished by a sharp blow or by insufficient oxygen.”
“Just as blueprints don't necessarily specify blue buildings, selfish genes don't necessarily specify selfish organisms. As we shall see, sometimes the most selfish thing a gene can do is build a selfless brain. Genes are a play within a play, not the interior monologue of the players.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading How the Mind Works.
58. Saying less and asking more changes the way we lead
Saying less doesn’t mean knowing less. It means asking others questions and leading them to the conclusions.
This is where coaching comes into play. You’re not telling people what to do. You’re asking them the right questions that will lead them to the answers they desire.
Most people already have the knowledge on how to deal with their problems. They’re just not aware of it. So your job is to point it out and surface that knowledge.
“This is why, in a nutshell, advice is overrated. I can tell you something, and it’s got a limited chance of making its way into your brain’s hippocampus, the region that encodes memory. If I can ask you a question and you generate the answer yourself, the odds increase substantially.”
“If this were a haiku rather than a book, it would read: Tell less and ask more. Your advice is not as good As you think it is.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Coaching Habit.
59. Leadership will bring you success only if you manage to cross the road full of failures
Leadership isn’t about current knowledge. It’s about having the confidence in yourself that no matter what kind of problems hit you tomorrow, you will be able to overcome them all.
It’s this leading through the uncertainty of success and failure that makes a leader today. And, without a doubt, it’s what will make a leader tomorrow.
The times are changing fast. Things that used to work just a year ago are obsolete. A leader therefore needs to fail fast and pick themselves and their team up even faster.
The road to success will always be filled with failures. Leaders will need the audacity to keep trying until they get everyone there.
“An extraordinary life is won on offense; it is then preserved through defense.”
“The problem is not people being educated. The problem is that they are educated just enough to believe what they've been taught, but not educated enough to question what they've been taught.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Unscripted.
60. Motivation is a short-term concept that won’t get you anywhere
Motivation gets you started. But a system keeps you going.
You need motivation only when you’re starting out since that springs from your purpose—from the force that pushed you into a certain domain, industry, or field.
But you can’t rely on motivation alone. You need a system that you can rely on since you need to work daily on the things that matter to you.
And motivation will sometimes be there. But other times, you will have to rely on your skills and training and simply do the work.
“Your head is for having ideas, not holding ideas, and it’s certainly not for filing them away. Without exception you will feel better if you get stuff out of your head.”
“Losses come in a variety of forms, but the worst thing we can lose is faith in ourselves: in our ideas, in our skills and talents, and in our willingness and ability to overcome challenges and achieve our dreams.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Motivation Myth.
One of the fundamentals of a great team is the ability to have tough conversations and open conflict. And this is where most teams fail.
Having tough conversations starts with trust. People need to know that there won’t be any drastic repercussions for speaking your mind. When this culture is in place, having tough conversations—while not necessarily easy—will still be possible.
If you want a great team, you need to have tough conversations.
“People almost never change without first feeling understood.”
“Difficult conversations are almost never about getting the facts right. They are about conflicting perceptions, interpretations, and values.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Difficult Conversations.
62. Delegation is a doorway to effective leadership
You need to be able to trust your team members and delegate tasks to them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do enough, and the results will speak for themselves.
Most people have no problem with delegation. That’s a simple skill that can be learned easily.
But many teams struggle with trust.
Once you trust your team members, you won’t have problems delegating things to them.
No leader ever did anything by themselves. Everyone had a team that pulled their weight and got things done.
“You can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.”
“If you want to work 160 hours a week, don’t delegate. But you are going to crash and burn.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Busy Manager’s Guide to Delegation.
63. Taking action to address problems is the highest priority for an HR manager
Every action doesn't need to have a reaction. But it sure needs to have a response.
What we mean by that is that, as an HR leader, you need to take action when addressing problems. It’s not enough to talk about things. You need to address those things through actions.
Because nothing speaks determination more than walking the talk. By doing so, you are proving to everyone that problems will be dealt with in the right way.
“To do right by the people who work for you—and the clients they serve—you need to free HR from the burden of rote, repetitive, soul-draining procedures.”
“Unmotivated employees. Poor performance. High turnover. Addressing these problems should be the highest priority of your human resources managers.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading People Processes.
64. When everything falls short you still have an intuition
There is a three-step phase we all go through.
The first phase is instinct. It happens when you have no skills or expertise whatsoever. Instincts are a coin-flip and can be both right or wrong—it’s a roll of the dice.
The second is the rational thinking phase. You learn the necessary skills and gain expertise in a field and look at the problems rationally and make decisions based on data.
The third phase is intuition. This is what happens when you have decades of mastery in a certain field and your subconscious and gut feeling recognize the patterns where your rational brain can’t see them.
In these instances, you need to listen to your intuition. But never mistake it for instinct.
Rookies have instincts, but only experts can have intuition.
“One difference between spiritual and ego law is that spiritual law is very playful and creative, while ego law is fixed and routine.”
“Amazing things happen when you get enough sleep, eat properly, and take it easy. Your nerve endings relax, and your spirit, or the six-sensory part of you, rejuvenates and begins to shine light on your path.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Trust Your Vibes at Work.
65. You simply have to love and believe in what you do
Life is more than just an endless grind, day in, day out. Life should (and is) fun and you need to do the things you love and believe in what you do.
Believing in yourself and in what you do will pull you up when everything seems dire. When the going gets tough, you’ll remember how passionate you are about what you do.
And if you keep going at it and believing it can be done, you will. And that’s when the fun just continues.
“The best lesson I learned was to just do it. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how hard it might seem, as the ancient Greek, Plato, said, ‘The beginning is the most important part of any work.”
“Success is more than luck. You have to believe in yourself and make it happen.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Screw it, Let's Do It.
66. Helping the next generation is helping the world
We need to keep sustainability top of mind. Not just for us, but for future generations—the ones who will carry the torch.
And here is what we need to think about: What kind of a torch do we want to pass on to our children?
We want them to continue our work—not spend decades fixing the mistakes we made in our lifetimes. And the same thing applies to our businesses.
In essence, we need to create things that are sustainable, have a positive effect in the world, and are environmentally friendly.
So, help the next generation by building something they will use—not by creating another problem they will have to solve later on.
“Instruction is necessary, of course, but discipleship happens not when we talk at our kids but when we walk with them through their struggles to a place of commitment.”
“Culture’s greatest influence is in what it presents as being normal.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading A Practical Guide to Culture.
67. We can all be secretly incredible
Being incredible isn’t about people looking at you, pointing, and saying, “you are incredible.”
Being incredible doesn’t have to be a public thing at all. You can be the person who saves the team by doing extra work, jumping in when others can’t work, providing help or instructions on something, or simply doing the grunt work that nobody else wants to do.
You don’t do this because of fame. You do this because you care about the product and getting things done. People will notice this and they will respect you because of that even though at times it might look like nobody is seeing the effort.
Trust us: They are. Keep on going, you secretly incredible person, you!
“That's what love does—it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end. When you go after something you love, you'll do anything it takes to get it, even if it costs everything.”
“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Love Does.
68. Self-control can be taught and mastered
Self-control is one of the biggest indicators of long-term success in a person. It’s the ability to sacrifice a cookie today so that you can have five tomorrow.
Good news: This is an ability that can be taught and mastered. It’s something that you can nurture through your culture by providing a space where your employees can learn self-control and master their impulses for a better tomorrow.
If you manage to provide this kind of environment, people will line up to work for you.
“Environments can be as deterministic as we once believed only genes could be and… the genome can be as malleable as we once believed only environments could be.”
“Self-control is crucial for the successful pursuit of long-term goals. It is equally essential for developing the self-restraint and empathy needed to build caring and mutually supportive relationships.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Marshmallow Test.
69. Curiosity should be harnessed and encouraged
Innovation is what drives the business world today.
But innovation doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes from the ability to safely explore new ideas, places, and connections.
And all of that is fueled by curiosity—which is quite an important train in today’s world.
Curiosity should be encouraged and harnessed because it leads to innovation. The workplace cultures that understand and implement that will be the ones that thrive.
For example, Gmail came from a Google project because employees were given a day each week to work on whatever they wanted to. All they had to do was show what they worked on in a presentation in the following week, and that’s how Gmail was born.
So, encourage curiosity and look in wonder how innovations that disrupt the world start and grow in front of your eyes.
“Ignorance as a deliberate choice, can be used to reinforce prejudice and discrimination.”
“Only fiction has the power to cross the mental barricades, to make strangers intelligible to each other, because it moves people's hearts as well as engaging their minds.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Curious.
70. Teachers should be teaching us critical thinking
Teaching is a demanding task that doesn’t only happen in the classroom. It happens every single day when you lead your team or company and provide them with knowledge. It’s up to you to teach them how to think (i.e., critical thinking) and let them figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Critical thinking is one ability we should have more of in today’s world. But some argue that today’s students aren’t learning critical thinking skills at universities like they used to.
So, it’s up to every single one of us to teach our members how to think about their own thoughts, build mental models, and use them appropriately.
“Knowledge rooted in experience shapes what we value and as a consequence how we know what we know as well as how we use what we know.”
“When everyone in the classroom, teacher and students, recognizes that they are responsible for creating a learning community together, learning is at its most meaningful and useful.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Teaching Critical Thinking.
71. Data-driven analysis can create a happier and more engaged workforce
We need data to make reliable decisions at work because just having a subjective opinion on something is neither accurate nor it will provide the right decisions most of the time.
You need both data (i.e., objective facts) and narrative (i.e., subjective thought) to figure out what the best decisions are and keep your employees happy and engaged.
Employees want to be treated fairly. So if you have the data on what everyone has accomplished and treat everyone accordingly, you won’t create bitterness or resentment in the workplace.
“Data can help guide your decisions on everything from where to seat a team to optimizing production processes to engaging with your employees in ways that ring true to them.”
“Failing to make your efforts understood can be fatal.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading People Analytics for Dummies.
72. Inspire a healthy culture
A healthy culture is one where the leaders lead with integrity. In these shops, everyone knows what the company’s vision, mission, purpose, and values are.
A leader first holds themselves accountable to the company’s culture and then demands the same thing from everyone else in the company. If the leadership body says one thing and then acts out something totally different, we can say that the culture isn’t a healthy one because everyone mimics leadership’s behavior.
Whether it’s good or bad, everyone in the company will internalize it. So be good.
“The human longing for respect and dignity is deep and pervasive.”
“The drama might involve just a few people. But like a progressive disease, the drama spreads if it isn’t dealt with swiftly and effectively.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Drama-free Workplace.
73. Be a master of your craft
The future belongs to people who can master skills and combine them in creative ways so that their skill set becomes unique in the marketplace. So mastery isn’t something old or outdated, it’s something you should invest time in daily for years.
Mastery requires a lot of attention, and with the distractions today, it’s getting more difficult to attain it.
But that’s why the rewards of mastery grow exponentially. The demand for skillful labor is high, but the supply is getting thinner and thinner.
Become a master of your craft and reap the rewards for years to come.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”
“It is in fact the height of selfishness to merely consume what others create and to retreat into a shell of limited goals and immediate pleasures.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Mastery.
74. Adapt to the change you didn’t ask for
Change in today’s world is inevitable and the only constant we can count on. But the change we wish for isn’t always the one we have to deal with it. When it comes, and it surely will,
we need to be able to adapt—whether we anticipated it or not.
And every change always starts with the individual. Adapting to the change is both a personal and an organizational task. Even though we don’t always like the way the market changes, we need to be able adapt to keep everyone in the race.
“Stress, demands, assumptions, pressure, and expectations can often hijack our ability to create sustainable change.”
“Creating positive change in the individual translates into creating powerfully functioning teams and leaders.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Changes.
75. Desire and persistence bring results
When it comes to getting to results, nothing beats desire and persistence.
Talent is great if you have it. But talent alone won’t bring great results.
Talent, with a combination of desire—or as some would say in the business world, hunger— and persistent action despite all obstacles is the recipe for success.
And that’s because there is nothing stopping that train at that point. There is a will and a discipline behind that will and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.
“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”
“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Think and Grow Rich.
76. Checklists get things right
Most people don’t use checklists correctly.
Checklists don’t exist to stifle anyone. They are there to make sure that you implement all the things you’ve learned in the correct order and make sure you haven’t missed anything critical.
Checklists can save lives. They can save companies from going down, too.
You’d be wise to use them not only in your professional life but also in your personal life. If they prevent a mistake just once, it’s totally worth it.
“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.”
“The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Checklist Manifesto.
77. A person with integrity gets support
One of the biggest leadership traits is integrity. It’s the ability and skills to walk the talk and do the things you tell people you’re doing.
This seems like a simple and obvious thing to do. But unfortunately, it’s not common practice in the world.
If more leaders stood behind their words, more people would stay behind their leaders. That’s because they would see that they mean business when they say something.
People recognize integrity right away. To paraphrase Warren Buffett, it takes a lifetime to earn your reputation—but only five minutes to lose it.
“If people are really narcissistic or have a need to be seen as more than they really are, or to be admired as having it all together, then they cannot be followed and trusted by others.”
“The greatest people are the ones who have not sought greatness, but served greatly the causes, values, and missions that were much bigger than them.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Integrity.
78. Assertiveness is critical for feeling empowered
Assertiveness is about finding a win-win solution between you and someone else, the perfect combination of you want and what the other person wants. It’s a non-intrusive way of being self-assured and communicating your wants and needs to the other side.
And if you want to create empowered employees and future leaders, you need to work on their ability to be assertive since they will have to create win-win situations wherever they go.
It’s not about manipulation. It’s about communication and keeping both sides in mind to create a solution both parties will be satisfied with.
“I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior. If I allow this, my future behavior will be influenced by my past mistakes, and my decisions will be controlled by the opinions of others.”
“Assertiveness isn’t about being liked all the time, nor about making sure everyone is happy. It is about standing up for your right to be treated fairly.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Assertiveness.
79. The impediment to action becomes action itself; what stands in the way becomes the way
When you’re playing a game and encounter enemies, you’re on the right track.
In real life, we tend to misinterpret these events as problems. The thing is that the obstacles we encounter show us the way forward.
The challenges of today aren’t the roadblocks but the easier paths that lead us from our purpose and into calm waters.
That’s not what we were built for. It’s about going forward on a path that leads us to our goals and not taking the easy way out.
“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Meditations.
80. Treat employees as adults, consumers, and human beings
We tend to treat people as grown-ups. But once they enter a company, we start treating them like children. We think that they are unable to take bad news or deal with company problems, so we hide that information from them.
This is a mistake.
We need to start treating our employees as adults. If we continue treating them like children, they will start acting the part. It’s a common effect in psychology called the Pygmalion effect.
“Disruptive ideas come from your people—and listening to them can help you avoid being disrupted yourself.”
“It’s the difference between spending hours deciding how many grades there should be in an employee grading system, and asking if grading people actually increases their ability to perform better in the first place.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading HR Disrupted.
81. Transparency brings a better sense of the community
Trust is easy to build when there is nothing to hide. But it requires a fundamentally different mindset inside of a company.
The leadership body needs to look at employees not as irresponsible people who need constant supervision, but as partners who are making the vision and the purpose of the company a reality.
Only then will the leadership body start sharing “classified” information with their employees. They’ll think that it will boost productivity and innovation—instead of thinking about it as information leakage.
“Objectivity, in this sense, means that a person's statements about the world can be trusted if they are submitted to established rules deemed legitimate by a professional community. Facts here are not aspects of the world, but consensually validated statements about it.”
The belief in objectivity is a faith in ‘facts,’ a distrust of ‘values,’ and a commitment to their segregation.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Rise of the Right to Know.
82. Work principles must be aligned with its members’ life principles
We are in an age where workers have different roles than before.
Fifty years ago, it was okay for a worker to just listen and obey commands since loyalty was requested, an innovation wasn’t prioritized.
Today, employees are the ones who create and innovate. For that to happen, employees need to be engaged in the work that they do, caring deeply about the company’s purpose and vision.
That being the case, their personal principles need to be aligned with the company’s principles. Otherwise, they won’t give their best. And in the worst-case scenario, they will become actively disengaged employees and even work against the company’s interests.
“I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.”
“Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life—you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Principles.
83. The fast-paced world needs more patience
Just because the world moves fast doesn’t mean that we all need to do the same.
The thing that gets people’s attention is a slow and deliberate process of patience—patience in responding to the marketplace, employee and stakeholder demands, and workplace problems.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to wait until things settle down and then act with a prepared response instead of just reacting to the environment.
Being first is good if it’s on your terms. But if you’re just reacting to the events, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
“Much of life requires waiting and we have a choice to do it happily or miserably.”
“Accept people as they are—and walk away if your energy level does not match the other person’s energy level.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Power of Patience.
84. If consumers are requesting better corporate behavior, we should listen
There are a lot of things regarding corporate behavior that consumers want to change. Most of it falls on deaf ears.
Consumers aren’t just talking these days. They will actively stop buying products from companies that don’t listen to their demands.
In many cases, it’s smart to listen to customer feedback and act on it. But whatever you do, don’t listen to consumers and then ignore what they have to say. That’s a disaster in the making.
Slapping the new buzzword like mindfulness, organic, or environmental-friendly to things that have no connection to those concepts but appear to be what the consumer wants isn’t a winning strategy. Nothing turns a customer away faster than being inauthentic.
“By slapping the word mindfulness on new products and services simply to make them fashionable, these corporations are making the word itself somewhat impotent. ‘Mindfulness’ is at risk of becoming the new ‘organic.’”
“People with a real passion and broad understanding of sustainability can become sustainability managers as long as they stay well informed about the issues and have the capability to lead through influence.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Changing Business from the Inside Out.
85. Millennia-old conflicts and the human psyche can help create a great story
There are old conflicts that keep repeating themselves over and over again throughout history. They are so ingrained into our collective psyche that we take it as something natural. Filmmakers first figured that out and created what is known today as the “Hero’s Journey.”
But the Hero’s Journey isn’t limited to just movies or books. You can use it in your workplace as a great tool to motivate your employees to learn new skills, take risks, grow, and develop as both professionals and individuals.
Gamification deals heavily with Hero’s Journey and tries to incorporate its elements into the modern workplace.
“Instead of clearing his own heart the zealot tries to clear the world.”
“Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Hero With a Thousand Faces.
86. Amateurs have the privilege of waiting for inspiration; professionals need to prolific, brilliant, and healthy to keep their work up
When they asked Hemingway how he manages to write every single day, he responded by saying this: I write only when inspiration strikes. Luckily, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.
Amateurs can afford to wait for motivation and inspiration to write. But professionals can’t, so they build systems and discipline because they can rely on that to get their work out.
No professional would ever manage to finish anything if they worked only when inspiration struck. But luckily for them, inspiration strikes when they sit on the table every morning at nine o’clock sharp.
“No matter what you say about your priorities, where you spend money and your time will prove them out.”
“‘Passion’ has its roots in the Latin word pati, which means ‘to suffer or endure.’ Therefore, at the root of passion is suffering. This is a far cry from the way we casually toss around the word in our day-to-day conversations. Instead of asking ‘What would bring me enjoyment?’ which is how many people think about following their passion, we should instead ask ‘What work am I willing to suffer for today?’ Great work requires suffering for something beyond yourself. It’s created when you bend your life around a mission and spend yourself on something you deem worthy of your best effort. What is your worthwhile cause?”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Accidental Creative.
87. It’s not only about the idea, it’s also about making it stick
Great ideas don’t necessarily make a big splash and draw attention to themselves, especially in today’s increasingly distracting world.
Having a great idea is the first step. But we need to make it stick to be able to draw people’s attention to it. Only then will our idea shine.
If we fail at this, nobody will ever know how great the idea was. It’s like the tree that fell in the forest and nobody heard it.
“The most basic way to get someone's attention is this: Break a pattern.”
“The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it's like to LACK that knowledge.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Made to Stick.
88. The purpose of life or company should be bigger than the individuals
The purpose of an individual is always something bigger than the person himself.
It’s a bit paradoxical. We find our purpose in life by looking inside only to discover that deep down, we find a purpose that tells us how something else in our life is more important than us and we have to work and live for that.
We look deep into us only to find the most unselfish thing out there—a dedicated life for something bigger than us.
Many companies go through the same process because they want to change the world.
Profit is just a way of measuring that contribution, but it isn’t the sole reason the company exists.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Walden.
89. Environmental responsibility brings respect
We need to take care of our planet because it’s the only planet we have (until Elon Musk colonizes Mars, that is).
Even if we had another planet to live on, that wouldn’t give us the right to go and destroy it, or our current home either.
Environmental responsibility is what is required from businesses today. By caring for the environment, companies will earn respect from shareholders, stakeholders, employees, and consumers.
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Let My People Go Surfing.
90. Learning to control your stress teaches you how to do so with others
Controlling stress in today’s world is imperative since stress is everywhere.
Chronic stress is especially dangerous because it puts the body in a constant state of alert—to the point our health slowly deteriorates.
So it’s best we learn how to deal with stress. And that means putting ourselves in controlled, stressful situations and learning how to deal with our emotions during it.
Once we do that for ourselves, we can do the same thing for others and teach them how to manage stress in a healthy way.
“If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a ‘genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets.’”
“A large percentage of what we think of when we talk about stress-related diseases are disorders of excessive stress-responses.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.
91. Stress is not a decision, but overcoming it is
There is a story of two arrows. One hits you and you feel the physical pain of the arrow penetrating your body. The second arrow is an imaginary one. That’s the pain we perceive we will feel once the arrow hits us and penetrates our body.
One is inevitable, the other is “optional.”
It’s up to us to make up our minds and admit that even though stress is a real thing and we can’t ignore it or run away from it, we can decide how we will act under it.
Stress will come whether we like it or not. But we can at least decide how to respond.
And that’s where we choose to be hit with only one arrow—not two.
“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.”
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Managing Stress in the Workplace.
92. It truly can mean more than an IQ
IQ is less important than EQ—emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence makes up around 85% of success in today’s workplace because it’s about figuring out your way with the social groups, making connections and friendships, establishing rapport, negotiating, and knowing how to assert yourself in situations without looking like a pushover or someone who is pushy.
That’s why EQ means a lot more than just IQ.
“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels”
“There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Emotional Intelligence.
93. Good relationships act like vitamins
We are social beings and we need good relationships to thrive in both our personal and professional lives.
Having good colleagues who are people we like to spend time with helps with engagement at work, happiness, and satisfaction. And being a part of a social group at work makes employees less likely to leave the workplace for something better on paper—like a salary increase.
So good relationships are really like vitamins for a company, providing immunity from churn rate and attrition, which are diseases that attack many organizations.
“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection—or compassionate action.”
“When we hope to be a You, being treated like an It, as though we do not matter, carries a particularly harsh sting.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Social Intelligence.
94. ‘Good at recruiting’ is not enough
The job starts only when you recruit the right talent. That’s like a business saying that their job is done as soon as they achieve product-market fit. When as we all know, that’s only when the fun really starts. The same applies to employees.
Once you find the right talent and manage to get them to start working in your company, you need to properly onboard them, train them, and provide a smooth transition into a new role, environment, social circle, and working group.
Being just good at recruiting isn’t enough. It’s a prerequisite for success.
“Bringing a new employee on board can be the start of a rewarding relationship or the beginning of a missed opportunity.”
“Hiring employees is the biggest investment most organizations make. Understanding how to make sure that investment sticks is what onboarding is about.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Successful Onboarding.
95. A clear roadmap for the future
No one can predict what will happen in the future. But we know we will be there, we humans, working alongside robots and advanced artificial intelligence. We need to prepare for that.
It’s the question of if but when. We need to create a clear roadmap and see what’s the best way to make sure that our skills aren’t obsolete in the future.
“This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines.”
“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Inevitable.
96. We need to respond to big challenges
The problem with people today is that their problems aren’t big enough problems.
If we just rely on people like Bill Gates and Elon Musk to solve our problems, we might never see the end of things like poverty and hunger.
We need to respond to big global challenges by creating solutions that would benefit as many people as possible. There is even a university—Singularity University—whose mission is to help people achieve their business idea that has to impact a billion people in 10 years.
It’s an example of how we can respond to big challenges.
“It’s neither possible nor desirable for individuals or nations to change completely, and to discard everything of their former identities. The challenge, for nations as for individuals in crisis, is to figure out which parts of their identities are already functioning well and don’t need changing, and which parts are no longer working and do need changing.”
“Rigidity or inflexibility can be the result of a previous history of abuse or trauma, or of an upbringing that offered a child no permission to experiment or to deviate from the family norms. Flexibility can come from the freedom of having been allowed to make one’s own choices as one was growing up.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Upheaval.
97. Growth is a universal concept
Fixed mindset is a belief that your intelligence and capabilities in life are already determined. On the other hand, growth mindset tells us that human capacity and capability is impossible to measure since discipline, effort, grit, and willpower make an enormous difference in the final results.
In other words, a person who really pushes themselves can outperform not only others, but also the capacity they thought they had
When successful athletes, CEOs, and leaders have a growth mindset, believing that their potential is immeasurable and that they can become great at almost anything if they apply themselves to it, great things happen.
“The trajectory of modern civilization, driven by competing imperatives of material growth and biospheric limits remains uncertain.”
“Growth, whether biological, social or economic, may be normal,but the exponential growth in economies and lifestyles we have seen in recent decades isn't, and can't continue without disastrous consequences.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Growth.
98. Our definitions of faith, happiness, and freedom should be questioned
Things change and we should change with them. Some of the ways we think about life, faith, happiness, and freedom will change (and, to a large extent, they already have). And it’s up to us to adapt our viewpoints and perspectives on how the world looks and how it will look in the future.
It’s always a matter of questioning everything and looking at things with fresh eyes, understanding that nothing is everlasting, and that even concepts like faith and freedom may change in time.
It’s up to us to lead that change because the best way to predict the future we will live in is to create it.
“Because pain is the universal constant of life, the opportunities to grow from that pain are constant in life. All that is required is that we don't numb it, that we don't look away. All that is required is that we engage it and find the value and meaning in it.”
“Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading Everything is F*cked.
99. How to care about important things and ignore the rest
There are way many problems in the world than we don’t have the capacity to solve individually. And if we spread ourselves thin, we won’t be able to meaningfully contribute to solving any of them.
We need to decide which problems are going to be the ones we deeply care about. Once we figure out the most pressing issue, we can ignore everything else.
This is what freedom is all about. It’s not about having unlimited options, but about choosing what you won’t pursue in life so that you can focus on what truly matters to you.
“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”
“If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.”
For those who want to know more about this lesson, we suggest reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
What’s the 100th lesson?
We left the 100th lesson empty because we want to hear from you.
What do you think? Which lesson and a corresponding book should be 100th on the list?
We probably missed a lesson or two that are really important. So let us know in the comment section below!