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Jonathan Rubinstein started Joe Coffee in 2003, and it has been consistently ranked as one of the best coffee shops in NYC. Tune in to hear how he did it!
Kevin Kelly was on a podcast the other day and was asked the question (I'm paraphrasing here) "where do you find your projects". His answer was "I find out what people don't want to do". It was a relief to him when he had an idea that people were already doing. The ideas that he had were solutions to problems that he saw, and he was relieved that someone was already working on a solution to that problem. So, his projects were the solutions to the problems that people didn't want to attempt.
This concept puts this quote into a whole other context. Instead of saying "go and try something nobody has tried before!" but instead, it helps you back into an idea that is so big that nobody wants to touch it. The good news is that it doesn't have to be so big that it changes the entire world WORLD, it just has to be big that it changes you (if you want it to).
How does sound or energy effect you?
The energy of people you hang out with have a huge effect on who you are. Hang out with positive people a lot? You'll probably start thinking more positively. Want to act in a different manner (for whatever reason)? You can live intently by choosing what thoughts you surround yourself with - those thoughts produce action, and action requires energy. Making sure the energy you're surrounding yourself with is the KIND of energy you want to surround yourself with is a definite choice you can make.
Energy has an effect on all things. If you look up "amazing resonance experiment" on youtube, you'll see this quote followed by a demonstration of a pile of salt on a dark surface, being transformed by a speaker. This shows the effect of sound on physical objects. This effect isn't limited to physical objects, but also behaviors.
Some people find great success early in life. For others, it takes many many tries. Walt Disney was opened up an animation studio and was failing financially for a long time before Disney Land was a thing. Colonel Sanders had a similar circumstance - he invented KFC when he was 65.
The point is - keep at it. The jackpot may not be hit on your 1st, 2nd or 10th try. But keep going. Be resilient. Learn from your mistakes, and apply them to future potential successes.
In one of the first episodes of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, an italian chef - Massimo - was creating a new dish for his customers. One of his sous chefs dropped one of the pieces of the dish onto the place, breaking the piece, and seemingly ruining the entire dish. But the Massimo saw the situation differently. He took the seemingly broken piece, and turned that into the centerpiece of the dish. The chefs made the dish look like a disaster area. Then they named it “Oops! we broke the dish!”. Another great quote on this is “if nobody knows what you’re doing, you’ll never be doing it wrong”. Inherently when you try new things, they may turn out differently than the way you expected them. Mistakes will be made, but it is likely that these mistake are only known by a small group of people. When new ideas are introduced, they can either be mired in enthusiasm, awe, mystery, and genius - or in disappointment. The creator is the one to decide which qualities these new ideas will manifest.
A favorite band of mine wrote a song with the words “...seeking the favor of others brings the murder of self”. Going your own way will lead to personal freedom, and going with the flow could lead to personal enslavement. Making your own decisions is the centerpiece of this concept. Still, there is a difference between entertaining the thoughts and opinions of someone else and believing them as your own.
Jefferson said “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock”. In this he was saying that while your style will change over the years (Hair styles are different today than they were in the 80s, 90s…), fundamental beliefs should be solid.
This is about making choices and having reactions. Things happen to people - some view them as good, others view them as bad. It depends on your perspective. Letting something hurt you - in a long-term context - is the point being made here.
Can you make the decision to not let something hurt you? Can you make the decision to take what live gives you, and make it into something positive?
I thought about this for a while. One hit wonders come to mind. Whatever happened to the band that put out The Macarena? They put out 8 more records, 5 of which contained a remixes of The Macarena.
This seems ironic. Doing the same thing and not getting great results? The novelty of an complex experience is what drives attraction - but it doesn't last.
But excellence comes from a mixture of utility, complexity, novelty, challenge, and patience. Habitually combine all of these elements will lead to growth and excellence.
When he was running for President, JFK held many speeches, some more well-attended than others. To make it seem like his popularity was always increasing - and thus his campaign was successful - his brother would routinely get people to come to his campaign rallies, stand at the front of the stage where he was speaking, and then take pictures of the “full” crowd.
Even if it isn’t success yet, appearing successful will get you to be successful. If you simply look & act successful for long enough, the universe has a way of making people believe that you’re successful, and want to associate with you - turning you into a success. Believe you are successful, and you will act successful - then people will believe you are successful too. Pretty soon, you’ll start doing the things successful people do - succeed.
Method Actors know this fact intimately. They study a character - the mannerisms, the voice tonality, the gait, the tics - and they assume that behavior. Actors that do this really well change their whole lifestyle into what they believe that character would live like. Whether or not the character actually did/does live like that is immaterial - if it guides their subconscious mind into directing their behaviors, it does the job.
You can apply this to real life as well - growing characteristics of your own that you admire in yourself, or assuming characteristics that you admire in someone else. What happens is that you see your behavior objectively and area able to adjust it over so that you fit that archetype. If you present an image to yourself of high-esteem, your subconscious mind will automatically make decisions that encourage that image to exist. Before making a decision, you will think to yourself “is this something that I do?” - and then your behavior fills in the blanks. Setting up an archetype of someone you want to be like works the same way. Define your archetype very specifically, map everything that archetype stands for, and study it relentlessly.
Navel Jain has an interest in space. A serious interest: he owns the largest private collection of meteorites. In fact, he wants to mine the moon. More importantly, He thinks he can do it. He thinks it is possible.
This simple thought - that he can mine the moon - has huge implications. The first implication is that it changes your thinking about the any challenge. It shifts your perspective from a “can this be done?” to “how can this be done”. It gets you thinking about what steps need to be put into place in order to get that thing done. It moves you past theorizing about this, into quantifying the challenge. Now, Navel is thinking “how big of a rocket will we need?” “how much fuel will it take?” “what year can we turn it into a commercial enterprise?” When can we turn it into a consumer enterprise?” All of these questions require you to suspend seeming irrational thinking, and think “Ok, since this can be done - what are the first steps to making it happen?”. The more seemingly-irrational the challenge, the longer it will take to happen. But, understanding the right questions to ask about the challenge, not dismissing any challenge as “not possible”, will push it close to happening. If you think you can make something happen, you will. It is not that things don’t happen, it is that they just haven’t happened, yet.
Netflix has a great series called “Chef’s Table”, highlighting one chef, their history and work in each episode. Alain Passard is one of their highlighted chefs in the most recent season. He starts the series by saying to the camera, as if it asked "why do you cook?" “at age fourteen, I told myself I wanted to be a chef, and I have never changed my mind.” The guy goes on to share why he keeps cooking, why he only cooks vegetables, his ethos for creativity, and why they don’t write anything down in recipe books: “This forces us to keep looking. Next year I don’t want to make the same recipes I did last year…Its not easy, but what food we dine on! I have chills some days because some days i’m afraid - am I going to find that recipe? will something happen before our very eyes? When you close your eyes whats important? You’ve spent your day taking risks. You’ve made some people very happy. Each day, that is my challenge.” This guy says this stuff with such enthusiasm, such child-like excitement (he is in his late 60s) fervor for cooking that it is totally infectious.
Using this recipe of not having a recipe, only confining himself to use only vegetables (with few exceptions), he has had 3 Michelin Stars for the past 20 years. 3 stars means people should go “out of their way” to try his restaurant. Not ‘out of the way’ like, oh if you’re in Paris, choose this restaurant on the other side of town. It means “In life, wherever you live in the world, this restaurant is worth experiencing.” Thats a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for cooking. But it is replicable: challenge yourself every day. Take risks. stick your neck out. Think to yourself “am I fulfilling my goals”? For that matter, are you setting big, audacious goals to be fulfilled? Set them, and get there.
Truth is showing the facts for that they are, not because they are convenient. Roundabout way of saying this: I saw a study the other day where 8 people were in a doctor’s office waiting room. 7 of them were planted there - in on the joke - and stood up in the span of 10 seconds. Eventually that 8th person stood up too. This is one example that people feel uncomfortable when they are not doing what everyone else is doing. People don’t like to be different. But, being different is being unique. And if you’re trying to start something new - a business, a genre of music, or an experience - you will need to find that thing that will make you different, unique. If you don’t, people will go with that they trust - which is not you. Trust is created by being true to your unique identity: showing what is different about you, and sharing why it is good for some people. At the beginning, you have to start with only finding what is good for a few people. Your micro-niche of people. Get those hardcore fans - by revealing what is true about your idea.
Self-direction can be daunting, as we discovered on Tuesday with the concept of “deciding”. This is because nobody wants to miss out on what they could have done. But, consider this quote by Oscar Wilde: “To define is to limit”. Limiting yourself to one thing for a while helps you concentrate. For that time of concentration (hours? days? years?) that is what your life is about. Like comedy? Become a comedian. Surround yourself with it in every way. Figure out that it isn’t what you like to do that much? Fine. Decide what you do like. Go in for it. Go all in. You can always change your mind, knowing that if your time runs out, you tried what you wanted to try. Think of the opposite: what if your time runs out and you didn’t try what you wanted? tragic.
This is by Nelson Mandela, and Will Smith has a great story about this concept. When he was a kid, his dad asked him and his brother to build a brick wall. This task seemed crazy at first - a whole brick wall? How do they even start? The answer was to lay the first brick - as perfectly as possible. The next day, lay the 2nd brick - as perfectly as possible. Pretty soon, he was making real progress on the brick wall. At the end of the summer, it was done.
Taking small steps everyday will bring your from impossible done. But it is often unrewarding work. It seems like you have so far to go! Keep making taking those incremental steps, and you’ll get farther than you think you could at the very beginning.
The most important word in this sentence is not accomplishment, nor try. It is decision. Deciding to do something can be terrifying, but once it is done, things get easier. You limit yourself to only a few options, and then you have to face those options, making the best situation out of them.
When you do this – set your own limitations – you get to be creative in how you make the best out of the situation. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how well your decision turns out.
When I read this, I keep coming back to the example of Elon Musk. This guy goes on stage and is taken seriously while he is talking about a “neutal lace” and the extremely high probability (1 in 1 Billion) that we are living in a "base reality”, meaning that were are actually living in a sort of video game. How mad is that? Yet, people line up to hear him speak. The difference between him and any psycho on the street mumbling to themself is two-fold: 1) execution & 2) persuasiveness. He can convince other people that what he believes is true, and he executes on those things, or he persuasiveness other people to execute on them.
He had a very specific trajectory to get him to where he is. The goal was always to get to Mars and create the ability for an extra-planetary civilization to exist. But first, he would needs some money So, he looked at what the market wanted, andused his computer skills to create a company that deals with Zip2. After 4 years, it sold to Compaq and he made $22 Million use the money from that to start X.com, which merged with PayPal (they were competing with paypal, so he and Peter Thiel decided to just join forces), which sold to eBay, netting Musk just under $200MM. This happened in under 3 years.
All along (as in, since he was a kid, and during the time he was building his first 2 companies - 7 years), he was interested in electric cars and rockets. This means it was an undercurrent, during the time he was sleeping at his offices trying to get the companies off the ground.
After he had the money to start SpaceX & join Tesla, he could finally realize the dream. This is total madness. But now, he has a track record of doing things that work. And he can convince people that they should do those things too. Maybe because they want to be surrounded by his perceived genius, or maybe because he is a very persuasive guy. But whatever it is, it works.
Now, we have driverless cars, powered by the sun, and we’ll probably be going to mars within in the next 5 - 10 years.
Insane madness, but he talks, and people listen and then they get stuff done.
I once read that everyone should "create your own guideline to living". Here it mine. The title "Macro's absolute guide to excellence" is specific - It was written for my nephew, but I expect to pass it on to others as well.
I'm using this set of thoughts as a guideline for writing. Most of the quotes are old, yet as valid today as they ever were.
For 30 days, i'll be posting a new thought or experience that showed why each quote is still valid, and why it can help someone live an excellent life.
@viticolewine does a wine deal every 1st of the month. Sells out quick so check out his profile for more info!