The environment influence us more than we think.

Two weeks ago, I was out with some friends and pointed out a ramen shop.

“Have you tried it before?” I asked.

“No, not yet but I want to!” my friend replied eagerly.

“Why didn’t you?”

“Jake (her fiancé) doesn’t want to eat anything. He’s fasting”.

“But he is okay to hang out while you eat, right? He does that most of the time,” I said.

Upon probing, it turned out that she did not indulge in the ramen. She felt guilty because her fiance did not want to eat with her. Even though her fiance explicitly says that he doesn’t judge her, it turns out, she judges herself.

Just by being around others, we subconsciously take on people’s values and use that to judge ourselves.

The good news is that everyone has a choice. Turn it off. Walk away. Clear the decks. Then, from an empty place, we can build our mise en place, piece by piece.

Today is just as good a day to get started. Choose your circle. Choose your outcomes.

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If money is a motivator, then why are the hardest working people employed in nonprofit organisations. Some work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable — disaster recovery zones, countries gripped by famine and flood and earn a fraction of what they would if they were in the private sector. Yet its rare for these managers of nonprofits to complain about getting their staff motivated. 

It turns out that the theory of incentive is not really accurate. Frederick Herzberg has published an updated theory – hygiene factor and motivation factors. 

Hygiene factors are status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies and supervisory practices. 

Motivation factors includes challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth. Feelings that we are making a meaningful contribution to work. 

It is frightfully easy for us to lose our sense of the difference between what brings money and what causes happiness. Beyond a certain point, hygiene factors such as money, status, compensation, and job security are much more a by-product of being happy with a job rather than the cause of it. 

As for leaders, here’s a better set of questions worth pondering about. Is this work meaningful? Is this job going to develop the person? Are they going to learn new things? How can we create opportunities for recognition and achievement? How can I give more responsibility?

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Answer works. It’s the shortest route to our problems. The cookie recipes, math formulas and sometimes even travel guides. That’s because someone has come up with using theories or their first-hand experiences.

Today, we don’t think twice when we’re flying. Looking back at history, it wasn’t the case. Many men have attempted flying by strapping on wings, replicating what they believed allowed birds to soar: wings and feathers. It is not until Dutch-Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernooulli outlined the theory of fluid dynamics, that explained the concept of lift. We had gone from correlation (wings) to causation (lift).

Of course, that wasn’t enough to make flight perfectly reliable. Researchers still needed to understand the weather, angle of the aircraft, the landing sequence and much more. Then, define the playbook for pilots to follow in order to succeed in each circumstances.

Answers are quick to solve problems in exact circumstances. Theories, on the other hand, are slow but it provides the understanding to derived answers when circumstances change.

You could probably tell who you’ll hire when we are in a fast-changing landscape.

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If you’ve ever joined an event with strangers that want to connect with you, I hope you’ll find these tips useful:

  1. Introducing yourself is a skill. It comes with scripting, practising, and being awkward (at first).
  2. The question on the test is “So, what do you do?” And the way to ace it is to plan for it.
  3. A good introduction should engage you, draw you in, and leave you wanting more.
  4. A bad introduction is a slogan, a sales attempt or an over-complicated mission statement.
  5. No longer than 10 seconds and 3 sentences. Being thoughtful of someone’s attention is an invisible gift.
  6. A useful Framework: I am a (_____) who helps (____) because (____).
  7. You are not limited to one introduction. Different introductions are helpful different crowds and occasions.
  8. Record yourself saying it. The awkwardness of the camera is just talking a stranger.
  9. Practice until you’re so comfortable that you can send it to a friend for feedback.
  10. Brainstorming is always better with more. Share this article and enrol some friends.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • I am a momtrepreneur. I help parents communicate with their kids using easy tips I had to learn the hard way.
  • I’m a flexitarian chef. After overcoming all kinds of health problems, I began creating recipes for people to eat for complete wellness.
  • I’m a corporate lady turned coach. My clients are all brilliant but need a little help with motivation- just like I did when I first started.
  • I’m a baker, but for ideas. My goal is to help struggling entrepreneurs cultivate their great ideas.
  • I’m a human behaviour hacker. I help high achievers be more memorable.
  • By day, I run a tiny animation studio. By night, I have a podcast where I interview and learn from Misfits.
  • I connect entrepreneur with other like-minded peers through top-secret events.
  • I’m a developer in a startup that is trying to solve Singapore’s transportation problem.
  • I’m a university student learning how to apply psychology to solve business problems.
  • I manage a co-working space. Think of it like hotels but for offices.

There is only one first time to introduce yourself. And your first impression counts. Give the gift of a delightful introduction.

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“You don’t want to do what they do, you want to see how they see”.
Nate Green

Nate Green, is an author of multiple books, marketing strategist at Precision Nutrition and a recovering fitness junkie.

Nate barely graduated high school with 1.7 GPA. Despite all odds, he became one of the most sought after writers and strategists in the fitness industry. 

He wrote one of the most popular blog post on Tim Ferriss’ blog, The Extreme Weight Cutting Secrets of UFC Fighters

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • When it’s time be alone
  • How to make celebrity friends 
  • 80/20 guide to be good at marketing

If you’ve only got 5 minutes, here’s a short video.

Links Mentioned

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We run into situations where we worked a few extra hours into the night, and we wake up the next day unable to function. The work project, and the people, get stuck relying on us. Especially when we can’t afford it.

The reason is that we want to stretch a bit more, make the project go faster and please more. We do that by spending our extra resources on the project’s (or person's) behalf. What’s happening is that we are looking for a magical way to get more time and energy in the day.

Of course, the person we’re helping doesn’t need five more minutes for a small request. They have five more requests after. But it feels like helping them with a request (that is not agreed upon) is a way of showing them that you care.

The alternative is a simple as it is difficult: Say no.

Say it without rushing and without stress. “I’m sorry, that’s not going to work for me.” You can explain, “This is not so healthy for me because…” and suggest an alternative, “I think what would be in our best interests that we do it this other way”.

An overloaded truck isn’t a more efficient way to move gravel (or anything else). And when you overload your day by treating your engine as indestructible based on how much you care, you’ll become inefficient and thus disrespectful.

Lots of other things in our life aren’t squishy. Gravity, for example, or the load capacity of the lift. They are what they are.

So is boundaries if you let it.

The hard part about stating your boundaries is standing up and moving on. But the cost of being squishy is that you’re not only disrespecting the next person or project. You’re stressed all the time.

Stand up and walk out.

People will learn, and they’ll end up respecting you for it because it’s not personal. Just as it’s not personal when the train leaves on time. The alternative, which is squishiness, is personal. Because if you like someone, you’re willing to be even more late than usual.

Boundaries are needed for us to do our best work.

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It might be a useful exercise to look back at where you’ve been and ask where you’re going.

I’ve been learning the English grammar for years now, but I don’t think it has improved. Over the years, I’ve been reading rule books, watching tutorial and practice by writing articles every week. Yet, I am still confused by the correction provided by Grammarly.

Perhaps it's not enough to know the right answer or to have an editor. It's time to learn the reason behind the rules.

What have you been doing in your life that is not getting the result you want? Perhaps it’s time to try something different.

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Tynan, is an entrepreneur, personal coach and minimalist nomad. He is also the author of best selling books, Superhuman by Habit and Forever Nomad

Tynan pioneered the idea of Empire housing, to share home ownership with friends. With this, he brought an island in Canada and homes in Hawaii, Budapest, Tokyo and Vegas.

In a former life, Tynan is a pickup artist and instructor, best known as Herbal in The Game by Neil Strauss.

In this conversation, we spoke about:

  • What Tynan learnt as a pickup artist
  • How to make friends as an adult 
  • How to give advice that people listen

If you’ve only got 3 minutes, here’s a short video.

Links Mentioned

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If you talk to someone who is good at surfing or powder skiing, they’ll tell you that’s the moment that they seek. And that once they get good enough at a certain kind of activity, they have to go find another one because it’s boring to do one of those sports if it’s the same. And we acknowledge that makes perfect sense.

If we talk to a jazz musician who does improv, we say, “well, why don’t you just play, you know, Autumn Leaves again?” And they say, “cause I know how to play that”. That’s obvious. That the tension of this might work and this might not work at the same time.

When we are dancing with something, we don’t say, “you must go away for us to be happy”. We say, “I am dancing, therefore I am happy”.

What if the goal isn’t a tensionless state? It is to learn how to dance with tension and do work that matter for people who care.

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  • Make the person feel twice the pain that they made you feel.
  • Become a person of vengeance.
  • Don’t come to a solution.
  • Never to talk to the person again.

Think about it: Once it becomes a heated discussion, no one is going to listen. We are crouching in defence, ready to pounce on any flaws in the argument.

What if instead, of saying… you are irresponsible, we say the action you are taking is telling us a story that you are irresponsible? Or we say the action you are making is causing us to feel that you are lazy?

What difference would it make to an argument, or should I say, conversation?

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