Your WHY Must Drive You To Obsession …

Why?

  • Why should you wake up at 05:00 AM every day?
  • Why should you read daily?
  • Why should you exercise daily?
  • Why should you be disciplined?
  • Why should you focus on your goals like there is no tomorrow?

I don’t know how to answer this question for you.

I don’t know what drives you. You should know that.

But let me tell you something, if you want to achieve something amazing in life, you need to be obsessed with it. You need to think, drink, eat, breathe that idea, that ideal, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I’m saying this because there is no easy way to get from A to B.

  • If you want to have a six pack abs …
  • If you want to earn money …
  • If you want to have a best selling book …
  • If you want people to know and admire you …

Then you need to work for it. You need to put in at least a few hours a day, every day. There are no days off. There are no holidays. It is just a routine, a ritual. You wake up, you go get coffee and you do the same things, every single day. Every day is in a way a carbon copy of the other one.

Personally, my last six days looked exactly the same. I’ve woken up at five. I’ve went downstairs to get coffee. Some days it was hot, some days it was cold. I’ve worked for four hours. I’ve ate and read one hour. I’ve worked for four hours. I’ve walked. I’ve relaxed by socializing.

And for me, it is not boring. Each day I get closer to what I want. I’m at least 500 – 1000 days away (yes, that’s almost three years). Every day I can go to sleep knowing that I’ve invested my day, my time, my energy into something that matters.

Now, you may judge me. You may say “you sucker, you’re young, you’re supposed to go screw around, have fun, drink beer on the beach and have sex with a girl from every country (or county) in the world”.

And I wouldn’t blame you. However, I’ve done that for a long time and in all honesty, I don’t find it that satisfying anymore. Instead, I want to build something that will stand the test of time and when you’ll get the same feeling … that you want to build something amazing, something that seems impossible, you’ll understand.

And if you’ll find that why … that reason for giving everything up just to accomplish your goal … if you find that reason to be obsessed with a certain outcome, then you’ll do exactly the same thing. You’ll see.

Best regards,
Razvan

PS: I doubt that you’ll understand the lyrics but I think you’ll understand the video.

And the video is the perfect representation of most of the things I’m saying.

“Who Is Your Hero And Role Model Now? My Future Self – In Five Or Ten Years”

 

As a kid, my role models were Eminem and 50 Cent.

As a teenager, my role models were the rich people in my community.

As a late teenager, my role models were people like Richard Branson.

At each point, I virtually worshiped them. I wanted to think like them, act like them, talk like them and generally, be like them.

I’m 26 and I do have a hero. Who is that hero? Me, at age 31 or 36. In other words, my future me, my next iterations of my own self.

Now, I know that it sounds narcissistic as hell. Maybe it is. However, I also consider this to be healthy and based on self-esteem. After all, if you’re going to admire someone in life, if you’re going to be inspired, if you’re going to want to have a role model – why can’t this be you or better said, the version of you that has grown, evolved and overcame all obstacles?

I know this because my future self, my role model, in a five years time will be …

  • Fitter.
  • Disciplined.
  • Focused.
  • Driven.
  • Aggressive.
  • Powerful.

It is going to be a person that does not have the weaknesses that I have. It is going to be a person that is doing a lot more of the right things than I am doing right now. It is going to be a person that is going to approach life with a far more accurate methodology and get results, a lot easier.

And as opposed to Eminem or Richard Branson or Warren Buffet … this person is intimately close. I know it well. It is always here. It is the same person that is typing these words right now, just separated by a few years. It is the same brain but with different neuro-connections, it is the same body but with a different fitness level and health, it is with the same emotions, but far healthier and generally, a lot easier to control.

This leads me to the second point. We change. All the time.

The fear of changing is kind of useless because unless you live exactly in the same circumstances, on a day to day basis, everything is going to change – your mind, your body, your emotions.

The entire idea of life is anchored in transition. Life is a transition between states, nothing less or more. You transition between school and college. You transition between relationships. You transition between jobs. You transition between homes. You transition between months and days and years.

Nothing ever stays the same. I’m not even the same person as I were yesterday. I’ve made a few choices, I’ve worked on a few things, I’ve carried a few conversations, I’ve read a few pages and I’m different. I’m not dramatically changed but when you add this, every single day, it is easy to see how the cumulated result changes everything.

Before waking up, I was having these rather unsettling dreams. For me, dreams have become a way to debug my subconscious mind. It gives me a symbolistic view of how I see life in that moment and is actually happening deep inside my mind. Usually, in my dreams, when a problem arises, it leads to emotional turmoil and paralysis. It is not unusual to feel stuck, to feel like I can’t move, in my dreams. However, last night, I’ve simply went on, acted (in the dream), even if the circumstances were not perfect. I haven’t let the loss I’ve seen in the dream affect me and I’ve moved on. Another change and this time, deeply embedded into my subconscious mind.

I’m not a narcissist. For all intents and purposes, I’m extremely rough with myself. I find it hard to accept myself as I always strive to be and do more. I keep myself to high moral and operational standards and most of the time, I’m unable to accomplish them. My relationship with myself, from myself is very stormy. However, I do love myself. Even if I can’t raise myself to the insane standards I set on a day to day basis, even if I am not perfect, I do love myself. I know that I’m not a machine and that biologically, these are my limitations so far and no amount of self-conflict is going to change that.

So when I say that my future role model is myself in five years, I can say this because I love myself more than any person in this world, that whatever others have to say about me, whatever level of disagreement others may have with me, I’m my best friend. Therefore, it is only logical that if there is someone I’m looking forward to meet is … me, but me who is the outcome of everything I’m trying to do now, me who has arrived already to the next phase of my personal evolution.

Best regards,
Razvan

“Why A Sense Of Destiny Is Very Important …”

A sense of destiny.

This is what I felt many times in my life. A sense that random events fit into a pattern that is logical and is based on causation.

I’m not a fatalist. I don’t believe in pre-determination. I don’t believe things happen for a reason. I find this generally the sign of weak reasoning, where we interpret correlation as being causation, where we see two things being tied together even if in practice, they are not.

However, I’m amazed at how often things fall into place. How a random person you’ve met is exactly the missing piece in the other project you’ve had. How once you finish that project, it opens two new opportunities that you’ve thought impossible and how the book studied five years ago contains the key to starting the second one.

Sounds complicated but in all practice, it is not.

And I’ve found this sense of destiny to be critical to our happiness and success. In practice, when things fit together, it is a confirmation bias as we don’t actually take into account everything that did not fit together. It is a number’s game, where X from Y trials lead to have an actual Z practical value.

But you know what’s funny and interesting? A sense of destiny becomes destiny. As humans, we tend to get into self-fulfilling prophecies more than we think. What we expect from life usually happens, not because we activate some magic powers but because it acts as a cognitive and behavioral filter.

Let me put it this way.

Your filter of life interprets in many ways how you’ll live your life. If you have a clear goal, a clear direction, then whatever happens you’ll consider useful for you, either by making you stronger or advancing your goals. A victory is a natural consequence of your actions and a lack of victory is just a feedback mechanism to show you what needs to be changed.

If you have an negative view over life, the same things happens but in reverse. If something good happens, you’ll consider that it is just a precursor of something bad and if something bad happens, you’ll consider it to be the normal state of things.

Our interpretation of reality tends to be congruent with our beliefs of reality which tends to lead to how our reality actually exist. It is a circular system where we apply labels of good and bad on what’s happening and we don’t actually judge the intrinsec value of any given circumstance.

This interpretation governs our behavior. Results tend to be very neutral in nature. In other words, being successful or not is more a function of causation than anything else. And this means that if you see that what is happening each day is towards your final goal, you’re going to actually use each action and circumstance and as a building brick and reach that goal.

It is very simple actually. We do more of what we consider good, less of what we consider bad. By recognizing those actions that lead to causation between A (where we are) and B (where we want to be), we will do more of them. By believing into something, you’re more likely to execute on that behavior.

So at the end of the day, if you believe that you’re going to be successful, you’re going to act in a way that is congruent with being successful. Now, intelligence, experience and education are also important because there is the function of “what leads to causation?” but this is secondary compared to actually believing that it will lead to causation. In other words, it is far easier to fall by not having faith that you’re going into a good direction than not having the intelligence to know what a good direction constitutes.

After all, many things in life don’t require that much intelligence. If you want to get a great body, you go to the gym and you do the same damn exercises again … and again … and again. You are not going there to discuss the uncertainty paradox and how light can’t escape a black hole. You’re going there to raise a dumbbell up and down until your arms are sore. In this case, believing that raising that dumbbell will help you have the body you want leads to you doing more of it which leads to causation, not the intelligence of what is actually happening in your body.

The same can be said about most things. IQ is far from meaningless but EQ and emotional fitness in general has a higher leverage. A sense of destiny that you are walking on a meaningful path and that this will lead to the life you desire has a lot more value than understanding the process accurately. After all, life is not a study in philosophy, of finding the absolute truth, but rather, of doing what works.

One of the most intangible things about life is that there is a difference between “can” do and “will” do. Most things in life are in the “can” category. You can do anything, have a great body, make a million dollar, run a marathon. There are no logical reasons why you can’t do that. As long as you’re not disabled, it is possible and I’ve seen disabled people doing things that they’re “not supposed” to be able to do too. I’ve seen people wearing prosthetic legs running full marathons and makes me wonder what’s my excuse.

But the “will” do is completely different. If the “can” is based on a logical question “Do I have the capacity resource to do this?” and it can be answered by yes or no through comparing with someone else who did it (or common sense), then the will needs to answer a new set of questions. The most important ones out of them all are “Do I believe myself capable of doing this?” and “Do I feel like by doing this, I can achieve what I want?” – which are both subjective functions of our psychology.

You CAN do whatever you want in life or at least, most things. Your body and brain is capable of many things. However, you’ll end up doing only what you consider USEFUL and what you consider WITHIN YOUR REACH. Your psychology leads to the dominant strategy you have in life, not your biological limits.

And this is where the sense of destiny comes in. It leads to the belief that it is possible and that your actions are building a grander image, one that will cause the goal you want to happen.

Best regards,
Razvan

One of those few rare moments where everything makes sense …

As I’m sitting here in bed, trying to fall asleep, something keeps me awake.

I’m understanding the idea of being a man. The essence of it.

Yes, there are 100 things I want to do. I want to watch Lethal Weapon. I have it on my iPad for three weeks now. I want to go camping, for a week. No phone, no Internet. There are so many people that want to meet with me.

Yet, I can’t.

Because I have my battles to fight. I have my wars to win. That’s the essence of being a man. We are warriors. We are fighters. We need obstacles and pain. We need a big freakin’ monster in front of us because this is the only way that we can grow.

I’ve realized that no one and nothing will help me evade my responsibility as a man. This responsibility is not to the world. This responsibility is to my own being.

I’ve realized that it would not be nice to achieve a net worth of $5.000.000 by age 30 but it is required. It is my mountain to climb. I’ve realized that on a day to day basis, I can decide between the easy way and the hard way.

If I take the easy way, I’m going to pay the price in the future. If I take the hard way, I can pay the price now, but I’m going to secure my future.

This is the essence of manhood. It is to know that no matter where you are and no matter what you do, you’re going to have battles to fight and you need to win them, whatever it takes. It is accepting that you must be willing to leverage and risk everything on what you think, that you must be willing to die fighting for what you know it is right. It is going ahead, no matter if you are tired, no matter if you are discouraged, no matter if it hurts – you must advance.

Today was a hard day. Tomorrow will make today to appear easy. The day after tomorrow is going to make tomorrow to look like a piece of cake.

But this is by design, by choice. I am choosing it to have it the hard way because this is the only way I can grow. I can’t build mental toughness, I can’t build emotional muscles, I can’t build discipline and persistence by taking it easy.

I can only go into the arena. There, I must survive, all 12 rounds. Maybe I’ll get my ass kicked. Maybe life will hit harder than I can take it. But I must be a man and stand there, hitting back whenever I can but mostly, taking the punches.

The last period has been confusing as hell for me but now it is starting to make sense. It is like I am realizing for the first time things I’ve found out ten – fifteen years ago. It is that I am realizing the wisdom of being a man now even if I’ve found it a long time ago on the harsh neighborhoods of Eastern Europe.

Things are clear now.

I have my war. These are my goals, my vision for a better future.

I have my fights. Each day is going to become harder.

And I have myself.

Nobody else.

I have my time – 24 hours, a day. I must invest them wisely, to hit adversity and misfortune where it hurts the most.

I have my energy – I must invest it into those things that will actually make a difference and go to sleep drained.

I have my mind – I must find the ways, the means, the causal relationships between what I need to do and what I want to create.

I have my emotions – these can push me towards greatness or keep me in my place so they must be trained well.

And I have my spirit.

This is the most important thing. It is of a warrior going into the arena, ready to crush his obstacles, ready to destroy, annihilate anything that stands in his way … or die trying.

And this my friends is who I am. Pain, suffering, hard work, exhaustions, are not relevant. All that matters is crushing anything that stands between me and what I desire.

It is about winning – at whatever cost necessary.

Best regards,

Razvan

“Why I Need A Sequential Daily Routine – And Why You Should Employ One Too”

Hi,

Yesterday, I was discussing with someone about the importance of a daily routine. I am talking about a set of steps that can be repeated day in and day out, in a circular movement.

In fancy terms, this is called “sequential execution”. In simple terms, it is what we are all doing it, be it that we are aware of this or not.

Executing based on a ritual always did wonder for me. When I was in Romania, I used to wake up at 06:00, shower, get dressed and hit the gym.  After this, I’ve focused on other things but most days were carbon copies among themselves.

After all, when each day follows the same linear road, there are a few key advantages:

  1. There is less decision fatigue. You know what needs to be done. Instead of wondering what to pick among equally valuable competing options, you just follow the routine.
  2. If you focus day in and day out on a few key roles, you will improve. You will be efficient overall because you are actually putting in the effort.
  3. You will feel secure. By knowing what needs to be done, by knowing that whatever happens in a day, you have a 1 – 2 – 3 system to follow,

Based on this, here is my daily routine looks like.

It is a nine step system.

  1. Wake up at 05:00 – waking up early leads to improved focus and energy, plus, it simply feels good.
  2. Work for four hours – I want to start the day with a major victory, with something really hard. If I can get the first obstacle done, the others will become very easy.
  3. Read for one hour – Designed to help me get some breathing space and also to help me accomplish my weekly educational goal.
  4. Work for four more hours – The idea is to hit a daily goal of eight hours. What I know is that the more you wait in the day to do your work, the harder it gets. Doing the work is the most likely thing to procrastinate on and you put the things you want to procrastinate on first in the day.
  5. Walk to 5000 steps. By this point, my mind is a bit overwhelmed. Walking simply helps get over that and refresh myself.
  6. Socialize and build relationships. This is when I’m scheduling and meetings, social encounters, phone calls, chats, personal emails and such.
  7. Work one hour on the bigger good. This is a bit confusing and generalized but it refers to my social responsibility efforts – to the fact that I’m engaged into some non-profit projects.
  8. Read for another hour hour. I aim for two books per week so this is roughly 10 – 14 hours. Two hours of reading per day is enough. Plus, it is a way to decompress, starting to slowly end my day and enter into a lower pace.
  9. Walk to 10.000 steps. This is the last step, leading to a full circle. It is always good to end the day with physical activities.

Now, what about everything else?

Just because I don’t track them, this doesn’t mean I don’t do them. There are many things that go into my day before, during or after these elements. What is important is to go through the journey efficiently.

What do you think about my system?

What is the system that you employ?

Best regards,
Razvan

“Well … Committed Relationships Are Kind The Anti-Thesis Of A Laissez Faire Marketplace”

DISCLAIMER: The article above represents my subjective view on a controversial topic. It is not meant to be treated as factual and if it offends your world view, remember, I’m not stating facts, I’m stating highly biased opinions based on subjective life experiences. 

“If I’d focus on building my business as I focus on being close to the opposite sex, now I’d be a multi-millionare”.

This started as a joke between a friend and I.

However, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that it is true. We guys, are simple people. We want to eat, we want to have sex and we want to sleep. I’d be an hypocrite to say that it is more than this.

And yet, I’ve realized that at the end of the day, there are more important things to do in life than to chase girls. I’ve realized that while love and sex feels good, you know what else feels good? A Visa Platinum from HSBC. A Omega Seamaster. A Porsche 911.

Call me a mysoginist if you want but I’ve spent the last ten years of my life meeting as many girls as possible. In all truth and honesty, I’m left with very little from this. In most cases, the net benefit at the end of the day was negative, I’ve lost a lot more than I’ve gained. And this made me think … why or simply … for what?

Yes, love is important. Yes, sex is important. But … it is more important than my goals? Is a relationship more important than a million dollars? Is “love” more important than achieving something amazing in life?

I honestly don’t think it is. I want to do some amazing things with my life. I’ve realized that I can climb Kilimanjiaro, do sky-diving, get a MBA, build an amazing business, exit, retire for six months and build another. I’ve realized that at the end of the day, the time a relationship takes, with the good and the bad, with the drama and the time spent together is about the same time required to achieve an obscene level of success.

I’ve realized that instead of wasting time watching stupid Netflix movies in a couple I can read the next edition from Harvard Business Review. I’ve realized that in the time I’ve wasted arguing in my relationships I could have built an amazing body by just going to the gym (which is something I actually want).

I’m a man. I’m going to like girls, always. However, I’m also ultra rational and it took me ten years of relationships, between 16 and 26 to realize that relationships in essence are not worth it. Is spending time together with a quality member of the opposite sex worth it? Damn yes. Is sharing your life and investing valuable time and resources that can be put to use somewhere else, with a far better ROI worth it? Damn no.

I’m starting to understand why most successful people are divorced and it has nothing to do with them working too much. I’m starting to understand why my mentors, people worth tens of millions of dollars are not in a committed relationship with anyone and prefer to simply have fun. They realize the value of their time and they understand a basic rule “in life you grow or you die”. My conclusion is that in a relationship, you don’t grow.

I have in front of me a list of goals, for the last 365 days. The truth is that I’ve accomplished too little of them. Even if what I’ve done in the last year is damn impressive, I haven’t put my goals first and this saddens me.

I could have gotten 80% of the satisfaction that comes in a relationship by investing only 20% of the time by making a simple decision – do not commit to one.

I simply don’t believe anymore that high performance behavior is compatible with the idea of a shared life. A man must be aggressive. A man must know what he wants. A man must be able to kill, crush and destroy everything that stands between him and his goal. That being said, a man must not call his wife at home to ask her if he can do this and that. A man must not worry that he needs to return at 17:00 or his wife will get upset.

Because let’s be honest for a second … how many times you’ve wanted to do something but you’ve felt restricted by a relationship? It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy. You’ve simply felt like if you were not in this relationship, you could grow a lot easier. You’ve gave up on important opportunities in the name of love and then hated the guts of the other person when the relationship ended as you’ve got a very bad bargain – neither the opportunity nor the security you were pursuing.

In this day and age, when everything needs to be politically correct, many men think of what I’m thinking but none has the guts, sorry, the balls (but saying this is politically incorrect too) to stand up and say it how it is …

“It is not fucking worth it”.

Only 1 in 50 or 1 in 100 relationships are actual environments and mechanisms for growth, where two people communicate, learn from each other, synergize and achieve together more. Only 2% or 1% of relationships are where 1 + 1 = 3. What happens in the other 98? Well, it is usually a big compromise where 1 + 1 = 1.5, where each part gives up something for the idea of a whole. Where liberty is replaced by comfort, where love is replaced by familiarity, where growth is replaced by security.

That 1% or 2% usually ends up to be a power couple, two people achieving things together at a level that is unheard of. They may be amazing parents or have a business together or simply do shit that is amazing. But the other 98% give up (both sides) their freedom and happiness for some security and relatively good sex (at least in the six months that is).

I’m not trying to convince myself of why relationships are not worth it. I am simply starting to see them for what it is, as a socio-economic contract between two parties. It is a “I take care of you and you take care of me. I do this, you do that and we both agree not to break the contract”. And that is great when the two people can achieve more happiness together than individually. But in most cases, the price you pay for happiness in a relationship is way higher than the price you’d pay on the “free market”.

Or simply put, I find that any form of happiness and satisfaction can be “purchased” at a far lower cost outside of a committed relationship than within one.

That being said … and that being my opinion, what is the conclusion here? Well, for me, I’ve made some important decisions. Money are more important than love and happiness is more important than money. This determines my hierarchy of values.

I’m going to treat any idea of a committed relationship between two people as a bad deal, one that is not a win – win and therefore, reject it completely. And I’m going to put the same effort I’ve put into my past relationships into my work, my mind, my emotional development and most importantly, my happiness. At the end of the day, I think I’m going to get a very good deal.

Best regards,
Razvan

Looking Out For #1 – YOU!

Look, let me tell you something few people know and ever fewer admit.

Your biggest personal power doesn’t come from who you are or even what you know. It is not the Porsche you have in your garage nor the MBA program you’ve completed.

Your biggest leverage, your biggest advantage, your secret weapon comes from the relationship that you have with yourself, from the congruency between your values and your thoughts, from the connection between what you know to be right and what you are actually doing.

In this world, everyone will look after his or her self-interest. If a person is nice, this doesn’t mean that that person puts your self-interest first. At best, it comes their self-interest, their “what’s in it for me” and then yours.

I’ve done some interesting things with my life. I’ve done many things and I’ve been many places. I’ve met many people. Many of these people treated me like a son, as opposed to a friend. However, even in the closest friendships, even when you are talking about a significant other, even when you are extremely close to someone, it is natural and it is instinctual to put themselves, their needs, their security, their wants first.

And you know what’s the thing here?

You should do the same but you can achieve this only if you have a good relationship with yourself. Only if you know who you are, what you want and why you deserve to achieve the things that you want. In other words, you must sell yourself on your ideas or others will sell you on theirs.

Everything in life is a sale.

The boss sells you on the idea of why you should work on this sum instead of getting paid more. Your significant other sells you on why you should stay only with her / him instead of messing around. Your friends will sell you on the idea of why their problems are more important than theirs. The church will sell you on the idea of why you need to redeem or you’ll burn in hell.

Everyone tries to sell you on something. The idea of nationalism and patriotism is that your country is more important than other. The idea of advertising is that one product is better than another and you must have this product.

We are all sales people even if we hardly think of this. We are all pursuing a self-serving agenda, even if in our mind, we are just considering that “we’re getting what we’re worth”.

But you know what’s the most important sale my friend?

The one that you make from yourself, to yourself. 

The sale that you must pursue your goals. The sale that sacrifice in general is a very idiotic idea and that while it may feel good, sacrifice is not a dominant strategy. The idea is that you must struggle and hustle for a good life. The idea that all other things being equal, you come first and other people come second. The idea that it is never a good deal for you to lose and someone else to win (but generally, it is not a good idea for someone to lose and you to win either – so it is best when both parties win. If this is not possible, then it is simply a no deal).

Everyone tries to sell you on helping them achieve their goals and without a strong sense of self, that’s exactly what you’re going to do. You’ll put your life in the service of others, not getting anything in exchange, going to sleep with the thought that what you’re doing is noble when in reality, you know that you’re just being used as a tool. And this must stop.

I’m not saying this only on a personal level. I’m saying this on a holistic, global one. I’m saying that you should operate from a paradigm where you do things because they are good for yourself, not because others convince you that those things are good.

Yes, I admit it. I’m a selfish person. But I’m also a rational person that understands the idea of zero sum and non-zero sum games. I understand that two people working together are not 1 + 1 = 2 but 1 + 1 =3 but at the same time, I understand that this is true when two people are working together, towards the benefit of both parties not when you are working for the benefit of another party while your payout is zero is generally highly inferior.

I’m asking you a simple thing.

  • SELL YOURSELF on the idea that you are valuable.
  • SELL YOURSELF on the idea that you are worth it.
  • SELL YOURSELF on the idea that this is your life and your own life is towards your own benefit.

I’m not asking you to become a sociopath and use people. I’m asking you a simple thing – realize that everyone will try to use you to some extent and that it is your duty and responsibility to pursue only win – win situations and to say NO to anything else. 

I’m sorry to say but nobody will take care of your interests as well as you do. This doesn’t mean that people are bad or evil. Not even close. We are all the same and it is normal to put our happiness first. It is normal to put our goals first.

The question is – are you putting your life first or are you putting someone’s else life first?

Best regards,
Razvan

Fairness Is When People Put Themselves FIRST

You know what’s the problem with non zero sum games? Situations, scenarios where collaboration leads to a higher net value than being in an adversorial situation.

The problem is that everyone must play by the rules. The system is at the mercy of the person who wants to cheat.

Take it this way.

I invite you and another person to a coffee shop. I put on the table $100. The money can be yours but you need to find a way to divide it between the two of you. If you can’t reach an agreement, I’m going to take Mr. Benjamin Franklin back. However, if you can find an agreement, whatever that may be, you get to keep the money.

In an ideal non zero sum game, you simply divide it by $50 you and $50 the other person. It is free money after all. Everyone wins. The ratio of cost benefit would be exactly 1:1.

However, in real life, this rarely happens. This experiment has been conducted thousands of times across universities around the world and you know what happens? One person will try to push the ratio to $80 him, $20 you. In other words, he knows that getting $20 is better than getting $0, therefore, pushing for a zero sum game mentality. In very, very few cases the split is 50%.

This is the problem with non zero sum games. In order for them to be in a perfect economic equilibrium, you must put the other person first but you know what? The other person must put you first too.

In other words, both parties need to operate from a synergestic, win – win perspective. If only one party does this, it becomes a lose – win, a compromise or simply a loss.

And in the last year, I have learned this. It has been a year with ups and downs and I have learned this important lesson – in order for a collaboration of any kind to work, romantic, business, financial – both parties need to operate from the same perspective and both parties need to keep themselves up to the same standards. In the moment that this stops, it becomes a losing situation, a zero sum game disguised as a non-zero sum game where in practice, one person gets a lot more out of the situation than the other one.

So, this lead me to a simple conclusion. I’ve knew this for a while now but it is really starting to hit home. Operate from a win – win perspective but put yourself first. In other words, don’t go for a zero sum, don’t go for the other person to sacrifice for you but at the same time, don’t be willing to sacrifice for the other person.

In a win – win situation, you must get what you want and the other party must get what you want, that hyphotetical split where both meet at a balance and that balance satisfies the requirements of all parties involved.

In other words, it must be “hell yeah, I’m very happy with this” or it must be no deal. No giving up ground for the sake of giving ground. Not conceiding to anything for the sake of conceiding. I win, you win or we both go home.

This is not selfish. It is enlinghtened self-interest. Is when you consider yourself just as important as the other person and you’re not willing to receive less than you know you are worth. It is keeping yourself to high standards and expecting the other person to do the same.

So yes, your needs are important. What you want is important. Don’t give up on them for the sake of another person, whatever the circumstances may be. Never operate from a lose – win perspective where you incur a loss while the other person gains a win.

This may bother you but generally, everyone operates from a position of selfishness and self-interest. While we are not animals, we are evolutionary wired to put ourselves first. So if you don’t put yourself first, it becomes by default that the other person wants to look after their self-interest more than you do.

In other words …

# I put myself first, you put yourself first, let’s find a common ground for a win – win.

# I put myself first, you don’t put yourself first, you’ll sacrifice for my sake.

# I don’t put myself first, you don’t put yourself first, we’ll both lose and we’ll be worse than before.

# I don’t put myself first, you put yourself first, I’m going to lose and you’re going to win.

So, the basic rule is put yourself, your needs, your goals first. When in a collaboration based game, then find a common ground where you don’t compromise on your position but the other person gets what he or she wants too. If this is not possible, go for no deal. Don’t use people but don’t let people use you either. Don’t take what it is not unearned and undeserved but don’t let people take what is unearned and undeserved either.

This is the golden rule. Do unto others as they would do unto you. It doesn’t say “be a sucker and forget your value as a human being”. It doesn’t say “compromise because the other party deserves more than you do”. It doesn’t say “be a slave to everyone else and hope that they’ll do good unto you”.

The golden rule simply says “Do unto others as they would do unto you.”

Putting yourself first and letting the other person put himself or herself first and finding a synergestic middle ground, where 1 + 1 = 3, not 1 + 1 = 1.5 (comproming) is the systematic implementation of a 2000 old ethical rule.

It is …

“This is what I need. This is what is important for me. This is my position.

Tell me what you need. I need to understand your position.

Now that I’ve understood what you need, let’s see if I can offer you what you need while you offer mine, so we both win, so we both grow, so we both can go happy about this.

Let’s see if we can synergize in an atmoshpere of mutual respect and understanding, where your needs are just as important as mine but we’re not willing to compromise, where we’re not willing to leave to give ground for the sake of giving ground but go for a win – win.

And if we can’t do this, let’s not do this deal because I want to win and I want you to win. If we can’t both win, if we can’t both be better off as part of our involvement here, then let’s not do it.”

And this is my friends the ethical version of selfishness, the one I approve of.

Best regards,

Razvan

Combining EFFECTIVENESS With EFFICIENCY – Personal Productivity System Updated

A few weeks ago, I’ve created an effectiveness based system for planning my day. Well, while the system was great in theory, almost nothing got done. What got done was nice but mostly, did not. In other words, it lacked efficiency.

Then I’ve understood a very basic fact that eluded me for a long time (and it is so simple that even a kindergarden kid can understand it). A time management system needs to be designed to encourage both doing the right things but also doing things – in other words, both effectiveness and efficiency.

In other words, if I focus only on how much I work in any given day, I’ll artificially boost my working time to achieve a goal, I’ll focus on what is really not relevant or what is simply to do or simply, on what boosts that number.

If I focus only on what needs to be done and I have no performance standard whatsoever, one day I may work, another I may not and generally, I will suffer from ineffectiveness. Both have a major weakness – either there is no doing or there is no effectiveness. At the end of the day I must accomplish two parameters at the same time:

#1 – Focus on those things that will help me through a big impact (or projected impact) on my life (my so called impossible goals) …

#2 – Focus on putting as much action as possible in those goals. In other words, have a standard for how much to work or simply aim for as much as possible …

It is like being at the gym – you want to do the exercises correctly (and the right exercises as effectiveness defines both the WHAT and the HOW) but you also want to do the correct number of them (it is kind of useless to do a single push-up, no matter how good push-ups are and how good you are doing it).

So, I’ve combined them to eliminate each other’s weaknesses.

Here are the key principles:

# Go for an efficiency score of eight hours a day, when possible. If not possible, go for as much as possible. In other words, put eight hours of actual work or as much as you can.

# Pick tasks ONLY from the Impossible List or account with tasks from there as much as humanly possible. In other words, I can spend three hours sorting emails now but that’s not really that relevant. So I can pick only from those things that matter so my entire focus is on accomplishing challenging goals, not just boosting my metric.

There is no percentage or standard, just a general approach.

Now let’s see if by combining the essence of a KPI based system with a goal based system, I can solve my procrastination problem.

Honestly, it is so simple and it is so elegant. I don’t know how it could have eluded me.

Best regards,
Razvan

Positive Thinking Tends To Be Very Ineffective. Here’s Something Better.

Well, these days taught me something.

The Navy SEALs motto “The only easy day was yesterday” is kind of true – actually, it is as much of a natural principle as anything else. I have understood that it is better to expect, prepare and train for the worst, to be ready and “brace for impact” than to have wishy, washy positive feelings that everything is going to turn out right.

Why?

For a simple, practical reason. Expect the worst and you will enter survival mode. This means doing more, acting more, training more, so you can be prepared for whatever disaster is waiting to happen. If it happens, you will survive, from a practical perspective, which is more than I can say when you employ happy thoughts and positive thinking. If it doesn’t happen, your actions, by themselves, have netted a superior result because you were simply more effective and more efficient.

This is a win-win, no matter how you put it. It is not about waiting for the roof to fall and accepting your fate but waiting for the bad to happen and actually preparing for it. Over-compensating whatever happens.

In the US Navy, there is another motto “Sweat during peacetime so you don’t bleed during the war”. I’m starting to realize the point of all of this. It is better to be over-prepared, do over-deliver, to over-do, to build mines when just holes are required. And from what I’ve noticed, my positive thinking failed me again and again so it is time for a change in philosophy.

Now let’s see how it works and what are the upsides and downsides of following this philosophy. It works in the military, it works in sports and it tends to work in any high risk environment. I’m curious if it works as a life philosophy.

Best regards,
Razvan