10th Human: of Excellence and Emotional Cost

Are you willing to pay the cost of excellence?

President & Owner of Propaganda Marketing David McGeehan asked this question on LinkedIn yesterday. The question stopped me in my metaphorical tracks (or, in this case, scrolling).

It’s a great, layered question.

What is excellence? Who defines it?

The question parallels my own framework of, “I am willing to accept the level of success (excellence?) that I derive from a laser focus on the same…in the hours after I drop my girls off at school and before I pick them up again.” After I pick them up, I go into what I call “maintenance mode.” In our 24/7 world and in particular as a real estate agent, I can’t reasonably expect my clients to wait until the next day after 4 PM. I make the calls I need to for contractual reasons, if a client has an urgent need, etc. But I hold off on generating new business, extra work, etc.

For me, being an excellent dad is a primary goal. I believe I am an excellent advocate and RealtorĀ® as well; however, I am not willing to put this above being present for my daughters (as a rule).

What is excellence to you?

A Thought on Think and Grow Rich

A friend asked me for reading recommendations recently. She’s recently returned to the entrepreneur world.

There were two books that immediately came to mind. Seth Godin’s Linchpin, on which I have modeled much of my efforts (one need only read the posts on this blog to see how deeply his philosophy molds mine).

The other was Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. This book also profoundly impacted me. His book is a study of the uber wealthy and the mindset that aided them in achieving this wealth. One takeaway, and the reason for this post, is that the folks he studied all had an intense and sole focus on SUCCESS. They were driven to achieve their goal and would not be stopped.


They were driven to this goal to the detriment of relationships with their children (amongst others). Reading this made me realize that I am not interested in massive success, if that means my children don’t know or resent me.

DRAFT: Synthesis / development of a framework

I am working on developing a framework based on the principles in these books. This is the “flow” as it speaks to me currently.

Here are the Amazon (non affiliate) links for these works:

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Finite & Infinite Games by James P. Carse

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon HillĀ 

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Science, Strategy & War by Frans P.B. Osinga

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

TDS: A trained mind is better than any script

image from pixabay

What a profound statement.

You need not operate off of a script. Instead, train your mind. When I was a young NCO, I used to ask myself, when confronted with bad news or an angry individual, “Will this matter in five seconds? Five minutes? Five days?”

The questions gave me space to think before I reacted. This had a couple of positive side effects:

  1. It let me give a measured reaction.
  2. It developed a reputation as unflappable.

You don’t need to know what to do in every circumstance. You just need to know you can adapt. Develop your mantra, think before you react.

“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” – Plutarch

“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.” – Plutarch

When I was a young NCO, first leading Airmen, I used to practice a framework of sorts. Whenever I heard bad news, I would internally ask myself, “Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days?”

Externally, I kept my composure while asking this question, then I would respond as I felt the situation dictated, or not if I felt that was the best response. It had it’s pros (a reputation as unflappable) and cons (one of my Airman observed once – quite angrily) that I was a “damn robot!”

In our social media driven, instant communication world, do you have a framework?

of strength and calm minds

Anger, it is often said, is a powerful weapon.

I submit to you that a calm mind is far more powerful.

As I read this passage today in The Daily Stoic, I was reminded of a moment a couple of months ago during a sparring exercise with another Krav Maga student. As we engaged in our battle of OODA loops, he landed a good blow upon my person, which…engaged…a predictably angry response internally, to the point where I nearly threw out all training and wanted to brawl.

In that moment, I exposed myself to additional potential attacks from my calmer opponent.

It was only when I asserted the calm state internally, remembered my stance and that I knew what I was doing and was capable of, that I was able to defend against further attacks and, in fact, land a solid blow upon his person.

Of course, Aurelius’ words apply to more than physical combat. Calm minds plan and execute better decisions in business and life, too.

10thHuman: To Grok or not to Grok, that is the question

photo from unsplash

In our 24/7/365 soundbite world, where millisecond pauses are registered on the book of Face and then used to deliver tailored content to a product (because we aren’t users, we are their product), it may be that we have lost something of ourselves.

We have at our fingertips the greatest information distribution system the world has ever known. Yet, we seem to be increasingly in an age of distrust for expertise (a generous characterization). We seem to be in an age where “my ignorance is as good as your expertise” is becoming commonplace.

Here’s the thing: that’s false. Let’s slow down and push for a deeper understanding, in all things.

If we don’t push for a deeper understanding of the world around us, from the physical sciences to the arts to, well, everything, then…what’s the point of it all?

I challenge you to seek to Grok the world.

Who are you? What is your purpose?

Today’s meditation, for me, is about clarity of purpose and identity.

Marcus Aurelius is said to have written that “A person who doesn’t know their purpose in life doesn’t know who they are.”

I find merit in that statement. If you don’t know what you want to do or be, who are you?

For me, I want to be three things:

  1. A good dad
  2. A good human being
  3. A good advocate

These are my guiding principles.

Who are you?