Do You Have An Eggshell Skull?

Skull

 

In common law there is a well-known rule called the Eggshell Skull rule.

Say you are having an argument with your friend.  The argument starts to escalate and out of frustration you grab your mobile phone, throw it in your friends general direction and he gets hit on his head.

You didn’t know it, but your friend suffers from a rare bone condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and therefore suffers from a skull fracture and dies.

The law says that it doesn’t matter that you didn’t intend to kill your friend, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t know about his condition.  You threw the phone, it was all your fault.

Physical injury, to which this law applies, is one thing but there are many other types of offence in real life.  And in real life, offence and defence can’t be as clearly divided as you might expect.

In a soccer game for example, when does merely playing defensively become playing offensively?  If the other team starts to behave more and more aggressively, then your team will have to play more defensively and at a certain point, you will become so defensive that you are actually playing offensively.

By putting your work out there into the world every day, by playing things with the right amount of caution, by surviving just another day…

by merely being defensive you are causing an impact.  

What does this mean for you as a writer, a blogger, an entrepreneur or freelancer?

It means you are not as weak as you might think. 

 

Advertisements

Fear, Tension, Resistance & Your Best Work

“We got taught for 12 or 16 years at school, that our job was to get an “A”, that if we are defective we fail – we were reprocessed, sent back a grade and had to do it again.  This idea that we better be right, that we better be perfect, that we better get it all correct, goes deep within us.

The industrialists wanted that to happen, because it makes us a better factory worker, it makes us better at following specific instructions.

When something comes along that might not work we feel “The Tension”.  “The Tension” of experiencing two things at the same time:

  • This might work.  That’d be great!
  • This might not work. I’m gonna be doomed!

“The Tension” exists when we feel both of those at the same time.  If you’re not feeling both at the same time then you’re probably not doing your best work, you’re probably not having your most honest relationships, you’re probably not inventing the future, you’re simply a victim of the future.

So, “The Tension” isn’t something to avoid, it’s something to seek out, because that’s what it is to be a professional today.  To go to that place where we feel – as Steve Pressfield calls it; “The Resistance”.  “The Resistance” [think about the tension in a rubber band] pulling us away from the place where we might be able to make a difference.

I think it’s possible to learn that when that tension shows up, we should lean toward it, not away from it.  It’s possible to learn that that’s actually our job, that as a professional or mere writing or speaking or typing or engaging or inventing – “The Tension” – that place where we feel it, that is what we’re getting paid to do.

Thats’ when our chance shows up for us to do our best work. ”

– An excerpt from Seth Godin’s podcast “Akimbo”: https://www.akimbo.me/

The Right Size

1_YiY1yK5GBk4wJzTasm5MqA

Why is it that no one ever says that Cambridge University should “scale” to serve more people or “disrupt” the education system*?  Does anyone really think that Cambridge University should start a “franchise” and open up shop all across England or America?

Why is it then that when people look at their own businesses “growth” and “disruption” seem to be the main goal?

I have noticed that most things have a natural size.  Whether it be the ideal size of a pizza, a smart phone or a business.  It’s not always about getting bigger, about growth, about franchising.  Most of the time it’s about doing what’s right for you and your business.

Ironically, staying the right size is also the best way to maximise and maintain long-term profits.

You Are Not A Red Zebra

red zebra

Isn’t it strange how zebra’s stand out so much?

Shouldn’t they have evolved to be a sort of brown colour?  Like the lion, so that they would blend in with their environment and not get eaten?

Interestingly enough when scientists were studying zebra’s, they found it awfully hard to keep track of which zebra was which, so they came up with a solution:

“Why don’t we paint a red spot on the zebra we want to track?!”

Every time the scientists did this, the zebra in question got eaten.

Why?

Because the Zebra with the red-painted spot stood out from the rest of the herd.  It turns out that the herd provide the camouflage for the individual.

But here’s the thing:

You are not a zebra, you don’t move in herds and you don’t need to worry about getting eaten

Can you think of a single person you admire that didn’t stand for something that set them apart from the crowd?

Whether it be Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi or a soldier who fought for their country.  All these people stood for something and most likely would put their life on the line for what they believe in.

At some point it seems, we have to put our foot down, draw the line in the sand and say:

“This is what I believe is right.  This is what I believe in.  This is who I am and what I stand for.”

I don’t fear laying on my death-bed and feeling sad that I didn’t accomplish X,Y or Z.  I am afraid that I will be on my death-bed and look back at my life and realise that I didn’t stand up for what I truly believe in.  That is a life not lived.

Avoid The Tourist Trap

A great meal in Paris…

One of the best things about spending a week in Paris is getting to experience some really great food.

A simple way of knowing if a place is worth visiting is by simply walking inside and listening carefully to the customers. Are they speaking French? If they are, then you’ll likely have a good meal.

The reason places which cater only to tourists suck is because they usually just want to make a quick buck. They’re not interested in starting a new relationship with a long term customer. They want to maximise profits and spend as little as possible while doing so.

However, this kind of plan won’t work with locals. With locals you have to play an “infinite game”. Developing and nurturing longstanding relationships where you actually care about the people you have the privilege of serving.

The question is, are you treating your customers like tourists? Do you want to take them for a ride?

Or are you playing the infinite game? Are you in this for the long haul because you actually care and want to build longstanding relationships?

Still Or Sparkling?

When you’re asked at a restaurant if you would like “still or sparkling water?”, what do you say?

Often we do things in a certain way without asking why. It starts off innocently enough in school. We get shown how to tie our shoes the tried and tested way, so that we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel every time we are presented with a new problem.

But it starts to become a problem when we stop realising that it’s ok to not do things the “tried and tested way”. After a while we become completely blind to different ways of doing things. We forget to ask why things are done the way they are and as a result we stop ourselves from breaking the status quo and creating meaningful work.

A little known fact; the waiter asks you if you would like”still or sparkling”, because then you won’t say “tap water”. They trick you into thinking that there are only two options.

Another little known fact; you’re probably not tying your shoe laces properly:

So the question becomes; are you avoiding doing something meaningful because you’ve become blind to the opportunities all around you?

Or worse. Are you blind to the amazing contribution that you can surely bring to your community?

If you are reading this blog, then I know for sure that the world needs you. Don’t let the world blind you into thinking otherwise.

What Your Mother Can Teach You About Sales

(Before I tell you this story, I would just like to say a big thank you to my mother.  She’s really an amazing woman and this is just one of the many indirect lessons she has taught me over the years.)

I had a crisis of confidence before I started medical school.  I nearly didn’t go.  I don’t know why, but at the time I felt that perhaps I wasn’t meant to be a doctor , that there may be opportunities elsewhere which could be better.

My mother knew that I wanted to be a doctor since I was very young and knew what was best for me.  When I was having doubts about going to medical school she said:

“You’re going to medical school!  Or you’re not welcome in this house!”

OK, sounds harsh, but it really isn’t and I am eternally grateful.

I really did want to be a doctor since I as far as I could remember.  And now as a doctor, I am very glad I chose this path as the work is continuously interesting and challenging.

The point is that my mum cared about me.  Like, really cared.  She cared so much that she cut through the BS and basically just said “you’re gonna do it, or else!!”.

Interestingly enough, this is the best way to sell as well.  This overly caring yet demanding attitude is how you approach customers and prospects.  Sales people usually try to persuade prospects to do things for the wrong intentions; money and commissions.

But the approach and the mindset that works is:

“You are going to use my product or else!  Because I know what’s good for you and my product will REALLY REALLY make your life way better!!!!”

As a doctor, sometimes I know that a drug that I am starting my patient on will basically save his or her life.  There better be a good reason to not go on the medication, otherwise I’m not letting you get out of my office without a prescription!  I know what’s good for you!

As a salesman, I have the same attitude as this.  I know my product will really enhance my customers life!  As a result I have no issue with demanding that they sign up and start using my product.  I care so damn much, that I’m not leaving until they’re signed up!