Category Archives: Success

How many “List of Successful things people do are there”….

In my twitter, facebook, email and other feeds I get a least one “Top X things Successful people do” Articles, and like a sucker I read each one.

  • http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-successful-people.html
  • http://www.businessinsider.com/what-successful-people-do-friday-afternoon-2016-10
  • and over 3 million other links.

I don’t know why I read each one, hoping there is some magic pill that makes me turn from who I am to uber successful.  Then I woke up.   I finally realized, these articles are no better than the “fitness” in a bottle, or even lose weight on a DVD.   It does not take a genius to realize that you cannot lose weight by taking a pill, that no workout is going to rescue you from eating a crappy diet.   There is no study ever proving any of it, no matter what Dr. Oz or other idiot on the TV says.  Losing weight is purely about 1 thing, finding a calorie deficit, aka. burning more calories than you take in.  (If you read my fit.lrau.com blog you will see there are some questions about what is a calorie and a lot of interesting side thoughts but I digress)

So if you cannot lose weight in a $19.95 purchase, what made me think, I can suddenly become successful by reading an article and suddenly giving myself 10 new traits/practices etc.  And yeah it took years of reading these articles to wake up.  I woke up to the reality that anyone can find dozens are so successful people, find a few things they have in common and say “Hey guess what, do these or act like this” and you will be successful.   I chose to see what I hide in common with Bruce Lee to prove a point.  Lets assume we are both “successful” here is what i found we have in common.

  • We both took fencing
  • We both believe our children are our greatest accomplishment
  • We believe the relationship with our spouse is one of a team
  • We both had a miniature schnauzer for a pet
  • We both read a to on non-fiction to learn
  • We both multi-tasked often (reading / listening to music)
  • We both were constantly fidgety

Now of course I went for stuff that really seems insignificant, and that was done intentionally.  Success does not happen due to having some list of traits.  In fact I wish the articles would find people that had the same 10 traits and were not successful.  To me it would be like athletes are musicians.  I know 100s of musicians that I think are really good at playing or singing.  But very few “made” it.  Same with Athletes, 100s that are talented, work hard and look like they should be playing at the next level.   But only few of each ever make that ‘next’ level, and fewer stay there.

So what are you supposed to do.  Later in life my daughter had a hockey coach who carried around a saying in his wallet.  “My name is Josh Esformes, and I make a living being myself”  To me it is something that sank in, to be successful, you need to be yourself.  Taking the athlete example again, look at Borg, McEnroe and Connors as tennis players (Google them if you don’t know who they are)  They were as different personality as they could be, Borg was quiet, and just went to work, McEnroe somehow had to get enrage and angry to play well, and Connors needed energy from the fans and pumped his fist often.  Yet they were all successful.  You don’t have to be someone else to be successful, you need to be yourself, who that is, you must find out.  It is your inner journey, and Bruce Lee would be proud of that, as he always believed reaching up and learning (guess that is another thing we have in common)   I now carry that same saying in my wallet (changing the name of course)  and will let others determine how successful I am.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  I do moderate all comments, and try to remove anything that is not in the spirit of the site.  Thanks for reading.

Very few see the work, and less the mistakes.

I know I have told this story a lot.  I have an artist friend, he was amazing.  There were some paintings he did that were of chrome that was sick.  I mean, you swear it was a photograph it was that good.  I was fortunate enough to go to his house once and hang out with him and his wife.  I got to see more of his work, one painting was more impressive than the next.

After a while, I told my friends wife, that she is married to an amazing painter.  Then I found the secret.  She walked me to the backyard to the shed.  In the shed, dozens of broken up canvases, and an ax that he had used to trash them.  Those were all the mistakes that he had made.  For each successful painting that I saw, there was probably more than one bad canvases.   For the first time I realized that artists (and really good ones) were not perfect.  In fact they need to practice and practice, they make mistakes, they are human.   Before that moment, I really thought that they would start a painting, and finish it.

It made me realize, than in my job, I don’t have to get it right first.  I just need to get it right.  When I design screen, or system architecture.  I ask for opinions from other team members. I use the feedback, and sometimes go back and scrap the original design, or just make some changes.   I do not worry that people don’t like my first attempt, as long as we get the last one right.  I even now have a presentation on how one application went from initial design to final application.   So now people see the work that went into building the final project.

Just a reminder, I am not doing this for profit,  this is not my day job, I am just doing a brain dump.  I don’t spend any money on marketing, design or images.  I welcome comments (but moderate) and all I ask for you is to enjoy it.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

Having two stamps, Yes and Hobby.

I was reminded a bit ago of a story from my college years. I wanted to be a musician, not just a musician it a professional. A star, famous, everything that came with it.   Of course I was not the most talented person, nor did I always have the best work ethic, as I wanted to do 100 other things also.  But I was out there trying.  To make it in the music business it is partly due to “persistence” more than anything.  You keep writing, making demos, and knocking on doors.   When I was a kid there was no real way to publish yourself on YouTube, soundcloud or ITunes.

Often I was hit with a lot of No’s.  It was often disappointing, and in fact sometimes it was downright depressing.  I needed to pick myself up and try again.  But someone did motivate me, but in a very different way than you would think.   Some people are motivated a lot by no’s and push through to finally succeed or crash.  Some people get a few no’s and that is the end of their desire.  Many of those quit playing altogether.  They were not going to become musicians, so they would now focus their energy on something else.  This was a travesty.  But sometimes there is something better than a no.

Upon one of my many attempts to succeed I ran across a record executive who had a different approach than most.   He didn’t reject anyone.  He had two stamps.  One that said “Contract” which meant he was going to sign you, and you were on your way to coming a star.   But he had a second stamp, that was a bit unusual compared to many of his competitors.   This stamp was “Hobby.”   In a quick conversation with him, he never wanted anyone to quit playing.  He thought everyone should be playing an instrument.  Not as a professional, but for fun.   So he came up with another stamp other than no.  The Hobby stamp was used a lot, and he let people know that only a few people can get contracts.

This was the first time I saw something like this, and I don’t think I ever saw anything like it in any other endeavor whether it be sports, arts or business.  People often hate rejecting, in fact many times they hide behind keyboard and texting on phones.  If the lesson to be learned is if you need to reject, figure out the right way to do it so that it directs the person forward not backwards.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

Sometimes you drive a Camaro

When you are young and single, you buy yourself a hot car like a Camaro.   Yes I know some people are mustang fans, and others are into Japanese crap, but for the story let’s stick with the Camaro.  It’s great seats two, and not much in the back seat, you look cool with your hair slicked back, ray bans on.  Drive around with the windows down and the radio blasting on ocean ave by the shore.  The goal to impress chicks, and guess what?  Some day you do, and you finally find the one.

Of course the first few years of marriage, still driving around in the Camaro it’s cool since it is just you.  But eventually you have to 2.3 kids, and when they are really little, they fit in the back.  You by strollers designed by origami experts so they fit in th trunk, but runs to Cosco are not that easy as you need to load up on diapers etc.  As kids get older and they have friends it’s hard to squeeze the 4 kids and 2 adults in the car, yes kids can sit on each others lap, and while they are young, they seem to be ok with this.  But as they get bigger it’s harder.  The funny thing is that you don’t blame the car for the issue, but the situation. That the car was fine in your 20s its fine now.

Fast forward 20 years, the kids are gone, and now you have an antique Camaro that you take to car shows as its all original, and mint.  You tell stories of how you and your wife met and how you squeezed 6 kids in the back once, and tell fond stories.  Noting there is nothing wrong with the Camaro.

It’s not that every tool is right for the situation, but sometimes you do have to use a hammer, sometimes you have to use a screw driver, and sometimes you can drive a Camaro

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

The power of saying no….

Simply put, when you have less on your plate, you have more time to dedicate to the items that are there, and to do them with 100% attention.  If you say yes to everything, you are continuously having to split your attention to multiple things, and there is no way you can get it all done at your best.  Delegate, get things off your plate.

No can also be not now, like I can’t do this until the other things are done.  I have a hard time teaching this to people, about blocking out time on their calendar to get something done.  If you have multiple tasks, you need to block out more time, and get one done at a time.  Turn off Outlook alters, put the phone on silent, remove distractions.  If you want to succeed and giving something 100%, your need to give it your 100% attention.  Of course while I am writing this I have the Stanley Cup playoff game on.  The issue, I cannot tell you what’s happening in the game, it is background noise.   But as soon as this is done, going to rewind and catch up on the game.

So I can’t find a graph that I used for years, but it is a graph showing how productive software developers against the number of tasks (systems) they are coding.  When a developer has a single application he or she is working on, they are 100% efficient.  Now you think giving them a second application, they would be 50% efficient in each, but it actually drops down to about 33%, give them a 3rd and they are 10% efficient, and after that they are so inefficient.  The proof is when we hire a new developer.  To bring them on slowly we give them one application to work on.  Once we see how competent they are, we give them more.  After the third application we start wondering if we hired the right person, they were so productive a while ago.  This plays out everywhere I worked until I figured it out.  Now I keep my team somewhat productive, by teaching them to say no to doing more, and if they have to, but blocking out time.

The goal is how do you say no, how do you tell someone that you can’t do something for them.  Or as my teenage daughter does, is say yes to one activity, then a 2nd one that comes along and is better.  What to do?  Its really simple, be open and honest.  I have xyz to do, you would be the nth Priority on my list.   Most managers understand, some will say “this is the highest priority” which you say, then you are giving me the OK to go to the others and say they will be delayed.   To me this is basic as a rope with three ends tug of war.  On one end is quality, the other is time, and the last is number of tasks.   If you increase any one, it will affect the others.  If you want to keep in balance, you must be assured you have enough time, or be willing to sacrifice quality.  Often the best way to keep the balance, say no.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

What is the difference between Annoying and Interesting?

What is the difference between Annoying and Interesting?

Its very simple, when there is a massing problem that is hard or impossible to figure out and its happening to you its is interesting, when its happening to me its annoying.   — Larry Gold  circa 1994

There should be no explanation necessary.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.

Being a parent…. on simple lesson to be a better one.

Definition of Adolescence. “The 24 hour a day, 7 day a week, 365 day battle to not be embarrassed” – and “Any kid would rather be perceived as bad, then dumb”

Why does that mean anything?   As a parent you do millions of things that have an effect on your children.  But often you don’t see the motivation behind some of the behavior.   And this one is key.  Sometimes the acting out etc, is not because they are bad, it’s because of a perception.  If they perceived to be dumb, they are thrown into a “group” which it is hard to get out of.  Being “Bad” is a group that is good to be in for an adolescence.    So when you have kids, this is something to keep an eye out for, but it does also happen as adults.  If you see the behavior in your child, make sure you don’t have the halo effect and think they are smart.  Look at what they can or can’t do, and the best think you can do is get them the help so they learn what they need to learn.   The stupid label on them, is tough to shake, but catching it as acting bad, and then getting them help will stop the bad behavior and fix the root cause.

What does that have to do with being a better person?   It is often we need to dig deeper into the cause of the behavior not just the behavior.  If people around you are acting in a way that seems off, you can either say “they are just bad”  But they may be ignorant and hiding it, thus causing a problem that shouldn’t be.   You being the better person, has to rise above the pettiness and not get into the shouting match, the argument and the name calling.  You must take a step back, and find an alternative to figuring it all out.

My world famous disclaimer…  so, this blog has nothing to do about my current employer.  I provide the information without warranty blah blah blah. I make no money from this blog, there is no advertising, or charges to anyone.  I do this as a brain dump, to leave something behind.  If you want to support me, instead of doing that support one of the charities i care about, the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and Hockey in Newark.  Thanks for reading.