Make 2013 Your Year
The end of a year is often a time for reflection, and I’ve tried to summarise a few little hints and tips that I hope some of you will find useful. It’s just a collection of things that have served me well to this point, so I thought I’d jot them down and pass them on. Do with them what you will. They are OFIs. Corrective action is taken at your discretion. I wanted there to be 10, but I ran out of steam when I got to 8.
1. Fail Fast Fail Cheap
Never underestimate the value of being taught a lesson. Failure is part of life and needn’t be devastating. Expensive failure is what you need to watch out for. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and know what your limit is. Understand the worst case scenario and make sure you can live with it. Inexpensive failure is OK, especially if you learn something along the way. A little more about the concept of failing fast and failing cheap here
2. Don’t look for ways to complicate things that can be simple
There’s nothing clever in making something that should be simple, sound complicated. Don’t do it. Life is hard enough as it is.
3. Not everything is simple. Learn to recognise and respect complex systems
Learn to differentiate between things that are simple (contained, linear, free from significant unknowns and uncontrollable factors), and those that are not. Understand that complex and complicated are not the same thing. Complex systems do not lend themselves readily to management by numbers, no matter how inconvenient this might be.
4. Don’t waste any time whining and blaming
I know it’s hard, but try. There are two main reasons why you should
- It gets you nowhere
- NOBODY IS INTERESTED
5. Understand there is no such thing as a free lunch, use it to your advantage
Do favours freely, but understand that there has to be limits. Not every favour you do will be returned but, provided that you are sensible in choosing which to indulge, you’ll generally get your rewards over time if you trust the process. Most people have some sense of fair play and won’t take advantage of you too much and are fine with the concept of Quid Pro Quo.
6. Be good to know
It’s up to you to make yourself good to know and nobody can do it for you. Give people reasons to want to connect with you. Don’t expect any no-strings favours (see point 5 above), but make sure that when you’re doing somebody a favour, that they understand that you’re doing them a favour. Don’t expect anybody to be interested in your gripes and grumbles, but you may reasonably expect to gain their interest if it appears you can make some of theirs go away.
7. Don’t be greedy
People like successful people. They are good to know, good to be associated with and more often than not deserve their success. People don’t like greedy people. Greedy people are seldom good to know (see point 6 above).
8. Capability, credibility, contacts
Make this your mantra. It’s one thing being capable, but if you’re not credible, you’ll have a hard time selling yourself. Just as you will if nobody knows you exist. Understand that building capability, credibility and contacts require different approaches, but these must be consistent and aligned. People view inconsistency with suspicion.
This last point is probably the most important if you want to get on in life.
Happy 2013 to all my readers both loyal and irregular. May you get at least as much as you deserve
All the very best