Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to School and Hard Work

I work with middle and high schoolers quite often.  Here is a "pep talk" I give to them and my kids every year at the start of the school year.  It is largely based off the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

You will face obstacles this year, especially during the school year.  How you perceive and react to them will make all the difference as to whether you will be successful or not.

Discipline your perception
One person can perceive tough times as bad, while another sees them as valuable lessons.

"How blessed young men are who have to struggle for a foundation and beginning in life.  I shall never cease to be grateful for the 3 1/2 years of apprenticeship and the difficulties to be overcome, all along the way." - John D. Rockefeller (p. 15)

Where one person sees a crisis, another sees and opportunity.

Too often we react emotionally, get despondent and lose our perspective.  All that does is turn bad things into really bad things.  Unhelpful perceptions can invade our minds and throw off our compass.

Steady your nerves
Story of Ulysses S. Grant and photograph (p. 24) or read this more detailed account.

You will get stressed, you will be tired and people will try to get under your skin.  How will you react?  Will you give in or will you react with grace and poise and a cool head?

Nerve is a matter of defiance and control.

"I refuse to acknowledge that" "I don't agree to be intimidated"  "I resist the temptation to call this a failure"  Steel yourself!

Control your emotions
When people panic, they make mistakes.

Panic has to be trained out of your mind.

Cultivate the skill of not panicking so you can focus your energy exclusively on solving problems, rather than reacting to them.

We defeat emotions and panic with logic.  Logic is simply asking questions and providing answers.

Do I need to freak out about this?  Does freaking out add value?

Practice objectivity
This happened and it is bad: is two statement.  This happened is objective; it is bad is subjective

Think, perceive, act - our animal instincts train us to do those 3 things in a matter of seconds.  We need to cut off the process after Think

Don't add opinion … the way to do this is to strip everything down
- Roasted meat is just dead animal
- Latest iphone is just wires and a battery
- See things as they are, without the added emotion

Anything that stands in your way, break it down; see it objectively

Alter your perspective
When fear strikes you, break it apart

Pericles and Greek Navy on a mission when the sun was eclipsed; his men feared.  Pericles took his cloak, and held it around his steersman face (blocking his vision) and asked him if he was scared of what he saw - no.  So what does it matter it if is a cloak or something else that blocks the light (detailed story here).

We choose how we will view the world

Change your context (get a bigger picture of the world)

Frame it differently - how do you view this as an opportunity?

Is it up to you?
(what is in your control vs out of your control)
Tommy Johns - read the story p. 40-42

My story of my senior year and being cut from the basketball team

Live in the present moment - focus on the task at hand now
The companies that started during the Depression or economic down times

Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be ahead.

Sufficient the day …

Think differently - don't listen too closely to critics
- Steve Jobs
- Obstacles illuminate new options

Finding the opportunity
German blitzkrieg was 'unstoppable', but Allies found the obstacle is the solution (p. 53)

"The present situation is to be regarded as an opportunity for us, not a disaster"

What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger.

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