Success principle #40. Gain perspective. | 889

My Author Journey, Wednesday, October 25, 2017

# 889 (countdown)

Most of the blunders, bad decisions, wrong choices and most of this bad stuff that happens to you along your entrepreneurial or artistic journey are probably not as severe as they initially appear.

But without a proper perspective we’ll tend to consider those blunders or mere errors, or unsettling events that will happen to us no doubt, as something that might lead to our demise. We overexaggerate their importance or real potential.

In other words, we automatically assume that those circumstances/ unfortunate events will affect us in very negative way, and we usually fail to factor in that

A/ surprisingly to us things may turn out OK (often the case) — that’s never part of our terrible scenario because we cannot know (that’s the nature of surprise — for example the law may change, or some component of this bad circumstance may change),

B/ we will find and introduce remedial measures (usually there’s much we can do about every bad situation, even revert it, but those things escape us when we have only negative thoughts),

C/ there is something that can benefit us in this bad situation (we may find some breakthrough solution — something we might otherwise not have found, or we may find out that there is a good side to this bad situation and we can more than make up for our losses by taking advantage of it, or it may trigger something positive — like it might help establish a strong bond between the people within our organisation or lead us to some new, unexpected activity),

D/ even the worst case scenario (when the threat is imminent and very real, and we are out of options) pales in comparison with things like a severe illness, disabilities or death, or being born in a country where citizens can’t do anything, or into a family that is part of some religious sect (which is basically the same as being born in a country where you have no freedom), or living in a war zone for most of your life.

Besides, in many cases even the worst things weren’t enough to stop people from pursuing their dreams or doing what they were passionate about.

Richard Branson was arrested and later fined tens of thousands of pounds for trying to evade sales tax. In the early 1970s, whilst Branson was bootstrapping his mail-order record store, he made the mistake of trying to evade the heavy British sales tax by pretending to export the records thereby making more profit per record sold. He ended up paying the sales tax in full plus a fine — of course, it was an amount he didn’t have and would need to earn yet. A failure to pay that amount in full would mean Branson would end up in jail and who knows, if this had happened it’s possible the Virgin brand wouldn’t even exist today. Richard and his people resolved to work harder than ever before in order to keep Richard out of jail. They did and this whole mess helped them believe that they are capable of great things.

During Nike’s first decade as a company, Philip Knight received a letter from U.S. Customs demanding Nike pay $25 million in import fees because the shoes were manufactured outside the country. The amount was way beyond what Nike at the time could afford to pay. The fight that ensued nearly killed the company. Nearly. According to the settlement that was eventually signed by Nike and the U.S. Customs Nike agreed to pay $9 million. This whole mess helped them realize that there are things they could do to defend themselves and thus the amount they ended up paying was much lower than what the U.S. Customs initially demanded.

Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton Hershey, H.J. Heinz are just a handful of people whose companies went bankrupt (and what can be worse than that for a person who is trying to build something?) but it didn’t stop them.

How we can best gain that perspective? By reading biographies of great people or watching documentaries that show us the atrocities of life in some places on earth or how f*cked up your life can be if you were born into some religious community (sect) that is bullshitting and brainwashing you 24/7 365.

Listening to audio.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (20 min. on scribd app).

The 48 Laws of Power Audiobook by Robert Greene (30 min. on YouTube)


To Russia with Love (50 min. on Netflix). Finished it.

Keep Quiet (30 min. on Netflix).

YouTube videos.

Videos from Gary Vaynerchuk’s playlist called Self Awareness

Great photographer I learned from today: Robert Capa

Recent progress on my third book: 0 min today.

My today’s answers on Quora:

Answer to Should I follow my passion and become an actor or get a “real job”?

Answer to Is it a wise decision to start a change of career at 34?

Morning workout: 30 minutes.

Music for this writing session: Flight Facilities (various tracks, on Spotify).

My today’s route.

My today’s favorite.

My today’s photos on flickr Warsaw, October 25, 2017.