Difficult vs. Hard

There is a major difference between difficult and hard for me.  I have noticed that professionals love to say they work hard. Over time it has become a badge of honor. I work harder then you and my parents told me hard work = success and therefore I will be/am more successful. That logic seems so screwy and I followed it for way too long.

I propose that if you work hard you are bad at something. There are always difficult things in the world. It is difficult to create an atomic bottom, or be nice to your mom sometimes, it is difficult to start a company. But when something is hard, you are doing it wrong. Life is easier than I think we realize sometimes and with the mentality that working harder is better than not we fall into this brute force, power through mentality. For instance lifting a tree IS hard and people did it for years, building a pulley system was difficult and made lifting a tree less hard.

There are so many red flags that pop up when this is happening. Talking in circles at meetings, staying up late every night, rearranging your pitch to others everytime you give it. Stop and think, am I proud of how hard I am working more than I am tackling the right difficult problem?

It’s weird, is it actually lazier to work hard than find the right difficult problem? For instance, if I had an eating problem and I found myself rummaging through my fridge alot the lazy/hard way to solve it could be to put a lock around my fridge and the lock only opens if I ride my back for more then 3 hours. That’s alot of work and you “solved” the problem, but we know that that is a shit load of work and you didn’t really put any effort toward the actual problem. You simply solved all the points around it, but you worked so hard for it, right? Congrats you’re a hard working idiot. That is a red flag. The difficult thing here is you have an eating problem, go to a gym, go to a psychologist and find out why you find comfort in food, buy healthier foods, etc.

Another example is in politics and law. The ROI for “catching someone in a crime” is low. Someone has to wait around and catch you. The question is why are they breaking the law, why are they angry, is the law right, are the roads safe, etc? Way more difficult but when figured out MUCH easier to maintain and way less hard. Try building a fence on the border of Mexico and the U.S. That’s alot of dumb level hard work. I mean the most similar things are the ancient Great Wall of China, and the BerlinWall…..really? Why don’t you want immigrants here, why do they want to be here and find a mutually beneficial result? If they are coming to the U.S. for healthcare, in order to get healthcare you must be a citizen, in order to be a citizen, you must do x. If it’s cash then offer cash to register, as it may be cheaper then manning and building a non interest aligning wall. Aligning interest and solving difficult problems allows you to not need to over manage tasks and decreases hard work. The best system is one that manages itself to be accommodating to everyone’s passions, interest and goals as closely as possible so that the management of themselves is the most efficient way to work. Regulating pirating music is way harder then making it cheaper and easier for users to download individual songs almost instantly instead of having to break the law, code, search, and wait for songs that are stolen.

Hiring

For years employees would hire veterans because after x amount of years of experience an employer knew they were getting a knowledgeable person based on track record, but that is kind of a lazy way to hire. It’s just like football, you hire skill and lose potential, you pay to mitigate risk. Employers would then hire young people at a low salary if they were bright, once again to mitigate risk. “You seem smart but you don’t have a track record so we will have to pay you less.” Much like football you are not setting your team up to win a super bowl in the coming years. (This also sounds similar to VC world)

What FaceBook, Google, etc. well in addition to hiring smart veterans was they flipped the script a bit. They started hiring young people with alot of potential and paying them alot of money. A few years later they are winning super bowls. And the old employer style is having a hard time finding talent. Now everyone wants a young genius and they are in short supply.

Time and time again this risk mitigation strategy is a red flag and one should be sure they are mitigating for the right reasons. Also, when you save time by mitigating it is a red flag because in a way you are being lazy, and when you are lazy you give opportunity to those that aren’t lazy to move ahead. (not lazy cause you don’t work hard but lazy because you are using a system to think for you and when you do that you get further and further from being different and different equals success because not everyone can be successful).

When do we really learn?

I was watching the original  lion the witch and the wardrobe and in the beginning of the movie the kids finally stubble through the wardrobe and into a forrest covered in snow. They are amazed and apologize t the youngest for telling the stories earlier of how this very wardrobe woud allow just that. Next they walk into the forest further discussing how orrythey are for their disbelief when a beaver walks up and after being called with smacking lips of the oldest stands up and begins to speak. A beaver speaking they say, shcked and amazed. How could this be? The beaver asked them to come further into the frosted because he didn’t want the trees to hear them talk, and they kids once again looked at eachotehr in disbeleif.
I initially thought you are in a wardrobe that is a forrest talking to a beaver, are you really still doubting things? Hoe stupid and stubborn are you. If i were to see a beaver speak i would realize that the word could have more secrets i didn’t realize and have an pen mind,,,,wouldn’t I.
But then thats the question isn’t it. If a beaver talked to you tomorrow would your whle world change or just  the world in which you characterized beavers as talking animals…….Don’t speak to soon. I would ay that every 100 years or so, somting as large as that shakes te world but is quickly contained in a new undertdsaning of a thing and not in a new appreciation for not try understanding anything and keeping n open mind. …The world was the center of the universe, and how could the planet be moving if we don’t feel like we are moving are thoughts only a few hundred years old.
TLWTW
TLWTW

I watched the original  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (LWW) movie the other day and in the beginning of the movie, as the story starts to develop, the kids stumble into an old wardrobe locked way in an empty room covered in cob webs trying to escape their nanny looking to divvy out some punishment. All three squeeze into the wardrobe to hide, after pushing and shoving each other trying to find enough room within, they collapse out of the back and find themselves standing in a forest covered in snow. They are amazed and begin to apologize to the youngest of the three siblings for not believing her when she told them about this magical wardrobe weeks ago.

As they are marveling at what they have founds “inside” the wardrobe, a beaver walks up to them and begins to speak.

“The beaver is speaking?!” they say, shocked and amazed.

“How could this be?”

The beaver wastes no time, and asks the thoroughly confused young children to follow him further into the frosted woods before they say too much; he didn’t want the trees to hear them talk. If the wardrobe and the talking beaver weren’t enough to screw someone’s perspective of reality up, now they had to deal with guarding the secrecy of their conversations in a forest with eavesdropping trees?! The kids once again looked at each other in disbelief.

So, this troubled me…

The three children, are in a wardrobe one minute, stumble through it to the other side, of which is in fact a large snow covered forest, only to be welcomed by a talking beaver. When the beaver asks them to be careful of the eavesdropping trees they look at one another in disbelief that the trees can talk and that the talking beaver sounds crazy?! Are you really still doubting things even as they come out of an animals mouth in perfect English? How closed minded are you? If I were to see a beaver speak I would realize that I need to be on my guard and that anything must be possible. This is a new world that very well could have more then one thing I consider fact called into question. I would be open to whatever was thrown at me, and be eager to play with and learn about this strange new land with an open mind and blank canvas….wouldn’t I?

But that is the question isn’t it?! If a beaver talked to you tomorrow would your whole world change, or would just  the part of the world in which you have characterized beavers as animals that quite obviously can’t talk need some rethinking? Do you begin to question whether or not this is a new species of beaver, or maybe beavers could talk all along we just haven’t listened? Does this help confirm that dolphins can talk? Why not? Does it mean a rock has feelings? Why not? I mean before that moment weren’t you absolutely sure beavers couldn’t talk too? It’s funny how quickly we arrange what is absurd and what isn’t. You are sure that the sun rises and sets every day — well go to Alaska and you will find that that isn’t necessarily true. And what happens in that instant is amazing, you instantly rearrange your belief system and facts to make it work, but immediately close your mind off from thinking much more beyond that. On one hand it is good to find your self grounded and not have to question everything every day, but on the other hand where is the line to always keep an open mind progressively? When those realizations are stretched over time is it easier to limit your openness? Sort of like the difference between easing into a hot bathtub or getting into a Jacuzzi before you turn it on.

It seems that every 100 years or so something large and unnerving  shakes up our perception of the world, but just like the children in the Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe we are constantly only allowing a scoped segment of information to change with a new observation. These crumbling moments of facts and belief systems are quickly contained to stay within a single new undertdsaning of any given thing and is not allowed to seep too far into a new appreciation to try and understand everything all over-again; all the while open the mind for this new data. The world was the center of the universe “Fact!” And how could the planet be moving if we don’t feel like we are moving “Fact!” Atoms are the smallest particles “Fact!” The word is flat “Fact!” Blacks are not the same as whites “fact!” — are thoughts all within a few hundred years old. ( Galileo Galilee was sentenced for heresy in 1633 for geocentricity claims less then 400 years ago )

The question is, where is the line between realization and acceptance. When and why do we find a point to start disbelieving again after a new belief has formed? If I was convinced the earth was the center of the world after hundreds of years of heliocentricism would I feel enlightened enough and change my tune when it comes to following everything the Pope says – that God wants a crusade to convert Muslims and Jews to Christianity? Or, would I still follow those commands/beliefs and solely update the part about the Sun?

Afgan Star
Afgan Star

Okay, moving on….

Soon after I watched LWW  my cousin passed on some movie suggestions to me, one of which was “Afghan Star”. It is the story of how American Idol made its way to the minds of television producers in Afganistan after the leadership changed laws in 2004 allowing singing, music and television back into the country. The movie was strewn with interviews of countless people describing how beautiful it was to have music back in their lives.

“The empty house is now filled” one man said.

It is symbolic and beautiful that a culture can express themselves. Every contestant and viewer expressed their excitement and joy of how amazing it was to finally feel free and express themselves; how important it was for morale and culture.  A women being interviewed from the thousands of contestants explains that before 2004  she had to take voice lessons in her home town in secrecy because she could be beaten or arrested for such things. Her town is less progressive and to this date does not think Afghan Star is good for the country. Another young woman explains how overwhelmingly beautiful she believes art and music are and  feels how it fills her life with joy. Watching the movie, I am amazed that these people did not have the right to express themselves, but moved that they are now able to do so and beginning to embrace it. There is forward progress.

But slow down campers, let’s not get too excited. In the second round of the Afghan Star finals the same woman I just described that is overcome with joy now that she can sing and has made it to the final four. As she is singing these feelings culminate into a single expression of  happiness through dance, while giving her singing performance.

“What?!! What is she doing?!”  fellow contestants yell.

“She is ruining the show for us all” her female competitor says of her performance.

Yup, after an hour of the movie showing the beauty of what freedom and music can do to the soul and after following these contestant to the top, finally living their dream to become a famous singer they all turn on her because dancing on TV is not okay — just singing. She was admonished for dancing on stage.

The people have embraced the ability to finally sing through tears of joy, yet when it comes to a woman dancing on stage we are back to square one!? The poor girl cried after she lost and was escorted to her van ride home. All she wanted was to express herself much like others had finally done through song. It was a very emotional moment for me, the sheer ignorance and hypocrisy of people. To embrace singing and in the same breath still admonish this young girl for expressing herself through dancing…….A young man said “she should be killed” –it was painfully frustrating to watch.

So, once again I find myself asking, how the hell do you only learn a little, only see as far as the light is allowing you to…how can you not even tell?! …..Am I doing that without even knowing?

When jews were considered equals we had learned the sadness of our ways except that blacks were still an unknown quantity, when our society finally was able to see past skin we had to start over with women and sexism, and even after that hard lesson was learned we must debate  a person’s sexual preference, “gays”. …….Yes the lion the witch and the wardrobe is a silly fantasy about ones imagination and the oddities of reality but the sad part is that the reality we live in is as perhaps more absurd and our inability to believe in parallel concepts are as surreal and absurd as theirs.

Is life a process of building up foundational truths and refining them over time or is it more like the unraveling of untruths toward a final point at which everything is possible? Are we getting closer and closer to a reality that is bound or one that is realized to have none at all?  I have yet to see a talking beaver but if I did tomorrow what then, and why is that different the geocentrism in the face of helio? Knowledge may very well get larger not because we will learn more about what is untrue but we will find out that all is true.

Are we working to refine what we know and create more conclusions, to get closer to ultimate thruths, or is that short sited. If all things throughout history are learned and unlearend and like an atom bomb we are unable to take an explosive chain reaction of ideas out for infinite distances, i.e., our minds are only able to learn one or two steps out from the point of impact (wardrobe is forest->beaver talking->but trees can’t talk OR singing is okay->dancing is not) then is it possible the there is not a point that we are moving towards and instead just including more possibilities of beliefs. We may know more every day as the cliche concept but we end up knowing more depth about one thing every day, knowing something about something compeletly different or opposite to what we knew is much harder to see. Is it forever expanding of the breadth of systems or is there a single direction?

I guess I feel like this is a massive hole in our world. It exists right in front of us every day at the same time it is so far from being used and weighed against in our every day lives…..Am I on crazy pills?

Some good TED talks

TED TED Talks
TED Talks


Sixth Sense Technology

http://blog.ted.com/2009/03/sixth_sense_demo.php

Great technology of the future. Why take a mobile device out of your pocket when your environment is constantly able to take input and interface with all the world knowledge.


Stumbling on Happiness

(The 21 min summary version)

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html

Read and loved his book, “Stumbling on Happiness” which gives perspective on the science behind what lead to sadness, happiness, imagination and how poor/amazing those things work.


Sir Ken Robinson on Education

http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

What IS smart? DO we reward all sorts of talent or have we progressively become a society that our bodies are simply a transport device for our big brains. Sir Ken gives a humorous take on our recognition of education.

And his follow up years later if you like him:  http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html


Physics meets life

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/garrett_lisi_on_his_theory_of_everything.html

This van bound Hawaiian finds the balance in quantum physics and  life.

Points of Life

pointsoflife
Visual
Life has two very distinct points. Birth and death. You cannot escape these points and the run in only a single suggestion. As you may know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. COnversly the only way you can increase the distance between two very static points points is to focus less on the fairly impossible task of moving sad points but the extremenl easy tasks of increasing the diversions and curvatures of the path itself.

I. Life has two very distinct points — birth and death. You cannot escape these points, and the path always runs in a single direction.

II. As you may know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You cannot increase the distance between these two points because they are static. Often times people focus on the fairly impossible task of changing the final point, death. It is far easier to increase the quantity of diversions/curvatures of the path itself. You cannot control the points, but you CAN control the path.

III. I think that’s why we all know instinctualy that increasing our experiences, taking chances, and traveling “off the beaten path” is so very important to living life. It is the only way you can “extend” your life.

Do not plan for death and do not take the next obvious step so quickly when given a path. Live the longest richest life possible by pulling yourself out of any path plainly laid out, for a a clear path is a short one with one very obvious conclusion.

Some Thoughts on Entrepreneurship

I was recently asked to put together some quick points around entrepreneurship. Points became paragraphs and since I rarely get a chance to blog I figured I would kill two birds with one stone….

You have the x-factor
Try to listen, question, get help and delve into guidance and advice that makes sense or intrigues YOU, not just what people tell you makes sense or what is the current common thought. If you are special enough to be successful, it’s because you have your own mind and perspective that’s different and it’s the advice YOU consider and hold onto that matters (if you simply just listen to experts and do what they say because they are soooo smart then you should work for them and not yourself).

Experts eh?
If two experts disagree in a room on something then no one really knows the right answer – take a step back, it’s time to find your own path.

Do what you love
Do what you love — I know it’s cliché but truly getting that point is harder then it seems. You are an instant success if you’re doing what you love because otherwise you’re working hard at something you don’t love just to pay for the things you do love. Just cut out the middleman! If you accept the love-of-doing more then the love-of-having life gets so much simpler (sounds kind of hippie , I know). For example, If you love Ferrari’s then you should work around, on, or with them at any capacity you can (instant success). Don’t work your way up at some random office or profession that you don’t love just to buy a Ferrari some day. Seems like alot of wasted time just to experience some distant moment of possession.

Focus
Focus hard and focus on your core. Most anyone can make any one thing great if they focused on it and dedicated their life to it. If all you did was think about how to make one specific thing awesome every day I think you would succeed. P.S. Focusing on two things has half that chance of success or less and so on.

Blank pages suck!
Blank pages suck! Conceptualizing abstractly too long can kill an idea. Create, draw, promote, attempt, try, share, and do as much as possible even if it seems unneeded or premature. Don’t let technical know-how stop you. A movie can be cartooned without a camera, a car body can be made with clay, and a site for something to help a user base can be an office excel spreadsheet that is passed around via email in its infancy. You’d be surprised how much can be learned and/or gained traction from such things.

Actions + Ideas = Something Great
Every idea can be great, from a specialized trash can, to a purse design, to an ornament you place on your Crocs, or a website to share simple two line messages with friends (just look around you at what you own or do). Just stick with it (and mind you that doesn’t mean simply bull-headedly pushing a singular concept – that’s “lazy hard work”). Stick with improving an idea, listening to users, reacting and adapting yourself and idea to what you learn and come across. If you do all the above, you most certainly will succeed, right? 😉

Don’t Save Money, Save Time and Stress
Often times we go cheap to get things started, and being exceptionally frugal myself, this lesson was hard for me to see. Often times saving money comes at a greater cost then the time you lose, the stress you gain and the expertise you fail to implement. Hire people that can do a job exceptionally well, get equipment that will make your business work exceptionally well, etc. That doesn’t mean be lazy and spend money without research or thought…spend smart BUT getting someone cheap, bad equipment, lack of staff to handle the load, and cutting corners bites you in the ass often and seems to always end up more expensive and threatens your growth down the road; like death by a million paper cuts. Always get the best and figure out how to make it work in your budget!

7 tips on being an Entrepreneur

I was recently asked to put together some quick points around entrepreneurship. Points became paragraphs and since I rarely get a chance to blog I figured I would kill two birds with one stone….

You have the x-factor

Try to listen, question, get help and delve into guidance and advice that makes sense to YOU. Don’t just do what people tell you to, or what is the current common thought. If you are special enough to be successful it’s because you have your own mind and your own great perspectives. Those differences should be the lens in which you consider the advice you’re given, and how you choose to embrace the ones you connect with the most. It’s important to listen, but if you JUST do what the “experts” say then you should work for them and not yourself. It is a tough skill to master, listening well to experts is a key component to learning, growing, and it helps you avoid making the same mistakes. What I am driving at is how YOU work is unique, and that uniqueness greatly changes the result of advice you decide to implement. To put it in terms that may risk an oversimplification, true “jerks” work well employing jerk-like tactics, but nice people do it awfully – and vice-versa.

Two Experts Walk Into a Bar

If two experts disagree on something then it’s fair to say no one knows THE right answer – take a step back, it’s an opportunity to find your unique path.

Can’t Buy Me Love

Do what you love — I know it’s cliché but truly adopting it is harder than it seems. You are an “instant success” if you’re doing what you love. Otherwise, you may be working hard at something you don’t love just to pay for the things you do. I say cut out the middleman! If you accept the love-of-doing more than the love-of-having life gets simpler (sounds hippie, I know.) For example, if you love Ferrari’s you should work around, on, or with them at any capacity you can (instant success.) Don’t work your way up at some random office or profession that you don’t love just to buy a Ferrari some day. Seems like a lot of wasted time just to experience some distant moment of possession.

Focus is Deep

Focus hard and focus on your core. Focus doesn’t always mean doing less, it often just means doing more on one specific thing. Most anyone can make any one thing great if they focused on it and dedicated their life to it. If all you did was think about how to make one specific thing awesome every day I think you’d succeed. P.S. Focusing on two things has half that chance of success or less and so on. However, doing two things that both directly impact the greatness of one thing can compound your greatness. Careful, when you’re in the weeds those two examples can seem very similar.

Blank pages suck!

Blank pages suck! Conceptualizing abstractly too long can kill an idea. Create, draw, promote, attempt, try, share, and do as much as possible even if it seems unneeded or premature. Don’t let technical know-how stop you. A movie can be cartooned without a camera, a car body can be made with clay, and a site for something to help a user can start as a spreadsheet passed around via email. You’d be surprised how much can be done, learned from, or gown into from such basic experiments.

Actions + Ideas = Something Great

Every idea can be great, from a specialized trash can, a purse design, or an ornament you place on your Crocs. Just stick with it. Stick with improving an idea, listening to users, reacting and adapting yourself and your ideas.

Don’t Save Money, Save Time and Stress

We can often go cheap to get things started, and being exceptionally frugal myself, learning the difference between cheap and smart is tough. Instead of saving money compare costs: the time you lose is a cost, the stress acquired is a cost, and so on. Hire people that can do a job exceptionally well, get equipment that will make your business work exceptionally well, etc. That doesn’t mean you get to justify spend wads of cash in the persuit of excellence. It means first focus on what you truly NEED and what will make you successful and THEN figure out frugal ways to attain those things. Find out what costs are you incurring unnecessarily and cut it. Then, re-invest those saving into the more important things. Spend smart, but don’t get trapped in a death by a million paper cuts pinching pennies across the board. Always aim for the best and then figure out how to make it work in your budget.