BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker: Chapter 6


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong

Chapter 6: Work, Work, Work or Work Life Balance? How to find harmony between home and the office, courtesy of spiderman, Buddhist-monks, Albert Einstein, professional wrestlers and Genghis khan.

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  • Ted Williams: ‘Hundreds of kids have the natural ability to become great ballplayers but nothing but practice, practice, practice will bring out that ability.’ It wasn’t mere hours that made Williams so great, It was how he spent those hours. He was a perfectionist, constantly trying to improve.
  • Does all hard work produce success? Yes. People who wish to do so must organize their lives around a single enterprise. They must be monomaniacs, even megalomaniacs about their pursuits. They must start early, labor continuously an never give up the cause.
  • Voluminous productivity is the rule and not the exception and individuals who have made some noteworthy contributions. To be the very best, you must be a little nuts in the effort department. Hours alone are not enough. Those hours need to be hard. You need to be pushing yourself to be better.
  • Hard Work creates talent and talent plus time creates success.
  • Libri aut liberi —- Books or Children. If you’re very serious about creating things, you sacrifice family.
  • The people who survive stress the best are the ones who actually increase their social investments in the middle of the stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do. We’re more likely to have faith in the people we joke around with.
  • Don’t do more work if you can do better work.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: We are always getting ready to live, but never living.

Four Metrics that matter most: 

  1. Happiness – having feelings of pleasure or contentment in and about your life. (Enjoying)
  2. Achievement – achieving accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strive for. (Winning)
  3. Significance – having a positive impact on people you care about. (Counting to others)
  4. Legacy – establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success. (Extending)

 

Most of us don’t take the time. We’re reactive, like the tribes of the steppes. And the problem with work life balance is that the old limits are no longer in place for us. We can’t rely on the world to tell us when to power down or shift gears. It’s on you now. That means you need a plan, or you’re always going to feel like you’re not doing enough. Your war is first and last with yourself.

For a WLB life, 

  • Track your time
  • Talk to your boss
  • Schedule everything
  • Control your context.
  • End the day right and on time

BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker: Chapter 5


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong

Chapter 5: Believe in yourself.. sometimes. What can we learn about walking the tightrope between confidence and delusion from chess masters, secret military units, Kung Fu con artists and people who cannot feel fear.

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  • Sometimes the mere appearance of confidence can be the difference between wining and losing.
  • In ‘Self Esteem and Earnings’ showed that your level of confidence is at least as important as how smart you are when it comes to how much money you end up making.
  • More confidence provides more benefits. Studies show overconfidence increases productivity and causes you to choose challenging tasks, which make you shine in the workplace.
  • Why is confidence powerful? It gives us a feeling of control. People who believe they can succeed see opportunities, where others see threats. They are not afraid of uncertainty or ambiguity, they embrace it. They take more risks and achieve greater returns. Given the choice, they bet on themselves. They see their success as a function of their own motivation and ability – not luck, random chance or fate. They carry this belief even when luck does play a crucial role in the success.
  • Displaying overconfidence makes others feel you’re both competent and higher in status. The secret of leadership was the ability o play a role, to pretend, to be skilled in the theatrical arts .. to come across effectively, we need to master how to convey power. The perception is all that matters.
  • Confidence can improve performance and success. It can make others believe in you. But confidence can also be extremely dangerous. It can lead to delusion and hubris.
  • Dunning Kruger Effect is the odd phenomenon of people with the last experience being the most confident because they don’t have the experience to judge just how challenging something is.
  • When we’re less sure, we’re more open to new ideas and we’re actively and passively scanning the world for new ones. Listening to other people’s ideas increases brainpower. Social interactions can actually make us smarter. But there’s a catch: to get the cognitive boost, you need to take the other person’s perspective.
  • Two benefits of humility; it’s a reality check and it keeps us from being arrogant. Humility can actually drives self-improvement because we can see the gap between where we are and where we want to be.
  • We need optimism and confidence to keep gong and convince others to join our cause, but negativity and pessimism help us see problems so we can make them better.
  • Abraham Lincoln: ‘so with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. I destroy my enemies when I make them my enemies.

How do you develop self – compassion?

  1. Talk to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or be critical when things don’t go your way.
  2. Learn to accept your humanity. You are fallible.
  3. Recognize your failures and frustrations without either denying them or seeing them as the end of the world. Then do something about them.

 

  • Believing in yourself is nice but forgiving yourself is better.
  • Adjust for natural level of self-esteem.
  • Don’t be a faker. Be you on your best day and the people will see the real you.

BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker: Chapter 4


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong.

Chapter 4: It’s not what you know, It’s who you know (unless it really is what you know) What can we learn about the power of networks from hostage negotiators, top comedians and smartest person who ever lived

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  • Paul Erdos loved to collaborate. He lived out of a suitcase and routinely traveled to 25 countries, eventually working with 500 other mathematicians. ‘Erdos Number’ – a measure of how close you are to working with Paul.
  • Research shows that you don’t actually need to know more to be seen as a leader. Merely by speaking first and speaking often – people come to be seen as El Jefe and those who initially act shy in groups are perceived as less intelligent.
  • To get ahead, you need to self-promote. This comes naturally to extroverts and is actually more important than competence when it comes to being seen as a leader.
  • Having a large network opens you up to more opportunities, it exposes you to all kinds of other new possibilities.
  • Introversion predicts academic performance better than cognitive ability.
  • If you can’t stand a moment aloe, get that MBA and chase that leadership position over a passive workforce. But if people drive you crazy, dive deep into your passion, earn those ten thousand hours and be renowned as the best in your field.
  • Adam Grant: Read each situation carefully and ask yourself: What do I need to do right now to be most happy or successful?
  • When we collaborate – the gains can be exponential. But when we don’t communicate, we can end up not only missing those benefits but also getting our efforts jammed.
  • Adam Rifkin: Be a friend. It is better to give than to receive. Look for opportunities to do something for the other person, such as haring knowledge or offering an introduction to someone that person might not know but would be interested in knowing. Do not be transactional. Do not offer something because you want something in return. Instead, show a genuine interest in something you and other person have in common.
  • The Rule of Thumb in friendship: Be socially optimistic. Assume other people will like you and they probably will.
  • The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become.
  • Thank the people around you. Relationships are the key to happiness and taking time to say ‘thanks’ renews that feeling of being blessed.

 

Fundamentals of Friendship

  1. You like Ironman? I like Ironman too. – Introduce yourself. We all choose to be friends with people who are like us.
  2. Listen and Encourage other toddlers. – Ask them questions and listen. You’re likely to hear something you can connect over. Asking people questions about themselves can create a bod as strong as lifelong friendship in a surprisingly short amount of time. Stop thinking about what you’re going to say next and focus on what they’re saying now. Don’t be afraid to pay the person a sincere compliment. Asking for advise can really help others warm up to you. Ask what challenges people face. Everyone loves to complain a little about the things that stress them out.
  3. Be a giver. Share yout twinkies. – Offer to help people. When people say they’re having a trouble about something, find a way to help.

How to get an Amazing Mentor right for you? 

  1. Be a worthy pupil – When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
  2. Study them, really study them – Spend time and be intimately familiar with someone’s work and you want someone who scares you a bit.
  3. Wasting a mentor’s time is a mortal sin – Asking great questions is a perfect way to build a relationship. Never ask a mentor a question Google can easily answer for you.
  4. Follow up – The key is to stay relevant. You need to consistently hit them with a conversation to keep the relationship alive but without being a nuisance. Do what they said, get results and let them know they made a difference.

 

We all have stuff we can learn from someone else. 

BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker: Chapter 3


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong.

Chapter 3: Do Quitters never win and Winners never quit? 

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  • Creative individuals frame their experiences. They regard failure as a learning experience. They try to build upon its lessons in their future endeavors.
  • The capacity to continue trying despite repeated setbacks was associated with a more optimistic outlook in life.
  • Sometimes quitting is the smartest choice and giving up, when done right can make you a huge success too.
  • ‘Self Talk’ – It turns out when these words are positive, they have a huge effect on your mental toughness, your ability to keep going.
  • We’re not always right that we ‘can’t do it’. Sometimes there’s a way out that we didn’t see because we gave up.
  • ‘Depressive Realism’ – optimists lie to themselves. But if we all stop believing anything can change, nothing ever will. We need a bit of fantasy to keep us going.
  • It all comes down from the stories you tell yourself about the world. And that’s something you can change.
  • Optimists shape their stories according to 3 Ps: permanence, pervasiveness and personalization.
  • If life is all about pleasure, then when it ceases to be fun or immediately beneficial, we quit. When we step outside the wish for comfort, when we live for something greater than ourselves, we no longer have to fight the pain, we accept the pain as a sacrifice. And we don’t give up. It’s the stories we tell ourselves that keep us going. They can be a higher truth. Or in many cases, they don’t need to be true at all.
  • Frankl: What is to give light must endure burning.
  • Stories are the invisible undercurrent that promotes success in a shocking number of the most important areas of life. Stories are a filter, imposing order on an often chaotic world. Stories remove information. They make recollections less accurate. They are deliberately constructed, but life often isn’t. Stories can keep us going because of their inaccuracy. Stories aren’t perfect pictures of the world, but they allow us to succeed for this very reason. You weren’t ‘born to do anything in particular but when your ‘story’ says you were ‘born’ to do something, you perform better and persist.
  • A healthy minds tells itself flattering lies.
  • ‘Scrooge Effect’ – when you take a little time to think about death, you become more kind and generous to others. You put aside short-term goals for a moment and consider who you really want to be.
  • Fate is that thing we cannot avoid. It comes for us despite how we try to dun from it. Destiny is the thing we must chase, what we must bring to fruition. It’s what we strive toward and make true.
  • We are what we pretend to be. If you want to be a knight, act like a knight.
  • ‘Cognitive reappraisal’ – telling yourself a different story about what is happening. By engaging in cognitive reappraisal and telling ourselves a different story about what is happening, we an subvert the entire willpower paradigm.

Make it a game. Make your problems, struggles or goals a game and make it WNGF – Winnable, Novel Challenges, Goals and Feedback

  1. Winnable – Each game has clear rules. We intuitively know that and it makes us very positive about our chances if we persist.
  2. Novel Challenges – Good games make sure we’re always stimulates by something just a little different, honing our attention.
  3. Goals – Good games are very clear what you need to do to win. They serve to focus you and guide decision making.
  4. Feedback – the best way to motivate people is by facilitating small wins. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.

 

The Upside of Quitting

  • Everything we do in life is a trade – off. Choosing to do one thing means not doing something else.
  • Opportunity Cost – the price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
  • Quit doesn’t have to be the opposite of grit. It has to be Strategic Quitting.
  • Once you’ve found something you’re passionate about, quitting secondary things can be an advantage, because it frees up time to do that number one thing.
  • Peter Drucker: time is the most important resource. Getting rid of everything that wasn’t moving the needle when it came to achieving your goals.
  • Know your number one priority. Then start quitting stuff that isn’t as important and see what happens.
  • You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.
  • Try things. Quit what fails. Then apply grit.
  • The more experiments you make, the better. Fail fast, fail cheap.
  • Moving on from dead end pursuits is essential to the discovery of more promising paths.

So don’t be afraid to do some experiments and quit the ones that don’t work. It can lead to great things. You need to quit some things to find out what to be gritty at. And you need to try stuff knowing you might quit some of it to open yourself up to the luck and opportunities that can make you successful. 

BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker: Chapter 2


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong.

Chapter 2: Do Nice Guys finish last? What can you learn about trust, cooperation and kindness.. from Gang members, pirates and serial killers

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  • According to Jeffrey Pfeffer, managing what your boss thinks of you is far more important than actual hard work.
  • Brilliant but Cruel: If someone is too nice, we figure they must be less competent. In fact, being a jerk makes others see you as more powerful.
  • Why do jerks succeed? they’re assertive about what they want, and they’re not afraid to let others know about what they’ve achieved.
  • Ruut Veenhoven: The quality of society is more important than your place in the society.
  • Discipline of continuous dealings: When you know and trust someone, it makes a transaction smoother and faster. That means more transactions happen, producing a better market and more value for everyone involve.

 

Axelrod’s Four Lessons from TFT’s success: (tit for tat)

  1. Don’t be envious – Just because someone else wins, that doesn’t mean you lose. Sometimes that person needs the fruit and you need the peel. And sometimes the strategy that makes you lose small on this round makes you win big on the next. Don’t worry how well the other side is doing, worry about how well you’re doing. 
  2. Don’t be the first to defect – Not only in reciprocity one of the key elements of being influential and winning favor with others but it’s also essential that you go first. All the big winners are nice and all the big losers started off betraying.
  3. Reciprocate both cooperation and defection – Never betray anyone initially. But if a person cheats you, don’t be a martyr.
  4. Don’t be too clever :

 

SIX FAST RULES

  • Pick the right pond – the people who surround us often determine who we become.
  • Cooperate first – Go ahead and send that new inmate a gift basket. When the knives come out in prison yard, you’ll have a lot more people watching your back.
  • Being selfless isn’t saintly, it’s silly
  • Work hard but make sure it gets noticed – Jerks are not afraid to push a little. They self-promote. They negotiate. They make themselves visible.
  • Think long term and make others think long term – a person always discern on two things; whether a potential partner can be trusted and whether he is likely to be encountered again.
  • Forgive

BOOK: Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker; Chapter 1


The Surprising science behind why everything you know about success is mostly wrong. 

Chapter 1: Should we play it safe and do what we’re told if we want to succeed? Does playing by the rules pay off?

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  • When are our weakness actually strengths? Is it better to be an outlier with both handicaps and superpowers? Or do we live better lives at the middle of the bell curve?
  • Differential susceptibility hypothesis: The same genes that lead to bad stuff can actually lead to great stuff in a different situation.
  • David Dobbs in The Atlantic: the very genes that gives us the most trouble as species causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success.
  • Hopeful Monster: an individual that deviates radically from the norm in a population because of a genetic mutation that confers a potentially adaptive advantage.
  • Pixar Experience: pixar is thinking that they are starting to lose their edge after ‘Finding Nemo’. They hired a new CEO so that they will have a new strategy. This new CEO’s tactic was to hire the BLACKSHEEP of the company and give them absolute liberty to be creative. Result? a blockbuster The Incredibles”. ‘The same traits that make people a nightmare to deal with can also make them the people who change the world.
  • Idea of Intensifiers: qualities that are universally awful have their own uses in specific contexts. Example, Formula 1 cars are undrivable on city streets but break records on a track. When it comes to the extremes of performance, averages doesn’t matter. What matters is variance, those deviations from the norm. Almost universally, we humans try to filter out the worst to increase the average, but by doing so, we also decrease variance.
  • Mad Genius Paradox: mildly creative people are mentally healthier than average – but extremely creative people have a far higher incidence of mental disorders.
  • Venture Capital Business Mindset: Invest in strength versus lack of weakness. The companies that have the really extreme strengths often have serious flaws. But if you don’t invest on the basis of serious flaws, you don’t invest in most of the big winners.
  • Leadership Filtration Theory: reaching the heights of success requires a dip into qualities that are otherwise problematic.
  1. Know Thyself – In terms of achieving what you want in life, means being aware of your strengths. What are you good at that consistently produces desired results?
  2. Pick the right pond – You’ve got to pick the right environment  that work for you. When you choose your pond wisely, you can best leverage your type, your strengths, and your context to create tremendous value.

 

Too often we label things good or bad when the right designation might merely be different. We spend too much time trying to be ‘good’ when good is merely average. To be great, we must be different. And that doesn’t come from trying to follow society’s vision of what is best, because society doesn’t always know what it needs. More often being best means just being the best version of you. In the right environment, bad can be good and odd can be beautiful.