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Top 10 Leadership Tips from My Geek Trip

Top 10 Leadership Tips from My Geek Trip

In mid-March 2015, I visited the campuses of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla — as well as touched upon the offices of Pinterest, Uber, Square, Yelp and Airbnb.

My family (patient wife + 2 energetic boys — six and two years old) also joined me in my 3G — “Great Geek Getaway”. Here are 10 thoughts and beliefs that I confirmed as I strolled through Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Francisco:

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1. Do what you love with a vengeance

In a job that you hate? Quit. In an industry you like but in the wrong department? Change titles. There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

2. Hire superstars

Work with people who get things done, add value, are well-rounded, inspire others, and communicate openly. Remember that you are an average of the 5 people you are around the most — choose your company (which includes your boss) wisely.

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3. Spend 70% on product development; 30% on marketing

Invest time and [compensating] your best people on building a world-class product that your customers want/need. The money will follow. A great product will build its own army of evangelists — no expensive Super Bowl ads needed.

4. Avoid incremental innovation

Marginal improvements work well for industry incumbents who are concerned with status quo and market share. Decommoditize your product. Instead of getting 1% of a $100 billion market, aim for a 10x performance improvement over the closest substitute.

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5. Respect everyone

Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Listen. Absorb. Don’t look over someone’s shoulder for a ‘bigger fish’ when talking to someone. Engage in deep, meaningful conversations with other intellect greats. Don’t shoot someone down. Stay clear of slander. Avoid gossip. What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally.

6. The 45 minute rule

Guard your time ferociously. Avoid time-wasters (both humans and non-humans). Spending 45 minutes on an activity and then moving to something else ensures an optimized schedule (sleeping should take more than 45 minutes, yes) — and a feeling of ‘multiple accomplishments’ in a day. Be it meetings, lunches, bicycle rides, or binge watching ‘House of Cards’, give yourself 45 minutes for each activity — and your mind a big positive boost.

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7. Money is important

Money powers the world, keeps our homes warm. It is important. If you’re on the top of Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, congratulations. If you’re not, work towards it. Make the right choices. Increase your disposable income. Eliminate anything ruthlessly that you don’t need. Negotiate for your true worth. Build parallel, ‘automatic’ income generators. When your living expenses are taken care of, you become laser-focused on greatness in your work, not getting by.

8. Cadence of decisions

Wrong or right, make a call. The worst that can happen is a Strike One (just don’t go to a Strike Three). Expand your horizon. When faced with an issue — assess, weigh, and evaluate. Then list options. Decide on the best option and socialize with your team/boss/family. Make a decision and never look back. Understand that things — and life — is iterative —— pivot when needed.

9. Get a mentor

If the world’s best athletes need coaches, why wouldn’t you? A mentor is good because he or she is playing the game at a much higher level than you are. The right mentor-mentee interactions are therapy for the soul and mind. They are your guiding light to definite success and happiness.

10. Books and TED

Read inspirational books and watch thought-provoking TED talks. Rework by Jason Fried, The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Good to Great by Jim Collins, and numerous TED talks are my favourites. Read about your interests, industry, or heroes — and relate, adapt or apply. It will help you build yourself into a Master Storyteller. You will avoid expensive mistakes and leapfrog towards your next milestone.

More by this author

Shabbir Evershine

Foodie, techie, travel buff, bibliophile, and founder @ proptech startup —some days, I’m all 5.

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Published on July 15, 2019

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

6. Walk as Much as You Can 

Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

9. Practice Self Care 

Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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10. Embrace Learning 

You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

So start making your life better — today!

Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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