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I’m New Here

I’m New Here

Before Apple, personal computers seemed like a stupid idea. eBay was founded by some people looking for a web-facing way to trade and sell parts of their PEZ collection. Getting Things Done is nothing more than practical wisdom, years old in content, reskinned to meet the needs of people’s current conditions. So, how did they come into existence and change our world?

Someone said, “I’m new here.”

New is the new Black

Experience is overrated at times. History is littered with roomfuls of stodgy men grumbling and clearing their throats and saying, “It can’t be done. That’s proposterous! We’ve done it this way for fifty years with moderate success.”

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Shortly thereafter, the newcomer shows up and turns thinking on its side. There are really countless examples of this happening, but for whatever reason, I’m thinking mostly of web businesses. Netflix came along and stuck one in Blockbuster’s eye. Amazon told the big bookstores they were fine, but watch this! 37Signals came along and threw together a programming framework that made web development silly-easy.

But how do they do it? How does “new” end up equalling “super big success?”

New, but Thoughtful

When people enter a situation with eyes open to possibilities and paths that aren’t the pre-established thinking, it gives them a free pass. “You are new here. This is your first time seeing it. What’s your take?” This does not equal insight, nor wisdom, nor thoughtful consideration.

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One needs to actually apply thinking to the new scenario to find the magic in “new.”

Perspective-changing is a skill, like any other. To see things with your “new” lens, start seeing your existing situations, the ones around you daily, with that viewpoint. Why are you typing on a keyboard? Is that easier than other ways to push information into a computer? When Xerox-PARC created the mouse, were they thinking about keyboards?

New Requires Anthropologists

Look at everything as if you’re an alien who’s just landed on this planet. Consider everything around you. Why do we live in one community and drive an hour to work somewhere else? Isn’t the work nearby just as necessary to be accomplished? What makes everyone choose to build websites for social community? Shouldn’t we gather in real-space?

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Be wary of your cultural experiences as a distorter. I’m from the USA, and specifically New England. I was raised Catholic. I’m of Irish/French/Scottish descent. I am male. I’m moderately educated. These are all lenses to consider when talking about things. Have you every heard this expression: “In America, 100 years is a long time; in Europe, 100 miles is a long distance.” Think about the lens you bring to your considerations, and try as best as you can to correct for it.

Use your notepad. Write notes frequently about things that seem awkward or odd. Each one is a possibility. They all lead your brain towards larger realizations. They help you get up and above the in-line experience that others can’t shake. This brings you closer to new.

New Requires Checking Your Ego

The things people who see things with “new” eyes hear back when they discuss their vision is, “That will never work. That’s been tried. That’s done. That’s stupid.” Learn to press forward politely, and ask questions. “What would you do differently? Show me how it really is.” And then, take those comments in context. Is this just because the other person is stuck in the old framework? Or do they really have information that you hadn’t considered? Use it.

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A great trick one of my bosses taught me was to bring something to the picnic, check my ego, and let people tear it apart. Especially good is when the something isn’t directly important to my needs or viewpoint of the “new” something. Meaning, I can let others correct and better my view of things that are in the “old” setting, freeing more mind share for the “new” things.

Begin

Everyone has ideas. Everyone is certain they know what would make a great new invention. The difference between people who are successful and people who know the names of those successful people is as simple as this: the people who bring change to the world do so by beginning. Start. Do something. It can be the wrong thing. Better if it is. Because you should be able to learn. Learn from the early failures. Turn them forward. Discard the negative feelings, and push it forward.

And when you’re done, share your something new with the world. We’re waiting.

— Chris Brogan tries out new things often at [chrisbrogan.com]. He wrote a companion article to this, “In the business, ON the business,” that might prove interesting to you. His new thing is here.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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