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This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

This is How a Woman Became a Billionaire and Changed the World

Elizabeth Holmes may not be a household name yet, but it is soon to be if her vision pans out. At 19 years old, Holmes dropped out of Stanford in the hopes of revolutionizing the blood testing industry. And her vision is finally becoming a reality 11 years later, as Theranos blood tests are becoming available at select Walgreens locations. Of course this is just a start. The hope is to have Holmes’s labs in hospitals, army bases, and “within one mile of every city dweller”according to (www.fortune.com).

So what exactly is this revolutionizing technology? Holmes keeps the actual technology quite secretive but claims they use “the same fundamental chemical methods” as existing labs. Currently, 10 ml vials of blood must be painfully drawn to run blood tests, but with Theranos, one painless finger prick can deliver up to 70 blood tests. Theranos is hoping to make blood testing convenient and painless, so people can detect and treat illness as early as possible. Not only is Holmes making blood tests painless, she is also making the results transparent by giving people access to their own blood test information.

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Theranos technology can save innumerable lives by enabling early detection of certain diseases and by giving people constant access to what is happening inside their bodies. The hope is to have people tracking blood information the same way they track weight, daily steps, heart rate, and sleeping patterns. Anomalies and testing errors will also become easier to detect with more data points making the information even more valuable.

Curious about how you can apply the philosophy of Ms. Holmes to your life?

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1. She makes short term sacrifices for long term gains

An important part of Holmes’s success is that she was able to make short term sacrifices for long term success. Rather than hastily raise money with investors who were eager for quick returns, she patiently waited to attract investors who understood her mission and long term goals. In addition, she was able to retain 50% of Theranos, now valued at over 9 billion dollars, placing her at 110 on the Forbes 400 list. Unlike many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, she isn’t eager to find an exit strategy. Rather, she is eager to continue revolutionizing the diagnostic lab business so that soon everybody can have access to potentially life saving information. This idea seems obvious, but in the moment most people opt for a quick return. Waiting for a reward is difficult, especially when it isn’t guaranteed. But if you can continuously remind yourself of the greater payoff associated with achieving your goals, you’ll be more likely to persevere.

2. She found work that motivated her internally

Although she is the youngest self-made female billionaire, her motivation stems from her desire to profoundly impact humanity not to make money. She believes in using business as “a tool for making change in the world.” This has been said too many times to be meaningful but it is true. The most successful people are motivated by more than solely money. While you may not be able to find meaning in making 1000 copies of a document or entering data, try to understand a way your work contributes to a greater picture.

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3. She automates trivial matters to focus her mental energy on work

Ms. Holmes is a great admirer of Steve Jobs and is known to dress in a black turtleneck each day similar to him. Jobs was known for his black turtleneck look and claimed he liked the “daily convenience and signature style” it offered. While Holmes did not state her reason for dressing the same way each day, other magnates including Mark Zuckerberg also have a signature style partly to reduce the number of unnecessary daily decisions. The idea is the less mental energy you exert towards unnecessary tasks, the more you have to focus on important work.

4. She goes substance free (…. yes this includes caffeine and alcohol)

As noted in Fortune, Holmes seems to follow an ascetic lifestyle. Holmes works 16 hour days, seven days a week, and fuels herself with green juices rather than coffee. She abstains from animal products, caffeine, and even alcohol – a rarity in today’s society. While the majority of Americans wouldn’t consider working before their cup of coffee, perhaps it is worth trying to go a month substance free even if it’s just to prove you can. You may surprise yourself with greater mental clarity by the end.

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Featured photo credit: Forbes via forbes.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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