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

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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 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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