Tag Archives: idea

Wanting Someone Else to Fulfill Our Lives

BY LEO BABAUTA

I have a friend who is lonely, who has such a good heart and desperately wants to find a partner who appreciates that goodness, to share a life with.

We have all felt this, I’m guessing: this desire for a deep connection, this hope that another person will just get us and want an intimate relationship with us, the idea that if we could just find this person and merge with them, we’d be fulfilled.

What if we tossed that idea out on its head?

What if everything we need for happiness and fulfillment is within us?

What if all the requirements for fulfillment were in this very moment, not in some imagined ideal future?

What if the idea of a romantic partner who is perfect (because of their imperfections!) and who fills our every need is just a fantasy that isn’t helping us?

The truth is that even those of us who have partners know that it’s not all honeymoon, and in fact a long-term relationship contains a lot of struggle. The fulfillment that we get in life ends up (mostly) not coming from the other person, but from ourselves.

What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a fulfilling partner, this fantasy of a better future … and instead focused on finding fulfillment in the here and now, within ourselves?

Where We Get Fulfillment

Another person isn’t going to fulfill us — at best, they’ll make us feel better about ourselves, and listen to us. The listening part is great, but we can get that from friends or family as well. The feeling better about ourselves is a function we can fulfill on our own as well. I’m not saying a partner is useless, but I am saying that a partner isn’t needed for fulfillment.

So how can we fulfill ourselves, by ourselves?

Well, what brings fulfillment? In my experience, focusing on pleasures like food, entertainment, online distractions, sex, drugs, alcohol, and thrills … these only bring temporary pleasure, but in the end you’re left wanting more.

Fulfillment comes from something deeper — finding meaning in life, finding appreciation for the fleeting beauty of every moment, being in service of others, loving.

But we don’t need a partner for those things. We can find meaning by searching within ourselves and in the world around us. We can start to appreciate the impermanence and joyful moments around us all the time. We can be in service of others in our community. We can love anyone, from those already in our lives (even if they don’t know we’re doing it) to strangers on the street, to all living beings.

Fulfillment From Within

What if we could do all these things just sitting here, doing nothing?

What if this very moment contained all we need for fulfillment?

Try looking within:

  • Stop and be still. Sit and do nothing, finding stillness and just noticing the moment.
  • Notice your body, your breath, emotions that happen in your body (like a tightness in your chest, or a warmth in your heart area), your thoughts.
  • See that there is constant change within you, and a loving goodness as well.
  • Fall in love with all that you see, from the emotions and thoughts to the body and breath, from the impermanence to the underlying goodness.
  • Reflect on a desire to be in service of yourself, and others.
  • Cultivate a love for yourself and all others by radiating a wish for everyone, including yourself, to be free of suffering, to be happy, to find joy.
  • Reflect on your innate connection to others — reflect on how others support your life, how the food that nourishes you is brought to you by thousands of others, how you’ve been created into the person you are because of the influences of every person you’ve met and connected with. This web of connections is how you are always a part of everything and everyone around you, a deep connection that is ever-changing and everlasting.
  • Reflect on your surroundings and in the constant change and beauty that is in every single thing, in the ocean of matter and energy that you are a part of.

These and more are always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you.

This practice can bring fulfillment, and nothing is required but attention, appreciation, gratitude and love. You have that in you.

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10%Better To Win

Influencive

 


Be 10 Percent Better to Win

By Betty Liu @BettyWLiu

 

You’ve read about being 10 percent happier, but what about being 10 percent better?

One entrepreneur, the highly successful and driven Kevin Ryan, founder of Business Insider, Gilt Groupe, MongoDB, and many others, says in order to succeed, you only need to be 10 percent better.

If you doubt his opinion, Ryan told me you need to look no further than Google.

In the latest episode of our Radiate podcast, Ryan notes: “I think one of the mistakes that people make [is] they think their idea is not groundbreaking. And by the way, most ideas are not groundbreaking. Google was a terrible idea when you think about it. It was just a search engine; there already were seven. Theirs was a little bit better. That’s it.

“They had the idea, and the way of doing the search engine was a better way of doing it. And so the results probably 10 percent of the time were fundamentally better. Ninety percent didn’t change, but 10 percent was [better]. And that was enough.”

Hearing this is a relief. You mean I don’t need to build a whole new type of rocket like Elon Musk to become a billionaire? Or invent a whole new electronic device like Steve Jobs?

The more I thought about what Kevin said, the more I realized how absolutely right he was. Most of us think we need to create the next big thing to succeed, and we become frustrated when every single idea seems so inadequate. When I first had my twin boys, my sister and I–ever the budding sister entrepreneurs–thought of a baby gifting business, since both of us were awash in baby drool and diapers all day long.

But when we scanned the internet, there were already dozens of gifting sites just like ours. And they were pretty damn good. Motivation sapped, we hung up the idea after a few sketches and late-night brainstorming sessions. Besides, did we really think we were the only ones with this great idea?

When I think back on it, we were just too inexperienced to understand that precisely because there were so many companies with the same idea out there, ours was actually a good one. And in fact, thinking about it some more, many of the smashing success stories you read about are companies that simply improved on what others were doing:

  • Facebook: Remember Friendster or MySpace? Mark Z just made social networks better.
  • Microsoft: There were half a dozen operating systems already from IBM, Atari, and others. Bill Gates just made his better.
  • Starbucks: Coffee shops were everywhere (that’s why venture capitalist Alan Patricof declined to invest. Oops). Howard Schultz made his spot a little more comfy.
  • Apple: BlackBerry was already making a pretty good phone. Steve Jobs made his iPhone better.

Now that I’m starting a company of my own for real–no diaper ideas this time–I’m taking Kevin’s observation to heart. How do we make our site and network for professionals 10 percent better than what’s already out there? If people are already going to other sites for help with their careers, what can we do that’s different?

That’s exactly what our small team is focused on right now. However, trying to figure that out is not 10 percent harder, it’s 100 percent harder. It seems like an unfair mathematical equation–put in 100 percent of the effort for a 10 percent improvement, but when you’re trying to be the Kevin’s of this world, that’s the kind of math that adds up.

‘Perspective-Taking’ and How to Close an Investor in 3 Minutes

 


‘Perspective-Taking’ and How to Close an Investor in 3 Minutes

By Evan Loomis

Now that you have your big idea, how do you launch the venture of your dreams? This question is a tough one to answer. Your friends, family or colleagues will advise you that the next step to launching a venture is raising money. But raising money for a startup is insanely hard when you have no network, no track record and, at best, only conceptual knowledge of a term sheet.

Even harder is raising money without a network, we hear from friends and fellow entrepreneurs. With that in mind, my friend Evan Baehr and I decided to share one of the biggest secrets we wished we’d known when we launched our own ventures: Successful fundraisers don’t raise money; they raise friends.

And to raise friends, you must first build relationships with investors, not simply present an idea accompanied by a fancy pitch deck.

So, how do you build those relationships that turn into fund-raising conversations? One way is to master the art of what psychologists call “perspective-taking”: the science of recognizing and even anticipating initial reactions from the person you’re talking to.

Want to learn to do it? The next time you meet a new investor, here’s how to use perspective-taking to close that investor in three minutes.

Clues

There are certain clues and cues — the presence or absence of eye contact, tone of voice, body language — that give us insight into what a person is thinking. If we pay attention to those cues, we can understand the world from that person’s viewpoint. If we understand his or her view of the world, we can anticipate that person’s behavior and whether he or she will want to invest in the deal.

And we can anticipate that before it actually happens.

In the first moments you interact with someone, your brain moves through a series of conclusions, some conscious, some not. With perspective-taking, you can learn to recognize and even anticipate those initial reactions. Understanding someone’s world through his or her eyes allows you to anticipate the next move or comment.

People often confuse this perspective-taking with empathy, but the two are distinct. Empathy is about emotionally connecting with someone else or feeling what he feels. Perspective-taking is about understanding someone’s thinking, about seeing what he or she sees. Perspective-taking asks questions like:

  • What might this person have been thinking and feeling before he or she entered the room?
  • What is he or she doing here in the room?
  • And, most important,why?

The first three minutes

Psychologists have found that humans begin to categorize the people around them within 150 milliseconds of meeting them and, by the end of a first meeting have likely made character judgments that can endure for a very long time. In the very first moments of your interaction, here are some of the questions a person may be asking:

  • 15 milliseconds: Should I trust you?Long before you have said a word, the person you are meeting has made an unconscious mental judgment of you, while you’ve made your own. The amygdala — the part of your brain that you share with reptiles that tells you whether or not to punch someone, run away or play dead — makes a nearly automatic conclusion about your surroundings that answers the questions: Do I trust this person? Does this person look like someone I might like?
  • 10 seconds: What kind of person are you? Are we connecting? In the seconds that follow, two other processes begin. The first, which one researcher calls “prototype matching,” searches through the listener’s preconceived notions and stereotypes to compare and contrast you with what he or she already knows.Are you the creative type? Can you tell a good story? Can you get the job done? Do you have what it takes? The second process is self-reflective; it pays attention to what the listener is doing and feeling in order to find clues as to the kind of relationship being formed. It asks: Am I being “swept along in the magic of something bigger?” or, “Am I bored and distracted?”
  • Three Minutes: What Am I Going to Do?Eventually (in around three minutes), the prefrontal cortex kicks in to start making decisions about what to do with the information the person is taking in. It starts by coming up with a set of potential actions — invest or not invest, for instance — and then does a risk/reward calculation for each of those actions. Before long, you have a pretty strong idea of which action is worth pursuing.

 

Exercises to improve your perspective-taking

  • Read more literary fiction.A recent study found that reading literary fiction can increase a person’s ability to recognize someone else’s mental state. These kinds of works, according to the research, cause people to use their imaginations to make inferences about what someone might be thinking.
  • Take an improv class.Improvisers have to pay attention to subtle clues in their partner’s words, movements and body language, to fill in the gaps of knowledge between them. In other words, improvers have to learn to read one other’s minds.
  • Lead with the most controversial part of your venture. Choose the most controversial aspect of your pitch, and the next time you meet with someone, make it the first thing you talk about. Then, watch his or her response. Use it as a litmus test for gauging his or her interest in your venture.

5 Questions You Must Ask to Build a Company That Lasts

 


5 Questions You Must Ask to Build a Company That Lasts

By Joseph Ansanelli @ansanelli

Let’s face it, most startups fail. The chances of survival are slim at best, and there are countless examples of great ideas that just didn’t make it. As a former entrepreneur and now a Partner at Greylock Partners, I spend my time thinking a lot about what makes a company succeed.

You’ve got the great idea. Asking these five questions will help ensure your idea can serve as the solid foundation to build a lasting company.

Do you have a great team?

There is a long-standing debate amongst many investors of what is more important — people, products or markets? I unequivocally put people first. The reason is simple: Great people build great products. Great people are great at selling the product. Remember, your team is the engine that will propel your success for the next 5 to 10 years, so make sure it’s well-built. Don’t get me wrong — a strong product and big market is vital to building an amazing company, yet the road to success is a long and winding one, and people usually make the difference.

Does it pass the 10x test?

In addition to people, I am always asking if your product is at least ten times better than the alternatives. It has to be 10 times better, because anything less won’t stick. Few consumers are early adopters — most prefer to stay with the tried and true.

And it’s not always about inventing a new product or category, but about being better — much better. Dropbox entered a crowded field, but their delivery of a simple “Dropbox folder” that synched across all my computers and the cloud combined with their growth plan — free storage if you invite your friends — were more than 10x better. They were magical. You don’t need to be first — just make sure you’re better in a big way.

Does it pass the 10-second test?

In this era of 140 characters and disappearing photos, capturing people’s attention is ever more challenging. One of the keys to success is if you can describe what you do in a proverbial ten seconds.

Geoffrey Moore, in the classic entrepreneurship book Crossing the Chasm, suggested a framework that I’ve always used to help articulate: Who is your target customer and what’s the truly compelling reason to buy. What is your product’s key benefit, and how is it undeniably different than the competition — or why is it 10x better?

Articulating your identity in 10 seconds gives you a framework for making tons of difficult decisions such as where to invest, how to go to market and more. It also gives you a simple and powerful vehicle for explaining your focus to your customers — and investors.

Am I building the next billion-dollar company?

Not all entrepreneurship requires venture capital (VC). There are lots of entrepreneurs around the world building interesting business without VC funding. However, if you’re going the venture-backed route, top-tier VCs are looking for those founders focused on big ideas. From the Greylock portfolio, think Workday, Palo Networks, Facebook and Linkedin.

The reason is because venture capital is driven by the 80/20 rule — actually, it’s more like 95/5. A very small number of investments are very successful and produce the vast majority of returns. If a firm has a $1 billion fund and the firm targets a return of 5 to 10 times that to its investors, then it’s tough to do with small outcomes. If a fund makes 50 investments, maybe five or fewer deliver the vast majority of results.

Why now?

You have a great idea — but is the world ready?

In 2000, I personally invested and was on the board of a company called Backplace — different than the Lady Gaga-backed company of today. The idea was that in the age of the cloud and a move to recurring revenue models, building software as a service (SaaS) platform for billing would be like selling shovels to the gold diggers. The problem was that in 2000, there were not enough SaaS providers. Today, we are seeing the success of companies like Zuora as the number of companies relying on recurring revenue models has soared over the past decade. Timing matters.

By asking these five questions, you can take an idea and transform it into one so compelling and powerful; it can make a lasting impact for years to come. And never underestimate the last ingredient — luck. It’s hard to plan for it, but all of the above will prepare you to take advantage of Lady Luck when and if she appears.