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It is that time of the year again when we set New Years Resolutions. We resolve to change for the better, change or improve bad habits, achieve personal goals and make strides throughout the year. Like the snake, we strive to shed our old skin, like the caterpillar, we transform to become a butterfly. We set these goals yearly with great enthusiasm and pump at the start of the year but most of us begin to falter as the year goes by. We set goals such as losing weight, saving more money, become financially independent, maintain an healthy diet, exercise more, read more book, etc.

Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Creativity comes from the Latin term creare, “to create, make”. Creativity occurs when you take an idea from one state and you transform it to another form either by adding, subtracting, remixing, editing, re-imagining it. We all have the potential to be creative, if we develop our innate talent. It is in all of us, we all have ideas but the difference between does we call creative(s) and the consumer(s) is what they do with the idea. As American author, Leonardo Buscaglia once noted “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

Creativity is a verb

The hardest part of starting any creative venture or artisitic work is starting. You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. Creativity is a verb and not a noun. Most of us want the adulation of being called an Entrepreneur, Writer, Artist, Leader, associated with greatness without actually doing the work. Writers write, artist create, Entrepreneurs start businesses, Leaders lead. A creative create his/her art whether it is painting, writing, blogging, dancing, or any form of expression. As English playwright once quipped “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The key to getting great in any creative venture is to start, practice, continuously show up, pay attention to the details, embrace failure, confront your fears and execute relentlessly.

You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.

Ignore the Naysayers

Most of us don’t believe that we are creative. We started telling our selves this lie because someone we looked up to like a teacher, family member, friend, or acquitance said that we are not good at writing, singing, dancing or some creative adventure. We believed them and it has affected our creative confidence ever since. It is tough to really believe in yourself when you are very young and we tend to believe adults because we feel they know what they are talking about or have figured it out. However, the reality is that everyone is winging it and trying to figure it out.

 Most of us would never get our creative juice flowing because of the self-limiting belief that we have been indoctrinated with by adult, caregivers and even our parents while we were growing up. It is tough being a creative and it is tougher when people around you do not see the big picture.

Jay-z – Grade Six teacher sparking his imagination while Uncle doubted him when he started out

In 2013, Hot 97 FM Angie Martinez spoke with Jay-z and he shared some great insights on fear projection, ignoring the naysayers and believing in yourself. He shares the story of how his uncle did not really believe in his musical exploit when he started out.

So don’t listen to anyone because their experiences is unique to who they are.

What I believe is don’t listen to anyone, everyone is scared. Everyone tells you how things worked out but it worked out for YOU that way. It’s even hard for me. I just give the information and then let the artist make their decision. I can’t say, “You should do this because this is how it works!” It may not work that way for artist A, B, or C the same way it worked out for me. All I can do is provide information. So don’t listen to anyone because their experiences is unique to who they are. And then a lot of people will try to put their fears on you, “You can’t do that!” No, you can’t do it. They’re just projecting it. They’re putting things they don’t think that they can do on you, and you possibly can do it.

“Uncle said I’ll never sell a million records I sold a million records like a million times” – Jay Z

Like my uncle, I don’t think he meant anything by it and I’ve said it so many times today. I know he’s going to be at Christmas, “Why do you keep bringing this up?” My uncle said I’m never going to sell a million records. I sold a million records like a million times. I’m his nephew, I don’t think he meant any malice, he was just projecting his fears. “Are you crazy? How are you going to do that?” How? I’m sure there are things that I do now that he can’t believe I was able to accomplish. He couldn’t even see it at the time. So he was just projecting and putting his fears on me. Always believe that you’re great even  before anybody else believes it. 

In a 2010 Forbes Interview with Jay-z and Warren Buffet, Jay spoke about how a field trip to his grade six sparked his creativity and imagination:

I grew up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn. Our classrooms were flooded. It was very difficult for teachers to give you one-on-one attention. And there was this one sixth-grade teacher named Miss Lowden. She must have seen something in me, and she gave me this attention and this love for words. It’s funny how it works, just a little bit of attention. She also took us on a field trip to her house, which opened me up to the world. My neighborhood had been my world. It’s the only thing I had seen. I saw a whole different world that day, and my imagination grew from there. I wanted that. I aspired to have that. The small things. She had an ice thing on her refrigerator. You know, you push it and the ice and the water comes down. I was really amazed by that. I was like, I want one of those. It’s true.

False Emotion Appearing Real (FEAR)

Motivational speaker, Les Brown observed “There are only two fears we are born with, the fear of falling and the fear of loud sound. All other fears we learn such as the fear of failure, fear of success, fear of judgment.” Fear comes in different form, shape and size, anytime you are trying to create something new or bring something forth to the universe. Fear comes disguised as procastination, addiction, worry, anxiety, analysis paralysis. Author Steve Pressfield calls it Resistance, an enemy to your creativity.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

In his book, The War of Art: Break through the blocks and Win your inner creative battles, author Steven Pressfield writes about resistance which he calls the number one enemy of creativity.  He writes:

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

According to Pressfield, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

The sign of the amateur is overglorification of and preoccupation with the mystery. The professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work. The professional understands that Resistance is fertile and ingenious. It will throw stuff at him that he’s never seen before.

The amateur, underestimating Resistance’s cunning, permits the flu to keep him from his chapters; he believes the serpent’s voice in his head that says mailing off that manuscript is more important than doing the day’s work.

The professional has learned better. He respects Resistance. He knows if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow. The professional knows that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello, you’re finished. The pro doesn’t even pick up the phone. He stays at work.

Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.

Develop a beginners mindset

One of the hallmarks of successful and creative people is that they are life long learners, they have a beginners and growth mindset. They are always learning, they are students of their craft, studio rats, they first in the gym, studio, workshop, library and they are the last to leave. They understand that you can not give what you do not have: Writers read a lot, musicians listen to lots of music, their input determines their output, Garbage In, Garbage Out.

_zen-mind-beginners-mind

Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki, noted in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice:

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our “original mind” includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.


In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.

Embrace Failure

For the creative, failure is one of the tools of the trade, you have to embrace. You are going to be rejected by writing agents, publishing houses, deal with gatekeepers, rejection letters, false starts, etc. The creatives that we eventually celebrate are the ones that persevered, endured the trying times, continuously created and embraced failure as an ally.

j-k-rowling-very-good-life

British author and creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, J. K. Rowling delivered a very inspiring commencement speech to the 2008 Harvard University graduating class wherein she shared some great insights on the fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.

You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity

Always Show Up

Overnight success is a myth that is popularized by reality TV shows that push creatives that we do not see their back story, their grind, thought process, their daily work habit and routine. We see talented people perform and we marvel at their creativity but we fail to realize that it takes a long time to be that great. We get rewarded in public for what we consistently practice in private.

80 percent of success in life is just showing up. – Woody Allen

Former undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, Joe Frazier once said:

“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your [preparation:]. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.”

The key to getting great is practicing your craft day in day out, relentlessly learning, reinventing yourself and showing up continuously. No one is born great, a genius, we all have it in us but you need to nurture your talent to be great. As American Congregationalist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once noted “Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

The life of a creative can be tough and lonely, it requires lots of hardwork, perseverance, endurance, failing multiple times, false state, rejection, resilience, bias for action, reinvention and doing the work. There is no shortcut to the top, you have to work hard, go the extra-mile, put in the time to be great, confront your fears, embrace failure, trust the process and eventually, it would happen.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Narcissism is a self-centered personality style characterized as having an excessive interest in one’s physical appearance and an excessive preoccupation with one’s own needs, often at the expense of others. 1 A narcissist is an individual showing symptoms of or affected by narcissism such as an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance. A Narcissist has a bloated self-image/ego, ignores the needs of those around them. 2 A bit of narcissism is not bad as it is sometimes needed for self-confidence. Although, too much obsession with oneself can lead to malignant or grandiose narcissism.

We are producing data at a very fast speed than we can consume it. We are bombarded daily by a deluge of notifications, news, feeds, pings, instant messaging, tweets, shares, stories, advertising etc. According to Domo’s Data Never Sleeps 5.0 infographic: “Data is on overdrive. It’s being generated at break-neck pace, flooding out of the dozens of connected devices we use every day, and it shows no signs of slowing down.” 90% of all data today was created in the last two years – that’s 2.5 quintillion byte of data per day.

90% of all data today was created in the last two years – that’s 2.5 quintillion byte of data per day.

One of the overarching benefit of dealing with information overload that we all seem to face is the ability to fully concentrate on what really matters and not been distracted by all the sound bites on social media, instant messaging and the like. Various authors have written beautifully on the subject of concentration, use of social and becoming indistractable. Here are some insights shared by my favourite authors on the these subject Matter.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity. – W.B.Yeats, The Second Coming

The Lake Wobegon Effect is the human tendency to over estimate one’s abilities or capabilities such as intelligence, sense of humour, driving skills, listening skills and other similar traits. The Lake Wagon Effect was introduced by American Physician and anti-smoking activist John Jacob Cannell, M.D. in a 1988 Educational Measurement (EM) summer issue. Cannell observed that most American states schools were scoring above average on nationally normed scoring achievement tests.

The Lake Wobegon reference is based on a fictional town created by American writer Garrison Keillor whose radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” had a segment called “News from Lake Wobegon”. In his Novel Lake Wobegon Day (1985), Keillor describes a fictional town called Lake Wobegon : A place where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

The Lake Wobegon Effect is similar to the Dunning–Kruger effect, which is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. Both are cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. 

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. – Bertrand Russell

In her book Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin Kristin Neff, Ph.D. writes about this human tendency to Feel Better Than Others. She writes:

Garrison Keillor famously describes the fictional town of Lake Wobegon as a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” For this reason, psychologists sometimes use the phrase “Lake Wobegon effect” to describe the common tendency to think of oneself as superior to others on a long list of desirable personality traits. ”

“Research has shown that fully 85 percent of students think that they’re above average in terms of getting along with others, for instance. Ninety-four percent of college faculty members think they’re better teachers than their colleagues, and 90 percent of drivers think they’re more skilled than their road mates. Even people who’ve recently caused a car accident think they’re superior drivers! ”

“Research shows that people tend to think they’re funnier, more logical, more popular, better looking, nicer, more trustworthy, wiser, and more intelligent than others. Ironically, most people also think they’re above average in the ability to view themselves objectively.

 Logically speaking, of course, if our self-perceptions were accurate, only half of all people would say they’re above average on any particular trait, the other half admitting they were below average. But this almost never happens. It’s unacceptable to be average in our society, so pretty much everyone wears a pair of rose-colored glasses, at least when they’re looking in the mirror. How else can we explain all those American Idol contestants with marginal talent who seem so genuinely shocked when they’re booted off the show?

It’s unacceptable to be average in our society, so pretty much everyone wears a pair of rose-colored glasses, at least when they’re looking in the mirror.

Former president of the University of Southern California, Steven B. Sample commented in his book The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership:

The average person suffers from three delusions: that he/she is a good driver, that he/she has a good sense of humor, and that he/she is a good listener.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

We live in a fake it until you make it world where perception is everything. A world of talkers than doers, we confuse motion for movement, a world where an entrepreneurial coach does not have or never started a business, a life guard who has never swam, a netflix binging father imploring his son to read. Leadership is a verb not a noun, leaders are doers. They say “Do as I do not do as I say”. They lead from the front, they are the forefront of the battles, challenges and tribulation, they take the tough decisions, show courage in the midst of trials. They get their hands dirtied, nose bloodied and set the example.

One of my favourite lesson learned from listening and reading books by author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell, is the analogy of being a tour guide instead of being a travel agent. He writes about the concept in a couple of his books.

“Nothing is more confusing than people who give good advice but set a bad example.” – Norman Vincent Peale

In The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership, John Maxwell observed:

“ Too many leaders are like bad travel agents. They send people places they have never been. Instead, they should be more like tour guides, taking people places they have gone and sharing the wisdom of their own experiences.”

21-irrefutable-laws-of-leadership-john-maxwell

In his book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership, author John C. Maxwell noted that leaders lead from the front. He writes:

“Leaders, by definition, are out front. They take new territory and others follow them. Great leaders don’t merely send others out. They lead the charge. They’re more like tour guides than travel agents. They see opportunities, prepare to move forward, and then say, “Follow me.” When you see someone who is able to see opportunities and is willing to take good risks, pay attention. You may be looking at a leader.”

leadership-gold-john-c-maxwell

In Leadership Gold: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Leading, John Maxwell writes

“There are a lot of people in the world who are willing to give advice on things they’ve never experienced. They are like bad travel agents: they sell you an expensive ticket and say, “I hope you enjoy the trip.” Then you never see them again. In contrast, good leaders are like tour guides. They know the territory because they’ve made the trip before, and they do what they can to make the trip enjoyable and successful for everybody.”

A leader’s credibility begins with personal success. It ends with helping others achieve personal success. To gain credibility, you must consistently demonstrate three things:

  1. Initiative: You have to get up to go up.
  2. Sacrifice: You have to give up to go up.
  3. Maturity: You have to grow up to go up.

“If you show the way, people will want to follow you. The higher you go, the greater the number of people who will be willing to travel with you.”

Leadership is a Verb

Leaders are dealers in hope, they lead from the front, they believe in showing not telling.

Leadership builds up, not down.
It is active, not passive,
Leadership brings a smile, not a frown.

Leadership gives credit, not blame.
It casts vision, not doubt,
Leadership drives change, not same.

 Leadership adds value, not clutter.
It sees causes, not symptoms,
Leadership ignites passion, not a sputter.

Leadership helps you swim, not drown.
It is inspiring, not expiring,
Leadership is a verb, not a noun.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.


As long as you’re green, you’re growing. As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot. – Ray Kroc

For most of us, our education stops the moment we finish formal schooling. From age 2 to probably 25, we attend various citadels of learning such as elementary, primary, secondary, higher institution, graduate school, vocational training school, etc. We get indoctrinated, instructed, programmed, our worldview gets shaped, we form lifelong relationships, even meet our future life partners or business partners in these institutions. But sadly for a lot of us, our learning atrophies because we confuse schooling with education.

Education is supposed to be lifelong, from cradle to death. The word “education” is derived from the Latin words ēducō, educate, educere and educatum. It means to bring forth, to draw out, to nourish. education is supposed to draw out our hidden talent which is latent in us. As American writer Mark Twain noted, “Don’t let your boy’s schooling interfere with his education.”

“Don’t let your boy’s schooling interfere with his education.” – Mark Twain

“We tend to conjure entirely the wrong images when we try to keep ourselves safe from those who commit horrors. Assaultive and violent sociopaths, though a small minority, constitute a compelling reason to raise our awareness of the sociopathic pattern.”

A Sociopath is someone without a conscience, they display antisocial behaviors, and it is used to describe someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), people with ASPD are individuals who habitually and pervasively disregard or violate the rights and consideration of others with remorse.

Sociopaths are everywhere, they could be our spouse, sibling, friend, neighbor, classmate, work colleague, religious leaders, confidants, and even enemies. We tend to think that most people are normal but that is far from the truth. The sad reality is that they are evil and manipulative people lurking around our homes, offices, churches, mosques, schools, disguised as sheep in human clothing, snakes in suits, etc. The daily news cycle is filled with stories of homicides: Patricide, Matricide, Fratricide, Filicide, Mariticide, Nepoticide, Prolicide, Sororicide, Uxoricide, domestic violence, Paedophilia, and other acts we can not imagine. One common denominator of these news stories is the shocked neighbor or colleague, who cannot believe that the individual can commit such despicable and outrageous acts of violence.

“Sociopathy is more than just the absence of conscience, which alone would be tragic enough. Sociopathy is the inability to process emotional experience, including love and caring, except when such experience can be calculated as a coldly intellectual task.”

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” –Lao Tzu

I once read a great definition of Leadership which goes thus: “Leadership is unveiled by vision, driven by passion, engineered by sacrifice, activated by planning and actualized through tireless pursuit”. Ever since i read this definition of leadership, it has directed my outlook on leadership. A leader has the following attribute: Vision, Passion, ability to sacrifice for the common good, they are diligent planners and they are relentless executioners. Leadership is an inside out job, you can not give what you do not have, first within, then without.

Leadership is unveiled by vision, driven by passion, engineered by sacrifice, actualized by planning and activated through tireless pursuit

The major reason for the leadership crisis we have in the world today is as a result of outside-in Leadership. As Austrian-American management consultant and author Peter Drucker once quipped ““Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”

If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself – your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. – Dee Hock, Founder of VISA

Someone that has not led his household wants to lead a whole nation or multinational organization, someone that find it hard to lay his bed every morning wants to lead a team of professionals, we want to look outside of ourselves for leadership but as Swiss Psychoanalyst Carl Jung once quipped ” Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” The key to becoming a great leader requires leading yourself before trying to lead others and that involves developing a lot of self-awareness. It is a quality that is the hallmark of great leaders, entrepreneurs and self-starters. They fundamentally know that we get rewarded in public for what we diligently and relentlessly practice in private. If you can win your internal battles, you would be in the position to lead others in external battles.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 “Leaders are effective because of who they are on the inside—in the qualities that make them up as people. And to go to the highest level of leadership, people have to develop these traits from the inside out.” writes Leadership author John C. Maxwell in his book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow, he further noted that:

Everything rises and falls on leadership. And leadership truly develops from the inside out. If you can become the leader you ought to be on the inside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens, you’ll be able to tackle anything in this world.

21-indispensable-qualities-of-a-leader

One of my favourite John Maxwell advice is that of becoming a tour guide instead of being a travel agent. He uses the travel industry as a metaphor for leadership

“Too many leaders are like travel agents – they want to send people where they’ve never been.” — John Maxwell

Travel agent sell the tickets and package to our travel destinations and most times they have never been to the destination. Whereas the tour guide show us the city, they go on the journey with us, they understand the terrain, history, cultural nuance of the city and destination they are showing us. Poor leaders often give their people direction without showing them how to get there. Great leaders lead the way and show their followers the route to their destination. By participating and leading the way, great leaders instill confidence in their people as they know their leader has got skin in the game.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

True leadership means being able to think for yourself and act on your convictions.” American essayist and critic William Deresiewicz wrote in his 2010 essay: Solitude and leadership:

solitude-and-leadership-speech

Unless you know who you are, how will you figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life? Unless you’re able to listen to yourself, to that quiet voice inside that tells you what you really care about, what you really believe in.

Leadership means finding a new direction, not simply putting yourself at the front of the herd that’s heading toward the cliff.

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership is a great book about the leadership philosophy of NFL’s greatest coach Bill Walsh, who was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and the Stanford Cardinal, where he won three NFC Championship titles, and three Super Bowls.  I first heard about the book from watching Jack Dorseys 2013 Y Combinator’s Startup School talk where he spoke highly of the book and Leadership author John C. Maxwell refered to the book as one of his favourite book of Leadership.

A good leader is always learning. The great leaders start learning young and continue until their last breath.

Bill Walsh noted that teaching defines your leadership. He writes:

There are winners, and there are people who would like to be winners but just don’t know how to do it. Intelligent and talented people who are motivated can learn how to become winners if they have someone who will teach them.

Leadership, at its best, is exactly that: teaching skills, attitudes, and goals (yes, goals are both defined and taught) to individuals who are part of your organization. Most things in life require good teaching—raising a family and educating children, running a company or sales team, or coaching athletes—so it’s unfortunate that more people don’t spend the time and thought required to do it effectively.

The more you know, the higher you go. To advance in any profession, I believe it is imperative to understand all aspects of that profession, not just one particular area: Only expertise makes you an expert. A teacher gains expertise by seeking out great teachers, mentors, and other sources of information and wisdom in a relentless effort to add to his or her own knowledge.

Leaders are paid to make a decision. The difference between offering an opinion and making a decision is the difference between working for the leader and being the leader.

In his book, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, founder and chief executive of The Vanguard Group John C. Bogle highlighted 10 rules for building a great organization. He wrote:

enough-john-c-bogle

“What, then, are the characteristics of good leadership and of good management? On that subject, I have (surprise!) strong opinions, most of them formed in the crucible of my own six decades of business experience, including four decades as a leader—nine years as chief executive of Wellington Management, 22 years as chief of Vanguard, and (if you will) now nine years running Vanguard’s admittedly tiny Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, with its crew of three plus me. So here I speak from my own broad, firsthand, and often hard-won experience.”

Rule 1: Make Caring the Soul of the Organization
Rule 2: Forget about Employees
Rule 3: Set High Standards and Values—and Stick to Them
Rule 4: Talk the Talk. Repeat the Values Endlessly.
Rule 5: Walk the Walk. Actions Speak Louder than Words.

If you demand hard work, work hard. If you want your colleagues to level with you, level with them. It’s not very complicated!

Rule 6: Don’t Overmanage
Rule 7: Recognize Individual Achievement
Rule 8: A Reminder—Loyalty Is a Two-Way Street
Rule 9: Lead and Manage for the Long Term
Rule 10: Press On, Regardless

If there were a single phrase that best articulates the attitude of business leaders and managers who both deserve and reward a great workforce, it would be “press on, regardless.” It is a rule of life that has been a motto of my family for as long as I can remember, and has sustained me through times thick and times thin alike.

Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Leadership is not about your position or title, it is about the effect you have on people. A leader is a dealer in hope, possibility, visioning and leading the way. A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. American civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King Jnr. once observed that “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Leadership involves serving people, sacrificing for the greater good and helping people achieve their dreams, goals and aspirations.

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. – Zig Ziglar

Executive coach and author Lolly Daskal in her book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, describes Seven Leadership Archetypes and Gaps. She writes:


1. The Rebel, driven by confidence.
Gap: The Imposter who is so insecure they play havoc with their mind because they self -doubt.

2. The Explorer, fueled by intuition.
Gap: The Exploiter who manipulates every chance they get just so you will not know how powerless they really feel. 

3. The Truth Teller, embraces candor
Gap: The Deceiver who is suspicious about everyone because they cannot trust themselves to speak the truth.

4. The Hero, embodies courage;
Gap: The Bystander who is too fearful to be brave, too conservative to take a risk, and to cautious to take a stand. 

5. The Inventor, brimming with integrity.
Gap: The Destroyer who is corrupt and would rather watch great ideas die than get credit for them. 

6. The Navigator, trusts and is trusted;
The Fixer who is arrogant and a chronic rescuer no one trusts. 

7. The Knight, loyalty is everything;
Gap: The Mercenary who is self -serving and put their own needs before those of the team, the business or the organization. 

There is a great poem that epitomizes what leadership is, it is about what you do and not really what you say. Leadership is a verb, not a noun.

Leadership builds up, not down.
It is active, not passive,
Leadership brings a smile, not a frown.
Leadership gives credit, not blame.
It casts vision, not doubt,
Leadership drives change, not same.
Leadership adds value, not clutter.
It sees causes, not symptoms,
Leadership ignites passion, not a sputter.
Leadership helps you swim, not drown.
It is inspiring, not expiring,
Leadership is a verb, not a noun.

You Can Have Everything in Life You Want if You Will Just Help Enough Other People Get What They Want.- Zig Ziglar

Leadership involves sacrificing for the common good, self-leadership, self-awareness, service to humanity and leading the way. What the world need is more leaders who can exhibit courage and resilience in trying times. As Martin Luther King Jnr. noted “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” There are going to be trying times, it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when, every good would be tested. Whatever would go wrong would eventually go wrong. The ultimate test is how you handle the tough times. If you can lead your self successfully, leading others would not be that hard.

I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

The Mariam-Webster dictionary defines priorities as something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first. The condition of being more important than something or someone else and therefore coming or being dealt with first. Prioritization is the activity that arranges items or activities in order of importance relative to each other 1

Priority is derived from the old french word Priorite, from the latin Prioritas. Morphologically it contains the word: Prior + ity. It means the importance placed on an activity, item, event, person or situation. As author Robert J. McKain, once stated ” The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.”. A priority is something you do first, you do it prior to doing any other thing. It is of utmost importance, it affects your bottomline, it affects your well being etc.

Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,

The Frog and the Scorpion is a fable that teaches that most people cannot resist hurting others even though it is not in their own self-interest. The fable is one of my favorite stories of all time as it teaches about human nature. The human mind is dark and evil. We act in our best interest and sometimes we do act in ways that are not in our own best interest.

“Codependency is about normal behaviors taken too far. It’s about crossing lines.

We all started life by depending on our parents, caregivers, society, and peers. Codependency is not necessarily bad, there is a place and time for it. We started out life helpless, unable to walk, speak, feed, and do the basic things without the help of our caregivers but with time, we are supposed to figure out a lot of these life skills. For most of us, we still remain dependent on our parents, society, spouse, and peers for things; we ought to have figured out. Our family and friends, knowingly or unknowingly enable some of these behaviors such as chemical dependence, drug and alcohol addiction, financial irresponsibility, among other things.

I consider Jim Rohn to be one of the most influential motivational speakers of all time. One of his most influential teachings is The Season of Life: The Four Major Lessons in Life to Learn. In his book, Leading an Inspired Life, he dissects the seasons of life and shares parallels of lessons we can learn from the seasons in life and in business. He wrote:

“There are two phrases I’d like you to ponder for a moment.”

  • The first is that life and business are like the changing seasons. That’s one of the best ways to illustrate life: it’s like the seasons that change.
  • Here’s the second phrase: you cannot change the seasons, but you can change yourself.

The Four Major Lessons in Life to Learn

The first lesson is this: learn how to handle the winters. They come regularly, right after autumn. Some are long, some are short, some are difficult, some are easy, but they always come right after autumn. That is never going to change.

There are all kinds of winters—the “winter” when you can’t figure it out, the “winter” when everything seems to go haywire. One writer called it “the winter of discontent.” There are economic winters, social winters, personal winters when your heart is smashed into a thousand pieces. Wintertime brings disappointment, and disappointment is common to all of us. So learn how to handle the winters.

“You must learn how to handle the nights; they come right after days. You must learn how to handle difficulty; it always comes after opportunity. You must learn to handle recessions; they come right after expansions. That isn’t going to change.

The big question is, what do you do about winters? You can’t get rid of January simply by tearing it off the calendar. But here is what you can do: you can get stronger; you can get wiser; and you can get better. Make a note of that trio of words: stronger, wiser, better. The winters won’t change, but you can.”

“The winters won’t change, but you can.”

“Before I understood this, I used to wish it were summer when it was winter. When things were difficult, I used to wish they were easy. I didn’t know any better. “Then Mr. Shoaff gave me the answer from a part of his very unique philosophy when he said,

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.”

Here is the second major lesson in life: learn how to take advantage of the spring. Spring is opportunity. And spring always follows winter.

What a great place for spring—right after winter. If you were going to put it some where, that would be the place to put it. God is a genius.

Days follow nights. Opportunity follows difficulty. Expansion follows recession. And this all happens with regularity. You can count on it.

However, the mere arrival of spring is no sign that things are going to look good in the fall. You must do something with the spring. In fact, everyone has to get good at one of two things: planting in the spring or begging in the fall. So take advantage of the day, take advantage of the opportunity, and read every book you can get your hands on to learn how to take advantage of the spring.

Get busy quickly on your springs, your opportunities. There are just a handful of springs that have been handed to each of us. Life is brief, even at its longest. Whatever you are going to do with your life, get at it. Don’t just let the seasons pass by.

Days follow nights. Opportunity follows difficulty. Expansion follows recession. And this all happens with regularity. You can count on it.

The third major lesson in life is this: learn how to nourish and protect your crops all summer. Sure enough, as soon as you’ve planted, the busy bugs and noxious weeds are out to take things over. And here is the next bit of truth: they will take it unless you prevent it.

There are two key phrases to consider with the third major lesson. The first is “all good will be attacked.” Don’t press me for a reason. I was not in on some of the early decisions, so I don’t know why. I just know that it’s true. Let reality be your best beginning. Every garden will be invaded.

The second phrase is “all values must be defended.” Social values, political values, friendship values, business values—all must be defended. Every garden must be tended all summer. If you don’t develop this skill, you’ll never wind up with anything of value.

learn how to nourish and protect your crops all summer.

The fourth major lesson in life is this: learn how to reap in the fall without complaint. Take full responsibility for what happens to you. One of the highest forms of human maturity is accepting full responsibility.

Learn how to reap in the fall without apology if you have done well and without complaint, if you have not. That’s being mature. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s the best way to be.

Learn how to reap in the fall without apology if you have done well and without complaint, if you have not. That’s being mature.

The seasons don’t work for you or against you. They just are what they are. They are guaranteed to come every year, bringing both the positive and the negative. So it’s up to you to remember the four major lessons in life, prepare for them, and make the most of everything they offer.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning. – John Henry Newman

Regret is the emotion of wishing one had made a different decision in the past because the consequences of the decision were unfavorable. Regret is a negative emotion predicated on an upward, self-focus, counterfactual inference. (Gilovich and Medec 1995). Regret can also be defined as a negative, cognitively based emotion that we experience when realizing or imagining that our present situation would have been better had we acted differently (Zeelenberg 2010).