Better Than Optimal

Guest columnist James Chin is a professional poker player who has previously written about flow, having the courage to change, and the importance of self-awareness. In today’s post, he examines the often overlooked components of success. 

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When people talk about success they often focus on the qualities of persistence and resilience. As Woody Allen would say, 90% of success is just showing up.

But to be successful at anything requires four personal qualities, not two: persistence, resilience, reality-testing, and adaptability. These roughly correspond to 4 components of the evolutionary process: repetition, survivability of failures, variation, and selection — which is to say, showing up isn’t the whole story.

It’s those last two qualities of reality-testing and adaptability that are necessary for finding the most robust strategies for success. Basically, don’t just work hard; also work smart.

So how do you work smart?  By continuing to test assumptions even — and especially — if you already have robust strategies, so that you recognize where the gaps in your knowledge are.

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Management, Leading and Success: The Best of the Internet

Weekend edition of link love! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week! 

8 Myths Startup Founders Hate

LinkedIn CEO’s Unconventional Meeting Technique

Brainwriting:  the solution to brainstorming’s loudmouth problem.

12 Things Successful People do Differently

3 Differences Between Managers & Leaders

imageDundee’s Tip of the Week: Sign up for our very new newsletter for thoughtful posts on how to work better, useful tips, & exclusive content here.

 

8 Myths Startup Founders Hate

The entrepreneur’s journey can be a bumpy one, with thrilling peaks and stressful valleys. It doesn’t help that the startup world is aswarm with hype and misconceptions, which can worm their way into rookies’ heads and lead them down a wrong road or two. Take, for example, the misperception that scaling is imperative in the early stages, which leads 70% of startups to fail.

We decided it was high time to do some startup mythbusting, so we asked founders and leaders this one question:

What startup myths do you hate the most and why?

With a wide range of wise words from hard-earned experience, on aspects from accountability to how you grow to what really matters, here are their responses:

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How To Measure Success

First, the seed being sown falls on good ground, but the birds get it. Then it falls on shallow ground and can’t grow. Then on thorny ground, where it withers away. And only with the last attempt it falls on good ground and the seeds grow.
So we must shift our focus. We don’t want to look for which seeds thrive and which don’t. We want to know what the rate of success is.

Buffer’s Leo Widrich describes Jim Rohm’s law of averages in explaining his approach to measuring success.

Great things are not accomplished with a silver bullet shot of optimism but require work and a kind of faith that is informed by reality.

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Image: Sergiu Bacioiu

8 Expensive Lessons in Project Management, for Free!

When it comes to project management, it’s so much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistakes. So here are a few of mine!

I’ve been running projects for my whole adult life. I started with computer games at IG. After ten years I switched to marketing and copywriting projects at Articulate Marketing, which I still run. On top of that, I’m now also CEO of Turbine, an online app for purchases, expenses, time off management and HR record-keeping.

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Photo: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

Project management is the art, craft and science of getting stuff done by teams. And it’s also like walking through a minefield. These tips – based on my own experience over 20 years – will help you find your way through it.

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If You Can Dream It, You Can Do it!

Dreaming is at the heart of disruption — it is only when we dream that we can hope to create something truly new, something that will overtake old habits, old customs, and old ways of thinking and being… And the more we dream ourselves into becoming who we want to be, the closer we’ll come to accomplishing our resolutions.

Whitney Johnson, in a great HBR blog post about paying attention to our dreams and who we are.

Life is a precious gift. Don't waste it being unhappy, dissatisfied, or anything else you can be

The Entrepreneur’s Journey: Slowing Down and Why Grandma’s Always Right.

Are entrepreneurs always dissatisfied?

It’s hard to stop and bask in your own achievements. It’s why we strive to build a tool that shows you how far you’ve come to motivate and inspire. Daniel DiPiazza, who works with plenty of young go-getters brimming with restless, entrepreneurial spirit, reminds us about the importance of learning to relax and appreciate your own hard work.

Grandmas have an uncanny way of presenting elegant solutions to life’s most vexing conundrums — wisdom without tripping the alarm system. Every day, mine would take me on a short walk from our suburban duplex to the small office where she practiced law at her own firm. I always thought the walks were social outings, but looking back, I know now they were opportunities for her to teach me her life philosophies.

At seven, I just wasn’t ready for the sophisticated dose of grandmotherly psychological judo I received, but her words stayed with me.

“Do not be beholden.”

We talked a lot about entrepreneurship, self-direction, motivation, and self-image on our walks. These may seem like heavy topics for a first-grader, but I am certain I would not be the person I am today had we not had these talks. One thing she said to me still rings crystal clear:

“There is no greater pleasure than working for yourself. You do not want to be beholden to anyone else. Chart your own path.”

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Photo: Cornelia Kopp

As I got older and started working, something didn’t feel right. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere that I worked. At first I thought it was the job. Or the boss. Or the co-workers. Or the uniform. Until I ran out of “or’s”.

That’s when I realized — it was me.

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