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jerryking : life_lessons   16

Is There A Catfish In Your Tank?
Sep 13, 2017 | Center for Performance Improvement | by Jeff Crume

One of life’s most important lessons on how to handle those who oppose you.........After studying the cod fish someone discovered that their natural enemy was the catfish. This time when the cod fish were put in the tanks, they placed a few catfish in with them. Those catfish chased the cod fish all the way across the country to the west coast.
This time when the cod fish were prepared, they were flaky and had the same flavor as they did when they were caught fresh and prepared on the east coast. You see, the catfish kept the cod from becoming stale......our opponent, our catfish, is there for one purpose only: to make us better, stronger, and wiser. .......Don’t Wish For Easy
Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better, and if it’s hard then go do it hard. And remember, if you wake up today to discover a catfish in your tank, don’t panic; just keep doing what you do best. It’s there on an assignment to keep you from becoming stale.
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The most dangerous person will be "the eel." The authors insist that "in every deal, and at every prospect's table, there is always an eel – a person who is against the deal. Always. Eels have a tendency to hang out in the shadows. They are hard to get to, and they usually talk you down when you're not around."

Usually eels are driven by fear that they don't want to acknowledge, so instead they insist they are against the deal on principle. They are dangerous, and must be identified early. Then you can try to co-opt them, taking the eel's ideas and baking them into your proposal.
adversity  eels  hard_times  inspiration  life_lessons  obstacles  resistance  self-improvement 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
Stanley Hartt, 80, was ‘an articulate advocate for Canada’ - The Globe and Mail
DAVE GORDON
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 HOUR AGO

What prompted Mr. Mulroney to choose Mr. Hartt over other candidates for the chief-of-staff job was that he "was the most brilliant young man of our generation. He had a remarkable mind, with a great capacity to look at complex issues and crunch them into coherent options for anyone with whom he was associated."

As deputy minister of finance, Mr. Hartt was so respected by Mr. Mulroney that he was the only public servant to sit with cabinet at all times, Mr. Mulroney said.

Mr. Hartt played a major role in some vital areas of economic policy, Mr. Mulroney said, including the privatizations of Petro Canada and Air Canada, "along with 29 other Crown corporations," according to the former prime minister....Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu became acquainted with Mr. Hartt in 1979, when Mr. Rovinescu was articling at Stikeman Elliott in Montreal.

"[Mr. Hartt] encouraged us to think on our feet, in front of the most difficult situations," he said. "Typically, you were expected to deliver your work with excellence, and your bonus would be the hope of getting a more interesting and complicated assignment afterward."

As senior counsel, Mr. Hartt would engage with junior colleagues as though they were family, regularly inviting them for meals at his home and allowing them to babysit his children, Mr. Rovinescu said.

Mr. Hartt, as a mentor, taught Mr. Rovinescu such life lessons as "Embrace curiosity. Think big. Think on your feet," as well as "Don't be afraid of crazy ideas; the crazier the better. Throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks."
chief_of_staff  Brian_Mulroney  obituaries  '90s  lawyers  radical_ideas  curiosity  thinking_big  Calin_Rovinescu  life_lessons 
january 2018 by jerryking
The Trouble with Optionality | Opinion | Commencement 2017 | The Harvard Crimson
By MIHIR A. DESAI May 25, 2017

This emphasis on creating optionality can backfire in surprising ways. Instead of enabling young people to take on risks and make choices, acquiring options becomes habitual. You can never create enough option value—and the longer you spend acquiring options, the harder it is to stop. The Yale undergraduate goes to work at McK for two years, then comes to HBS, then graduates and goes to work Goldman Sachs and leaves after several years to work at Blackstone. Optionality abounds!

This individual has merely acquired stamps of approval and has acquired safety net upon safety net. These safety nets don’t end up enabling big risk-taking—individuals just become habitual acquirers of safety nets. The comfort of a high-paying job at a prestigious firm surrounded by smart people is simply too much to give up. When that happens, the dreams that those options were meant to enable slowly recede into the background. For a few, those destinations are in fact their dreams come true—but for every one of those, there are ten entrepreneurs, artists, and restaurateurs that get trapped in those institutions......optionality is a means to an end.
....The shortest distance between two points is reliably a straight line. If your dreams are apparent to you, pursue them. Creating optionality and buying lottery tickets are not way stations on the road to pursuing your dreamy outcomes. They are dangerous diversions that will change you....By emphasizing optionality...students ignore the most important life lesson from finance: the pursuit of alpha. Alpha is the macho finance shorthand for an exemplary life. It is the excess return earned beyond the return required given risks assumed. It is finance nirvana.

But what do we know about alpha? In short, it is very hard to attain in a sustainable way and the only path to alpha is hard work and a disciplined dedication to a core set of beliefs. ....one never even knows if one has attained alpha......Ultimately, finding a pursuit that can sustain that illusion of alpha is all we can ask for in a life’s work.....So, give up on optionality and lottery tickets and go for alpha. Our elite graduates need to understand that they’ve already been winners in the lottery of life—and they certainly don’t need any more safety nets.
optionality  Mihir_Desai  drawbacks  safety_nets  alpha  straight-lines  hard_work  self-discipline  life_lessons 
december 2017 by jerryking
Life lessons: Looking back and taking stock - Western Alumni
Life lessons: Looking back and taking stock

by Paul Wells, BA'89

“Young people are educated in many ways,” he wrote, “but they are given relatively little help in understanding how a life develops, how careers and families evolve, what are the common mistakes and the common blessings of modern adulthood.”.....every few months when I sit down to write one of these columns, I do a little stock-taking. And a few times after a major screw-up or a minor triumph I’ve tried to do it in a more formal way. It’s true that just about every time I’ve bet everything on a new direction, it’s worked out better than if I’d stayed put. Once I bet everything and it worked out very badly. But even then, failure made a better life possible.

These are not lessons university teaches us well. Partly that’s because the young so rarely have any interest in learning them. I spent a lot more time at Western trying to figure out how to be successful than I did trying to figure out how to be happy. I figured 'happy' was in the gods’ hands, not mine. Almost everything that followed was accident.

To the extent we can learn how to live a good life, I think that so far, we learn it better from the arts and humanities than from science or even social science. Aristotle and Haydn have helped get me out of more fixes than cell biology did, although to be fair I was a lousy scientist. I’m quite sure it’ll never be possible to know, to three decimal places, how to live life well. Too many variables. But the question is still worth asking.

I’m with the Yale class of ’42. Change and risk have stood me in better stead than stasis and worry ever did. There may be a role for universities in teaching that much, at least.
advice  anti-résumé  chance  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  failure  happiness  lessons_learned  life_lessons  next_play  no_regrets  Paul_Wells  reflections  risk-taking  success  UWO 
february 2017 by jerryking
Life lessons from original thinkers
Jan. 9, 2016 | The Financial Times. (): Business News: p5. |
Simon Kuper

'Our era undervalues original thinkers, because we tend to rank people by their fame and money'

One nice thing about m...
Simon_Kuper  life_skills  lessons_learned  iconoclasts  originality  life_lessons 
february 2016 by jerryking
Why do we celebrate failure?
Aug. 23 2013 | The Globe and Mail |LEAH EICHLER.

“In Canada, it seems we are ashamed of failure and feel it forever labels us in a negative light,” he said. In the United States, failure – especially among successful entrepreneurs – it is more like “a badge of honour.”

“In most rags-to-riches entrepreneur success stories, you’ll inevitably find a section about past failures and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. [Americans] love that story arc,”... [One of the principles] that separate the super rich and successful from the average lot, including “nothing succeeds like failure.”

“Self-made millionaires are more apt to experience failure the way we might experience going to the dentist. It’s uncomfortable but inevitable. And it’s essential if you want to reach your goals,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview with LinkedIn.

But what if all failures can’t be turned into valuable life lessons? Barry Moltz, a Chicago-based author, speaker and small business consultant argues that, “Failure stinks when we are going through it and sometimes there is nothing to learn.” The business world loves to talk about great comebacks, he noted, cautioning that celebrating failure is a placebo to make us feel better.

“My advice when you fail: Learn what you can, grieve the loss but then let go and take an action that gives you another chance at success,” Mr. Moltz said.
failure  Leah_Eichler  lessons_learned  high_net_worth  self-made  discomforts  self-analysis  bouncing_back  life_lessons 
august 2013 by jerryking
Life Lessons: Walk on the Wild Side Along Path to Top
| WSJ | by Hal Lancaster.

1. Adapt to the culture you're in.
2. After a fast rise, you may need to take time out for reflection.
3. Hire talented people who aren't like you.
4. Find someone who believes in you and trust their judgement.
5. If there isn't a possibility of falling on your face, you're probably not scare enough to do a good job.
lessons_learned  Managing_Your_Career  Hal_Lancaster  hiring  movingonup  publishing  women  digital_media  life_lessons 
february 2013 by jerryking
Life Lessons: There May Be a Job That You Were Born to Do
Jul. 11, 1995 | WSJ | HAL LANCASTER , Associated Press.
1. Do what you love.
2. Find the right niche and get there first.
3. Move and move fast
4. Stoop to conquer
5. Take care of your people.
6. Be resourceful.
7. God bless the woman who's got her own.
entrepreneur  women  publishing  niches  Hal_Lancaster  life_lessons 
february 2013 by jerryking
Some Life Lessons From Silicon Valley - WSJ.com
December 7, 1999 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER

Inspirational story about an African-American Air Force office, Joe Booker, whose career hasn't been a slam dunk. He was often the youngest and most inexperienced guy on the job -- or the only . He took jobs for which he hadn't been trained. Also, he asked for the toughest jobs, the ones nobody wanted. If he could do those well, he reasoned, he would be recognized. "Some of them were risky jobs," he acknowledges, "but if you succeeded, the payoff was high."And he was rarely handed any of the high-profile, career-making assignments.

This strategy has led to a highly successful high-tech career in Silicon Valley for the 58-year-old Mr. Booker, who is currently vice president of operations for Alteon Systems , a computer-networking company.

Here are some life lessons he has learned:

Lesson 1 : "Understand what you're up against and put in place a strategy to win."

Mr. Booker was the only African-American at an Air Force school in Mississippi, studying electronics, about which he knew nothing, with a teacher who talked derisively about "Yankees" and ignored him when he raised his hand. Rather than quitting, he worked harder and aced the final exam. "When the teacher had to read my name off first as tops in the class, the class cheered," he recalls.

He says he also wasn't welcomed warmly at his first Air Force assignment at Keeler Air Force Base. Since a cushy assignment wasn't likely, he asked for the base's most difficult job. Nobody liked to work on Doppler radar, he was told. He became a Doppler radar expert and a star at the base. "It really opened doors," he says.

Lesson 2 : "Don't sacrifice understanding for speed."

In 1966, Mr. Booker started his post-Air Force career in manufacturing at International Business Machines Corp. because there was less competition in that unglamorous field and results were measurable -- and irrefutable.

When he transferred to engineering, he initially lagged behind others. "Management was saying, 'We had high hopes for you, but you seem a little slow,' " he says. "I said, 'I'm spending more time understanding what I'm doing rather than going at breakneck speed.' " Mr. Booker eventually leaped over many of his peers. "I had to bail people out because I was the only one who understood the technology," he says.

Lesson 3 : "You have to think of where you want to go and does this take you there."

As he drove to work one day, he decided he wanted to be in management. "I wanted to work with people and not look into oscilloscopes all day," he says. But IBM had a surplus of managers at the time, so he waited. He even turned down two technical promotions that "didn't take me where I wanted to go."

In 1969, he jumped at the chance to follow his boss to Memorex, which wanted to get into the computer business. "The boss said, 'Come with me and I'll make you a manager,' " he says. He eventually made it to the director level, even though he lacked the needed educational credentials.

Lesson 4 : "If you set the bar high, even if you don't reach it, you end up in a pretty good place."

At weekly production meetings, Mr. Booker volunteered for jobs that were behind schedule or involved introducing a new product in a tough market. "If people were saying this is something we can't do, I'd say, 'I'll do it.' "

Once, he bet his boss he could meet a seemingly impossible deadline for introducing a new disk drive. He forged an alliance with the engineering project manager to minimize the interdepartmental political hassles that had been plaguing the project and won the bet (his boss had to bake him a cake).

Lesson 5 : "You have to be brutally honest with yourself about what you know or don't know, what you can or can't do."

"When you do a job well, ask yourself, 'How do I expand?' " Mr. Booker says. " 'What skills do I need to take this next step?' " Example: He started taking finance classes to help him run a factory better.

Every year, Mr. Booker delivers his own performance appraisal. His 1981 self-review concluded that he hadn't accomplished much because he spent too much time debating the company's direction in meetings with managers from Xerox, which had acquired the company in 1978. So he left to start his own company, Vertex Peripherals.

Mr. Booker eventually sold Vertex to Priam Corp. and served as president and COO of the merged entity until 1988. He left after a disagreement with the board on restructuring strategy.

Lesson 6 : "The work is more important than titles."

He is often asked why he isn't a CEO. "When I left Priam, my ego was shot," he explains. He made a list of job requirements: a job where he could be successful ("I didn't want to be one of those guys whose career spirals down"); people he enjoyed working with; a company that would make money; a growing experience so he wouldn't be bored; and an executive position.

After agreeing to be CEO of Network Computing Devices , Mr. Booker stepped aside when a potential CEO with a life-giving capital infusion came along. The company still wanted him on the team, but he feared he would be seen as a falling star. So he went back to his list. "It didn't say I had to be CEO," he says. He stayed with NCD for six years.

He was faced with a similar situation in 1997. The company he had joined after leaving NCD was acquired by a larger company, Bay Networks, and he was offered an executive vice presidency. But he turned it down for a chance to join another start-up, Alteon. "Over the years, I felt I was a better builder than fixer," he says.
African-Americans  Hal_Lancaster  high-risk  lessons_learned  life_lessons  Managing_Your_Career  personal_payoffs  Silicon_Valley 
december 2012 by jerryking
John Rau Learns From Staff, Then Guides Them Well
May 6, 1997 | WSJ | By HAL LANCASTER.

life lessons picked up in his high-level career:

Lesson #1: Learn the defining issues of your time.

"There are issues that define every generation, and companies will select as leaders the people who can best handle those issues,"
Lesson #2: Attach yourself to the right people.
Lesson #3: Learn to manage people who know more than you do.
Lesson #4: Look for positions where you can make a difference.
Lesson #5: Don't hire managers to run the organization you have; hire those who can run the organization you want to create.
Lesson #6: Some time off can help you define what you really want out of life.
Lesson #7: To promote change, win the hearts and minds of those you want to change.
movingonup  lessons_learned  influence  Managing_Your_Career  Hal_Lancaster  CEOs  howto  timeouts  sabbaticals  change  high-impact  the_right_people  life_lessons 
december 2012 by jerryking
Eli Broad offers life lessons in "The Art of Being Unreasonable'
May 04, 2012|Los Angeles Times | By Mike Boehm.

Eglinton Square
Book Nonfiction In Library 650.1 BRO
Eli_Broad  moguls  entrepreneur  books  book_reviews  life_lessons 
may 2012 by jerryking
Hedge Fund Boss Ray Dalio Gives Life Lessons - WSJ.com
JUNE 19, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By MICHAEL CORKERY.
Money Talks: A Hedge-Fund King Philosophizes on Truth and Weasels. Staff
Must Be Brutally Honest, or Else; Separating Hyenas from the Wildebeest
hedge_funds  organizational_culture  Bridgewater  Ray_Dalio  life_lessons 
june 2010 by jerryking

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