What I Learned in a Year

Practice Makes Progress, Not “Perfection”.
Mistakes are the Perfection.
Climbing back up after falling is Perfection.

There Are Multiple Ways to Solve a (Boulder) Problem.

Strength is Important and Technique Matters:
Work Hard AND Work Smart.

The kitchen counter and
under the desk come in handy
for some exercises.
As do monkey bars at the park.

After facing and working through my fear of heights
I am better at facing and working through my fear of heights.

Advice for Young People

For young adults and high school students especially, I’d want to drill into your consciousness the habit of “knowing how much your time is worth.”

Even though you may not yet have credit cards or financial assets, you own THE asset that can only be traded or optimized but never returned once you lose it: TIME.

Thus, focus on mastering how you use your time, how you prioritize tasks, how you make decisions that will either improve your reduce your effectiveness over time.

Truly understand what “productivity” means, and difference between working hard and working smart.

Successful people DO BOTH: they work HARD *and* they work SMART).

Understand that we work on “value traded per unit time.”

Education gives most of us an increase in value (skills, knowledge) we can trade in the same unit of time versus if we are un-educated or under-educated. If you can earn $100/hour, you are earning your life an extra hour you can use, than if you can earn $50/hour to create the same amount of fiscal value to your financial balance sheet — to make the same $100, you can spend either 1 hour at $100/hr or 2 hours at $50/hour.

However, something like an education takes TIME to vest, which means you can’t see the results right away, until you have invested significant time and resources (effort) acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to allow you to compete for jobs. This is why education is a long term investment: even though up front it looks like we are losing money (especially if we’re in debt), statistically over time we increase our earning power per unit time. However — pay attention to the prevailing job market as well — in some cases employers will justify hiring entry level degrees over masters or doctorate degrees if they feel they can save more money by training a person.

Understand that wealthy people leverage time to keep their resources and to build their resources. Money compounded over TIME builds wealth; at some point the capital is enough to remain untouched while interests build and compounds over time (then the investor lives off this dividend or interest, leaving the capital as their golden goose to keep laying dividend eggs).

Entrepreneurs outsource and delegate and hire, so that other people do certain tasks to free up entrepreneurs’ TIME for the most important priorities. One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs like myself face, is our capacity to delegate and whether we have the capital to maximize usage of our time. If we don’t have the capital to hire or outsource, we end up doing everything ourselves, thereby burning ourselves out.

If you are an entrepreneur and you appear to be less and less time-effective (productive), usually this is a good indicator that you need to bite the bullet and outsource some tasks that do not absolutely require your insight and talent. Get a virtual assistant or hire someone else to administer your website or find a person to code while you work on building strategy and investment capital.

Understand that being smart means you know how to use time efficiently, and being wise means you know what is supposed to be the most important use of your time: the most important relationships in your life, and the time you invest in yourself / personal growth.

How to Deal with a “Tiger Mom” Boss

Tiger image from wikipedia Published on Forbes, originally from Quora.

Emotionally manipulative bosses work on drama-induced “highs” like crack addicts get their crack-induced “highs”. They create that drama in their work environment so they can get off on the high, let the damage equilibrate among the employees, then when the dust settles somewhat, they seek their next “hit”. If you happen to work with this kind of boss, the most sensible recommendation is “get another job, ASAP!” However:

Assume you are not able to find a new job in the near term, and you don’t foresee this passive-aggressive emotionally manipulative boss to be fired or quit of his own accord, here is what you do:

Change the rules of how you respond to the behaviors this boss uses to get his way.

When you change your response, the boss no longer gets the type of “high” he expects.

When the boss no longer gets the type of “high” he expects, he leaves you alone to seek this “high” from someone else, or he will change his behavior overall behavior (not likely, but we can hope.)

For example, when the boss is manipulating employee emotions by:

  • creating competitive, inferiority/superiority complexes among the employees — this way, he can sit back and enjoy the drama he instigated without being embroiled into the drama itself.
  • using sarcasm to put down employees instead of coming right out and being verbally abusive and mean — this way, he can be safe from obviously violating human resource policies.

To defuse the competition, become the team member who celebrates everyone else’s talents no matter what position the boss tries to put you on the inferiority/superiority spectrum, and turn deaf toward negative talk against colleagues.

If boss tries to make you feel inferior by comparing to a superior colleague, celebrate the superiority of the colleague. When boss says, “Mary just does this better than you do,” agree with the boss and up your ante: “I am so glad you noticed how wonderful Mary is doing! She has been working so hard, she should be recognized and rewarded! I’ll be sure to tell Mary about how pleased you are!”

If the boss tries to make you feel superior by bringing down another colleague, thank the boss for the praise and completely ignore anything said about someone else as if the boss didn’t even say it. When boss use a back-handed compliment at colleague’s expense, “Why can’t Mary do this as well as you? She really is stupid,” respond with something like “Thank you for noticing that I’m doing a job well done! I appreciate that!” and completely ignore the back-hand as if the boss didn’t even say Mary’s name.

To train the boss to use less sarcasm, respond to each incidence of sarcasm as if the boss actually meant the statement. In other words, behave toward a figurative back-handed compliment as if you have received a literal (genuine) compliment.

Boss: Oh, GREAT job! {eye-roll}

You: Thank you! {earnest smile}

Boss: Yea, you really handled that WELL. {half-spitting}

You: Thank you! {earnest smile}

Practice your “Thank you! {earnest smile}” until you can be consistent in politeness of tone and smile. If you appear as if you are snickering in return, you are feeding into the drama that gets the boss high. After a while the boss will find you boring (as you have taught him the ONE way you will respond, every single time) and will seek to get his high elsewhere.

Keep in mind: When you first begin to train your boss from these manipulative behaviors, the boss may actually increase his intensity of these behaviors toward you. This is because you are putting the boss’s nasty behaviors on extinction, and the boss then tests whether he simply needs to be nastier toward you to get the same effect. If you give in and play into the increased nastiness, you have just taught the boss how to be nastier and get away with it.

[Think: toddler crying for ice cream and you tell toddler it’s dinner time soon and no ice cream until after dinner so toddler tests if screaming non-stop for ice cream can get the job done. If you give in, you have only trained the toddler to scream louder, longer, the next time.]

Be prepared that behaviors will increase dramatically within a short (a few days to a week) period of time. If you remain consistent and predictable in your approach, the boss will learn.

Good luck.

Image source: Tiger Image from Wikipedia