UCWG 037: How Can Losing Your Sight Enhance the Clarity of Your Mind? Using Blindness to Overcome Cognitive Bias with Isaac Lidsky, Author of Eyes Wide Open

Perception is never a passive process to take in the objective truth of the reality around you. In every moment, you are making educated guesses to construct an internal, conceptual understanding of the world. You frequently mistake this conception for the genuine article. You take this for granted.

Isaac Lidsky went from being a successful teenage actor on TV to losing his sight and learning to reassess every unconscious assumption he had about life as a result. Isaac contends that going blind the way that he did is one of the best things that ever could have happened to him, as he learned to see his life beyond the illusions of his mind that would have kept him a prisoner of bad luck and circumstance.

As Isaac began to lose his sight gradually over the course of more than a decade, he gained uncommon insight into the layers of meaning his mind automatically added to his perception. As micro blind spots formed in his vision, his brain would do everything it could to immediately compensate for them, often with wildly inaccurate guesses (such as perceiving a urinal as a sink in a bathroom).

The mind is always attempting to sort incoming stimuli into the categories it knows. When the old categories we carry are not adequate for new types of information, we run into conflict with reality. We cease to be able to communicate with each other. We make terrible choices about what to do with our lives because we cannot align our actions with what is real. As Isaac had to learn how to reinterpret his most fundamental perceptions of the world, he took less and less for granted about the way his mind worked. For that reason, he is thankful for the new outlook being blind gave him.

Even in communicating with other people, there are so many signals we take for granted in the subtle realm. We may completely overlook body language, tone, etc., or rely on them too much and form faulty assumptions from what we think we perceive in the many nuances of how someone presents themselves. The easiest way to clarify the true meaning of communication is to break concepts down to their simplest possible terms (“explain like I’m five), or clearly outline the premises behind an evaluation.

If a blind person were to enter a building having been told an inaccurate layout of its structure, his false impressions would conflict with his experience and make it impossible for him to get where he was trying to go. Instead, if he went in knowing nothing, he would be able to derive the truth of the situation through his own unbiased observation. The same is true with everything we ever do in life, as we are all blind and, yet, mostly unaware of our disability. We refuse to draw new categories when our blindness creates obstacles, and so we suffer without end.

 

Isaac Lidsky, Eyes Wide Open, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory

Isaac Lidsky, Eyes Wide Open, Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory

Isaac Lidsky:

www.lidsky.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Lidsky

 

Eyes Wide Open by Isaac Lidsky:

https://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Wide-Open-Recognizing-Opportunities-ebook/dp/B01HCGYXZW/

 

Isaac Lidsky “What reality are you creating for yourself?” TED talk:

https://www.ted.com/talks/isaac_lidsky_what_reality_are_you_creating_for_yourself

 

Travel As Transformation by Gregory Diehl:

http://amzn.to/2fDzgkM

 

Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl:

https://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl-ebook/dp/B009U9S6FI/

 

Isaac Lidsky on The Doctors explaining his blindness:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kezluf7I_5M

 

Isaac Lidsky playing Weasel Weasel on Saved By The Bell: The New Class:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM13axKEkDY

UCWG 036: Isn’t Life Coaching Kind of Bullshit? Finding the Good in an Infamous Industry with Marc Mawhinney of Natural Born Coaches.

Life coaching is an industry notoriously rampant with frauds and con artists who spout magic and creates cycles of dependency in the clients who come to them for help with their personal problems. They rarely teach systematic solutions and genuinely help people reach new levels of independent thinking. Their income depends on their clients coming back to them over and over for more coaching, instead of moving on to greater things.

Marc Mawhinney is a coach who coaches coaches, helping them build better business models and promote themselves in their quests to tell other people how to live. He joins Gregory to discuss what’s right and what’s wrong with this strange and modern industry.

According to Marc, a professional coach is just someone who helps someone else accomplish a specific goal. Marc believes that coaches who offer real value in the attainment of strategic goals should price their services on packages related to those goals, not act as an ongoing crutch for emotional support.

Lesser-known life coaches fall into the trap of mimicking the actions and personalities of the big players in the industry. After the release of Tony Robbins’ recent documentary, I Am Not Your Guru, coaches across the industry seemed to adopt his salty language and outgoing personality overnight.

Clients who seek out life coaches should work with them for a finite amount of time to overcome a specific obstacle, so that they avoid the temptation to fall into a dependency cycle with their influence. The goal of any truly good teacher, mentor, guru, or master is to obsolete himself, so that his student, mentee, apprentice, or Padawan rises up to replace or surpass him. Even parents are subject to addiction to their social authority, being unwilling to step back when the time is right.

The coaching industry, as a whole, is suspicious because legitimately talented guides are lumped into the same category as overhyped motivational speakers, deluded people channelling fallacious spiritual entities, cult phenomenon, and outright con artists. The good teachers who are in a position to help people make huge leaps forward in their personal lives become overshadowed and stereotyped.

The single most important qualification a life coach can have is not their age, their price, their popularity, or any specific certification. It is their success at a specific task they claim to have mastery with. If they have done the thing you wish to be able to do, and have the skill of teaching, it may be a worthwhile endeavour to learn from them. The coach either  needs to have completed a difficult journey pertaining to

 

Marc Mawhinney, Natural Born Coaches

Marc Mawhinney, Natural Born Coaches

 

Things mentioned:

 

Natural Born Coaches:

http://www.naturalborncoaches.com/

 

The Coaching Jungle Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheCoachingJungle

 

The Landmark Forum:

http://www.landmarkworldwide.com/

 

Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler:

https://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Fire-Maverick-Scientists-Revolutionizing-ebook/dp/B01GCCT3G6

 

Tony Robbins’ I Am Not Your Guru documentary:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5151716/

https://www.netflix.com/title/80102204

 

Abraham Hicks:

http://www.abraham-hicks.com/

UCWG 033: Are Disruptive Events Essential to an Exceptional Life? Young People Escaping Conventional Career Paths with JC Preston of New Inceptions.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those with the qualities of leaders and those with the qualities of followers. Many who are naturally leaders do not have the bravery required to act on their leadership qualities. They need an inspirational influence. They need a catalyst to awaken them to the powerful actions of which they are capable.

JC Preston runs New Inceptions and the Angles of Lattitude podcast, where he shows young people how to acquire the qualities of leadership and self-direction in life. Most people have their leadership qualities suppressed by the traditional Prussion educational model almost everyone goes through in children. Society breeds followers and conformity, making those who do not naturally follow suffer immensely throughout life.

Evolution on a sociological level happens much slower than it can on the level of the individual, so there will always be resistance when the two do not align in their acceleration or trajectory. Without hope, individuals are almost certain to succumb to social pressures and sacrifice their individual motion.

Hope can come in the form of a mentor, a person who shows the struggling hero that it is possible to succeed in the path he is on.

Leaders stuck on a followers path need a disruptive event to jostle them, violently, from the suboptimal paths they are on. The pain from seeing everything they know shaken from its ordinary structure calls them to adventure outward physically, and bring their thinking to superior levels.

Someone has to first inspire you with the successful choices they have made before you can know that exceptional choices are possible. If someone

The ordinary path today is embodied best by the 9-to-5 work week. Entrepreneurs work to push themselves out of this stifling pattern of living.

To walk away from the path of the follower requires sacrifice personally and socially. The world will not automatically know that what you offer is valuable. The way you built your life before is no longer compatible with the new pursuits you chase. The pain of familiarity must be beaten by the longing for something new.

When you make a fundamental shift in your identity, you are never just changing one aspect of your life. The entire structure by which you designed your lifestyle before can come crashing around you. The older you get, the stronger your motivation for change needs to be.

Rebellious people, not matter how crude and immature their actions, are being leaders to some degree in their lives. They only know they don’t want what the rest of the world would choose for them. With proper mentorship, they could hone their outgoing instincts and apply them to something with longevity and impact. However, they have a loner mentality to their actions. They are obsessed with seeing themselves as alone, pitted against the entire world. They aren’t willing to consider that there are valuable influences out there who could share their experiences and light the way, if only in a specific domain of life.

JC Preston, New Inceptions - Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

JC Preston, New Inceptions – Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

 

Things mentioned:

New Inceptions:

www.newinceptions.com

Angles of Lattitude Podcast:

www.anglesoflattitude.com

Transformational Learning through Travel: Why Your Next Trip Might Change Your Life and Business for the Better with Gregory V. Diehl (AoL 095):

https://newinceptions.com/transformational-learning-through-travel-gregory-v-diehl-aol-095/ 

UCWG 032: When Does Personal Development Evolve into Interpersonal Development? Collaboration Among Those Who Share Your Values with Parker Harris of Junto Global.

 

Our culture loves telling the story of one man taking on the world, working hard to do everything for himself. We build our movies and our myths around this archetype, and then unconsciously model it in our own lives. Useful as this type of path is, and even a necessary starting step, what comes next in the heroic journey?

The lone warrior must eventually learn how to deal with other people. He must form a tribe of ideas and perspectives that complement his own. He must be humble enough to know that however capable he is on his own, he will be more capable with the help of others. This humility only comes after he has earned healthy pride.

Parker Harris runs Junto Global, a networking organization for high-performing, high-ambition entrepreneurs dedicated to creating massive change in their lives and the world. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s meetings about 12 of his most respected and intelligent peers, Junto aims to enable individuals to act beyond their solo potential. This is a step that many capable individuals never reach in their development.

Education was once about helping people figure who they are, what they care about, and how to think about life. Today, it primarily serves to get the members of a society to act in a way that is considered in line with cultural and social values. We no longer need centralized schooling models to learn basic survival skills, as survival is now more nuanced and varied than any single path could ever adequately cover.

Foremost, children need to learn how to communicate harmoniously and interact with one another.

When young people first realize that they have never made their own choices, they move into an individualist, “me vs. the world”, state of mind to find themselves in solitude on their own personal journey. They perceive collective thinking as the enemy.

Mental traumas are often the result of thinking we are something other than what we are. Accurate thinking is the solution to this needless suffering. Exceptional people are prone to numbing themselves to the problems of society because they are hypersensitive to chaos and suffering. If they don’t learn to focus on the problems and passions that are most important to them, they might waste their lives and suffer needlessly until they die.

Our lives are determined by the quality of the questions we ask and the problems we attempts to solve.

You cannot know yourself completely if you come from either end of the suffering spectrum: abundance of everything or lack of anything. You need to see how you act under both conditions to see what you are capable of, and then comfortably navigate throughout the middle.

Your ability to experience deep suffering directly affects your ability to experience deep joy and fulfillment. You are more grounded in your pursuits when you have suffered, more dedicated, and more focused. You appreciate every win.

Delayed gratification is a product of maturity. Mature, well-tested people can look far into the future with their actions and go through tough trials that eventually lead to greater reward. Immature people have no tolerance for such trials.

The ability to accomplish what you want is dependent on first having the right experiences, acquiring the right tools, and meeting the right people.

 

“It’s not what you don’t know that’s going to hurt you. It’s what you know that isn’t so.”

Mark Twain

 

Parker Harris, Junto Global - Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Parker Harris, Junto Global – Uncomfortable Conversations With Gregory Diehl

Things mentioned:

Junto Global: http://getstarted.juntoglobal.com/

UCWG 031: Do You Dare To Follow Your Hero’s Journey to Find Self-Actualization? Life Purpose As The Highest Priority With Leo Gura of Actualized.org – https://gregorydiehl.net/ucwg-031-heros-journey-self-actualization-life-purpose-highest-priority-leo-gura-actualized-org/

UCWG 029: How do Neuroatypicals Function in an Ordinary Society? Low Latent Inhibition, Divergent Thinking, and the Problem of Social Integration. – https://gregorydiehl.net/ucwg-029-natalie-marsh-neuroatypicals-society-low-latent-inhibition-lli-divergent-thinking-social-integration/

UCWG 020: Does Your Profession Align with Your Purpose? Matching Actions with Identity.


Alexa Glo is a 28-year-old multinational seeker of identity and meaning in life. She and Gregory discuss the importance of putting down roots and solidifying your identity on earth through your actions, which often means your professional path in life.

Home is where you feel most like yourself. Being outside your home is what gives you the perspective to know your home. The contrast of being something other than what you are is ultimately what shows you what you are.

Purpose is a principle, not a specific task you perform. Tasks are defined by your culture, which is always changing. There is always another way to express your purpose. You perform your purpose because of the energy it gives you, not to fulfill a social role. You have to give people what they are ready for. They can only be ready for so much as any given time.

Professions are outdated concepts. There is no law of nature that says you have to spend your entire life in one kind of productive role, just as you do not have to live your whole life in one place. Being a professional just means you accept money for what you do. Your profession does not have to define you.

Psychological adulthood is taking full responsibility for your own life, when you can see the figures from your past as just ordinary things.

UCWG 013: Where Do You Stop Examining Your Thoughts? Intuition and Rational Analysis.

Intuitive Leadership Mastery by Michael Light

Intuitive Leadership Mastery by Michael Light

Is intuition just unexamined thought? Or something beyond rational analysis? Many believe that when we get a strong feeling, a “deep inner knowing” about something that is contains a supernatural element that warrants respect and validity. To know what you think you know, you must locate your axioms of interpretation – the fundamental acceptances you use to understand everything else. They hold a sacred spot in your life beyond doubt or analysis.

Michael Light (pen name of Michael Smith) is the author of the recent book Intuitive Leadership Mastery: How a CEO Doubled Profits and Halved Stress. He argues that intuition, if properly developed, can be one’s greatest tool for making effective decisions in business and life. Gregory takes the opposite approach, claiming that whatever true conclusions can be arrived at through intuition and feelings can be better refined through intense logical analysis of the factors in play.

The two attempt to determine at what point it becomes impractical to continue this analysis and just rely on feelings and “spiritual” awareness. Gregory wants to know if it possible to develop analytical abilities to be faster and better than intuitive abilities, while Michael encourages greater trust in the body’s own knowledge of things.

When does it become impractical to examine your conclusions?

How do you differentiate between reliable intuition and unreliable intuition?

 

Websites mentioned:

Intuitive Leadership Mastery on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kVuUbI

Michael’s website: http://intuitiveleadershipmastery.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/AbundantMichael
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AbundantMichael
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/abundantmichael

Identity Publications: http://identitypublications.com/

Making Money & Making Money Online

How to make money online is a question I get asked quite a lot. In fact, it’s probably the single biggest dream of those still trapped in dead-end corporate jobs. To the ill-informed, the internet represents a game-breaking new frontier for making money doing whatever you want. This is a very shortsighted belief, and this type of “get rich quick” mentality is what stops so many people from actually getting started on solid ground.

Despite the modern hype, doing business online is not fundamentally different than doing business offline. The internet simply offers a new, rapidly evolving venue to promote and operate your business on.

What the internet is NOT:

  • A magic button for generating cash for little or no work.
  • A shortcut or substitute for building a real business model or creating real value.
  • A passing fad for business.
  • Something which requires a highly technical skillset that only geniuses and geeks can learn.

Websites

Websites used to be very difficult and expensive to build. Now, there are platforms which will allow you to host and maintain a basic website for free, or a more dynamic one for a small monthly fee. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are some of the most popular simple website builders with drag-and-drop functionality for non-designers. WordPress is a popular content management system with greater freedom in design and function, but which is also more complicated to use. These, and other tools, make starting a professional-looking website very affordable and easy for most businesses.

Your website is simply an interactive representation of your business. At the very least, it should communicate the products/services you offer, the values you stand for, and a very easy way to begin buying from you. The most basic ones are essentially glorified business cards or brochures, with the sole purpose of getting a visitor to call or email you. A website can also be an entire portfolio of work, or a thriving ecommerce store with many product offerings, a shopping cart, and payment processing capabilities. When most people complain about building or designing a website, they are really complaining about not having a clear vision for what their business should look like.

Your website will need at least a small amount of written content and other media to make your business look like a legitimate professional entity they can trust. Many new entrepreneurs overthink this problem, wanting to capture the minutia of who they are and what they think makes their business so special. They also don’t understand what a typical visitor is looking for when they click onto their site. The way people use the internet these days often gives you only a few seconds to capture interest and convince a visitor to keep reading.

The home page of your website can be as simple as a single tagline and paragraph of exposition summarizing what your company does, what makes it unique, who it’s for, and what you want the reader to do next. It can also go on much longer, detailing some of the values of the company and selling points of your flagship product to entice further reading. Depending on how much you have to say, you can expand your message on your About, Products/Services, FAQ, and other pages. You either need to spend enough time online to familiarize yourself with modern trends and practices, or else pay someone with expertise in this area.

Internet marketing is about getting strangers to pay attention to you. That means you have to go to where they are already spending their time, and giving them a compelling reason to divert their mind towards you. Even in the relatively young context of the internet, there are many ways to do this, and the opportunities continue to grow every year. Here are just a few categories to pay attention to.

Paid Advertisements

The most common forms of online paid advertisements include banners on websites, sponsored posts on social media, pre-video ads on Youtube, and so forth. They are most effective if you have a very short, clear message, and a very well-defined target demographic. You do not want to pay for a general advertisement displayed to completely random people in the hopes that a few of them will actually be enticed to click through to your site. That’s a quick way to blow your advertising budget.

Content Marketing

Another way to get people’s attention is by having something valuable that they will actively be looking for. Social media, blogging, podcasts, and Youtube channels are all very effective ways to organically grow a following through the production of valuable content. For the right personality types, this is an excellent strategy, but it does generally take a long time to see meaningful results.

Cold Outreach

The previous examples require waiting for someone to notice you. They can be considered passive or indirect ways of marketing. They are analogous to setting a trap, making it as appealing as possible, and hoping the right prey will wander into it. A more direct approach would be to go hunting, meaning to reach out to people where they aren’t already looking for you. There is nothing stopping you from calling, emailing, sending physical mail, or even going door to door promoting your business to anyone who publicly lists their contact information.

Showing up out of the blue in someone’s email inbox or on their phone is a daunting task for most people. They don’t like the prospect of chasing a target down with spear in hand, relying only on their strength and wits to bring it down. With practice, you can learn how to present yourself in such a way that they will make even complete strangers want to keep talking to you. Then your outreach will be free, as you will see prospecting opportunities everywhere.

Third-Party Platforms

You can use third-party platforms external to your website to advertise, build a reputation, and accept payments. Freelancing directories like Upwork, People Per Hour, Fiverr, and others like them have the advantage of already having cultivated a large qualified audience, and will gladly put you in front of them for an upfront fee or a cut of what you charge. For physical products, ecommerce sites like Amazon and Ebay are an excellent way to showcase what you have.

These can work extremely well, because people are already actively looking to spend money on them, and most of them allow you to build up feedback based on good transactions. The downside is that you are ultimately controlled by the policies of the sites you sell through, and they usually take a 10-20% commission on everything you charge. That’s a small price to pay though for a beginner with no following of his own to get started.

50 Useful Starting Questions for New Entrepreneurs

Questions for Breaking Old Habits

  1. How content are you with your current lifestyle? Do you feel fulfilled or are you seeking something more meaningful or exciting?
  2. What are the major pain points you are dealing with in your life right now? How long have they been a factor?
  3. Do you feel stifled by the conventional expectations of the people around you?
  4. What steps have you taken to overcome these obstacles? How successful have you been?
  5. What long-time ambitions have you been putting off because the time never felt “right”?
  6. What social or emotional patterns from your past prevent you from adopting a lifestyle you really want?

Questions for Finding Your Entrepreneurial Inspiration

  1. What are the most intrinsic values you hold?
  2. What is unique or uncommon about you?
  3. What talents, interests, or experiences would you like to build your new business or career around?
  4. What are the biggest questions people ask about your passions? What are the biggest problems they need solved?
  5. What do you feel are your professional strengths and skills? Weaknesses?
  6. What is the most valuable insight or information you can offer the world?
  7. How will this new type of work contribute to the lifestyle you actually want? How do you know you won’t just end up back in the same place you are now?
  8. Do you have any active influences in your life who encourage and support you toward your unconventional lifestyle goals?

Questions for Determining Lifestyle Logistics

  1. How do you currently sustain yourself financially? Are you happy with the amount of money and type of work you are doing?
  2. If you quit your job tomorrow, how long could you live comfortably without totally depleting your savings?
  3. Growing your business is going to require a lot of your time, and possibly money as well. How much time and money can you invest into the development of your business right now?
  4. Is this your first time attempting a business? What other relevant experience do you have?

Questions for Optimizing a Fledgling Business

  1. What is your goal for your business? Describe its ideal state and your role within it.
  2. How much social influence do you personally have? What about your brand?
  3. Which is more important to you right now: quick income generation or long-term brand growth?
  4. If your business doubled tomorrow, would you be prepared to handle it? Could you fulfill all orders and keep everything running smoothly? What about if it tripled or quadrupled?

Questions for Finding Your Company Narrative

  1. Tell me about the intrinsic value of your product(s) (i.e. what practical problem do they solve?)
  2. Tell me about the emotional value of your product(s) (i.e. how they make people feel and the values they represent).
  3. What is unique or uncommon about your business compared to others in the same industry?
  4. Where did the inspiration for the business come from?
  5. Who is the person most likely to want to buy from you? Describe them as well as possible.
  6. Is your personal brand as the founder a major part of the appeal of your business? Do you want it to be?
  7. What valuable information can you provide your audience about the values your business stands for?
  8. What other industries or companies do you know of who could benefit from your product(s) and narrative? How could you benefit from those of other companies?

Questions for Developing Products and Services

  1. What is the product/package you are promoting as your introductory offer?
  2. What other offers do you want to cross-promote or upsell with it?
  3. How do these additional offers complement or improve upon the initial offer?
  4. What makes your offer unique and irresistible compared others in the same class?
  5. What qualifies a prospect to get enormous value from your offer?
  6. List all the possible pain points your offer can solve.
  7. How will you reduce or eliminate the buyer’s risk from purchasing these products?

Questions for Qualifying Prospects

  1. What might prevent a person from getting the fullest possible value from your offer?
  2. What requirements do they have to meet to actually be able to purchase?
  3. What foreseeable objections might someone have to purchasing your products, even if they are qualified?
  4. What product or service do most people currently use to fill the role of yours?
  5. What is their previous experience purchasing this kind of product?

Questions for Figuring Out Your Company Metrics

  1. How many units are you selling every month?
  2. What is the average price per product?
  3. What is the average order total?
  4. What are your profit margins?
  5. How much money do your clients spend on repeat purchases? (lifetime customer value)
  6. What products are selling most or least?
  7. How do you acquire new clients? How many new prospects per month?
  8. How do you keep in touch with existing clients? How often?

How Reputations, Relationships, and Morality Define Your Success in Business and Life

A successful business is defined by relationships, and those relationships are forged because of the reputations of the individuals or entities involved. Your reputation as an individual entrepreneur is the informal start to your official brand identity. Everyone who does not exist in a social vacuum has one. It the perception other people have of you, and the elevated starting position new connections are willing to grant you based on what others have told them about you.

Reputations can either be accurate or completely fabricated. The best ones are forged organically through the real interactions you have with others, so that they are free to form their own positive opinion about your character and abilities. This is a far stronger type of positive impression than any you could create by talking yourself up or fooling others into thinking a certain way about you.

Trust comes in two forms, and both are extremely important. The first type of trust relates to your competency. If someone is going to willingly give you authority to perform a skilled task or advise them in a specialized field of knowledge, they have to believe that you know what you are doing. We all do this many times every day. When you board a plane, you are implicitly agreeing that you trust the pilot to get you to your destination safely, and that you will not attempt to commandeer the aircraft yourself out of fear that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

The most knowledgeable and talented people tend to become well-known in their fields. Malcolm Gladwell dubbed these people as mavens in his book, The Tipping Point, and many of them eventually become synonymous with an entire field of knowledge or branch of skilled labor. Michael Jackson was the king of pop. Richard Dawkins is known, somewhat tongue in cheek, as one of the four horsemen of modern atheism (and the acknowledged authority on evolution). David Wolfe is the face of raw food health trends. Do people trust your competency in your chosen field?

The second type of trust has to do with morality. It’s about a person’s willingness to mislead or harm another through the use of physical force or psychological fraud. Entrepreneurs cannot survive if they surround themselves with people who are likely to steal from them or lie about important information. You cannot forge a meaningful relationship with someone who is willing to take what he wants from you against your will, or trick you into doing something against your own best interest.

Just as individuals build a reputation for their competency in a specific domain, they also build one for their moral character. These reputations are built by demonstrating ability and character firsthand, and relying on the testimony of others who have personally witnessed it. When someone else publicly vouches for you, they are intertwining their own reputation with yours. Whenever you fail to live up to the standards of the reputation preceding you, you can also bring down everyone who has ever voluntarily associated with you.

The more developed a business, or a society as a whole, the more important the role of competence and character reputation becomes. You might be the smartest, most talented, most honest, most generous person on the planet – but if no one who matters knows about it, it won’t do you much good in business. Everyone must learn where the line falls between being humble about their own positive attributes, but also not hiding them from the world.

Total morality is the only logical choice for someone who is serious about growing a business and living a meaningful life. An immoral person has the opportunity to improve their life only in the short term. Moral people are incentivized to stay away from them for their own safety. Over a long enough period of time, a natural segregation occurs between those who act honestly and those who intentionally deceive. Those with money have a lot of incentive to not to let any of it fall into the hands of deceitful people. Character analyses and reputation become vital survival skills in this environment.

Ethical people know that there is so much more to be gained by building a reputation as a good person than by being a swindler who will take advantage of others for personal gain. Seek out these righteous people to align yourself with, and they will seek you out as well. If people perceive you can’t be trusted with small responsibilities, they won’t likely give you large responsibilities.

If you are the type of person who is always telling white lies or showing up late everywhere you go, these seemingly innocuous sins may be responsible for cutting you off from opportunities you never even knew you had. Just because no one ever directly approaches you about your minor indiscretions, doesn’t mean they don’t notice and remember. The loss of your reputation is the price you pay for the momentary advantages of lazy or immoral behavior.

In writing and publishing my first book, Brand Identity Breakthrough, I hired a company called Convertport to help me produce the manuscript for this book, and market it to bestseller status on Amazon. When Shola Abidoye, the woman who promised me generous results failed to produce them, she had every opportunity to make restitution simply by admitting error and refunding my money. I even offered to let her donate the full amount of my purchase to a non-profit education group if she felt more comfortable doing that than refunding the money directly to me. Instead, she chose to cut off all contact with me and disavow any obligation to deliver what she had promised.

I could have taken her to small claims court to recover the $5,000 I paid, and potentially even more as a result of the huge delays I faced. Instead, I chose to share my extremely negative experience of working with her publically. Because we shared so many mutual connections, Convertport experienced an enormous drop in their professional reputation. I was contacted by many people shortly afterward who thanked me for bringing Shola’s immoral behavior and professional fraud to light so that they knew not to pursue working with her as they had initially planned.

In the long run, Shola Abidoye undoubtedly lost a lot more than $5,000 in business as a result of the short-term gain from ripping me off. That is a stigma which will now follow her around for the rest of her professional life. To have any sustainable success as an entrepreneur, you must protect the reputation of yourself and your brand at all costs.

Don’t be afraid to adopt morality as an absolute principle in your life. Be honest with the people you know. Go out of your way to be fair and earnest with others, even if it means a momentary lessening of your own circumstances in life. High quality individuals notice this behavior in others, and will respond to it appropriately. They will let you into their lives, and offer you greater opportunities for collaboration.

When you do mess up and wrong another person, the burden falls squarely upon you to reverse the negative effects of your actions. Most people are willing to forgive a first offense if it is minor, and if it is clear that every attempt at restitution is made. Good people generally want to see others evolve into good people too, and they will give you the chance to prove yourself if you appear sincere in your quest to reacquire good moral standing.

Likewise, don’t be afraid to appropriately judge the character of others. Read into body language and speaking style. Learn to detect inconsistencies, intentional vagueness, and outright misdirection. Each of these is a red flag for what could become major issues later on, costing you enormous time and money. Monitor how well they communicate with you on simple matters, including the times they omit important information. Observe how they follow through with promises, or if they take on too much responsibility.

When you can see all human relationships through this filter, you will be ready to start exchanging and collaborating with others who are in a position to give you what you need to get where you want to go. Nobody does it alone.

Six Steps to Make Money with Your Own Business Today

In its most basic form, earning a living means trading an hour of your life to your employer for a fixed wage. However, unless you become a doctor or a lawyer, there are strict monetary limits on this simplistic time-for-money profit model. Structure enables you to take a valuable concept and exponentially magnify its influence and earning potential. Structure allows you to leverage your time, and therefore earn higher and higher amounts of money for the same level of input. You can even set up a structure that runs mostly or entirely independently of you, earning ongoing passive income.

You don’t need a formal business plan to get started making money independently or add structure to a basic valuable idea. Here’s how anyone with a good idea can start making at least a little bit of money on day one of implementation:

  1. Create something of value – either a product or a service.
  2. Identify the type of person who needs it most.
  3. Compare it to similar solutions in regards to function, message, and price.
  4. Describe it concisely, including what it does, how it works, who it’s for, and what makes it unique.
  5. Figure out how to get this message in front of the people who need it most.
  6. Take their money, and give them the product or the perform service in return.

This is simple in principle, but gets more complex the bigger your idea, or the more you attempt to scale it. To create a more complex product or service, you will need to identify manufacturers and suppliers who can provide all the different parts you need at a price that is significantly lower than what you can charge for the finished product. These are the kinds of businesses that typically take both time and a fair amount of startup capital to get going. They may not see a profitable return for months or years, and are therefore not as appealing to bootstrapped first-time entrepreneurs.

If you are not in a position to make profits from the very beginning that you can reinvest into the business, you can seek out an infusion of cash from an investor in exchange for some ownership in the company, or an instant royalty on everything sold.

As an entrepreneur, your job is to hold the whole business together, and plan its future. At the start of your first business, you and whoever else is on your team of founders will probably be handling most of the tasks yourself – all the way from production, to distribution, to sales and marketing. As you grow, you should begin to rely on technology and other people to handle the tasks which do not require your direct intervention. In time, you will be able to structure your business in a way where you are only left dealing with the tasks you are best qualified to handle. That is when you will start making more and more money for far less work than you would previously have thought possible.

The ideal role of a founder is that of the master strategist and the heart of the company. Yet, most CEOs and other leaders end up taking on the role of gap-filler. They hire specialized employees to take care of the major functions to keep the business running, but little things inevitably pop up that fall on the boss’ shoulders to take care of. It’s common for founders caught filling the gaps in their company management to run out of the time to implement new strategies and test new ideas. Often, the person who should be taking on the highest-level tasks is relegated to busywork and maintenance instead. It’s not emotionally rewarding, and it’s potentially lethal to your business.

As the leader in your business, you time is the most valuable asset you have. When you are confident in the value of your own time, you realize how important it is to delegate tasks which can be done to the same level of quality by someone else for a reasonable price. Work to turn your company’s daily tasks into processes which can be passed on to others. Simplify what you do every day, and identify whatever ways your current employees are already wasting effort and resources. All it takes is a mind attuned to efficiency in all things to turn a functioning business into a scalable profit-producing machine.