Saturday, 31 December 2016

How other people and ratings influence your actions

“Opinions don’t matter to me, I don’t look at the ratings.”
When you go to watch a movie, do you review what people have said about it?
If you do, would you pay money to see a movie that has gotten bad ratings? How about a free movie?
This post is not about watching movies, this post is about social influence, how it shapes your buying behavior and how you are hard-wired and become addicted to listening to the other person, even if you don’t trust them.
When it comes to social influence, Herbert Kelman, Robert Cialdini, and Jonah Berger are just some of the expert that come to mind on this topic.
The consensus is that there is a social influence that spreads like a virus. It is usually invisible, however, when you understand the power of influence it becomes very transparent.
Social influence has spread far and wide through the realms of social media. What people say can either matter a lot or not at all. It happens so quickly that you can never pinpoint where the spread began.
Boundaries are being redrawn that expand beyond your imagination and beliefs.
You no longer need to think for yourself as others are doing the thinking for you.
A majority consensus overpowers the minority.
So, you want to be a rebel, you want to turn your backs on what others think. It’s not as easy as you think. And it might just make you more uncomfortable doing so.
“Mimicry is a fundamental aspect of life.” The Social Organism by Oliver Luckett.
When you think about movie ratings you are not thinking life or death scenarios. But how about when you choose to eat a wild berry or jump off a bridge.
Are you deciding not to do this because it’s the right thing not to do? Or are you deciding not to do this because you been warned by others that it’s not safe?
“We are constantly looking for a certain order, seeking to recognize consistent, predictable patterns; that way we can make sense of the signals in our environment and respond accordingly.”
You have mastered pattern recognition how do I know that? Because you gravitate towards what you understand and know. You shy away from the unknown. You think to yourself it just feels right.
Whether this is happening consciously or subconsciously it is up to you to decide that what you pay attention to is, in fact, your truth, and not the truth constructed by others.
When you know the strategic influence that is being deployed by sales people or by movie ratings, it isn’t construed to trick you. It is meant to make you think a little harder, and make you either be a part of the organism or be the pathogen that curiously observes and experiments.
What I should warn you is that when your friend’s like something and strongly believe in something, unless you keep an open mind, and “opinions don’t matter to you.” You will be led to believe that this is right for you even when it isn’t. Whether it be a doctor you decide to do a check up with or a movie that you go to watch.
Friend’s opinions are the most powerful because they are the closest to you.
The further that opinion is from you, the less likely it will have a weight bearing over you.
Unless of course, you compare something within the same industry, like a pet grooming company. One that has good ratings versus another that have terrible ratings.
There are two things to take away here.
  1. 1) Things that will .... I will have to stop you here, come finish where it was originally published

A man’s journey in a spellbound world, reflecting upon the lessons he learned this year.

There once was a man who loved to travel, he set on a journey to a spellbound world.
He began the journey with a thirst for knowledge. Albeit he crushed over 250 books and hundreds of articles on medium, Prsuit, and other publication, but his biggest lessons came from his encounters with wondrous creatures.
The beginning of the year was the beginning of a new era. Turns out he was searching for something. Yet the trouble was he wasn’t sure what it was.
His mantra was: If I want something bad enough I shall seek and find it.
Upon arrival in the desert on a late winter night, his adventure took a turn for the worst. His first encounter with a serpent.
He has read stories about serpents and knew how sly these creatures were, so he began to play along with the serpent’s antics. The creature asked in a riddle “How should I know that you are you and I am me? Who are you to tell me what to do, when you cross my path, who should let you thru?”
The man confused by the riddle, as he has never heard such a riddle before, he proceeded to tell the serpent: I set a goal to be published in 5 publication this year, I accomplished my goal. Relentlessly pursuing these publications, I was fighting for their attention with many other writers.
The serpent then asked, who am I to learn from you?
The man replied; don’t quit even when you hear them say no.
The Serpent then hissed and showed his fangs, the man was ready for anything, as he set out on this journey with his backpack and a swiss blade. He had his hand on the swiss blade but had nothing that would harm this creature if the creature attacked.
He thought he came prepared, but was completely caught by surprise for what came next.
The serpent began twisting so fast that it created a sandstorm. The man laid down on the ground and covered his head with his backpack.
A few moments later the man opened his eyes to find himself in the sea. Using his backpack as a floating device he saw a shoreline up ahead to the north. Slowly he began kicking his legs towards the shoreline. With 150 feet to go, the man heard a whistle.
He didn’t know where that whistle came from, and then splash, a massive killer whale jolted passed the man.
The man stopped kicking his legs as he was caught by surprise. He looked around to see where the killer whale went but it was nowhere to be found.
Moments later, he looked down again and as he took a slow breath in, the whale came from under his legs picked him up from the water and propelled him away from the beach.
The man was confused, he asked the whale, where are you taking me?
The whale replied, why should I take you to safety?
The man didn’t know what the whale meant, so he naively said that he can’t swim, only whales can swim.
The whale continued towing him without saying anything.
The man then asked the whale, would you like me to tell you my struggles? Will you then bring me to safety?
The whale continued to listen.
I struggled with the fact of being featured on the radio and a podcast for the first time. My introversion made it difficult to muster the courage to show up at the studio. I went and I did 6 episodes on the radio and 1 podcast.
The whale puzzled, asked the man, what did you learn?
The man replied; When you find a challenge and it seems scary, think about why it is scary, validate that what you believe is true, counteract with opposing beliefs, then over prepare.
The whale was impressed by his answer, did a 180 and took the man as close as it could get to shore.
The man kicked the rest of the way to shore and was exhausted from the swim. He needed a rest so he took his wet clothes off and hung them on a branch to dry.
The man saw a bush of berry’s and was starving so he ate some. After his second berry, the man’s eyelids began to shut.
He fell back and doze off to sleep.
In his dream, he saw a beautiful woman in a foggy distance. He didn’t understand where he was, but it was dark and eerie.
As this figure of a woman approached him he realized that it wasn’t a woman at all, but rather a creature he has never read about or encountered before.
The creature was human like, with a tiger face and a tail.
The creature got on all fours and circled the man twice, then got back on it’s two hind legs and asked what the man was searching for.
The man confused by all of this asked where he was.
No reply from the creature.
The man asked what the name of the creature was, as he read about and knew all the creatures in the world except for the one which was in front of him.
He wasn’t sure if it was a tiger’s face, he couldn’t make it out as this is the only thing that he understood and could relate too.
The creature said; tell me a story.
The man thought to himself, what could he tell this creature. It was exotic and he didn’t know if the creature would understand his story.
So, he began.
I have been going to school for a long time. The more I went the more I disliked it and thought it wasn’t the place where I wanted to be. I walked away from school feeling discouraged and unsatisfied, only to find myself back there earning straight A’s.
The creature bored by his story still found some curiosity and wanted to find out more.
The man continued.
I learned that learning can be hard especially when you are not interested in the content. Change your style, approach learning from a different perspective, study with different non-traditional methods, and relate that content to something that you love and understand.
The creature got back down on all fours and walked silently away from the man.
The man yelled out, wait where are you going I was going to tell you another story. Don’t leave me I am all alone, it’s dark and it’s scary.
The creature vanished in the fog like setting.
The man felt something dripping on his face.
He looked up and he was back on the beach, under a tree, with a giant lizard salivating over his head.
The man in horror began to search for his backpack, only to find it hanging on a branch with the rest of his clothes.
He thought to himself, did he eat a poisonous berry and fall asleep?
The lizard kept the man motionless with his keen eyes.
As the lizard blinked the man asked, can I tell you something?
The lizard blinked again, not saying or moving.
The man said I want to tell you about what I did this year.
The lizard still.
The man continued; I launched my first website, not knowing how it will turn out. The fear of doing something unknown was proven to be challenging.
The lizard swiped the man with his tongue. At this point, the man wasn’t sure if he should continue to talk, run, or just sit and not say a word. He took a leap of faith and he blurred out.
I learned that I love talking about myself, and when it came to constructing my website it seemed so natural to me to create it for me. The problem is that I quickly learned that the website isn’t for me, it’s for my audience, so through careful thought and deliberation and 5 iterations I am finally happy to announce the new launch coming in the first week of January.
The lizard descended the tree towards the man, crawling over the man’s body, the man more terrified than he has ever been, even more than he was before his radio show or podcast. He began sweating as he thought he was going to be this lizard’s dessert. The lizard then picked up speed and pierced the ocean.
The man’s heart beating so fast wasn’t sure what was going on. After moments of calming down, looking towards the sunset. The man got up, put his clothes on, and pondered whether to enter this jungle or to stay on the beach, light a fire and wait for someone to cross his path.
He decided to stay on the beach, he wasn’t ready to encounter any more creatures.
Days went past, then weeks. He was growing anxious and lonely. The sun would rise then go down, the ocean would swell in then recede. Nothing else would happen.
Then he noticed something that seemed like a hallucination. A spirit appeared in front of him. It was magical. A cloud like figure with a green aura surrounding it, in the middle was a little boy.
He looked at the little boy and asked him if he was sent by god.
The boy replied; I have come to find out what you are doing here, and why you haven’t figured out what you’re searching for.
The man confused, looked at the boy and asked him; how did you know I was in search of my purpose?
The boy laughed, the laughter was sweet, that of a gentle harmonic sound, that the man heard before when he listened to soft classical music.
The man then repeated his question; how did you know what I was searching for?
The boy replied, did you find it?
The man replied I have.
I brought my laptop with me, I can show you.
After writing 263 posts. The man showed the boy all of what he has written, but the boy wasn’t interested. The boy then asked again, did you find what you came looking for?
The man perplexed by his question, said yes, with a sort of questionable attitude.
He continued to say, I love writing. I love to articulate my thoughts in such a way that get’s the reader excited to read and share my posts. I love to bring practical value in each and everyone one of my posts. Some things have been repeated only because they are so important to comprehend.
The boy then changed his question to; I know you love to write, but did you find your purpose? In a childlike manner, he continued to look at the man as if waiting for the man to say something different.
So, the man continued.
I made a big impact made this year and it wasn’t in my businesses or through my writing, but it was through my philanthropy work. 6 projects, from books to meals, my partner and I touched the lives of over 600 people, all of which don’t have the same privileges that I do.
The boy persisting with his question; What is your purpose old man.
The man thought to himself, why did the boy call him old? Was he on this beach for much longer than a few weeks? He felt his face and felt a scruffy long beard that came to his chest.
The man then looked down at his feet and they were wrinkled and looked as if they belonged to an 80-year-old man.
The man took a moment and said, little boy, what am I doing here? Why am I searching for something that cannot be found?
The boy laughed again and disappeared to never return.
The man now becoming angry with himself, let out a loud yelp. Walked over to the sea and began to swim.
He wanted to get back to where he started, he didn’t care anymore about his accomplishments because they seemed so trivial.
He just wanted his time back. As he kept swimming out the shoreline was getting smaller and farther. He kept on swimming.
He yelled out for the whale to bring him back to the desert where he came from. The whale was nowhere to be found.
He then noticed something extraordinary. Another apparition appeared in front of him, this time it resembled someone he knew. It looked like him when he was 31 years old.
He stopped swimming with his arms and kicked in place with his legs.
The apparition then asked; tell me, old man, what is your purpose? Why are you out here alone in the ocean? Where are you going?
The man said; I just want my time back. I came in search of adventure, I didn’t have any goals in place, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find. And now I know that when I am not setting myself goals that I am going to get lost along the way.
The apparition listened closely.
The man said. I realized all of this after the boy came in a godlike spirit on the beach over there. The man pointed north, but there was nothing there.
The boy asked me what my purpose was. I realized that this whole time that I was doing things just to do them, not having anywhere to go, I was pursuing things that meant nothing. I realized that doing the right things and being acutely aware of why I was doing them I would be happier and I wouldn’t ask for my time back.
The apparition asked one last question?
Do you have any regrets?
The man thought to himself, well yes, but then he retracted his thoughts and said. I still have a long life to live, no, I don’t have any.
The apparition approached the man, the closer it got the brighter it became. Until it was so bright that in an instant flash the man found himself with his backpack and his swiss army knife right where he began his travels on the desert floor.
The man stood back and thought to himself, was this a precognition. Did he see the future? He felt his face and he didn’t have his beard anymore, he looked at his feet and they were that of a young man.
He looked upon the vastness of the desert and thought to himself;
The beginning is always hard because you never know what you are going to accomplish. That’s the beauty of it. You’re, not suppose to know. The best part about this year is that I don’t know what next year holds. I do know that through my relentless efforts no goal is too grand to accomplish.
He felt his world has changed and will keep evolving. He sat down in the desert, took out his laptop from his backpack and began writing in it.
My purpose is…
To be continued….

Originally published at on December 31, 2016.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

You don’t learn from failure, you learn from success.

As I am nearing the end of the year, looking back and reflecting on my progress (I am not going to list all the things I have accomplished or failed) an important lesson has arisen which stayed with me and will continue to guide me through my journey; learn from your success.

Reviewing the things I have accomplished, the rewards that came along with them, are the things I will need to keep repeating and reinventing. It isn’t the failure that has taught me the most it is what I have succeeded in that has taught me what the right thing to do is and to do more of it.

I have heard the adage from many successful entrepreneurs and businessman; learn from your failures.

Really, what has failure taught you? How things don’t work?

What these great people fail to mention is that the only thing you can learn from failure is what not to do.

Seth Godin an incredible author and thought leader who has put an idea together fittingly to my argument; do things small and work out the kinks, because in the end we are remembered not for what we fail in but what we accomplish (I added that last part in).

He continues to add that when you set out big ambitious goals you usually set yourself out for procrastination and safety. You hide behind this big goal. Why do things big when you can try doing smaller things first? Smaller goals seem more reachable and they are riskier.

Success brings along more good problems. It can inflate the ego, yet it also makes me very humble. It is something I seek, yet it is something that can blind me. Success brings an array of emotions and actions that follow suit.

Why success scares me is because it makes me comfortable. When I get comfortable I begin to lose interest. When I say reinventing I mean shifting what works into something that works better.

In my steam cleaning business, I watched my company go from zero to one hundred and then fall back down to zero.

I didn’t reinvent when I was at one hundred. I anticipated the downfall before it happened, I predicted the doomsday scenario; relying on my partner. Yet, I stood back, watching and doing nothing.
I suppose you can say I am learning from my failure.

However, I would argue if I didn’t foresee this happening I don’t think I would have learned much and I would have been left with more questions than answers.

Success can be manipulative if taken passively. Instead, I encourage you to look back this year and see what you were successful in, rinse, repeat, double or triple down, then break the wheel and reinvent yourself.
“If you don’t put yourself out of business, someone else will.” Gary Vaynerchuk.
You can take this statement literally, I understand it as follows; Don’t keep doing the same things when the market is constantly changing. Instead, adapt to your environment. Success is deadly when you think it works all the time.

When it does work, do more of it, and when it continues to work, look for ways to do things differently. Beta test new ways to improve. You can always get better, even when you feel you are the best.

The lesson here is that you don’t have to drastically change your business around, rather look at what has worked, have that as your backbone and try new things on a smaller scale and see if it is feasible to incorporate that into your business.

Failure will keep you guessing, success will teach you what and how to do things right.

To conclude this post, analyze your success from 2016, how did you reach that success? What did you do right? How can you do more of it in 2017?

Thank you for reading this post. In my next post, I will write the things I did right and how to do more of them. The purpose is to give you insight into what works.

To be continued….

Image copyright by upfront business development

Originally published at on December 29, 2016.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

How can we maintain novelty in things we really like?

Radio kills music.
When hearing a new popular song that comes out on the radio, the radio station plays that song every hour, every day of every week. Two months later, if you can last listening to it that long, you begin to wonder why you ever liked it, to begin with.
This doesn’t just happen with music this happens with everything you do, unless you are obsessive compulsive (I feel I am at times with certain things, like locking the door and checking it 5 times to see if it is locked) then you might find that the novelty seldom wears off, or you just don’t pay attention to it as much.
For the rest of humanity; when you do something repetitively you will eventually find that it loses its novelty.
So, what’s wrong with this? Why does Novelty matter?
Jonah Berger in Invisible Influence suggests that novel things require additional processing and attention. We tend to get a bit anxious because novelty can be a scary thing.
Familiarity breeds comfort.
So, what do we want? Things to be familiar or things to be novel?
We want the right balance of both.
The irony is that repetition is not what makes things popular it’s novelty.
There is nothing wrong with becoming attached to things that are new. It’s how we move forward with those things that will predict if they will last as our favorites or dwindle down to something that becomes mundane.
Why does novelty shape our experience?
I guess the question shouldn’t be why, but rather how.
When we taste something new for the first time we seem to either really like it or hate it, let’s take a mango spiral chocolate strawberry sorbet as an example. When we like it we want to get more of it. The thought of it makes us salivate.
If we have it every day, but the third week it is just a regular old sorbet that’s filling us up on empty calories. It isn’t new, it isn’t exciting anymore.
I remember a time when I used to love ketchup so much that I would refuse to eat any meal without it.
It was something new and exciting, this excitement lasted throughout my whole youth.
There have been rumors going around that I ate ketchup with soup and other bizarre things. Which for the record isn’t true. However, I can tell you a true story.
When I was about 11 years old I went to my friends birthday party at McDonald’s. For kids, mind you 20 years ago before the whole healthy food/vegan craze, this was the place to be. I ordered so many burgers that my friend’s parents asked me if I was getting fed at home. I said to them “NO” not sarcastically.
The reason why I said this was because my parents thought ketchup was bad for me. Well at least at the rate I was eating it at, virtually on everything. So, they cut me off. I rebelled and went on a food strike.
Looking back now I don’t think I did anything wrong, I know my parents had my best intentions in mind, and guess what? The novelty wore off.
It’s almost as if that needed to happen to stop from continuing my ketchup spree.
Going back to the original question; how can we maintain novelty in things we really like?
It will be subjective.
The general assumption is to maintain a distant relationship with things that you enjoy.
There is a paradox here, keeping a distance will be counter-intuitive and you will not like the song, food or material possessions as much as you would if you had a closer relationship with them.
There is no right answer or one way to do things. There is, however, mindfulness. Knowing what you like, and that attending to it occasionally will keep it refreshing and exciting.
You need to know yourself. Don’t let your impulses dictate your actions.
Realize you have these impulses and divert your concentration onto something else.
The catch 22 is that trying not to think about the things that are novel will only make you think about them more.
In business, I find that I get distracted by shiny new ideas, I want to implement those ideas and get results right away. What I found works best, rather than implementing new ideas that I think will benefit the business, is to let the dust settle.
Give about a week or two, come back to the idea, see how other businesses enrolled that same idea. And if I can do a beta-test on that idea (small scale testing) to run a trial.
Never get romantic about ideas, or novelty.
This was not meant to confuse you. This was meant to inspire you to keep things fresh and novel.
Thank you for reading this post, I have covered similar topics on this subject you can find them here
To be continued….

Comment below if you think you can add some more value here, or just hit the ❤ that’s cool too!

Originally published at on December 22, 2016.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Why I don’t read the news, and how it affects me very little.

“You haven’t heard the news? Syria took over Palmyra.”
“No” I replied.
“So, you never read the news, you don’t care what’s going on in the world?”
This is a conversation I had with my partner the other night.
Let me ask you, do you listen to the world news? How about the local news?
If you answered yes to either one of those questions, how does it make you feel?
Do you feel angry, sad, happy? Do you feel in control, or do you feel like you don’t have any power to do anything, but rather be a spectator of the savagery that is broadcasted?
The sad news, pun intended, is that the news is always sad. Okay, at least the lion share of the news is always bad news.
So, why am I not interested in hearing about the news?
Everything that is going on in the world will eventually affect me, my children or my grandchildren or those people around me. Why do I not take part in participating in the world events, or even in the local ones?
The reason for my madness is that I would rather focus on my choices than the choices that other people make. I would rather see my world the way I want to see it and the way I want to shape it rather than hearing about how brutal it is.
There is an old saying
“What you don’t know won’t (can’t) hurt you.”
As much as this adage is true it does have some limitations.
For example, not knowing something like a terminal illness, can and will hurt you, and the sooner you know about it the more chances of you being able to do something about it in terms of treatment, if not completely eliminating it from your system then at least prolonging your life.
My purpose is to create my own news in my world.
I don’t want to claim ignorance, and it may sound like I have already with the way I conduct my behavior and opinions.
There are terrible things that happen every day, a lot of which we don’t hear or see, and a lot of which we do. If I told you that there is more good then evil would you believe me?
Now that we are equipped with cameras and voice recorders we can all be considered journalists.
The thing about the media and bad news is that bad news sells. It sells to the masses. Fear is an emotion that is more likely shareable then happiness.
Mary C Lamia Ph.D. In her article Intense Emotions and Strong Feelings suggests that 
Come finish the rest of the article over here. No strings attached