Book: The Power of Starting Something Stupid

book-start_something_stupid“The Power of Starting Something Stupid” by Richie Norton. Below are my notes:

  • “Here are some ways the New Smart shows up in our lives:
    • The New Smart is highly creative.
    • The New Smart is counterintuitive.
    • The New Smart is innovative.
    • The New Smart is beyond our comfort zone.
    • The New Smart is making change.
    • The New Smart is unconventional.
    • The New Smart is leaning into fear.
    • The New Smart is pushing through less-than-ideal circumstances.
    • The New Smart is turning down the volume on critics.
    • The New Smart is trusting the voice inside your own head.”
  • “just because someone else thought the idea was ‘stupid’ and ‘wouldn’t sell’ didn’t mean it was true.”
  • “This inherent sense of direction is what I call your innate sensibility, and it’s about as easy to explain as nailing a wave upon the shore. Bestselling author and former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, once described trust by saying, ‘I could give you a dictionary definition, but you know it when you feel it.’ Drawing from this definition of trust, your innate sensibility is something you’ll know when you feel it.”
  • “The two—life success and genuine fulfillment—will have to go hand in hand, because I will not keep my head down for the next forty years only to look up at the end and say, ‘Now I can finally start living!'”
  • Analogies from Dr. Stephen R. Covey. He said, “It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”
  • “If this issue in our community doesn’t improve over the next year, is there a risk that something might happen (or not happen) that would cause me to regret keeping this idea to myself?”
  • “If we’re viewing time from a lifespan perspective, we will actually have less time later than we do right now. It’s simple logic that each day we wait, we are left with less remaining time to do our dream work, and less time to live our happiest, most fulfilled lives.”
  • “experience is overrated. Some people say they have twenty years’ experience, when, in reality, they only have one year’s experience, repeated twenty times.”
  • “Just as valuable as experience, is an eagerness to learn and a willingness to constantly seek improvement to get the job done.”
  • “Creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches, and take balanced risks.”
  • “Few are willing to put their money, or their jobs, on the line for an unconventional idea. This is the very reason that the greatest in innovation and creativity are so quickly labeled ‘stupid’ and rarely have the opportunity to come into conventional (and profitable) fruition.”
  • “According to the Stupid Loop, a successful stupid project will become smart and even accepted and celebrated by the masses (or the niches). However, once stupid normalizes, you have to ask yourself, ‘Do I stay the same, for better or worse, or do I innovate—return to stupid—for better or worse?'”
  • “unhealthy stupid ‘requires the activity to be maladaptive, in that it is in the worst interest of the actor, and specifically done to prevent adaptation to new data or existing circumstances.'”
  • “Permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous personal growth.”—Reid Hoffman, cofounder and chairman of LinkedIn
  • “A lot of people think innovation is just having a great idea. But a lot of it is just moving quickly and trying a lot of things. So, at Facebook we’ve really built our whole company and our culture around this. We do things like ship code every single day. And, um, we have this tradition of having hack-a-thons—which are events where all of our engineers and really the whole company get together and stay up all night just building things. Whatever they want. Not what they’re doing for work. Just trying things out and innovating.”
  • “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill
  • “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” —Walt Disney
  • “It’s not the circumstances that we should feel threatened by, it’s the fear of the circumstances that poses the real threat.”
  • “Fear causes us to exercise bad judgment and to make decisions from an emotional, unreliable, and downright unhealthy state of mind—all significant roadblocks on our way to success.”
  • “To recast larger problems into smaller, less arousing problems, people can identify a series of controllable opportunities of modest size that produce visible results” —Karl Weick, psychologist who coined the term “small wins”
  • “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” —Steve Jobs
  • “People have trouble reaching goals and pursuing dreams for one (or many) of the following pride-related reasons:
    • They are too prideful to risk appearing stupid.
    • Pride convinces them that they’ve already done enough—they experience a sense of entitlement.
    • Their pride causes them to blame others (or their circumstances) for their lack of success.
    • Prideful people buy into a scarcity mentality—’In order for me to succeed, you must fail.'”
  • “How to End Pride
    1. Embrace Vulnerability: Don’t Be Scared of Looking Stupid”
  • “people allow their circumstances to keep them stuck where they are rather than take ownership of the things they can control and move forward.”
  • According to Collins, “Level 5 leaders look out the window to attribute success to factors other than themselves. When things go poorly, however, they look in the mirror and blame themselves, taking full responsibility.”
  • “Stephen R. Covey said it best:
    [People with a scarcity mentality] see life as having only so much. . . . [They] have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit. . . . They also have a hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people. The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.”
  • “Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.”
  • “When we live in the now and perpetually push what is most important to tomorrow by filling our time with less important activities, procrastination is robbing us of the most significant and fulfilling opportunities of our lives.”
  • ““S.M.A.R.T.”:
    • Specific: Goals must clearly express the expectations required for successful completion.
    • Measurable: There should be a system in place to effectively measure progress.
    • Attainable: Goals must be realistic.
    • Relevant: Goals should be a significant step toward your ultimate end in mind.
    • Time-bound: Goals must be assigned a deadline.”
  • “authenticity is less about what you do, and more about why you do it.”
  • “START is an acronym that stands for Serve, Thank, Ask, Receive, and Trust.”
  • “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”—Brian Tracy, bestselling author and business coach
  • “You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”—General Norman Schwarzkopf, retired US army general
  • “Steve Hargadon, founder of once told me that his motto is “Go. Give. Get.” He explains, ‘Go: Start doing something you love and value enough that you’d do it for free in your spare time. Give: Find a way to really help people, to do something that will make a difference in their lives. Get: Notice that the opportunity for benefits will come your way—either financially, or just in the satisfaction of helping make the world a better place.'”
  • “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”—Wallace D. Wattles
  • “Build from trust, not just toward it. Trust has become more than an outcome, and more than a state of being. It is a vital tool for persuasion, for building alliances and for implementing change. Trust is the filter through which information is heard and understood.”
  • “When you trust yourself, others, in turn, will trust you.”
  • “Confidence creates trust, and trust creates confidence.”
  • “Be the first to trust others.”
  • “Remove yourself from negative people and situations.”

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