“You should know that I have always taken the path that is most right. The result is never in question for me. Just what path do you take to get there, and there is always one that is most right. And that is what this is.”
– Abel Morales, A Most Violent Year
Everyone has an opinion of what is right and what is wrong. These belief systems are the root of many of humanity’s greatest debates and conflicts. For example, when a parent or government tries to force a belief system onto a child or community, the majority of the time it results in backlash, resentment, and in extreme cases, revolution. This is one of the main reasons our country was founded with a separation between Church and State, our founders knew that individuals must have the right to choose based on their internal beliefs.
Rather than accepting an external belief system, it is far more important that you understand your internal belief system.
“The secret to having everything is believing you already do.”
Capitalism, the economic system underlying our society is built on the selfish desires of humanity. It rightfully assumes that when you combine freedom with desire, humans will obey their self-interest and work hard to improve their position. This combination of freedom and desire creates the innovation that fuels the growth of our society. While I am a rabid capitalist, I have also experienced first hand its emotional implications. This caused me to realize that our endless desire for more must be counter balanced by appreciation of what we have. Without appreciation, true fulfillment is not possible as we are relentlessly focused on the future instead of enjoying today which results in endless dissatisfaction.
For some practical examples of this phenomenon let’s look to our everyday lives…
The best art divides the audience.
If everyone loves what you are doing it is boring.
If everyone hates what you are doing it is bad.
If you split the audience in some way it means you have made a meaningful connection with a group of people.
You have found an audience.
You don’t need millions of people to like it, you just need your people to like it.
In 1957 Arthur Rock became the first ever venture capitalist. Rock was working as New York based financier at Hayden, Stone, & Company. One day he received a letter from group of engineers on the West Coast who were working at William Shockley’s Semiconductor Laboratory. The group who became known as “the traitorous eight” were looking to leave Shockley and setup their own company. This was a revolutionary idea at the time, but after connecting with the group Rock decided to help them raise some money. After months of receiving only negative responses, Arthur was finally able to convince a wealthy businessman named Sherman Fairchild to invest. In doing so Rock succeeded in bringing Silicon to the Valley. Two of the “traitorous eight”, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, would eventually give birth to Intel. Rock unknowingly had ignited the revolution that would become Silicon Valley, and added fuel to the fire with his most important creation, venture capital.
Arthur Rock had sparked a cultural shift.
I am a salesman and I am great at selling TV advertisements.
I am a restaurant manager and I specialize in fine dining.
I am a self help writer and I specialize in merging the worlds of spirituality and business.
I am a creative and I specialize in graphic design. I am not Picasso, but I am good enough to have a steady job.
Picasso’s mother said to him…
What is your advantage? What makes you or your organization more likely to succeed?
Mario Batali is an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine.
Lebron James is a physical anomaly, fast, strong, tall, and smart.
Warren Buffett is mentally tough, his decisions are not swayed by the market.
To you achieve your dreams you must develop this advantage and deploy it to your advantage.
“Acquaintances, in sort, represent a source of social power, and the more acquaintances you have the more powerful you are.”
― Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
I spend a lot of time meeting people, some people including my wife and my assistant say too much time, but this has been a conscious decision for me. Years ago I started collecting connections or people, not networking, but collecting. Through this pursuit of connecting to as many people as possible, I have been able to create what I call a “positive energy loop,” a compounding energy cycle that feeds everything I do. Every meeting I have, every time I connect with someone or help someone on their journey, somewhere down the line that energy returns to assists me on my journey. It happens everyday, simply and beautifully. I begin work on a project and amazingly someone who is perfect for collaborating on that opportunity reaches out to me, usually someone who I connected with years, months, or weeks ago. Yes, sometimes I reach out to them as well, but more often then not it just happens. It comes together at the right time and everything just works. Whether it comes from them or me, I would never have had this resource in my repertoire had I not cultivated these connections. The more I feed the energy loop, the more it feels as if the universe is conspiring to support my magic, or simply said, the more it feeds me.
I promise you it wasn’t always like this.