Polite power

People interpret politeness as weakness.

People interpret bellicosity as strength and power.

Power is inversely proportional to the amount of huffing and puffing you see in a confrontation.

Less chest thumping, more deep breathing.

Move slowly, be gentle, breath deeply. Don’t let them see you coming.

Breath out longer than you breathe in. Respond instead of reacting

When we get stressed out, we start taking deep breaths, even gulps of air and sigh heavily. Instead of relaxing you doing the opposite and winding yourself with for a fight or flight scenario. The lizard brain is taking over. 

Catch yourself when you get into a breathing cycle like this. Slow down and consciously spend double the time exhaling than you spend inhaling. It’ll move you from a reaction mode into responsive mode. Responding to something after you’ve had some time to digest the moment is way more efficient than reactive to something at the moment. This exercise can apply to stressful moments or joyful moments. 

I remember hearing the story about the martial arts instructor who was meeting with a student when a letter was delivered to him. It was a letter from his home country and something that he had been looking forward to for a long time. He slowly placed the envelope on the desk and continued to chat with the student. The student knew that his master has been waiting for this letter offer to leave early. The master said of course not, stay and finish the conversation. I don’t want to rush this conversation, and I don’t want to rush through the letter. Both are sacred and at the right time and it’s quiet I’ll open the envelope and savor it. Reacting vs. responding. 

Starve them and they curl up and shrink

Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.

Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.

Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.

Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.

Quality comes out of quantity

The success narrative is that someone cottoned onto the winning formula after the first try or it was sitting there ripe for the picking. The truth is that a killer product is born out of iteration and persistence.

Want to hire a great employee. Widen the net and meet a lot of people. Hone your focus, garner feedback, revisit the criteria, reaching more people. Hiring the right person isn’t just about luck, or the right person walking through the door at the opportune time. If you’ve met a lot of candidates, then you’ll recognize the person immediately.

Shipping successful product isn’t about a gut feeling and striking gold. It’s about relentless execution and velocity. Over time people forget the mistakes, false starts, and damp squibs and only remember the wins. That kind of selective memory is dangerous. That’s why sometimes the worst thing that can happen to someone is an early success. Early success leapfrogs the school of hard knocks which builds up the persistence muscle.

Quantity allows you to sift through the low-quality ideas and pick out the quality. It’s a little like scratch and peck.

Keep calm and enter the Void

If you saw the Netflix show Stranger Things, then you’ll get my next analogy about the Void. The Void appears as a vast infinite expanse of black nothing abyss. It is entirely empty and black, except for the character Eleven herself and whatever or whoever she is trying to locate. Next time you meditate, close your eyes and imagine entering the Void within your mind. It’s entirely still and dark. Thoughts will appear in the distance. Observe then and then keep moving. If you get a freaked out, then open your eyes and start again.

This is a refuge inside of your mind, just for you. Your thoughts will still appear, but this isn’t their home, so let go as smoothly as they arrived.

Remember to breathe.