100 Years ago

I forward the New Year thoughts of futurist and teacher Peter Diamandes

We forget how fast the world is changing today.

As we ring in the New Year, let’s take a brief look back 100 years ago to 1919, as a means to truly appreciate the extraordinary world we live in today.

First, the bad news:

World War I ended in 1919 with a total casualty count of 37 million.
The Spanish Flu finally ended as well, with a sum total of 500 million people infected (33% of Earth’s population!) and 50 million estimated deaths.
Proportional to the Earth’s population today, this would be the equivalent of a death-toll ranging between 200 – 350 million people. Absolutely devastating, and a reminder of how lucky we truly are today in the twenty-first century.

On the positive side, while progress was glacial in speed, here’s everything I could find that would count as “Innovation in 1919”:

Women’s rights! The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment.
The first passenger air service was offered between Paris and London.
UPS was founded as a company.
The U.S. Army completed its “first transcontinental motor Convoy expedition driving across the United States.” It took them 60 days!
The NC-4 Aircraft completed the 1st multi-stop flight across the Atlantic (19 days).
Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris.
What were the major technological inventions of 1919? There were two of them…

Silica Gel was invented to keep humidity out of our packages; and,
The Toaster (yup, that’s all I found on meaningful inventions).
In comparison (at least technologically) we have more achievements per hour today, than 1919 had in the entire year. We are truly living during the most extraordinary time ever.

So, how much difference can 100 years of progress make? A LOT.

AND, as we march toward the Singularity, it’s important to realize that the speed of change is accelerating… and every aspect of how we live our lives will change in the next decade.

In the next 10 years, those surfing on the tsunami of change (rather than getting crushed by it) will create more wealth than was created in the past century.

Every industry will be transformed… and how we raise our kids, run our companies and lead our nations will change as well.

You can be fearful of change, or you can realize it is happening and harness it.

For those prepared, exponential change will help us digitize, dematerialize, demonetize and democratize access to energy, transportation, education, health, knowledge and communications.

Technology will turn that which was once scare into abundance, over and over again.

So, as you charge into 2019, remember that “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”

Warmest wishes and Happy New Year,

Peter

Peter H. Diamandis

Look to the Big Picture

Michel de Montaigne wrote: “The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use, we make of them; a man may live long yet live very little.” Great leaders live every moment of their life. They push the boundaries around themselves and live a life of rich and vivid wholeness. John Maxwell writes in his book, How Successful People Think, it is the great leaders who develop a ‘big picture’ mindset which opens their eyes, mind, and heart to new people, ideas, and possibilities.

“People who see the big picture expand their experience because they expand their world. As a result, they accomplish more than the narrow-minded people. And they experience fewer unwanted surprises, too, because they are more likely to see the many components involved in any given situation: issues, people, relationships, timing and values. They are also, therefore, more tolerant of other people and their thinking.”

What exciting richness we add to our life when we look at it in all it majestic and almost endless beauty. May we choose always to think big. May we be daring and bold to look beyond ourselves and our own world. May we see with new eyes. May we see through the eyes of others. And on that journey, may we remember the wise counsel of Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist: “You’ve got to think about ‘big things’ while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”

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The Power of Attitude

“People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed,” writes Tony Robbins. It is built over time with a ceaseless drive and passion, a self-motivation repeated endlessly as it becomes part of the great leader’s life.

In his book, Winning Every Day, Lou Holtz provides great leaders his own definition of momentum with an interesting, thought-provoking insight.

“Momentum is nothing more than a state of mind. Again, an attitude. For example, you are winning a football game 14-0. Your opponent scores just before the half to make it 14-7. Up in the broadcast booth, the announcers proclaim that momentum has just swung in favor of the other team, even though you’re still ahead 14-7. Now let’s look at another game. This time your team is tied at 7-7. You score a touchdown and make the extra point just before the half to go ahead 14-7. As you enter the locker room, everyone now claims the momentum is with you. Ridiculous. The score is 14-7 in both instances. In other words, momentum is whatever your attitude determines it to be.”

Be it a force that great leaders build through repetition over time, or a continuing motivating attitude that finds its sustainability in the strength of attitude, momentum is sustaining power. May we magnify that power as we remember the words of Michael Korda: “One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” And as Tony Robbins counsels us: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Life is so very good.

Thanks my friend Michael M Reuter SHU

How powerful is the “Why”

My Mentor Michael M Reuter shared this with me.

John Grisham writes: “The alarm would go off at 5, and I’d jump into the shower. My office was 5 minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week.” So it is in the great leaders’ lives – the daily routine so often repeated, the seemingly endless work and long hours. Even with their excitement, challenges, and rewards, there are moments of fatigue, and even boredom, when the glamor of what they are doing disappears. They seem to have lost their way.

H.G. Wells wrote: “Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate crueler.” In their simple humanity, great leaders arrive at those moments in life when they question the “why” of their journey. The joy they once experienced is somewhere lost, and the once driving satisfaction becomes depleted. It is, at these times, that great leaders know to pause to revisit their purpose. What was it that brought them to this job? What was in it that filled their passion? What has changed that they feel as they do now? These questions open their door to a deep exploration to find again their purpose.

The answers to their questions help them again find their life’s purpose – reason is again found in their routine, excitement in their challenges and satisfaction in their work. It was always there, only obscured by a momentary detour. On the other hand, their answers may open their eyes to new paths. Erol Ozan writes: “Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Lao Tzu tells us: “New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Regardless of the outcome, the moment was grasped to revisit their life’s purpose. This is beautifully captured in Pablo Picasso’s words: “The meaning of life is to find your fit. The purpose of life is to give it away.” May you always remember Jerry Buccino’s gentle counsel: “When you leave, you want to leave a pile of ashes that will remind people that you once burned a magnificent fire.” May your fire burn brightly and light the world! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

Moments to remember

“We do not remember days, we remember moments,” writes Cesare Pavese. It is in these brief instances that our mind and heart capture something memorable and distinctive. The moment was different from all others. It glowed by its specialty and uniqueness. It may have been a moment of connectivity with others in celebration (a wedding or graduation), a moment of self-discovery (a choice of a career or career change, a decision to marry),a moment of personal achievement and pride in its accomplishment, or simply a moment of exception that was exciting, fun and memorable (our first roller coaster ride, a truly out-of-the ordinary and magical happening). These are moments that we remember and treasure and which create a mosaic of the joys of our life.

In their beautiful and powerful book, The Power of Moments, Chip Heath and Dan Heath share with great leaders how they can create more magical and special moments. They write:

“Every culture has its prescribed set of big moment: birthdays and weddings and graduations, of course, but also holiday celebrations and funeral rites and political traditions. They seem “natural” to us. But notice that every last one of them was invented, dreamed up by anonymous authors who wanted to give shape. That is what we mean by “thinking in moments: to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuations.”

“Think in moments” is their powerful message – to recognize thoughtfully that each moment gives us the opportunity to create a memory of a lifetime. All it takes is stopping and asking: how can I make this moment (be it a birthday, a meeting with someone, hiring a person, an experience for a customer, a surprise for a family member or loved one) so very special that they will remember it always? We have the power to create perfect moments that can last a lifetime. Think in moments! Make those punctuations! You will change the world!

Words of Wisdom from Elon Musk

I believe Elon Musk, at this moment, is poised to become the single most impactful person of the 2st century.
Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, said of Elon Musk: “Elon Musk is an inventor and builder wrapped into one; kind of like a combination of Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs on steroids.” Assuredly, Musk is a magnificent one-of-a-kind leader in today’s changing world. In her Predictive Success article, Top 10 in Leadership, author, Kelly-Ann Lahey shares Musk’s top 10 lessons in leadership.

Lesson #1. Lead by Example
Lesson #2. Lead with Purpose
Lesson #3. Be Creative
Lesson #4. Be Collaborative
Lesson #5. Encourage Innovation
Lesson #6. Be Decisive
Lesson #7. Be Comfortable with Change
Lesson #8. Hire Carefully
Lesson #9. Set Exceptionally High Standards
Lesson #10. Put the Right People in the Right Role

Musk’s lessons reflect his life learning from his personal experience of leadership. He has gone through the harsh realities of difficulties and failures to understand how each of these lessons has impacted his career and life and how they can affect others. His selfless sharing of these lessons allows both him and the recipient to continue to learn the lessons of leadership through his new-found perspectives. May his lessons serve as seeds to each of us to further grow and develop our own leadership skills, talents and knowledge that we, too, can be “an inventor and builder wrapped into one.”

Seek first to understand

To: the Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning

My mentor and Coach Michael M Reuter shared this wisdom

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. John F. Kennedy said: “Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” Great leaders recognize that, sometimes, opinions – theirs and others – are not fact-based but simply expressions of their world-view. They realize that their ability to LISTEN and process information objectively allows them to have a greater understanding of the realities around them. It is this beautiful and robust openness to different perspectives and ideas that differentiate them and enables them to introduce and realize change.

Mother Teresa tells us: “The openness of our hearts and minds can be measured by how wide we draw the circle of what we call family.” May the circle we draw be wonderfully expansive and inclusive that our eyes, ears, and heart are opened widely to possibilities and realities yet unseen. May we remember that we don’t see things as they are, but as we are. It is the responsibility of great leaders to stand in the shoes of others that, as Stephen Covey tells us, they “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Is it a Rut or a groove?

My teacher Michael Reuter sent this to me:

The paths of great leaders are etched with the marks of the ruts and grooves that arise on their life’s journey. The ruts and grooves appear similar at times, but the journey that accompanies them is vastly different. Herein lies a challenge of knowing in which one they are at the time.

Jack Beach suggests that a key question leaders must answer when all is going well is: “Are you in a rut or a groove?” He writes: “It is also probably the most difficult question to answer since all that is in us wants to see the groove and not the rut. But ruts and grooves can be very different. Ruts are smooth and allow us to speed comfortably across the plains. Grooves can be jolting at times but progressively move us over the bumps and rough patches we encounter as we unremittingly ascend the mountains. So, we need to determine if the path we are on is taking us straight forward or up. If we are not better today than we were yesterday, we are probably in a rut.”

Zig Ziglar writes: “Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.” Great leaders chose not the ruts but, as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, they choose “… the ringing grooves of change.” As the Beastie Boys remind great leaders: “Life ain’t nothing but a good groove.”

Which end of the telescope are you using?

My teacher Michael M. Reuter shared this with me:

To the Great Leaders Who Have the Passion for Continuous Learning.

In his book, Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell shares a great leadership learning through a story about a boy and his telescope.

“One day little Bobby’s father came into the front room and saw the boy looking out on the street through the big end of a telescope. He said, ‘Son, that’s not the way you look through a telescope. If you look through it that way, you make the objects look much smaller. A telescope is to make things look bigger.’ But Bobby smiled and said, ‘Daddy, the bully who’s always beating me up is out on the street. I turned the telescope around because he’s my main problem, and I want to see him smaller than he really is.’”

The story’s message reminds great leaders to pause and reflect on how they choose to see the world and address situations. Are they over-magnified? Under-magnified? Maxwell suggests: “Most of us, instead of taking the big end of the telescope and reducing our problems, take the small end of the telescope and magnify our problems so that they look much bigger than they really are.” Problems, the out-of-the-ordinary, the exceptions by their nature, draw attention and are magnified. One of the great leaders’ responsibilities is to ask of themselves and the people whom they serve: “Are we looking through the correct end of the telescope?” Find the lens that best fits the situation or problem.

Rumi writes: “The world exists as you perceive it. It is not what you see… but how you see it… it’s not what you hear… but how you hear it. It is not what your feel… but how you feel it.” How we choose to see the world is a choice. Which end do you choose to use as you look through your telescope? Choose wisely; may you choose well.

Screw it, just get on and do it, what you have now is enough to start.

As my mentor sent me today:

In his article, Successful People Start Before They Feel Ready, entrepreneur James Clear tells the story of Sir Richard Branson, English businessman and investor, best known as the founder of Virgin Group. Dyslectic and a high school dropout, at 16 he started a small magazine, went on to selling mail order records and then opened a recording studio at age 22. His record label grew, and 50 years later he had more than 400 companies. Today he is a billionaire. Clear shares his insights on Branson’s success. He tells Branson’s story of how he started Virgin Airlines which Clear says captures “his entire approach to business and life.”

I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time. At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was canceled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands which I did not have the money to do.

Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $29.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was canceled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.

Branson captured his own leadership style saying: “Screw it, just get on and do it.” Clear writes that Branson’s life is a self-portrait of his words: “He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they are too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.” It is about starting now, just doing it. In a beautiful summary Clear writes:

“You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals… who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going. We all start in the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people — the winners — choose to start anyway.”

You are that winner. Remember and internalize Clear’s words: “What you have now is enough to start.” Start before you are ready! Be more than you ever dreamed you could be. And have fun doing it. Life is so very good.