The death of a typewriter repairer

Paul Wallbank
The death of a typewriter repairer

Despite owing his longevity to cheap scotch and strong tobacco, the America’s oldest typewriter repairman passed away two weeks ago. The fate of his shop is one that many other small businesses will share.

Manson Whitlock of New Haven, Connecticut had run his typewriter shop from the early 1930s until shortly before his death. Needless to say, he didn’t like computers.

“I don’t even know what a computer is,” The New York Times reported. “I’ve heard about them a lot, but I don’t own one, and I don’t want one to own me.” While Manson’s shop had six staff at its peak, in recent years he ran the operation on his own and the business died with him. Many baby boomer business owners face the same fate as Manson Whitlock as their businesses decline in the face of changing technology and shifting change.Some of the boomers will suffer because they are undercapitalised and, as the next generation of entrepreneurs can’t afford to buy these existing businesses, most of those will work way past the date they planned to retire.

A good example of this is a radio shop near my office which has been run by an old gentleman for many years. When I went into it in 1997 for something – I forget what – the proprietor was almost shocked to see a customer and he couldn’t help me.

I’m not surprised that it was rare to see a customer as none of the stock behind the cluttered counter seemed to date beyond 1980.

The only reason the shop survived was because the proprietor owned the premises as there’s no way the place could have paid the modern rents with the non-existent turnover.

A few weeks ago the shop closed. I don’t know whether the owner retired or passed away, but the business closed with him.

This example and the New Haven typewriter repairer demonstrate how businesses can be left behind by technology.

While both stores had plenty of time to react to the rise of computers during the 1980s and 90s, their proprietors chose not to and by the 2000s it was too late.

Today, technology and business are changing even faster and there’re many more big and small enterprises that risk being left behind by change.

It’s not only the changing marketplace that risks the future of these businesses, the failure to invest in things as simple as modern point of sale systems or even a basic website will leave many exposed.

The time to invest in new systems and products is now and if you can’t invest in the future, then it’s time to get out.

how well is your business keeping up with the pace of change??

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What we can learn from Wolves

An excerpt from
Wisdom of Wolves
by Twyman Towery

The attitude of the wolf can be summed up simply: it is a constant visualization of success. The collective wisdom of wolves has been progressively programmed into their genetic makeup throughout the centuries. Wolves have mastered the technique of focusing their energies toward the activities that will lead to the accomplishment of their goals.

Wolves do not aimlessly run around their intended victims, yipping and yapping. They have a strategic plan and execute it through constant communication. When the moment of truth arrives, each understands his role and understands exactly what the pack expects of him.

The wolf does not depend on luck. The cohesion, teamwork and training of the pack determines whether the pack lives or dies.

There is a silly maxim in some organizations that everyone, to be a valuable member, must aspire to be the leader. This is personified by the misguided CEO who says he only hires people who say they want to take his job. Evidently this is supposed to ensure that the person has ambition, courage, spunk, honesty, drive—whatever. In reality, it is simply a contrived situation, with the interviewee jumping through the boss’s hoops. It sends warnings of competition and one-upmanship throughout the organization rather than signals of cooperation, teamwork and loyalty.

Everyone does not strive to be the leader in the wolf pack. Some are consummate hunters or caregivers or jokesters, but each seems to gravitate to the role he does best. This is not to say there are not challenges to authority, position and status—there are. But each wolf’s role begins emerging from playtime as a pup and refines itself through the rest of its years. The wolf’s attitude is always based upon the question, “What is best for the pack?” This is in marked contrast to us humans, who will often sabotage our organizations, families or businesses, if we do not get what we want.

Wolves are seldom truly threatened by other animals. By constantly engaging their senses and skills, they are practically unassailable. They are masters of planning for the moment of opportunity to present itself, and when it does, they are ready to act.

Because of training, preparation, planning, communication and a preference for action, the wolf’s expectation is always to be victorious. While in actuality this is true only 10 percent of the time or less, the wolf’s attitude is always that success will come—and it does.


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Why Fear of Discomfort Might Be Ruining Your Life


Why Fear of Discomfort Might Be Ruining Your Life

Think about the major problems in your life — from anxiety to lack of regular exercise to a bad diet to procrastination and more.

Pretty much every one of these problems is caused by a fear of discomfort.

Discomfort isn’t intense pain, but just the feeling you get when you’re out of your comfort zone. Eating vegetables for many people, for example, brings discomfort. So does sitting in meditation, or sitting with a hard task in front of you, or saying No to people, or exercising. (Of course, different people are uncomfortable with different things, but you get the idea.)

And most people don’t like discomfort. They run from it. It’s not fun, so why do it?

The problem is that when you run from discomfort all the time, you are restricted to a small zone of comfort, and so you miss out on most of life. On most of the best things in life, in fact. And you become unhealthy, because if eating healthy food and exercising is uncomfortable, then you go to comfort foods and not moving much. Being unhealthy, unfortunately, is also uncomfortable, so then you seek distractions from this (and the fact that you have debt and too much clutter, etc.) in food and entertainment and shopping (as if spending will solve our problems!) and this in turn makes things worse.

Amazingly, the simple act of being OK with discomfort can solve all these problems.

This is a discovery I made a few years back, when I was trying to change my life.

I started by trying to quit smoking, but I hated the feeling of having an urge to smoke and not actually smoking. It was uncomfortable to resist that strong urge. My mind resisted, tried to make up all kinds of rationalizations for smoking. My mind tried to run from this discomfort, tried to seek distractions.

I learned to sit and watch the discomfort. And when I did, incredibly, it wasn’t too bad. My world didn’t end, nor did my mind implode. I was just uncomfortable for a bit, and then life moved on.

Then I watched this same process happen with running. I didn’t want to run because it was too hard. My mind made up rationalizations, etc. I found ways to avoid the running. Then I gave in to the discomfort, and it wasn’t hard. I ran, and learned to love it.

I repeated this process for changing my diet (many times, actually, because my diet gradually got healthier over time), for getting out of debt and not spending so much, for beating procrastination, for meditation, and so on.

Becoming OK with discomfort was one of the single biggest discoveries of my newly changed life.

How to Become Good at Discomfort

If you can learn to become good at discomfort, your life will have almost no limits. There’s no better skill to learn.

Here are some tips I’ve learned:

  1. Try it in small doses. Sit for 30 seconds in discomfort. If you’re averse to vegetables, try one green veggie. Put it in your mouth, leave it there for 30 seconds. You probably won’t like it much, but that’s OK. You don’t have to have a mouthgasm with every bite. I’ve learned to love veggies.
  2. Immerse yourself in discomfort. Are you sad, or angry, or stressed, or frustrated? Instead of avoiding those emotions, immerse yourself in them. Dive into them, accept them, be in them. Same with procrastination — sit with the task you’re running from, and don’t switch to something else. Just be there with that uncomfortable feeling. How does it feel? Are you in deep pain? Are you OK?
  3. Seek discomfort. Challenge yourself daily. Find uncomfortable things and do them. Introduce yourself to strangers. Hug a friend. Confess your feelings. Confront someone (with a smile). Say No to people. Go for a run. Try a new healthy dish.
  4. Watch yourself run from things. What have you been avoiding because of discomfort? What feelings have you been rejecting? What problems do you have that stem from discomfort? What have you allowed your mind to rationalize? Become aware of this process, and see if you can stop avoiding things, one by one.
  5. Learn that discomfort is your friend. It’s not an enemy to fear. It’s actually a good thing — when you’re uncomfortable, you are trying something new, you’re learning, you’re expanding, you’re becoming more than you were before. Discomfort is a sign that you’re growing.

Discomfort is the reason I decided to undergo my Year of Living Without— I’m facing the things that make me uncomfortable (and so far, finding that it’s not hard at all).

While others stay in their comfort zone, I explore the unknown. And I treasure the experience.

For more insights from Leo Babauta, visit

– See more at:

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Tap Into the Power of Personalized Automation

with thanks to Sue Rice from

I am one of the lucky few who grew up in Silicon Valley before it was even called Silicon Valley.
We Prepared For THE Earthquake
I remember vividly the earthquake drills we used to have at our elementary schools. A very scary siren would pierce the quiet of the classroom and we were all told to get underneath our little wooden desks as far away from the glass windows as possible. We were taught to put our arms over our face to shield them from falling objects.
We lived—dreaded—and prepared for The Big One.   We lived on the Peninsula …a small piece of land south of San Francisco and bordered by the coastal mountains beyond which the Pacific Ocean lies) It was a sleepy, sun-drenched peaceful place… full of bikes and swimming pools and happy children with frequent forays to the nearby beach, the theater in San Francisco and the stunning sights of Lake Tahoe.  But lingering in the background of this quintessential golden childhood was the very real fear that a big, huge devastating earthquake was ‘just around the corner’ ready to turn our lives upside down.

Of course, despite a few ‘scares’, a horrible catastrophic earthquake never did arrive to shatter our world.  The big irony however is that we were  completely oblivious to the fact that we were in sitting in the center of another type of earthquake whose consequences was going to rock the entire course of the world.
But There Was Another Earthquake Happening Under Our Noses

Our daily sea of life appeared calm but in reality a seismic quake was bubbling underneath… a tidal wave was forming in the distance.  And the name of that particular earthquake was technology.   

So as I frolicked in high school busy worrying about which boys liked me or whether or not I would be a pom-pom girl, Steve Jobs was tinkering away in a nearby garage creating a vision and products which was going to revolutionize my life…and the life of everyone I knew.

And when I decided to attend an experimental computer programming class, I sat next to a lovely, super-smart boy who would end up years later launching eBay.  

Yes. While we were watching the 3 classic TV channels and chatting on our pink Princess phones, a revolution was definitely underfoot.   

How Technology Rewired Our Thinking

But in hindsight, it really was never the technology itself that was the important revolution.  It is how technology has changed the way we live and the way we think.    What was and is important is how technology has rewired our expectations and assumptions.

I would argue that there are 3 main ‘social’ legacies that the technology revolution has left in its wake.

Legacy Number 1:  We live in a world of CIRCLES not SQUARES

On January 26, 1986, I began my advertising career as an International Account Executive at Ogilvy & Mather on 345 Madison Avenue… the day the Challenger blew up.

In those days, the world of communications was simple. Straightforward.   Mass media was…well… mass. It meant pushing one message out to the ‘masses’. If I can be so bold to say, it was all about the advertising agencies and the companies who peddled their products.  

We Didn’t Care About the Customer
To be brutally honest, (since I was in a position to watch), those ad agencies and the companies they worked for really did NOT care about their consumer.  As long as he/she was doing what we wanted (i.e. buying products) nothing else mattered.
The mass media system was a world of images and numbers. Not a world of heart.  

Today, the one-way message is almost a quaint as our old pink Princess phones.

Today communication is both circular and interactive.  And the unquestioned power of the company and its message has evaporated.  

The mass media world was an ‘elite’ world. Fancy Madison Avenue advertising agencies created their mind boggling expensive messages, impossibly elitist publishing houses rendered it nigh impossible to publish a book and public relations firms were inaccessible to most.  

Today, ‘regular’ individuals, armed with their smartphones and a blog are publishers, writers and filmmakers. We can create movies, write books, and publish photographs without waiting for the ‘experts’ to approve anything.   You don’t need to be connected or have millions of dollars to share your message.

Thanks to Facebook and YouTube, we all have a podium from which to speak and be heard.  Nothing can stop us anymore from speaking out and expressing our thoughts and feelings.  Furthermore, when we speak we expect to be listened to.

We don’t want to be ‘spoken to’, we want CONVERSATIONS.

Mass media is definitively out.  Intimate dialogue is in.  

Legacy Number 2: The USP has been replaced by the IT

The USP or Unique Selling proposition was basically the foundation of all marketing for decades.  It was built on the concept that as a company I needed to establish my unique position–my unique selling point–in order to stand out in the crowd and attract my client.  

The IT or irresistible transformation appropriately reverses the role. The key to success in the 21st century is in understanding and identifying what is the TRANSFORMATION people will have in their lives as a result of working with you.

This is a subtle, but monumental shift.  

Our consumers do not fit into our lives, we fit into theirs.

It is for us to reach out and touch them and to relate to them.   We are there to solve their problems and relieve their pain points.

Instead of being someone who sells products, you are a problem solver and a transformer of lives.

As an entrepreneur or small business, you are in the transformation business, not the transaction business.

Legacy Number 3: We Live IN A World of Overwhelm.

The third legacy of the technological world is that we now live in a world of overwhelm.  As my friend and mentor Andrea J. Lee says, “Anyone who doesn’t feel overwhelmed today is simply not paying attention.”
There are millions of different ways to connect.
There are multiple screens.
There is a new bright shiny object emerging on the market every day.
There are too many choices.
There is too much fragmentation.
We all live with it.  No one is free of it.
You, as an entrepreneur–not to mention as a human being–are confused.
Your customers are confused.
Technology has left a social revolution in its wake.
For me, I see two sweeping conclusions.
On the one hand, we need to listen to our community, prospects and clients with great sensitivity.  We need to stop thinking about ourselves and our uniqueness.  We need to shift our thinking towards our Customer. Our successes will be directly related to how much THEIR lives change by coming into contact with us. 
On the other hand, in order to be effective, we need to combat overwhelm.  We need clear, streamlined systems that will automate tasks, save us time and help us serve our clients infinitely better.Image

This is the magic ingredient to success as an entrepreneur today.
We need to combine sensitivity with systems. 
We need to tap into the power of Personalized Automation.

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Seven Things Highly Productive People Do Differently

By: Darcy Juarez on:

Earlier this week, the false rumor that Tiger Woods had died flooded the Internet.  The rumor spread when someone created a “R.I.P. Tiger Woods” Facebook page.

Clearly some people have more time on their hands than they know what to do with.  They must if they can afford to waste their time on something that produces no benefit for themselves or anyone else for that matter.

What that person did willingly is something we all fear…

Wasting time.                 

Unproductive spurts can sneak up on you and take hold of you at any point in any given day.

So today I’d like to focus on things you may be doing which are stopping your productivity dead in its tracks.  These are things that super successful people do differently than people who just get by.

And once you adopt them for your own business they will help you get much more done in your day than you may have ever thought possible—giving you the freedom to spend your extra time any way you like.

Here are seven things you can do to join the ranks of super productive and successful people:

  1. Get up early.One thing the most successful people in business and in history have in common is that they are early to rise. Dan Kennedy, Donald Trump, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway—all make (or made) the habit of getting up early. Those who get up early tend to be more proactive and thus have a more productive mindset.
  2. Avoid multi-tasking. Do one thing at a time and avoid shifting from one thing to another, so you maximize your brainpower.  For example, avoid checking your email throughout the day and instead check your email and reply to emails once a day during an allotted email time only.Work on one project for a pre-determined amount of time before switching to another project.  In most cases multi-tasking will cause you to get a lot less done. In fact, there’s even scientific evidence that multi-tasking makes you less efficient and is linked to short-term memory loss.
  3. Don’t let fear stop you. Think about the last time you took much longer to finish a new project. Did you rationalize that it took longer because it was something new you’d never done before? Productive people find ways to keep moving and push forward even when they are apprehensive or nervous about the final outcome.
  4. Treat your business like a business. Sure you started your business to have more flexibility—so that you could take off during the day or go to your kids’ soccer game, but you need to set business hours and stick to them.  Set boundaries and communicate these to your family, friends and clients.  And make sure  they respect them.  This will result in fewer distractions during your day and make you more productive during your dedicated work time.
  5. Schedule time to work on your business. CEO Scott Lang says, “For me a big part of productivity is being agile. I like to leave blocks in my day open.” Lang says this allows him to have time to find out about new opportunities. When he doesn’t have unexpected meetings, he uses that time to catch up on industry reports and self-education.Plus he uses that time to focus on big picture thinking. If you don’t plan for this, your schedule can become overbooked, never leaving you time for these very important facets that will ultimately be responsible for helping you grow our business.
  6. Seek help. Don’t do everything yourself. Farm out the things you don’t like to do and the things that aren’t essential for you to do so you can focus on the things you do best.GKIC member Eric Dohner, M.D. manages multiple streams of income, four business locations, a busy practice and keeps his family of seven children in focus at all times. Dohner says a major breakthrough for him was when he realized there was a lot of stuff his staff could do that he didn’t need to do. Now he only does what he needs to do which mainly consists of doing initial consultations and the actual procedure. Everything else is handled by staff.
  7. Identify time wasters & eliminate them. Take time to identify what is sucking your time and make a plan for eliminating them. For example, if you have a lot of phone calls throughout the day, this can be a huge distraction. Turn your phone off and schedule a time when you will make and return all of your calls.

Part of securing more time while making more money is working smarter, not harder…and thinking a little differently. When you follow these seven ideas found in the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, you’ll be more productive which in turn will free on more time, creating the independence you’ve been searching for.

NOTE: Dan Kennedy is one of the most successful –and productive people I’ve ever met. He gets more done in one hour than most get done in an entire day. If you feel your day slips away without accomplishing as much as you’d like to, then you’ll want to find out what Dan has to say about how to break through the common barriers that are stopping you from extreme productivity.

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Work it! Work it Good…

By Jay Kubasek from

Over the years I have found that productivity can be an elusive bugger! Often I find myself busier than a one-legged fool in an ass-kicking contest and feel as if I am going in a hundred different directions all day long…

By the end of the day, I am exhausted, stressed out, and completely wiped. Worse yet, if I’m being honest with myself- despite all of the “busy-ness”- sometimes it seems I have little to show for it.

As you will find out in today’s WAKE UP call, I try to keep these sanity-savers in mind, daily:

Urgent vs Important:  Great time management means being effective as well as efficient. Managing time effectively, and achieving what you want to achieve, means spending your time on the tasks and issues that are important and not just urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, you have to understand this distinction:
Important activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals, whether these are professional or personal.
Urgent activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals. Unfortunately, urgent activities are often the ones we concentrate on, they demand attention because the consequences are immediate and inescapable.
Start with the end in mind: Know what the outcomes of your day/week/month/year are before you start taking action. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Every Monday morning I break projects into individual tasks that can be completed in 30-60 minutes max. Then, I make two fresh to-do lists: Important and Urgent. Important tasks are the ones that will have an immediate impact on my life and business. I knock these out first. The second list has everything else that needs to get done for the week. This list includes doing things for others, catching up on emails, paying bills, meetings, administrative tasks, etc.  My goal is to knock out 3-5 Important items off of my list each dayMonday, Tuesday and Wednesday. (I don’t pencil any in for Thursday in case I am running behind.) Thursday and Friday are my days to catch-up and take care of the Urgent items and “busy” type work.
Eliminate distraction: Multi-tasking doesn’t work. Can a professional golfer, surfer, tennis player, or race car driver surf the net, check social media feeds, and afford to be distracted while trying to play at the top of their game? If you are anything like me – you can only do one thing at a time well. And, you’ll prefer to leave the endless notifications, chimes, reminders, beeps, and vibrations for the scatter-brained…
Leave room for life to happen: I fill only 60% of my calendar daily; I leave 20% available for spontaneity, and 20% as a reality (kid, dog, car, etc.) buffer. This tip alone will transform your days by reducing unplanned, time-zapping headaches- into minor, scheduled tasks. Once you grasp the cardinal importance of this and allow yourself some space for surprises, you will be amazed how much easier life becomes. No one won wins a battle against Father Time, you can only work with him…
Don’t be attached to the linear order of things:    I tend to do my best work when I am having fun. I try to be flexible with my schedule, plans, and lists- willing to move things around as needed. If I don’t get done today what I intended today? No biggie- I take a deep breath, go for a walk in the morning and hit the reset button. Building a business (or life) is a marathon and no game is ever won or lost in one moment or opportunity. It’s what you do consistently over time that has a compounding effect- not what’s done under the gun…
MILK IT! If I find myself in an inspired state or creative “groove”- I stay in  it as long as I possibly can. Creativity and inspiration are the dew of the Gods’ IMHO and not to be taken for granted.  The creative process can be fickle, so it’s best to give it room to breathe and happen organically. If invention is the the mother of necessity, them creativity is the daughter.  We all have vast creative abilities but few of us ever truly nurture it, cultivate it, or allow it the time and space to blossom naturally.
Pace yourself:  Set attainable day-to-day goals. Know your limits. No one will ask, “How long did it take?” they’ll ask, “Who did it?!” Do this and you will achieve the impossible over the long term. My dad taught me this…
Transfer unfinished tasks to the following day without regret: There is always tomorrow… As long as you did your absolute best today- you will rest peacefully tonight. No one can make you feel bad for a job well done. Rome was not built in a day my friend. I remind myself of this daily.
Learn to say “no” with finesse: Spreading myself too thin is a bad habit that always bites me in the ass… and not looking out for Numero Uno serves no one in the end. People will respond positively to your self-imposed boundaries and assertiveness. They will respect you for having the foresight to demand it… It screams self-power and is inspiring to others.
Keep at it: Keep working at your plan each and every day. Remind yourself daily that time is on your side. Don’t be attached to how long it takes, rather be attached only to the eventual outcome. (Don’t worry about how you get it, just that you get it.)
Have fun, for goodness’ sake: Last but not least, I always try to have fun with what I have to do… Seriously- nothing is worth doing if you don’t love what it is you do.
My absolute best,

Jay Kubassek

P.S. Share some of the daily reminders you use to keep yourself on target, productive, happy, and fulfilled!

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Use This Success Trigger to Stop Insulting People

thanks to

When was the last time you watched a commercial and crinkled your nose and said, “Ugh! That commercial is so stupid!”

Or you were looking at website and said, “This popup is so IRRITATING. Why would they ever do that??”

Or (this is my favorite), you say, “Why doesn’t HBO just sell Game of Thrones on iTunes? They’re so dumb! DUH!!!!”

Let’s get real. HBO is a lot smarter than you. And if you go through life criticizing companies and people (as 99% of us do, me included), you miss out on something magical.


In other words, you can disparage these people..or you could say, Hey, maybe they know more than I do. What do they know that I don’t?

This is a powerful Success Trigger, and one that I’m introducing you to today.

Introducing the D-to-C Principle
When I was spending most of my time in my SF apartment, I was surrounded by a lot of engineers. They are brilliant at what they do. But they also have very curious beliefs about the world works (AKA they are often wrong, and they’re SURE their worldview is right).

Click “Display Images” to see a classic engineering tweet

For example, they would crinkle their nose at companies that advertise in Times Square. “So stupid!” they would rant. “They’re just wasting $50K/day in untracked advertising!”

And all the other engineers would laugh haughtily.

I’m like, WTF is wrong with you? These companies have been around for 100 years. They’re WAY smarter than you or me. Instead of criticizing them…maybe we should try to understand them. What do they know that we don’t?


They stared at me, then went back to coding. I contemplated ways to kill myself using a nail file and a keyboard.

Easy to laugh at them. Yet we ALL do this.

I loved seeing an internet forum full of keyboard warriors saying things like…

  •  “Why do they try to get me to sign up for an email newsletter? Email is dead.”
  • “Ugh, he uses those long-copy pages. Only scammers use long copy.”
  • “Why don’t they just reveal their price on their web page? If I don’t see a price, I just leave.”

EACH OF THESE COMMENTS ARE UNBELIEVABLY CLUELESS. I know, since I’ve tested each one. Doing just these 3 things has been worth millions for me. Yet these critics were incredibly sure of themselves.

Instead of saying, “Ugh! They’re so stupid!” they could have said, hmmm….what does he know that I don’t?


I went through this experience when I started learning about sophisticated direct-response marketing. I thought all long-copy pages and infomercials were scams. But I decided to set aside my skepticism, study them carefully, see what works and what didn’t, and decide what was ethical and what wasn’t. And I learned several insights that I never would have encountered…if I’d remained SKEPTICAL.

This one mental model — from D to C — is an example of a Success Trigger, a “shortcut” you can use to emulate top performers.

Once I learned this Success Trigger (among others), it changed everything for me. Instead of of criticizing car companies, or the local mom-and-pop shop, or even a friend, I forced myself to try to understand WHY they were doing what they were doing. From DISPARAGEMENT to CURIOSITY. And it’s opened my eyes to all kinds of deep insights I never would have realized if I’d stuck with my old mental model.

Listen, I get it — it feels GOOD to say, “How dumb!” (I do it myself, and I have to constantly force myself to go from D-to-C.) But when you have this Success Trigger, it’s truly a mental shortcut you can keep in your back pocket and apply EVERYWHERE.

Yes, this principle alone been worth millions of dollars. But it’s also helped me hone my social skills and become far more empathetic.


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