on Nov.20, 2010, under other
Today’s blog is motivated by a comment left by the Voice of Reason:
“you have written about setting goals, not rushing and sticking with your focus.
How about writing about how to keep yourself motivated and the importance of positive thought.
You are probably the most focused person I know and you are the most positive person that I know.
Is there a correlation?”
I gain focus & motivation by other people’s negativity.
When I was in university an old friend told me that I would never learn to speak fluent Japanese …. “it’s too difficult for you…”
This person’s negativity gave me focus — 6 years later, I passed the highest level on the Japanese proficiency exam, and there was a time when I was living in Japan that I spoke Japanese as well as my native tongue, English.
When I first applied to my previous company — someone told me “you will never get hired….they only take a select few…”
This person’s negativity gave me focus — and I made sure I got the job, a job which ultimately changed my life.
Maybe if this person had not been so negative….maybe if he had not told me “you will never get the job…”
I probably wouldn’t have wanted the job as much as I did, so maybe I would not have chased to ensure I got it.
When my previous company brought me to Europe to launch a division for the company in Monaco…. several people told me that I would fail….
“your aggressive American style will not work in Europe”
(in fact, I heard this in each country I worked – your style will not work in Japan; your style will not work in China; your style will not work in western Europe; etc… and each time I proved to develop the best sales offices in the region the office was located)….
This negativity gave me focus.
When we first launched naseba …
I had lunch with someone I had just met in Monaco, someone who is retired in Monaco, and extremely negative about everything, a big moaner and complainer.
Over that lunch he told me “it is going to be next to impossible to succeed with naseba … you are trying to launch a company at the wrong time…in France, which is very costly social taxes and business taxes … I think you are wasting your time…”
(I have not spoken to this person since that lunch, but 4 years later — right after we went public, he tried to call my office in Monaco and offer his services as a “board member,” needless to say we did not return his phone calls)
Over the years, I have learned (to be honest, it didnt happen over night) to not let negativity consume me, nor prevent me from achieving.
I try to never speak negatively about anyone or anything.
My grandfather is 93 years old and I have never heard him say a negative word about anyone or anything – not once.
Now adays …. It seems moaning and complaining has become a virus… a world wide epidemic.
Seriously – count how many times you or someone around you says something negative over the course of the day…
example: “I am tired…I have a headache….my boss is an idiot….this food sucks….the car in front of me is a clown….etc.”
Then go through your day and try and focus on not saying anything negative – try and not say one negative word about anyone or anything.
Nothing positive is gained by telling people you are tired; or that your meal is no good; or screaming at the car in front of you for driving like an idiot….
Negativity only brings you down and distracts from your focus.
tomorrow I will post another part to “ode to the old school…” exploring the importance of “core values”
…the importance of the team having the same core values.
on May.07, 2010, under other
Today I had lunch with a couple of friends and friends of friends…
I am not sure how or why we got into discussing (arguably) the most talented french football star who recently got arrested for having sex with a 16 year old girl ….
Now before you get upset — I think it only fair to point out the “16 year old” was a hired “call girl” - ”hooker,” or to be explicitly clear, someone who sleeps with rich men for money.
According to the news, this young woman had been hired by several of his friends to be a surprise birthday “present” for him… According to the news – he claims to have had no idea she was only 16 years old.
Since the arrest of the famous football player, the 16 year old hooker has been on french TV and in nearly all the french magazines.
I would like to point out (in my opinion) the girl looks like she is 25-30 years old. And from what I have read, she is quite experienced in the business she chose to enter.
I am not going to give my thoughts on this issue …
at the end of the day, what this football player and young “call girl” do with their lives has zero impact on mine.
One of the women at lunch, a french woman in her late 20′s rambled on an on in french about how stupid this football star is; and she commented that she was happy he has lost and will lose millions of dollars, she even giggled when she said the french player will probably go to jail….
I was so annoyed with the senseless negativity that I interupted the woman, (a girl friend of a friend of a frind of mine – I had never met her until this lunch)
To ensure what I said came across clear and aggressive – I spoke in english and suggested – “if she was going to spend so much time focused on negative ramblings she should at least be articulate with her negativity….”
(she could not explain any of her negative comments on why she was happy or why the guy was stupid– all she had been doing was studdering in negativity without clearly explaining any of her points)
Needless to say I probably wont see those people again – my guess is that Sophie and I wont get invited to their wedding….
Negativity is a virus which seems to be sweeping the world …. getting people to celebrate at the failures of others.
Instead of focusing on the positives in our lives, or at least not focusing on the negatives in others – more people than not seem to be comforting themselves by the misery of others.
On the drive back to the office Sophie laughed hysterically about the look on the woman’s face after I gave her my input ….
Sophie commented that this woman will not reflect on her nonsensical negativity …. surely, she will spend the rest of her day feeling like a victim.
Don’t waste your time focused on speaking negatively about others - whether the negatives have to do with you or not ….
Today, tonight, tomorrow … next time you are with your friends, notice how much time is spent on subjects founded in negativity, especially talking negatively about others.
Nothing positive is gained by whinning, moaning and giggling with happiness on the failures of man.
on Apr.26, 2010, under other
I haven’t kept up with my blog for a few months. Its not necessarily that I lost interest; I just didn’t have anything which I thought added value or discussion.
However, my 20th annual high school reunion took place this past weekend — I was in Paris for the weekend and did not attend the reunion, however, over the weekend I thought about the past 20 years and how much my thinking/my outlook on life has changed, especially over the past 8 years.
As most readers of this blog know, “victimization” is a theme which I hammer over and over, (naively) trying to have some form of positive impact on the reader.
….the world is full of people who go through life blaming others for their problems, mistakes or failures; a world full of people focusing on the negatives of bad situations because “it’s not fair.”
Every single day we are bombarded by negative headlines/negative news stories … pacifying us into believing that we are not responsible for our problems …..
“It’s not fair…we are vicitims”
Whether we like it or not – irrespective of whether a problem or personal set back, even if the said set back is the result of theft and betrayal, or consequences unrelated to one personally – surely, poor judgement played a key role in putting one on a path which led to a “set back” or a negative situation.
Speaking from personal experience, I could spend the rest of my life talking about how someone stole a lot of money from me; how I got screwed on a business deal; or even something small like a half assed contractor I hired to build my house….
“it’s not fair…”
But – I have grown to understand the secret —- instead of feeling sorry for myself and wasting energy each time I faced a problem thinking about how unfair something is; I reflect on why and how I put myself in the certain “unfortunate” situation.
Reflecting all the way back….. to high school to university to Japan to my first job…to China to Europe up until my life now…. whether I like it or not, each time something negative happened to me…. even a theft or betrayal or petty/small set back — poor judgement invariably, played a role in whatever unfortunate thing happened to me.
Surely, everyone or at the very least ”most people” can relate to this…
Next time you experience something negative or unfortunate in your life … instead of wasting your time focusing on the negative of the situation, reflect on how you ended up in the situation. What did you learn from it?
It does not change the negative situation, but by focusing on the positive it will help get you move on and grow.
The title of todays blog doesnt have much to do with today’s theme – but it is something which sets the tone for my blog going forward.
on Feb.07, 2010, under other
A close friend of mine, and sort of training partner … I call him Bambi because he is a very nice guy, almost too nice, innocent and sweet.
I was away for a couple days last week and did not see Bambi.
As I was laying in bed, reading the news and drinking my morning coffee the first morning back, Sophie tells me “bambi is sick.”
This was basically one of the first things she said to me so I figured it must be serious …
I asked if he had a high fever, or if he is he vomiting?
Sophie said she didnt know; Bambi just came up to her at the gym and said he was sick.
“Out of the complete blue??? this guy who is built like a roman warrior came up and told you he was sick????”
Sophie replied, “yes.”
I have known Bambi for a long time. Since I came to Dubai he has been one of my training partners and sometimes naseba works/uses his company. The guy is built like a Roman soldier and for the most part is extremely hard working and stoic ….
But …. when I met Bambi at the gym later that day, I noticed immediately he was not sick … I didn’t say anything to him, but I sent him an email later in the day suggesting he be more stoic….and asking him the purpose of telling sophie he was sick? I asked if he was looking for a pat on the head and a warm hug?
I single out Bambi which is a bit unfair, but I notice often people, esp. my american friends talk about how they do not feel good or have head aches, or back aches or they are tired….
My grandfather is 93 years old.
In my entire life, I do not remember him once complaining about anything.
I do not remember him ever once saying “I don’t feel good” or “I am tired” or “I have a head ache” etc.
When I speak to my grandparents and ask how they are doing – no matter what, they always reply they are doing great.
Of course my grandparents have aches and pains, but I have never heard them moan or complain about them. Never once.
What good does it do to tell someone, “i don’t feel good” or ”I have a headache” ?
Whats the purpose of telling somoene, even a close friend ”I feel bad” ??
Seriously, notice today how many times either yourself, or a friend says something negative which adds no value to any discussion, like “I am tired; I don’t feel good; I have a cold; I am sick.”
If you reflect - surely, you will notice even your own grandparents are/were much more stoic ….
why has the world become soft?
on Jan.12, 2010, under other
At the end of 2002, when we first started naseba, literally the very first day … I received an email and phone call from one of my ex-staff at M.E. asking if I would give him a reference.
This person had been the production manager in Tokyo as well as in my Shanghai office – and (at the time) I liked him.
I thought he was very good at his job, thus I happily agreed to give him the reference.
When the HR woman from Australia called me, I gave this ex-staff a 45 minute glowingly, positive reference and even told her that I would hire him myself if I could afford him.
The woman asked me “so you suggest we hire him?” And I said, “yes, hire him without hesitation.”
During the 45 minute conversation, she asked me how big was the team he had managed (in reality it had been around 8-10 producers) but I told the woman his team was “18-20 and the best team in the company.”
I guess my previous employee had told the woman he managed a team of 40+ …. (which I did not know before hand)
When this ex-employee did not get the job, he blamed me.
He sent me the most disrespectful email I have ever received from a previous employee, telling me I was jealous of him, I was a fluke…he threatened to black mail me….the email was ridiculously, over the top disrespectful — especially, considering I had taken super care of this Australian during the time he worked with me in Tokyo and in Shanghai.
There have been a couple others over the years who I had given a great reference, but ultimately they didnt get the job and of course blamed me…
Therefore, I have a policy where I do not give references for any ex-employee, no matter how much I might have liked the person in question – because I will be blamed if the person does not get the job.
Today, my assistant received a call from someone in Singapore asking to speak to me to get a reference for a previous manager who worked for me a while ago. When my assistant told the guy calling for the reference, I do not give references…he even told the guy, this does not reflect poorly, whatsoever on the person in question, just my policy.
Apparently, the guy calling then said to Tom, “if Scott doesn’t have 3 minutes to speak to me, then tell him to go fuck myself” …..
That’s an odd reaction from someone (presumably) in HR calling to get a reference for another person.
Just when I begin to think I have seen it all….
where is John Galt?