on Dec.23, 2010, under searching for John Galt...
In my opinion, Adam Smith’s invisible hand has been crushed and replaced by an open out stretched one, wanting instead of earning; expecting rather than deserving….“free loader syndrome…” is sweeping across America and most probably the world.
I was in NYC last week … at lunch, I had a young, efficient waiter from the south (I consider myself from the south) so I instantly liked him.
He is university student at a school in NYC and told me that he has two jobs and is trying to get a degree in finance.
He wasn’t pushy or salesy – just a good, quiet waiter.
My bill was $53.00 … and I gave him a $100 bill and told him to keep the change – I figured he needed the money more than I did, and it would help him have a better Christmas holiday.
I wasn’t looking for a hug, but I was annoyed to receive nearly, no appreciation from the guy… ok, he wasn’t a “free loader”, but acted as if he felt entitled to the money.
Ironically, every single taxi I took in NYC… I had to almost negotiate with the taxi driver to get out of the taxi because they were never happy with the tip I left them.
Not to mention, over the week …. I must have had 20+ normal looking people come up to me (over the week) asking (begging) for money…
But what really makes me want to vomit…
Recently, I came across a great blog about an America couple who sailed around the world – I read their blog for a couple hours until…. I noticed on the side of their site it’s written: “buy us a pizza” with a link to paypal where I can “donate” money to them…
Why would they expect people to buy them pizza, or send them money?
Why would they have such little honor to troll for money … as if they’re fishing.
All that is written: “Buy us a pizza!”
I wanted to write “Fuck off – buy your own pizza” but Sophie talked me out of it….
I could go on and on with other examples of “free loaders” bouncing in and out of my life, but its a waste of time to talk about it further…
There was a time when people had honor; and no one would dare ask their neighbor to “buy them a pizza.”
A time when people would do everything humanly, possible before they would ask their neighbor for money.
too many people are thinking “why shall I work, if I can get someone to provide for me.”
Its worth mentioning…I was in Libya a month ago – and tried to tip/give money to a young man who I met in the street who gave me a lift back to my hotel, but he graciously refused. Even when I left the money on the seat, he got out and brought it to me…
Last year in Yemen something very similar happened where I tried to tip someone, but they refused my money..
The two above examples … these people dont have two nickels to rub together, but they have something so many people no longer have: they have honor.
The american couple who sailed 4 years around the world in a kick ass sailboat … are trolling for a free pizza with no shame…and no honor.
Where is John Galt?
We have all made mistakes; we’ve all made poor choices which negatively impacted us.
To be frank: everyone has fucked up once or twice in their lives …
What’s important is learning from our mistakes, and climbing higher.
A couple of years ago, Michael Vick, a black NFL football star was convicted and sentence to federal prison for his involvement with dog fighting.
I won’t give my opinion on whether I think he would have gone to jail if he was a “white” star athlete …
Nor will I give my opinion on whether I think serving 21 months in a maximum federal prison was necessary, considering he didn’t fight Lassie against Hooch.
I definitely wont adventure into discussing why Madoff who stole billions, ruined countless people’s lives sits in a medium security, camp-like prison, but black Vick went to a maximum security … for dog fighting.
None of that has to do with today’s theme…so I will keep my opinions on those issues to myself.
At the end of the day, what Mike Vick was allegedly involved with was illegal, and a jury of his peers found him guilty, convicted him … and he served 21 months in prison.
Michael Vick made some poor choices, and suffered the consequences for his poor choices – however, his mistakes did not hurt the lives of others; he did not kill anyone; didnt steal billions; he didnt rape….
(just to be clear: in my opinion, theft, murder, rape, etc …. are not mistakes or poor choices, they are heinous crimes)
After he served nearly 2 years in a maximum federal penitentiary, he was released … and spent another 2 months in home confinement before being released.
During this time, he went bankrupt – losing something like 100+ million dollars…
After he got out of prison – the Philadelphia Eagles (one of the only NFL teams who would) decided to give Vick another chance.
To make a long ramble short – Michael Vick (his first full season back in the NFL) is having an incredible year, and has guided the Eagles to the top of their division in American football.
What a great story – the guy fuck’s up … accepts the consequences for his actions, doesn’t moan or complain about the severity ….and serves his time.
Many people would have been further sucked down by negativity; or feel sorry for themselves for the rest of their lives — the guy lost everything, and had to start over….
I really hope to see him win the super bowl.
on Dec.13, 2010, under other
Yesterday, the story of Robin Titus and his recent promotion was on the front page of the Gulf News in the UAE.
The Gulf News is one of the more popular English newspapers in the UAE – and copies are on every one of the Emirates flights, thus LP and his great success story got massive exposure.
I am in NYC this week so I did not see the paper.
However, reading the story online this morning reminded me of something the journalist and I discussed….
During the interview, the journalist mentioned that both her grandfather and father worked for their companies for their entire careers … and most of her friends grandparents and parents did the same.
I told her that so did my father and grandfather …and so did many of my friends parents and grandparents
She asked my opinion on “why did our grandparents generation, and our parents generations worked for the same company for their entire life, but now our generation people often jump job to job.”
“Why is it different today?”
Tonight I am going out to dinner with probably the most financially successful friend I have.
(He and I went to Cal together)
He is the CEO of one of America’s most reputable investment firms which employs 1100+ people in 3 continents and manages 40+ billion of investments.
He graduated from Cal in 1994 and with the exception of his first internship, my friend has been with the same company since 1995.
He climbed the ladder from an analyst to manager to senior manager to vice president to co-president to the CEO and will soon be appointed to Vice Chairman of the firm … he achieved all of this over a period of 16 years.
Many companies tried to head hunt him, but he stayed focused and loyal to his goal…”I didn’t even take their calls …” he would later tell me.
he didn’t try to rush to the summit of his mountain – he spent 16 years learning, developing and climbing…. he understood there was no short cut.
Considering my friend helped build the firm from 1 billion dollars to 40+ billion dollars, and his chairman is a multi-billionare, it goes without saying that my friend is probably close to being worth 1 billion dollars …
Surely, one day soon he will be a multi-billionare.
Could or would he have achieved the same success if he had bounced from firm to firm to firm?
I don’t think so — he doesnt think so either.
The day I announced Robin’s promotion to the Dubai office, one of the sales managers who has worked with naseba for a few years walked up to LP and gave him a big hug … and I overheard him wisper to Robin: “Finally!!!!”
I never said anything to this guy … until he reads this blog, he doesn’t even know that I heard what he said to Robin …
However …. it’s a ridiculous comment, but at the same time … it’s interesting how this sales leader looked at the situation.
Finally!!! Robin was promoted to General Manager….
Robin is 25 years old.
We live in a world today where we want it all; we want it right now… and if we don’t get it. Fuck it. We’ll find something else to want.
To be continued….
on Dec.01, 2010, under searching for John Galt...
With the risk of coming across boastful….
Yesterday, I was contacted by a leading business media in North America to write an article for them discussing my ideas on what is the best way to become a “thought leader.”
This was in reference to a Harvard Business Review article on “how to become a thought leader in six steps.”
Firstly, I state unequivocally, I am not a “thought leader.”
I don’t pretend to be a “thought leader.”
I am from the old school where there was no such thing as self promoting “thought leaders.”
The world we live in today has become so focused on self promotion, all at the same time craving acceptance from others that selfishness dominates …. pollutes our thought process.
A true “thought leader” does not need to intentionally, market and hustle his/her “thoughts….”
Like a great leader doesn’t need to command people to follow…
Is “leadership” something which can be taught?
Let’s be honest….
Can someone sitting behind a computer in a cushy office at Harvard teach leadership??
No matter how great of a leader the person might be or have been ….can the secrets to their success as a leader be summed up on a blog or in a book?
…Is ”thought leadership” something so simple it can be taught in 6 clear steps on a blog?
In reality …
What works “leading” an American employee does not necessarily work “leading” an employee in China, India, Japan, not to mention, “leading” a woman employee in Saudi Arabia…
Moreover, it can be argued that the abundance of media has created an overflow of information.
We are hammered daily by worthless content trying to sell us short cuts ….
“The secret to becoming the ultimate thought leader in just 6 simple steps…”
In my humble opinion – there are no manuals which one can buy that outline the secrets of how to lead to people….whether leading them in action or in thought.
I must admit — it would be cool to be able to boast to my 109 close friends on facebook that I wrote a post for a major business magazine sharing all the secrets of my brilliance…
however, it would go against everything this blog (I) stand for, thus I turned down the opportunity to discuss my opinion on the secrets to becoming the ultimate thought leader.
Omaha, Nebraska in late 1970’s….
I started to swim competitively, when I was 7 years old.
When I was 8 years old until I was around 12, I was one of the top swimmers in America for my age group.
My coach (my first and only coach) was very tough, and even at that young age, I was expected to train hard.
I don’t remember him to be a nice guy; he was very tough on me, but I succeeded, and swam fast. He wasn’t my friend, he was my coach.
I also did well in school, and had an overall good attitude.
My father would tell me years later – that the quality of my teammates on that first team was exceptional — most everyone on the team got good grades, and there were not trouble makers/losers bringing anyone down…at the time, that team succeeded in the pool and in their personal lives as well.
Around the time I was 13 years old, we moved and I changed swim teams.
I can still remember the first day I met my new coach.
The coach was very friendly, and I enjoyed that first swim practice with my new team.
The practice was easy.
many people came to practice late, often the older guys would waste time playing around in the locker room and just show up 5-10 minutes late.
The coach would get angry, but the next day the same thing would happen again.
There was not the same strictness as there was on my previous team I swam.
Once a guy in my lane just decided to stop and get out because he was having a bad day.
I remember the coach jokingly, punch him in the arm, and they both laughed as my teammate walked away in the middle of a tough set.
I must have been about 13 at the time, but I understood the guy was a total pussy; the set was too hard, and the coach allowed him to stop.
This never happened at my previous club.
The coach was tough.
No one missed practice.
No one was ever late because the coach wouldn’t let them practice if they were.
No one ever left early.
The age group team was easily the fastest/best in the state – one of the fastest in the country
But at my new team, there was not the same discipline — and the club/team was not successful; it wasnt even ranked top 10 in the state.
The quality of the team was different – yes, some succeeded, but there were many bad apples who ruined a bunch with their bad attitude.
The team and coach didn’t have the same core values.
After a couple weeks, I went from being the star of my age group to one of the clowns on the team.
Practice was not challenging, it wasn’t difficult at all.
I remember skipping a couple practices just to ass around with my friends ….
The coach never said anything to me.
He was a nice, friendly guy….like a buddy.
At the same time, my grades went to shit.
I had a bad attitude with my teachers and a bad attitude at home.
I went from being a great talented swimmer to just another kid in the pool.
At school, I became a class clown
To be honest, I became a fucking loser…
2-3 years of mediocrity later….
I got kicked out of school for getting bad grades and getting into too many fights – overall I was kicked out for having a bad attitude.
Luckily, my parents never gave up on me. My parents agreed to give me another chance.
They sent me to boarding school which had a strong swim program ….
The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.
I did not know before I joined, but I quickly learned ….the coaching staff, Coach Troy and Coach Shofe were well known for being (exceptionally) tough.
I lived in the dorm – it was a boarding school, but in the summer the dorm became a swim camp and summer school.
I remember my first day in the dorm … I arrived from Omaha at 9pm.
Although I was just 15 years old, I decided I would skip the morning practice (which started at 5:15) to be ready for my first day at summer school which started at 10:00.
At 5:20 am Coach Troy knocked on my dorm room door …. (I can still remember the big grin on his face and his voice) “we’re waiting for ya….”
Of course, I had to get out of bed and go to practice.
My new team’s practice schedule was very intense – double the practice yardage I had ever done before.
The coach was incredibly tough.
You could not miss practice.
You couldn’t show up late.
There were nearly, no clowns on the team …anyone who was not focused, would not make the cut … not just because the coach would kick him off, but the teammates on the team wouldn’t allow it.
Everyone was focused not just in the pool, but also in their personal lives.
I had a fairly successful first year with the team, but it wasn’t until my last two years in high school that it all click — not just in the pool, but also in school as well as in my personal life.
Practice was hell, but I really got into training hard.
Monday – Friday 5:15 – 7:30 am … school was from 9:00 – 15:00 and then swim practice from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm every day.
Saturday was just one practice, but always the toughest practice of the week.
We did sets that no other high school team would or could do.
The team thrived on working hard together – and for the most part, no one moaned and complained.
We all had the same goal – to be the best, not just as individuals, but as a team.
Reflecting back – the secret was obvious: we were led by a great coach who ensured we all had or developed the same core values.
Because we trained so hard – the team became very close and there was a possessiveness of “the team.” Clowns, mediocre, half assed teammates did not last.
There was strong pride amongst us … we considered ourselves to be the best high school swim team in America.
No one missed work out – but, no one ever wanted to miss workout.
No one was late, but no one wanted to be late – if anything, some fought to see who would be the first in the pool.
We were an exclusive team, like an exclusive club ….
And we supported each other from letting anyone or anything bring us down.
My senior year, we were the number one high school swim team in America.
Unquestionably, what made us, “the team” so good was the discipline Coach Troy instilled.
His discipline created consistency.
To be continued….