The way we learn is fragile (and broken)

I thought that I knew how to learn from the experience that I’ve been accumulating throughout the years of hard-work while I did my absolute best to escape my day-job (so I could be full-time helping you).

I thought that I knew how I could share what I’ve learned to you and I was certain that those new insights would enable you to instantly get massive results.

Now?

I must be feeling like the Dutch explorers when they arrived at Australia believing (like the entire Western culture) that all swans are white. Then a Black Swan appeared and it changed everything they thought they knew about swans (and opened the door for what else they were missing).

So what changed everything for me?

Nassim Taleb’s “The Black Swan”

I started reading Nassim Taleb’s “The Black Swan”.

Soon after I moved past the first pages, I stopped reading it.

I started studying it!

Studying “The Black Swan”

I underlined it. I wrote notes with questions and thoughts for future reference (and further research).

What was my biggest take-away from the book?

My biggest take-away was to realize just how fragile our knowledge really is and how easy fooled by randomness we are.

The reason why I say that our knowledge is fragile is because the way we are used to learn is also fragile.

And broken.

This is even more true in complex systems where “there is a great degree of interdependence between its elements, both temporal (a variable depends on its past changes), horizontal (variable depend on one another) and diagonal (variable A depends on the past history of B)” [Taleb].

Why is this relevant?

This is extremely relevant because on complex systems we can’t rely on the Gaussian “bell curve” to make predictions about how a system works (much less “teach” people about how A leads to B).

The Guassian “Bell Curve”

On the Gaussian “bell curve” the outliers are irrelevant since the bulk of data is in the middle (the average). Outliers are unlikely and can be safely ignored (since the odds of finding one decrease exponentially as you move away from the average).

This is not true in complex systems (like the entrepreneurship economic system). Complexity implies the presence of “fat tails” where not only outliers exist but they occur in large unpredictable jumps and they also contribute heavily to the distribution of the data.

Most training courses about entrepreneurship are built on the premise that the results of those who take the course and apply what they’ve learned (in the form of step-by-step “how-to”s based on successful case-studies) should follow a distribution that resembles the normal distribution of the Gaussian “bell curve”. If this wasn’t true the course creator would go broke with the amount of people requesting refunds.

However, the only way for the results to follow the normal distribution is if we’re working in a reality that follows that distribution. Taleb defines that kind of reality as Mediocristan. For instance earning enough money as a freelancer to pay the bills should follow the normal distribution (hence that’s why there’s so many of them). But even that claim isn’t so straight forward as you will see.

Now, “recipes” like the following DO NOT follow the normal distribution:

  • How to Charge 100X what you’re worth
  • The simple path to becoming a highly-paid expert
  • How to get 50% market share
  • The $540 Million Dollar Blueprint

In Extremistan (as Taleb calls complex systems), there is a winner-take all (not all but the large share of the results) effect. The majority of people won’t earn “$540 Million Dollar” no matter how hard they work to follow the “blueprint”.

An example of the payoff of one day can represent the majority of profits. More on http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/complexityAugust-06.pdf

The Black Swan equals the huge impact of the highly improbable (it lives in Extremistran) and it changes things, for either the good (Steve Jobs) or the bad (9/11). Forever.

We tend to learn the precise (the specific steps) that lead to the appearance of The Black Swan but not the general. Or even worse – we learn the precise and then we generalize it. We tunnel our vision of the World to make it fit what (we think) we know.

Here’s why the way we learn (and teach) is broken:

The problem with induction and learning backwards

Let’s say that you and I are turkeys and you’re coming to me with a recipe (based on past evidence of what other turkeys have done) about how to live well as a turkey.

I follow the steps that you’ve shared and indeed all goes according to plan. With every new day that comes, I confirm my observations and I grow more confident and certain about how well the plan is working until… Thanksgiving day appears and I’m the chosen turkey.

Notice that this is a Black Swan event for me (totally unpredictable to me and with a high impact) but not for the butcher.

Now let’s look at the turkeys that survived. Since they are all affected (when they’re not aware of it) by the Narrative fallacy (looking at the past and creating a story that explains why we arrived at the present), they will tell you a very persuasive and convincing story (disguised as proof) that perfectly explains WHY they are still alive while I was chosen for a different fate.

E. J. Smith was a famous ship captain that in 1907 said: “In all my experience, I have never been in any accident… of any sort worth speaking about. I have seen but one vessel in distress in all my years at sea. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort”.

Smith was later on named captain of… the Titanic.

Confirming a theory by looking at the data doesn’t tell you nothing about what is going to happen in the future and it doesn’t tell you anything about the validity of that theory.

Why?

Because all it takes is one evidence (Thanksgiving) to falsify your initial theory that the butcher is our friend and you’ll a live long life if you keep being fed by him. As Taleb describes “for large deviations, n = 1 is plenty of data (see maximum of divergence (Lévy, Petrov), or Kolmogorov-Smirno)”. (Taleb, 2013, Probability and Risk in the Real World)

The problem with reproducing results

When I was working on my Master degree in Management, my mentors always told me that doing a Case Study was the weakest form of research. Why? Because a Case Study is HIGHLY limited by the context where the action and the results were taken place.

Indeed, there are fundamental variables that we can’t replicate and that are detrimental to produce the same results that one person might have produced (or think they’ve produced – more on this later on):

Time

One of interesting things about time is that it doesn’t go backwards. Yet, we believe that if something worked for someone once, it must work every time (until it doesn’t).

Time by itself doesn’t change (there’s always 24 hours in a day) but the World changes. Trying to replicate the actions that young Bill Gates did when he launched Microsoft won’t do us any good nowadays because the way the economy works today is different.

Space

The space where we live in also plays a significant role in the way that the future unfolds. Why? Because it determines the people we live with (and by implication, the opportunities we get).

Yes – with the Internet we are everywhere and we can talk with anyone in the World. That’s true. But what’s also true is that the offline world still provides for important serendipitous encounters that might just create the opportunity that we were looking for. This means that it doesn’t matter how hard I study how Steve Jobs was successful since the times are different and I’m not in the same space that he lived.

This leads to the third point…

People

We are all unique and connected with each other.

Even if I went back in time and lived in the same surroundings as Steve Jobs and tried to replicate his every move (based on what we know that he did back then), I’m certain that I wouldn’t be as successful as he was at doing what he did. And that’s the key! He wasn’t following a specific plan on “how to lead a successful business like “Case X” and change the World”.

Let’s get serious about this “predictable outcome” business – two people follow the same recipe to cook a cake and at the end of the process there will be two different cakes. I bet not even YOU can make same dish twice and make it taste the same.

There’s also something else that is worth noticing…

The unknown unknowns (and the problem of silent evidence)

Even though we might not know something, that unknown has the power to influence the outcome of your actions because both what you do and what you don’t matter!

With the turkey we saw that we can do the same actions over and over again (A), get the results we want (B) AND still be surprised with a high impact event (C) that kills us precisely because we kept doing for A – staying with the Humans and let them feed us, instead of going for D – escape the Humans! For the turkey, the unknown information was that Humans like turkeys for Thanksgiving.

You might NOT being doing something (while not being aware of it) that might be the reason why people are responding the way they do. The same thing goes for something that you might be DOING (but unaware of it).

But even in the extreme situation that you are AWARE of everything you do and everything you don’t do, you’ll never know (and replicate) the natural randomness that is part of life. This randomness plays a critical role in creating the significant events that shape our lives.

Let’s say that you and I are walking through ice. I’m following you as I place my feet exactly where you placed yours every step of the way. Suddenly, the ice breaks just as I place my left foot where your left foot was just a second ago.

Why?

Maybe you were lighter than me. Maybe the way you move is different than mine. Or maybe the ice was about to break anyway (you just made it easier for it to break on the next stress event for the ice).

Who knows?!

How your actions influence the results you get

Have you ever read that research that says that the best time to send an e-mail and get it to be opened is (I’m making this up now because it doesn’t matter) Tuesday at 10PM?

The research results: 60% of the people got 30% open rate and a 15% click rate.

But imagine that person A got and amazing 97& open rate and 87% click rate sending emails on Saturday 8AM. Since it’s just one person in a sample of let’s say 1000 people, this amazing example was diluted.

Now let’s go back in time with person A, before he even started sending e-mails. We showed him the research data and sure enough he started sending emails on every Tuesday at 22PM. His results? 20% open rate and 15% click rate. Not bad but SO FAR AWAY of what he could have done.

See the problem with “knowledge” and “evidence based research” being misused as truth? Not only is he getting poor results, he is also more “blind” at what’s missing because, after all, he’s following the “industry’s best practices”.

But it doesn’t stop here. Let’s continue with our “best time to send an e-mail” example.

By sharing the results, you are changing how the agents in the environment behave! And THAT changes the future results.

Before the research was done nobody knew when was the best time to send an e-mail (except those who were already testing their own actions). However, after the research was published, the information within it changed how internet marketers (and other pros who rely on e-mail for a living) behave and THAT changes the results.

Suddenly, people’s e-mail boxes started to be “attacked” with a stream of e-mails every Tuesday at 22PM. What’s the effect that this will make on how people respond to e-mails sent at that time? I don’t know.

What I do know is that Chris Brogan is sending his newsletters on Sunday morning because he wanted to escape the e-mail rush hour that most were chasing after.

Sharing the information that worked for most people, decreased its potential power for those who will use it.

The core issue here is that what you know (and what others know) will change how that outcome is produced!

However if person A sticks to his own tests, he would have kept getting great results sending emails on Saturday at 8AM (until it eventually stopped working)!

Ok. Now what?!

I’ve been researching, brainstorming and working on a new way to overcome the challenges that I’ve showed you and I’m building something very interesting that I can’t wait to tell you about it.

But now I want to hear from you!

What do you think about the things you’ve read? Do they challenge you? Do they make you upset? Do you agree? Disagree?

I’ll see you in the comments bellow!

P.S: If you want to get more insights like this, share your e-mail bellow so I can send it to you (plus exclusive content that I don’t post here).

P.P.S [21-10-2013]: Two articles from The Economist shed more light about the fragility of how we learn and teach:

How to turn your dream into reality


Hi Dreampreneurs!

This post is based on the advice that I’ve shared with one of the members The Rabbit Way’s Dream list.

Her dream was to write a book and she was struggling with finding time to actually going through the process that is involved with writing a book.

I’m sharing my answer because I hope that it inspires you on your own journey to turn your dreams into reality!

1. “and eventually write my book of short stories”

Someday… doesn’t exist!

This isn’t going to happen. Not until you decide that this isn’t something you’ll do EVENTUALLY.

Try saying out loud this two phrases:

a) I will eventually write my book of short stories

b) I will write my book of short stories

Did they feel the same? I bet that b) made you feel different. Maybe a mix of enthusiasm and fear combined. If your dream doesn’t make you feel that way, it’s not really a dream.

Words have power.

2 – “Maybe some encouragement, something to motivate me would really help!”

Remember the WHY that drives you!

The best encouragement and motivation that you need is a BIG WHY! Answer these questions to find your BIG WHY (add your comments bellow):

WHY is writing a book a must for you and not a should?

WHY can’t you stay where you are and why must you start this journey?

What would Life look like if you gave up on this dream?

Is this worth doing even if you don’t reach the outcome that you’re looking for?

3 – The only thing that has the power to turn dreams into reality is action. You have to take action! That’s why the word Action is within the word Attraction.

You have to take ACTION!

You can’t wish your way into writing a book or to achieve anything worth doing! You have to do the work. It’s going to be hard and you will have to give up on other things to MAKE TIME to do this.

“My struggle is finding the time to write.”

Every day has 24 hours. How you use those 1440 minutes is up to you.

If you write for 30 minutes (only 2% of a full day) every day for an entire year (365 days), it would be like writing for more than 7 and half days NON STOP (full 24 hours)!

The reason why you find it hard to find time to write is because you didn’t make it a priority to write (yet).

The first step is to make it a top priority (remember the BIG WHY that you’ve set before).

Next thing you need to do is to know the natural states of you body and mind. This means that you need to be aware when you’re more often in a state where your creativity just flows almost effortlessly. For example, for me it’s at dusk and at through the evening. In the mornings? For me it would be impossible to do any creative work but that’s the time that I use to do more left-side brain work.

Yes – there’s times when you need to use your will power to do the work but it would be a mistake to go against what your body and mind are naturally ready to do.

How do you find this? You have to try and notice what works for you.

4 – “Can you help make my dream a reality?”

Do not underestimate the power of luck

I can be a guide on your journey because only you can do this.

But here’s the interesting thing: your dream might not become a reality.

Some of greatest writers of all time (at least what we call now great writers) died without being recognized as a great writer (i.e. Edgar Alan Poe).

The great successes that the World praises today are a mix of great talent and… luck! Luck as in the successful combination of perfect timing, content, connections and a series of other unpredictable factors that cannot be controlled.

My take on it? Instead of trying to craft the perfect plan to become the next BIG success, do everything you can to maximize your exposure to luck.

Exposing yourself to luck means:

a) Persistence – the more often you “show up”, the greater the chance of luck to find you;

b) Connect – the more connections you have, the bigger your reach is. So connect with your readers and your fans. Connect with other writers. Connect with those who challenge you as well. You need them all!

c) Take Action – write, write and write! Compared with the rest, that’s the easy part right?

Now for this to be really helpful, you have to answer these questions with total honesty. And above all else, you have to take action on whatever you decide.

I also created a course call LeadingLifeBeyondGoals.com that expands on everything that I’ve wrote here and covers 6 core areas that you need to master to increase your chances of turning your dream into reality.

I’m looking forward to know YOUR answers about YOUR Dreams!

Come on… What are you wainting for?

The Best Motivation of All

I believe that the best motivation of all is NOT to do something to please others (so we can have some 15 minutes of fame).

The best motivation of all is NOT to do something to judge others (because in the end it will only give more energy to something we don’t believe in).

The best motivation of all is NOT to do something because we’re absolutely certain that we’re going to make it (Life shows us how pathetic our attempts to plan and control what is unpredictable by Nature).

For me the best motivation of all is to do something that is worth doing and is worth being lived EVEN if it doesn’t get the desired result that we were looking for (whatever the result might be).

Many of the truly great Artists of all time died without being celebrated or recognized for their contributions. However, they did what their Heart told them to do and THAT is the reason why we’re here: to use our Gifts to share our Art with the World.

Are you ready?

Against all odds?

Have you ever thought about your chances of success? By success I mean achieving your goals: turning your dream into reality!

Yes?

How did you measure your chances of you being the next J. K. Rowling? The next Steve Jobs? What are the odds of YOU building the next Facebook or Twitter?

If you followed that kind of thought pattern to find your chances, you had to divide the number of successful examples (very few) with the total number of everyone who tried to do the same but failed (a lot of people).

If you did this exercise then you know how extremely low your chances are to do the same. Unless you don’t really want to do the same… Unless those odds aren’t really your odds.

Let’s talk about odds because I want to play a game with you.

What are the odds…

I have a coin. If I toss the coin, what are your chances of getting heads (H) or tails (T)?

50/50 right? There’s a 50% chance of getting H or T. Assuming that the event was truly random (fair toss with a fair coin), this means that if I tossed the coin 100 times, the H count would approximately be around 50. Same thing with the T count.

Would you agree that your odds will be the same if we play this game tomorrow or the next day?

Yes? Perfect! So what you’re saying is that no matter how many times I toss the coin, your chances of getting H or T will always be 1/2 (50%). And that’s correct. Or is it?

I tossed the coin. You got H.

What your chances of getting H again on the next toss?

Are they still 50%?

Before you answer, think about this: what are the possible outcomes for one coin toss?

HT. That’s it. Head or Tails.

What about 2 coin toss in a row? HH TT HT TH – you have a total of 4 possible outcomes. This means that your chances of getting HH is only 1 in 4: 1/4 = 25%.

What about 3 coin toss in a row? HHH HHT HTH THH TTT TTH THT HTT – this time you have a total of 8 possible outcomes. Getting another H is a 1 in 8 chance or 1/8 = 12,5%.

4H in a row is 1/16. 5H in a row is 1/32. Your chances get 50% lower with every toss. By the time we do 10 coin tosses in a row, your chances of getting HHHHHHHHHH are 0,09%.

So let me ask you again: what your chances of getting another H on the second toss of our game?




Choose your answer

Is it 50% or 25%?

Click on one of the answers above

P.S: this post was loosely based on a remarkable book that I’m reading entitled “The Black Swan – the impact of the highly improbable” by Nassim Taleb!

The Black Swan is a master piece by Nassim Taleb

Highly recommended reading!

P.P.S: I published an episode of The Rabbit Way of Trance podcast with the same title. You can listen to it bellow:

Are You Leading Life Beyond Goals?

I had all figured it out.

When I started working at a web software development company (as I was finishing my Computer Engineering degree), I believed that my technical skills (being great at what I do) was a ticket for being successful.

Soon, I realized that it was your people skills that would determine how high you would climb in the hierarchy pyramid. It just isn’t enough to be great and to do great work – you have to show others just how great it is (by showing them how valuable that is to them)!

For me this was the start of my journey that had one major goal – to learn how I could influence and persuade people. Isn’t that what most believe what leadership is?

Along the way things turned out great for me as I achieved what most thought it was impossible:

a) landed what I considered to me my dream job working on the software development of the home-banking system of a major Portuguese bank
b) finished a Master degree in Management (so I could master not only my persuasion skills but also my leadership skills)
c) launched my own entrepreneurship journey – The Rabbit Way

I achieve those three big goals at the same time. Oh! And I got married to my beautiful wife Carla (she is the one that brings out the very best in me) – without her I wouldn’t be here writing to you!

However, there was two very important (and painful) lessons that I learnt:

1) Achievement doesn’t lead to fulfillment

I still felt that something was missing.

How could this happen? Aren’t we suppose to fell happy when we get what we want? Isn’t that the definition of what Success is?

If achieving your goals isn’t the secret to live a meaningful Life… then what is?

2) You can’t control how others see you and judge you

I learnt that no matter how good your intentions are and how good you are at influencing and persuading other people’s perception, there will ALWAYS be some that will support you AND there will ALWAYS be some that will judge you in a negative way!

This moment was also a wake-up call to me as I realized how tired I was of being a slave of someone else’s dream and trying to fit in into someone else’s master plan.

I was tired of investing more than 8 hours a day creating bits and bytes that were worthless because they weren’t attached to a worthwhile purpose.

I was tired of following a path that wasn’t designed for me to take.

It was time for me to create my own path.

It was time for me to reclaim my role as the leader of my own life!

This decision changed my life.

I promised myself that this time the journey wasn’t about achievement but about the fulfillment of a worthwhile purpose. My purpose.

Since life is such a precious miracle and since we don’t know how much time we have to experience it, the question that I asked myself was:

“How can I make my life as meaningful as possible?”

That question lead me to find many teachers. One common way to find the answer to that question is to ask another one:

“What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?”

While searching for answers to this questions was an interesting exercise to do, I noticed that fear was always around. Why? One reason is because our brain isn’t easily fooled by our conscious mind. As soon as you think “I’ll do this” and start doing it, your brain goes “who are you kidding? You know that this IS going to fail!”.

And you will fail! But will you learn, grow and get up? That’s up to you!

When adversity shows up on your journey, you better have a BIG WHY driving you or else you’ll quit and move on to another thing.

So I changed my initial question to:

“What would I do even if I knew that I would die because of it?”

You’re not giving ALL you’ve got, until you’re ready to give your life for it.

This isn’t about becoming fearless. That’s impossible. It’s about becoming unstoppable!

People lead their lives without noticing that we’re all already dying. Each breath that you’re taking right now isn’t granted. How are you honoring it?

I believe that the best way to honor each breath that we take is by living in full alignment with who we are and what our purpose is. What about you?

That was the start of my “Leading Life Beyond Goals” journey. Along the way I learned that your goals are worthless if:

  • a) you don’t know where you’re going (Leadership)
  • b) you don’t believe that you can do it (Beliefs)
  • c) you don’t see yourself doing it (Visualization)
  • d) you don’t have a (Plan)
  • e) you don’t have strategies for taking (Action)
  • f) you don’t have an auto-pilot to drive you (Habits)

When these 6 modules work together in a holistic way, your chances of actually achieving your goals increase.

It’s not a matter of aiming too high or too low to reach your goals. Those things, as important as they are, don’t matter IF your goals aren’t worthwhile goals!

What’s a worthwhile goal? A worthwhile goal is a measure of your progress on a meaningful journey towards a compelling destination!

Now here’s what makes a significant different in each one of those 6 modules:


a) Leadership isn’t about influencing others. Leadership is about creating a legacy together.

Leadership isn’t something you do to people but with people. And above all else, like Margie Blanchard said: “Leadership IS love! Is loving your mission. Is loving your employees. Is loving your customers. And get this – it’s loving yourself enough to get out of the way so others can become magnificent”.

A common Leadership myth about goals is that 3% of Harvard students who wrote down their goals and ended-up earning more than the other 97% together. However, there’s no evidence about that research. More on http://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastianbailey/2012/10/02/the-truth-about-goals


b) Your beliefs determine your destiny. Why? Because you can’t rise above what you believe in!

For instance, whatever you might believe that you can do will determine the amount of potential that you will be able to use. That will influence both the efficiency and efficacy of your actions. Your actions will determine the results that you’ll get. Your results will either reinforce your initial belief or break it!

Control what you focus and the meaning you give so you can fuel your empowering prophecy for your life!

Myth? Research shows that your beliefs determine the amount of potential that you can use. More on http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/placebo-effect-produces-higher-test-scores-54276

“Believe in yourself even when nobody else does. I’ve never met a successful person who’s been successful without facing a lot of adversity” – Harvey Mackay


c) The more you’re able to visualize the outcome you’re looking for, the more your brain (specifically your Reticular Activating System) can help you see the opportunities that will lead you to make it happen! However, don’t let this exercise keep up from enjoying the journey along the way!

“Describing the goals of working out boosted the students’ intentions to exercise. The students who focused on their goals actually ended up running on the treadmill for less time than the students focused on the experience (34 minutes vs 43 minutes)”. More on http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000222

“If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar


d) Having a plan helps you focus on what’s need to be done instead of getting lost in activities that make you look busy but don’t lead you anywhere!

But remember that as you evolve on your journey, you’ll change! You’ll learn new things and you’ll grow as a leader and as a person! This means that what you might thought that it was a worthwhile goal 6 months ago, now it doesn’t resonate. Or the World changed (new economy/new competition)… Why would you want to stick to a plan that doesn’t survive a reality check?

Adapt, re-plan and just keep going but beware: research shows that “expected progress leads to moving away from the active goal”. More on http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/ayelet.fishbach/research/FD_JCR_05.pdf

“Plans are useless. Planning is indispensable” – Dwight Eisenhower


e) There’s a reason why the word “Attraction” has the word “Action” within it.

All the knowledge in the World is only (at best) potential power and it doesn’t become power until you use it! This means that whoever is ready to respond to what Life throws at him, will have a better chance to be successful.

If this is true, you better have strategies to maximize your productivity, your motivation and to handle your competition. And this is just some examples to get you started!

Now notice the results of this research about procrastination: “People are twice as likely to recall with specific detail the tasks that they interrupted than the ones they did (Zeignarnik) and after being interrupted, 90% of the participants kept working on the task until it was finished, even thought the experiment was over”! More on http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1982.tb00745.x

Taking action is the best antidote to beat procrastination!

“Information is NOT power. It’s only potential power. Only one thing gives you power: ACTION” – Anthony Robbins


f) All that we’ve covered until this point is really important. However, if every time you need to engage with the activities referred on the previous modules, you need to consciously think about them – you’ll be in trouble. That’s why you need to develop Habits to make them part of who you are (meaning, part of your unconscious mind).

You can do this by repeating both the trigger and the action that you want to perform through will-power. But if you add pleasure as a reward for the outcome that you’re looking to automate, you’ll have better chances to create a habit that sticks.

But don’t stress too much about the time that it takes to develop a habit because “for one person it took just 18 days, and another did not get there in the 84 days, but was forecast to do so after as long as 254 days. The best estimate is 66 days, but it’s unwise to attempt to assign a number to this process”. More on http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/hbrc/2012/06/29/busting-the-21-days-habit-formation-myth/

“Excellence, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle

What about you?

What’s your way to lead a Life beyond goals?

This post was loosely based on my course at LeadingLifeBeyondGoals.com so feel free to explore it! I would LOVE to welcome you there!

This post will also serve as a framing post for the #LeadWithGiants chat on Twitter at 7:00 pm EST, Monday! I hope that you can join us!

This is a Call to LOVE

We all want to feel significant.

We all need to feel that we matter.

To fulfill these needs, some of us go on a journey to build something while others decide to destroy something.

Yesterday, unfortunately Boston witnessed the second path.

The shock waves of that tragic event expanded well beyond Boston and the United States of America. It affected everyone around the World who believes in freedom and love.

Prayers are being sent all over the World, help is being delivered and powerful questions are being asked…

How can this happen?

Above everything else I believe that it’s our lack of connection with each other.

The irony of this is that we’re living in an age where we’re all linked to each other but we’re still missing the connection that happens when we see each other. I’m not using the word “see” in its literal meaning but to represent what happens when you see yourself in others!

Our lack of connection is a symptom of the fundamental issue: our lack of LOVE for each other.

Think about it: do you even know the name of your neighbors? How do you greet your colleagues at work? Do you casually say “good morning” trying not to make too much eye contact or do you see them and shake their hands? Do you even say “good morning” at all?

On Twitter, some people were recommending that Americans should stop their scheduled tweets. Chris Brogan got a lot of heat by stating a very valid point: “did you stop tweeting last week when other tragedies happened? That’s my only point.”

While we go on with the hypnosis of our every day life, taking each breath we take for granted, bombs explode every day in other parts of the World. Every day. Extreme acts of terror, like the one in Boston, are desperate acts of hate that say “since you don’t care when bombs explode at our homes while you live your perfect lives, we will send you a reminder of how we feel”.

This and other kinds of twisted motives are driven by a lack of connection between us all.

What does this mean?

For some, this means that Life is a fragile miracle that we should treasure dearly with every minute that we’re blessed to live.

For others, this means that it’s time to settle things straight and make somebody pay.

Me?

This means that the World is in desperate need for more LOVE and connection with each other!

What can I (me and you) do about it?

One of the worst feelings we can have is to feel that there’s nothing we can do.

While it’s true that there’s nothing we can do to change what happened, there’s much we can do to change the future!

You can kill dictators with bullets and you can destroy their armies with bombs. But you can’t destroy the ideas that lead them to do this.

However, you can change those ideas with new ones. Yes – YOU and me!

Martin Luther King Junior had a dream and the same was true for everyone who made a significant impact in our World.

This is my dream – for everyone of us to be LOVE and connect with each other in a meaningful way.

My dream is for us to go together – beyond the boundaries of our countries and beyond the beliefs of our religions so we can live grounded in this fundamental truth: WE ARE ONE!

This is a CALL FOR LOVE – the way to reconnect each other, to see each other and to live a meaningful Life!

Those who died on the marathon, died believing that every one of us can make a difference. Even doing something so simple as running. So don’t underestimate the power of sharing your smile with others; the power of listening to others without looking for who’s right or wrong; the power of sharing your kindness to a stranger;

My way of honoring their memory is to give my life to be a source of Love and connection with each other!

Final thoughts

The World heals, not when we judge each other but when we LOVE each other.

I believe that the World is in desperate need for more LOVE and connection.

Can your right hand hurt your left hand without feeling pain? That’s what happens when we become 1 in a divine union in Love! But because that connection is broken, our right hand is cutting our left hand without feeling pain…

Every one of us can be a force for LOVE that reconnects us to each other to our core reason why we’re here – to love and be loved! Everything else, like a Monopoloy game, is going back into the box when everything is over.

Let’s turn this tragedy into an opportunity to seize every moment and honor each breath we take by sharing our LOVE with everyone around us right now!

And let us find our inner peace and courage to do this, on a daily basis even when nobody cares; even when we’re laughed at; even when we’re misunderstood; even we’re judged; even when we’re hated; even when we’re fought against; because we know that our ultimate outcome is to win.

Don’t wait for others to join you.

Just get going.

We need you to!

Now what really matters is

What will you do?

Are you Leading with Rules or Leading with Love?

Are you leading your community with rules about what NOT TO DO or are you leading them with your example and how you model what you would love them TO DO?

Are you making rules so they can’t blame about something that they did or are you giving them guidelines that accentuate the positive behavior that you’re looking for in yourself and in others?

When you live and lead by a guideline that says – do all things with LOVE and BE LOVE, you don’t need a rule to say that they’re not allowed, for instance, to post racist comments.

What’s my leadership point of view?

I’m focusing on becoming my best so I can make a meaningful impact in the lives of those I serve.

I believe that we need to trust our community with the high Values that guide our Life (not something that’s written and posted on a wall) and expect them to honor those values.

I believe that we should praise those whose behavior honors those Values, redirect those who are still learning them and reprimand those who should know better!

What to do?

Don’t tell them what to do. Show them who to be and let them do something awesome guided by the Values you lead them to care about.

Remember the 10 Commandments from the Bible? They were filled with what people should NOT do. Then Jesus came along and was asked:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

What’s next?

If you resonate with this way to leading a community and you would love to be a part of something like this, then you will LOVE our Dreampreneurs community!

To join this community, share the worthwhile dream that you’re working to turn into reality and what’s the meaningful impact that it’s going to make in the World!

If you’re not a Dreampreneur (yet) but you want to become one (or you want to gain more clarity on your Dream), you’re welcome to join too!

The Mission of this community is to help each other become our best selves so we can unleash the meaningful impact of our Dreams happen! Our core Values are Love – for ourselves, for what we do and for each other; Family – because none of us is as smart as all of us and we’re stronger together; and Courage – to live aligned with this values.

Our Mission and our Values are meant to spark a service-oriented attitude in the Hearts of all involved. It should inspire us to love ourselves enough to get out of the way so we can help others become magnificent. So YES – if your latest blog post can help any of our members, please share it. Just don’t use this space to say “Hey! Read and share my latest post! Don’t forget to +1! Thanks!!!”.

I’m looking forward to get to know you better (so I can help you better) and to welcome you to where the Dreampreneurs hangout on Google+!

Join us because this is going to be a really worthwhile journey!

Why You Are Addicted to New

This post is inspired by Chris Brogan‘s newsletter message entitled “Get More Out of Your Learning“. I thought that you might be interested in what I replied to him, because I will show you why you are addicted to get the next shinny new thing. The new course. The new book. The new promise that things will be better.

The theme of your lesson today (I like to think about these e-mails as lessons), reminded me of some wise words from one of my mentors Harvey Mackay – “Knowledge isn’t power… until you use it!” (loved your interview with him when he was launching “The Mackay MBA of selling in the real world” book. I’m reading it now).

When you said that those who don’t apply what they’ve learnt think “I already know this. I get it. When will I learn something new?” – you’re absolutely right. And the reason why they think this way is the same reason why they blame everyone and everything else for what they haven’t achieve in Life. Because if they keep doing this, they believe that they don’t have to face the real truth – that it’s up to them.

The thought process that is running underneath the one you identified is this:

“This can’t be it… it just can’t! I can’t believe that Chris isn’t telling me THE REAL SECRET! This can’t be ALL there is to know and to do… because……. if this really is the way to achieve what I want to achieve AND I’m not making it then……. then this means that I’m a failure. This means that it’s my fault. This means that I’m not good enough.”

That’s how powerful words and beliefs are in shaping our ability to control our destiny.

Another reason that explains this behavior is our preference for potential over proven results.

No, it’s not a typo – recent research shows that potential “appears to stimulate greater interest and processing” on our brain “which can translate into more favorable reactions”.

(Isn’t this the reason why you’re reading this post? “Hmmm… It’s the Rabbit Way guy. This has the potential to be worth a minute or two.” *Click*)

Now, the question is how do we change this? I’m saying WE because I believe that you and I are on the same mission – to help people unleash their potential and inspire them to make a meaningful impact in the World, right?

I believe that the answer is: you break their pattern by destroying the premise that is enabling it to run and to become stronger every time they run it.

What’s the premise?

There are several ones that reinforce each other, but the greatest one is this:

“For me to win, you have to lose because there can be only one winner and the purpose of any game is to win, right? Or else, why would you play it at all? And isn’t the same thing with Life? The purpose of Life is for you to achieve whatever you want to achieve, to be a Success, to be Winner! When you do that… and your your goals are done… then you have my permission to die” (couldn’t resist ending with a Bane quote)

What this premise fails to realize is that achievement alone doesn’t lead to fulfillment.

Success is the science of achievement – it’s about getting what you want. Whatever that is, more money, more power, more status. Let me be clear Chris: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with money, power or status. The problem is if you start believing that those things represent who you are!

What most people don’t talk about is what Glory is. Glory is the art of fulfillment – it’s about being willing to live… and die for a worthwhile purpose.

Now get this Chris: while some of us won’t reach the level of Success that we want, we can ALWAYS reach for Glory every time that we honor each breath by living in a meaningful way while making a significant impact in the lives of others. An impact that will outlast our life.

Most people live like Life was something you’re supposed to survive as long as you can. I believe that it’s not. The purpose of Life is to live as meaningfully as we can.

So, here’s what I did in my own life to escape that dreadful premise that I was living in. Oh yes my friend… I’ve been there chasing the path for achievement so I could prove my worth. I’ve earned a Computer Engineering degree while working at the same time. Then I landed my dream job and earned a Master degree in Management at the same time AND launched The Rabbit way. Meanwhile I’ve found the Love of my life BUT STILL… I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. Something else was missing…

What did I do?

Instead of trying to answer the question that most people suggest you should answer “what would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail?”, I chose to answer this one instead:

What would you do EVEN if you knew that you would DIE because of it?

Here’s why this second question is much more powerful. I need you to look at your goals list. Do you have one?

Ok. Now look at your BIGGEST goal for this year. The goal that you really feel that you MUST achieve it because it really means a lot. Got it?

Now answer this to yourself with absolute honesty: would you still do everything you can do achieve that goal, if you knew that you would die because of it? What about your mission and purpose in Life?

If the answer is no, then you’re not giving all you’ve got. And you won’t be able to give ALL you’ve got until you’re ready to give your life for it.

The interesting thing about this way of looking at Life, is that some people find it too extreme… Crazy Portuguese guy, talking about Death…

Or am I really talking about Life?

See, everything around you and I right now… is dying. You and me? We’re dying too. There’s nothing we can do to stop it but there’s ONE powerful thing we can do about it: DECIDE what you want you to live and die for!

Because when we do this, that’s the moment when we become unstoppable.

It doesn’t matter if we’re going to win or lose. For us? All that matters is if we’re living in full alignment with who we are while making a meaningful impact in the World.

What’s your thoughts on this? Did it resonated with you? Share in the comments bellow how are you dealing with this so we can all be better prepared to handle it!

Going beyond Fear

This was the advice I shared with someone who was struggling with taking action and following through with their decision to pursue their freedom by starting a business

First, let me praise the courage that you displayed here. Asking for help and sharing our fears with others isn’t easy.

I know this because for quite some time I thought that I needed to be the role-model of fearlessness. I thought that I needed to have all the answers. The reason why I did this wasn’t for the pleasure of my own EGO but for the peace of mind of those who support me and who rely on me for leadership.

I thought that if they saw fear or doubt in my eyes, they would feel like this journey that we’re doing together was over…

I was wrong.

You know what I learned?

I learned that we’re not using ALL our strength and wisdom until we ask for ALL the strength of those around us.

Ken Blanchard, one of my Life’s heroes, says this and it’s absolutely true – “None of us is smarter than all of us”.

One of the best decisions of my Life was to allow others to help me. To invite their wisdom, skills and passion to help me reach higher than ever. That’s what you’re doing right now so – WELL DONE!

“I’m experiencing fears around whether I really want to do this at all”

That’s perfectly normal. In fact, I would be worried if you didn’t have any fears at all!

To go where we’ve never been before, we have to do things that we’ve never done before. This ignites a part of our brain called the amygdala – a primitive part of our brain that is involved in the process of memory and emotional reactions.

Guess what fear is? That’s right, it’s an emotional “reaction”. It’s there to keep you safe from anything that you feel like it’s a threat!

On the last sentence we used one very important word. A word that is a key to unstuck you from the state of helplessness that you were feeling. The powerful word is “feel” – anything that you feel like it’s a threat.

So where does this feeling come from? From our beliefs.

See, one person can be about to jump from the top of a cliff to do skydiving and believing that it’s going to be the best experience of their lives and feeling great about it while the other one can be feeling like their legs are about to crumble because they don’t really believe if they can do it and aren’t really sure if the parachute will work!

It’s the same process that happens when an artist is about to go on stage. Their palms are sweaty; heart is racing; stomach is feeling funny; head is spinning; mouth is dry; chills run through your body. And that’s the moment one of them knows that they are breaking-through and ready to rock that stage, while the other knows that they are breaking-down and ready to get the hell out of there!

The feelings that I described earlier don’t mean anything besides the meaning that each person CHOOSES to give it. One person believes that heart racing, palms sweaty and stomach feeling funny equals “ready to rock” and the other believes that it equals “ready to run”.

The good news is that you can change this.

You really can.

How?

Here’s the fastest way that to get you the results you want.

1. Change your words

Be aware of the words that you’re using! What kind of vocabulary are you using? An empowering one where are possibilities everywhere or are you using a dis-empowering one where everything that happens means that you’re a loser?

Catch yourself saying something like “hmmmm I’m feeling really nervous about this” and then CHANGE IT to “NO! I’m not nervous! What I am is really EXCITED about this!”.

Catch yourself going “Oh my God I’m not sure if I can deal with this problem…” and then CHANGE IT to “This challenge is here to help me become who I need to be so I can get to where I want to be! LET’S DO THIS!”

2. Change your physiology

Physiology is just a big word to describe how you are using your body.

The next time that you catch yourself in that state of fear, notice how you are using your body! Notice how you are walking. Notice how you are breathing!

Failing to use your physiology in an empowering way is what makes affirmations useless.

Don’t take my word for it. Try this simple exercise!

Say “I’m not afraid anymore” 10 times standing with your body like this -> BODY STANCE 1. Let your head down, shoulders shrugged and your back like you’re so tired that you can barely stand.

Done?

Notice how you are feeling now?

Ok.

Now, say “I’m not afraid anymore” 10 times standing with your body like this -> BODY STANCE 1. Head high, shoulders down, chest up and your back straight.

Done?

Felt any different?

See, what you just did was what Tony Robbins defines as an incantation. What makes an incantation so powerful is that it sends direct signals to your nervous system telling it that you mean it.

I also like to add music to this technique. I’m sure that you have different kinds of music in your mp3 library that have the power to shift your state into happiness, sadness or other emotions right?

Add a song that maximizes the effect that you’re looking to get with your incantation!

3. Master your Mind

Where ALL wired to fundamentally 3 things: to look for meaning; to create meaning and to live a meaningful Life.

The first one – “to look for meaning” is what you do when you decide what to focus on! Here’s how:

You said – “I just feel kinda despondent, my life does not look how I would have liked it to (yet) and that gets me down”

When you’re in that state, what do you focus on?

Are you focusing on the things that you can control or the ones that are completely out of your control and that you can’t do nothing about them?

Are you focusing on where you want to go or where you don’t what to be?

Are you focusing on all the reasons why it won’t work or all the reasons why it has to?

By focusing on what you can actually control (like your attitude, how you’re using your body, the words you’re saying, the skills that you’re training), the feeling of being despondent will disappear.

Now, after focusing on something you know what we’re wired to do? To give it a meaning.

So what’s the meaning that you’re giving to what you are focusing on?

Does it mean that it’s end or the beginning? Does it mean that it’s all over or is it just starting? Does it mean that you are a loser or that you are a champion?

Get this – YOU get to choose the meaning because nothing has any meaning besides the meaning you give it!

And finally, the last decision you have to make is what are you going to do about it? The best way to destroy a dis-empowering belief and start building a powerful and empowering belief is through ACTION.

Knowledge isn’t power. You can read all the articles that I’ve published on The Rabbit Way and it won’t give you absolute no POWER at all. There’s only one thing that can give you power and that’s action.

That’s why knowledge doesn’t become power… until it is used! Yes – these strategies that I shared with you, as important as they are (AND THEY ARE), aren’t nearly as powerful if you don’t follow this last advice.

Most people would tell you to ask yourself what would you do IF you knew that you couldn’t fail.

But guess what? YOU WILL FAIL! I can guarantee you that. And you will fail more than once!

The reason I’m giving you this reality check is because I believe that when we’re banging our heads against a wall, positive thinking won’t do us any good. We can’t use the Law of Attraction to “attract” a door. We have to open our eyes, believe that there is a door somewhere, see the door AND open the door so we can walk out of there.

So instead of answering that lousy question, answer this one:

What would you still do EVEN if you knew that you would die because of it?

The purpose of Life isn’t to survive as long as we can. The purpose of Life is to live as meaningful as we can.

If you make this decision in your Heart, you’ll be LIGHT YEARS ahead of everyone else because everyone else is afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of what might happen IF something happens. But you’re more afraid of making your Life worthless by not following through on what you believe, deep down in your soul, that is yours – GLORY.

I wish that you take these words with you and use them to become ALL you can be so you can finally start to live a Life worth dying for!

That’s what I showed you on The Science of Becoming Fearless and on How to become Unstoppable like a Spartan!

What about you?

What are you afraid of?

What’s stopping you?

What’s challenging you?