I recently answered this question on Quora.com, and it has since been viewed nearly 300,000 times (as of February 5th, 2016). Click here for original post.
I thought I would share it with my readers here and see what your thoughts are regarding my answer. I appreciate you!
Question: What is the Most Difficult Thing To Learn and Accept About Life?
1. People usually aren’t listening. They are either thinking of what they are going to say next, or something else entirely.
2. Everyone is insecure about something, it’s not just you.
3. You are going to die no matter what.
4. Your kids will experience hardship.
5. The bigger an organization is, the harder it is to make a change even if the need is so obvious.
6. Some people are bad and have bad intentions.
7. Many people (not all) will steal $100 from you today even if it means missing the opportunity to earn $1000 from you next week.
8. You will never be 100% sure about decision ever. But always make a decision because it’s better to go back and fix it than to never make it at all.
9. There is ALWAYS someone who makes more money than you, is more fit, has a better looking spouse, has an easier life, good things happen to them. Usually more than just one.
10. How you react to an event, problem, emotion, or anything, is more important than the actual event, problem, emotion or whatever. You cannot control your emotions, you cannot control others, all you can control is how you are going to react. Sometimes it’s easy but usually it’s really really hard.
The biggest negative reaction I received in this post was regarding number 10.
However, the responders typically missed my point. When I wrote: you cannot control your emotions, many took that to mean there was nothing you could do about it.
This is not my point at all. My point is that you cannot control how something will make you feel. Thats it. Exterior forces and events will happen that might piss you off, make you sad, humble you, break you, knock you on your ass and then kick you in the teeth while you are down.
But just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean you have no control. You choose how you will react. You don’t choose your feelings.
I have done many stupid things as a result of my emotions. Many of which I regret. Through self reflection, meditation and studying emotional intelligence, I find myself reacting to my emotions less and less every year.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be developed and strengthened. But like any skill, it is only achieved through dedicated practice and awareness.
Stop putting off your least favorite tasks towards the end of the day, week, month, or forever. Instead, do those items first thing in the morning.
Usually those items include working out, making that phone call to that client that hates you, or worst of all having to tell your spouse you are sorry. (Just kidding honey. I love you. Sorry I said that)
Brian Tracy calls it “Eat That Frog” in his book titled, yes Eat That Frog. The premise: What if every morning you had to start the day by eating a frog. Wouldn’t the rest of your day look pretty nice knowing that was behind you?
Yes Brian Tracy, it would!
I have heard others use the phrase: Eat the Brussel Sprouts first, then your pork chop will taste much better.
But in addition to doing the worst first, you are also doing what is most likely the MOST IMPORTANT first.
Paraphrasing Tim Ferriss: Your success is determined by the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.
Often, this involves stepping outside our comfort zones. Most people hate leaving their comfort zones. Unfortunately, real life begins outside of your comfort zone.
At the start of your day, write down your three most important tasks that need to be finished. Then, do them first!
Sounds too easy? It is, and it isn’t. You will have so many excuses NOT TO.
And as the day goes on you will find even more. There is a reason those items have been on your list all this time. So from now on, do your worst first.
Take the three most important items, or the three items you LEAST want to do (they are usually the same thing), and just do them first.
The rest of the day is yours. You will have more clarity throughout the day and your sense of accomplishment will remain with you even if you end up leaving the office early. Focus on completing tasks.
Busy is not the goal. Busy means you have no clarity.
Productivity is the goal. Production leads to success.
And if that doesn’t work, I can have Brian Tracy mail you a couple frogs.
And if you are just a couple years younger than me, or just more hip, you are on SnapChat, WhatsApp and probably a bunch of other stuff I haven’t heard of yet or can’t pronounce.
Trends always come and go, but technology, and especially the internet, cause trends to start and end at a much higher and faster rate than ever before.
My sister, a few years older than me, didn’t technically grow up with the internet. AOL entered our house after she was 16 meaning she was out driving with her friends while I was starting an online Sports Cards Training business out of my bedroom.
Timing is everything.
But now I am 30, and I am too old to try and undestand SnapChat. Maybe just too busy. Maybe both.
But I do understand trends. And I REALLY understand Facebook. And when I say I understand Facebook I mean that I understand not just what they are today, but what they are also becoming.
(Author’s Note: I am long $FB. I am also the author of How To Leverage Your Real Estate Business with Facebook)
Why do I mention my father and sister? Of the three of us, my father is the least technoligically inclined, followed by my sister who is half and half, and then myself. A few decades separate my father and I, and only a few years separate my sister and I.
My Father doesn’t want to learn Facebook or Twitter, just like I don’t want to learn SnapChat or whatever. He refers to his list of bookmarks and searches the websites directly. This is how we all used to search the internet for our content.
But that trend is ending and the new trend has already begun.
Website Traffic is No More
The fact that you are reading this article on this blog is a miracle. I already understand this. In the future, possibly months or a couple years, this will be even more of a miracle.
Whether it is ‘Breaking News’ or just good content, the media is changing mediums.
Most of my traffic comes from Facebook. Some comes from a combination of other social media like Twitter and Pinterest, and some comes from search engines (mostly google).
If you are searching google for an answer to something, you are most likely going to find that answer as a link to a webpage.
But if you are using Twitter and Facebook, especially from a mobile device, you are highly unlikely to want to leave that medium. So unless the content I am trying to share with you is right there on that medium, the future of my content won’t have much of a future.
Facebook is rolling out insta-articles and Twitter is rolling out ‘moments’. Apple just launched ‘News’.
All thee of these roll outs allow you to read updated content and breaking news directly on their platforms without having to leave the site. Trying to convince someone to click on your link and wait for a new page to load is asking a lot from your viewers and potential customers.
What is the Solution?
Well, for writers and content creators like me it could mean the end of blogs as we know it. Trying to get a Facebook user to come to my website to read an article is already a big hurdle.
However, if I copy and paste my article onto Facebook directly, whether in a post or the Notes section, then more people on Facebook are more likely to read it.
Now, this won’t work on Twitter obviously so it is important that I treat Twitter (as well as my Twitter Audience) differently. This might include sharing a few tweets in a row summarizing the best tidbits of my article in addition to linking to the rest of it. If the tidbits are enticing enough, you may click.
What will not work, however, is the current trend of ‘click bait’. For those who aren’t aware of this term, it simply means giving an article a title that sounds very enticing, or baiting you to click on it, only to find out the article is either made up or doesn’t even discuss the topic for which you clicked on it.
If you are an individual or a brand, you will piss off your audience and they will stop following you all together.
If you aren’t providing good content, the same thing will happen as well.
If you are providing good content then people will share it with their friends and your audience will grow.
This sucks if you run a big website or newspaper, but this is great if you are an individual trying to grow your own book of business, whether you are a writer or entrepreneur.
The Death of Website Traffic 2015
If you make money from website traffic it is time to really rethink your strategy. I make very little money from my actual website, but I do make money when new clients find me through my website and I am able to serve them.
Because of this, I can upload my content to many different places and still be ok.
In the past, you needed ESPN or the New York Times more than they needed you. They were the brand and you were just a small name beneath the titles of some articles. But today, with Twitter, Facebook, cheap or free blown sites, the individual creates their own brand.
Sure, those big companies are a huge help and sometimes pay well, but the trend is already shifting.
If you are in sales, or a writer, or an entrepreneur, or somewhere in between, the solution is clear. Keep providing value.
Whether this means creating good content or answering the tough questions or being very transparent about your business, it doesn’t matter whether or not people are visiting your website.
But if your income depends on ‘clicks’ and ‘website traffic’ then I am sorry to break the news to you, but pretty soon your only traffic might be from my dad.
Bill Simmons is not going to be just fine. And no matter the situation, it really sucks getting fired. Even when you are at a company you don’t like, don’t respect, or really don’t need, it sucks getting fired. (I know from experience.)
So what makes me unequivocally believe that Bill Simmons is not going to be just fine without ESPN?
Lets start at the beginning…
Bill Simmons is a role model. Bill Simmons is an Idea Machine. Bill Simmons was fired by ESPN. Bill Simmons will not be just fine.
The world has changed, and Bill Simmons might be the only one in Media over 40 years old to realize it. This may be due the the fact that Bill Simmons helped change it.
Today, content is king. I can’t think of one person responsible for more content than Bill Simmons. If I try and think of the two biggest content creators today, the only names that come to mind are Bill Simmons and Disney. And Disney is an Uber-Corporation with access to George Lucas, Marvel Comics and an army of writers with a vault of licensed material. (Authors Note: I am long $DIS)
He made a name for himself with his writing. He combined sports with popular culture before anyone realized that sports IS popular culture.
He didn’t stop there.
He jumped on podcasts before podcasts were a ‘thing’, first creating the BS Report, then founding the Grantland Podcast Chanel (More on Grantland.com later)
He didn’ stop there.
He Developed and Produced ESPN’s: 30 for 30 Documentaries. My favorite one being BROKE, and my second favorite being ALL OF THEM.
Helped produce a Disney Movie staring Don Draper (If you watch every John Hamm role assuming its what Don Draper ended up doing after he left advertising all of his roles are that much better. You’re welcome.)
Then he broke away from ESPN.com and convinced the powers that be to spin off a second website combining Pop-Culture and Sports once and for all with Grantland.com
By this time, I had been following Simmons’ work for quite a while. The reason? I was truly inspired by his writing. That is not an understatement. When a new Bill Simmons article was published, I made time to read it.
Yes he is a Boston sports homer.
Yes he knows more about the 1990’s show 90210 than I know about anything.
Yes his articles are a minimum of 5000 words (may or may not be an exaggeration).
But the way he writes was so different. So unique. So inspiring to someone who also enjoys writing.
When I learned he was starting a new website, even I had doubts. I distinctly remember Googling ‘Grantland’ to learn more about his motivation. The only articles and blogs I could find at the time all argued over how long until ESPN admitted failure and pulled the plug on the project. Those articles are now scrubbed from the inter-webs.
Today, Grantland.com is leading the way with innovative ideas by young and distinguished voices that would be silent today if not for Bill Simmons.
Not everything Bill Simmons did was a success. He openly admits he struggles with his brief substitution efforts on Pardon The Interruption, and his time on ESPN’s NBA Pre-game and Half Time Show is not looked back on fondly. But he learned from these experiences and used these lessons on his next projects.
Grantland Basketball Hour was a very enjoyable show. In addition to his March Madness YouTube live streams and myriad other concepts he thought up, attempted, then improved on, or moved on.
Bill Simmons is an entreprenuer. He is an idea machine. ESPN will be just fine without him, but BIll Simmons will not be just fine.
Sure, there are pros and cons with working at a huge corporation. Despite the many public disputes they had, they worked well together. Very well. ESPN has Disney money behind it, and Bill Simmons knew the right way to spend it.
Many of Bill Simmons’ ideas will live on at ESPN. Grantland will continue to thrive, which is more a testament to Bill Simmons creativity and work ethic than anything to do with ESPN.
The Grantland Podcast machine that Bill Simmon’s established will also thrive. It has a head start against any competition and Simmons’ did such a fantastice job of developing each writer’s voice, that they now have a future in an industry that didn’t even exist a few years ago.
In today’s world, Idea Machines are the future. Whether they are creating entirely new categories (Grantland.com, Podcasting, YouTube Live-stream) , or combining two existing ones to establish something that feels new (Popular Culture and Sports). Corporations and businesses that succeed grow fast and then spend the next few decades trying to maintain their dominance and fighting off competition. This hurts innovation. In fact, it destroys it.
ESPN is Microsoft. BIll Simmons is Steve Jobs.
I would not be surprised if, like Steve Jobs, Bill Simmons returns to ESPN one day. They both work better together. I wish this wasn’t true because I root for Bill Simmons. But sometimes the pieces just fit better together than apart.
Right now, Simmons’ has remained silent. Some believe he is biding his time, while I fear that he is still ‘under contract’ with ESPN for a few months and they are trying to hurt his earning potential by keeping him out of the media until his contact expires.
Simmons’ has a fan base. Its more than just an audience. Its a community. In communities, the audience is heard, and is part of the conversation. ESPN has an audience. That audience is diminishing as people like me who grew up watching SportsCenter before school in the morning do not have the time to watch scheduled viewing any more.
But I make time for Bill Simmons. He gets that. Whether its a 5000 word article on how the 2015 Celtiics are really like the 3rd Season of Saved By The Bell The New Class (I made this title up, but doesn’t it sound like a Simmons’ article? Wouldn’t you read it?)
I also would never miss a 30 for 30 Documentary whether live, DVR or later on YouTube or iTunes.
I have also never missed a BS Report. Whether he is arguing with Adam Carolla over which film had a greater impact on American Nationalism, Fast and Furious 6 or Fast and Furious 7, or interviewing Barak Obama. That is RANGE. That is talent. That is rare.
Bill Simmons has rare talent. Being an idea machine is only half the battle. He also implemented his ideas. He tried things and when they failed, he used the failures to succeed in the next thing.
ESPN will be fine without Simmons. But that may be their biggest problem. When you are just fine, others become great. Others take risks. Risks that do not work out aren’t failures if you use those lessons in your next attempt.
ESPN failed by letting Simmon’s go. ESPN will be just fine.
Bill Simmons was fired by ESPN. That sucks because being fired, even from a job you hate, sucks.
Bill Simmons will be just fine if he just creates BillSimmons.com and continues to write his long articles, create his podcast and youtube videos and has the freedom to voice his opinions.
But Bill Simmons will not be just fine.
Bill Simmons is the type of person who won’t just do what he has been doing. He simply can’t.
Bill Simmons is going to be much more than fine. He will create, develop and inspire.
He will innovate. He will try new things and fail at some of them. But that doesn’t matter. He understands that. When you only concentrate on providing value to others, the money will follow. He understand that too.
But for the time being, I hope he is enjoying his vacation.
I look around and I don’t think I have ever met anyone as lucky as me. Yes, I was born in America, so I already won the lottery, but it gets better!
I was born in 1984! Why is this important? Because this meant if I followed societies expectations, I would graduate high school in 2003. And I did!
Stay with me…
Because I graduated high school in 2003, this meant I began college a few months later in the fall of 2003. Despite spending a few quarters (University of California Schools are on the quarter system, not semesters) on academic probation (including a personal letter I had to write to the Dean begging to keep me enrolled), I managed to graduate in 4 years, meaning I entered the workforce in 2007!
Do you remember 2007?
In real estate history, 2007 is not looked upon as a positive year. In fact, most of our economy doesn’t look back on 2007 fondly.
You can trace back the peak of the housing market to between 2005-2006, depending on which part of the country you are looking. Prices kept skyrocketing… until they stopped.
Think of 2007 as Wiley Coyote from The Looney Toons cartoon. Prices are about to collapse, but as long as nobody looks down, everyone can buy themselves a few more seconds of ignorance and stability.
So here we are, it’s 2007 and I enter the workforce! Corporate America here I come! How lucky am I?!
I am hired as an assistant marketing consultant for an environmental consulting firm. Sounds pretty neat right? It wasn’t.
But lucky for me after I returned from a 2-week training program in Indianapolis (I was based in Newport, California) only to discover that the boss who hired me had left the company!
So now I had several bosses! Thats cool right? And no ‘real’ job description any more. Thats sustainable, right?
Here’s the thing. I hated my job. I hated my job more than you have ever hated a job. I don’t need to go into details about how I travelled 25 days a month, worked 60-80 hour weeks for extremely low pay while living in a very expensive city that I barely saw except when I was flying into and out of John Wayne Airport, LAX or Burbank (depending one whichever was cheapest or involved the longest layovers).
It is very possible that the greatest attribute any entrepreneur can have is a complete disdain towards working at a job. I consider myself very lucky to have this attribute.
Did I mention I was a coward?
Maybe coward is too strong of a word, but maybe it isn’t. I absolutely despised working at this job. My friends saw it in me.
I was terrible to be around, and any free time I had was usually filled with a lot of alcohol. It went on like this for WAY longer than any sane person should allow.
I was completely unappreciated and at any time I could have put a stop to it.
(My wife and I are currently watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix, and all I can compare it to is voluntarily getting up every morning and driving to prison for the day, only to do it all over again the next day.)
So why would I do this? We already established that I was a big fat scaredy cat.
Was it fear of the unknown? What would I do for money?
What would my friends think if I was unemployed?
What would my parents think if I quit my first job?
What would my mom think if I no longer had health benefits?
Whatever it was, it was strong enough to keep me doing something I despised for quite a while. But good thing I am lucky!
By the time the recession reached the west coast, my company had seen at least 3 rounds of layoffs before it was my turn.
I have touched on this before, but I was legitimately “Up in the Air”d.
It wasn’t as bad as getting fired over the computer, but it was a 3rd party company doing the dirty work.
So its 2008. Mid-Recession. I am 24 and unemployed, so I moved back in with my parents! How lucky!
All of these things were happening to me, (for me), and I had no control over them. I was too afraid to quit a job I hated, but was eventually fired! How many people get to experience this level of good luck in their lives? I assume not many.
But I did!
2008. Crazy recession going on. Living at home with my parents, back in Scottsdale and out of California where all my friends and “business connections” resided.
All of my biggest ‘fears’ had come to fruition. How lucky!
Do you know how freeing it is to be so afraid of something, and then to experience it?
Its pretty hard to be afraid of hitting rock bottom if it means moving up a level.
Armed with my only attribute of “never wanting another job again”, I decided I would never have another job again. What was the worst that would happen? I’d end up at home with my parents at 25 instead of 24?
So I took a risk. And then another. And then another. Now these were very calculated risks. In fact, they weren’t really even risks.
After studying Robert Kiyosaki for a few years, I was well aware that he made lot of money in real estate after the savings and loan crisis of 1987. In fact, he did it in Phoenix. Phoenix is where I was, and there was a new crisis. How lucky!
I begged, borrowed, and stole all the money I could find, in order to buy single family homes in Phoenix. People told me I was crazy to be buying houses. Today, they tell me how lucky I am.
I tell them, I know!!!
I was born in America in 1984. The way the American education system is aligned, this meant I graduated from college after 4 years in 2007. There was a global recession underway that I had no control over. It didn’t start earlier, it didn’t start later.
I was fired from a job I was too afraid to quit.
At age 24, unemployed and a complete failure, I moved back in with my parents.
No one is luckier than me!
In the following years; several companies founded, many houses bought, rented and sold, websites developed and books in the pipeline, a loving wife and beautiful family. All because I am nothing but a big scaredy cat. At least I was.
As most entrepreneurs can attest, if you cannot find something you are looking for in the world, it is best to create it yourself. So without much further ado, I give you my list of top Entrepreneurs and Business People that you MUST be following on Twitter.
If you didn’t already know, I once greatly disliked Mark Cuban. And then I heard him speak at a conference. And then I read his book: How to Win at The Sport of Business. And then I started watching Shark Tank. And then I started following him on Twitter. Click for Complete Mark Cuban Bio.
Model turned Actor turned Venture Capitalist, Kutcher has financed such companies as Summly (Just bought by Yahoo! for $30 Million), Socialcam and FlipBoad. With over 14 million followers, no one does Twitter quite like Mr. Kutcher. Click for Complete Ashton Kutcher Bio.
Founder of Pay-Pal and electric car company Tesla, Mr. Musk tired of earth and started SpaceX, a privately owned space exploration company. Yes, you read that correctly. Mr. Musk has made a living (and quite a living) by literally turning dreams into reality. “Failing is an option here. If you aren’t failing then you aren’t innovating enough.”
Two time entrepreneur sold both companies (second one sold to SalesForce.com) is now full-time Venture Capitalist looking to invest in the next big thing. Actively seeking out young entrepreneurs and tweeting sage advice along the way.
Founder of CashFlowLifestyle.net , Real Estate Investor and Natural Gas advocate; Skyler is a must follow for tracking global and national trends that will impact you financially. Author of this blog, Skyler is easily accessible on Twitter and also his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/TheCashFlowLifestyle.
Maybe its because I am a Phoenix Suns fan, but I really did not like Mark Cuban. Other than not signing Steve Nash to an extension which allowed him to return to Phoenix, I never really follow much of his career. There was just something about him I didn’t like.
I think it first began to change when I listened to a Bill Simmons’ podcast that interviewed Mark Cuban, and for the first time I heard Mark Cuban the entrepreneur speak, and not Mark Cuban the “outspoken” owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
(The podcast is available on iTunes)
Mr. Cuban was asked what advice he would give to someone that was looking to get a job in Sports Marketing/Management and his answer shocked an auditorium full of sports marketing/management majors.
He told them to not take classes in sports marketing/management.
He said that teams are already filled with people that have this background, if you want to be successful you have to provide something else that no one else has.
Wow, I thought. That is phenomenal advice.
And I was hooked. He mentioned an ebook he wrote that was just published so I bought it. (It is actually a collection of blog posts that was organized into a book, which makes for a very quick and enjoyable read).
So how did Mr. Cuban become so wealthy in the first place? He took his own advice!
He did something that others were not willing to do. He read manuals! Lots of them. All the time.
His first job in sales was for a computer software company. He didn’t know much about them so he read all the manuals. Eventually he knew more than most anyone else in the business at a time when this knowledge became very valuable!
Now I am hooked! You can call me a Mark Cuban junkie at this point.
My wife and I now watch Shark Tank on a regular basis. When I first saw a commercial for the show I thought it looked pretty silly to be honest. Now I can’t get enough. If you can ignore the cheesy introduction, and the “characters” some of the “sharks” play, there is a lot of knowledge and fantastic advice that is provided. I would say 85% of it comes from Mr. Cuban himself!
Interested in business? Watch Shark Tank.
Have kids? Watch Shark Tank with them.
Work a lot? Record and watch Shark Tank.
Own several companies? Watch Shark Tank.
So what is Shark Tank? Its a show on ABC that has small business owners pitch their business model or product to the “sharks” and seek an investment for their company.
The “sharks” pick apart their products and ideas to the bare bones and either make an offer or pass.
When Mark Cuban talks, you need to listen. He knows what he is talking about.
What is so interesting are the times you think the person has a great product or idea, and then when you hear the “sharks” opinions you understand why they have the money in the first place. This is a very neat way to spend 40 minutes a week. (We record the shows and skip commercials…. Hour show with commercials)
Mr. Cuban is a rational investor. He invests in what he knows, and if he doesn’t know something he reads everything he can about it until he knows more than most. This is something that ANYONE can do, but only a few have. Mark Cuban is one of them.