Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Live Like a Rationalist, Part 2

Few ideas in history have been more widely repeated, debated and dissected than the following three words:

Cogito ergo sum.

This was the philosophy of Rene Descartes. I think therefore I am.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: I am not going to attempt to debate this philosophy.

Instead, I’ve adopted Rene Descartes’ formula and developed a few rationalist philosophies of my own: (read part one here!)
1. I teach therefore I sell. Teaching means introducing your customers to new things. Helping them feel more connected to the front edge of culture. Teaching means sending a continuous flow of education. Expanding the customer’s thinking, growing their knowledge base and stretching their brains.

Where’s your classroom?

Stop giving sales pitches and start delivering lesson plans. Treat customers as students who attend your class, not as people who pay your commission. How are you positioning yourself as a teacher?

2. I embody therefore I lead. There are four ways to influence people: Through what you think, what you say, what you do or who you are. If you truly want to lead, aim for the latter. Turn your life into a walking translation of the vision you hope to create, and people will follow.

Close the gap between your onstage performance and backstage reality, and people will follow. Make the message you preach the dominant reality of your life, and people will follow. What do people hear when they listen to your life speak?

3. I mirror therefore I elevate. Most of we do has no witness. And our lives go unnoticed if nobody takes the time to notice, reflect and affirm our truth. That’s why it’s so essential to be a mirror, to be a stand for people’s greatness.

When you give them a front row seat to their own brilliance, you give the priceless gift of visibility. You give them something they can’t see for themselves. And if you’re lucky, they change forever. That’s how you elevate someone. What’s your strategy for leaving people better?

4. I focus therefore I respect. Multitasking removes you to another place. It annihilates the present moment and it always disrespects somebody. Plus, it’s clinically been proven to lower productivity. The problem is, it’s become the new normal. We’ve plunged into an ecosystem of interruption, and there’s no turning back.

But here’s what you can do: Become a living statement of focus. Stop searching for something better to interact with. When you’re with people – really be with people. Give them all of you. Nothing could be more respectful. Who are you accidentally disrespecting with this action?

5. I publish therefore I resonate. In addition to being a writer, you’re also a publisher. Not because you work in a skyscraper. Not because you wear fancy suits. And not because you have big meetings with important people. You’re a publisher because you make things public.

And if you’re smart enough to build a platform rooted in respect, permission and value, you will never again have to worry about winking in the dark.

Your voice will always be heard. But only if you have the will to ship. Only if you make the commitment to pressing the publish button, every single day. How many bylines has your name accumulated?

6. I shove therefore I love. To shove is to applaud someone’s risk, elevate someone’s hope, disrupt someone’s inertia and provoke someone’s decision. To shove is to give someone a permission slip, kindle someone’s awesomeness and deliver someone’s encouragement. To shove is to help someone fall in love with himself, show someone what he can’t see for himself and believe in someone more than he believes in himself.

And to shove is to disturb someone into taking action on what matters, to adamantly refuse to let someone stay where he is and to call someone on the carpet when mediocrity descends.

In short: To shove people is to love people. You push them to be brave. Others did it for me. And I pay forward the favor all the time. I bet someone in your life could use a good shove. How many shove moments have you overlook?

7. I disrupt therefore I inspire. A great leader evokes emotion. She interrupts the quiet, unsettles the peace and upsets the mental landscape. A great leader makes a ruckus by asking disturbing questions instead of placating the masses by mindlessly accepting answers.

The hard part is, all of these things are unreasonable. But that’s the whole point. Nobody ever changed the world by keeping their head down. Success requires crazy. Heaps of it. Put your teaspoons away. If you really want to change the world – break out the shovels and start stockpiling insanity. When was the last time you went looking for trouble?

8. I contribute therefore I matter. Insignificance is a terrifying proposition because the human need to feel valuable to the world runs deeper than anything. Fortunately, you don’t have to do something gargantuan to matter.

Maybe your contribution is being a consistent source of possibility for your family. Maybe your contribution is being an anchor of hope for your employees. Maybe your contribution is being an unconditional servant of truth for your readers. Nothing against ending world hunger. But never overlook the value of mattering in your own backyard first. Whose world are you necessary to?

9. I burn therefore I beguile. Influence is easy to overcomplicate. Changing hearts and minds isn’t about power persuasion and body language manipulation. It’s simple: People need to see that you are possessed. They need to feel the flame every time they interact with you. And they need to walk away better, infected with something that wasn’t there before.

Instead of attending another seminar on the power of nonverbal behavior, take a page from Richard Pryor’s playbook: Set yourself on fire. People will come from miles just to watch you burn. Do you interact with flaming intensity?

REMEMBER: You don’t have to live in 17th Century France to be a philosopher.

Consider writing your own rationalist list.

Make Descartes proud.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you rational enough?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "11 Ways to Out Google Your Competitors," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment."

--Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center