Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When Playing Safe Becomes Dangerous

In the Mid '70s, when I was still a kid, my parents took me to the zoo. We lived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (West Africa) and the thing I remember the most about that visit is the baby lion that roamed freely in the zoo restaurant and elected residence under our table to nibble at my father's leather boots.

I am not talking about a robot, a stuffed animal, a 3D image or even a leashed animal. I am talking about a living and totally free baby lion.

Imagine the same thing today, in North America. So un-Disney-esque! I mean, what about the risks, the insurances, ... What if a customer was to step on a baby lion poop with Prada shoes or if that wild animal was to attack and maim a small child. Oh my God! Lawsuits forever. Bankrupcy, prison and a life of misery.

Yet, it's funny how back in the days, nothing terrible happened. It was a time of biking without helmets, riding in the cabs of pickup trucks and children sleeping on the back seat of the car without seatbelts or padded toddler seats. And yet, we're here fine and healthy.

By wanting desperately to play safe, we delude ourselves. The only security comes from within. From our alertness and skillset. By leveling downwards to make the World a safer place for all the idiots and Darwin-Award candidates, we both fail at the task (If you make something idiot-proof, they will come up with better idiots.), but we also help creating a very dull and boring world.

Our lives have become so safe and boring that some of us need to test themselves in extreme sports, exotic travels or drug and alcohol abuse. The rest are becoming duller every day.

Personnaly, I prefer baby lions.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Rest is Icing on Your Cake

I've learned early on in life that the 2 most important skills you need are:

1. The ability to evaluate people accurately (as fast as possible)

2. The ability to influence them (using what you learned with skill No 1)

The reason is simple: 95% of your success - and problems - in life are directly linked to the people you surround yourself with. In fact, you need only one really negative person (what Mike Lipkin calls a "one person recession") around to ruin your life.

Learn to identify and flush all the downers and losers as fast as possible.

Refuse to spend valuable time with average people.

Look out for brilliant, fun and inspiring people. And be sure to add value to their life.

Moreover, no matter what you need, want or can dream of, someone else already has. It is simply a matter of bringing them to give it to you (with money, charm, wit, friendship, etc.).

You can be the greatest genius of all time, if you can't get along with other people, you are doomed to fail.

However, if you can only master these 2 skills, the rest is icing on your cake.