Once you understand everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

The Most Important Thing You Need To Learn That Will Change The Way You Think

The Plasticity of your brain

Steve Jobs talked about it, the best educators understand it, and it’s a powerful fact rarely talked about. The fact of the matter is you can learn new things and change the makeup of your brain well into the later years in your life. The “plasticity” of your brain refers to its ability to change it’s makeup.

A professional violinist will have many more neurons firing around where their hands control the bow and violin in the brain. Mark McMorris’s brain would have many more neurons firing where his brain controls balance, and foot control being a world class snowboarder. A NewYork Times Journalist would have thousands of neurons firing in the parts of their brains that control writing, story telling, and reading.

Whatever your brain focuses a lot of time on, your brain will build up sufficient muscle around that particular area. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, you’re constantly making your brain smarter or dumber(if you’re not doing anything of future benefit to your brain).

Common knowledge has always been, what you’re born with is what you get! So if you were born “dumb” or didn’t have a good upbringing, you’re destined to fail. Wrong!

It’s those who realize that they can learn, practice and teach themselves many different skills and ideas that begin to truly flourish in life.

Learning doesn’t stop after highschool or university. This is how our society has been brought up. You go to school, learn, then get into the real world and work till you retire, then die board to death.

What if that’s the wrong way to think about it? What if we were meant to learn throughout our life? What if there isn’t a hard and fast “way” to do it? What if we could keep learning and adapting as we go becoming increasingly more valuable with every new experience?

You can learn anything

Yes you can’t go to the NHL after a certain point, the physical nature of the sport will hold you back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t train a coach, assistant coach, be a trainer, etc. It’s all in your mindset.

We’re great at telling ourselves “we can’t”. “That’s impossible!” a small part of our brains are extremely protective over what we can and can’t do. We love to quit before even trying, after all that is easier.

At Least I Tried

See this print at GapingVoid.com.

Start thinking the opposite. Start thinking you can do anything you want. It’s difficult at first but it’s the same idea as affirmations, the Tony Robbins’ system or “The Secret”. A positive attitude can literally move mountains.

I love the jobs quote from Steve Jobs:

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand you can poke life, when you push in something will pop out the other side. You can change it, you can mould it. That’s maybe the most important thing.” 

-Steve Jobs

Remember, anything is possible.

The hard thing isn't setting big hairy audacious goals

What To Do About The Struggle [a letter to entrepreneurs]

The hard thing isn't dreaming big...

The hard thing isn’t usually what you think it is. In the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot of emotions, life gets down right shitty some days. There is hope though. You’re on a journey only the greatest minds of our world start out on. A journey that most won’t try make. The journey of a true entrepreneur is plagued with disappointment, triumph, and even more let down. As long as you stay a little more positive than those negative thoughts you’re going to come out the other side a winner.

When you’re in it, it sucks. There’s no way to describe it. It’s a necessary evil, without the years of failure there is no learning, and no learning means no company.

The struggle is when food loses its taste

What is the struggle?

Something every entrepreneur human being goes through. The longer you can last, the further you will go. A lot of people don’t last. The Struggle eats them up, destroys their soul, and all they’re left with is a scared, hurtful attitude towards anything outside of what is expected. Protectionism sets in the status quo is the only way of doing things.

Why do we have to struggle?

Simple, the universe doesn’t give you anything for free. Nothing in life is easy. The more you struggle, the better the reward.

There’s a famous quote from Bill Gates “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”. You have to struggle, there’s no easy way about it. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good.

How long has the struggle been around? 

The struggle has been around since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors went through it. Anyone who has done anything worth talking about has been through it.  Anyone who has that crease near the corner of the eye, you know the one, the one that lets you know they’ve been through a lot.

Don't take it personally

When we’re in the struggle our minds are our greatest enemy. We tell ourselves lies, we’re delusional, we create a reality in our heads that’s just not true. Humans are amazing at finding every possible way a plan can fail. We find every loophole that might come back to bite us in the ass. In this horrible state of mind we never look for the positive horizon with the attitude of it gets better. No instead we try to warn our subconscious with these thoughts, it’s a defence mechanism sounding the alarm bells.

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The Fox and the Hedgehog-Im not that good at a lot of things

I’m Not Very Good At a Lot of Things || Eps 41 #InTheLab

The first thing I tell my class when teaching is that I’m only good at two things, baking chocolate chip cookies (I’m really good at it) and getting excited about Volleyball, as in coaching or helping a team. Everything else I’m not that good at. When you really think about it, no one is amazing at a lot of things. I mean some people just seem to be really good in several areas of their life. But when you find someone who’s amazing at something, usually they lack in many other areas of their life. And when I say “lack” I don’t mean we’re bad at those things, we just haven’t had the practice we need. I feel a lot of people need to have the power of being “smarter” than others, be it ego, self esteem or lack there of. Anyone in a leadership role (coach, teacher, professor, manager, boss) should never deliberately act smarter than anyone else. This comes out in correcting others, arguing, overtly disagreeing, putting others down, and generally being a know it all. Don’t be that person in life. No one likes a know it all.

The Oxford Philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote the now famous essay, The Fox and the Hedgehog. The Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog only knows one important thing. It’s an analogy that works for many different life situations. Psychologist Phillip Tetlock studied the political predictions of two different types of expert speculators, foxes and hedgehogs. Throughout the 20th century Hedgehogs were more likely to get prime time television slots on Fox political hour(they made the big bold predictions) but Foxes seems to be right far more often in their predictions. An anomaly in political predictions, the more press you get, the more you think you’re right.

“I am not very good at a lot of things.” -Jeph Maystruck

I like to look at the Fox and the Hedgehog in regards to my life. I was never the Jack of all trades growing up. I didn’t fix things around the house, I wasn’t overly helpful when things broke. I still don’t fix things around the house, I just not a fox. This amuses my family. I don’t change my own oil or winter tires. They usually bug me about it. Not any more!!

I say not any more because of what happened the other weekend. I bring my car over to my parents place and my family is going to help put on my winter tires. We get half way done when two tires won’t come off the vehicle. We literally tried and tried to no avail. I went home with two winter tires on and two summer tires. The next day I had to explain to the folks at Quicklane why I had two tires changed out already! ha! I told my family they can’t make fun of me for not wanting to be “handy”. I trust experts to do what they do best. Long live the hedgehogs.

You can get great at many things but you’re much better off to focus your attention on one thing and try to be the best in the world at it.

Upliftingstshirts dot see eh website

The Aftermath of UpliftingT-shirts.ca | eps 40 #InTheLab

“It worked, it really worked!”

We went into this class not knowing what to expect. It was my first time teaching entrepreneurship and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for some hands on learning!! A few weeks back before we started UpliftingTshirts.ca I filmed this #InTheLab episode asking the question, how do you teach entrepreneurship?  At that time I had no idea what would happen with our newly founded company disguised as an experiment disguised as a class.

A business disguised as an experiment disguised as a class

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Advanced education in saskatchewan

I Would Do AnyThing For a Like But I Won’t Do That: Post-Secondary Social Media Marketing

When it comes to Social media don’t forget the social part of it. No one cares about you until you care about them. Engage, interact, retweet, like, and share. Help others and eventually they will help you.

People only go online for two reasons, to solve a problem or to entertain themselves, nothing else. Remember this when you’re publishing on your website and sending email.

Don’t tell people to like your institution, give people reason to like it.

Don’t tell people to follow you online, give people a reason to like you online.

Don’t tell people to share something, give people a reason to share what you are doing.

A “Cribs” style video to showcase your school

Tell your story as to why you’re going to school

 The best University/College Recruitment Video Ever

The Top 500 University/College/Research Institutions in Canada

Marketing and communications professionals of colleges and universities in Saskatchewan

Authentic Weather App Screen Shots

9 Apps That Will Make Your Life Better and/or More Entertaining – Eps. 20

A couple years ago, 60% of apps were never even downloaded. That’s a startling stat. I’m sure it’s not exactly that bad now but geez, when it comes to apps we sure do have a choice, A LOT of choices. Before you demand your marketing department to “make a company app!”, make sure you do your due diligence. Before you just hop on the app ban-wagon make sure you’re solving a problem or entertaining us. Otherwise you’re boring us.

There are only two reasons people go online

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Three-documentaries-you-have-to-watch

Three Documentaries You Have To Watch – Pandora’s Promise, Artifact and Ivory Tower

Pandora’s Promise

Pandora's PromisePandora’s Promise is the story of Nuclear energy. It’s from the perspective of people that came from the Anti-Nuclear fight. Scientists that were very much against anything to do with Nuclear power kept learning more and more about the industry. They learned so much that they finally changed their stance on it.

True wisdom is taking a topic you have had a strong stance on, and upon the discovery of new facts, change your strong opinion.

People with a vested interest in one side of an argument should rarely be trusted. Therein lies the problem, “where do you find people that you can trust their opinion on such a major issue as Nuclear power?”. This doesn’t just go for the Nuclear industry, this goes for every industry. So when someone completely changes their opinion 180 degrees take note, they should be the ones you hear out.

 

Artifact: the 30 Seconds to Mars storyArtifact: The 30 Seconds to Mars Story

I had no idea how bad the record industry was until I watched this documentary. It’s eye opening to say the least. Personally I found myself looking up to Jared Leto, the lead singer and mastermind behind the band 30 Seconds to Mars. The struggle he and the band go through. The utter disregard for people and jobs within the recording industry.

This is just one industry that has been displaced. It will happen to more if not every industry. Do you have the courage that Jared Leto had to fight for what was right? What war are you going to fight in your industry? Who is going to be the record execs in your industry that are going to try to wipe you clean off the earth? Ok maybe a little hyperbole, but we haven’t really seen the impact of what the internet will do to every business model. Prepare for war.

 

Ivory Tower

Ivory tower the movieThis one hits a little closer to home. Teaching at Sask Poly Tech and being the president of the University of Regina Alumni Association I can see the Ivory Tower even in the institutions in Saskatchewan. In whatever you do in the connected world, the juice better be worth the squeeze. Whatever takes up your time, whatever you’re spending money on, it better be worth it.

If the cost of post secondary school out paces the value of what you are capable of once you are out, post secondary school will become obsolete. Sorry let me correct myself, post secondary school as we know it will become obsolete. Last year I took my first online course from the University of France on Coursera. The class was truly a great experience. The professor was engaging (even with a strong French accent), he loved the topic (What managers can learn from Philosophers), and any concept I wanted to go back over I just started the video over again (every week you’re sent 5 videos as your weekly lecture, they’re).

In the future you will learn whatever it is you want to learn from whoever teaches it the best in the world. Do you really want to learn consumer behaviour from a professor in Regina or do you want to learn it from the best marketing professor Stanford has? I don’t know about you but I’ll take the Ivey League schools education thank you. And yes the online education world isn’t perfect but if you are an institution and you aren’t experimenting on how to make it work online, I would be worried.

2001 Tweeters in Regina

Who Are The Top 2,001 People on Twitter in Regina? [Searchable Local Twitter list]

I’ve been there too, sitting alone on a Friday night wondering; how many people are actually on Twitter in Regina?

Well thanks to a wonderful tool called FollowerWonk we can now find out!

Followerwonk allows you to do searches for people on Twitter. You can search by location, by a word or phrase in the bio or by several different factors. Below the list is made up of people who have self selected their location to include the word “Regina”.

The list is ranked by Social AuthoritySocial Authority is a metric developed by Moz that helps cut through the vanity metrics out there and measures influence on Twitter. Who would have thought that gaining Followers wasn’t the only thing you use Twitter for.

I first sorted them by Follower count but it wasn’t cool to see all the bots and people who hired bots and the bots who hired people at the top of that list. This is a much better look at the Regina Twitteratti.

Want to find yourself or your ex-girlfriend from Highschool? Hold ‘Control’ and press ‘F’ then type your Twitter handle.

 

In other news check out some of the more recent blog posts on the Stratlab blog!

RECENT ARTICLES

Keep Thinking Different

Keep Thinking Different 

 

 

Why having ADHD is like having a superpower

Why Having ADHD Is Like Having a Superpower

If the movie Man of Steel taught us anything it’s Superheros have a lot going on in their heads.

 

Think about it. People (it’s not just kids for your big fat information) who have a lot going on in their heads have a hard time paying attention to things that don’t interest them. There is far too many things to think about and do than to be wasting time on boring things.

 

I don’t like when I hear a parent say, my son or daughter has ADHD and it’s affected them in school. I’m pretty sure in highschool I could never sit still, I talked way too much and occasionally was sent to other classrooms to fetch the “long stand”. My grades were always OK, just above average so there was never a need to go get “tested”.

 

As I progressed in my schooling my grades declined.  University is a lot more strict on classes and you couldn’t just “get by”, well I guess you could, I mean, I did but you’ll end up on academic probation.

 

What kids with ADHD don’t understand (and few people admit it) is that really ADHD is a Superpower. You can think incredibly fast, creative games are easy, coming up with new ideas is what you do. Well, I should say, what some do, others I’m sure are different. Our brain is working overtime, well not to a brain with ADHD, thinking overtime is what it does. And the best part? Once you find something you like and you’ll be glued to it for hours.

 

It’s this extreme focus that gives someone with ADHD a Superpower. They can concentrate longer, think longer and work long at the task they set out to do. But you have to give us a choice, no one likes doing what they’re told all the time, myself included. In a classroom, at work, in the gym, remember you don’t have all the best ideas, let the other person (or people) come up with the next task, job, or drill. You’ll be surprised how people react when you trust them to

Can I give you some feedback?

The Phrase You Hate To Hear But Have to Say Yes To

Can I give you some feedback?

If you’re like me this is one of the worst phrases to hear in the English language. What they’re actually saying is “would you like me to tell you how I actually feel about you? And oh yeah, if it was good we would have already told you so it’s almost guaranteed to be negative.”

Without feedback we never learn, we never get better, and we never progress.

The extent of your management career will largely be based on the amount of feedback you’re willing to take.
I’ve said to Brandon many times that we will get as far as the feedback we’re willing to take.

I still love the Tim Sanders analogy of “how” to process feedback. He says it’s like eating an almond. Not all of the feedback is valuable, find the nut at the middle (the learning moment) and discard everything else. Rarely do we receive 100% true feedback.

Three reasons why you need to get feedback from your team:

 

1. If you currently think “my team loves me though, I don’t need their feedback to know that”. You need to ask for feedback soon, you’re worse off than you think. It’s always those managers who “think” their staff can give honest feedback but don’t. Instead there ends up being a revolving door for staff, lots of turnover and no long term employees.

 

2. It underhandedly shows your team that you care, that you aren’t a know-it-all, and that you’re not too egotistical to change. You don’t have to listen to everything you hear but you do have to make yourself available to hear people when they want to give some feedback. Listen to people shows you care, even if you know you aren’t getting the best feedback, listen, don’t talk, don’t interrupt, just listen. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

 

3. The teams that communicate up the hierarchy just as efficiently as down the hierarchy will be the most sought after and in turn the most effective.
If your team doesn’t have a feedback strategy soon, your competitors will. They’ll be able to turn on a dime, adjusting to feedback they’re receiving. Today it is relatively simple to setup a feedback strategy, 10 years ago a lot more difficult. 5 years from now it will be baked into the strategy of the high performing teams, and I’m sure it’ll get easier and easier to track, manage and act upon the information acquired.

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