Logan Paul Needs Emotional Intelligence

 

Emotional intelligence is critical in the modern world. One ill-judged comment really can bring your whole world crashing down around you. It certainly did for Logan Paul.

I just read an interesting article on the BBC news channel today which highlights the importance of emotional intelligence. It recounts the drama unfolding on the internet regarding the ill-conceived comments made by one Logan Paul, a quote “American You Tube star,” and the ensuing online backlash.

I confess I have not watched the video myself – life is too short and I’m too busy – so I am not making any judgements or criticisms of any kind about the actual content or the associated discussions. It is easy to throw accusations and blame around and I’m not above dropping the odd rick now and again myself.

What is fascinating to me here is the lack of emotional intelligence displayed by Logan Paul when posting this video. What was he thinking? He, and apparently the people who advise him, failed to consider the potential upset the video may have caused others when he sent it to 15 million subscribers. I suspect he is not alone in his misery. I have dropped myself in the proverbial many times throughout my life via poorly judged comments and statements. We all do it from time to time. I am better able to learn from my mistakes nowadays.

What can you and I, and Logan Paul if he ever reads this, do to reduce the likelihood of making such mistakes in the future?

In its barest essence, emotional intelligence comprises four parts:

  • Understanding of self
  • Regulation of self
  • Understanding of others
  • Managing relationships with others

After much research and experiential wound licking. I always recommend running a pre-flight check of any message before you deliver it.

Let’s apply a potential thought experiment to the Logan Paul scenario (hypothetical of course but it illustrates the process).

Understanding of self – Logan likely understands himself well enough. He knows what he likes and gathers like-minded people around him. This displayed self-knowledge and willingness to share with the world is likely to have contributed to him having 15 million followers in the first place. So far so good. Tick number one for the understanding of self.

Regulation of self – the wheels are wobbling a bit here. Logan needs to put out material for his channel which his audience will enjoy. He has clearly been doing a reasonable job so far. The problem for Logan this time is he has failed to separate what he feels is suitable from what his audience thinks is suitable. What he thinks is personal of course but not all of what he thinks is suitable for sharing. This box should have a tentative cross in it or at the very least a question mark. If he felt world would genuinely benefit from this message he could have tested the waters with some trusted people outside of his crew to get a go or no-go decision.

Understanding of others – this is where the rot should have stopped and would have done if he had run such a pre-flight check. Logan must have felt he had a solid handle on how his followers think. This was clearly not the case. He stomped all over untested ground and fell into the quicksand of outrage. There are certain broadcasters who specialise in dark or risky material. People know this and either love them or loathe them. It appears here, however, that Logan sprung this ego-driven nugget of self-satisfying material on an unsuspecting audience. They likely feel let down and misunderstood as much as simply outraged by the content. Test your material gently and get to know your audience limits before dropping bombshells. There should be a cross in this box and a no broadcast decision to follow.

Managing relationships with others – now an ongoing saga. Due to his lack of audience understanding, poor old Logan has mishandled his relationship with them. I believe he has apologised but for Logan getting through this will be a big test of his character and mental toughness. This avoidable phase is now a work in progress and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. Perhaps I’ll put out a part two.

Why not consider running your own emotional intelligence pre-flight check for all your messages? With practice and diligence, it can become a positive habit and, when it becomes a habit, you’ll find it happens almost instantly for you.

Don’t do a Logan Paul. Your pre-flight emotional intelligence check could save you a world of hurt.

Here is the BBC video link if you’d care to watch:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-42538495

 

 

What goal are you aiming at?

man aiming a gun used as a metaphor for aiming at a goal

 

You need a goal to aim for. If you have no clue where you are going it doesn’t matter which road you take.

This article is the third part in my Success Formula series. Make sure you check out part one here if you have not already read it.

The second element in my formula is goal and I am going to encourage you to embrace the power of goal setting.

I can almost hear you screaming, “Oh no! Another article on goal setting? Enough already.”

Well, yes and no.

I’m not going to discuss how to set goals, but I will look at why goal setting is so critically important to achieving success in any endeavour and I will also briefly discuss two classes of goals and why it is good to know the difference between them.

Why is goal setting so popular?

Because it works, that’s why. When you set a goal, you are making a commitment, either to yourself or to the world at large. You are setting a clear intention to do or achieve something. You should set your goals with great care. How you set and handle your goals says a lot about your character, resilience and mental toughness. Some people set goals and fail repeatedly, yet carry on until they get their big win. Other people fail once or twice then give up entirely. Many people never try anything at all. Some people go all in for the big prize whilst others are in it for the long-haul. There are many variations. By the way, I will talk more about measuring success and failure and other key goal factors in other articles.

The key message I want to put across here is that, all other things being equal, forming a well-conceived and well-designed goal will give you a far better chance of success than not having a goal at all.

We humans are easily distracted creatures. We will wander off track.  Having a compelling goal gives us something to come back to when we wander, like scuba divers might use a safety line to guide them to a shipwreck then back up to the dive boat again. If we don’t have a goal we could end up anywhere. Some people are happy to drift through life like this but I’m not. I create goals for myself.

I firmly believe in and follow the tenet, “If you want to get ahead get a goal.”

There are two types of goals

There are two classes of goals I want to mention now, namely outcome goals and process goals.

Most large goals employ both classes at various times but, I believe it is important to know the difference between them and when to use each one most effectively.

Outcome goals

Outcome goals are goals which have a defined result or target to be achieved, often within a clearly specified period. I am writing this on New Year’s Day, so it is apt because outcome goals are the ones we are all familiar with. We generally form our new year resolutions using outcome goals. They can be very powerful, but they can also carry within them the seeds of their own failure. With the very best of intentions, we all tend to set very lofty, large and distant goals, and this puts immediate pressure on us. For example, “I’m going to work out and lose 20kg in weight by the start of the summer holidays and I mean it this year, no excuses.” It has solid intention but there is no clear route to follow. As I mentioned, we humans are easily distracted. The first setback often becomes a terminal block and we feel down because we gave up. Better luck next year.

Process goals

A process goal is a one where the goal is to complete certain activities or actions on a regular basis for a specified amount of time. There is no expected result as such but because you will follow a regular and repeated process you will gain your successes and results along the way. An example might be, “I am going to go to the gym and work out for an average of 3 times a week for the next 6 months.” There is flexibility here and options for catch-up if obstacles are encountered. There might be any number of outcomes, both positive and negative, through following this process and you will discover them as you work out for the 6 months. When the 6 months is up you can look back and compare your before and after status if you need an outcome assessment. Your focus will be on taking as much control as possible over the process itself and how you follow it rather than on a distant goal which you may or may not achieve.

Which goal is best?

It might look like I’m down on outcome goals. Not at all. They each have their merits when designed well and used appropriately. They each have drawbacks which need to be accounted for.

I won’t recommend a “this is the one you need” method because everyone is different. I tend to adopt process goals for my far-reaching plans as this promotes the formation of (usually) beneficial habits and long-term positive changes. For example, “I intend to go for at least one walk every day for the coming year.” I tend to use outcome goals for specific time-critical steps which need to be achieved to help facilitate the process goals. For example, “I will redesign my entire business calendar and course schedule by the end of the first week in January to enable 1 hour of walking time to be available every day.”

Experiment with both types. When you find a method which works for you, stick to it and thrive.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the series. Why not click on the “follow” button and subscribe to the blog to get a reminder?

Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?

Success And A Success Formula For You

Reason Provides Your Driving Force

Measure It Right To Succeed

Strategy And Why You Need One

Knowledge Is Essential

Action Required Now

Work Smart Effectively

Feedback Is The Fuel Of Champions

Customer Experience Poor At M&S

Poor customer experience at M&S

 

This article is all about customer experience. My customer experience to be exact. My poor customer experience at Marks & Spenser to be even more exact.

Marks and Spenser have dropped the ball in spectacular fashion. Because of a poor customer experience, they have successfully converted two loyal customers into two non-customers. All due to a lack of corporate emotional intelligence and poor local leadership.

There is a clear point I wish to make which relates strongly to mindset and emotional intelligence but there needs to be a little context first.

Picture this

This very morning, my good lady wife and I had the dubious pleasure of visiting a large local M&S store. Doing this only 3 days before Xmas might well be considered madness. We were expecting a reasonably pleasant experience however because, as my wife had pre-ordered and paid a deposit for all the required items back in early-October, it should have been a simple matter to collect, pay and return home. We had booked the earliest slot as well but, even then, a small amount of queuing was to be expected as the service appears to be much in demand.

Did all this happen as planned? Of course not. We were finally directed to the rear of the store and into a confusing queue snake system. We had our identity checked against the order which is a good thing then placed in another queue to collect our groceries. This is where it all ground to a halt.

When we finally got to the grocery area, rather than find a complete box with our name, unique order number and groceries waiting for us, it turned out to be six or seven harassed staff valiantly trying their best to build our order from a pile of assorted groceries stacked in a chilled box behind them. The items did have some numerical ID codes but were not even stacked in numerical order. The staff had to disappear to the main stores to find missing items.

The customer experience system collapses

It was a chaotic and broken system by 1000 hrs and the queue behind us had spilled out of the queue snake and onto the main shop floor. Riots may yet ensue. The staff were left to face the shoppers because managers were conspicuous by their absence and the one who was there refused to make eye contact with anyone. Whoever designed this system needs a reality check.

Contrast this with Tesco. We were anticipating a home delivery at 1100 hrs this morning. Given the build up of traffic we expected to see it arrive much later than the midday upper limit. Not a problem on a day like this. Imagine how pleased we were when, as we pulled into the drive following out M&S debacle, the Tesco delivery pulled up on the drive at 1030 hrs and politely asked if we minded him arriving early.

The key point I want to make here is one of corporate and staff mindset.

Whilst we waited at M&S I was discussing the process and effects on the staff and customers with the friendly and helpful assistant. I asked her why they could not plan and implement a simple and effective customer experience system like the one Tesco and many others now provide.

This was the answer which shocked me, and it highlights why Tesco are winning and M&S are not:

“We can’t do a system like that – it wouldn’t work here – we’re a different kind of store.”

This is a completely limiting belief on the part of the assistant. Furthermore, this belief is almost certainly echoed, supported and probably driven by the many layers of management above her.

Can they fix it their customer experience?

Anyone and any organisation can do almost anything they want if they commit to it. M&S cannot change the weather, but they can certainly change and redesign a faulty chaotic system then implement it correctly. If this is indeed a systemic mindset throughout M&S, then they have a serious and chronic problem.

What they really mean here with the statement “we can’t do it” is they “don’t want to do it.” A corporate “can’t/won’t do” mindset in this instance leading to a chaotic and head in the sand operation. This demonstrated little regard for their customer experience or indeed that of their front-line staff. M&S profits are down? Hmmmmm?

Tesco, on the other hand, have a corporate “can do” attitude. One which appears wholly focused on improving customer experience. This attitude turn generates more profits as well. Tesco profits are up? Hmmmmm?

M&S could learn about good customer experience from Tesco

Tesco realise a good customer experience also results in word of mouth referrals and yet more advertising free growth. I tell everyone how good the delivery service is. This falls into the emotional intelligence quadrants of understanding others and managing relationships with others.

In this instance, M&S have failed to see that customer experience matters. We will chalk it up to experience and, no matter how tasty the food may be at M&S, we will not return next Xmas and we will not recommend anyone we know does it either. In my humble opinion, M&S management urgently need some emotional intelligence awareness training and some process design skills.

Emotional intelligence and customer experience go hand in hand. Organisations can and should embrace this and so should we as individuals.

Rant over.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it interesting. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Here is another Emotional Intelligence focused retail experience post (The Apple Store this time) which you might enjoy: Customer Reality Is Bad At Apple

Reason Provides Your Driving Force

reason provides your driving force

 

Why do you want to be successful?

What is it you are trying to achieve and why are you trying to achieve it? Without a powerful reason why, you will struggle to achieve anything of real value or lasting impact.

This article is the second part in my Success Formula series. Make sure you check out part one here if you have not already read it.

The first element in the formula is reason and I am going to encourage you to look at your reason for wanting success in the first place.

Well, why do you want to be successful?

Everything costs

It seems like an innocent enough question does it not? Almost a pointless question. I mean, really, who does not want success?

Everything in life takes energy. You cannot escape this fact. Whenever you do or think anything or engage in any interaction with the world around you, there is an exchange of energy involved.

You must take energy in to exchange for the bodily and mental essentials you need as a human and there is only so much to go around for the additional things you like to have in your lives.

Achieving success in any significant endeavour takes a lot of work. Achieving the type of comprehensive success most people seek in all areas of their lives, takes a huge amount of energy applied over time. You can do it, but you will need to make sacrifices. Focus your energy because it is limited and you must use it primarily for the essential elements you need to achieve your successful outcome.

You need reason fuel

Something must drive you toward your success but that means effort and effort costs energy. You need a fuel to give you energy and power that drive. A car for long without fuel, can it? Because you need sustenance, you cannot survive for long as a human without food or water, can you? Reason fuel is needed.

Your reason for achieving success is your fuel. Your reason must be compelling enough to power your ability to give up the nice to haves and, instead, expend your valuable energy on your success essentials. If your reason is not compelling enough your resolve will fizzle out and die. Your plan will fail.

The first step in planning for a successful outcome is to determine exactly why you are doing it in the first place.

Two types of driving force

There are two types of driver: Extrinsic and intrinsic.

External

External or extrinsic drivers, offering such rewards as money, fame or possessions, can be good drivers for some people but, as history has demonstrated time and again, even if they are achieved these things do not always provide the happiness or contentment which was sought. Many times, the external rewards do not prove healthy as drivers of success because the grass is always greener. Someone else always has more money, more fame or more possessions so there is no real end to it. Even if they do relatively well, compared to others, these externally driven types eventually burn out and give up. They often feel discontented and bitter which means they sometimes ruin their health and emotional lives. Life is too short to waste.

Internal

Internal or intrinsic rewards tend to be far more powerful and effective drivers for success because they are the real deal. An intrinsic driver might be as simple as feeling personally satisfied for doing a task well regardless of any thanks or monetary gain. In my experience, the most powerful intrinsic drivers are those which involve achieving success so other people benefit.

Perhaps an example might help clarify things further.

Consider which of the following two success drivers might make a middle aged, overweight and out of condition businessman start to eat a healthy diet, get fit again and then stay fit for as long as possible.

Driver 1: He wants to look good on the beach, impress others and fit into more stylish business clothing to help his career?

Driver 2: He wants to be able to play more sports and games with his children and stay healthy to help provide for them and help them as they grow toward their own middle age.

Which option would be most effective for him? Which option would drive you most effectively?

Go inside for the best fuel

The cost of gaining some extrinsic rewards is high. If you’re driven by such extrinsic rewards you must dig deeper.  Find those all important intrinsic reasons for wanting your success because you’ll give yourself the best chance of finding it.

If you would like to dig deeper into what drives people, you might like to try the following books:

“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.

“Drive” by Daniel H. Pink

I can recommend them both.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the series.Why not click on the “follow” button and subscribe to the blog to get a reminder?

Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?

Success And A Success Formula For You

What Goal Are You Aiming At?

Measure It Right To Succeed

Strategy And Why You Need One

Knowledge Is Essential

Action Required Now

Work Smart Effectively

Feedback Is The Fuel Of Champions

Success And A Sure Fire Formula

Success and the success formula - guy at a blackboard with a formula

 

I have a success formula which works but you probably won’t like it. It works almost every time it is carefully followed. Most people hate it simply because there are no short-cuts.

My claim is totally true by the way, I really do have a success formula and, what’s more, I’m going to give my  formula to you today for free at the end of this article.

Before we look at the formula, I’m going to look at the concept of success itself and bust a few myths about success and its opposite number, failure.

What is success?

Success means different things to different people. We know this is true. Success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose or the good outcome of an undertaking.

For example, one person may see climbing Everest as their personal success. Another person might see walking unaided after a major accident as equally important. Yet another may see acquiring the last china plate in a limited edition set as their personal peak achievment.

Is one occurrence or expression of success better than another? No, not at all. It is what it is and is equal for all, am I right? Maybe.

Success and failure are only relative and very subjective

Success and failure are relative terms? They are relative to a baseline measure or target. To say someone is successful means comparing what they have or have achieved against a set target then deciding whether they are equal to or above that target. Below the target means failure.

In the absence of a target or baseline everything you do simply represents data. Labelling or classifying statements are only brought into existence and given meaning when that data is measured and contrasted in some way.

How anyone else thinks or feels about someone else’s success or failure depend on their beliefs, perceptions and values. These are also relative terms based on variable benchmarks. Life is a very subjective experience indeed.

Setting the right benchmark for yourself is the key

Activities we undertake are judged against some criteria to ascertain whether the activity succeeds or fails. This is a key point to understand. Success and failure are subjective. One person’s failure could be another’s success. Criteria are set internally, and we measure ourselves against the target. The criteria can also be set externally by other people or situations and we are judged accordingly. Can we trust these criteria to be fair or even accurate? How are these criteria arrived at?

When you agree to or set criteria for yourself, you will have full control over what triggers a label of success or failure. Use your options wisely. Set criteria which have genuine meaning and value for you.

Some criteria are set by society at large and based on years of collective knowledge as to what is good or bad. These are generally called laws and although they are still subjective the authorities do prefer you adhere to them.

We cannot escape these pesky judgements

Rightly or wrongly, we set criteria and criteria are set for us all the time. We cannot avoid being measured and judged against these criteria. We are either above the mark or below it. Success or failure.

How do we know which side we are on? The feedback we get from our internal processes and the world at large, informs us if we have succeeded or failed.

If we are continually rewarded for our successes we become conditioned to seek more of it. You can, however, have too much of a good thing. If all we knew in life was endless success, there would be no need for articles like this. If there is no darkness there can be no light, can there? Same with this. Continual victories would pall after a while as there would be no failure to compare it with. It might be nice to experience it for a while of course.

Let’s discuss the dread spectre of failure

Failure is the flip-side of success. Failure is a taboo subject because failure is bad. Winning is wonderful, but failure is to be avoided at all costs. I have even been told by, certain managers and bosses over the years, “Failure is not an option.” I hate to bear some shocking news for them but, like it or not, failure is most certainly an option.

Failure happens all the time. Small failures, big failures and even catastrophic terminal failures happen. It is an inescapable fact of everyone’s life. Life is an inherently risky undertaking. A life lived without risk is a poor sort of life. If you never try anything you will never succeed at anything. Remember that failure is a relative term like success. Failing means your target criterion aren’t being met.

How we react to and respond to our failures and successes is what’s important.

Learning from feedback is the key to transforming failure into your biggest ally.

Not learning from feedback is what I consider to be real failure.

A challenge for you

As an interesting and powerful thought experiment, I offer you the challenge of asking yourself two simple but deep questions:  “What does success mean to me?” and “What does failure mean to me?” Take some time over these. This thought experiment demands considered and honest answers. The results are surprising.

Here at last is a free sure-fire success formula just for you.

A free sure-fire success formula? Am I insane?

“Why would you give away a surefire success formula?” I hear you cry. “Won’t everyone muscle in on your territory once they have the secret?”

No is the answer. I’m on safe ground here because there is always  a lot of room for others to succeed. Some people will be successful and happy in their lives, but the fact is most people will not be successful. People will respond in many ways to this lack of success. Some people will not really care one way or another. Many people will chase one type of success and find it was not what they really wanted or needed. Other people will keep trying for success anyway and simply enjoy the adventure. Too many people will try then fail then blame others for their lack of success and live lives full of anger, bitterness and regret. Unfortunately, there are more failure versions than success versions. There are no real guarantees in life.

Why did I create this success formula post and the subsequent series?

To be absolutely clear and open with you, this post was initially meant to be somewhat satirical. A tongue-in-cheek swipe at the “get rich quick” brigade and our increasing desire as a population to want to cut corners and take the easy option. That was my intention when I began to write it, but things changed a little.

However, after I kicked the idea around with a few friends and, once we got talking more seriously about it, the idea took on a whole new life and perspective. We all agreed that most people today are looking for shortcuts to success and easy fixes for their problems. Life is not like this. Real and lasting success in life takes effort and time. All your effort over your whole lifetime in fact.

Based on this I felt there was a need for a reality check and a reminder of some old-fashioned values which will lead you to success. I decided to make a more thoughtful guide to a proven process of success and as a result a whole slew of articles will follow this one. I’d love to hear your comments and stories of your own successes. Do you have your own sure-fire success formula?

What is going wrong?

Some people have concerns when they first learn of such a formula. The overall amount of work required overwhelms them. Some people have no plan at all and merely hope for success to arrive by itself. Many people already know the formula or one very much like it. They may have tried and failed already. Many people give up their trial too soon. They lack the necessary elements needed to achieve a good result in one or more or even all of factors in the equation, but they are either unwilling or unable to address the deficit. I do not judge people of course, I merely speak from experience. I have my own life to lead and, whilst I can consider other people’s perspectives, the only one I can be truly confident and honest about is my own.

We all have many options in our lives and a great many paths we could follow. Two great question to ask yourself are: “Which path am I going to follow?” and “Where do I stand on my chosen path right now?”

The formula

Here then is my formula for success. 14 named factors plus the mysterious factor X.

Revel in its glory for a minute or two then I will explain a little further.

Success = Reason + Goal + Measure + Strategy + Knowledge + Action + Work + Feedback + Focus + Support + Attitude + Belief + Patience + Grit + Factor X

Now, I said I had A formula for success not THE formula. There are others out there, of course. Perhaps there are in fact no genuine formulae at all? Who knows? This one might not work for you at all – I offered no guarantees. It is, however, correct for me, which is what ultimately counts.

An overview of the success formula factors

Reason

You need a big why as fuel for your journey. Something intrinsic rather than extrinsic works best.

Goal

You need a target to aim at. How will you know you have achieved success if you don’t know what you’re aiming at?

Measure

Take care to check progress by measuring but make sure you are measuring the right things.

Strategy

You need at least one strategy. You can then use the best tactics to achieve your strategy and get to your desired goal.

Knowledge

You of course need knowledge but can you have too much knowledge? Yes you can and it can lead to delays whilst you build it up. You have to know when to stop and take some action.

Action

Speaking of which this is where the rubber meets the road. It is what turns mere plans into tangible outcomes. Action is where the magic happens.

Work

Achieving anything of real value takes work. Work is the payment for success.

Feedback

Once you take action you can compare what happens to an ideal scenario. This is feedback and feedback is like oxygen for successful people.

Focus

Being able to focus and knowing when to focus are key skills. When to relax, when to pay attention and when to focus are all inter-linked competencies.

Support

You will struggle to operate in a vacuum. We have support available all around us yet we often don’t see it or reject it through fear of appearing weak. We all need support so knowing when and how to get it is critical.

Attitude

You can call this factor mindset if you like. This is crucial as the wrong attitude or mindset can undo any other good work you have out it. The right attitude or mindset can overcome a number of limitations and boost your chances of achieving success.

Belief

Believing in your goal is vital but I believe self-belief and confidence is actually far more important to get the job done.

Patience

You must have the patience keep on keeping on without taking shortcuts or giving up through boredom. Success takes as long as it takes to achieve so patience can definitely be a virtue.

Grit

This refers to your ability to move forward with steely determination and overcome  your obstacles despite sometimes feeling down and out. The tenacity and doggedness to stick to your purpose through thick and thin is what will get you to your endpoint. Resilience and “bounce-back-ability” are also crucial.

Factor X

This is whatever you need it to be to get the job done. It is your formula so make it yours by adding one or more factors which will help you succeed.

Will the formula work for you?

Yes, I do believe the formula, and the success factors it contains, will give you a solid foundation on which to build and achieve your success. These success elements are battle-proven. Tested and refined over the ages means they are reliable and work. Many successful people have followed just such a formula because it works and they knew it would work. I have even included the mystery term Factor X which you can use to include any other element or elements to make your formula special to you. For me, the term Factor X represents fun. I maximise fun in my life because nothing is a true success for me without some built-in fun.

Over to you

I’ve given you the success formula. Can you make it work? The formula is difficult to follow through to your success. Follow it through and your well-deserved success will be the right success for you.

As I mentioned earlier, I am planning to run a series of articles to usefully expand on the various terms in the formula and why I have deliberately chosen not to include some terms which other people feel are essential. I hope you will enjoy them and gain some benefit from them.

I hope you enjoyed this first article in the series and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

Why not check out the other Success Formula series posts?

Reason Provides Your Driving Force

What Goal Are You Aiming At?

Measure It Right To Succeed

Strategy And Why You Need One

Knowledge Is Essential

Action Required Now

Work Smart Effectively

Feedback Is The Fuel Of Champions

Who’s Watching You?

Dash camera being fitted to a car windscreen

If you knew people were watching you, would you do things differently?

How the feeling of other people watching me caused an unexpected improvement in my driving style after I’d fitted a windscreen camera to my car.

Here is the backstory

I recently installed a windscreen mounted camera in my car. You know, just in case there’s an incident I have some video backup.

Here’s my big caveat. I’m a big believer in anti-censorship. Despite recently publicised requests, by various public organisations, I’m not about to take any footage and submit it to authorities to then have them penalise what I consider to be the bad driving of others. It’s my subjective opinion only and it’s the thin end of a very fat wedge. I might deplore stupid behaviour by others but I must acknowledge their right to do it; behaving stupidly is their choice after all. Actual accident evidence is all I am interested in.

I tell a small lie here. Being only human, I might well keep and distribute video of meteor showers, unicorns, space ships, rainbows, ghosts, etc…

So what?

So, all that said, the first time I went out in the car with the camera fitted I noticed something very strange.

I noticed my own driving had improved significantly. Now I’m obviously a world-class driver and significantly above average (as we all are I’m sure) so I don’t mean the actual driving technicalities improved but I noticed I was being much more polite and courteous than normal. As I’m being totally honest here, I was also following road signage to the letter and being extra careful with my speed too.

A curious occurrence indeed and one which demanded some reflection and deeper analysis.

My “people watching me” explanation

I examined quite a few scenarios and finally realised the answer.

Subconsciously, I’d taken on board the fact that if I had a camera watching other people drive, it stood to reason that other people might have cameras watching my driving.

In effect, I was asking myself how my driving would look to others. Would I be embarrassed if I watched the footage of my driving played back to me? Would I be happy if the world were to see the footage?

These are actually very powerful questions. If all drivers were more aware of the camera concept would driving behaviour improve? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I certainly can’t hurt in my opinion.

Let’s take this “people watching me” idea a step further

Interestingly, one can take this “What if people were watching me right now?” question and concept further and apply it to other behaviours.

In a conflict situation for example, would you be pleased or appalled if your behaviour and language were to be made available to all? Is your cool lost far too easily? Are you a bully? Do you fold too easily? Would the fact that you thought people were watching your actions help you retain your cool adult demeanour and force you to adopt more effective influencing styles? I think it might.

What can you do differently?

The next time you’re standing in a long supermarket queue, a traffic jam or some other sub-optimal environment, consider how you would look on playback. Would you like a big screen telly showing your behaviour? If the whole community was watching you would you be comfortable with your behaviour? Try to be more mindful and adopt a patient, more relaxed mindset. The queue won’t move any faster and the situation won’t change any faster but you’ll be in a much better state when it does finally improve. Give it a go.

My driving has remained greatly improved so the camera will stay put for now – for accidents and miracles only of course.

 

Perfectionism kills creative output

Perfectionism is like shouting at a brick wall

Perfectionism is the enemy of creative output

Perfectionism has held me back. I have battled with perfectionism on and off all my working life. It can be a real productivity killer. If you or someone close to you tends toward perfectionism then read on and see how I now think about it and work to combat it. Perhaps you can do the same?

“Perfection does not exist. To understand this is the triumph of human intelligence; to expect to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness.” Alfred de Musset

In order to get good at something you must put some work into it. If you are trying to become good at being creative you must first create some things. If your are seeking to become a high-quality writer, you first must write something. To become a high-quality musician, you must play. Once started you must keep going so the quality improves. It’s not easy.

Unless you are a legitimate genius who can conjure fully formed high-quality work from thin air then you must acknowledge and accept the fact that success in any field of endeavour takes work. I don’t know about you but I must follow the hard work process.

Work at increasing your output not your perfectionism

The more work you put into something will lead to you creating more output. When you learn and grow based on the feedback for each output event your quality will increase. Being prolific coupled with improvement through feedback will eventually lead to success.

For inspiration to keep my productivity high I always think about one of my personal heroes, Mr Bob Dylan. Whether you like his work or not you have to accept that Bob Dylan has produced a colossal body of work. Has the work always hit the mark or met his personal standards? Probably not, but the point is he did it all anyway. In my opinion, he always grew better and more confident as a direct result of his prolific output.

Ira Glass has some wonderful views and advice on the topic and I would urge you to look at this YouTube video: Ira Glass on Creativity.

Are you a perfectionist?

There is one sure fire killer of creative output and its name is perfectionism.

When you kill your output with perfectionism you severely, or even terminally, limit your chances of hitting your intended target for success.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you try to get things perfect before you release your work to the world? Well, I hate being the bearer of unwelcome news but here it is anyway. There is no such thing as perfect and no such state as perfection. You might as well try and catch smoke with a net. If you are trying to make something perfect you will fail. This post, for example, will never be perfect no matter how much I rewrite it. All I can reasonably do is the best work I can do then get it out there and into the world. I can do no more.

You can only do your best

If something once created is not perfect, many people who tend to perfectionism think other people will notice this and either ignore them or, possibly worse, criticise and hate them. This could not be more wrong or self-defeating for the aspiring creator of brilliance, which the poor perfectionist undoubtedly is.

Now, it is only right and proper that people strive to provide the best output they can for the intended recipients of their efforts. Notice that I said, “best output they can” and not “perfect output” because trying to get something perfect is morally laudable but ultimately completely misguided.

Here’s the thing. The perfectionist will never provide their intended recipients with anything at all because they never feel their work is perfect. It’s a vicious circle from which there is no escape. What do they fear? Is it a failure? Is it success perhaps? Do they really expect perfection in others? Do they really believe others expect it of them? There is something blocking them somewhere.

The law of diminishing returns

There is a law called “The Law of Diminishing Returns.” This states that beyond a certain point you get less and less improvement in something compared to the amount of effort applied to make that improvement. It will never reach 100% no matter how hard you try. Put more simply, if you get something as good as you reasonably can then more work will make only a slight difference. I’ve tried to illustrate this graphically below.

Your audience is not perfect either

If you tend toward perfectionism be aware that the things you may see as potential defects and shortcomings won’t even be noticed by your audience. Remember, your audience is not perfect either.

If what you must give or say is valued and valuable; people will value it for its own sake and not because it is worked, edited or polished to near perfection. Pour your passion and love into your work and people will get it, value it and love it likewise.

Make things as good as you can, by any practicable and reasonable measure, then get your work out there. You can always improve it later if you want to. People will give you feedback if you just ask.

I know that I can always edit this article based on feedback but, if it is not being read by anyone because I haven’t published it, then it may as well never have been written at all.

What valuable work are you holding onto because it isn’t “perfect” enough for you?

Be prolific and get your work out there for everyone’s benefit.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you did then please like it and share it. Every little bit helps in internet land.

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