Malcolm Gladwell: Disadvantages Can Improve Your Chance of Success

Disadvantages Can Improve Your Chance of Success from the book “David and Goliath” by one of my favorite authors Malcolm Gladwell

How can these two concepts can change your life

You never know when a message will hit you between the eyes.

Today I visited my family at a birthday party for my neice, (Happy Birthday Sarah) and as I was entering the washroom of her house I noticed a sign on the counter.

It was one of those signs that look like they are made out of stone, but are not solid, like stone.

And as I read the sign it really made me think. And we all know that is the place where most of the thinking happens.

The sign read:

“Dream like you will live forever, and Live like you will die tomorrow. “

As I sat there I thought, wow what a powerful concept.

Just imagine if you could live forever… what would you dream for?

Imagine if you could live forever… how would the mental road blocks fall away?

You could plant seeds today, knowing that you will be reaping the fruits tomorrow.

Now think about how your life would be different if you knew that you would die tomorrow.

Do you think you would live more strategically… more urgently.

Think about all the things you would need to do and the things that you would avoid doing.

These are 2 powerful concepts that if applied, could dramatically change your life. Make it richer. Make it more fulfilling.

So what are you waiting for: Dream as if you will live forever, and live like you will die tomorrow.

The Ultimate Leadership Opportunity – The Rest of the Story

In my last post, I started telling you about an awesome leadership opportunity that a friend of mine just received.

And by now you are probably thinking, “Just tell me what it is already.”

Well this excellent position that my friend is embarking in is the position as a father.

And if you think about it fatherhood (and motherhood) is he ultimate leadership opportunity.

It gives you the opportunity to flex your leadership muscles.

It gives you the opportunity to influence your child, who will help shape the future.

And it gives you the opportunity through your child to leave a legacy and make your mark in the world.

What an awesome opportunity.

What an awesome responsibility.

What an awesome job that he will have for the rest of his life.

Good Luck my friend, I am confident that you will be a fantastic Dad!!!

How to make decisions with the best decision making tools

“So which option is better A or B?”

Your customers may not vocalize this, but they are thinking it.

When customers are hesitating to make a decision, you need to understand that there are many factors that they are thinking of.

“Should I choose A or B?” “Should I buy now or wait?” “Should I buy here or somewhere else?” “Should I buy or not buy? “Should I pay cash or use credit?”

A lot to think about. I know whenever I have a big decision to make I use a simple tool to help me decide.

I write a pros and cons list. This is a tool that I believe dates back to Ben Franklin days. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Get a clean sheet of paper

Step 2: Draw a line down the middle of it.

Step 3: Write a “+” sign on the left side and a “-” sign on the right.

Step 4: Brainstorm all the reasons why you should go ahead (benefits) and write them down, in point form, below the “+” sign.

Step 5: Continue brainstorming and write down all the drawbacks of going ahead below the “-” sign.

Usually the answer will be clear at this point, with one side dominating the page. However, if it isn’t then proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Assign a rating for each point. ie. 5 pts. for really important point, 3 points for somewhat important point and 1 point for ever other point.

Step 7: After assigning a rating for each point, simply add up your total. And the side with the most points is the decision you should make.

So if you find your customers hesitating, you may want to help them buy using this simple tool.

However, if you need to narrow the decision between multiple options, there is an excellent tool called a barrier analysis, which can be found in the book, From Landfalls to Legacies by Rob MacLeod (This is also an excellent read because he uses a parable style, but the book has more meat that most parable books that I have read.)

I’ve witnessed Rob work with a cross functional group from a large organization (who was legendary for not being able to come to a concensis) and using this tool, they agreed on which areas of their company to work on in a few short hours. The facilitation was so successful, that it even ended early.

How our “Date with Disney” can improve your next Presentation

We can hardly contain our excitement. Tomorrow my family leaves for a week long trip to Disney World.

We have been preparing for this moment for years. We have saved up the money, booked and planned our trip extensively. We searched websites for tips on how to get the most out of our money, time and energy (The 3 currencies that we all have available to us). We have planned how we were going to get there (Southwest Airlines, where we are going to stay , what theme parks we are going to visit, and even which restaurants we are going to eat in.(Because you have to book 180 days in advance to get reservations to some restaurants).

In fact, we have spent almost as much energy planning for this trip as we did for our wedding (17 years ago). And you may be asking yourself why have we spent so much time and energy into planning for this trip?

The reason we have invested so much into the planning of this experience is that we want to have the best time. We have tried to plan for and eliminate all of the things that could possibly go wrong, in order for us to have a fantastic (and memorable) experience.

So all this planning got me thinking.

Why don’t we put the same effort into delivering a killer sales presentation or a speech?

The truth is that the pros do.

They invest time / energy / money into preparing in order to eliminate all the things that could possibly go wrong.

According to David Peoples, in his awesome book Presentations Plus,

“95% of how well your presentation is going to go will be determined before you even begin.”

And I say that, “Increased Preparation leads to Increased Confidence and Increased Confidence leads to Increased Success.”

So think about how you are going to prepare for your next presentation.

Think about how you are going to Prepare your Material.

Think about how you are going to Prepare the Environment.

And think about how you are going to Prepare for the Moment.

I will go into more detail on these topics (and lessons learned from Disney World) in future blogs.

As for now, my family and I have a date with Mickey Mouse and we are prepared to have an awesome experience. So as Tigger says, “TTFN (Tah, tah for now)

The Science of Giving Gifts

 The following tip is from my Guide titled: The 7+ Habits of Highly Effective Husbands.  When you read it think how this psychology may come into play when you are giving gifts to your customers.

The Science of Giving Gifts 

Giving your wife a gift is a great way to show your love, but if you are not careful it can blow up in your face.

Like the time when we were dating I gave my wife April a beautiful red lace rose, not knowing that when you took the plastic off, the head of the rose was really a little pair (and I mean little) of skimpy underwear.

That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that I gave it to her at her birthday party… at my parents’ house.

And that summer when she started talking to me again… (her birthday is in December), she suggested that I needed help.


And that is when I decided to study and learn the science behind effective gift giving.

A science that has been a mystery to husbands (and sales reps) for years… until now!


What I discovered were thes 4 elements of effective gift giving that I call the T.I.M.S. factor.


The 1st element it Timing:

A gift that is a surprise is more powerful that one she expects.

You still need to give her a gift on special occassions, like Christmas, her Birthday or your Anniversary, but you may find that she will be just as delighted if you bring her flowers after work on Friday.

But, don’t do it every Friday… because then she’ll expect it which will not only make it less powerful, but if you forget one week she will be disappointed. This is certainly not the emotion you want to generate.


The 2nd element is your Investment:

And by investment, I don’t just mean the money you spend but also the time and effort you take in thinking about, finding and picking out just the right gift for her.

The more time and effort you invest, the more powerful the gift will be.

Trust me, women know which gifts are bought on December 24th.


The 3rd element is your Motive:

My research shows that there are 4 different types of gifts.

The “Just because I love you (or was thinking about you)” gift, which is the most powerful.

The “Thank you” gift, which is the next most powerful.

The “Negotiation” gift, which is less powerful, because if you receive something in return it is not really a gift.

And the “Please don’t make me sleep on the couch again tonight, honey” or the “suck-up” gift, which is abviously the least powerful.


The 4th element of the T.I.M.S. model of effective gift giving is the Sensation that she feels when she gets your gift.

If your gift leaves her happy… you’re golden.

If you have to go out and buy her a “Please don’t make me sleep on the couch again tonight, honey” gift to make up for your original one… not so much.

So remember the Science of Gift Giving and think T.I.M.S. before buying her a gift.