A Lion in Search of a Circus

When Simba, the Lion, didn’t know that a circus was a possible home for him, his life was different.

He had so much freedom, many opportunities, and so much choice.

He was wired to lead. He was wired to roar. He was wired to kill.

Kill like a Lion.

A Lion in Search of a Circus

Then came circus. And the ringmaster.

Initially, Simba didn’t like the circus but eventually he compromised and surrendered himself.

If he would do exactly as the ringmaster asked him to do, he would get a piece of meat.

If he would refuse to do as the ringmaster asked him to do, he will have to sleep hungry.

If he’d do what the ringmaster wanted even without asking, he would get one more piece of meat.

Following the ringmaster’s orders was a better deal.

So he rewired himself to listen to and follow the ringmaster’s orders.

He was now an integral part of the circus.

His life became easy. Follow the orders and get the food. On some days, he would be allowed to have sex with the lioness who used to stay in a nearby cage.

Simba thought to himself, “Life at circus is not bad at all. I get the food without having to kill anyone and I get to spend some good time with the lioness I developed a crush on.”

As the years passed, Simba thought that the ringmaster was his “true” master and if he would please him, his life would continue to be easy.

Everything worked well for several years, but one day, for some reason, the circus owner decided to close the circus down.

The circus owner was happy with Simba. He thought at this point, rather than selling him to another circus, he would send him back to his real home, into the wild.

And he did it.

That day was difficult for Simba. There was no ringmaster. No shows. No noise of people applauding Simba’s performance. There was no food at his fingertips.

Simba was hungry and he had to arrange for his food on his own.

But he didn’t feel like home. The wild was perhaps too wild for him. He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He needed to be with a circus. Any circus.

He sat under a tree thinking, “It would be great if I find another circus. I want someone to come and take me to the circus again …”

He was the Lion. The King. Yet he needed a place to hold him, a spot where he didn’t have to assume the responsibility.

If he would work with a circus, he’d get food, sex and sense of safety.

Simba was no longer a Lion. His habits were changed. Sure, he looked like a Lion but didn’t remain one. He could roar, but he could not choose.

Why wasn’t he a Lion anymore? Did he forget hunting?

No.

But after living a passive life with the circus and after following orders from the ringmaster, he forgot to choose himself.

Simba hadn’t read James Altucher‘s book – Choose Yourself . Especially the page #4 which goes as below:

“That’s when it clicked. When everything changed. When I realized that nobody else was going to do it for me. If I was going to thrive, to survive, I had to choose myself. In every way.”

~James Altucher, Choose Yourself, pg #4

If you are a Lion, then you hunt. You don’t ridicule yourself by following orders of the ringmasters.

If you are a programmer, then you program. You don’t fool yourself by copy/pasting code from stakeoverflow.com and call yourself a Programmer.

Hunt every day. Program every day. Keep your reflexes sharpened. Read Choose Yourself from James Altucher today and be a real Lion who leads the wild, not just Simba. 

Or go in search of a circus.

How to Be Wiser In 3 Minutes or Less With Audvisor

Do you want to be wiser than who you are?

Silly question.

We all want to. We all want to learn. We all want to better our lives. But the problem is, we have a lot more commitments and a lot less time.

We follow thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and our data feeds are filled with so much information that often we fill guilty of not consuming the wealth of wisdom available to us.

What to do?

Enter Audvisor: It’s a mobile app that brings bite sized insights from world’s top experts for us to listen to and get wiser. Anytime. Anywhere. While driving. While walking. While taking lunch or while getting haircut!

be wiser with audvisor

The remarkable thing? The constraint of 3 minutes. We get all these insights from hundreds of handpicked experts – all under 3 minutes.

Audvisor’s app has found its place on my iPhone’s home screen for almost a week now. I’ve been using it almost every day.

I listen to Audvisor’s insight early morning and “think” about the topic during the day whenever I get few free minutes.

Here’s my first-day experience with Audvisor

I spent my first 1.47 seconds on Audvisor listening to Tom Peter‘s advice on The Real Problem.: Here are my notes from it:

Gem 1:

The problem is never the problem. The response to the problem is almost always the problem.

Gem 2:

Perception is all there is, there is no reality. There is only perception. So, the way you deal with the problem, is so much more important than the problem itself.

Simple thought. Profound concept. Just 1.47 minutes of my time. Positive ROI.

Another audvise I listened to was Pamela Slim‘s Communicating with Clarity. She touches upon how we miss practicing general protocols of clear communication in our everyday communication. My notes:

Gem 1: 

What’s the BEST way for the person whom I’m writing to, to respond me back without the need of processing ?

Gem 2:

Stay away from Jargons and Buzzwords. Tell heart touching stories. Don’t be complex. Use words that a 7th standard student can understand.

And there are 100 more experts to learn from. Seth Godin. Guy Kawasaki. Ishita Gupta. Kevin Eikenberry. Dr. Liz Alexander. All renowned experts.

About Audvisor’s UX

Now about the App’s user experience: The app is easy to use, has no learning curve and lives up to the promises made on their marketing website.

App’s interface is clean and offers Tinder like cards view but with a sensible twist. The gestures feel intuitive.

It is certainly developed with a lot of care, attention to detail and love, which Rajesh Setty, co-founder of Audvisor, is known for – Bringing Ideas To Life, With love!

In terms of user experience, Audvisor app is off to a very good start.

What I Would Like to See In Future Updates of Audvisor

I liked the idea so much that I could not stop myself thinking about it for an hour. I could visualize that eventually Audvisor will become even better when it will get some of the features that I would like to see:

#1 Save audio locally: Ability to save the audio so that I can listen to it again when I’m traveling and do not have consistent access to 3G, LTE or WiFi networks.

#2 More learning on the subject: A feature that offers manually curated useful links to related articles, videos, papers or books on the subject. 3 minutes are sufficient to trigger an action, but more info on the subject, if available to me via an optional gesture or a button, would be of great help in leveraging what I have learned.

#3 Save to Pocket  Ability to save the audvise to Pocket or other read it later service. It also opens a possibility to offer the same audvise via web interface to save it on read it later, the audvise needs a permanent place on the web.

#4 Ability to edit Tweet text: When I choose to share an audvise with twitter, I would love to be presented with an auto-populated tweet, which I can customize if I want to. Current implementation posts the tweet automatically for me which is good, but I wanted more control over the tweet text.

#5 Search:  Ability to Search by topics, experts, and keywords – this would be a great feature especially when there are a lot of topics and experts.

#6  Assign an action on a particular Audvise: Ability to assign a set of actions to a particular Audvise. If I want to extend my learning on a particular insight, I would want to create a to-do and set a reminder. An alternate could be an ability to send Audvisor link to tools such as Trello for further actions.

#7 Vidvisor: Maybe an enhancement (or a companion app)  where I can see the Videos of the experts as well if I want to.

#8 Trending audvises: Twitter-like trends for audvises.

#9 Likes: Ability to give thumbs up or down on an audvise. Litmus test for experts. Will make the platform more trusted.

#10 Stories: Audio (and video) stories of people who have listened to the audvise and how they have put it in action – and the results that they have seen because of it.

I also see that Audvisor has a potential to become a gateway between teachers and students for bite-sized learning. Imagine a teacher creating 3 minutes or less audio/video lesson on learning maths, Spanish or history on any other subject.

Mini-sagas, ThinkTweet, and  Audvisor – bite-sized insights cannot get better than this.

Audvisor adds value to the learners. I vouch for it.

Audvisor seems to add value to the experts – as they get more exposure and acts as a gateway creating more value through their services, products, and advice.

Everyone who uses Audvisor, wins. Experts. Learners. Creators of Audvisor.

If you’re using iPhone, check out this push button app for learning today. If you’re using Android, follow this link.

I’m sure you’d want to thank me for this heads up. Feel free to invite me for a coffee. I like espresso shots. I take no sugar and no milk. Just coffee.

I like coffee in its pure form and perhaps that’s why I liked Audvisor. You also might :).

 

Learn from Mistakes

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” ~ Richard Branson

Do you remember a mistake you made in last 30 days?

Yes?

Do you remember what you learned out of it?

Yes?

Then stop reading this post. Go, make more mistakes.

A mistake is the best thing that can happen to you when you learn from it.

It can tell you why something didn’t work. It can tell you what changes you need to make to get better. It can make you wiser.

Mistakes. Can. Make. You. Wiser.

Here’s a true story. Story of Vicky. Vicky met me at a local meetup a two years back.

He had a couple of Internet business ideas he wanted to start. He was very passionate and thought his ideas were going to be a money minting machine for him.

He wanted to pursue both the ideas simultaneously. Here’s how our conversation went:

Vicky: What do you think of it?
Me: Pick any one.
Vicky: Which one should I pick?
Me: The one that you can do everything possible to make successful.
Vicky: How do I know if one idea is better than the other?
Me: I don't know. Make a decision. Experiment something around the idea. Gather some data 
and take it from there.
Vicky: What if I fail?
Me: You will.
Vicky: I don't like to fail. What can I do?
Me: Give up.
Vicky: I don't want to give up. What is the next best way?
Me: Fail small; fail fast. Have shorter failure sprints. When you fail fast, you succeed 
fast too. Well, maybe.

“OK. Got it,” he said. But he didn’t get it.

Vicky: Will you be on board of my new startup?
Me: No.
Vicky: You pick the equity percentage. I will be fine with it if you're joining my startp. How can we work it out?
Me: No, thanks. I am dating another startup with 100% of my attention. Maybe next time. Fornow, you read Steve Blank's The Startup Owner's manual. It will help.

A year passed.

Vicky made the first release of his product. It was average. It had a lot of features which were not required. People did not show much interest in his product.

He was demotivated. He told me that he committed a huge mistake and wasted almost one year of his life working on something that is not going to be useful.

He also narrated how the freelancer he hired wanted more money from him to include more features.

Vicky believed he was smart. He figured out why failure of his product was someone else’s fault. He found that the developer he hired was not good at design. Maybe his product was ahead of time. He made logical conclusions.

And he met me at another meetup:

Vicky: My product didn't work. I'm a failure now. You might not want to talk to me.

Me: Keep talking
Vicky: My product failed even though I put best of my efforts.

Me: Is it?
Vicky: Actually, it was the developer. She took more time than she should have taken.

Me: Did you not replace her?
Vicky: I could not. She was the only developer ready to work for the money I offered.

Me: Why she took more time?
Vicky: She worked part time. This is the problem with technical people. They don't give 
their 100% all the time.

Me: Why should someone give 100% of her time when you're paying 25% of what she should get paid?
Vicky: I don't know what to say ...

Me: Do you know anyone who has bought a premium service for peantus?
Vicky: But people also did not want to use my product. They were not intersted in using 
new technology.

Me: Why not?
Vicky: Maybe they are not computer savvy.

Me: Why they are not computer savvy?
Vicky: Maybe it doesn't matter to their business at this point.

Me: That's exactly the point. Did you get out of your building and meet 50 people who were your potential product users and interviewed them?
Vicky: No.

Me: Do you remember that I told you to read Stevel Blank's The Startup Owner's Manual?
Vicky: Yes, but I thought I will read it once my product is built.

Me: I see.
Vicky: What should I do next?

Me: Learn from your mistakes and retry.
Vicky: Do you think that I commit a mistake? It's them. Not me.

Me: LOL :D
Vicky: Why are you laughing?

Me: Whose product failed?
Vicky: Mine.

Me: Then who should be resposible for it?
Vicky: Who? Oh.. me :( But what mistakes did I make according to you?

Me: You did not test your hypothesis. You did not go to market and speak with your 
potential customers. You tried to develop lot of features at once. You took lot of time. 
You hired cheap talent and expected they will do great work. And most important, you still blame others for your product not being successful.
Vicky: So what do you suggest?

Me: I don't suggest anything. You find out. You are wiser now, aren't you?
Vicky: Got it. There is no point in justifying how other people negatively affected the 
end result. I could have executed it better. I made a mistake.

Me: So execute your next project better. Good thing was that you made some decisions. 
It's a different matter that your decisions didn't work and turned out as a mistake. Now 
you know certain things need to change so you will do that.

Making a decision is much better than indecision.

The problem with indecision is that it is also a decision, albeit a passive one. A decision that you take by assuming that you haven’t taken any decision and wouldn’t have to deal with its consequences.

It’s not true.

Every decision has consequences and indecision is also a decision.

Mistakes are the results of decisions that didn’t work. Accept them. Learn from mistakes and retry once more.

You made a mistake, but it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You’re alive. You’ve become wiser. So, retry. And then, retry once more.

Track Your Progress Daily

Do you track your progress daily?

Yes?

Imagine this scenario: an idea took over your energies and you felt passionate about it. You set your goals enthusiastically and started chasing them diligently.

Days passed … then some weeks … then some months …

… and then, on a lonely weekend evening, you’re wondering even though you have reached many of  your goals, you don’t feel accomplished. The degree of your fulfilment vs. the energy you brought-in are out of proportion and you feel should do something about it.

This has happened to me more than once and kept me wondering why this happens even after accomplishing some of the significant (sounding) goals I had set for myself.

Here’s the big idea – Track Your Progress Daily. Not only against individual small time goals but against your fundamental goal that you’ve consciously bought into.

You may be accomplishing many of the small-time goals but if you don’t track your progress against your fundamental life goal, it might turn out as a worthless accomplishment.

You might have progressed a lot in an individual goal but accomplishing that goal might have taken you afar from your fundamental goal.

Progress is important. Ensuring that your progress is in the direction of your fundamental life goal is even more important.

Track Your Progress Daily. Just a couple of minutes spent on doing this exercise has a power to make your life experiences more meaningful.