Some say life is like chess, running a marathon, or playing a video game. I like those simplified looks on life because it’s already complicated enough.
But even though those ideas are fun, they don’t provide a practical strategy to base your life on. Sure, you must be smart, strategic, try to accelerate your learning, get results, and be consistent at the same time. We get it.
But what do you do when things don’t work out?
About three years ago, I wasn’t satisfied with my life and career. It’s difficult to explain why. To be honest, I didn’t understand why at the time. I just didn’t know what I was doing.
I just did what others expected me to do. Or, things that conventional wisdom tell you to do. I went to college, got two degrees, started a business, but I thought I also needed to work for a multinational firm, live in a big city, buy expensive stuff, and drive a cool car.
Do you ever feel that business as a whole can be hostile? Maybe you have a boss that doesn’t appreciate you. Or a client that treats you like dirt.
No matter what your place is on the career ladder, I bet you’ve felt misunderstood somewhere in your career. Every day people feel left out, unappreciated, and mistreated at work. And consequently, they suffer.
Let’s face it. Business is not always fun. And sure, it’s business.
But I think we can easily improve the business landscape by getting better at one thing: Emotional Intelligence.
Everyone has heard of it. But what is it? How do you get better at it? And how can you use it to get better at business?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is a term that’s been popularized by John Mayer, from the University of New Hampshire, and Yale’s Peter Salovey.
Have you ever worked with a person so nasty that you hated going to work? It’s sad, but some people can spoil everything.
In an ideal world, people would treat others with respect, patience, and kindness. I think that’s what we’re meant to do as humans beings.
Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 til 180, and once the most powerful man on earth, said it best:
“In a sense, people are our proper occupation. Our job is to do them good and put up with them.”
But in real life, things are a bit different. Most of us face bullies, backstabbers, and arses who don’t respect others on a daily basis. In other words: Assholes are everywhere.
But Robert Sutton, author of The Asshole Survival Guide, is committed to change that.
I always thought that the best wins at anything. That might be true for sports. But not for life and business.
If you’re trying to build a profitable business or stable career, you might be approaching it all wrong. At least, I was. And I think that the common belief about success is also totally wrong.
I get it when it comes to sports. There’s only one place at the top. And to get to the top, you have to be the best. I only applaud that. In fact, I’m inspired by athletes like LeBron James, Christiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, and others.
But business is different. Instead of being the best, you must strive for becoming the first. Al Ries and Jack Trout put it best in their classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing:
Do you have a long list of goals, desires, and wants for your life? Do you want to learn more? Earn more? Improve your skills? Get the most out of your relationships? Live better?
All those things are good. Life is about moving forward and making consistent progress.
However, there’s one important thing about all this working, hustling, striving, and achieving more: You can’t do everything at the same time.
Do you ever think, “who cares about anything that I have to say?”
Every time you have a similar thought like that, you’re developing imposter syndrome. There are many ways imposter syndrome expresses itself in your mind:
- “If I fail this, I will lose everything.”
- “What if people call me out?”
“I feel like a fake. I’m not the right person to talk about this.”
After these type of thoughts, we often try to downplay the effects:
- “It’s not a big deal.”
- “No one cares anyway.”
- “It’s a matter of luck, anyway.”
Those secondary thoughts are just a defense mechanism. We try to convince ourselves that our work isn’t important and that no one cares. We experience imposter syndrome when we have to lead people, share our ideas, give advice, etc.