A better question to ask yourself instead of “How do I get ahead?”

This is an excellent article about how your struggles determine your success and is well worth the read.

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everyone would like that—it’s easy to like that. 

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything. 

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence—but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship—but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.

People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There’s a lot of crappy advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something enough. They just aren’t aware of what it is they want, or rather, what they want “enough.”

Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten thousand.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe what you want isn’t what you want, you just enjoy wanting. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

That answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

For most of my adolescence and young adulthood, I fantasized about being a musician — a rock star, in particular. Any badass guitar song I heard, I would always close my eyes and envision myself up on stage playing it to the screams of the crowd, people absolutely losing their minds to my sweet finger-noodling. This fantasy could keep me occupied for hours on end. The fantasizing continued up through college, even after I dropped out of music school and stopped playing seriously. But even then it was never a question of if I’d ever be up playing in front of screaming crowds, but when. I was biding my time before I could invest the proper amount of time and effort into getting out there and making it work. First, I needed to finish school. Then, I needed to make money. Then, I needed to find the time. Then … and then nothing.

Despite fantasizing about this for over half of my life, the reality never came. And it took me a long time and a lot of negative experiences to finally figure out why: I didn’t actually want it.

I was in love with the result—the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, pouring my heart into what I’m playing—but I wasn’t in love with the process. And because of that, I failed at it. Repeatedly. Hell, I didn’t even try hard enough to fail at it. I hardly tried at all.

The daily drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals with no car. It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the top.

Our culture would tell me that I’ve somehow failed myself, that I’m a quitter or a loser. Self-help would say that I either wasn’t courageous enough, determined enough or I didn’t believe in myself enough. The entrepreneurial/start-up crowd would tell me that I chickened out on my dream and gave in to my conventional social conditioning. I’d be told to do affirmations or join a mastermind group or manifest or something.

But the truth is far less interesting than that: I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.

I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way.

Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.”

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend.

This post originally appeared on MarkManson.net

2 Awesome tips to make your meetings more productive

1. Send relevant materials in advance to those who will be attending.

If team managers want to discuss data that doesn’t need to be confined to a conference room, then it’s in their favour to not dedicate a portion of the meeting for employees to catch up at their own pace.

2. Set a goal at the start of the meeting.

Meetings that stretch on for too long typically lack a purpose or agenda. Zuckerberg got managers to announce each meeting’s intention from the outset. It starts with the question, “are we in the room to make a decision or to have a discussion?” Sandberg writes.

Sandberg says inspirational posters are hung around the Facebook campus that say things like “Done is Better than Perfect,” “Move Fast and Break Things,” and “Fortune Favours the Bold.” One of her favourites says “Ruthless Prioritisation,” which is a clue to how she schedules her day and how the company approaches meetings.

Bill Gates Quote

I was watching a short video on “TerraPower” and there was a really good quote from Bill Gates which I liked.

“if it’s not economic it is just theory”

In fact after reading up a bit more about TerraPower, I really hope that they are successful.

Read this interview with Bill Gates about the future of R&D and the energy future. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/11/we-need-an-energy-miracle/407881/

Just Finished Beta1 Code Of My Watch Project

I am so fucking happy right now! I have been developing a custom digital watch on and off for the past 2 and a half years; and 10 minutes ago I did a complete test of the first Beta release of the code.

Everything works, even the rushed shit that I just chucked in on caffeine driven late night code binges. Not only the code, but the custom hardware checks out too.

Seriously YEEEE FUCKING HAWWWWWW 😀

Tonight has been a damn good night.

HyperLoop Hoverboard … How Cool Is That!

So Arx Pax the creator of the Hendo Hover Board has put in an entry into the HyperLoop competition that SpaceX is running. And all I can say is that is Freeking AMAZING.

Not only is this cool Pod tech transport system just awesome, but it is getting super charged with a hover system. Apart from landing 14 storey high rockets on a barge in the ocean, this is the coolest, most amazing news for 2015.

I can’t wait.

This is the Press Release

You’re crap and paid too much for the little work you actually do

I found this article  By Dominic Connor (from The Register) and it is quite informative, so I have just copied the whole thing and pasted it here.

You’re not getting paid as well as you should. I know this not only because you’re bothering to read this, but also because most techies are crap at extracting cash from their employers. It shouldn’t shock you too much to learn that I, as a City headhunter and former contractor, focus quite hard on money – so here’s a few ideas that will help you even in tough times.

Continuous Visible Productivity

The first thing you get wrong is spending too much time on things no one sees. No one really cares if you’ve made the backup process run 50 per cent faster unless it’s stopping work, so don’t waste your time on this until some politically powerful person or business unit asks. That’s a tactic: the full methodology you should adopt for all your work is Continuous Visible Productivity (CVP).

Plan your work in terms of things other people can see; forget agile dependency modelling, GANTT, etcetera and prioritise with respect to how many useful people see the result.

The joy of CVP is that its cynicism is so pure you can openly share it with your boss – he is under constant attack for the cost of IT which to “the business” seems so rarely to actually produce anything. A staffer who makes him look good is far more valuable than one who knows more C++ syntax, so his fear of you leaving goes up without you doing anything. The highest paid contractor I ever met composed Reuters pages for directors of the bank. That’s drag-and-drop level work and she was a proper techie – so it was far beneath her – but every time she wanted to quit they’d throw money at her, such was the power of her visible productivity. You might not have that option, but making sure your system can easily and quickly support new pages makes you look good, especially if it’s not a documented feature …

Why you are paid

Your pay is an equilibrium between their fear of you leaving and greedily keeping the cash they could pay you. Do not kid yourself that your pay is a reward for work you have done, employers have less memory than a goldfish and your only lever is what you’re going to do. Any pitch for money must contain a mix of opportunities for your boss to look good flavoured with just enough fear that you might be leaving. The past is evidence for a pay rise, not a cause.

One of the best paid IT guys I know says that he doesn’t sell “solutions”, he sells pay rises; your boss must see it in his interest to fight the battles. Be aware that it’s just pub talk to leave a recruiters card “accidentally” on your desk, if they think you’re definitely going anyway they won’t bother to try and keep you and optional items like bonuses and training won’t be wasted on a lost boy. The last thing your boss wants is to fight for your pay rise and let his bosses see you quit anyway.

Note that the title is “get more money”, not “earn more”. I can’t make you better at your job, my aim is to get you better rewarded for it. You are worth what you can get, not a penny more or less. In negotiations it is useful to use the word “fair” so that the other side doesn’t feel too blackmailed, but never kid yourself that it means anything.

Screwing up to get more money

One serious programmer explained to me that “if the system goes down for 30 minutes, you’re incompetent. Bring it back after five hours and you’re a hero”. They key here is that you’re making a difference when it hits the fan, that’s not someone they want to lose.

Sounding enthusiastic

Your boss has no idea if you’re good at your job. Even in the unlikely event he knows much about database replication or wrongly aliased pointers, he doesn’t have the time to properly measure your performance – and the structure of many IT groups means that the greater their decision-making power, the less the individual understands computers. They use proxies for competence and productivity, working on the principle that a cheerful techie is delivering the goods. They also like cheerful people because it means the team is functional, which is part of…

Business correctness

The richer brother of political correctness, every firm has a bunch of things that one has to pay lip service to. As a techie you are crap at even noticing these and when you do, they form the butt of your acid humour.

You need to say: “We’re a tier one supplier to the NHS,” even when you know it’s a delusion believed by no one outside marketing. You don’t have to believe it. There’s a whole pile of bullshit words you need to use more, such as “business”, “delivery”, “savings” and “revenue” – but most important is “team”.

EDS did a video – “Herding cats” – which beautifully captures how your bosses see IT people…

At many firms they genuinely believe that one day they will have to deal with an outbreak of physical violence in the IT department – and quite a few already have (the time I was punched at IBM’s labs was my own fault).

Artificial Intelligence And The Future Of Mankind

So I’ve been reading up on AI and what it will mean for humanity, and it is amazing. To put it bluntly, the reason why AI is such a hot topic right now is that we are getting very close to achieving it. Now I don’t mean that it will be here next week, but rather, the “general” consensus is that General AI will be here by 2040-2045.

for an excellent post on the whole AI topic read this:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html ; and  http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-2.html 

Anyway, after all this reading, all I can think is “How does it feel to be the last generation of humans who are the smartest creatures on this planet.” and also by extension “How does it feel to be the LAST generation of humans on the planet”

I say this because Artificial Super Intelligence is near. When it does arrive, it will look at humans like we look at the animal kingdom. As pets or as things that need to be looked after / protected / kept in a cage.  And we won’t even know. We will think that we are the masters of our own destiny but we won’t. We will be in a cage and not even know that we are in it.

If the AI looks at humanity as generally harmless it will treat us like cats. If the AI looks at humanity and thinks it is a threat, it will treat us the same way as we treat sharks. The only difference is that when it starts to take humanity down, we won’t understand that it is the AI doing it. It will be a bit like how a elephant can understand life and death, but not the fact that the real reason why it is hunted is just for it’s ivory.

So right now we are living in the greatest time in human history and most likely the future of human history as well. So there is no point in being un-happy and doing a job you hate. The time is now to live your dreams because there may not be a tomorrow to do it.

15 Ways to Be More Efficient

Much of this is rubbish, and there are some Gems.
Skip Meetings
“Meetings are a waste of time unless you are closing a deal. There are so many ways to communicate in real time or asynchronously that any meeting you actually sit for should have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go.”
Hire for Flexibility
“Zipcar challenged us to think about how we could use a car on an hourly basis instead of a daily basis. I’d like to challenge business people to think about what they would do if they could have talent on demand. Hiring contractors is more cost-efficient than hiring people full-time and less time-consuming than doing it yourself because you can hire an expert for whatever task you need to accomplish.”
Rank Items on Your To-Do List
“Make the next day’s “to do” list before you leave the office. Rate each item A, B, or C based on its importance, and work on A items first. The productiveness of any meeting depends on the advance thought given the agenda, and you should never leave a meeting without writing a follow-up list with each item assigned to one person. And go outside. All the big ideas are on the outside. You’ll never have a creative idea at your desk.
Answer the Phone
“Communication is key. I call the CEO or chairperson of every one of my major clients every day. I like the directness of phone conversations; you don’t miss things the way you do with e-mail. I also carry my cell phone around the building, and my employees do as well. We have a rule: I answer their calls and they answer my calls. Also, cut down on sleep. Why would you sleep when it’s time to live? Sleeping isn’t living. You sleep when you die. I get up at 3:30 every morning and I’m at the gym by 4. Then I ride 25 miles on my bike before breakfast. Being in shape is what gives me energy.”
Organize Your Daily Interruptions
“My executive assistant, Haley Carroll, e-mails me a daily memo, which I read after I go home every night. It’s in four parts, and the first part is my next day’s schedule. Then comes a list of questions that cropped up during the day — maybe someone wants to know whether I have feedback on the new Hudson Yards Catering logo. She aggregates them so she doesn’t have to interrupt me repeatedly during office hours. I’ll respond to those right away. The third part of the e-mail is FYIs: information I don’t have to act on but might like to know. Maybe my mother called to make a reservation for her neighbor next week at Blue Smoke. Or there might be a change in my schedule. Finally, there is a section of longer-term reminders. I promised to write a blurb for a friend’s book. I want to plan a vacation, so I need to check on my kids’ school schedules. We started the memos only last year, and I don’t know how we managed without them. I care about the details. This way, I don’t worry that I’m missing anything.
Always Be Interviewing
“I used to think business was 50 percent having the right people. Now I think it’s 80 percent. The best way to be productive is to have a great team. So I spend more time than most CEOs on human resources. I carry a little notebook with the names of 35 or 40 people in the company, and every week I look at it to make sure I’m in touch with everyone. The top eight or 10 people I’m going to see automatically. But there are always 20 or 30 people who are up-and-comers or one or two levels down, and I wan them to know I’m paying attention. Once a quarter, I go through my list of contacts—a couple of thousand of them—to see if there’s anyone I should be reaching out to about a job. Intensive as all of this is, I ultimately save time, because I can delegate with confidence.
Use E-mail to Document
“When scheduling travel and social activities, I like to communicate plans through e-mail to both family and colleagues to keep an easy record of correspondence rather than relying on a possibly hurried conversation.
Use a Wiki to Capture Ideas
“A lot of productivity is capturing ideas. I use a wiki—it’s more valuable than e-mail for running a company—and I have a page for every person with whom I interact frequently.
Be Extra-Productive During Off-Hours
“I get almost as much done outside normal office hours as during them. I’ll interview people on Saturdays, late at night, early in the morning. If I’m trying to solve a particularly difficult problem, I’ll come in on the weekend, when there’s less going on, and spend a day focusing on it. I read technology manuals and watch video tutorials late at night. During start-up, I think you have the choice of being productive or having a social life, and I’ve choosen being productive.
Always Save Time to Exercise
“With the exception of one or two days a year, I work out every single day. Fitting a workout into the work day reduces stress, keeps you healthy, and is great for getting “alone time” to work out business and personal problems. When someone asks for a non work-related meeting, see if they are up for doing the meeting while running or biking together. Work out at lunchtime and then eat at your desk.
Shrink Your Mental Deadlines
“If I think something is going to take me an hour, I give myself 40 minutes. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you work faster and with greater focus. I also schedule time every week on my calendar for quiet, concentrated PowerTime where I only work on my most important activities. A “Stop Doing” list is as important as a “To Do” list. A “To Do” list is easy, you just keep adding to it and the more you have on it, the more important you may feel. But “Stop Doing” is more difficult because you have to give up some things.
Live by the “Two-Pizza” Rule
“Interaction should be constant, not crammed into meetings once a week. You just turn around in your chair and bounce an idea off one of the other 10 people in your office. Keep the floor plan open so people can talk to each other. As the company gets bigger, keep dividing it into smaller and smaller groups. Follow Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza rule: Project teams should be small enough to feed with two pizzas. At Hunch, we don’t have meetings unless absolutely necessary. When I used to have meetings, though, this is how I would do it: There would be an agenda distributed before the meeting. Everybody would stand. At the beginning of the meeting, everyone would drink 16 ounces of water. We would discuss everything on the agenda, make all the decisions that needed to be made, and the meeting would be over when the first person had to go to the bathroom.
Avoid Multitasking
“Don’t multitask. Multitasking is something we all do these days. The problem is our brains just aren’t cut out for it. When you multitask, you’re interfering with your brain’s ability to perform at max-capacity. Yes, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can fold laundry while talking to a friend on the phone. Clowns can ride a unicycle while juggling brightly colored balls. These are role tasks that don’t demand a lot of brain power. But in most cases, multitasking=lesstasking. When you make those shifts from one context to another, you risk dropping things from your short-term memory. Do one thing at a time, minimize context shifts, maximize brain power!
Review Your Productivity at the End of the Day
“The most difficult aspect of being a CEO is you driving your day, and not letting the day drive you. By looking through tasks each morning and resolving to allocate the time to concentrate on the CEO priorities, the actions only the CEO can take to move the company forward, you can keep your eye on moving the company forward. At the end of the day, I always checked whether I had taken action on my top three priorities. If the answer was “no,” I stayed in the office until I made progress on them.”
Schedule Time to Focus on the Big Picture
“For me, a big part of productivity is being agile. I like to leave a lot of blocks in my day open. On an average day, I’m only 50 percent scheduled, though occasionally it gets as high as 80 percent. That’s imperative, because often something comes up out of nowhere. Recently, for example, an important new partner came to the office and unexpectedly brought the CEO. The team came to me and said, “Oh, my God; their CEO came. Do you have a window this afternoon?” I had a window. And at the end of the hour the CEO and I spent together, we’d identified new markets and positioned the company to be a global as well as domestic partner. If I have a free block and nothing presents itself, I catch up on industry reports, self-education, and big-picture thinking. In a packed schedule, those things can get neglected. They shouldn’t be.”
Shamelessly taken from inc.com