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The Best Are Often Already Taken

If you’re looking to hire someone, the best employees are often already taken. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but the best employees are rarely ever looking for a job. Jobs come looking for them because they’re the best at what they do.

So what do you do if you’re looking to hire someone? Create a job opening and hope someone good applies? You could. Or you could do the opposite. Scout out a list of potential candidates you would really like to hire and sell yourself to them. Instead of letting people find you, go find them yourself. This is important, especially if you want them more than they want you.

People naturally gravitate towards those they perceive to be of a higher status. So if you want to attract top talent, you’ll first have to be a top employer. Otherwise, they will be the ones attracting you. In which case, the only way to get them is by selling yourself.

When You Know You’ll Be Interrupted

Whenever I know I’ll be interrupted, I stop doing anything meaningful. It’s a rather strange habit of mine, and I think it’s either because I don’t like to be interrupted whenever I’m doing anything important, or because my brain is trying to find an excuse to procrastinate.

Here’s a common example at work, suppose I want to do a test on one of the machines but it’s “not ready,” either because someone is still troubleshooting another issue in the system or some key personnel is busy with something else. So I wait…

But the thing is, I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait. No one does. Sometimes, it’s only a few minutes. Sometimes, it can be a few hours. And occasionally, it can be a few days.

In the case where it seems like it could be a few days, I might just go home and wait for them to call me. And whenever that happens, I can’t seem to get myself to do anything other than mindlessly consuming stuff off the internet, like watching random YouTube videos or reading random news articles.

It’s only when I have the certainty that I can get myself to do the more important stuff. For example, I’m told to come in at 6pm and it’s currently 2pm, that’s when I get my act together and be productive. Otherwise, the fear and annoyance of getting interrupted puts me off from doing anything important, as more often than not, the interruption is abrupt and I’ll have to drop everything just to go to work.

Couldn’t I just say no whenever I’m interrupted or put my phone to airplane mode? Technically, I could. But I’m probably not going to do that because of the nature of my job. So the other option is to play with my psychology and get comfortable with being interrupted. It doesn’t happen that often anyway, right?

Heavy Rain Doesn’t Mean Free Car Wash

For a really long time, I’ve always assumed that leaving your car out in the rain, especially when it’s raining heavily, is the equivalent of getting a free car wash. Turns out, that’s not true at all. If anything, rain makes your car dirtier than it was before.

First of all, rain falling from the sky doesn’t have enough pressure to knock off or remove the dirt that’s stuck on your car. To really wash your car, you need to use a bit of soap to release the dirt particles so they can be washed off.

Secondly, rainwater isn’t exactly clean. Depending on where you live and the amount of pollution in the area, the rainwater can be rather dirty and even acidic. This means over the long term, they can damage your car’s paint or coating, and this is apparently one of the reasons why people wax their cars.

So, the best thing heavy rain can do is reshuffle the dirt around your car and that’s it. If you don’t want to get a car wash, the easiest thing you can do is to manually spray water all over your car, give it a quick scrub or wipe, preferably with some soap, and rinse it again. Which, if you think about it, is the equivalent of giving your car a quick shower instead of a full bath treatment.

The Human Brain Cannot Comprehend the Negative

You might not believe it, but the human brain cannot comprehend the negative. It’s true, so says Simon Sinek, and he’ll even give you an example to prove it. Are you ready?

Don’t think of an elephant.

Okay, what were you thinking just now?

You can’t tell the human brain not to do something. Whenever we put something in the negative, we’re often reinforcing the idea instead of pushing it away.

Here’s another example. Professional skiers have no problem skiing through trees and zig-zagging around them. How do they do it? They don’t tell themselves “don’t hit a tree, don’t hit a tree,” because if they do, they’re gonna focus on the trees. Then what happens? They’ll hit the tree because that’s all they’re seeing.

Instead, they tell themselves “follow the path, follow the path” and the path becomes the only thing they see. Suddenly, all the trees disappear and they’re skiing comfortably along the path.

Source: Simon Sinek

The Google Technique

An interesting passage from Skip the Line by James Altucher:

When I started my first job, everyone warned me, “Bruce will steal credit for everything you do. Be careful.” My friends were being kind to me. Credit, they thought, was something you hold on to like a precious gift and don’t let anyone take from you.

But I wanted my boss to have credit. In part because the better he looked, the more likely I was to keep my job. I was terrified of being fired.

I gave Bruce credit for everything I did. I would tell everyone: This was Bruce’s idea. Or Bruce let me do this. Or thank God I have a boss like Bruce. Bruce got promoted. And promoted and promoted. And he let me do more and more of what I wanted to do without saying anything. Because it always made him look good.

So eventually I started a company on the side. And then I hired my own company to do some of the work I was assigned to do.

Nobody cared. Because now I was enormously productive. And my boss got all the credit. And his boss. And his boss.

And then I quit. And then I went to my company full time.

Now what?

I made my clients look good.

Their job was to make great websites for their companies. I would make great websites for their companies. In meetings I would give them full credit for coming up with design ideas, functionality, business models, etc.

They looked good. They got promoted. They got hired at other companies. Who would they then hire to do their work? My company.

One time some of my employees wanted to quit to start their own company and even take some of our clients. My partners were furious! I said, “No problem.” And I gave them advice. I made them look good. When I needed help twenty years later with something critical, they were the first to help me out. Not my old partners, but the employees who “betrayed” us. Be the credit card: give everyone the credit they deserve. Then they keep coming back to the source.

Careers are a marathon, not a sprint.

So what does this technique have to do with Google? Well, Google doesn’t know anything about motorcycles. But if I go to Google and I ask, “Can you please tell me all about motorcycles?” it’ll say, “Listen, we don’t know anything about motorcycles, but we’ve done a lot of research and here are the ten best websites where you can learn about motorcycles.”

It’ll also say, “And by the way, these three websites over here might be good, but just so you know, they are paying us.”

Google makes the best motorcycle sites look good. Google measures its success by how quickly its users leave Google.com. And now when I need to learn about the “best phones,” what site do I go to? Not a phone site. I go to Google.

Some websites spend years trying to do SEO (search engine optimization) so they always appear near the top of Google’s rankings. But Google is aware of this and is constantly changing and improving its algorithm so that it consistently ranks the highest quality websites near the top.

People always go back to the source. I realized when I was always making people look good, I was the source. They would come back to me. Whenever I needed a new job or a career, whenever I needed a favor, whenever I was in despair and thought I was lost, whenever I needed a hand to pick me up and get off the floor, I always found help from the people who at some point or other I made look good.

Every day find someone to help. Find someone to give credit to. Find someone for whom you can selflessly figure out how to make their lives easier. Need no credit ever and everyone will give you credit forever.

Skip the Line

I find myself reading and rereading this entire passage on the Google technique and just had to share it. It’s a great idea and very well-written, indeed!

Experimenting With Sleep

Every once in a while, I will inevitably have to work in shifts. Instead of the usual 8 to 5 every Monday to Friday, I would have to work 6 to 6 (either 6am to 6pm or vice versa, depending on which shift I’m in) six days a week, for who-knows-how-many-weeks.

Last week, I just finished about 6 weeks’ worth of night shift and had transitioned back to the usual 8 to 5 this week. And due to the way I transitioned this time around, I ended up resetting my body clock such that I’m able to wake up super early in the morning, and the way I did it is by not sleeping.

Usually, I would finish my last night shift, sleep for a bit in the morning, wake up in the afternoon, and sleep again in the evening so I can transition my sleep back to normal the next day. But this time around, I couldn’t sleep for some reason and ended up stayed awake the whole day. By late afternoon, I was feeling extremely sleepy and crashed. For some reason, I only crashed for a few hours, woke up in the evening, had dinner, and slept again at night until 4am.

Ever since that day, I’ve been able to wake up rather early at the expense of feeling very sleepy late afternoon. Really sleepy to the point of having to take a nap, wake up, and sleeping again at night. So far, my sleep pattern has stayed like this for a few days now and showed little to no signs of changing. I see this as a good thing as I’m finally able to wake up early but we’ll see how long it lasts.

My issue with sleep is that I can never seem to sleep or wake up when I want to. It’s as if my body, not my mind, is in full control of when I sleep and when I wake up. So if I want to change my sleeping patterns, I need to find a way to not sleep and let my body reset itself. I’ll know when my body has hit reset whenever I feel a strong and uncontrollable urge to sleep. Of course, this is usually only possible whenever I’m changing my work schedule. Someday, I would really love to experiment with how I sleep.

No Such Thing as Overpaying

There were a few times in my life where it felt like I was being ripped off. For example, the time I overpaid (by more than 5 times!) for a pair of binoculars, or the time I paid a premium for the older model of a brand new laptop.

But looking back, was I really being ripped off? Maybe I wasn’t, to be ripped off means being tricked and lied to. If someone was being honest while selling me something and I feel okay buying it at the asking price, even though I could get it much cheaper if I looked elsewhere or online, I’m not exactly getting ripped off. The seller was just doing his job and selling me stuff.

There’s no such thing as a “correct” price for something, everything is based on supply and demand. Imagine being thirsty in the middle of a desert when someone comes up and offers to sell you a bottle of water for $100. Will you buy it? Or will you tell them it’s overpriced and costs $1 at the supermarket? In which case, they’ll probably tell you to go to the supermarket and buy it there yourself.

Another example, if you’re in the market for a high-end gaming PC 10 years ago, it would have cost you a pretty penny. But fast forward to today, you wouldn’t even buy that same PC at half price. So does it mean you would’ve overpaid if you bought it 10 years ago? No, because the supply and demand have changed. The supply of gaming PCs got better as technology advances, making previously high-end PCs less high-end by comparison, hence the demand for those older PCs drop.

Pricing is largely governed by supply and demand. If no one wants to buy it at a certain price, the price will drop. But if everyone wants to buy it, then the seller can choose whatever price he wants, as long as someone ends up buying.

At the end of the day, people buy stuff because they want the thing more than they want their money.

The Perils of Getting Sick

Nobody ever planned on getting sick, the only time anyone would want to get sick is usually when they want to run away from responsibility. And shortly after my Twitter troubles, I came down with a fever and sore throat. That’s not to say I’m running away from my responsibilities, but it’s the excuse I gave myself for not writing recently.

The funny thing is, I totally get how and why I fell sick. It all started with a bit of dryness in my throat, perhaps because I haven’t been drinking enough water lately. Soon enough, it turned into a full-blown sore throat, perhaps because I wasn’t getting enough sleep lately, and I also wasn’t eating right. And before I know it, I’m down with a fever.

I mean, I could practically see it coming. A lack of sleep weakens my immune system, not eating right means I’m not getting enough nutrients, and not hydrating myself properly is just asking for trouble. And once I fell sick, everything starts falling apart and I pretty much broke all the habits I’ve worked so hard to build.

The moral of the story is to not get sick, it’s bad for you. It’s actually not that hard to not get sick, you just need to prevent it before it happens. That means eating healthy, staying properly hydrated, getting enough sleep, doing regular exercise, and practicing basic hygiene. Just five simple steps, that’s the basic 20% you need to do to get you 80% of the results.

Twitter Troubles

I recently wrote about why I use Signal as a note capturing app, but shortly afterwards, I realized quite a few of my short-form notes were worth sharing or publishing somewhere. It might not be worth writing an entire blog post about them, but publishing them as tweets would make perfect sense. So I decided to sign up for a Twitter account, and that’s when everything went wrong.

I thought signing up for a Twitter account (@aiad1914) would be simple, but it turns out to be pretty complicated and I ended up getting myself temporarily restricted because of “unusual activities,” whatever that means.

My Twitter account is temporarily restricted due to “unusual activities,” whatever that means.

I’m not sure what happened, but this is the first time I’m locked out of an account just moments after signing up. The only thing I can do is to email Twitter Support, and my email goes like this:

Hi Twitter Support,

I need help. I’ve tried to sign up for an account using this email address but it kept throwing an error saying something went wrong after I entered a password. After 3 attempts, I could no longer use my email so I tried signing up with my phone number instead, and it worked.

Then, I started browsing around, looking for people to follow when suddenly, I was asked to prove that I’m not a bot. That’s fine, I completed the CAPTCHA and went back to browsing. Then, it asked me to do another CAPTCHA and also asked me for my phone number, which I entered. The problem is, after entering the confirmation code, it says “This phone number is already in use.” I’m very confused because that’s the phone number I used to sign up.

Please help, it’s sad that I got locked out of my account just moments after signing up. 🙁

My email to Twitter Support

Hopefully, everything will have been resolved by the time you read this, but we’ll see how it goes.

Update: Issue resolved!

Leaning Into Fear

The fastest way to grow and improve yourself is to lean into your fears and do the things you fear most. If you’re afraid of being on stage, or committing to a big project, it’s really worth asking yourself why you’re so afraid of it.

If it’s the fear of failure holding you back, find out what’s the worst that can happen, and how likely it is to happen. Most of the time, our fears are overblown and it’s actually not as bad as we think.

For one thing, our society isn’t survival of the fittest anymore, it’s much closer to survival of the well-est. And another thing, all good things usually come at a price. For every project or endeavor you take, there will always be a small probability of failure, it’s the inherent risk in every pursuit, and it’s just the price you pay for doing something.