Your target market

Occasionally I come across a quote or idea used in a business context, but quickly see the application to other important areas of life.

One concept, highlighted by a successful investor/entrepreneur, cautions that creating a product or service for everyone is the same as creating it for no one. Whether you’re creating a product for a market, or growing your social or business network, his advice is to: “cultivate the intense few rather than the trivial many.”

What a great reminder to manifest strong relationships with the few people with whom we share values, fierce loyalty, and who celebrate rather than tolerate us.  This is an actionable upgrade from the boring, less-than useful truth: “You can’t please everyone.”

An optimistic take on automation, technology and jobs

Think about this: in 1936 New York City elevator operators went on strike, preventing more than a million office workers from getting to work.

A couple decades prior, about 80% of the jobs in the U.S. were in farming and factories.  A mere 100 years later those were replaced with jobs that couldn’t even have been conceived of since they didn’t exist.

Yes, technology improves at a rapid pace.  But until some omnipotent A.I. overtakes us, humans still have an impressive record of adopting technology and finding valuable, meaningful work despite massive changes.


Scientific reasons to improve your body language

People perceive you as being confident, trustworthy, happy, or otherwise mostly because of how you carry yourself.  As a first impression, your body language and mannerisms matter even more than substance.

To make it more interesting, here’s what we know from science about straightening up, smiling, avoiding fidgeting, and other basic body language patterns:

  1. Testosterone, a confidence-enhancing hormone for both genders, increases 20%
  2. Cortisol, a stress hormone that impedes performance, decreases 25%.

Cool reasons to straighten up and act the part.

Reliable practices for boosting happiness

Practice these three things and your happiness level goes up:
1) Gratitude
2) Forgiveness
3) Giving

These are not mere words to display in a quote on top of an inspirational, rainbow-filled background. “Practice” them.  Look for opportunities to DO these things.

You’ll notice in your own experience that it’s impossible to be simultaneously grateful and feel lack, to forgive and clench the poison of a grudge, and to devote some of your resources to someone in need, and still feel scarcity.

Good news for control freaks

A friend reminded me that for some of us, harmful stress is directly correlated to our real or perceived notion of being out of control of our lives.

An effective antidote then is to manage the variables that allow you to feel like you’re in better control.  Even simple things.   Look over tomorrow’s schedule before going to bed.  Plan that difficult conversation before things get worse. Clean your car.  Prepare your next several meals.

Psychologically, it doesn’t matter much whether you actually are in better control of your life.  It matters that you believe you are.

You don’t have to wait to be helpful

It’s so easy to make ourselves and others feel good about us with our theoretical values.  “If I had a million dollars I’d donate a percentage.”

Sounds nice.  But you have more leverage, power, and influence than you think, and you don’t need to wait for anything else to happen.  The option to help others is available right now, on a very small scale.

So if you’re interested in helping people “as soon as” something else happens, maybe practice by helping the very next human you come in contact with.