Thursday, May 10, 2012

Key to Success: Weed Your Lawn

Forget all the books and seminars. Forget classes, courses, and experts. Forget TV, movies, breaking news, Wikipedia, or Google. Forget all of it. Everything you will ever need to know about becoming successful you can figure out from doing one simple task: weeding your lawn.

Pulling weeds from your lawn is an arduous, time consuming task, that if done perfectly and is not aided by chemical treatment, means you get to repeat the process over and over again every 30-45 days. It sucks. It sucks big time, and all it takes is one nearby neighbour who doesn't give a damn and a light breeze heading toward your patch of suburban heaven and you're guaranteed a summer full of weed pulling hell.

All is not lost though; there is a lot you can learn from battling Dastardly Dandelion and its cohorts in crime Captain Crabgrass and Sinister Spurge.

Crabgrass: Ugly. Versatile.


Spurge: Deceptive. Sneaky.

Dandelion: The ring leader.

If weeds were corporations, these things would be Microsoft, General Electric, and Proctor & Gamble. They are everywhere and if you find yourself as an adversary of one of these giants you're in for a world of hurt. So what can we learn from the weed and our individual battle against them?

Lots.

Foundation
Weeds have roots. They are the foundation on which weeds are built and bring strength and energy so it can survive and thrive. If you want to be successful, you need a solid foundation, a strong mental core, and a cornucopia of knowledge on which to feed. Roots also dig deep and hold on. Your desire to be successful needs to be as deep and as secure as a weed's roots.

Adaptability
Weeds are freaking everywhere. There's no climate they haven't infested and can even be found in some of the most remote and desolate corners of the globe. To be successful you need to adapt to your environment, just like weeds. There's no situation unmanageable, no adversary unbeatable, no obstacle insurmountable. Adapt. Adapt. Adapt.

Heartiness
Weeds are as hearty as they are adaptable. You can spray 'em, cut them down to the nub, mow 'em, weed whack 'em, freeze 'em, and trample 'em, and they still stick around. They're even worse than that loudmouth "crazy uncle" who ends up drinking all your beer and spilling salsa on the carpet on the long weekend. To be successful you must be able to take a beating and keep coming back - ideally with illegal fireworks from across the border and a nacho hat.

Reproduction
Unless you're The Duggars, this doesn't mean what you think it does. If you're a weed, this means exactly what you think it does. Seed like nobody's business: wherever (see "Adaptability"), whenever (see "Heartiness"), however (see "Persistence"), and then get those roots dug in deep (see "Foundation"). If you want to be successful, you need your ideas and your brand to grow.

Persistence
This one's a no brainer. Weeds are persistent little buggers. Give them an inch and they'll take an acre. Just when you think you've got them subdued that's when they strike. You might also add patience to this section. The one weekend you don't weed the lawn and BAM! Dozens of the little buggers pop right up. To be successful you have to never give up. Keep trying, stay patient, and keep trying.

Action
If it's one thing weeds are not it's lazy. Talk about the early bird getting the worm. While you're busy fussing with the barbecue they're staring you right in the face and taking over your lawn. Yup, weeds know how do get stuff done. You want to succeed? Get stuff done. Get off your ass and take action.

So there you have it. If you want to be successful in life look no further than the common backyard weed. Respect its ability to multiply, survive, and destroy the enemy. Keep these things in mind and your success will grow like a weed too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Rule of Fight Club

Rules are everywhere. Whether they are imposed on you by your parents, teachers, law enforcement, education systems, employers, or any number of other institutions that scatter the globe, they are out there, and there's likely someone that's not you making them. So what's a person to do?

A while back Umair Haque wrote this on Twitter: "If you follow the rules, don't expect to win."

It might be an original quote or he might simply be echoing a sentiment shared by many, certainly by some who have failed in the past, and it's certainly food for thought. Can you only win if you break the rules? Has anyone who has ever 'made it' in this world ever done so completely by the book?

Here's my recommendation:

Play by the rules until you are in a position to change them - and then change them. 

After that, there are no limits as to what you can accomplish.

Do you think Steve Jobs broke the rules and forged ahead guns a blazin' to get Apple to the top? It might look that way to some folks, but the more likely scenario is that his path was more subtle. Patient. That is, right up until he was in a position to re-write some of those pesky rules that were standing in his way.

There will always be rules even if you work for yourself. Society seems to impose them whether we like it or not, whether it knows it or not.  Playing by the rules, at least some of them, is important. It allows us to learn, to adapt, and to establish a greater sense of where and how we fit in, and more importantly, where we don't. From there we can decide if it even matters.

Knowing what the rules are and how to play the game is critical if you ever want to do something about it. You may have noticed a couple of themes here: knowledge and action. Knowing who your opponent is, what the field of play is, what the rules are, and what strategy to use is absolutely key.

You can also possess every bit of knowledge you'll ever need, but it's absolutely useless if you don't get off your butt and do something about it.