When I was a youngin’ in the game, one of my best friends to this day taught me an extremely important lesson when he told me, “I hate asking other people for anything.”

At first I was really perplexed as I often ask others for stuff, whether it’s help, an intro or lending me something. As I grew, I saw certain people with huge networks who were able to get a lot because I assumed they had asked people.

What I came to realize was the power of self-reliance and the joy of offering something. Think about a simple instance of somebody next to you needing a pen. You noticed they were looking for a pen, so you went out of your way to offer it. They were thrilled to see that you noticed and cared, and you felt good because you felt useful.

Now think of that same instance where they asked you for a pen, sure you probably still gave it to them, but you didn’t feel good, you felt like you were their stepping stone. People hate to be used! So don’t use them!

People do things for themselves, not for you. People like to be helpful more than they like to help… When people give a homeless person a dollar, they like to help that homeless person, but are more so driven by the fact that they were helpful… and there’s nothing wrong with that, so use it to your advantage. Give people an opportunity to be helpful, instead of an opportunity to help you. 

So in practice…

  • If you want an intro, ask if they think the person you want an intro to would be helpful? They’ll probably say yes and offer up the intro.
  • If you want advice, don’t ask a question and put a burden on their time. Instead, say you think they can help.
  • If you want them to give you something you want. Give them something they want and you’d be surprised how often the favor is returned.

So please…. Don’t ask them and try to get them to do it for you. Instead of give them the mental spark and ownership of the thought and action of helping you!

Deal. Defer. Delete.

It’s a philosophy for instantly dealing with every email to achieve flow. Flow being complete absorption in what one does, focusing at the task at hand & nothing else and seamless moving from one task to the other without mental clutter.

If you keep that in mind, then you should only be focusing on the task at hand, because the any time you spend thinking about doing something and not doing, you’re wasting time and not in flow.
With Deal Defer Delete, you do one of three things every time you see an email. You either deal with it right away (good example of 2 minute rule – if it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now), Defer it — (either via followup.cc or mailbox) until you need to deal with it so its out of mind until it needs to be front of mind, or you Delete/Archive it.
Ive found it best to purge my inbox via batching it (30 min once or twice a day dedicated to email) where you power through all your emails and either deal with it, defer it to when it needs to be dealt with, or deleting it.

For the past 4 months of my life, all I can remember is waking up to the deathly sound of my alarm clock. I wake up shrieking under my covers begging for 10 more minutes of unconsciousness. I would hit snooze until I forced myself to rush and catch up from the moment I wake up.

The past 4 days in a row, I’ve been able to debunk that habit… Finally. Now, I wake up ready to take on the day. Although the story I just told revolves specifically around waking up, this philosophy is transient throughout everyday’s workflow.

When you approach a to-do list, its similar to a snooze button. It’s a set of stuff yet to be done. You aren’t caught up until you get through it all. You are forced to scavenge through it all and feel as if you’re barely hanging on. Try switching it up for a second, and think about the power of focusing solely at the task at hand. You eliminate the mental clutter of everything you have to do, and are able to focus on what you are doing.

So I invite you, to take a second and not approach the task at hand with disdain for all that follows, but instead to focus solely on the task at hand. Don’t let anything else cloud the vision of doing that one thing well, for once that’s done, you can excel in what’s to follow.