The Relentless Manifesto

To be relentless is to keep going. The dictionary definition for relentless is “unyieldingly severe.” When you are relentless, you know that stop signs are temporary.

The Relentless Manifesto is an invitation to get something done this year. Here is the manifesto for your consideration:

The Relentless Manifesto

1. Pick themes that you will be passionate about even after ten years

If your themes belong to the “fashion-de-jour” category, there is a good possibility that you may not be able to sustain your interest when the marketplace perceptions for those themes change in the short-term. Pick an example – blogging. Are you sure that you will retain the same level of enthusiasm even after you write 1,000+ blog posts? If not, re-think and see where else you can sustain such a passion.

2. Pick an enriching journey

Once you pick the theme, there are a myriad of options to pick the journey including the geography. Building a startup in Silicon Valley is way different than building a startup outside of Silicon Valley. I am positively biased about Silicon Valley but not suggesting that it’s the only place to build  a startup. Being here, I know it will be an enriching journey to build a startup in the Valley. Irrespective of the outcome, what is guaranteed is that the journey will be enriching – just the people that you will meet along the way will make it all worth it.

I don’t know what your themes are and where you think the journey for those themes will be enriching. But, you know the answers to that question (in the bottom of your heart) and that’s where you should be.

3. Pick one or more relentless tribes to be part of

This is probably the most important piece and it is not as simple as you imagine. If you are one of those people sitting on the sidelines and NOT of the “relentless” type, your membership in a relentless tribe is not guaranteed. At best, you will be at the periphery of the tribe where you are invited to participate but rarely you can join the inner circle. So, if you have to be demonstrate that you are relentless before you get into the inner circle and continue to be that way to maintain the membership. In return, you will got loads of inspiration and insights from others who are relentless.

The dilemma is about the entry into the tribe. The goal should not be to barge into the inner circle (you can’t) but simply to be an opportunity to a few members in the inner circle and soon you will “earn” a place in the inner circle.

4. When things go wrong, learn and launch again

Unless you are an ultra-genius, your road to a worthy cause is fraught with pot holes – big and small. You will encounter them frequently and setbacks are common and to be expected. The real difference between those who finally do something and those who give up is the amount of time spent “not doing anything” when they encounter a setback. Honestly, you get a license for inaction when something goes wrong. People around you will understand if you are in a funk because of a failure. However, it is YOU who is getting hurt more by choosing to “not act” after a set back. For the rest of your life, factor in a series of setbacks every year. So when you encounter one, you just have to treat it as part of statistics and quickly buckle up and get ready for the next ride.

5. Watch what you consume

You and I are programmed to respond. It’s important to take care of what you eat (consume), it’s important to watch what you consume (read and hear). Being in the right tribes will take care of a part of it as the conversations will be energizing. It is the media and the social media that you should be careful about. There are a million places where you can read and listen everyday – on the web and off the web. Not everything that others make it as important are important for YOU at least NOW. If you don’t take care, the consumption of media itself takes so much of your time that you won’t have much time left to create. We are not even talking about time lost in thinking and analyzing about everything that you consumed and the productivity loss because of that.

6. Get going in the “significant help” economy

There is one economy that is related to money. There is another more powerful economy that is created by exchanging significant help. You become good at exchanging and facilitating significant help, money will come – not directly but as a side benefit. Think about it – anyone who is on a path to something significant is looking for significant help along their journey. If you can provide it, you will be valuable to them. In one way or the other you will be compensated and ultimately that compensation will get converted to money. Now, it may not happen tomorrow and there is no guarantee that it will happen every time but the more significant help you provide, the chances of you getting back things in multiple are more.

The other way is true too. If you are on a path to achieve something significant, you need significant help too. Whether you believe it or not, you are already getting significant help from multiple quarters. The magic is in quickly recognizing that significant help and ensuring that you are reciprocating back. If you take significant help for granted, it will vanish sooner than later.

The point is that if you want to be relentless, you need to have access to significant help throughout your journey. This means you should have offered (and continue to offer) significant help to as many people as possible.

7. Stop working!

No, not in a literal sense. When what you are working on becomes art, you stop working.

I doubt that Thomas Alva Edison considering inventing as work, Picasso considered painting as work or Stephen King considers writing as work. If you what you are doing is “work” then obviously you will place limits on when to work, how much to work and when to take a break to “recharge.” If what you are doing is not work, there is really no need to recharge as you will never lose your charge in the first place.

Update: My friend Ambal Balakrishnan of ClickDocuments created a Pllop for this blog post. You can see it here:

The Relentless Manifesto Pllop

Photo Courtesy: alexindigo on Flickr