17-Point Program to Have the Best Year of Your Life

Happy New Year

2013 is days away. Here is a 17-point program to make it your best year.

1. Get paid to move the needle:

Quit thinking that you need to get paid for the hours you put into anything. If you get paid to move the needle, it will turn out to be a no-brainer value exchange.

2. Up your caring quotient:

Instead of trying to reduce the cost of the sale, increase your level of caring. It has the same effect in general.

3. Focus on ROII:

If you provide a solid return on investment for every interaction with you, you will be surely in demand. You can watch a short video on this topic here.

4. Never confuse entertainment for education or engagement:

Most of your activities in the social networks you belong to will fall under entertainment unless you think through your interactions well before hand.

5. Never confuse engagement with enrichment:

Enrichment is about enhancing the meaning for you and the people around you. You can engage all you want but not all engagement will lead to enrichment.Your focus has to be on enrichment.

[ Download a one pager on Enrichment here ]

6. Become someone that is hard to ignore:

If you bring something really relevant AND valuable compared to available alternatives, it will cost them more to ignore you than it costs to engage with you. Now, how do you get to this state? By relentlessly investing in yourself way more than what your peers are investing.

7. Acquire the right kind of power:

Power is an often mis-used word. If you have the right kind of power, you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people you touch. The real indicator of how much power you have is to observe the stakes associated with requests for help that come your way. In general, higher the stakes, higher your power.

8. Invest in learning to be mindful:

Awareness is the beginning of all learning AND mindfulness teaches you to be more aware.

9. Don’t blindly hate stress:

Everybody takes the bad effects of stress. But not all stress is bad. As my friend Jnan Dash says, stress is directly proportional to the gap between “who you say you are to the world” and “who you are.” If your aspirations are noble and the gap is healthy, the resulting stress will be good for you.

10. Pursue true capacity expansion projects even at a loss:

I recently got into a project that will be considered a loss-making project by any standards. But the 30+ people I met through the course of the project inspired and expanded my capacity so much that I more than made up for the financial loss. In fact, if I had to spend that amount of money from my pocket, I could not have gained so much more capacity.

Do a quick mental math of what is the lifetime value (LTV) of the incremental capacity expansion and you can make a decision to pursue or abandon the project.

11. Remember that positive deviations amplify over long periods of time:

Establish a tiny habit and stick with it for ten years and you will see magic happen. Small, positive deviations may seem meaningless and trivial in the short-term but they are priceless in the long-term.

12. Master the art of having good conversations:

Conversations are your window to the external world. That is where you are melding your internal and external worlds. You learn from the world and world learns about you from the conversations. Conversations open new possibilities and if you get it wrong, it can close existing opportunities. There are so much good material on this but you can start here.

13. Learn to tell a good story:

Extending on the previous point, learning to tell a good story will take your conversations to a whole new level. As my teacher used to say, “Birds fly, fish swim and human beings tell stories.” To start you on that journey, here are 100+ mini sagas (a mini saga is a story told in exactly 50 words) OR, if you want a quick 5 minute overview on how to become a better storyteller, start here.

If you are curious to know how to tell a story using a simple thank you card, click here.

14. Save time and more by skipping News:

I must have spent close to 200 hours watching news or reading newspapers since 1997. You will rarely miss anything by skipping news as relevant news will reach you one way or the other.

15. Pay for good help:

It is good to look for a bargain but not when it comes to getting good help. Remember that people who can provide good help are constantly faced with requests for free advice, help, assistance. if you truly need their help, make it a point to make it worthwhile for them to help you.

16. Think!

This might sound insulting to many people but the world generally rewards only action so you end up taking action even when you have not through things. If you think that you “think well,” check your calendar right now and see how many hours you have blocked this coming week to “think.” If you are like most people, it will be ZERO. To get started, you can use “To Think Lists” – a habit that has created wonders for me.

17. Laugh more often:

Take your work super seriously but don’t take yourself seriously. Not only laughter is good for your health, you will be a welcome addition to any group if you burn that into your background thinking. If you are curious about the answer to the question – “What Makes You Happy,” click here.

Happy New Year to all of you.

PS: If you have not checked out the Metrics that Matter (for free) this might be a good time to take a look at it.