Computer Guy

Computer Guy
Sunset at DoubleM Systems (, Del Mar, California

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Six secrets of highly motivated people

Here's the quick story, for details, scroll down:
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.

Surround yourself with motivated people.

Celebrate Your Successes.

Be Compassionate with Your Failures.

Design Your Environment to Be Energizing.

Be Ruthless About Saying No.

1. Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Highly motivated people know that the currency of motivation is energy.
Most of the productivity and habit building advice you hear offers tips and tricks for better time management. With promises of making you more efficient in your work, they suggest all sorts of techniques and strategies for carving up and diving your day to manage your time better.
But here’s the thing:
Motivation isn’t a time problem. It’s an energy problem.
You can have all the time in the world but if you’re doing things that drain you of energy, you’re not going to feel motivated.
Luckily, the reverse is true:
Even if your time is extremely limited, you can accomplish a tremendous amount with enough energy and enthusiasm.
So forget about managing your time and learn how to manage your energy instead:
  • Start your day with your most exciting tasks. Not only will this give you momentum for the rest of the day, it will also make it easier to get out of bed and hit the ground running because the first thing on your list is something you’re genuinely excited about.
  • Outsource energy-draining tasks. You don’t have to be a multinational corporation to do outsourcing. Get creative about delegating essential tasks that drain energy, confident that you’ll recoup the expense with the added energy and motivation you’ll get as a result.
  • Batch process your energy-draining task. Of course, most of us can’t outsource all our energy-draining tasks. But we can minimize their influence. Instead of spreading them out across your days and weeks, get them all over within one or two days so they don’t contaminate your energy-giving tasks.
When you plan your days, make your overarching principle energy, not time.
The difference between one man and another is not mere ability . . . it is energy.
― Thomas Arnold

2. Surround Yourself with Motivated People

For better or for worse, the people we surround ourselves with impact us greatly—and highly motivated people use this to their advantage.
In small, everyday interactions, you probably already realize how much impact other people can have on your levels of motivation:
  • One positive interaction with a supportive and enthusiastic friend can supercharge your own energy and motivation almost instantly.
  • On the other hand, just one interaction with a really negative, critical person can drain you of energy and sap your motivation for the day.
But there’s a bigger principle here:
The people you habitually spend time with affect how you habitually feel.
If you really have to interact with energy-draining people, you can’t expect to feel energetic and enthusiastic on a regular basis. But, if you habitually interact with energy-giving people, you can’t help but have some of their enthusiasm and motivation rub off on you.
So be thoughtful about the people you choose to spend your time with:
  • If you’re dating, be careful of starting a relationship with someone who consistently takes lots of energy.
  • If you’re applying for a new job, look carefully at the energy levels of the people you’ll be working with.
  • If you’re starting a new project or business with someone, try to find someone who gives you energy. And if they don’t, their other assets better be really worth it!
If you want to feel more motivated and energized in your life, surround yourself with energy-giving people.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
— Jim Rohn

3. Celebrate Your Successes

One of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to feel more motivated is to take time to celebrate your successes—even very small ones.
It’s a basic law of human psychology that behaviors followed by a reward are more likely to happen in the future:
  • If you successfully run your first 5K and have a handful of close friends at the finish line to cheer you on and congratulate you, your motivation to run future races in the future goes way up.
  • If you’re willing to be vulnerable with your spouse about something that’s bothering you and they let you know they’re proud of you for bringing it up, you’re going to feel more confident talking about difficult things in the future.
The lesson here is obvious:
Learn to build a tiny habit of celebrating your own successes, and you’ll create a steady stream of motivation for future goals.
Thankfully, you don’t have to buy yourself expensive things or throw a giant party in order to celebrate your successes and build motivation.
It’s a funny quirk of human psychology that the size of the reward doesn’t matter nearly as much as the timing. More specifically:
A small reward delivered immediately beats a big reward delayed.
For example:
  • Tell yourself that you are proud of yourself after getting an A on that recent test.
  • After nailing a presentation at work, close your office door, put on your favorite song, and throw yourself a little dance party.
  • After going for that early morning run, splurge on a fancy cup of coffee and muffin.
Build the habit of using small, immediate rewards for your accomplishments and your motivation will surge.
Rewarding yourself for a job well-done doesn’t make you vain. It just means you’re psychologically savvy.

4. Be Compassionate with Your Failures

There’s no better way to kill your motivation than beating yourself up after a failure or setback.
People with chronically low motivation almost always have a habit of being harsh and judgmental with themselves after failures and mistakes:
  • They criticize themselves with negative self-talk.
  • They judge themselves as being weak and not worthy.
  • And they punish themselves in a misguided attempt to motivate themselves in the future.
But being a jerk to yourself doesn’t motivate you to do anything but be more of a jerk to yourself.
Luckily, the reverse is also true:
Nothing helps you recover quickly from a setback like a little self-compassion.
Highly motivated people aren’t merely good at giving themselves energy and motivation—they’re also skilled at maintaining their motivation, even in the face of setbacks.
And the best way to preserve your energy and motivation in the face of failure or mistakes is to practice a little self-compassion:
  • Talk to yourself like you would talk to a good friend who was struggling.
  • Be empathetic and remind yourself that you are more than the sum of your mistakes. Much more.
  • Acknowledge that making mistakes and feeling bad doesn’t mean you are bad or weak.
Learn to be gentle with yourself and you’ll be far more resilient in the face of adversity.
Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston Churchill

5. Design Your Environment to Be Energizing

Just like the activities and people in your life give and take energy, so does your physical environment.
We’re all control freaks at heart. Which means we love the idea that the solution to everything is inside us. And that, with enough insight and willpower, we can accomplish anything.
Your environment matters—a lot—including how much motivation and energy you feel on a regular basis:
  • Having a messy and chaotic workspace makes it easy to get distracted, procrastinate, and lose energy to do your work.
  • Trying to resolve a disagreement with your spouse in bed at the end of a long day when you’re exhausted makes it hard to be compassionate and manage your irritability.
  • Going for a run in cold weather without good gear makes it hard to stay motivated to exercise.
Environmental design is the secret weapon of consistently high motivation.
Of course, you can’t always change your environment. But it’s possible more often than you might think.
And designing your environment to be more conducive to your goals is a fast track to better energy and higher motivation:
  • Organize your desk every evening before you leave work so that there’s no friction to getting started in the morning.
  • Set a dedicated time early on a weekend morning to discuss disagreements with your spouse—when both of you are rested and able to engage productively.
  • Buy good running gear to minimize the dread of going out in the cold.
When you accept that the solution to every problem isn’t just more willpower and pushing harder, you can design your environment to be conducive to your goals instead of causing friction.
Every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.
— Benjamin Franklin

6. Be Ruthless About Saying No

One of the most common causes of low motivation is saying yes to competing motivations.
As we’ve talked about, motivation is energy. When you’re full of energy you feel motivated. And when your energy tank is empty, motivation disappears.
Well, you can’t expect to have high levels of motivation for the things that matter most to you if you’re wasting all your energy on things that don’t really matter:
  • How can you possibly have the motivation to say yes to that new hobby or side project when you say yes to 2 hours of Netflix every evening?
  • How can you possibly make progress on your personal initiative at work if you’re always saying yes to other people’s requests for your time?
  • How can you possibly find quality time to spend with your partner if you say yes to every social event you get invited to?
You have plenty of motivation. Stop wasting it on things that don’t really matter.
Motivation is largely a matter of priorities:
  • If that new business idea is really a priority, you would say no to your buddy’s Super Bowl party and spend an entire Sunday writing a business plan.
  • If your marriage is really a priority, you would say no to poker night with the boys and plan a date night.
  • If your health was really a priority, you would say no to the comforts of sleeping in and get to the gym first thing.
You only have so much energy each day. If you distribute it across dozens of unimportant or draining things, you won’t have enough left to do the things that matter most.
If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.
— Greg McKeown


bonus material: 50 Habits of Highly Successful People (slideshare)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Scary Times Success Manual

The 'Scary Times' Success Manual

Transforming current anxieties and fears into strategic growth, progress, and achievement. 

By Dan Sullivan, Strategic Coach 

1. Forget about yourself, focus on others. Fear can drive people into themselves, making them feel isolated and helpless. The best strategy here is to go in the opposite direction, expanding your connection with others focusing on helping them transform their negatives into positives. The more you contribute in this fashion, the less you will need to worry about your own situation. You will become a source of confidence for everyone else.

2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships. In scary times, people become frightened about the viability of their "commodities" the things they sell and the jobs they hold. A more strategic response here is to disregard your own commodity and focus on opening the power and possibility of all your relationships with family, friends, team members, suppliers, clients, customers, and prospects. Every time you strengthen a relationship, the viability of your commodity, without you focusing on it, will increase.

3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value. Most people don't like being sold at the best of times. When times are scary, they turn off, hang up, and slam shut. But what people want at all times is value creation that is, solutions that help them eliminate their dangers, capture their opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. When you focus on providing these three solutions, the sales will naturally follow.

4. Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities. Things you had, things you took for granted, may have disappeared. Some people never get over this. They keep trying to replay their old games. A better strategy is to start an entirely new game - using new ideas, new energies, new tools, and new resources. A big opportunity is suddenly available now for achieving far more than you ever did in the past.

5. Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress. Things may not be as easy as they were. The new difficulties will either defeat you or reveal new strengths. Your physical muscles always get stronger from working against resistance. The same is true for the muscles in your mind , your spirit, and your character. Treat this whole period of challenge as a time when you can make your greatest progress as a human being.

6. Forget about the "future," focus on your today. The "future" is an abstraction. It doesn't exist except as an idea. The only future that has any reality is the one that you continually create for yourself through each day's contributions, achievements, and results. This is an excellent time to ignore all those experts who never saw the present coming. Focus on what you can do over the course of each 24 hours, and you'll be the only expert on the future you'll ever need.

7. Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be. Many people define themselves by external circumstances. When these abruptly change, they don't know who they are, so they keep trying to be who they used to be. From now on, take your cues from the inside from your dreams, ideals, values, and operating principles. These need never change, regardless of the circumstances. Take advantage of the present external confusion to become self-directed, self- managed, and self-motivated.

8. Forget about events, focus on your responses. When things are going well, many people think they are actually in control of events. That's why they feel so defeated and depressed when things turn bad. They think they've lost some fundamental ability. The most consistently successful people in the world know they can't control events - but continually work towards greater control over their creative responses to events. This period, while things are uncertain, is an excellent time to focus all of your attention and energies on being creatively responsive to all of the unpredictable events that lie ahead.

9. Forget about what's missing, focus on what's available. When things change for the worse, many desirable resources are missing - including information, knowledge, tools, systems, personnel, and capabilities. These deficiencies can paralyze many people, who believe they can't make decisions and take action. A strategic response is to take advantage of every resource that is immediately available to achieve as many small results, to make as much daily progress, as possible. Work with every resource and opportunity at hand, and your confidence will continually grow.

10. Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude. This is one of those times when everyone has to make a fundamental decision: to complain or to be grateful. When things turn negative, the consequences of this decision are much greater. Complaining only attracts negative thoughts and people; gratitude creates the opportunity for the best thinking, actions, and results to emerge. Focus on everything that you are grateful for - communicate this and open yourself each day to the best possible consequences.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Origin Story

This is a true story, and it began exactly 80 years ago today.
No April Fools hijinks involved. All true:

You've probably asked yourself, more than once, over the years: "Where did FastMikie come from? How did he get here?" It's something I hear a lot, and to put the question to rest, I present this story, the first part penned by my little brother Jimmy Jim McCafferty, the historian of the family, and the second part of the story penned by FastMikie, yours truly. And now to our story:

Picture it: Monday, April 1, 1940. The world is at war but not in this hemisphere. Germany rolled its Panzer tanks into Poland 7 months before. They were occupying North Africa and the Middle East. Britain was being bombed and the Japanese were crawling all over the South East Asia. Russia was holding the eastern front. And in Northeast Philadelphia it was a warm flowery spring morning. On Gillam Street, a beautiful, young 23 year old secretary to the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police was getting ready for work. She had to hurry, one bathroom afforded her precious little time to make herself into the serious career woman her employer expected, and she had to fight for that time with her 3 sisters, parents and little brother.
Across town, in the Roosevelt Boulevard row home of his parents, a successful young used car salesman at the very well known John B White Ford dealership was getting ready for work and coming downstairs for breakfast. He had whittled all the girls of Northeast Philly down to 2 and last night he decided which one of the 2 he was going to marry. He just needed to iron out a few wrinkles. Like, asking her. And getting her to say yes. And funding. And all that other stuff. Being a used car salesman in 1940 was akin to working the short con as a grifter, and it had all the prestige of that career path, and her parents were not happy with her having anything to do with him and were blissfully unaware of how far things had gone.
Everyone in America knew we were not going to avoid being dragged into this European war, it was just a matter of how soon, and the foolish ones thought if we could just drag our feet maybe Mr Hitler would settle down before we got sucked into Mr Roosevelt's war. But none of that was in the minds of these 2 young people when Maggie McCafferty, (Dad's Mom) asked him if he had time before work to run down the grocery to pick up some bananas for his father's cold cereal? Sure he did. Maggie gave her son the only bill she had, a Five, a lot of cash in 1940, and she admonished him to bring her the change!
AH! 'twas SPRING! and in Spring, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of LOVE! And the cherry trees lining the Boulevard were blooming pink and white. And the sun was shining and the boulevard was bustling with folks on their way in their busy lives, and "Chick" (Dad's nickname, real name Charles) jumped into the driver seat of that '37 Ford and drove right past the grocery store and a few blocks beyond he was in front of the Gillam Street home of Mr. Frank C Meier, the accountant for the Boulevard Pools and full time U S Treasury Agent. But it was Mr. Meier's daughter Verna, the serious Career Girl he was looking for, and trying very hard to avoid Mrs. Meier's attention. She thought her daughter was worthy of far better than the likes of him. As young and beautiful Verna stepped out the front door, she saw him flashing that used car grin, the engine of the touring car running, and she fairly flew down the steps from the front porch to the street.
'Wanna get married today?' he asked her. Well, he overcame all her objections, called into work, drove to Elkton, Maryland. and the deed was done. My parents got married 80 years ago today. Quite the love story and it has been passed on now for decades.

--------- end of little brother Jimmy's story
--------- begin FastMikie's story:

Fast Forward to December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked, that horrible Day of Infamy, and the very day Mom and Dad conceived me. I can only imagine what was going on in their minds, knowing that the world was destroying itself.
They must have known it was their duty to bring new life into the world, to bring forth One Who Would Save Us All, and exactly 9 months later, September 7, 1942, out popped ME! (See photo, taken a couple years later. I must have been an exceptionally ugly baby because this is the first surviving photo.)
Well, they gave it their best, so you can't really blame them. In the fullness of time, the war ended, so I wasn't needed anymore. Instead, I devoted the rest of my life to preparing myself to be Global Dominator, if and when such a thing were necessary. From all that's going on right now, I could be called up for duty any day now. Stay tuned...