Here are SIX things I learned, thought were interesting, or found useful.
Vectors of Value
The billionaire co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah, said the following in reply to hearing a story about a kid trying to make a career decision. “The salary/compensation is just one vector of value you get from a company you join,” Dharmesh said. “There’s all these other vectors you get when you join a company. It’s common for people to over-index on the compensation or the current compensation and under-index on all the other things.” And so I’ve been thinking about some of these under-indexed vectors of value:
The Power and Control You Have
The stand-up comedian Hasan Minhaj got into stand-up comedy for the power and control. When Hasan first started doing stand-up, he was working at Office Max. When people walked into the store, Hasan had to say, “Welcome to Office Max, how can I help you take it to the max?” He didn’t have power or control even over the thoughts in his head or the words that came out of his mouth. So when he took the stage for the first time at the Sacramento Punch Line, the contrast was sharp. On that stage, Hasan said, “somebody else didn’t have power or control over me, my thoughts, my words, my life.” And when he walked off the stage that first time, he thought, “I don’t want my manager Brian to ever again tell me I have to say, ‘Welcome to Office Max, how can I help you take it to the max?'” He wanted power and control—”not over you. I want power and control over me.”
The Trajectory You’re On
When I was first introduced to Ryan Holiday’s work, I’d been traveling the world and working odd jobs. I loved it. Then I heard Ryan talk about working for Robert Greene. Robert’s life, he said, resembled one Ryan wanted for himself. When I looked around, at the people five and ten years ahead of me, I saw I was on a path I didn’t want to be on. We often think, ‘once I get this promotion…’ or, ‘once I get that job title…’ What we should do is look at people past that promotion and with that job title. Does their life look like one you want for yourself? Are they who you want to be? Because that’s the trajectory you’re on.
The Top Ideas In Your Mind
During his work with startups, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham noticed an interesting phenomenon: startups get way less done when they start raising money. It’s not because of the time it takes to meet with investors, Graham writes. It’s because “once you start raising money, raising money becomes the top idea in your mind.” That becomes what you most think about. And so you make less progress on the things you’d rather be thinking about and working on. The lesson Graham took from this was: “be careful what you let become critical to you. Try to get yourself into situations where the most urgent problems are ones you want to think about.”
The People Sculpting You
In one of my favorite passages in Epictetus Discourses, he talks about pretending that everyone you spend time with is covered in mud. Every time you rub shoulders with someone, you can’t avoid getting some of that mud on yourself. The people you spend time with, he’s saying, either make you better or worse. Psychologist describe something similar as the “Michelangelo Phenomenon”—the process in which people slowly sculpt each other into who they are. The people you work with and the ideas you work on every day are working on you, getting their mud on you, sculpting you.
The Highest Dividend Money Pays
In The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes that if there is a common denominator of happiness, it’s that people want control over their time. “The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless,” he writes. “It is the highest dividend money pays…More than your salary. More than the size of your house. More than the prestige of your job. Control over doing what you want, when you want to, with the people you want to, is the broadest lifestyle variable that makes people happy. Money’s greatest intrinsic value—and this can’t be overstated—is its ability to give you control over your time.”