It’s common to hear people brag about the expertise of their teachers/coaches, but the real way to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers and coaches is by assessing the skill of their students or mentees.

The best teachers show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.

If you’re in a leadership role, make sure you create the conditions that allow people to flourish. The best way to do that is to produce an environment where the learning reveals itself.

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Most people spend their lives being dutiful descendants instead of remarkable ancestors. Each generation has the choice to aim to please their predecessors or improve things for their offspring. Many people who were the most positive influences on humanity did not blindly follow in their parent’s footsteps.

In the words of Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho: “Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the old. Seek what they sought.”

You can strive to make previous generations proud, or endeavor to make the world better for the next.

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Photo by: Ali Ikizkaya

As I read through business contracts, health care benefits explanations, and even news stories, I wonder if there’s a way to adopt a concept that seeks to radically simplify what is being presented, perhaps in a way that any could quickly comprehend the most honest yet consequential portion of what we’re explaining.

TLDR; Let’s use as few words as possible to convey information responsibly and with (radical) simplicity.

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As appealing and status-raising as it may seem, you will never look good for making someone else look bad. The opposite is also true.

Incidentally, one of the most flattering ways to compliment someone is by saying sincere, favorable things about them to other people.

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AVOID SAYING “BUT” — “You did great work, but…” immediately cancels the compliment. Better to change it to: “You did great work, AND here’s what we can improve for next time…”

EASE UP ON SUPERLATIVES — Describing everything as “extremely”, “remarkably” or “epic” takes away from the things that actually deserve those adjectives.

CONFIDENT SPEAKING HACK — If you are asked what you want for dinner, don’t say “I don’t know…I’m craving pizza.” You come across as a more confident, assertive person (not aggressive), to simply state what you want. Especially since you DO know.

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Photo by: Kelly Sikkema

A great Software Engineer could be five times more efficient and effective than an average developer with the same years of experience. Deciding who is the best fit for a job using arbitrary requirements like “years of experience” is an attempt to commoditize human performance.

Although it’s harder to measure, try having a dialogue with those you consider hiring by discussing their capability and motivation to do the job, based on their relevant accomplishments and interests, not their education, years, or any other metric that doesn’t predict performance.

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Our never-give-up culture motivates us to continue doing things that don’t serve us lest we feel like quitters. But it’s wise to stop doing what isn’t working.

One focusing question when you consider stopping something is: knowing what I now know if I had the choice to start this today from scratch (hire this person, make this investment, choose this partner, obtain an advanced degree…) would I do it?

If the answer is a clear no, don’t fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy — the idea that because you “invested” time in something you should see it through.

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“We’d worry so much less about what people thought of us if we realized how seldom they do.” This quote is attributed to many people, and as cliche as it sounds, it’s worth checking in with yourself and asking: Am I living in a way that serves me, or in a way that is consistent with what I believe others expect of me?

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Steve Acho

Steve Acho

90 Followers

I write very short articles (20 seconds to read) sharing perspectives on health, relationships and business that have been most helpful (SteveAcho.com for more)