What makes people exceptional thinkers? Or more broadly, how does one become extraordinary in all aspects of their mind — a mind that thinks BIG and is devoid of rampant hesitation and fear that constricts our potential? This was the question posed by Mindvalley’s founder and CEO, Vishen Lakhiani.
Next week, Lakhiani is releasing his book, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms.
The book follows Lakhiani on his personal journey from barely affording to pay his bills to starting his ed-tech company that serves many millions today. He features conversations with some of the world’s most remarkable visionaries including Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, and Elon Musk, among with many others.
The underlying message is his exploration is identifying the four key stages in transcending from the existing world as you know it to one where you are extraordinary:
He recommends analyzing these areas thoroughly to take an inventory of how successful we feel in each of those areas so we can constantly assess when we’re due for a growth check-in.
When he led his team to break a monthly revenue record, he also realized his mind was in the wrong place: postponing his happiness until he attained some future goal.
“Have big goals — but don’t tie your happiness to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them.”
For many of us, we have a plethora of aspirations we’d like to accomplish with our lifetimes, but mistakenly exert too much energy focusing on the future. In alignment with his prescription for routine meditation, Lakhiani advises to fully engulf our minds in the present — being happy while slowly striving towards where we envision ourselves in some time.
The book also explores how we we can go about making ourselves happier. In his research, he’s found there are three key areas that contribute to lifelong happiness: special and unique experiences, personal growth, and meaning. As you may have predicted, these components all tie back to the Twelve Areas of Balance as you consider and plan what bliss truly means to you.
To address the happiness dilemma, Lakhiani’s favorite exercise is running people through his exercise: the ‘Three Most Important Questions’. He has posed these questions to all of his employees, in addition to children in the United States and students in African villages:
When it comes to identifying how you’ll contribute, Lakhiani believes we need to not choose not a career, but rather work that is “mission-driven.” What does this mean exactly? It means identifying what you deem is your purpose and allowing that to guide all of your consequent decisions.
From meeting some of the world’s most influential visionaries, Lakhiani identified to following commonality:
The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.
He defines a calling as one’s contribution to the human race to leave the planet better for consequent generations. In that process, work dissipates because we are all rather doing things that excite you.
Lakhiani asked another founder of Singularity University and the X Prize Foundation, Peter Diamandis, the following question: “What makes someone extraordinary?”
It’s having a heartfelt passion and emotionally driven passion — something you want to solve on the planet that wakes you up in the morning and keeps you up at night. For other people, it might be something they despite or some injustice in the world they want to solve.
Having seen Lakhiani speak on numerous occasions, this book has it all: losing his job after returning from his honeymoon, leading his team to break $1M in monthly revenue, and even references an interaction between his seven-year-old and Nicki Minaj’s song “Anaconda.”
If you want to learn more, you can pre-order your copy of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms here, scheduled for release on May 10th.
A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.
“Most men [and women] lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them” — Henry David Thoreau
What did it feel like to get out of bed this morning? If you’re like 80% of people that don’t like what they do, it probably sucked a whole lot.
When I met Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend, a few years ago, he advised me to never accept the prognosis of an average life. He advised me to take a completely different approach to introductions.
When you first meet someone, never ask them “what do you do?” or “how much money do you make?” That stuff doesn’t really matter, he explained. Instead, try a completely different approach. You should really be asking them:
“What FIRES you up?”
His justification: “We aren’t living our potential if we aren’t adding our dreams, passions, and gifts to the world.”
Over the past few years, he coached thousands of people to live their lives adhering to the following mission statement:
To live each day making your unique dent in the world using your natural strengths, passions, and talents.
When I met Scott a few years ago, he sent me this follow-up right after:
So much fun man. I must have told at least a dozen people about our tea session — seeing your fire to have an impact fired me up! I love chats like that.And man I’ve been watching your talk. Amazing work. I can only imagine where I’d be if were on a stage like that at your age. Alright Kiyan, keep going after what matters. So excited to watch it unfold!
I also reached out to Scott after I received my first job offer out of college and he told me the following:
Follow the path that is most exciting and has most potential at the current moment. Do that and it’s pretty tough to go wrong in life. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like you have much to lose.Scott tragically passed away this weekend living his passion of traveling and giving back to the world. Though we are no longer blessed with his physical presence, his spirit is immortal.
Death is a rude awakening to reality:
You will never have anything handed to you in your life.
You never know when your time will come. Today’s the day to #LiveYourLegend.
Scott, you were one of the most inspiring, selfless people I met and were taken from all of us too soon. Your legacy lives on. Rest in peace.
A version of this post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
From October 19th to 22nd, Forbes hosted over a thousand innovators in downtown Philadelphia for the first-ever Forbes Under 30 Summit. Among the attendees were those selected for the 30 Under 30 lists spanning across a multitude of industries.
Here are success tips from just 30 honorees from a wide variety of sectors for all you youngin's out there dreaming to get into the spotlight:
1. "To make yourself better, surround yourself with people you aspire to emulate in the future. Never become complacent because that will be the difference between whether you are good or great." -Vikas Mohindra, Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch
2. "Don't be afraid to chart your own path. You don't need to climb a ladder to become successful and make an impact. You're never going feel experienced enough. Just start and never look back." -Andrew Dumont, Entrepreneur in Residence at Betaworks
3. "We've become too complacent with what it means to be a teacher, lawyer, social worker, etc. We shouldn't buy into the old definitions of these roles just for posterity's sake. We need to redefine all our society's positions in order to create the world that everyone deserves." -Lauren Burke, Co-Founder, Executive Director, and Resident Obstacle Smasher at Atlas:DIY
4. "If you think you have a good idea, just go for it. Worst that can happen is you'll fail and you'll learn a lot. If you don't at least try, you will likely regret it." -Aaron Firestein, Co-Founder and Chief Artist at BucketFeet
5. "If your idea, pitch or product can't be explained simply, keep refining. The best ideas are so simple, you feel stupid for not thinking of them first." -Jezali Ratliff, Senior Director, Global Consulting at Wasserman Media Group
6. "Building a community around an idea means identifying opportunities for all to participate. At every juncture, there is a network worth engaging." -Dan Berkowitz, Manager at Youth Orchestra LA
7. "Be open to what you don't know and never stop learning. Whether it is from books, experiences or people, the day you stop learning is the day you stop living." -Gregory Kimball, VP of Marketing & PR at Caskers.com
8. "Develop a habit of self-reflection. Knowing how you're doing is as important as what you're doing."-Dale J Stephens, Founder at UnCollege
9. "Getting buy-in is an ongoing journey -- there will always be naysayers. The most important thing is to roll up your sleeves, bootstrap prototypes if necessary, and prove to the world your idea is of value." -Priyanka Bakaya, Founder, CEO at PK Clean
10. "Contrary to the sometimes popular opinion, YOU can actually make a difference! It's your drive and willingness to work hard that will lead to success. And, once you find that success, get involved and give back to the community around you!" -Aaron Letzeiser, Founder at The Medical Amnesty Initiative
11. "Don't do it for the money. Find something you'd do for free. Money will come and go but if you're happy and you can positively impact some peoples lives, that's truly being successful." -Shane Spencer, CEO at Green REIT
12. "It's a marathon, not a race. Always approach your success with the mentality that there is no destination. You have to keep going.-Carlton McCoy, Wine Director at The Little Neil
13. "My father once told me: Always try to make time for family and friends because at the end of the day, no matter how great work is going, your job will never love you back."-Siobhan Pattwell, PhD, Researcher, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
14. "Passive plus drive equals success. Strive for success in all aspects of whatever you do."-JJ Johnson, Chef de Cuisine at The Cecil
15. "Don't assume your advisors have all the answers. Get your hands dirty, muck around and figure it out for yourself. If you're wrong, imagine how much you'll learn in the process."-Aleksandar Kostic, Postdoctoral Fellow at Broad Institute
16. "Find something you love and specialize in it. It's good to be well-rounded and diverse in your skill set, but also be the best at something. Don't be good at many things, be phenomenal at one thing."-Jesse Katz, Winemaker at Lancaster Estate
17. "Create the life you've imagined and above all, take pleasure in any work that you pursue."-Albert Mach, Senior Engineer at Becton, Dickinson and Company
18. "Don't start a new company/organization unless you're seriously committed to seeing it through to success, which usually takes years of hard work. Use your talents to solve problems that really matter." -Teryn Norris, Tech-To-Market Advisor, US Department of Energy
19. "You need to position yourself. Know your capabilities and your incapabilities. And then follow your heart to do whatever you really want to do." -Changxi Zheng, Assistant Professor at Columbia University
20. "Starting a company will be the biggest roller-coaster ride of your life, and the only way to get through the rough times is to truly believe in what you do." -Derrick Fung, sold Tunezy to SFX Entertainment
21. "Have more than just an idea. You need to not only have unique idea but also relentless will to execute it and the foresight to pivot/restructure when the market dictates despite your attachment to the current plan." -Marc Succi, Founder & Editor-in-Chief at 2 Minute Medicine
22. "Show interests outside of textbooks. Have a passion beyond an academic subject and let that guide you as you choose a career. Follow that and good things will happen."-Jonathan Cloonan, Director of Partnerships at GroupM Entertainment
23. "Be authentic, kind and generous to others. You will find you have so much more momentum if you have the genuine help and support of those you have supported yourself." -Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO at MOGUL
24. "If you truly believe in your company and vision, others will see that and be more willing to listen. Articulate a narrative that others can easily grasp." -Courtney Powell, Founder and CEO at PublikDemand
25. "Failure is something everyone experiences. The real difference in terms of success is how you look at failure. If you're willing to learn from your experiences, you'll likely turn it into something better than what you started out with." -Steph Parker, Activation Strategy at Allen & Gerritsen
26. "Make sure to not lose sight of your own mission. It's hard to remember the change you want to have in the world -- don't forget what you believe you can do." -Amy Karr, Global Creative, Zero Dot at Starcom Mediavest Group
27. "Don't go at it alone. I attribute a great deal of my success to my business partner and my incredible team. Know your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with the smartest people you can find with complementary skills."-Brent Weiss, Principal at Brotman Financial Group, Inc.
28. "Find an arena that is endlessly fascinating to you. Stay humble and never stop searching for the "truth" in your area of expertise." -Alex White, Co-Founder and CEO at Next Big Sound
29. "The competitive advantage that comes from relying only on being the smartest person in the room or only on your business, financial, or strategic acumen is incremental and limited at best. So, in EVERYTHING you do, be a person whose every decision is led by LOVE. I promise you that you personally have everything to gain by doing so, too." - Seth Maxwell, President & CEO at The Thirst Project
30. "Your inexperience can be your greatest asset. You may have few preconceived notions on how a problem must be solved. Pursue ideas that may seem strange, unlikely or off the beaten path...because the distinction between ridiculous and genius is sometimes only one of semantics." - Derek Khanna, X-Lab Fellow
Undoubtedly, advice from these passionate, young game-changers provokes your imagination. Now that you're inspired, it's time to put some of this awesome wisdom into practice. Good luck!
A version of this article previously appeared on Huffington Post.
“What great business is nobody building?” is the question Peter Thiel, celebrity investor and veteran entrepreneur asks entrepreneurs every day.
The brilliant PayPal cofounder, Facebook investor, creator of the Thiel Fellowship, and general partner of Founders Fund recently spoke at Columbia University on his book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. The book, released Tuesday, shares his perspective of the future and the modern technological landscape. His first tip involved “learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.”
Thiel’s talk heavily focused on the concept of zero-to-one innovations — revolutionary inventions like the first airplane or home computer, which require “intensive, vertical, zero-to-one progress” — and how to get there.
Here are 10 key takeaways from Thiel’s talk and his book so you can start dreaming up the next big thing:
1. Question what you think you know about the past. To understand businesses and startups today, you have to do the truly contrarian thing: you have to think for yourself.
2. The usual narrative is that capitalism and perfect competition are synonymous. A better one frames capitalism and perfect competition as opposites:capitalism is about the accumulation of capital, whereas the world of perfect competition is one in which you can’t make any money.
3. To build your company culture, it may be helpful to dichotomize two extreme personality types: nerds and athletes. Neither extreme is optimal. A company made up of nothing but athletes will be biased towards competing, while a company made up of nothing but nerds will ignore the fact that there may be situations where you have to fight. You have to strike the right balance.
4. Avoid being blinded by entrepreneurial optimism. The default thinking is seductive, but too simplistic: you’ve created something wonderful, venture capitalists (VCs) like to invest in wonderful things, and therefore VCs will be desperate to invest in your wonderful thing. That’s wrong. VCs, as we’ve seen, have their own biases and motivations. The question is simply how you can exploit them to your mutual advantage.
5. Inspiration isn’t all that counts. Dispel the belief that the best product always wins.There is a rich history of instances where the best product did not, in fact, win. An incredible product doesn’t necessarily mean success — but it might get you half way there.
6. Every company is different. But there are certain rules that you simply must follow when you start a business. A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed. If you focus on the founding and get it right, you have a better chance at success.
7. For a company to own its market, it must have some combination of brand, scale cost advantages, network effects, or proprietary technology. Of these elements, brand is probably the hardest to pin down. The best kind of business is one where you can tell a compelling story about the future. The stories will all be different, but they take the same form: find a small target market, become the best in the world at serving it, take over immediately adjacent markets, widen the aperture of what you’re doing, and capture more and more.
8. As a society, we now gravitate towards explaining things by chance and luck rather than skill and calculation. The internal narrative is that talented people got together, worked hard, and made things work. The external narrative chalks things up to right place, right time. But it’s not all a matter of luck. And the part of it that is can be channeled and mastered.
9. No one knows for sure when the future will arrive. But that’s no reason not to think about the question. It’s easy to point to past predictions where people envisioned a very different future from the one they got. Knowing how and why things didn’t quite unfold as people thought is important. You have to know how people in your shoes got it wrong if you hope to get it right.
10. Progress comes in two flavors: horizontal/extensive and vertical/intensive. Horizontal or extensive progress means copying things that work. Vertical or intensive progress, by contrast, means doing new things. The single word for this is “technology.” Intensive progress involves going from zero to one.
His closing left us with some Thielspiration in the form of making the distinction between mysteries and secrets: “You have mysteries no one has a clue about, and there are secrets you could figure out. The truth seems to be the people that believe in secrets will find them. People that believe that they are all solved will not even try. Go against the conventional wisdom that everything has already been discovered.”
For more enlightenment, be sure to grab your copy of Zero to One.
A version of this post originally appeared on Medium.
It all started with a bet. Rather than receiving superfluous presents for his birthday, my friend Patrick decided he preferred to bring out the humanitarian within. He asked myself and the rest of his Facebook friends to each donate $5 to a cause he dubbed the “Five-Dollar Challenge.”
Excited to support my friend’s charitable endeavors, I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. There was only one caveat to the request.
The $5 bill we donated would be mailed to a friend we voluntarily selected, who would then receive instructions for the Five-Dollar Challenge.
The premise was simple. Do anything (as defined by you) that would bring about the “greatest good.”
When I asked “why?,” Patrick replied, “Many people choose to donate to charities instead of gifts, but I thought it be more amazing to give small investments to friends to do amazing things. What could we achieve? What would happen?”
Just like the rest of us, Patrick realized $5 really is a nominal sum, but the concept was really about “creating habits of giving to the greater good (that you define) and to think creatively about what’s really necessary to do good in the world (do you only need money to do good, or are there other ways?”
For the challenge, I chose my dear friend Maddy, a brilliant fashion tech entrepreneur and the rest was history.
Do you remember those addictive Origami finger fortune tellers from back in the day? Well, she designed the most inspirational fortune teller ever and used her funds to spread inspiration around New York City (and in hopes, the rest of the world).
The bottom of the fortune teller read an uplifting passage:
“Whatever happened to the days where a simple paper fortune teller could solve all of our problems? Whether you’re facing a mid-twenties crisis, or struggling over what kind of coffee to buy, fold yourself a free fortune and get the answer you’re looking for.”
This is where it gets even cooler. Rather than plaguing the recipients with insecurity or diminished confidence in their decisions, she eliminated the possibility of any negative responses.
The statements appearing on the uplifting teller read:
“Absolutely! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. — Goethe”
“Sources say yes. Everything you can imagine is real. -Picasso”
“Totally! You are a fucking rockstar — go make great shit happen you hot ticket, you!
“Yes, yes, yes! Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. -Rumi”
Regardless of what was on the recipients received, they were reassured whatever they wanted was within their means.
“By making all responses affirmative, it encourages people to believe in themselves and their dreams, making possibilities more real,” said Maxey. “Donating my $5 would have made a minimal impact, but I knew I could do something larger if I got creative and used an incredibly cheap and distributable resource such as printed paper for my project.”
Sometimes, the greatest good that occur in any of our lives occurs by stumbling across a simple piece of paper that empowers us to follow our outlandish dreams. Now that’s what I call “finding fortune.” Even more interesting, these fortunate wanderers can tweet their outcomes to social proof how the project inspired them.
Patrick began this movement after receiving the following letter from his friend Jonathan Allan.
Allan’s intention was to mentor Patrick to “look past perceived constraints and reframe the problem of how to create value. His task required him to think about what the ‘greatest good’ meant to him and then make an impact to the best of his ability in a short week,” said Allan.
Allan was initially inspired by Stanford University professor Dr. Tina Seeling who provided $5 to teams of her students that were encouraged to be entrepreneurial and create the greatest return on investment by identifying unique opportunities albeit scarce resources.
Magically, Allan’s seemingly frugal investment likewise accrued. Patrick scaled his efforts and asked all of the people in his network to challenge one another.
This all goes to affirm that giving (even a little bit) and asking others to join your efforts is the tipping point to starting your own little revolution. Even if you don’t personally have the resources, you can create a tangible impact by fostering a bit of creativity combined with a willingness to help others.
As Patrick said to me, “Five-Dollar Challenge” shows that anyone can do this and that anyone can do good.”
So go on and create that ripple in the world you’ve always been waiting for. The odds seem to be in your favor considering it can actually be quite inexpensive. Or I suppose the alternative which is buying yourself a cup of Joe. Heck, I dunno, the choice is yours...