Friday Roundup – 11.03.23 Edition

Each and every Friday — I outline a few of the articles and/or books that I have read over the last week or two that are worth taking a look at.

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!: 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential By Greg Crabtree

Simple Numbers can guide you to increased business profitability! Take the mystery out of small business finance with this no-frills guide to understanding the numbers that will guide your business out of any financial black hole. Author Greg Crabtree, a successful accountant, small business advisor, and popular presenter, shows you how to use your firm’s key financial indicators as a basis for smart business decisions as you grow your firm from startup to $5 million (and, more!) in annual revenue. Jargon free, and presented in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step format, with plenty of real-world examples, Crabtree’s down-to-earth discussion highlights the most common financial errors committed by small businesses, and how to avoid them. You’ll be fascinated to learn: • Why your numbers are lying to you (and why you are the cause!) • How labor productivity is the key to profitability and simplifying human resource decisions • Why the amount of tax you pay is your #1 key performance indicator Take advantage of Crabtree’s years of experience teaching clients how to build successful businesses by ”seeing beyond numbers” with this step-by-step guide to increasing your businesses profitability.

Go here to get a copy of this great book:

You Need “Beautiful Tortures” to Be Successful in Life — And Escape the Hell of Normalcy

Torture doesn’t sound like the good life.

We associate torture with pain and darkness. We think it’s a bad thing that should be avoided at all costs.

Torture can be beautiful, though.

The birthplace of beautiful torture

I’m no gym bro. I don’t fist bump.

But when I discovered the sanctuary of the gym more than a decade ago, it changed me in unexpected ways.

I got my skinny ass to the gym on day one and met my personal trainer David. I expected to 

learn some exercises and do a few warm-ups. Once we got going things changed.

I’d lie down at the bench press and get ready to push 4 pounds of plates into the air. I’d tell him not to put on too much weight. I’d do a few reps then feel a bit tired and stop.

He screamed at me.

This pattern repeated. I believed you went to the gym to move your body and stay within your comfort zone.

He told me that unless the gym felt like torture, nothing would happen.

I wouldn’t get stronger, my muscles wouldn’t grow, and my time would be wasted. It was the first time I came in contact with torture. Every workout he showed me how to push beyond my comfort level.

Each exercise would increase my pain threshold. Soon I began to crave pain. If my muscles weren’t burning then I was upset. Why? Because muscles don’t grow unless they are pushed beyond failure.

Weird. So why would we think we could grow in life without pain, torture, discomfort, and hard work?

The gym rewires your brain. It’s a great source of free pain.

If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard wayJerry Seinfeld

The start is meant to be hard

Nothing pains me more than seeing someone start a new habit or career and complaining it’s hard.

New projects are supposed to be hard.

Go here to finish reading this post:

The 16 Greatest Lessons From 16 Years With Marcus Aurelius

1: In my first read of Meditations, I highlighted the line “It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character.” But COVID created a different way for me to see and understand what Marcus was writing about. When he talks about how there’s two kinds of plagues: the plague that can take your life and the plague that can destroy your character — he was talking about the things that we’re seeing in the world, that we saw on a daily basis over the last two years.

2: One of my favorite lines: “To accept without arrogance, to let it go with indifference.” Another translation of the same: “Receive without pride, let go without attachment.” Meaning: You are who you are, success or failure, admired or ignored.

3: In Book Five, I learned what philosophy really is. It’s not an “instructor,” as Marcus put it. It’s not the courses I was taking in school. It is medicine. It’s “a soothing ointment, a warm lotion.” It’s designed to help us deal with the difficulties of life—to heal, as Epicurus said, the suffering of man.

4: In the introduction of the Gregory Hays translation (my favorite translation and the translation we used in the leatherbound edition), I was first introduced to the distillation of Stoicism into three distinct disciplines (perception, action, will). It was this order that eventually shaped both The Obstacle is the Way and The Daily Stoic. When I get asked to explain the three disciplines, this is usually my short answer: See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must.

5: Marcus writes, “Go straight to the seat of intelligence,” and, “Mastery of reading and writing requires a master. Still, more so life.” I wrote “RG” in the margins of my original copy. RG stands for Robert Greene—who was and is my master in writing and, more so, in life.

6: From Marcus I learned who Heraclitus was (Marcus quotes him a lot). “No man steps in the same river twice,” is one of the lines he quotes. Even on my sixteen year journey, I still get something new out of Meditations each time I pick it up. 

7: On what I would guess is my third or fourth read, I marked this passage: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Since then, I’ve tried to think about death at least a couple times a day. Memento Mori.

8: At some point after I read the Hays translation, I picked up another translation of Marcus—one that was also free online. I was immediately struck by how the beautiful, lyrical book I loved had become dense and unreadable. It struck me that if I had cheapened out and tried to get for free what I’d bought instead, my entire life might have turned out differently. Books are investments. Be glad to put in your money.

9: Marcus has a wonderful phrase for the approval and cheering of other people. He calls it “the clacking of tongues”—that’s all public praise is, he says. Anyone that works in the public eye, who puts their work out there, should keep this phrase constantly in mind.

10: “The student as a boxer, not a fencer.” Why? Because the fencer has a weapon they must pick up. A boxer’s weapons are a part of him, he and the weapon are one. Same goes for knowledge, philosophy and wisdom.

Go here to finish reading:

Preeminence of Identity

Everything we DO is based on WHO we are. 

Or how we perceive ourselves to be or not be. 

This week, let’s discuss the cornerstone of building well: IDENTITY.

Identity is Preeminent.

Preeminence: the fact of surpassing all others; superiority. It’s the thing that is superior to all other things. 

All the goodness in our lives flows from a healthy identity.

Identity: who you are

A healthy identity is rooted in love, acceptance, worthiness, and values-self. Nothing needs to be done or achieved for this. 

This level has nothing to do with what I DO. It’s the innateness of my humanness. Given. That alone IS ENOUGH. 

Unfortunately, most individuals aren’t aware of nor accept that thinking, evidenced by our constant need to “become significant.” 

Level 1: Another way to look at identity-how I view myself. I’ve determined that how we look at others is often how we look at ourselves. 

  • Judge and criticize others? I probably do that to myself. 
  • Mean to others? I probably mean to myself. 
  • Look down on others? I probably look down on myself. 
  • Compassion for others? Probably compassionate for ourselves. 
  • Love others? We probably have love for ourselves. 

I grew my businesses as I did because of deep identity misperceptions or dissonance. 

This is the hamster wheel of performance, hoping that if I perform well enough in an area of my life, that will mean something good about me. That may compensate for the lack of WHO I AM (or how I see myself). 🫠 

Go here to finish reading:

Hope you enjoy these articles and books. Have a great rest of your Friday an amazing weekend!