Productivity & Self-Improvement
Working at or on your own startup requires enormous productivity, efficiency, and skill. This section covers best practices on how you can improve your ability to work and generate an output, as well as how you can go about attaining the hard skills and knowledge that will make you more competent at your job.
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For me, one skill that really stands out among some of these folks is their ability and willingness to listen. I’m not just talking about the level of listening where you remember what the other person said. And not the pollyannish notion of “I feel your pain.” I’m talking about the deeper level of listening that requires a mastery of body language, a genuine level of empathy and most important, a genuine interest and curiousity in the speaker or subject matter, or both. They are curious in either the person or the material, regardless of the person or material.
For now I have to live with occasionally not living up to other people’s expectations. And to telling people to bug me multiple times if I haven’t responded to an email that they deemed as important. If that’s you – I apologize now, in advance. I’m willing to accept that I’ll never be a black belt in email.
In my bones I’m convinced that entrepreneurs are more nature than nurture although I know both are involved. Many people want to cling to the “nurture” argument because it’s more pleasant. We all like to believe we can be taught to be great performers. We can be taught to be better – no doubt – but no necessarily to be truly exceptional. Because I believe in the nature more than nurture debate in humans I’m already biased to believe that you have certain characteristics as a child that make you more pre-disposed to be a successful entrepreneur. You may be a better communicator, have a higher IQ, be more of a natural leader, be more persuasive, be more analytical, etc. from a young age.
I said to Raffi that "you can't teach people to be entrepreneurs but you can teach entrepreneurs business." He replied to me that his research into the topic suggests that "there are no unique and defining characteristics of entrepreneurs" which leads him to believe that you can in fact teach people to be entrepreneurs. That threw me and I've been ruminating on his conclusion ever since. I've been working with entrepreneurs for almost 25 years now and it is ingrained in my mind that someone is either born an entrepreneur or is not.
I would love to say that I’m the productivity guru. Unfortunately my wife reads my blog and she’d log in and add comments to dispel this rumor (she keeps me honest. Like many of you, though, I’m always struggling with productivity drains and in search of improvements. I’d like to offer you two “life hacks” that I implemented.