Entrepreneurs, Mentors, and Trust with Jim Collins on the Tim Ferriss Show with Tim Ferriss

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Key Takeaways

  • Beauty is not hard to find, but easy to overlook
  • Instincts are powerful – there are thousands of years of evolution behind them
  • Ask yourself: do you want a life that others envy or that others admire?
  • Never stifle a generous impulse
  • Put the butter on your waffles: in other words, live your life the way you want to live it
  • If you’re not having fun, find a way to make whatever you’re doing fun or do something else
  • Two paths exist to develop trust
    • 1. Trust someone outright – your trust is theirs to lose
    • 2. Make people earn your trust
  • Never confuse faith with the discipline to face the brutal facts
  • If you have something to say, don’t wait too long – you might not get the chance
  • Comparison is the sin of modern life – don’t do it!
  • Get clarity about yourself: “If you woke up tomorrow morning and found out you had ten years to live, what would you stop doing?” –Jim Collins

Intro

Jim Collins (t: @level5leaders) is a researcher, author, speaker, and consultant specializing in business management and company sustainability and growth.

Tim Ferriss (t:@tferriss) is an entrepreneur, investor, author, and podcaster.

The Four Hour Workweek

  • Expose yourself to new ideas and people, especially as you age
  • Challenge yourself
  • Don’t force yourself into a box
  • The essence of Tim Ferris’s book The Four Hour Workweek is if you want a life of meaning and full of experience, try to squeeze down the amount of time you work
  • Chase the drive to be useful vs. the drive to be successful
  • Beauty is not hard to find, but easy to overlook
  • Instincts are powerful – there are thousands of years of evolution behind them
  • Being driven is not necessarily good; you should be pulled forward

Mentors and Father Figures

  • Having a mentor is a relationship not a transaction
  • Jim created his own father-figure through reading biographies
  • Goodbye Darkness by William Manchester – a memoir of the Pacific War
  • The Power Broker Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro- shows how dark force motivation can increase over time
    • Jim was fascinated by Robert’s ability to find pockets of power to get things done and how he moves that to find power just for the sake of it
  • The Master of the Senate by Robert Caro about LBJ -Jim’s takeaway on this book is never let your ambition confuse you about who you really are
  • George Washington A Life by Ron Chernow– the story of a reluctant leader whose ambition was very strong when he was young, but how he became more service-oriented
  • Ask yourself, do you want a life that others envy or that others admire?
  • Both the lives of Washington and Moses show that people are not static; people evolve as life unfolds

How Jim Prepares for a Socratic Lab

  • Jim asks himself two questions:
    • 1. What are the critical topics for this conversation?
    • 2. What are the key questions to ask his audience that they need to wrestle with?
  • Create conditions so that people have to commit themselves to the discussion (e.g., Jim makes his clients fly to meet him instead of him going to them)
  • Jim’s opening question on day one: write down the top five brutal facts you face today
    • No opinions – facts only
  • He also asks: where are you vulnerable and why?

Why Bill Lazier Was Important to Jim

  • Bill Lazier was the greatest mentor of Jim’s life and he’s honoring him with the re-release of their book, Entrepreneurship 2.0
  • Bill was a Stanford instructor who took an interest in Jim and at age 30, recommended him to teach an entrepreneur course at Stamford
  • “He (Bill) believed so much in me, he was like a magnet that pulled me up. He said to me not all times in life are equal – this is your shot” – Jim Collins

Lessons from Bill Lazier

  • Never stifle a generous impulse
  • Great life = great relationships
  • There are two approaches to life:
    • You see it as a series of transactions
    • You see life as a time to build relationships- and the cornerstone of that is building trust
  • Put the butter on your waffles – translation: live your life the way you want to live it
    • “Don’t confuse a long life with a good life” – Tim Ferris
  • “Writing is like running – it doesn’t get easier, you get better” – Jim Collins
  • If you’re not having fun, find a way to make whatever you’re doing fun or do something else

The Trust Wager

  • Two paths exist to develop trust
    • 1. Your opening bid with someone is to trust them – your trust is theirs to lose
    • 2. You make people earn your trust
  • The upside of mistrust – you prevent yourself from hurtful exposure
  • The downside of mistrust – you will lose the company of trustworthy people
  • The upside of trusting people outright – trustworthy people rise to your expectation
  • Caveat: Trust but verify – trust from a smart place

What’s Impressive about West Point Cadets

  • Jim spent two years teaching at West Point and was struck by how happy the cadets were
  • Despite having very little free time, he found the cadets had a sense of energy some of his MBA students lacked
  • He found two reasons:
    • 1. The West Point culture is built on the idea that each cadet is not alone – they are responsible to help each other
    • 2. They learn in the context of meaning which is service: service with people who willing to die for that service

The Stockdale Paradox

  • Admiral Jim Stockdale was imprisoned for seven years at a Prisoner of War (POW) camp in North Vietnam
  • In Love and War by Jim Stockdale
  • Jim Collins felt a sense of depression as he read the book even as he knew the ending
  • He wondered how the admiral survived when he didn’t know how it would end
  • Stockton said he never wavered in his faith
  • However, many of his fellow POW’s, optimists, died of broken hearts
  • Never confuse faith with the discipline to face the brutal facets
  • The ongoing Covid pandemic is giving many their own Stockdale moments

Jim’s Scoring Sheet

  • Jim tracks two things a day – creativity and how he feels – using a scale from -2 to +2
  • On -2 days, he challenges himself to make it a +1
  •  Tips for moving that marker:
    • Comparison is the sin of modern life – don’t do it!
    • Prepare for something coming up
    • Creating = looking forward

Jim’s Stop-Do List

  • Don’t hit send – you can never unsay something
    • One half to two-thirds of the emails he writes, he never sends
  • “Don’t underestimate the power of an act of kindness: the most treasured gift in the world are kind words spontaneously tendered” –Jim Collins
  • If you have something to say, don’t wait too long – you might not get the chance

The Map for Entrepreneurs

  • Once you have a good idea and turned it into a company, how can you turn it into a great company?
  • Stage I: discipline your people
  • Stage II: discipline your thoughts
  • Stage III: discipline your actions
  • Stage IV: build greatness to last – shift from being a time-teller to a clock-builder
    • Build something that will work when you’re not there – build great mechanisms
  • Purpose and profit: visionary companies are driven by purpose and therefore are more successful
    • E.g. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard believed that a company should be a tool for changing people’s behavior
    • His company was the catalyst for change in the climbing community
  • The purpose should be authentic and true to who you are
  • Get clarity on yourself: “If you woke up tomorrow morning and found out you had ten years to live – what would you stop doing?” –Jim Collins
    • You should be asking yourself this question all the time – it’s a guidance mechanism

What Would You Put on a Billboard for the World?

  • How have you changed the lives of others?
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Notes By EWerbitsky

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