How to Say No, Working with Ralph Lauren, and Finding the Secret to Life in the Mojave Desert with B. Jeffrey Madoff on The Tim Ferriss Show

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Key Takeaways

  • Engagement is knowing and understanding why you want to do what you do and recognizing the fulfillment it brings
  • There are no secrets to unlock for what makes life meaningful; it’s just hard work and perseverance
  • Have your own compass so you know what you’re going after, what it is you’re doing
  • “Everything you do, if your eyes are open, informs everything else you do.”- B. Jeffrey Madoff
  • Periodically, you should ask yourself: what does success look like? Because your definition of success can change over time
  • Establishing an emotional moat around your psyche is critical for emotional survival
  • Even if your job is to say, no, 99 percent of the time, it’s a good investment of time to decide in advance how you’re going to do that = polite decline
  • The vast majority of people who say no to you, do so because they just don’t have the bandwidth to help you
  • “The sure way to make sure that nothing happens is do nothing”- B. Jeffrey Madoff

Intro

B. Jeffrey Madoff (@madoffproductions), director of award-winning commercials, documentaries, and web content for clients around the world, including Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, and Tiffany. Madoff has been a featured speaker at Wharton School, Princeton University, on the topics of creating a brand and creativity. His book, which is based on the class he teaches at Parsons School of Design, is Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas.

Working With Ralph Lauren

  • Ralph’s muse were the movies he watched
  • He wanted to look like Cary Grant and Fred Astaire and Gary Cooper but the style of their clothes wasn’t available
  • Ralph started designing ties, then moved into the rest of men’s wear, designing stuff that he liked
  • When Jeffrey asked Ralph how he was successful for so many decades, Ralph said, “I know who my consumer is because I am the consumer.”

Scratching Your Own Itch

  • Do what feeds and nourishes you and checks the box for an unmet need
  • “Ignorant, you can learn. Stupid is forever.” – B. Jeffrey Madoff
  • Informed perseverance is key for entrepreneurs because it means you’re not just smashing your head against a wall, but have some informational advantage
  • “Everything you do, if your eyes are open, informs everything else you do.”- B. Jeffrey Madoff
  • Have your own compass so you know what you’re going after, what it is you’re doing

Jeffrey’s Journey from Fashion to Film

  • Jeffrey is a self-described “stimulus junkie”
  • “I was seduced by the energy of New York and wanted to be there.” – B. Jeffrey Madoff
  • He also had a keen ability to recognize the style and apply it to fashion as well as an innate understanding of film
  • Jeffrey believes it’s important to question some fundamentals that you may never ask yourself such as, what does success look like?
  • Your definition of success can change over time
  • “Money comes and goes, but time only goes.” – B. Jeffrey Madoff

What Does Engagement Feel Like?

  • You’re engaged when you enjoy the group of people you’re collaborating and working with
  • “You know you’re engaged when you are unaware of the time that passes, that you are so in the zone of the work you’re doing, that time doesn’t mean anything and you love doing it” – B. Jeffrey Madoff
  • Engagement is knowing and understanding why you want to do what you do and recognizing the fulfillment it brings

How Do You Choose Who You Interview for Your Class?

  • Criteria for a guest is that they have demonstrated in some way that they’ve got knowledge that Jeffrey thinks is interesting and compelling
  • He likes when people can bring about a change in the way people look at something
  • For Jeffrey, teaching is a fabulous way to learn

The Life Coach Who Lived Deep In The Mojave Desert

  • Jeffrey heard that there was this person who supposedly had insights into what makes life meaningful and eternal who lived deep in the Mojave Desert and that, for a fee, he would share that knowledge
  • The message he got: There are no secrets to unlock; it’s just hard work and perseverance which keeps you going after what you’re going for –  you’ve got to do the work
  • “The sure way to make sure that nothing happens is do nothing”- B. Jeffrey Madoff

Saying “No”

  • Publishers/agents who brush you off rudely are shortsighted because you never know who the next great author is
  • “You can say no in many different ways. And there were people who said no but did it taking just an extra sentence or two to encourage me, just a few different words and that made a real-world of difference.” – Tim Ferriss
  • Even if your job is to say no 99 percent of the time, (true for venture capitalists), it is a good investment of time to decide in advance how you’re going to do that = polite decline
  •  When you receive a “No”, don’t get morally outraged and offended and then burn that bridge- it guarantees that that person or publisher is never going to do something with you in the future
  •  “If you’re going to try to do anything in the world, you need to get used to people saying no to you.” – Tim Ferriss
  • Establishing an emotional moat around your psyche is critical for emotional survival
  • The vast majority of people who say no to you will say no because they just don’t have the bandwidth to figure it out

Favorite Books

  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  • Freakonomics by Steven B. Levitt and Stephan Dubner
  • The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis
  • Heuristics And Biases by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.
  • The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard – how products are placed and what creates desire

If you could have a gigantic billboard what would you put on it?

  •  “Stay curious, keep learning.”
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Notes By EWerbitsky

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