THE CONCEPT – You, INC.
I believe life can be broken down into 4 fundamental areas:
- Health: Eating/Exercise/Sleep/Recreation etc.
- Resources: Money/Possessions/Home/Car etc.
- Relationships: Significant Others/Family/Friends/Coworkers etc.
- Work: Serving others in a way that brings us personal fulfillment and allows us to meet our personal needs/wants.
Informing how we approach these things is a Mentality influenced by: Beliefs/Spirituality/Personal History/Culture/Subconscious/Self-Talk/Self-Worth/Core Motives etc.
- We begin by spending some time articulating a Vision for these 4 areas of life. What would we like to see happen in our lives 10 years from today?
- Next, what needs to happen in the next 6-12 months to work towards that Vision?
This is a simple idea but I believe the key task is to understand how the culture we live in greatly informs our mentality. Reaching fulfillment requires intentionality. If not intentional, our mentality becomes shaped by our environment as opposed to our mentality helping us to shape our environment. Let’s look at some facts about modern day America:
- Health – The American Nursing Association reports that the Average American Nurse (The most trusted healthcare professional) has higher incidences of insomnia, chronic stress, and habitual smoking than the average American. As someone who has worked in an Emergency Room setting and in a Fitness setting, I can tell you that many of the “Professionals” that we look to for physical care aren’t doing well at caring for themselves.
- Resources – The student loan crisis is more frequently being predicted to cause the next economic collapse. The very thing that is supposed to empower people to achieve economic freedom is currently doing the exact opposite for many. People are finding themselves in deep depth for degrees right out of college. Only to enter a world that may not pay them the money required to get out of debt in a reasonable timeframe.
- Relationships – The birth of social media and continual rise of the internet has helped us connect and share information in ways that were unimaginable just 20 years ago. However, kids are learning to break-up over facebook and text message versus having the hard, awkward face-to-face conversation. Certain, needed social skills are being left underdeveloped in a world where it’s easier to connect without dealing with all the challenges of deep human relationships.
- Work – A recent Gallup Poll Survey reports that 85% of working Americans are disengaged with the work that they do. This means that, potentially, as many as 8/10 adults we see on a daily basis are simply going through the motions at work. There is a lost sense of connection and fulfillment with work.
In my life, I have not met a single human being that doesn’t want a healthy body, financial freedom, quality relationships, and fulfilling work. However, the landscape one must navigate to attain these things seems to be set up against us. That is, if you only focus on the facts listed above. As I said on the homepage, Character is best developed in pursuit of freedom in the four fundamental areas of life. As a way to reframe this pursuit, I propose an idea I call ‘You, Inc‘:
Comparative Advantage is an economic term stating that a country has a relative economic advantage over other countries, when it can produce particular goods or services at a lower relative opportunity cost. This fosters International Trade. What if every individual has a comparative advantage (Think ‘Purpose’ or ‘Destiny’)?
This principle is the basis of You, Inc. In this model for living, every individual engages their own life in the way an entrepreneur engages building a company. Taking complete ownership for building a life with healthcare benefits – Eating/Exercise Habits, 401k plans – Personal Financial Habits, human resources – Forging Healthy Relationships, and executing the company mission – Pursuing Fulfilling Work. In a time where things like obesity and consumer debt are becoming more common, this construct gives us a way to reframe the way we look at the simple and essential tasks of everyday life. As we put forth the effort to achieve personal growth and add value to society, in theory, this posture would produce in individuals the drive, work ethic, and resilience that is common to many successful entrepreneurs. These traits would give one the ability to thrive in difficult processes. Those experiences, in turn, would give one the depth of character to communicate with, and impact, diverse groups of people, all pursuing their own comparative advantages.
Comparative Advantage here is not simply about an economic activity. For the individual, it is about going through the difficult process to find fulfillment so that we are then able to pour into others in deeper and more meaningful ways.
The primary value of think about ourselves as a business entity is to foster the ownership that comes with being an entrepreneur. It’s not up to your doctor to fix your health and it’s not up to your financial advisor to fix your money. It’s on you and life has taught me that when we take full control it opens up the power in us to change like nothing else can. Life has also shown me that acquiring freedom in life is a difficult journey. It’s going to take a significant amount of time. Inevitably, time will bring with it pain/suffering/disappointment. There will be unforeseen and uncontrollable adversity. Death, disease, divorce, financial woes, job loss etc. These events/circumstances make it tempting to fall into a Consumer Mindset:
Whether consciously or subconsciously, our primary objectives in the Consumer Loop become numbness and feeling good. We want instant gratification with little to no regard for future consequences of current actions. This creates deviation from the path to our vision. We consume people/places/things/processes until the immediate pleasure derived is exhausted. We then drift until we hit the next gimmick/quick fix/new obsession and we repeat the process. I believe addiction, cynicism, stagnation, depression and a litany of other psychological struggles can originate and/or proliferate in the Consumer Mindset.
Growth is the goal. The Learner Mindset is in opposition to the consumer mindset and I believe it offers opportunities for growth no matter where we are on the spectrum of human experiences:
We learn the things necessary to reach our vision. Based on new knowledge, we put together what we perceive to be sustainable plans. We execute and refine our strategies as we pay attention to what our behaviors produce. As we refine, we find potential gaps in our understanding and see places where our vision needs adjustment:
- Maybe we don’t have the capacity for everything we planned.
- Maybe we don’t actually value the goal in the way we once thought we did.
- We may need to challenge ourselves to find a deeper motive for why we want certain things. A motive deep enough to help us endure all the challenges that come with reaching our vision.
A key point to understand is that the Vision is a moving target. Just as many successful entrepreneurs start with one idea, then time and experimentation will lead to a different product or service, We must hold our plans for the future with an open hand while also doing everything within our power to reach those goals. Life is a process of Self-Discovery. This is where I try to get people to embrace a principle I call The 300% Rule:
- 100% Ownership, 100% Effort, 100% of the Time!
No matter what life is giving us, no matter how much hell we are enduring, we will look for and focus on the factors in life that are in our control (Ownership). We muster all the willpower we have, to utilize those factors to move towards our vision (Effort). Again, holding that vision with an open hand, allowing time and experience to help us discover new things about ourselves. Inevitably, there will be goals we don’t reach. The wholehearted application of this principle allows us to engage that disappointment/pain with the knowledge that it wasn’t our lack of resourcefulness or lack of effort that led to failure. It just wasn’t in the cards:
- What did we learn about life (Generally and Specifically)?
- What did we discover about ourselves (Strengths and weaknesses)?
- How do we adjust and move forward?
The 300% Rule is an accountability principle. When embraced as a mentality, it constantly points us towards the Learner Loop no matter where we are in life. It helps us push away from the temptation to avoid pain via the instant gratification found in the Consumer Loop.
I believe that for a person to reach greater expressions of their own potential over time one must be resilient against, and have the proper perspective on, pain and suffering. Continually pushing towards a vision, and choosing personal growth as an outcome of painful experiences, creates individuals of exceptional character and passion. Whether you literally start a business or non-profit is neither here nor there, the idea is for each one of us to get into a perpetual state of ownership. Ownership Learns. Ownership doesn’t wait for the government to fix healthcare. Ownership doesn’t wait for the government to begin forgiving student loans. Ownership doesn’t blame other people for a lack of social skills. If the job doesn’t exist in the marketplace, Ownership creates the job. If there is a social problem that needs to be addressed, ownership doesn’t wait for outside entities to fix it. Ownership attacks the problem head-on. Ownership is creative with every available resource. Ownership Learns! Ownership, owns the destiny of You, Inc. Collectively, I believe this mindset creates a culture of people who go after problems, attack social issues head on, and find uniques ways improve the lives of others.
The first step to this process is getting more precise about what we would like our future to look like. On no more than 1, 8.5×11 page, write or type what you want your life to look like in 10 years based on the 4 fundamental areas listed above. What specific goals can you reasonably achieve in the next 8-12 months? Set no more than 4 specific goals for this 8-12 month period. If need be, set fewer. The point of one page and a few goals is so that your focus becomes narrow and your energy is driven at specific tasks. Remember, You, Inc depends on your execution. Adherence to this, in theory, will reduce wasted effort across too many goals and a lack of proper follow through on any one thing. This is short enough for you to look at and evaluate almost daily. FOCUS!
Here are some practical suggestions:
Exercise/Eating habits, Spending Habits, Financial Planning for the future, and the general organization/cleanliness of your living space, car, and work space. These are things in our direct control and they critically affect our ability to thrive in daily life. I always list Health and Resources as the first two categories of the 4 fundamental areas because they involve so many things that are in our direct control. Do you need to spend some time on google looking up home based exercise programs? Do you need a book on budgeting (Every Human Being should be on a budget.)? What about your living space? Is it clean? Does it feel calm? Learning is alway happening. Sometimes that’s reading a book or listening to a podcast. However, sometimes the first step looks like learning while you execute. Maybe cleaning up your house and car is the first step. Maybe you need to purge some of your material possessions. Creating a space where a vision can be constructed is just as important as the vision itself.
The thought here is that you need to get your own life together before you can really add some serious value to someone else. If we don’t show significant levels of self control, our depth of positive impact on others is limited. Also, clarity comes with a life that is more stress free. If your body is a wreck and you are in financial ruin, it’s going to be harder to be patient with people you love. Finding work you are passionate about might be impossible in this state. We’ll always have to manage our physical health and we’ll always have to deal with money. Therefore, reaching our vision starts with organizing the most basic tasks of life. Progress starts with you and the simple things of everyday life.
Questions? Email me – TravisDaigleCDC@gmail.com or comment below!