Ojeh's Notes

Notes by Augustine Ojeh

The right skills, on the right job

Of course, anyone can thrive in any job as long as they are committed to working it out. You necessarily do not have to be passionate about your job.

However, everybody starts off being an entry level employee. Some progress into seasoned experts in the field, some wither off in the cubicles while others make career changes.

Regardless, climbing the career ladder requires you to hone some new skills, improve existing skills and drop the not-so-useful ones.

But, with your career goals snowballing on your palms, it’s your responsibility to identify the skills requisite for advancement. If you can’t identify and make efforts to hone those skills, you’re probably on the wrong job and should consider a career change.

Reach out to mentors and idols for counsel. Watch what they do and understand why/how they do them.

Observe, learn, grow!

He shouldn’t be rich

You think that’s true because you appear smarter than him. More updated than him. Speak louder than him. And maybe you think that you somehow intimidate him.

One thing that may slip through your mind is the fact that knowing doesn’t make the magic happen. And the smarter you think you are, the less likely you are to take the actions required to make you rich.

So, maybe acting smart impresses a lot of people. But take actions instead. And the more actions you take, the less smarter you will look to the average eyes and, perhaps, the less unworthy of results you will appear.

Craftsmen and businessmen?

A graphic designer, writer, cartoonist, editor, or marketing guru. We are all masters in our craft and we are excited to earn a living doing the things we know how to do best.

But then, we want to earn more money. We believe that our time is worth more. So, we are troubled over where and when we will get our next big client. But until a good-paying client comes around, we invest ourselves and time in mediocre projects.

Craft is just one of the seven hundred facets of a business. And the more invested you are in a craft, the lower your chances of running a successful business around it.

How would you win more high-paying clients if you spend so much time obsessing about the details of your design? How can you ensure good service delivery when all you think about is running the most successful marketing campaign?

If truly you want to run a business as you wish you did, you must make the hard decision of trusting others to take care of the everyday tasks. It’s hard to trust others to create as well as you would, but you’ve to choose between being a craftsman and a businessman.

Routine reflections

What did you do well? What would you have done better? And what did you learn from all that happened in the past few months?

Reflections are essential for growth. At times though, it seems like a waste of time for people that are constantly looking for things to do. But taking the time to perform this silent ritual can change a lot. It helps us know when to revisit the sketchbooks or forge ahead.

Notwithstanding, like most other actions that we take, reflection can become habitual and over-practiced. Daily reflections over every choice made could be regarded as overthinking. In James Clear’s words, “is like looking at yourself in the mirror from an inch away.” You see yourself so well but lose sight of the room.

To see the bigger picture, allow yourself to act spontaneously on most everyday choices. Then collate your choices and reflect on them weekly, monthly, and/or annually.

And no matter what, keep an eye on the big picture and never lose yourself to the details.

From boredom to greatness

Not long after we start that new and exciting job, we get bored of doing the same thing over and over. Routine!

The routine at the gym. Researching the same topic. Running the same route every morning. And eating the same meal every day. Of course, there are reasons to get tired and bored of the experiences.

Our ability to manage this boredom and find the grains of excitement within routines is what can keep us going. Accept the fact that boredom is a part of the process. Stick to the routine and seek novelty in other areas of life that don’t jeopardize your boring-routine-preceded goals.

Researching for a new book, seek novelty in new perspectives around the same topic. There, you may find the excitement to keep pressing on.

The impact of genetics on your chances of success

Some are introverts, not by their doing. Some are confident while others are anxious. And no amount of motivation can transform a genetically anxious person to muster just about enough confidence in the face of uncertainty.

So, maybe we are allowed to believe that nature had primed some for success, some for average, and others for failure. Flawed is this belief.

Although extroverts may be social geniuses, they are one side of a coin. Confident people appear admirable but they are more likely to take deadly risks. Very organized people may be slower as they pay attention to details around them but less organized, carefree people are always in motion, maneuvering their way through.

Your genetic compositions may set you up for failure in one area of life, but it primed you for outstanding success in another. It’s your responsibility to find where you fit.

Three steps to develop a reading habit

Reading is admirable and beneficial. Many want to cultivate a habit of reading and, unlike what most people say, the problem isn’t time. You could cultivate a reading habit faster if you:

  1. Buy your own books. Gifted/free books are seldom read.
  2. Read hard copy books rather than ebooks. With hard copies, you deal with fewer distractions and reduced eye irritation from blue lights.
  3. Break every book you read into 3-5 sections. Then reward yourself as you complete each section.

Bonus point: For non-fiction books, don’t forget to take notes. Writing ideas down reinforces them on your mind.

How to deal with narcissists

Egomaniacs, most call them. We run into them often. Some of us even live with one. And the best way to deal with them isn’t by avoiding them. Not when they make up a part of our lives.

Instead, being boring and appearing dumb most of the time can repel them from you. Sooner or later, they will be the ones avoiding you for being uninteresting.

And even though this wonderful set of humans garner attention at great expense, they are less likely to trade your reputation for it. Why?

Because being boring and dumb is no news. You can’t be made a topic of discussion for being so. At least, it won’t pass for an interesting topic.

The war against social media

Over 700 hours. That’s how much time the average human spend on social media each year. The numbers aren’t going down as these platform become more addictive, thanks to AI.

If you could spend only half of that time on social media and do really productive work the other half, imagine how much you would accomplish in a single year. Without a single knowledge of coding prior, you could learn to program Python in a year.

So, how do you win this war? Or at the least, how to you restrict yourself from using social media as often?

James Clear have an excellent strategy. He wrote that he asked his assistant to change his social media passwords every Monday and log him out of all devices (an option on your account security page).

Without a way to log in, he was unable to check the media all week. On Friday, his assistant would disclose the passwords to him. Then, he can binge on Twitter all weekend, up till Monday.

Try this with a trusted friend or an accountability partner.

Repetition and perfection

As we create new designs, write new stories, and develop new products, we strive for perfection. We want to add that magical touch. The perfect anecdote. That excellent color. The right font. An irresistible interface.

After several sleepless nights and hours of endless touching and retouching, the final product is often mediocre. But we try to justify to ourselves its outstanding beauty, one that is only evident to us because of the effort invested into it.

In truth, the perfection we seek is hidden in repetition. Also, perfection is unplanned. And if you ask me, it always comes off as unmerited. The more frequently, you create products, write stories, and draw new designs, the closer you will be to building a reputation of always attaining perfection.

The first several products won’t be anywhere close. That’s perfectly okay. Just keep going, champ!

Motions vs actions

My grandmother used a cliché whenever she finds dozens of her grandchildren busying about a task without making significant progress. Translated to English, she’d say “many legs on the ground but no steps made.”

Individually, we get busy with too many things, shuffling between tasks without making any actual progress.

We read books on how to start a business, brainstorm business names, and even go as far as registering a business name. But we are taking the pains to wrote the required codes to bring the business to reality. We just don’t get around to launching the product that serves customers and bring money into the business.

In another instance, we read one sales books after the other but never get around to making that call, scheduling that meeting with a potential client, or sending that proposal.

The books you read, the research and brainstorming that we do are all motions. But the actual step that brings all the knowledge and strategies that we have built to life is the action that changes everything. That is what really matters.

According to James Clear, motion makes you feel like you’re making progress without running the risks of failure while in the real sense it is delaying failure. Actions bring you closer to reality. Take action today, every day.

Building a new habit

It doesn’t take time. It takes repetition. The more often your perform the habit you want to form, the quicker it sticks to your processes.

So, there’s no rule of thumb that it would take 21 (or any certain) days to build a new habit.

Your new habit may require you to repeat it 200 times before it becomes a habit. Then repeating it thousands of times can make it a natural process like covering your mouth while yawning. You will barely notice that you’re doing it.

It could take a lot of days to get this number of repetitive actions but you’re more likely to get there sooner if you do it more frequently… and regularly.

The antisocial reward

It is true that we (humans) are social beings. We would give/do anything to be accepted into a group.

We buy what others buy, wear what they wear, adopt the same choices of words, and even follow the same influencers on social media.

The reward of being accepted is a feeling that words can’t accurately describe.

Nonetheless, our sense of social entitlement make us oblivious of small, important details. Once the groups that we identify ourselves with miss these details, we are more likely to rule them off as irrelevant.

However, those details, as little as they may seem, when given the right dose of attention, are recipes for creating a new, better world for all.

Therefore, contrary to the ideals of the acceptance-hungry majority, the reward for being right, smart, and different in a good way is immeasurable.

A given in human behaviors

Contrary to the premise upon which the various fields of social science are built, individual behaviors are predictable to a significant extent.

We react uniquely to cues as they happen even before we think about them. Thereafter, we justify our actions with the least flimsy reasons.

“Man would crawl towards pleasure but will flee from pain and imminent danger.”

As we run from perceived danger, we often run into troubles. Then seek solutions for problems that we have put ourselves. We rarely think about preventing or avoiding these problems. Hence, available means of prevention are seldom valued.

To better predict or dictate the behavior of another person, understand how they react to cues and use those cues to influence their behaviors.

A thirsty panda will not jump into a stream nearby willingly, but only a thin layer of burning grasses coming its way will send it diving deep into the Atlantic.

New Year Goals

A glorious new year to you.

As the year kicks off, we resort to setting new year goals on default. It is a good thing but following through these goals is the challenging part.

Like everyone else, I have my 2021 goals and this blog happens to be an important part of it.

As the year moves along, I will be sharing everything I’m learning through books, people, experiences, and the risks I take on my entrepreneurial journey.

My primary learning focus this year include: talent management, personal finance & investing, marketing & sales, and, of course, personal growth and good habit-forming.

I hope that you enjoy the ride as you join me on this train of knowledge.

Once again, happy new year.

Opposing the start-from-zero notion

Nothing is built on nothing. To build an empire, contrary to all you’ve heard in the past decades, you must have something to build upon.

It’s the knowledge, money, network, influence, or skill. You can’t build without substance and rarely can you build in one lifetime.

The difference between the compelled and the chosen

Decisions are either forced on us because it’s the only thing or we make them at the expense of another option that we perceived to be worth trading off.

The underlying factor influencing our decision dictates our values.

There’s a difference between a trained doctor who chooses entrepreneurship over saving lives and an entrepreneur who became one by compulsion from an severe living condition. While the former is acting to a pull effect, the latter is merely responding to a push.

Which of them is more dangerous? That’s probably hard to tell but one is far more driven than the other, and not by money. You know which.

The community and you

We strive to do good by others with no knowledge of how bad our good to others are to ourselves when they are done at the expense of our inane persona.

Some of the investors that you need are more concerned about how much of an arse you are than most other things.

Investor’s trust

A lot happen on the way to funding and building trust is one of the greatest things to happen to startup founder.

Regardless of who you meet, your ability to see goals through is what sets you apart from the crowd of ambitious founders. The killer idea that you embody has little to nothing to do you with chances of success.

“If I had”

A phrase that always come in regret of actions that were never taken.

Whatever comes after that phrase is only a product of our fantasy. The reality could be a lot worse “if we had” but we didn’t. So, shake it off and move forward.

It’s either you or your idea

And investors will choose you over your idea, a million times and over.

Paul Graham emphasized that entrepreneurs must come off as genuine, putting their abilities beyond the solidity of their business ideas. "If a group of founders seemed impressive enough, I’d fund them with no idea," he wrote.

Don’t cover your flaws while protecting your idea. You’re far more valuable.

Big problems

Are often accepted as norms after a long, resultless effort to solve them. We avoid them or just accept them as a normal evil in our regular lives until a non-conformist comes around to question our sanity.

For every one of them that travels the surface of the planet, our downcasting is theirs to endure. But right after, in our faces, they are worshipped as geniuses, by us even, for no reason but our fragility.

“A crushing impression”

The reality that our lives have been built upon principles —religious and cultural— that are not entirely true, forcing us to savor mildly inhumane behaviors without conscious knowledge for benefits to self, is crushing.

This reality, we were born into, but it’s restructuring is our responsibility.

Utmost respect, integrity, and a greater sense of responsibility over entitlement will take us there, one leap at a time.

Great beauty

“…all great beauty…[is] pure simplicity.” —Albert Einstein.

It is far more beautiful and awe-striking when the design, app, idea/concept, or whatever you have to present to the world is in its simplest form.

Starting small

Happens to be one of the most difficult things to do. We are often restrained by limited resources and big dreams.

Starting small is an imperative for continuance in a journey that you’re set to embark on. It offers you the opportunity to “learn on the job” and make mistakes that are not neck-cutting.

Starting big, on the other hand, comes with enormous risks that starters are, in most occasions, unaccustomed to.

Start right where you are, now, and small.

Just a Why!

Everybody wants to be great —at least those that I know. We all have the ability to fantasize and visualize where we want to be. The motivation to do the necessary work, however, is far-fetched.
The ultimate source of motivation is purpose. Convincing yourself of a reason why you want to be great is the only way to get the self-drive that you want.

It’s a tough question, notwithstanding, and only few can find a valid answer to it. Should you find the “privilege of the few” eluding you, do it for your ego.

Do it to make you and people proud.

Do it to lift your spirits higher.

For whatever reason, do it. It’s nothing but A Why!

Indebted or obligated

We are humans and have an obligation to be kind to one another.

On the other hand, being kind is not a debt to be repaid.

It is best to not shove our problems down the throat of another person inconsiderably.

A futuristic plan

For one to be truly futuristic, it must put into consideration the fact that urbanization is an evil that mankind is embracing without deep thought.

With urbanization comes increased hunger, austere struggles for higher positions on the food chain, and a failure to realize that food actually comes from below the chain, the part that urbanization destroys without remorse.

A truly futuristic plan must seek to maintain the flow of energy along the food chain by creating ways to sustain food production at all levels directly or indirectly, because mankind may solve all existential problems but never will it be without food, which only being without is the gravest of problems.

Transposing fears

The things we barely have enough abilities to accomplish, we try to make others fear.

“It’s not possible.” “It’s too risky.” “It’s gambling.”

Those may be true but you are probably scared from the losses you made or seen/heard someone make. It’s palpable yet unreal.

Step aside, offer thoughtful advice if you may but don’t strike it off the options because human paths are complex and one may lead to another.

Rents on the web

Stores, businesses, individuals. As we all need a roof over our heads, we also need a few pages of our own on the web.

Like houses, many of us can’t afford to build one for tons of reasons but since we all need one, we could rent.

Website renting is an unexploited possibility because for the places we live, rents must be paid. Soon, many will stop roaming the streets of the internet and start dwelling in rented corners.

Where would you be? Paying or collecting rents?

Great business ideas

They are secrets and should remain so until they become conventional truths, if they ever do.

Whoever you share them with gets entangled in your pretty little world of great visions. They inescapably become a part of your secrets and how long it remains a secret depends not only on you. As more people know, the factors to its spread grow uncontrollable.

So, inasmuch as your next big idea is so big you can’t hold it in, choosing who to pour it on is not a matter of trust and love. Rather, it is of integrity judged by known or hidden behavioral patterns.

Close range optimism

We envision a great future of endless possibilities but we are crippled by the fear of our visions not actualizing.

This fear breaks us internally regardless of our external glow and wide ears for remarkable, futuristic ideas.

What does it truly take to build the future that we have conceived in our minds?

Perhaps if we can desist, for a moment, from ever thinking about the future and it’s timeless arrival, and focus on what we could do at the instant to overcome the obstacles before us presently, then we may be able to make the minor individual progresses that cumulates over time to yield the much-glamoured overnight success that we so crave.

Crying

Many believe it’s for the weak. However, it could be seen the other way around.

That other way is perhaps the better way to view it.

Because the ability to express our most vulnerable emotions is one thing that truly strong people are capable of.

In an hour

A lot can be done right.

And a lot can go wrong.

But sitting back to watch it creep away is the worst that could happen.

There is no better way to manage time than to make good use of it.

You can’t save it, so stop trying.

Something new

People seldom understand them at first glance. So, you have a huge responsibility of explaining what it is.

For this reason, the best way to introduce something new to the world is to begin with a very small group to whom you can explain your new concept with relative ease.

From there, wide adoption makes your “new” a “normal.”

Luck

No doubt, it exists although without a face.

Like a busy market with sellers waiting on customers, the world is full of people waiting on luck to smile at them.

Our chances for sustainable, recurring sales in this “market” is increased when:

  1. We are strategically positioned to attract customers,
  2. Our skill set is unrivaled, and
  3. We genuinely love our customers enough to truly help.

The lucky ones are not cherry-picked by some unseen forces of nature. Rather, their lucks were a result of worthy trades for skill acquisitions, persistence towards passion, and unfaltering strifes for a better world.

Communicating effectively

One simple secret to flawless communication lies in our ability to separate reality from imagination.

Oftentimes, creativity increases the chances of our message being misconstrued.

It takes a certain level of intelligence to understand sarcasm and creative communications. The next person can only be so shrewd.

The diligence of knowing your listener’s level of intelligence will help you determine who to communicate imaginations with and who to keep on the reality side of things.

The next bubble burst

History, as we know, repeats itself –right in our faces.

The burst of the dot-com bubble in the early ’00s greatly affected the United States, albeit the rest of the world was performing poorly.

The craze in the Blockchain technology industry is, in my perspective, mirroring the dot-com craze of the late ’90s and my paranoia can be excused should the growth in the Blockchain industry remain sustainable.

Else, the world faces the threat of a crash in the technology sector, constituting over 15.5% of the global economy.

The information paradox

The arguably ended information age made valuable information free and easy to access –on the go.

Though, somewhere along the line, it has made it 100 folds more difficult for us to access the information we so value.

Our unrestricted access to hundreds of zillions of information has clouded our perception of value. Now, the content with the most exposure is often more valuable than credible, fact-backed reports that are seldom looked at.

Finding a credible source of information –experts dedicated to selected fields, scholarly papers, and reputable voices– is a certain way to repair our perception of valuable information.

Researchers

Everybody likes to think of themselves as one.

But the true researchers, who influence our world on a great scale, are distinct.

They dig into the minds of the pettiest men, collate the intelligence of scholars -dead and living, and dissect abandoned trends and overlooked occurrences, wholly to produce credible findings that will shape the future.

Unlike everyone else, they know where to look and what to look for; they recognize patterns and decode bits of hidden information.

Without them, our world is blind and aimlessly moving in all directions.

Unannounced failures

Thriving people; role models and mentors experience failures and rejections that they deeply wish to share with their followers but strongly resist doing so.

The reason, however, may not be their desire to be seen as flawless. Rather, it is because these failures and rejections, if shared, could discourage those quietly and loudly following their steps.

Hence, as a follower, rest assured that the challenges are limitless but openly letting your mentors know that you’re following their steps will help close the communication gap, drawing you closer to reality.

The Elevator Pitch

Doesn’t necessarily have to be very brief. It simply has to catch the audience’s undivided attention immediately.

To do this, you must first ensure that you’re speaking to the right audience.

Then, speak their language eloquently. Speak money, power, innovation, or freedom; whatever language sounds most familiar to the audience.

The business plan and operation process are secondary. Save those for a later, more detailed discussion.

Smart thoughts

We have and hear them often but they don’t come in handy. Also, they are easier to challenge than accept.

The reason being that, more often than none, they challenge the things we know and believe in. As such, these thoughts call for strong scrutiny.

As much as we love to hear and carry plausible ideas, they can be our undoing if we let the lethal ones pass through the ‘thought filters’ of our subconscious mind.

Innovating isn’t competing

Contrary to the widely accepted belief that people and businesses innovate to gain an edge over the competition, innovation actually sets the goalposts for the competition to begin.

While innovative teams do seemingly new things in alien ways, competing businesses seek better ways of doing old things, employing the best makeshifts to improve the bottom line.

So, where else does competition appear in the innovation equation if not on the right-hand side of the ‘equals’ sign?

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IQs vary with era

Modern day IQ analysts compare some unsually smart young kids with Einstein and others. Often, we fail to realize that IQs have evolved too.

Contrary to the times of Einstein, Tesla, and Newton, the geniuses of today are more of innovators than inventors.

So, it is valid an argument that our ancestral geniuses may have even greater IQs than the modern geniuses does. To see this in a better light, you might want to take out the screen magnifying our current world; the media hypes.

Scarce and stable

Is the resource needed to successfully see a startup project through.

A project that receives too much funding will have no way of recognizing waste. Also, big unstable streams of resources set the new project, which is on its own unstable, on a greater level of instability.

Instead of ensuring that everything is provided at the beginning of a project, ensure the barest minimum is available and will always be until the project is self-sustaining.

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Experiments and learning

During a Scrabble game, the words that stick to our memories are those we played in the past uncertain of its existence in the English Scrabble Dictionary. As we embrace our genius of forming accepted words or our woe for doing the opposite, these knowledge and experiences are engraved in our hearts’ metallic cores.

Through life, business, and career, the same occurs. Our life-long knowledge compounds as we try new things; as we experiment, uncertain of the future results.

However, knowing what to risk when making these experiments will prevent deep regrets and self-resentment from soiling our pleasant learning process.

“How would you like to be paid?”

In cash or equity?

We have grown so used to being paid in cash that we forget the ease and relevance of direct investments in a business that we are putting all our efforts into.

If you truly believe in the future of the organization that you’re working with, there is no reason why equity is not a wise choice of payment.

While receiving equity, you’re not only an employee but also a shareholder with a vision far beyond paychecks, up to the sustainable growth of the company. You will be diligent in playing your role to ensure the company’s growth because its value is directly linked to yours.

Regardless, we all have bills to pay, and there’s a need for cash. In this case, and in cases where there is no other source of cash for self-sustenance, a part-cash-part-equity payment should suffice.

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“Using the heart and mind”

Is a locution for using instinct and logic.

Although both are used to predict future occurrences, they don’t work the same way. While one requires the use of facts and patterns, the other needs only the recognition of one’s gut feelings.

Regardless of which you trust the most, your judgment and predictions will likely be flawed. But your chance of making a better call is greater with logic.

However, our instincts hold greater significance when testing new waters, a first-time situation.

‘Long stories’ are the shortest to tell.

I’m not talking about summaries, but spot-on information from the big story that will impact the listener/reader. That’s what we need to hear.

Once this spot-on detail is expressed in a few sentences, the rest of the story is simply chronology and entertainment.

Time is invaluable, especially in today’s value-driven world, and people want to make the best use of it.

Simply pass the core message and keep the chronology for Friday evening golf sessions.

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