Set Higher Standards by Ravi

Ramblings from a 30-something ultra-marathoning yogi with a day job.

Posts Tagged ‘The Dip

Embracing Uncertainty

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There is a direct correlation between the amount of uncertainty that you are able to let into your life and accept, and the quality of your overall life experiences. The best things that I have ever experienced in my life were born from situations that were to a large extent highly uncertain. A few example….there was a huge amount of uncertainty around:

  • how I would finish my first marathon
  • how I would finish my first Ironman triathlon (and make it to the start line period!)
  • how I would swim across Puget Sound (3.5 miles in 50 degree water!)
  • how I would do on my honors chemistry final in college
  • how I would complete numerous challenging work projects
  • how I would fare in that longshot job interview
  • how I would find my way back the trailhead after getting lost in the woods for a bit
  • how I would navigate the streets and cultures of those foreign countries
  • how I would have the courage to teach my first yoga class
  • how I would manage my finances in a challenging economy
  • how I would fare in throwing a party for a bunch of friends
  • how I would get everything I need to get done in an incredibly short period of time

The list could go on and on.

Life is full of uncertainty, but sometimes it is exactly when you want to quit that you should stay and push through. Uncertainty is not a bad thing, it is reality. The better you are able to handle these situations, the more new and expanded possibilities will open up in your life – and the more fulfilled you will feel.

Written by Ravi Raman

March 13, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Make Progress By Pushing Through

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I love the science of fitness and weightlifting. In most cases, you spend a ton of effort and time to tire your body out, just so the last few moments of work can cause your body to grow.

In weightlifting, it is only last few reps that cause your muscle to grow, everything else is a glorified warm-up.

In my yoga practice, the same is true for building not only mental strength, but a stronger mind. B.K.S. Iyengar, who is largely responsible for popularizing yoga in the West, says that “your yoga pose begins when you want to come out.” This is absolutely the truth.

In any physical practice, I’ve found the best results by sticking with something when I feel it is time to quit. 100% of the time, my body can go further, it is my mind that takes me out.

In my workplace, it is often by sticking with the uncomfotable situations that I am able to make a breakthrough on a project, or in bridging the gap in a relationship with someone I need to work with.

Make progress by sticking with it and pushing through, not by checking out.

For more on this topic, check out Seth Godin’s great book, The Dip. I like the audiobook – he has a great delivery (it’s a short listen just over an hour).

Written by Ravi Raman

March 7, 2009 at 9:05 pm

A Few Good Reads

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Darri left a comment to my last post about “The Dip” asking what some of my favorite books are. This post isn’t about my all-time favorite books, but rather about books that I’ve read recently and have enjoyed. Here are five that I particularly like right now.

The Dip. I just wrote about it and I’m going through my own exercise right now to figure out what things in my life are worth slogging through the dip for, and which things I should cut loose from. A short and very good book that applies to personal development and business. It’s all about being deliberate in doing certain things well (and pushing through “the dip” that happens when times get tough), and quitting those things that aren’t bound to be productive to your life.

Made to Stick. I read this book as part of a marketing leadership development I’m in at work. It’s all about storytelling. While geared for business professionals, the book applies equally to how we talk about and present ourselves every day to family, friends or co-workers. The book is an easy read and there are quite a few case studies that bring the text to life.

Think and Grow Rich. This is a classic but I’ve put off reading it for many years. It’s the foundation for many other personal development books and systems that have come about over the years. Napolean Hill studied the success characteristics from the world’s most successful people for decades on behalf of his benefactor, Andrew Carnegie. It was written years ago but is highly relevant. Highly recommended.

Tribes. Another Seth Godin book, and also very short but very good (it is really hard to write short books, I commend Seth for doing this!). This book is all about communities, and how we are ALL empowered to lead a community (if we so choose). Be it a community group, church group, meetup group, peer group or any other community….the world needs leaders now. Are you up for the challenge? Best of all, you can download the audio version of the book for FREE from audible!

Journey to the Heart. This is a book of daily reflections/meditations that I use frequently when teaching my yoga classes. The readings are powerful and very well put.

Ultramarathon Man. I haven’t read this book <yet> but it is next on my list. Dean Karnazes likes to run…to the point of frequently running ultramarathons lasting over 100 miles (or longer) over rugged terrain. He also completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days last year (this is covered in his most recent book – “50/50″). Some people like to call him crazy, but I think we all can learn something from his focus, dedication and sheer tenacity.

What books have you read recently and really enjoyed? Please leave a note in the comments, I’m always looking for good book recommendations!

Written by Ravi Raman

November 25, 2008 at 10:00 am

The Dip – When to Quit and When to Stick

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Source: Seth Godins Blog

Source: Seth Godin’s Blog

I was reading Tynan’s blog and his recent post about Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip.” I just finished reading Seth’s most recent book “Tribes” <very short and very good> so this caught my eye. So much so, that I just headed over to the library to check it out.

Now, less than am hour after reading Tynan’s post, I have finished reading “The Dip”! Yes, it’s a short one.

The book is about being the best in the world at something, and the effort that goes into that pursuit. Being best in the world is itself subjective. It could be best in your town or whatever micro-market niche you are in. Regardless, being the best at something always involves some amount of effort and toil <the dip> before coming out the other side and seeing the benefits.

Most people quit in the dip.

The trick is to know when to push through the dip and when to quit. Lifting weights is a great example. It is the last few reps that produce all the gains. Most people quite before they break a sweat. Those last few reps are painful.

On the flip-side, quitting is also important since languishing in mediocrity is a sure-fire way to waste a lot of resources (time, money, opportunity cost of doing something great).

So in the end…we all need to decide what to stick with AND what to quit. The book is a great and very short. I highly recommend reading it a few times (I plowed through it in less than an hour).

Below are some random notes I took while reading.

  • Being the best in the world is important. The best get out-sized rewards.
  • Everyone wants the best, nobody wants the second best.
  • Being the best in the world means quitting lots of things where it is clear that you won’t be best in the world….and sticking with things that do have promise, even when the going gets tough.
  • Best in the world is subjective. It is the best in terms of the range of your customer. Best in the world might really be the best in your town in the price range that your customer can afford. It’s about being the best in your niche.
  • The customer determines what the “best” is…not you. And their definitions may change.
  • People who are the best in the world get really good at answering the questions that are hard, the things that they don’t know. That’s what they specialize in. If they skipped the hard stuff, their skills would not be valuable.
  • Be exceptional in the areas that matter.
  • Dips don’t last as long when you whittle at them. Successful people don’t just survive the dip, they lean into them.
  • Jack Welch made the decision for GE to only stay in businesses where it was #1 or #2 in its industry. He was a great “quitter.”
  • Quitting when you hit the dip is a bad idea.
  • Quitting means deciding ahead of time that you are done.
  • Write down under what circumstances you are going to quit! Don’t quit in the moment.
  • Questions to ask before quitting:

1.    Am I panicking?
2.    Who <or what> and I trying to influence?
3.    What measurable success and progress is being made?

If you are making a decision about when to quit in the moment, you are probably making the wrong decision. – Ultramarathoner Dick Collins as quoted in Seth Godin’s book “The Dip.”

Written by Ravi Raman

November 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

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