Hell Yeah or No - Derek Sivers
Dec 7th, 2020
One of my most recommended books of the past decade was Derek's first book, Anything You Want. Recently, I read his second book, Hell Yeah or No. It did not disappoint in it's own way. There are many pearls of wisdom between the covers.
When I think of teaching children in clinic, I often reflect on the link between success and following one's passion in life. What is a child's true passion? What do they want? Are they willing to work for it? These are the critical questions that often determine success.
Do they focus on the passion or goal early enough to master it or do they say yes to too many other endeavors thinning the quality? I am not sure that this is universal based on timing. Many kids succeed at a later time with sufficient time and work but for some, earlier is better. However, what is key is to eventually focus and work for the passion for a long enough period of time to master it.
Here are some thoughts from the book:
Derek calls it: You don't have to be local. Being local means that you pour your energies into local people, local projects and ideals. Being global means that the majority of your time is spent on global people, projects and ideals. You truly cannot be good at both. You can dilute your time 50% to be in both places frequently, but by doing so, you thin your impact in both. It is not uncommon for individuals to try both aspects, local and global. Yet, in short order they recognize the impossibility of being great at both. Most, if not all, people of significant success do not thin themselves out to please the masses or multiple non goal oriented groups. They stick to the ideal, the mission, their true goal. I believe that we should teach our children to be true to their ideal, passion and mission. It is up to them to learn the path that serves them. Local or global matters not. They will have impact if they follow a passion and give it away to others whether it is monetized or not.
Derek calls it: Actions, not words reveal our real values. This is so true. If I had a nickel for every time I had a patient "yes" me into believing that they are taking the prescribed preventative course, I would be able to give money away like Bill Gates. When we say to ourselves and others that we want X but make no initial steps toward X, then it is clear that we do not actually want X. This is the million dollar dilemma in medicine. How do we convert words into action. Psychologists, coaches, neuroscientists have been working on this problem unsuccessfully for decade upon decade.
Ultimately, we need to teach our children to not say that they want X when they show no action towards X, I remember being a 10 year old asking to do karate. I wanted the uniform, a karategi. My parents informed me that after I showed commitment to multiple sessions, then and only then, would it be purchased. I never fully committed. No karategi. Lesson learned.
Derek calls it: Character predicts your future. Character comes from the repetitive choices that we make that define us. We are the spot in time summation of choices. If you lie repeatedly, then your character is defined so. If you work tirelessly towards your goal, then your character is defined so. If you play all the time, then your character is defined so. Stereotypes are a distilled down belief of a person or group's character. If you do not like a stereotype or character comment about yourself, identify its underpinnings, it's truth and work to change it. Do not lie to yourself if the words actually fit.
Spend an inordinate amount of time discussing character and morals with your children.
I absolutely recommend Hell Yeah or No. Short but great read.