Process > outcome

Process > outcome.

A solid process will yield above-average outcomes.

Outcomes are dependent on a bunch of variables… but if your process is smart, you push the probability that you get the outcome you want higher.

Posted on July 09, 2019 | Comments | Permalink

There’s more to life than just the main characters.

The Younger version of me was quite similar to the current version – incredibly curious about the world (particularly how it all worked – a big reason why I got an engineering degree), a motor mouth that never stopped running, and a streak of dickishness pervasive in all of it.

When I was a kid, we’d head back to the motherland every summer and winter break. I had an uncle who would entertain all three of these traits of mine: we’d sit for a couple of hours and I would just hammer the man with questions.

These questions weren’t just “why” ad nauseam – we would call our sessions “general knowledge” and I’d try to out-clever him.

Of course, I never did. But I learned so much in those rapidfire Q&As.

This uncle of mine would then also screw with me. He would offer me a small sum of money if I could be quiet for 15 minutes. He’d then spend the next 15 minutes harassing me, trying to trip me up so I’d say something and he’d win.

The temerity of this man!

When I grew older and we were in LA, my aunt and uncle came to visit. We went to a bookstore and he told me I *had* to read the Count of Monte Cristo (I was always an avid reader of fiction).

Wow – what a book. That book is, in my opinion, one of the greatest works of fiction of all time.

And as life happens, I grew up, built my own life, set up a life here in Toronto (with nary a visit to the motherland in almost two decades); I believe the last time I spoke to him was almost five years ago.

He passed away earlier this month.

—-

I don’t write this as a form of “vulnerability” to garner a slew of “I’m sorry for your loss” comments.

And I don’t write this as a form of self-flagellation as if I’m a lousy kid for losing touch with my uncle.

I write this to celebrate my fortune of having had this man in my life.

I’ll even admit I had not thought of him much recently; he wasn’t a central figure in my life.

I say that with honesty, not shame. It’s not an excuse but a reality: life happens and we fall out of touch.

But I had the fortune of having a person in my life who encouraged my curiosity. Who introduced me to ‘adult’ literature. A man who trolled me as a kid and indirectly taught me not to take life too seriously.

We always talk and think about the people who had significant impacts in our lives (usually our parents, siblings, and our closest friends), but we often forget about the people who have a smaller but still significant impact in our lives.

If we were to treat our lives like a movie, we too often focus on the main and supporting actors, and will miss out in recognizing the fringe characters that can make or break a movie.

This uncle of mine likely did not go to bed thinking, “Oh man, I spent some good time with that Sol when he was a whippersnapper.”

But with hindsight, I can look back and go “damn – though our interactions were brief in the big picture of things, they were impactful enough to have a very positive impact in my life.”

At my Cookie Off, I had a man named Ray Timm attend.

Or well, Mr. Timm to me. Growing up, he was my math and also my PE teacher.

This guy first introduced me to the idea of brilliant and buff. Seriously – he’s built like a tank and incredibly thoughtful to boot.

I was but one of the many students he’s had over the past decades. But in the little time we did spend together, he threw out nuggets of knowledge and wisdom that greatly impacted my life. Things he said offhandedly got stuck in my head.

I am a better man because of him.

—-

I’d like you to take a moment to mull about this. About how random people in our lives were just there at the right time and moment to impact us positively. And that we likely do the same ourselves! You don’t have to save someone or have a starring role in their life; by mere acts of kindness or thoughtfulness, we may end up irrevocably changing someone (ideally for the better)

Or at least, I’d like to think I can have the same impact on someone as my uncle did on me. I wouldn’t be Sol without those interactions.

Thank you Tariq Uncle.

Posted on June 27, 2019 | Comments | Permalink

Separate the signal from the noise.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to my buddies John Berardi and Phil Caravaggio converse with Jayson Gaignard about their entrepreneurship journey.

First off, both are fantastic dudes. They are the literal personification of a CapitalistSuccessStoryâ„¢ (bootstrapped business that had a 9-figure exit), but they also have the self-awareness not to think they are geniuses.

But my favorite part was at one point Jayson asked about hiring remotely, and JB responded about how they approach it with rigor, how they have a strict criterion, etc, etc.

This is what we need more of – concrete advice, not feel-good bullshit.

Someone who has little experience would have gone on and on about fuzzy platitudes, feel-good stories, and more. Some malarkey about ‘finding the best fit.’

Instead, these guys with actual wisdom verbalized that they did it with a thoughtful process and level of awareness.

This is what we need more of. Fewer cliches, more specifics.

The easiest way to separate the signal from the noise – pay attention to the specificity of the verbage & vernacular.

Posted on June 12, 2019 | Comments | Permalink

I was in Paris because of social media…

Social media, to me, is not a place to make fans, but a place to make friends.

————

I was in Paris last week. My buddy Matthew N Kepnes posted a few months ago saying he was moving to Paris and if anyone wanted to visit him.

“Sure, I’m in.”

A few weeks before I arrived, I pinged my buddy Alberto to let him know I was coming to Paris and if he wanted to swing by.

“Sure, I’m in.”

The three of us had a grand ol’ time exploring, eating (too many croissants), drinking, and talking about serious and unserious things alike.

(My post last week about the Mount Rushmore of comedies was because it was something Kepnes and I chatted about).

And this isn’t a one-off. I’ve gone to places like Sweden, Panama, Kosovo (now that’s a random one), Japan, Egypt, Philippines, New Zealand, and Singapore and gotten to hang out with people who I met on social media.

If we focus on quality and *actual* meaningfulness, social media can be pretty dope.

Posted on April 15, 2019 | Comments | Permalink

The best advice is experience

One of the best nuggets I’ve learned over the past few years is to NEVER give advice. Instead – talk about your experience in a similar situation (and how it played out).

If you think about it, any advice you give is likely derived from something you learned. So talk about that instead, and let the receiving person determine if your experience relates to them.

Posted on April 05, 2016 | Comments | Permalink