Work Ethic

How to Be Number One

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Yesterday I posed the question “What is it that you can do better than anyone else?” I asked you to take some time to figure out what you can be the best in the world at, just like the Beatles did when they made the decision to focus on their songwriting. I realize that that’s a big question, so let’s see if we can’t make it a little easier by re-phrasing it slightly. Instead of looking at the entire world ...

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What Are You Best At?

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What is it that you can do better than anyone else?

Most of us go through our entire lives without asking, much less answering, that question. And yet the answer to that question could determine our ultimate success or failure.

The Beatles weren’t the best musicians in the world. There were better rhythm guitarists than John Lennon, better lead guitarists than George Harrison, better drummers than Ringo Starr, and even better bass players than Paul McCartney (although admittedly not many). So how ...

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What Are Your Assumptions Costing You?

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I just got back from a speaking engagement in DeFuniak Springs, Florida (“Home of the Second Roundest Lake in the World!”). I spoke there on Saturday night, delivering my signature keynote presentation, The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made…and Why You Should Make Them Too! Because of a combination of inclement weather and a mix-up in the printed schedule, attendance was much lighter than we anticipated. Let’s just say that well over 200 of the 300 available seats were ...

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Making Music vs. Playing the Notes

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I enjoy playing the piano. People may not enjoy listening to me play the piano, but I still enjoy it. This morning I was playing through a jazz version of the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever. I started working on it this past weekend, and I’m pretty close to having it under my fingers now. In a couple of days, I should have the notes down. But it will still be far from “audience ready.” See, there’s a difference between “playing ...

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Have You Missed the Boat?

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Do you ever feel like you missed the boat? Do you ever feel like opportunity has, once again, passed you by? Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only I had…

…invented the Pet Rock;
…bought into Microsoft when it first went public;
…come up with the idea for Facebook?”

Somehow the innovations always seem to go to the other guy. It’s not that you’re not smart; it’s just that your timing is off, right?

Bull crap.

Charles Duell, the Commissioner of ...

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John Lennon and Overcoming the Naysayers

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John Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi, who is usually described with words like “strict but loving.” And while there is some debate among Beatle people over exactly how “loving” she really was, nobody questions the “strict” part. As you can imagine, then, she was not a big fan of young John’s obsession with rock and roll, or his non-stop guitar practice.

“The guitar’s all well and good, John,” she would say, “but you’ll never make a living at it.”

Years ...

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A Simple Economic Equation

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Why are the Beatles still popular today, nearly 40 years after they broke up? Nostalgia is a small part (the Baby Boomers still rule the earth)–but the much larger reason is that the music still holds up. The songs the Fab Four created from 1963 to 1969 still sound fresh and exciting today, even if you’ve heard them a thousand times. In other words, the Beatles created something of lasting VALUE.

On a personal level, there are two sides to the ...

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24 Hours and a Choice

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I’m getting a little sick and tired of people moaning about the bad times.

“I don’t have enough money.”

“I’ll never be able to retire.”

“Nobody will give me a job.”

Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying these aren’t serious issues. These are challenging times, and I truly feel for those who are struggling to get by. What I am saying, though, is that moaning about it may not be the most effective response.

Look, the Beatles went through some tough times too. Times ...

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The Beatles, Money, and the Richest Person in Washington

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I just finished listening to Breakfast with the Beatles, a weekly two-hour radio program here in Seattle. I listen to it every Sunday morning (unless I’m on the road for business); it’s a ritual for me. One of the songs they played today was the Beatles’ cover of Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy’s song, Money (That’s What I Want), which begins with the lyric:

“The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds ...

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Give Your Career a Tune Up!

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My piano is being tuned as I’m writing this. Don’t get me wrong…it didn’t sound out of tune. But it’s a valuable instrument, and I care about it. So I get it tuned twice a year, without fail. Now, I have this friend who I’ll call “George” (although his real name is Alan). “George” also has a nice piano. Mine’s a Steinway, his is a Baldwin. “George,” however, only gets his piano tuned when he thinks it sounds out of ...

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