My Favorite Job Was When I Was 12

I’ve had eight jobs, and my favorite was a paper route, when I was 12. I delivered newspapers for the Daily Californian, from the late summer of 1997 through the late summer of 1999.

After school, I rode my bike a few miles around central streets of El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, CA. The freedom and independence, combined with self-organized effort, gave me experience that I’ve benefited from ever since.

I mapped out my route from memory. The best way to remember a house was from how it looked, because few houses looked alike back then. For apartments, it was the apartment number, or the subscriber’s front / back patio.

I had the trust of my employer and subscribers that I would deliver the newspaper, and not an overbearing boss or camera spying over my shoulder. Sometimes I would miss delivering a newspaper, but it was rare.

I earned roughly $60 every two weeks, which was great for a 12 yr old. It was a direct reflection of my output and efforts, instead of a market-based average hourly and salary employees are paid today.

When I needed a break, I could simply stop and take it. I didn’t need many, and I did attach a bottle filled with water to my bike. Knowing that I wouldn’t be timed, or allotted a number of breaks, was a great freedom to enjoy.

I had to be organized: my boss, who delivered the papers in a stack each day to my door, didn’t tell me how to do everything. When I had a new subscriber, or one cancelled their subscription, I wrote it down on paper, and kept it with me until I memorized it.

I had to roll the newspapers myself, and tied plastic bags on them when it rained. Delivering newspapers in the rain was a lot of fun – especially during a thunderstorm!

The skills, the lessons, and the experience, of working independently was very enjoyable and rewarding. I suggest it to anyone who wishes to break their minds and potential from the chains of traditional employment.

The Three C’s and D’s of Success and Failure

These are the three words that describe how to achieve success, or how to fail.

Certain and Doubt

The first step toward success is to be certain we’ll achieve it. The first step toward failure is to doubt we’ll get where we want to go.

Think of a pie chart, where 50% is certainty of success, and the remaining 50% is certainty of failure.

To increase our certainty of success, we produce evidence that supports our ability to succeed.

  • When we increase our certainty of success, we can’t help but reduce our certainty of failure.

To reduce our certainty of success, we do the opposite and produce evidence that discredits our ability to succeed.

  • When we reduce our certainty of success, we can’t help but increase our certainty of failure.

For example:

A sales manager, excited that his team can increase revenue by 10% for the year, asks for sales reports over the past five years. He notes that sales have increased, max, in the first year alone, 5%, and has gone downhill since. He accepts those numbers as evidence that there is more certainty of failure than success. He believes, “This is not likely to happen.”

Doubt is a powerful emotion that says we’re accepting evidence that goes against our best interests.

Certainty is a more powerful emotion that says we’re willing to consider evidence that goes against our best interests, but we don’t let it reduce our ability to succeed. We remain focused on our goals, and find a way.

Courage and Discourage

The second step toward success is to have courage, which is taking action despite any fears that we’ll fail.

Discourage is the second step toward failure, which requires giving into doubt by not taking action.

When we are certain of our success, and we have the courage to take action, we may still fail, but we’ll have the energy and the drive to continue toward success.

Discouragement happens when we are so certain we will fail, that we let the fear of failure take over, which reduces energy and drive, and keeps us moving toward failure.

  • Courage builds on certainty, creating upward momentum.
  • Discouragement reduces certainty, creating a downward spiral.

Our goals are at the top of the mountain, not the bottom of the lake, so let’s focus on certainty and courage. In order to get there, though, we need…

Clarity or Distraction

Once we are certain of our ability to succeed, and have the courage to take action, we must have clarity, which is knowing where to go. In fact, success can be clarity, if an idea, understanding, or the truth, is what you wanted.

Clarity can also be defined as evidence: more money, time, love, etc.

Distraction is the final step of failure, and one most people keep themselves in. When we distract ourselves, we can’t possibly have clarity when we aren’t even looking in the right direction.

How can we possibly get through the jungle without looking at the path?

Most people distract themselves with something familiar, because it’s comfortable, and they know what to expect. Those two things guarantee stagnation, and stagnation eventually means failure, as nature will, at some point, command people to adapt or be left behind.

Success isn’t about getting left behind. It’s the opposite: it’s about moving ahead, onward, continuously. In order to do this, clarity is needed, so we headed on paths that take us where we want to go.

Even if we get lost, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Only if we choose to be stubborn and not get clarity have we failed.

Don’t be stubborn.

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire (or be) a Rebel at Work

A rebel on your payroll can help you beat your competition, or if you are the rebel, drastically improve your career.

By rebel, I don’t mean the punk in spiked leather breaking beer bottles on the cop car, while battling his arch nemesis: the inner conflict of the man-child crying for his mother’s love.

No, by rebel I mean the man or woman who is allowed to challenge the status quo, lend a different perspective, innovate, and be fearless from receiving the usual repercussions of questioning their boss.

Here are five reasons why having a rebel on staff, or being the rebel yourself, can be beneficial.

1: I Challenge You, Good Sir, to a Duel!

The signature trait of a great rebel is someone who challenges the rule because the rule holds back progress.

Challenging the rule — questioning its validity and if its still applicable — ensures that either it is effective or destructive.

A challenge to a rule is to test its validity and applicability to how things are now, or in the future.

For example: It may have been a rule that refunds could only be given to customers if they could find a defect in the product. More often today, though, it’s almost a requirement that refunds can be given with little or no questions, and all money back.

Challenging rules can also reveal if they are effective or not. By being able to voice an opposing view about a rule, the rebel can bring to light rules that may be harming employee performance or customer satisfaction.

2: “I’m Not Afraid Anymore!”

Yes you are.

Rebels have fear, but they have more courage. Over time, they listen less and less to the fear because they listen more to their courage.

In business, employees can easily become complacent, turning into yes men and yes women. This may feel great if you’re the leader, for awhile.

If nobody rocks the boat though, it’s bound to stay at sea. If your people don’t do it, then surely the ocean will, and won’t be so forgiving for your crew’s complacency.

By allowing a rebel to be courageous without as much punishment, they can tell the truth, and keep the ship on course. A great rebel would have the courage to tell the captain about the whirlpool a mile ahead.

A great leader would check the facts and perspective of the rebel before deciding which way to row the boat.

3: I See Things a Different Way

A rebel breaks the rules to cause havoc, if it’s their intention. The rebel in the workplace doesn’t intend to harm others, but seeks to bring a new perspective.

While the leader may view things one way, and keep pushing for it to be that way, the rest of his crew may just row along in whatever direction they are told.

The rebel will see the rocks in the waves the captain overlooked, or the oncoming storm that’s on the horizon — further than where the captain was looking.

  • Having different perspectives allows new ideas and concepts to emerge.
  • Having different perspectives allows a rebel to point out the hole in the bottom of the ship, when everyone else thought it was going to be a pleasant cruise.
  • Having different perspectives grants the rebel the opportunity to see how the competition may take over, and offer a solution to head them off before the ship is sunk.

4: Captain, oh Captain! Stay my Captain

If comfort is the killer of ambition, then challenge is its fuel.

People who have all they want can fall into the trap of comfort. When people are comfortable, it’s easy to be blindsided by competition.

A rebel in the workplace should question and challenge the leadership, to keep them from sitting comfortably. If the rebel is the leader, they should create a community of fearless innovation.

The job of the rebel on any ship is to ignite the captain’s responsibility to keep the crew headed toward its destination, and to ensure the captain doesn’t become so comfortable in his navigator that the course they set doesn’t bring them to peril.

Another benefit of having a rebel on the workforce is that it grants leaders an opportunity to flex their muscle. By flexing their muscle, they can remain strong, grow, and push themselves further ahead toward the goals.

5: Innovation

A requirement of innovation is to make something exponentially better. If everyone is fine with how things are, there will be sameness, conformity, and eventually, a lack of growth and ambition.

A rebel doesn’t accept every rigid rule as the only way things can be done. They seek to find new ways to do things, which can be itself an innovation.

Instead of sticking with the same old ways, a rebel can find ways to do the same, or more, using less resources. They can be resourceful, which is innovative.

Even if the idea is outlandish, weird, strange, or odd, a rebel should be allowed to pursue that path. In order for innovation to exist, one must be allowed to experiment; give the rebel free reign to try new and different things.

Caution!

We must not forget that a rebel is still an employee, and must be treated as such. They should still be held to the same standards — and a standard is a bare minimum of quality — as other employees, with one exception:

The rebel must be allowed to question the decisions of his or her leaders without immediate dismissal. Of course, derogatory, insults, and anything illegal, should not be tolerated; anything that diminishes a person’s character should not be tolerated.

If you could be a rebel at work, what would you do?