Being wise.

Being wise has long been a sought after attribute in humans in our society. For centuries, many ‘wise’ people have been lauded singly for such a trait. But what is wisdom, and how are we all working on being wise every day in our lives? Perhaps the kid in The Matrix said it best. Maybe there really is no spoon.


To me, wisdom I something that comes from observation. It comes from observation of ones surroundings and the interactions of others in such surrounds. It also comes from observing yourself, and being aware of your own emotions, reactions and intuition as you’re exposed to different experiences. Eckhart Tolle talks about ‘the observer’ in his books, which is a similar and related idea to being mindful in your daily activities.

Wisdom is certainly an interesting idea, and as Ross Hill made comment, something we almost certainly will never fully understand. It will be interesting to watch this weekend particularly, as two events which really inspire me take place. Trampoline is on again, which always fills me with wonderment and awe around the knowledge, passion and wisdom of many of the participants. I can’t wait to be amongst it again. And a new conference, Wisdom 2.0, is taking place in San Francisco (and at Google HQ) with the distinct ambition of discussing wisdom in the modern ‘2.0’ world. The speakers list looks amazing, and I look forward to hearing all about it from the Aussie contingent going.

I’ll be running a session at Trampoline this Sunday, hopefully calling in the guys at wisdom2.0 (if I can get a session early enough!) and I look forward to discussing more of the ideas and thoughts everyone has around being wise.

Don't force it.

There is a great scene in the movie Oceans 12, where George Clooney and Brad Pitts’ characters are walking together in Amsterdam brainstorming ideas to make $198M in 2 weeks to pay back the casino owner they stole from in the first movie, Oceans 11. The two are career criminals, smart con-men that run elaborate heists to outsmart their victims out of money. It’s a very entertaining film.



But the reason I love this particular scene, is because of the conclusion the two come to after about 10 crazy ideas.

“We’re forcing it, aren’t we”


The characters go on to talk about good times, when they just took gigs which made sense, planned accordingly, got the team together and then made it a complete success.

Our lives are no different. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, has a favorite saying in many of his speeches recently, praising the discipline that Google has in “sailing with the wind.” Google don’t try to push shit up hill…they simply watch where the wind is going. George and Brad have it right. Don’t force it. If  someone is selling you a grand vision, or you find yourself in a meeting where someone is talking about an idea and you can’t visualize it happening, then guess what. You’re forcing it.

Don’t force it. You have enough great ideas that enable you to sail with the wind and have an amazing impact. You just need to figure out which way it’s blowing, and then put up the sail.

Get the team together

I was having an amazing coffee with Nathan Sampimon and Ross Hill the other day, talking about life, business and (often) the new book rework by the guys at 37signals. But one topic that kept resonating in our caffeine laced discussion was one of getting the team together. I’d like to discuss this idea a little more here today


For me, the idea of getting the team together (think – we’re getting the band back together!) is something quite powerful. Pulling the team together is normally done in light of creating something meaningful and making good stuff happen. Nath does it with Inspire9, Nigel did it to win a national HPV event and even Tom Peters (the ‘uber’ management guru) suggests finding a ‘freaky friend’ to have coffee with before unleashing your new idea on the world. Pull your team together and begin working on it, secretly, until you’re ready to release something to the world.

So how do you pull the team together? Chances are, you already know who you want in your team. They’re probably #samehumans. Have coffee with them. Discuss the merits of the idea (and the scope!) and talk about all the things you WON’T do.

It’s easy to pull together the team when you have fireworks to offer: cash, equity, funding etc etc.But most people don’t have any real ammunition in their belts. Nor, I’m guessing, do you just yet. And that’s ok. You don’t need it.

So talk about the simplest thing that you will do together. Talk about how that will take you to the minimum viable product of what you want to achieve, and then figure out who else (if anyone else) you need to on the team to help make that happen. Don’t let the team grow to big – you don’t want to deal with that just yet. 3-4 is plenty and 2 is probably best. Agree on what you’re going to do, and then do it.  And, as Sivers says, keep it secret.

Chances are, pulling the team together will help make something amazing happen, even if you’re not quite sure of what that is just yet. Don’t fret – just start with a coffee and see how it pans out.