Wakefulness and five more rules
I recently mentioned going to sleep in terms of business. We established that keeping your nose to the grindstone for interminable periods only leads to waste, loss of focus and accidents.
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time staying awake. Between the night job, family responsibilities and a bum thyroid gland, Rob is a natural bump on a log. I have absolutely NO energy unless I sleep for at least twice the amount most people need. Trying to function on the standard 8 hours of sleep is great if I’m going to sit around watching TV or doing light chores, but to do anything genuinely useful I really need to go into a mini-coma for the better part of a day or two. But, hey, that’s me. Let’s talk about you.
According to the National Institutes of Health,
Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information…Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
These are all very important factors in running your business. Creativity, decision making and focus are crucial to your success. When you’re in the business of providing information for profit, it really helps to actually be awake and cogent.
Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity.
Sometimes you might want to burn the midnight oil. I can understand that. I’m naturally a night owl myself. Doing so is fine if:
- you’re already well rested
- you’re really engaged in the task at hand and your muse is genuinely singing
- you’re willing to reward yourself for a job well done with a good sound sleep to follow up
On the other hand, it’s totally not fine if:
- you’re rushing to finish something you’ve been procrastinating about
- you’re pursuing some kind of unrealistic Herculean work ethic
- you’re obsessing rather than working coherently and efficiently
If you find yourself drifting into the latter group:
- pack up your work
- make a checklist of what remains to be done
- take a nice hot bath, meditate or do whatever you do to unwind
- GO TO BED!!!
- once you’re properly rested, complete the items on the checklist
Five More Rules
So, let’s get our Ferengi on and examine a couple more of The Rules of Acquisition.
Rule #6: Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity
Again, this was designed to depict the Ferengi as chauvinistic, greedy and ruthless. For our purposes, we can look at this one from a couple of perspectives
- Starting a business is probably not only outside of your comfort zone, but that of your family members. Spouses, parents, siblings and others who are concerned for your well-being may try to put you back on the straight and narrow. Jobs are safe. Everybody has a job except for bums and billionaires. They will try to protect you from your dreams. Don’t let them do it!
- Creating a level of expectation may be hard to do, but in order to be successful you’re going to want the support of your loved ones. That being said, the proof is in the pudding. They’re probably not going to believe it until they see it. Don’t let your disbelieving loved ones stand in the way of your productivity. In order to prove to them you can do it, do it!
- Find a time and/or place to work where you won’t be interrupted. This has absolutely killed me. I love my wife and kids. They love me back. Unfortunately, we live in a really small house so we tend to sort of trip over each other. I’ve found that I need to work when they’re either away or asleep.
Rule #7: Always keep your ears open
Definitely a word to the wise. The Ferengi have really big ears, so this is a bit of a joke in terms of the show. Nevertheless, there are a variety of very good applications to this rule.
- Listen to your subscribers and customers. They will tell you what they want to know. Give them what they want. Feed their brains.
- Listen to the latest trends in your chosen field. When you know the scuttlebutt, it positions you as an expert and helps you build your brand.
- Listen to advice from those who have blazed the trail before you. Learning from established experts in your field feeds your brain and inspires you to bring your own brilliance to bear.
Rule #8: Small print leads to large risk
Rule #9: Opportunity, plus instinct, equals profit
My goodness, yes! This is the heart of an information business.
- Opportunity: The internet is the greatest field of opportunity on God’s Green Earth. It is the vast level playing field that allows Nigerians, Italians, Slovaks, Filipinos and anyone else with the drive and ambition to become millionaires simply by bringing value to those interested in their chosen field.
- Instinct: This is the intersection of your interest and your perspective on the information you gather. When you are intimately familiar with your chosen topic, you begin to get a feeling for aspects of the field that might not occur to others. You can provide massive amounts of value to your subscribers and customers by honing this instinct and sharing your findings with the world.
- Profit: By bringing value to your subscribers, you create customers. When you have customers, you have profit. When you have profit, you have material proof of your success and the value you’re bringing to the world.
Rule #10: Greed is eternal
Here’s another zinger from the show. This is the cornerstone of Ferengi civilization. It is certainly not the cornerstone of our civilization. For us, Love is eternal. That is the heart of an information business. Love of your topic is important to ensure you are providing massive value. Love of people is important to ensure that you are willing to provide massive value for a fair exchange instead of pulling a bait and switch in order to trick people out of their money. Lots of people fall into that trap. They think they can make a quick buck by pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes and cranking out shoddy products. Churn and burn marketing is a thing for some people. Generally, burning all possible subscribers eventually leads back to the day job because your reputation is shot. As the Beatles said, Love is all you need.
I hope you’re enjoying this series. There are hundreds of rules, so we’ll keep trudging along. Peace, Love and Wakefulness to you, my friend.