Real Life Game Skill: How to Develop Vision

How to develop Vision

I’ve been working on my 2nd book, 10,000 Hours of Play, and part of the Six Steps 10K HP Journey is to develop Skills based on our Attributes.

One important Skill (Step 4) to acquire is Leadership. However, Leadership does not stand by itself, it is built upon three important Attributes (Step 2): Vision, Execution, and Empathy.

During a live coaching session for my mentorship Guild Octalysis Prime, an OP Member asked about how to develop Vision to become a better leader. This led me to a breakdown of what it truly means to develop vision.

Firstly, it’s important to address the common misconception that vision is an inherent trait – you either have it, or you don’t. But I firmly believe that vision, like any other skill, can be cultivated if we deconstruct it into more manageable components.

The Three Pillars of Vision

  1. Imagination: The bedrock of vision is imagination. It’s the ability to see beyond the present, to envision a future that others might not yet perceive.
  2. Logic Checking: Vision must be rooted in reality for it to be actionable. This is where logic checking comes in. It involves critically assessing your imaginative ideas to ensure they are feasible and practical.
  3. Conviction: The final element is the belief in your vision. Conviction is what propels an idea forward, transforming it from a conceptual stage into a tangible goal.


Imagination is very important to having a vision, because vision literally means that you’re seeing something that is not in front of you, something that you haven’t seen before and maybe even no one else can see. 

All the other people who don’t have vision can’t even see it. You can even describe it to them and still, they won’t see it because they just don’t have imagination.

And imagination, of course, stems from creativity. 

There’s a lot of exercises out there about how to become more creative, if you lack creativity just go to YouTube and search for “how to be more creative” and you will get tons of results from very smart people. 

In a nutshell, creativity is when you can find connections and associations between all the many things that you have already seen.

We usually don’t come up with anything from scratch, I believe everything comes from somewhere. 

Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and Grow Rich” talks about 2 types of imagination:

  • Creative Imagination
  • Synthetic Imagination

Creative Imagination (unconscious and spontaneous) is when inspiration strikes out of nowhere, and you get a brand new idea from thin air. These are the “Erueka moments” that scientists and artists become famous for.

Synthetic Imagination (conscious and intentional) is when you combine things you know to create something new.

Whatever the case, both types of imagination require you to have more life experiences.

Examples of creative imagination could be:

  • Issac Newton sitting under a tree and after an apple falls on his head he gets inspired for what later became “Newton’s law of gravity”
  • Archimedes taking a bath and screaming “eureka!” when he came out with what later became the Law of Bouyancy (Archemides’ Principle).
  • Percy Spencer melting a peanut in his pocket by accident while boosting the power of his company’s radar – this led to the invention of the Microwave.
  • Dr Spencer Silver failed at creating a super strong adhesive and instead created a weak one useful only to hold paper – together with Art Fry they invented post it notes.
  • Hans Christian Oersted when setting up some machinery and misplacing a compass, this produced a magnetic field around it. This tiny accident inspired what would later become Electromagnetism that drove inventions from the telegraph to the motors and technology we know today

Examples of Synthetic Imagination could be:

  • Unicorn – a Horse with a horn
  • Pegasus – A horse with wings
  • Car – Combining wheels + a platform + an engine.
  • Smartphone – combining cellphone + computer
  • Smartwatch – combining smartphone + watch.
  • GPS – combining satellite + smartphone
  • Self Driving Cars – Combining Computer + Smartphone + Satellite

Whatever the case, whatever type of imagination you get, you need to have some type of input into your brain.

So if you want to have imagination all you have to do is start focusing on having more life experiences. Travel more, see more things out there, see more solutions and strategies, play more games.

The wider the range of life experience exposures you get, the more imagination you can have.

In short: When you are trying to be creative just focus on connecting things together in interesting ways to create something new in your mind, this will expand your imagination and will help you have more vision.

Logic Checking

Now the second part of having vision is logic checking that imagination, because you can just imagine a lot of random things, but you could just be a crazy person, right?

“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success” -Bruce Feirstein

If you really think about it, it makes sense, right? Both geniuses and crazy people sound alike, the only difference is success.

And in this case, the difference for that success is that the genius is able to prove her crazy ideas to the world.

This is only possible with logic checking.

Even if the idea is exciting, colorful and makes you feel really good, if it’s not powered up by logic checking, it will never become a reality, and it will never be able to turn into vision.

It’s so important to logic check those things you imagine. A simple way to do it is to just ask: “Is it possible to get there? Is there a route to get there? Have others been able to do something similar?”

Logic checking relies heavily on pattern recognition skills. So yes, this is where going to school to do math and philosophy really pays off. We don’t actually learn that stuff just because it will help us right there on the spot when we are learning. Instead it’s to help us think and recognize patterns.

These logical skills are used to connect the dots from point A to point B to point C. So when we have this imagination, then we logic-check like:”Hey, could this be possible based on pattern recognition about how the world works? Is this possible within the laws of physics?”

When Elon Musk thought of flying a space shuttle into space, he didn’t just come up with that crazy idea, that would not have become a vision, because anyone can think crazy ideas, but what made him a visionary was thinking his crazy ideas deeper and logic checking them against the laws of physics. “Is it possible to build our own rockets?”.

This was a major breakthrough for SpaceX. Elon must have thought: “Can we power them up and fly them out of the pull of gravity? Does this defy the laws of physics? If it doesn’t, then it is possible”.

Anything you imagine can be crazy and ridiculous as long as you logic check it, you can transform it into a vision.

That is how the Octalysis group was possible for me, because I started in 2003 thinking of applying game elements into boring real life tasks we needed to do.

But I didn’t leave it as a fantasy, I really thought deeply about it for years, checking and rechecking, testing and retesting those ideas in my head until they became a reality.

During those years I started a blog around this crazy idea but was constantly talking about ways of making this possible (logic checking), and slowly, slowly, very slowly started building my reputation for 11 years until in 2012 “gamification” started being “a thing.” When CEOs wanted to apply gamification in their companies, my name was the first name that popped up.

This eventually transformed into the Octalysis Group, a business that generated millions of dollars in total revenue. So, you see, logic checking is very important.


The third component of vision is conviction of what you imagine, that is, after you have a crazy idea, and you logic check it to make sure it is possible, you become convinced that it can become a reality.

Logic Checking really helps you fully believe in that vision you have, but if you have all the logic, and you never make the decision that the crazy idea you are imagining is truly possible, you will never believe it and it will remain a fantasy – maybe a fantasy that makes sense, but not really a vision.

Also, part of conviction is wanting to do it. If I had a cool idea, and there was a path to get that idea brought to reality, and then I said: “Oh, but I don’t know if I really want to do this” – then that would not be convincing.

I don’t know. It is kind of scary like, yeah, yeah, that’s not a good leader, right? You would say that’s not a good visionary leader.

A visionary leader believes in his vision so much that he can inspire other people to be part of that journey, to go towards that vision. So even though your rational brain, the second part is logic and logical brain knows that, sure, it’s not a sure deal.

Maybe there’s even less than 50% chance of winning. But now that you’re visionary leader, you have to fully believe this is the only way this will work. It has to work. We have to put all our resources into it.

I believe in so much that I’m risking my well-being on the line to pursue this path. And so that conviction of your vision is also really important to being visionary, to developing your visionary skills.

And a lot of times that’s, again, back to the concept of optimism and confidence. As you know, there’s another video called Open Networking and the six Core Principles, Opinions and Confidence.

One of the two of those six principles, it’s important that you have that. So I believe that if you are able to have great imagination, skills, great creativity, can imagine a lot of things that other people can imagine.

You are good at logic checking. You’re good at seeing what it takes for that vision, for that imagined world to happen.

And once you have that, you believe in it so much that you’re willing to commit yourself to it, to take risks to inspire people towards it. I believe you become a visionary leader and you have vision, so you develop your vision skills.

None of that is easy. It takes time and practice, but we have our whole lives to level up, to improve ourselves.

As we improve our lives will have more meaning, even if we’re not leading a company, let’s say even if you’re not leading an organization, right. Having a vision for your family, for your relationship, having a vision for how you raise your children or how you want to finish school.

All this is helpful. A lot of people don’t have a vision for their relationship. They don’t know what the ideal is. Say they want to be competitive right now. Maybe right now that’s the ideal state. 

Then it’s not. The vision is how to maintain it for as long as possible because things might deteriorate and they think about, okay, is it possible to get there?

How is it possible? And then believing that we can get there as long as we work together and even as long as I always apologize first, right? I try to do more than the other person. Then it’s possible. But you have to believe in it to make it work. So anyway, so those are the three principles of building a Vision in my mind.

The 10 Best Productivity Apps that use Gamification in 2023

This post was recently updated to reflect the 10 best productivity apps that use Gamification for 2023

Click here to view our full list of Gamification examples.

We all strive to be more productive: to have more energy, to accomplish more in a day, to hit our goals, to be the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be. But of course, we all face challenges that keep us from achieving our peak selves: we watch TV, we watch Youtube, we sleep in, we do everything possible to avoid the work that we need to be doing.

If life is a game, then we can hack our lives using Gamification to motivate, drive, or trick ourselves into being more productive.

The following are the 10 best productivity apps that use Gamification to improve your productivity, health, and financial habits.

Gamified Productivity App #10: Trackabi


Trackabi is a productivity app that effectively combines time-tracking with gamification, helping users stay engaged while keeping track of their work. The app awards achievements and karma points for reaching specific goals, while also allowing negative karma points for less productive behaviors, like working less than a certain amount of hours.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Trackabi allows users to earn achievements and accumulate karma points by reaching set goals. This not only provides a sense of accomplishment but also motivates users to improve their productivity and time management. The possibility of negative achievements also pushes users to avoid less productive behaviors.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: The platform’s customizable achievements system empowers users to tailor their own productivity goals. This gives users control over their targets, further driving their motivation to perform and engage

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: The concept of negative achievements and losing karma points for not meeting certain goals ties in with this core drive. Users are motivated to avoid underperformance to prevent loss of their accrued karma points.

Gamified Productivity App #9:

Website: is a comprehensive task management and organization app with a sleek design. The app incorporates gamification by awarding users for completing tasks and maintaining streaks, fostering a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: encourages users to complete tasks through its “streak” feature, which rewards users for maintaining a consistent streak of completed tasks.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Users can share tasks and collaborate with others, fostering teamwork and accountability.

Gamified Productivity App #8: Toggl


Toggl is a time-tracking app that helps users stay focused and manage their time more effectively. Its gamified features, such as leaderboards and achievements, create a sense of competition and drive users to improve their time management skills.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Toggl allows users to see their progress over time, motivating them to improve their time management skills.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: The app’s leaderboard feature fosters friendly competition among users, driving them to increase their productivity.

Gamified Productivity App #7: Do It Now


Do It Now is an RPG-inspired task manager that turns your to-do list into an exciting game. Users can create and customize their characters, level up, and earn rewards as they complete tasks.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Users gain experience points and level up as they complete tasks, giving a sense of progress and achievement.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: Do It Now allows users to customize their characters and tasks, giving them the freedom to create a personalized experience.

Gamified Productivity App #6: EpicWin


EpicWin is a gamified to-do list app that transforms your daily tasks into an engaging adventure. As you complete tasks, your character gains experience points, levels up, and discovers new loot.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Users are motivated to complete tasks and level up their characters, fostering a sense of progress and achievement.

Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback: The app’s entertaining

narrative and design elements encourage users to engage with their tasks in a fun and imaginative way.

Gamified Productivity App #5: Level Up Life


Level Up Life is an app that uses gamification to help users improve various aspects of their lives. Users can earn points, level up, and unlock achievements as they complete real-life tasks and challenges.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Level Up Life offers a sense of progress and achievement through leveling up and unlocking new achievements.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Users can join a supportive community, share their progress, and view the accomplishments of others.

Gamified Productivity App #4: SuperBetter


SuperBetter is a gamified app that helps users build resilience, achieve goals, and improve their mental well-being. Users can tackle challenges called “quests” and earn “power-ups” that help them develop skills and habits to improve their lives.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Users are motivated to complete quests and gain power-ups, fostering a sense of progress and achievement.

Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity: SuperBetter offers a variety of quests, keeping users engaged and curious about what challenges they’ll face next.

Gamified Productivity App #3: Beeminder


Beeminder is a unique productivity app that combines gamification with commitment devices. Users can set goals and track their progress, while also committing to a monetary penalty if they fail to meet their goals.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Beeminder allows users to visualize their progress and set specific goals, creating a sense of achievement as they work towards them.

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: Users are motivated to stay on track to avoid the monetary penalty, adding an extra layer of accountability.

Gamified Productivity App #2: Forest


Forest is a productivity app designed to help users stay focused and manage their time effectively. Users can plant virtual trees while they work, and the trees grow as they maintain focus. If they leave the app, the tree dies, creating a sense of accountability.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Users can grow a virtual forest as they stay focused, providing a visual representation of their progress.

Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance: The prospect of losing a tree encourages users to stay focused and avoid distractions.

Gamified Productivity App #1: Habitica


Habitica is a popular gamified productivity app that helps users build and maintain good habits. Users create and customize their own characters, complete tasks to earn experience points and rewards, and team up with friends for added accountability.

Why it works (according to the Octalysis Framework):

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment: Habitica encourages users to complete tasks and build habits by offering experience points, rewards, and character progression.

Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness: Users can join parties and guilds, participate in challenges, and collaborate with friends, creating a sense of camaraderie and accountability.

These gamified productivity apps can help make your daily tasks and goals more engaging and enjoyable. Give them a try and see which one works best for you!

Did we miss any Gamified Productivity Apps that should be on our list?

Let us know if you have created a gamified productivity app or use one that you believe should be on our list and we’ll review it. If it blows us out of the water, then it could make our top 10 list!

Who should you network and build Allies with?

Who are your Allies in your 10K HP Journey?

In an interconnected world that thrives on relationships, the importance of networking can’t be overstated. Yet, often, we limit our networking endeavours to specific groups or events, thus potentially overlooking a plethora of valuable connections that exist all around us.

Each individual we encounter—be it a barista at our favourite coffee shop, the mailman who delivers our packages, or the mechanic who fine-tunes our car—has a unique life story, a different set of experiences, and potentially, vast untapped knowledge. Treating each person we meet as a potential networking connection isn’t just an excellent career strategy; it’s a way of embracing the diversity of human experience and fostering a culture of mutual respect and shared growth.

In this blog post, we will dive deep into the importance of networking with everyone around us. We will explore why and how we should broaden our networking horizons beyond industry events and LinkedIn connections, to include the wide range of individuals we interact with in our daily lives. The journey towards becoming a truly universal networker begins here.

Your Existing Contacts: Friends and Family

Our existing connections, which predominantly consist of friends and family, typically form the core of our network. These are the people who have journeyed with us over the years, sharing our personal milestones and experiences. They tend to be our most loyal advocates, often genuinely invested in our well-being and success.

The essence of networking isn’t simply about extending your contact list; it’s fundamentally about nurturing and sustaining relationships that already exist in your sphere. Engaging with our existing contacts, therefore, is as critical as establishing new ones.

The good news? You’re already an expert at maintaining these relationships—after all, these individuals are already part of your life. Now, it’s just about integrating the networking values and principles we’ve discussed into these existing relationships.

The fundamental rule to remember here is to ALWAYS KEEP UP-TO-DATE CONTACT INFORMATION. Think about all the acquaintances from your past—elementary school buddies, middle school companions, high school friends. Even if not all of them have accomplished great feats, each one of them possesses unique knowledge, experiences, and networks that you don’t have. The wealth of potential connections lost by not keeping in touch is quite staggering.

Consequently, the next essential step is to consistently reach out and touch base with your contacts. Depending on the relationship, sending a friendly email or making a catch-up call once a year or so could suffice. This doesn’t have to involve deep, lengthy conversations; the goal is simply to let them know you’re still around and still care. Over time, you’ll also have a better understanding of how they might assist you should the need arise.

During this process, it’s crucial to uphold the 6 core networking values we’ve outlined earlier. These values should become second nature, forming the backbone of your interaction style. Always strive to create an atmosphere that reassures your contacts that they can count on you for support. The focus should be on offering assistance to others—a mindset that often brings about reciprocity.

In essence, being a reliable, caring friend often translates to reaping the rewards of solid friendships.

As for family, they form an enduring part of your life network. They are your lifelong support system, typically willing to extend substantial care and help. It’s easy to take this unconditional support for granted and only foster these relationships when we need assistance. However, it’s essential to continually invest in family ties without any ulterior motives. After all, the goal is not to be the family member who only shows up when in need but to be an integral part of the family network that values and respects each other’s individuality and contributions.

In the Work Environment: Coworkers, Superiors and Janitors

The workplace presents a dynamic landscape teeming with diverse individuals. However, our perception of these individuals often extends only to their designated roles: “the person who shares my cubicle” or “the one who’s always on loud phone calls.” By viewing them merely as part of the office backdrop, we fail to acknowledge their worth as individuals.

In a company comprising 50 employees, most individuals tend to interact closely with only around ten coworkers. Just because you naturally gravitate towards a select few doesn’t mean the others cease to be human or undeserving of your attention. It’s crucial to foster positive relationships with everyone in your workplace, whether through casual conversations or a simple, warm greeting. A genuine smile can work wonders in a stress-laden environment, offering a much-needed breath of fresh air.

This approach extends to your superiors and subordinates alike. When interacting with higher-ups, exhibit confidence and approachability, apologizing respectfully for any mistakes. When dealing with subordinates, eschew arrogance and display the same confidence and empathy. A leader who can admit faults will likely earn more respect and inspire greater effort from their team.

Prove your mettle through your work. Instead of resenting your current role or responsibilities, strive to excel at them and demonstrate your capabilities. Request additional tasks, as your enthusiasm can inspire a positive work culture among your team, thereby boosting overall productivity. Remember, in the workplace and beyond, attitude is everything.

Maintaining relationships with peers requires a tad more finesse, as they may view your hard work as a strategic move to win over superiors. However, consistently exhibiting integrity and offering assistance can allay such suspicions. They will recognize your dedication and accept your work ethic as part of your character.

Remember, authenticity is paramount. Display genuine work ethics instead of merely pretending. In the event of colleagues disliking you despite your best efforts, recognize that as their personal issue. You can even offer advice to colleagues, guiding them towards better performance and reduced complaints.

Referring back to our pit analogy, if you support your coworkers in their upward trajectory (even if they surpass you), you earn a supportive superior who values your contribution. They may recommend you for opportunities or provide glowing references to prospective employers. Over time, you find yourself achieving your career goals, surrounded by a network of positive relationships.

In your pursuit of growth, focus on uplifting others as well. Competing yields short-term victories, whereas collaborative success paves the way for long-term accomplishments.

Let’s not overlook the often-undervalued roles, such as the janitors. People in such positions possess a wealth of experiences, networks, and potential opportunities that you may not be aware of. Moreover, they’re typically easy to connect with—a simple smile, greeting, or inquiry about their day can brighten their spirits. This connection can yield unexpected opportunities, once again proving the power of being genuinely nice in all interactions.

Random Networking

Harnessing the power of random networking requires a certain flair, as it involves creating connections in the most ordinary places – the library, the elevator, or even while waiting for a bus. These spontaneous interactions can be the catalyst for remarkable opportunities. Rather than passively awaiting chances, proactive networking enables you to create a myriad of possibilities for yourself.

Initiating these interactions need not involve a profound conversation; indeed, the beauty lies in its simplicity. Recognize that there’s no risk involved—fear of rejection, or the “harmless dragon,” is often exaggerated in such scenarios. A simple comment on your surroundings, the weather, or any shared experience can break the ice. Once this initial contact is made, introduce yourself, always accompanied by a warm smile and a handshake, if it feels appropriate.

The individual may reciprocate, or they may seem slightly taken aback. Regardless, remain respectful, confident, and cheerful. After introductions, facilitate a light conversation by asking about their life or sharing bits about your own.

As the interaction progresses, you might form an opinion about the person (and vice versa), which can dictate whether this will be a fleeting encounter or the beginning of a lasting connection. If you enjoyed the interaction, express your interest in staying connected by suggesting an exchange of contact details. An empathetic approach like, “It’s been really great meeting you. How about we exchange contact info and keep in touch occasionally? I’d love to hear how your project turns out,” can pave the way for future connections.

Most individuals, having comfortably conversed up to this point, will readily agree to stay connected. This interaction can then be recorded in your networking database. In the era of digital networking, LinkedIn or Facebook can be effective platforms for maintaining these newfound connections. Simply knowing their name can establish a link, ensuring you’re virtually connected.

After your conversation concludes, express your pleasure in meeting them, while reinforcing their importance by remembering and mentioning their name.

Though random networking may seem unconventional, many successful business partnerships and employment opportunities have sprouted from these unexpected interactions. Projecting confidence and competence can make others perceive you as a valuable addition to their network. Stay optimistic and approachable to ensure others have a positive impression of you. After all, strong networking stems from these fundamentals. Remember, no matter where you are, there’s always someone new to meet.

Professional Events

Professional events constitute a pivotal arena for establishing and expanding your professional network. At these gatherings, you encounter individuals who are proactive, focused, and most importantly, as interested in networking as you are. These events, encompassing speaker events, trade shows, and networking sessions, attract individuals intent on furthering their professional journey.

Attending as many professional events as possible is highly recommended. Ensure to carry an ample supply of business cards for these occasions to help people remember you.

Being proactive and exuding confidence is paramount at professional events. As attendees are often on the lookout for new connections, portraying yourself as a viable networking opportunity is crucial. At this juncture, discard any lingering fear of rejection—the “harmless dragon.” Approach potential contacts, introduce yourself, and engage in mutually beneficial conversations. Your aim should be to form a few solid relationships rather than superficially connecting with everyone. This approach enables you to naturally follow up with a greeting email later.

Each interaction should ideally last 3-5 minutes, mirroring the dynamic of random networking but with a professional slant. As long as you don’t come across as arrogant, people will generally respect your confidence and treat you as an equal, irrespective of your age.

While exhibiting confidence, also display admiration for others’ achievements and be open to learning from them. Complimenting someone’s noteworthy accomplishments can be highly impactful. Most people appreciate acknowledgment of their abilities and achievements, particularly if they’ve been yearning for recognition. However, ensure your compliments are genuine and not sycophantic.

During speaker events, it’s wise to network before the presentation begins. Introduce yourself to a new contact and exchange business cards. Sitting next to this new acquaintance during the event can strengthen the rapport you’ve established, despite minimal interaction during the presentation.

Post-event, if you haven’t exchanged business cards, offer to share contact information. Assuming you’ve followed the recommended networking practices, they’ll likely be willing to share their details, paving the way for a budding friendship.

The event speaker also offers a valuable networking opportunity. After their presentation, approach them, express your gratitude, introduce yourself, and ask for their business card. Speakers often participate in these events to expand their own networks and are usually open to sharing their contact details.

Following the professional event, ensure to send follow-up emails to the people you’ve newly met. A brief note expressing your pleasure in meeting them and validating their email address is sufficient. Mention who you are and express your interest in staying in touch. If you’re emailing a speaker, reference points from their speech—this is appreciated as it shows you were attentive and value their insights.

When sending these follow-ups, don’t necessarily expect a prompt reply. Depending on the importance you ascribe to the connection, you might consider sending a second or third email after two to three weeks. Persistence, combined with sincerity and politeness, can eventually prompt a response, facilitating continued networking.

Conclusion for 10K HP Step 5: Build Your Alliance

In our 10K HP Journey, Step 5: Build Your Alliance, is the linchpin that unlocks substantial growth and opportunity. Networking is more than just meeting people; it’s about fostering genuine relationships that can propel you towards your goals, and in turn, help others reach theirs. The alliances you build can become your mentors, collaborators, or supporters who provide invaluable insights, resources, and opportunities.

By mastering the art of networking, you master your life’s game. Each person you connect with holds a piece of the puzzle to your success, whether it’s the knowledge they hold, the network they introduce you to, or the opportunity they present. Thus, mastering networking can open doors to uncommon success, far beyond what can typically be achieved in isolation.

Furthermore, networking amplifies the joy in your journey. By sharing experiences, struggles, and victories with your alliance, you transform life into a collaborative and enjoyable endeavor, rather than a solitary pursuit. You’ll find that success becomes even sweeter when it’s shared, and challenges more manageable when faced together.

In conclusion, networking, as part of your 10K HP Journey, is a critical catalyst that propels you towards mastering your life’s game, achieving extraordinary success, and maximizing the enjoyment in everything you do. It’s not just about who you know, but also about who you grow and succeed with, creating a synergistic alliance that accelerates your journey to the apex of accomplishment.

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Apps For A Cleaner, Greener World (2023)

Composite image of a green planet for top ten gamification eco-friendly apps for a greener world

We are now living in a pivotal point in our history.  Humankind is actively finding new answers to forging the right balance between the needs of nature and modern living. However, this overall endeavor is not limited to scientists, engineers, and product innovators. And though it requires large-scale institutional change, it also involves the collective participation of regular people, like you and me to build new culture and make positive impact at home and in our communities.

A combination of knowledge and individual action is required to increase recycling and composting, reduce landfill waste, lower pollution, improve water conservation, lower the ecological footprint of conspicuous consumption and action which contribute to a positive environmental impact.

Through other posts on this site, we’ve seen how apps and games can actually help people enjoy the process of learning and ultimately make changing their behaviors and habits easier for themselves or for the greater good. Games offer a fun way for individuals to feel excited and motivated about taking real action in their lives. This is far better than having an idealistic list of things that “should be done,” but end up being forgotten or constantly put aside in favor of old habits.

For you readers out there who are parents, here is some food for thought by Dennis J. Hall, “We have not inherited the land from our fathers, we have borrowed it from our children.” Living sustainably is something that needs to be undertaken by the young and old alike.

Living green is truly a satisfying experience, especially once you’ve mastered this way of life by consistently choosing small actions that make a big impact. Collectively, these actions have an even larger impact so be on the watch for how Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness plays a big role in creating large-scale aggregate impact.

Here are ten eco-friendly apps that are enabling kids of all ages to enrich their knowledge and make more sustainable, healthy choices, while having fun at the same time.

1. Gro Memo

Eco-consciousness starts with the awareness that many of our simple actions have much larger consequences. Pollution, for example, has a significant negative effect on other humans and entire ecosystems.

Grow Memo is a simple matching game that introduces this concept to younger children. Pictures of cartoon animals are shown in polluted environments and players need to match each image to pictures of where the animal is shown in cleaner environments. As they do this, the entire surroundings become cleaner enforcing the idea that a cleaner environment is better for all. This combines Core Drives #2 (Development & Accomplishment), #3 (Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback), and #1 (Epic Meaning & Calling).

2. Green Me!

Helping the environment involves more than just sharing knowledge. Small conscious acts add up. The Android app, Green Me!, is a great companion for those who want to develop a more eco-friendly lifestyle beyond just remembering to recycle. It is very similar to personal productivity apps in terms of helping users become more consistent with their goals and enabling them to visually see their progress (Core Drive #2 Development & Accomplishment).

The interface is structured as a calendar. For each day, you list five eco-friendly things you did. The calendar square then turns a particular shade of green. It gets darker the more green actions you list.

Naturally, you would want to see every day of the month colored green which can make you feel great about your commitment to helping the earth throughout your daily routines. This is a good combination of Core Drive #1 and Core Drive #4, Ownership & Possession.

3. Green Genie

Image of Green Genie eco-friendly app logo

Besides recycling, remembering to bring your own bag to the grocery store and making earth friendly purchases, there are countless other lifestyle tips and projects one can do. This is where Green Genie can be an eco-enthusiast’s best friend. Users can submit their own ideas for other people to try out, invoking Core Drive #3, Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback.

Green Genie has various informative directories such as a list of different types of plastics. Many containers that you buy are marked with a number (e.g. yogurt). With Green Genie, you would be able to look up this code to not only see what it means, but also to find out whether it can be recycled in your area.

Green Genie puts the power of knowledge at your finger tips to compel you to act creatively on making simple, but critical behavioral changes.

4. Eco-Dice

Image of eco-dice for eco-friendly apps

Eco-Dice offers another fun way to turn positive intentions into action. Players simply toss a die using their touch screen and, once it settles, the facing side gives you a green task to do for that day. The options include separating trash, bringing your own grocery shopping bag, sharing your shower (LOL), turning off an appliance on standby, or riding your bike to work.

This is a very simple app that mostly involved Core Drive #7, Unpredictability & Curiosity to compel users to make desirable changes in their lives. Perhaps the developer can use Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness by combining your friends’ dice with yours to either up the ante (if you both get the same side, you need to do the action twice or for two days, etc.) or generate more actions (you and your friends design actions for each other before the roll is made- a good example of Core Drive #3, Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback as well).

5. Water1Der

Water1Der is a trivia game app developed by the Groundwater Foundation. It aims to teach kids about water above and below ground. The app emphasizes that water is truly a precious, but finite resource here on earth. New water can’t be created. Conservation and efforts to keep our water supply clean is essential, not just for humans, but general life on earth.

The trivia questions are presented in a variety of different formats such as:

  • multiple choice
  • true/false
  • matching
  • missing letters

There is even the ability to scroll down the screen to choose the appropriate answer. Players can also move an image of a particular substance or chemical  to match it with an appropriate disposal method.

Like all trivia games, there’s a healthy use of Core Drive #2, Development & Accomplishment and Core Drive #8, Loss & Avoidance.

5. Avego

Avego is a carpooling app where users can look up rides offered by people who are headed in the same direction as they are. At the end of the trip, the app posts the amount of money that represents the person’s share of the gas cost. There is even the option to rate the ride. It’s a good way to track your carbon footprint and impact on your wallet by taking full advantage of Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness and Core Drive #8, Loss & Avoidance.

6. iRecycle

The simple act of recycling your trash is not as easy as it seems in real life. Not every building is arranged to have recyclables removed separately from regular trash. If it is not feasible to have a recycling truck pick up these items on a regular basis, individuals may have to take the initiative themselves to drop off items at a nearby facility that they’ve researched.

Aside from plastic bottles and aluminum cans, there are other forms of trash that are more difficult to recycle. These include broken electronics, or household chemicals (e.g. unused cleaners, makeup, batteries, ink cartridges, paint, detergents etc.) which are certainly not biodegradable.

The iRecycle app helps users locate appropriate facilities which accepts specific items to be recycled. It also offers over 1,500,000 ways to recycle over 350 types of materials! The motive to use iRecycle is largely driven by Core Drive #1, Epic Meaning &Calling. And the completion of successful recycling (instead of just tossing things into the regular trash dumpster) can fill one with a fabulous sense of Core Drive #2, Development & Accomplishment.

7. Paper Karma

Many of us receive large amounts of junk mail, with only a small percentage of items that are actually relevant to us. One ambitious DIYer made a video on You Tube about how to build a simple outdoor food grill which can be fueled using paper logs made from junk mail!

But Paper Karma offers a more simple way to get rid of annoying postcards, flyers, coupons and offers. Simply take a photo of an unwanted piece of mail. And at the push of a button, the app will automatically unsubscribe you! Talk evoking a sense of Core Drive #2, Development & Accomplishment through efficiency- sheer genius! Plus the trees will thank you.

8. Joule Bug

Joule Bug is an amazing energy conservation app which incorporates very simple game mechanics in the form of badges and a leaderboard. The game includes hundreds of different types of achievements. One example is to combine your errands efficiently into a simple trip instead of doing them on separate outings. Another is to designate a spot in your yard for composting.

Players can announce their eco-positive actions to their friends (Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness) and earn points and badges for their deeds Core Drive #4, Ownership & Possession and Core Drive #2, Development & Accomplishment). What’s more is that Joule Bug even links to the individual utility accounts of players so that they can see how much money they saved.

The app also calculates other parameters related to the user’s environmental impact.

9. Good Guide

What we choose to purchase has an enormous impact on the environment, whether we realize it or not. The types of ingredients matter in terms of safety and whether or not they were produced and harvested in a sustainable and ethical way. With the rising demand for consciously created products, we are seeing more of these types of items being sold. But it then becomes important to ask how earth friendly are these brands?

Good Guide is an amazing directory of over 200,000 consumer items. The app allows users to learn more about specific items in terms of how eco-friendly they actually are and provides users with safer and ethical alternatives at comparative prices. Each product is rated in terms of health standards, safety, social and environmental impact. The app successfully utilizes Core Drive #4, Ownership & Possession by giving informed decision-making power to the consumer.

10. Eco Action Trumps

Eco Action Trumps Image for eco-friendly apps

Eco- Action Trumps is a game that can be played with friends. Different eco-actions are represented on individual cards and players choose ten acts that they would actually engage in. Their opponents choose from among the remaining cards. The app then issues a collective score representing the overall environmental impact of each chosen set. And the player with the higher score wins. This is a good example of an app that combines Core Drive #5, Social Influence & Relatedness and Core Drive #7, Unpredictability & Curiosity.

Here’s the card game version in action

Eco-Friendly Apps in Summary

Although not everyone talks about making green lifestyle choices throughout their day, most people ultimately do want to live in a cleaner, greener world. It’s hard to imagine anyone who might argue with this. And while there are tons of things that we know we should be doing, the act of actually completing them may not seem as alluring when it comes down to it. Eco-friendly apps like the ones listed here are a great way to turn positive intentions into positive actions. They have the potential to truly change our attitudes, experiences and how we feel about engaging in eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Give them a try!

Networking: how to build Alliances in your 10K HP Journey

Tips to Building Alliances in your Life Game

From my earliest days in the professional world, I was introverted, even a little shy. The idea of engaging with others, especially strangers, was nerve-racking, and stepping out of my comfort zone was a concept I struggled to embrace. However, life had other plans, pushing me towards circumstances that not only necessitated but insisted on the development of my networking skills. This shift was not immediate, nor was it easy. It took time, practice, and a healthy dose of courage. But once the transformation began, the fruits of networking unraveled themselves in ways I could have never predicted.

In the vast constellation of professional life, networking is the invisible thread that links individuals together, driving opportunities, fostering innovation, and paving the way for individual and collective growth. Its importance cannot be overstated, but it isn’t until we’ve personally felt its transformative impact that we can truly appreciate its value. I know this because my own life has been indelibly shaped by the power of networking, nudging me towards a journey of immense growth, extraordinary opportunities, and immeasurable personal development.

Looking back, it’s clear to me now that the networks I’ve built over the years have been instrumental in shaping the person I am today. Every new connection unlocked a world of possibilities, with each handshake, conversation, and shared experience contributing to my professional and personal growth. These interactions have not only opened doors to new opportunities, but they have also broadened my perspective, enriched my understanding of different industries and cultures, and instilled a sense of belonging and community that transcends professional boundaries.

In the following paragraphs, I will delve deeper into my journey, shedding light on the pivotal moments where networking made a significant difference in my life. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences, you too will see the transformative power of networking, and be inspired to leverage its potential in your own lives. We are, after all, not solitary stars in the vast professional cosmos, but interconnected beings, bound together by the potent force of networking.

The Art of Following Up

In the realm of professional networking, the task of preserving your contacts’ information is just the first step. An equally significant and often overlooked aspect is the regular check-ups. Think of it as a friendly catch-up rather than a corporate obligation – a chance to touch base every six months or so. Each contact is unique; their relationship with you varies in degrees of closeness. Thus, customize your check-in frequencies accordingly, creating an interaction rhythm that’s fitting for each connection.

Engaging with your contacts should be a casual and personalized endeavor. Begin with warm and friendly openings such as, “Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What’s new and exciting in your world?” Show genuine interest in their activities and pursuits, asking about their business progress, hobbies, or personal investments. Make the conversation about them.

However, not everyone is naturally talkative, and some may be guarded, especially if the relationship is still relatively new. In such cases, break the ice by sharing snippets from your own life – recent experiences, pursuits, or plans. This gesture communicates that you view them as friends, not merely professional contacts. Gradually, they’re likely to open up. If the conversation gets tough, don’t fret. Navigate it with grace, share an anecdote, and end on a positive note, ensuring your call was primarily to touch base.

Initiative is the driving force in maintaining relationships. Show your contacts that you value their presence in your life and sincerely care about their well-being. Confidence and optimism are your allies during these conversations, enabling your contacts to feel positively about both themselves and you. Whether they share triumphs or trials, be supportive – compliment their successes, and encourage optimism during tough times. Remember, persistence is key in forming strong relationships. If a conversation doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up. Keep striving to strengthen that bond. This approach embodies the core values of networking, the heart and soul of successful professional relationships.

Finding Common Ground

When planning to meet a contact – be it a newly met professional or an old friend – finding a common interest can significantly enhance the encounter. Shared hobbies, interests, or even favorite cuisine can provide a pleasant backdrop for your meeting. Food is often a safe bet, given its universal appeal. So, when in doubt, inviting your contact to a restaurant with great reviews can be an excellent choice.

While professional details are important, don’t lose sight of the personal aspects of your contact’s life. Regardless of their professional stature, they are people first. Genuinely showing care for them as individuals will help expand your network significantly.

Honesty is paramount. If a contact is passionate about something unfamiliar to you, don’t feign knowledge or interest. Instead, admit your lack of familiarity but express curiosity to learn more. This approach maintains credibility and fosters engaging conversation.

Remember, knowing what brings joy to your contacts can significantly enhance your networking experience. After all, a brighter day is often just a conversation away.

Horizontal vs Vertical Networking

When it comes to enhancing your professional network, the most prevalent strategy is to broaden your circle, a process I like to call ‘Horizontal Networking.’ This involves expanding your connections, constantly meeting new people, and extending your networking periphery. However, an often-overlooked, yet equally potent approach, lies in the second dimension – “Vertical Networking.”

The essence of Vertical Networking revolves around empowering those already in your network. This means aiding their climb to success, which in turn amplifies the collective strength and reach of your network. The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t necessitate a direct return of favors. The very fact that you’ve contributed to someone’s success story can potentially unlock opportunities for you down the line. And of course, sincerity is paramount. If each of your contacts thrives, whether as a CEO of a multinational corporation or a high-profile politician, you’re inherently surrounded by a network of success.

Regularly Lend a Helping Hand:

A simple principle yet a potent tool for expanding your network is to offer help. The foundation of networking rests upon mutual support. This is especially true for relationships that are still nascent. When you extend help to others, particularly those you don’t know well, it speaks volumes about your character. It reflects that you genuinely care about others’ welfare rather than viewing them as mere stepping stones to your own success.

Helping others should never be transactional. Abandon the notion of expecting returns. Instead, view the act of helping as a reward in itself. You may subtly acknowledge that your assistance might endear you to others, but the minute your actions become driven by what you might gain, your sincerity fades, and the impact of your networking diminishes.

In environments like schools or workplaces, there’s often a misguided perception that helping others compromises personal success due to heightened competition. I beg to differ. Life is a grand landscape of opportunities waiting to be discovered. Even if your assistance propels someone else to the success you coveted, that’s still a victory. You’ve played a part in their achievement, and they are likely to remember that. The resources and opportunities you may access through their success could propel you towards even greater heights.

Consider this analogy: imagine a group of people stuck in a deep pit, all striving to climb up. Instead of joining the struggle, you decide to boost a friend to the top. Now that they are out, they can extend their hand to pull you up. Help five people, and you’ll have five pairs of hands reaching out for you. Not only have you facilitated their success, but you’ve also earned their appreciation. You’ve simultaneously positioned yourself amidst successful individuals and strengthened your bonds with them.

Jesus Christ said in the Bible, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” And in the realm of networking, nothing rings truer than this wisdom.

Be Positive. Be Productive

Networking is a symbiotic dance, a balance of give-and-take where you offer your potential assistance and care in anticipation of similar reciprocity. However, to establish a successful network, presenting a confident facade is not enough. You need to support it with genuine value. You might not be an award-winning academic whose groundbreaking research has reshaped the world, but you should strive to contribute to your field in your own way. What truly counts is not where you currently stand, but the direction you’re moving in. A person deciding to rise from their present circumstances, committing to productivity, learning, and making a positive difference, instantly increases their value. They transform into a desirable networking connection. Remember, to add value to others, you first need to do something valuable with your own life.

Spread Positivity: A Smile Goes a Long Way

A simple tool that can significantly boost your networking effectiveness is a smile.


Yes, emoticons have their charm; they help foster friendliness and uplift moods in digital communication (and I hope you’re smiling now!). However, in face-to-face networking, you have the opportunity to use your ‘real smile.’

A genuine smile is more than a display of friendliness; it’s a reflection of your confidence and a signal that you are enjoyable to be around. It also subtly communicates that you could potentially offer assistance or cooperation in the future, creating a welcoming entry point into a new professional relationship. Be wary though, authenticity is key. Ensure your smile is a true reflection of your joy in meeting a new individual; insincerity can derail your networking efforts.

So, as you step into the world of networking, remember to bring with you a resolve to be productive and contribute value, paired with an authentic smile that radiates positivity and confidence.

Stand Out: Do MORE than you “need” to do

Regardless of your position or experience, there’s a principle that can significantly boost your professional reputation – doing more than what’s expected. This principle, although particularly relevant to younger professionals, can be applied universally.

In many workplaces, I’ve noticed individuals who quickly complete their assignments only to indulge in idle activities like browsing the internet aimlessly. If an individual is capable of finishing their work swiftly, it implies they possess capabilities beyond their assigned tasks. Wouldn’t it be advantageous for others to recognize this?

Consider two employees: one completes their work quickly and then diverts their attention to online games, while the other finishes their tasks at a steadier pace but then seeks out additional responsibilities. Who do you think is more likely to receive a promotion or a referral? Despite this apparent logic, I’ve witnessed numerous individuals lamenting their stagnant career progression.

The key insight here is that fulfilling your assigned tasks, your ‘responsibilities’, is merely meeting the baseline expectation. Anyone in your position should be capable of achieving this. Your true merit begins where your formal responsibilities end. When you willingly undertake extra tasks, you transcend your job title, whether that’s a ‘Teller’, ‘Operating Director’, or ‘VP Marketing,’ and make your name synonymous with initiative and diligence. This distinction can be incredibly beneficial in professional circles.

This philosophy extends to interactions outside of work as well. If your peers perceive you as a capable, diligent individual who performs tasks effectively and maintains strong work ethics, you’ll likely be the first person they consider when opportunities arise. Therefore, by going beyond the call of duty, you not only bolster your reputation but also potentially widen your prospects within your network.

Preparing for the Post-Covid Resistance

How bad is the Covid-19 Corona Virus

So there are two issues to consider here:

1) virus/health/quanantine (natural disaster)
2) lockdown/economy/social unrest (man-caused issue)

For (1) the question is how bad is it and are the human actions overreacting. If you look at this graph, if countries don’t take extreme measures, it grows radically fast.

With all the underreporting I think things are way worse than it is (many places even if you have symptoms you can’t get tested due to resources. A governor in Mexico said that the data shows confirmed cases only have rich people and therefore poor people aren’t at risk, without thinking it may be that only rich people can get tested.

I think there is an issue with people comparing historical disaster numbers (that have ended) with CURRENT COVID damage (oh look, this historical thing was 12x worse). But COVID is still doubling every few days and we might just be seeing the beginning.

Also, counting deaths to confirmed cases is also an illusion because based on exponential growth, the deaths today are from the much smaller population of confirmed cases a few weeks ago, so match with the denominator of TODAY it appears small.

Perhaps an interesting comparison would be with “resolved” cases, namely deaths vs recovered ratios.

Many regions show numbers closer to 1 death for every 2 recovered people.All this is to say, don’t underestimate it please. The power of exponential curves means that in one day it could cover more ground than the whole previous month. It’s a life or death situation that should be treated seriously.

Yea, we lose a lot of freedom, but if each person has an invisible fused bomb on him/her, I’m sure we would agree losing that freedom temporarily until the bomb threat is resolved would be a prudent move.

Most nations are doubling between 2 to 10 days. Some people say that our lockdown measures are like an elephant getting attacked by a house cat, and in panic, jumped off a cliff (the reaction was more dangerous than the threat).

Well, look at New York. New York was a “calm elephant” that didn’t take strong measures until much later, and now it’s the new Wuhan with some describing it as an apocalyptic war zone.

I know there is a lot of different info out there and perspectives, but for you and your own family I would urge you to be cautious. I already know over a dozen people in my own personal network (none of them Asian) who have COVID. It’s pretty bad and doesn’t just effect the elderly.

Even if you recover it could leave permanent lung damage.
No need to panic, but take cautious steps. Having a calm mind with active (and cleanly washed) hands is good.

There is an estimation that if no or late extreme measures happening, this will end up with about 10 – 50 Million deaths worldwide. The range is pretty large and I believe in it (IF countries and people continue to act the way they are).

In that effect, locking down economies and the DEVASTATING impact MAY be still worth it. Which leads us to (2)

(2) The human-caused economic crisis due to a lockdown…I think would be way worse than previous recessions. Previous recessions were usually about the financial “elite” (as a convenient word but not saying they are better) using too much leverage and suffering: bankers, financial firms, investors, technologists, even home owners. But the foundational economy could still run pretty well.

Waiters, cashiers, and factory workers were obviously indirectly impacted but still made money and spent it at grocery stores. The financial “elite” later on uses this foundation to build back their wealth.This time around the foundational economy is being wiped.

Most restaurants, manufacturers, airlines would go bankrupt in 2-3 months of this lockdown (which is why the US Gov approved $2 Trillion to try to keep them alive). I think this would lead to massive unemployment.

Case in point, Nevada’s historical high in unemployment/week was 8,945 in 2009. A couple weeks ago their unemployment claim was 92,300.

Just for the last week of April, California received 533,568 unemployment claims. I still think this is still just the beginning of the iceberg (unfortunately…)

With this MASSIVE amount of unemployment, there is going to be social unrest, desperation, racial aggression and more. It is for this reason why I left the US as this would not be good for my twin daughters Symphony and Harmony. (Taiwan has a stable society and I believe the worst is already over here).

So onto the (semi) good news:

The Post-Covid Resistance: Beginning of the Heroes Journey.

I believe the virus issue will be dealt with in 2-8 months. I believe the economic issue would last for 3-5 years.

But during this time there is a huge reshuffling too.

Political structures, power and influence distribution, old way of doing things – all this stuff would be shuffled up.In stable times, a lot of things are locked up in Ice and move extremely slowly.

In chaotic times, things become fluid like water (before they stabilize and becomes Ice again). This means that better than any time in history, we are able to hustle and strategically position ourselves to make an impact in the Post-COVID world, replace broken systems in the old world, and achieve things that were never possible before.

In my mind this is like after the Terminator Judgment Day, the remaining humans (who were NOT in power nor respected prior) need to come together and protect humanity against new threats (hmm…like AI-powered robots taking over).

At least for myself, this new sense of purpose at least fills me with hope and drive (instead of just doomsday survival mentality).

I immediately think about 100 things I need to do to make this positioning happen for myself during this 3-5 year reshuffling period.

I plan to share this journey with everyone in hopes more people get inspired and join me on this too.Of course, if I’m the only person passionate about this, I would still do it as it is providing me many benefits. I just hope more people can be on this journey with me too.

We can be part of the Post-Covid Resistance together.

How to become Irreplaceable in your Company

In Times of Crisis, all the rules change

In times of change, it’s often a good idea to think about how to become more irreplaceable in your company. Many organizations use times of crisis as an opportunity to “trim the fat” – looking at people that are just doing okay things at okay levels but usually not bad enough to let go.

In times like these they start to evaluate who in a company actively takes the company to new levels or at least increases the chances of the company surviving.

And the unfortunate thing is, most of the time the people who are doing the best work are not recognized compared to the people who are good at getting credit.

Case in point (I literally just thought of this as I am writing this email): many years ago I helped my wife who was working at a big bank write an email to her VP.

He immediately printed it out and asked to meet with her. In the meeting he exclaimed that she saw everything that he is worried about so clearly and he decided to give her a lot more new responsibilities on an important project.

The project my wife spearheaded turned out to be the only project that was launched within the deadline AND within budget in her seven years of being there.

Now here’s the kicker, a year later the VP met with her again, and he said, “If you had not written that email to me a year ago, you would have actually been laid off…failure to recognize talent is Management’s fault but I’m glad we didn’t make that mistake.”

Here’s the thing. My wife has financial engineering skills that is way beyond me. She will often discover calculation flaws in a large institution that would take three months to mathematically prove to coworkers! However, she’s not good at empathetic writing, human motivation, and behavioral design. That’s where my strengths came in handy.

Now I didn’t think I would actually save my wife’s job when I wrote that email, but based on the motivation profiles of her coworkers, I thought it would be a helpful thing to do (and yes I do listen carefully to my wife when she talks about her day).

Again, just because you are good at your job doesn’t mean your value is recognized by your company.

Another one of my talents is to create visual models and frameworks (here’s an Octalysis Prime video about how I figured out my strengths).

This one up here is the 2×2 Corporate Matrix. While I don’t want to spend a lot of time going through this in detail, they key here is that some people try to thrive in an organization through strong political skills, while some try to thrive through strong performance. Of course there are people who have both.

The key here is that, during times of peace and stability, political skills often get rewarded. After all, since everyone is comfortable, the motivation to not disturb/anger others exceeds that of delivering great work.

But that suddenly flips around during times of crisis. It’s a do-or-die situation for both the organization and the managers that make career-affecting decisions. They are not going to risk performance/survival just for those that make them emotionally feel good (employees that go golfing with them and do mutual home BBQs)

Ever wonder how startups with only twenty people and very little money can beat huge companies with twenty-thousand people and billions of dollars? (Often these large corporations simply give up and buy the startups for a Billion Dollars).

It’s because for a startup it is ALWAYS do-or-die. Every startup employee needs to constantly learn new skills and unleash their full potential because… the default is death.

If one team member performs mediocrely, that’s 5% of the organization being mediocre! As a result, everyone NEEDS to be Performers and Stars in the above 2×2 framework, and there is no room for Politicians. 

This compared to big companies in peaceful times – most people just work hard enough to get a paycheck, and then they stop. Extra energy is dedicated to playing politics as that gets rewarded the most.

Few people go on to learn disruptive new skills, take on innovative new projects (after all, why risk all this comfort for a chance of failure?), or come up with new systems to mobilize their workplace. 

During a crisis, just like working in startups, EVERYONE has to become a Performer or Star. This means that everyone should look at doing these things:

  1. Learn brand new sellable skills for the new economy
  2. Go beyond your responsibilities and start innovative projects that could increase your value or the strength of your organization (potentially more importantly – be recognized for it)
  3. Improve on persuasive and empathetic communication skills to guide Management and help them feel secure BECAUSE of your involvement
  4. Start taking initiative and coordinate with other departments to help them charter through new challenges (such as working remotely)

For myself, I immediately looked to innovate in the Remote Work space and created the REMOTE Work Cultural Framework. It has drawn a lot of attention (virtual speeches, podcasts, book request) in just a week!

Of course, I’m not stopping there. There are a hundred things I want to do and learn in order to come out 5x stronger than before the crisis started.

What about you? What have you been doing to ensure that you are making yourself more irreplaceable in your workplace? Or at least, what is your game plan for this? Because business-as-usual is not going to work. Doing the exact same thing and hoping things will work out is not a winning strategy.

It’s time to Upgrade Yourself and Create Next-Level Stuff!