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GOLD! An Important Reminder: It's Not About What You Like

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MTF

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"We do not get to decide what works." - Dane Maxwell

"You have a place in the universe. And that place is not to make the universe be what you want. The place is for you to serve. You serve the moment, you raise the moment, you help, you bring love. You never take. You wouldn't even know what taking means. You have no preference about what that moment is. When you have no preferences, everything is beautiful. The highest life you can live is that every single moment that passes in front of you is better off because it did." - Michael A. Singer

A Quick Thought Experiment First...​


Imagine I'm giving you two businesses.

Business A is a beautiful business. It sells a product you would absolutely use. It ticks all your personal boxes for how a business needs to be set up to work well. Its marketing strategy, its brand, its story—it's so beautiful you could grab some popcorn and sit and watch how beautiful it is.

Business B is a disaster. It sells a product you think is silly. You find the way marketing strategy embarrassing. The brand is ridiculous and you have no idea who would ever buy anything from this business. In fact, it's so bad you don't even want to think about it anymore.

Without extra information, you'd surely go with business A. It seems like a perfect fit for you. There's no way whatsoever it wouldn't work.

And if the world behaved according to our own likes and dislikes, that's what would happen. But surprise! In my completely made up for the purposes of this thread example, it's the business B that's getting all the customers and business A that's struggling. Why? Because what you prefer has no impact whatsoever on whether it works. You don't get to decide which business works because you like it.

A Tough Pill to Swallow...​


As entrepreneurs, we love our ideas. We love our opinions. We love believing in our superiority, that we know better than others. But what we want and don't want has no impact on the world and it doesn't make others want or not want the same things.

As a self-published author, I wrote dozens of books. A few of them produced the vast majority of my income. And the funny part is that most of them—according to me—are some of my worst works. Yet, the world doesn't care about my opinion. The reality is that for some reason, those books appealed to people. Meanwhile, the books I loved writing so much didn't work. There's no right or wrong in business (ethics aside). It either works or it doesn't.

I'd be lying if I said I'm okay with that. There are lots of things I don't like in business (again, ethics aside), yet that work well. It's a work in progress for me, too. It's a lifelong practice. Every day, you work on letting go of your opinions to become more flexible and adapt to the changing world.

You're free not to do the things that you don't like. You don't have to use that new hot platform if you think it's stupid. You don't have to offer a new line of your products that would appeal to a new hungry demographic that you don't like. You don't have to put out a product whose design you hate, even though it seems to work for your competitors. But if you choose not to engage in any of these things, at least admit that YOU are the problem, not the market. Because again: you don't get to decide what the market wants and your preference has no impact either way.

What you like or don't like is irrelevant in business.

If it works but you don't like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and do it.

If it doesn't work but you like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and look for something else.

And if it works and you like it, STILL swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and keep working on it while it's working. Your preference DID NOT make it work. In the end, your only responsibility is to serve your customer. Their needs may change. For now, theirs and yours preferences align but soon they may stop doing so.

If you let your own opinions stop you from doing what works, you may become that person wasting their life stubbornly working on business A. Meanwhile, you could have focused on serving the market regardless of your preferences with business B (and become rich the easier way).

P.S. The more opinionated you are, the more difficult life is in general. When you have strong likes and dislikes, you have a narrow band of experiences when you feel okay. Any situation, person, place, experience that doesn't match your opinions makes you miserable. Opening yourself to all kinds of things, without any judgments, is one of the easiest ways to make your life a whole lot more peaceful.
 

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Awesome post, will mark it GOLD or NOTABLE. A very stoic approach, and follows the sentiments of Singer and Hawkins, as as well as myself when I try to tell people that you can't bend the market to follow your will, your passions, and your preferences. Sadly, not a lot of people will read this, much less agree with it.
 

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It's about giving people what they want to have, not what you want to give them.

This is a great point. Imagine you're looking for a birthday gift for your loved one.

If you're egoistic, you'll buy them what you want to give them. That's a great way to give a crappy gift.

If you want to serve them, you'll find out what they love and find the best gift for them, even if you don't like what they like or would otherwise want to give something else.
 

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Ouch.

This is exactly what I needed to hear. I've been posting a lot about ethics because I don't like the industry I started my website in. I think the whole industry does more harm than good.

I'm just recently coming to terms with the fact that the industry isn't going anywhere. And to make my business work, I need to change.

Thank you for the post.

Does it mean that you're going to close your business and pursue a new industry? I admire your approach. I would also have issues working in an industry that I believe is doing more harm than good.

If I was here to serve I would've started a non-profit. Let's not pretend to be here for fake motives.

This is about being unemotional about business. If it works, do it. Pursue effectiveness and results and have no other masters. Not your opinions. Not the opinions of random people. Not the opinions of employees. Do what works and be ruthlessly obsessed with it.

You're very young and money seems to play a big role in your life. It's understandable you look at it this way. I admire your confidence and work ethic.

Perhaps in a few years when you hit your financial goals you'll notice that when your original motivation runs out (you have enough money to retire), you need to find a deeper meaning than simply making more money. And that's when the serving part becomes more relevant. Otherwise you won't be bothered to be in business anymore.

Or perhaps money will continue to motivate you forever and you won't change your opinion. Either way, as long as doing what works and being ruthlessly obsessed with it means ethical, customer-centric approach, it's all good.
 

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If I was here to serve I would've started a non-profit. Let's not pretend to be here for fake motives.

This is about being unemotional about business. If it works, do it. Pursue effectiveness and results and have no other masters. Not your opinions. Not the opinions of random people. Not the opinions of employees. Do what works and be ruthlessly obsessed with it.
 

Tiago

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I love this. I was meditating exactly about this topic two weeks ago. My whole business was being built on my likes and dislikes, very much thinking "What do I want my business to give to ME?".

Then I made a shift to start serving the moment, whatever is in front of me. Funny enough, decisions became simpler and I was much less anxious.

Thank you for sharing this.

It's as a mentor of mine once said: "Business is a logical process run by emotional beings."
 

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So true too about the inclination to love our own opinions and ideas.

Almost everyone is like that, which is why we can use it to our advantage by NOT loving our own opinions and ideas. Imagine how free you are to work with whoever you want in the best way possible for this person (this applies both to clients as well as employees and partners). No forcing your opinions on them. No telling them what they should do. No micro-managing. No controlling. Just focusing on what works and what doesn't, regardless of what you like or dislike.
 

Kylie

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This is a great point. Imagine you're looking for a birthday gift for your loved one.

If you're egoistic, you'll buy them what you want to give them. That's a great way to give a crappy gift.

If you want to serve them, you'll find out what they love and find the best gift for them, even if you don't like what they like or would otherwise want to give something else.
Wow. This comparison just made so much sense for me. The number of times I've received a gift that is NOT what I asked for...because the giver doesn't like the things I like. Makes sense that people would struggle with the same thing in business.
 

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Tiago

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If you don't NEED to build a business but it's simply a want as a possible vehicle for fulfillment, would you say that unless you can make this shift, you shouldn't even get into business?

I think it's part of the journey. To me business is the ultimate spiritual practice, so I don't think the shift needs to happen before getting into business, but it can happen whilst running it.
 

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But if the person had done what makes them happy, would they have succeeded? Who knows? Look at all the starving artists, who can't sell their works to anyone.

Thinking that doing anything in business will make you happy is another problem. Happiness doesn't come from the outside world (at least not the permanent kind). Starving artists not only don't make money, they also aren't happy (this is VERY common when you talk with unsuccessful writers; they're all bitter and angry).

This is EXACTLY what I needed to answer my question: ‘how do I (the queen of selfish desires) create a “servant’s heart”, since that’s what all my successful friends say is the key?’

There was a missing piece, and you just provided it, and I thank you.

I’ve always wanted to run a porn and ice cream type of business - one that people buy into just because they always do...but one that *I* love too. And I stink at serving people.

Not so much that I give lousy presents, but that I hold most consumers in contempt. And it’s hard to serve people you don’t like, even if they’re buying all the ice cream.

It's also not a particularly sustainable way to make a living if you hate your customers. I'd spend some time thinking why you hold most consumers in contempt and how you can change it.

If all of this is true, what are your thoughts on Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller Sr., John Piermont Morgan, Henry Ford and others?

I ask because I think most of us agree these are individuals whose visions of how business should be built each fundamentally changed the way people function in society.

I am NOT picking a fight. I am just curious about opinions.

They all created what people wanted, in one way (Bezos style: people always want cheap stuff) or another (Jobs style: people want what is perceived to be cool). You may have a big vision but it doesn't change the fact that this vision needs to reflect reality.

For example, Bezos started with books not because he absolutely loved books but because it made most sense to start with books:


I picked books as the first best product to sell online, making a list of like 20 different products that you might be able to sell. Books were great as the first best because books are incredibly unusual in one respect, that is that there are more items in the book category than there are items in any other category by far. Music is number two, there are about 200,000 active music CDs at any given time. But in the book space there are over 3 million different books worldwide active in print at any given time across all languages, more than 1.5 million in English alone. So when you have that many items you can literally build a store online that couldn’t exist any other way.

No talk about his preferences. Just reality.
 

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Awesome post, will mark it GOLD or NOTABLE. A very stoic approach, and follows the sentiments of Singer and Hawkins, as as well as myself when I try to tell people that you can't bend the market to follow your will, your passions, and your preferences. Sadly, not a lot of people will not to read this, much less agree with it.

Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate the tag.
 

mdot

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Thanks for this post. When you consider how often the experienced folks on this forum say to test and engage with your market before you commit, it's clear that successful business is not just about what YOU want, it's also not even about what YOU THINK the market wants (until you truly understand them, and like you said that could change at any time).

So true too about the inclination to love our own opinions and ideas. In my own journey towards a Fastlane mindset I've found moving away from that to be the hardest part so far. It's reassuring to hear that even for those more experience and accomplished, becoming more mentally flexible and adaptable is an on-going process and not an event.
 

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Without extra information, you'd surely go with business A. It seems like a perfect fit for you. There's no way whatsoever it wouldn't work.

I agree with most but I personally think that most of the people here, at least who have read MJ's books, can (and should) tell, somewhat objectively, from the product, if it's just them that like it or could there be overall need for a bigger market.

But yes, we should set our own emotional feelings and attachment aside most of the time.
 
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"We do not get to decide what works." - Dane Maxwell

"You have a place in the universe. And that place is not to make the universe be what you want. The place is for you to serve. You serve the moment, you raise the moment, you help, you bring love. You never take. You wouldn't even know what taking means. You have no preference about what that moment is. When you have no preferences, everything is beautiful. The highest life you can live is that every single moment that passes in front of you is better off because it did." - Michael A. Singer

A Quick Thought Experiment First...​


Imagine I'm giving you two businesses.

Business A is a beautiful business. It sells a product you would absolutely use. It ticks all your personal boxes for how a business needs to be set up to work well. Its marketing strategy, its brand, its story—it's so beautiful you could grab some popcorn and sit and watch how beautiful it is.

Business B is a disaster. It sells a product you think is silly. You find the way marketing strategy embarrassing. The brand is ridiculous and you have no idea who would ever buy anything from this business. In fact, it's so bad you don't even want to think about it anymore.

Without extra information, you'd surely go with business A. It seems like a perfect fit for you. There's no way whatsoever it wouldn't work.

And if the world behaved according to our own likes and dislikes, that's what would happen. But surprise! In my completely made up for the purposes of this thread example, it's the business B that's getting all the customers and business A that's struggling. Why? Because what you prefer has no impact whatsoever on whether it works. You don't get to decide which business works because you like it.

A Tough Pill to Swallow...​


As entrepreneurs, we love our ideas. We love our opinions. We love believing in our superiority, that we know better than others. But what we want and don't want has no impact on the world and it doesn't make others want or not want the same things.

As a self-published author, I wrote dozens of books. A few of them produced the vast majority of my income. And the funny part is that most of them—according to me—are some of my worst works. Yet, the world doesn't care about my opinion. The reality is that for some reason, those books appealed to people. Meanwhile, the books I loved writing so much didn't work. There's no right or wrong in business (ethics aside). It either works or it doesn't.

I'd be lying if I said I'm okay with that. There are lots of things I don't like in business (again, ethics aside), yet that work well. It's a work in progress for me, too. It's a lifelong practice. Every day, you work on letting go of your opinions to become more flexible and adapt to the changing world.

You're free not to do the things that you don't like. You don't have to use that new hot platform if you think it's stupid. You don't have to offer a new line of your products that would appeal to a new hungry demographic that you don't like. You don't have to put out a product whose design you hate, even though it seems to work for your competitors. But if you choose not to engage in any of these things, at least admit that YOU are the problem, not the market. Because again: you don't get to decide what the market wants and your preference has no impact either way.

What you like or don't like is irrelevant in business.

If it works but you don't like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and do it.

If it doesn't work but you like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and look for something else.

And if it works and you like it, STILL swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and keep working on it while it's working. Your preference DID NOT make it work. In the end, your only responsibility is to serve your customer. Their needs may change. For now, theirs and yours preferences align but soon they may stop doing so.

If you let your own opinions stop you from doing what works, you may become that person wasting their life stubbornly working on business A. Meanwhile, you could have focused on serving the market regardless of your preferences with business B (and become rich the easier way).

P.S. The more opinionated you are, the more difficult life is in general. When you have strong likes and dislikes, you have a narrow band of experiences when you feel okay. Any situation, person, place, experience that doesn't match your opinions makes you miserable. Opening yourself to all kinds of things, without any judgments, is one of the easiest ways to make your life a whole lot more peaceful.

If all of this is true, what are your thoughts on Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller Sr., John Piermont Morgan, Henry Ford and others?

I ask because I think most of us agree these are individuals whose visions of how business should be built each fundamentally changed the way people function in society.

I am NOT picking a fight. I am just curious about opinions.
 

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Last month, i tried to hold a conference about getting away from porn, and thought at least 10 people would attend, after all, i had printed 4000 leaflets and this was a pressing problem. But the only call that came was from a doctor who wanted to attend to see how things are going.

Not defeated yet, i put up the ebook for sale and asked a semi-influential person retweet it. thought it would sell at least a few copies. But again, it was a disaster.

The conference was cancelled, and thankfully the venue had not asked for an advance.

Life Lessons Learnt the Hard Way.
 

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Great post
 

harlansjobs

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It is like the old saying "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door."

And yes you are right. Look at all the business that open online with no business plan no testing and they fail because they failed to take the needs of the market into account.

Even people succeeding in the side hustle books, knew their market, knew what the prospective customer base needed and they built it and made a good living at it. I just couldn't believe the one about eyeglasses for chickens to protect their eyes when they fight. I googled it and it is real. A good product to sell to farmers and Im sure a nice living.

But if the person had done what makes them happy, would they have succeeded? Who knows? Look at all the starving artists, who can't sell their works to anyone.
 

sonny_1080

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"We do not get to decide what works." - Dane Maxwell

"You have a place in the universe. And that place is not to make the universe be what you want. The place is for you to serve. You serve the moment, you raise the moment, you help, you bring love. You never take. You wouldn't even know what taking means. You have no preference about what that moment is. When you have no preferences, everything is beautiful. The highest life you can live is that every single moment that passes in front of you is better off because it did." - Michael A. Singer

A Quick Thought Experiment First...​


Imagine I'm giving you two businesses.

Business A is a beautiful business. It sells a product you would absolutely use. It ticks all your personal boxes for how a business needs to be set up to work well. Its marketing strategy, its brand, its story—it's so beautiful you could grab some popcorn and sit and watch how beautiful it is.

Business B is a disaster. It sells a product you think is silly. You find the way marketing strategy embarrassing. The brand is ridiculous and you have no idea who would ever buy anything from this business. In fact, it's so bad you don't even want to think about it anymore.

Without extra information, you'd surely go with business A. It seems like a perfect fit for you. There's no way whatsoever it wouldn't work.

And if the world behaved according to our own likes and dislikes, that's what would happen. But surprise! In my completely made up for the purposes of this thread example, it's the business B that's getting all the customers and business A that's struggling. Why? Because what you prefer has no impact whatsoever on whether it works. You don't get to decide which business works because you like it.

A Tough Pill to Swallow...​


As entrepreneurs, we love our ideas. We love our opinions. We love believing in our superiority, that we know better than others. But what we want and don't want has no impact on the world and it doesn't make others want or not want the same things.

As a self-published author, I wrote dozens of books. A few of them produced the vast majority of my income. And the funny part is that most of them—according to me—are some of my worst works. Yet, the world doesn't care about my opinion. The reality is that for some reason, those books appealed to people. Meanwhile, the books I loved writing so much didn't work. There's no right or wrong in business (ethics aside). It either works or it doesn't.

I'd be lying if I said I'm okay with that. There are lots of things I don't like in business (again, ethics aside), yet that work well. It's a work in progress for me, too. It's a lifelong practice. Every day, you work on letting go of your opinions to become more flexible and adapt to the changing world.

You're free not to do the things that you don't like. You don't have to use that new hot platform if you think it's stupid. You don't have to offer a new line of your products that would appeal to a new hungry demographic that you don't like. You don't have to put out a product whose design you hate, even though it seems to work for your competitors. But if you choose not to engage in any of these things, at least admit that YOU are the problem, not the market. Because again: you don't get to decide what the market wants and your preference has no impact either way.

What you like or don't like is irrelevant in business.

If it works but you don't like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and do it.

If it doesn't work but you like it, swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and look for something else.

And if it works and you like it, STILL swallow your pride, let go of your opinion, and keep working on it while it's working. Your preference DID NOT make it work. In the end, your only responsibility is to serve your customer. Their needs may change. For now, theirs and yours preferences align but soon they may stop doing so.

If you let your own opinions stop you from doing what works, you may become that person wasting their life stubbornly working on business A. Meanwhile, you could have focused on serving the market regardless of your preferences with business B (and become rich the easier way).

P.S. The more opinionated you are, the more difficult life is in general. When you have strong likes and dislikes, you have a narrow band of experiences when you feel okay. Any situation, person, place, experience that doesn't match your opinions makes you miserable. Opening yourself to all kinds of things, without any judgments, is one of the easiest ways to make your life a whole lot more peaceful.
Ouch.

This is exactly what I needed to hear. I've been posting a lot about ethics because I don't like the industry I started my website in. I think the whole industry does more harm than good.

I'm just recently coming to terms with the fact that the industry isn't going anywhere. And to make my business work, I need to change.

Thank you for the post.
 

MTF

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My whole business was being built on my likes and dislikes, very much thinking "What do I want my business to give to ME?".

Then I made a shift to start serving the moment, whatever is in front of me. Funny enough, decisions became simpler and I was much less anxious.

If you don't NEED to build a business but it's simply a want as a possible vehicle for fulfillment, would you say that unless you can make this shift, you shouldn't even get into business?
 

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This is EXACTLY what I needed to answer my question: ‘how do I (the queen of selfish desires) create a “servant’s heart”, since that’s what all my successful friends say is the key?’

There was a missing piece, and you just provided it, and I thank you.

I’ve always wanted to run a porn and ice cream type of business - one that people buy into just because they always do...but one that *I* love too. And I stink at serving people.

Not so much that I give lousy presents, but that I hold most consumers in contempt. And it’s hard to serve people you don’t like, even if they’re buying all the ice cream.

But I *get* this. It’s what I told my daughter this weekend. If you think breakfast in bed is slothful and only for sick children, but your spouse thinks it’s romantic and caring, you’ll go a lot further if you can gently give them what they want. Rolling your eyes in the pantry is allowed, but compose yourself before you hit the hallway.

Now I can practice what I preached, on customers!

Uff-da. Thank you again!

what you prefer has no impact whatsoever on whether it works.
 

scottydoes

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This is a great point. Imagine you're looking for a birthday gift for your loved one.

If you're egoistic, you'll buy them what you want to give them. That's a great way to give a crappy gift.

If you want to serve them, you'll find out what they love and find the best gift for them, even if you don't like what they like or would otherwise want to give something else.

Great analogy!! And great post.
 

Manfern

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Not to offend anybody I think it's still black and white approach to things, like, dislike, who cares?
It biased of course, maybe you proud of something, it's for you, not for other people.
You create business for one reason and do marketing for another, still good enough I assume.

If you are not projecting your wants and needs on others than there is no problem, I definitely not gonna create business that I hate and everybody is selfish to a degree.

Simple quote was - "it's about what market needs and wants", market changes regularly, so ideas and systems should be flexible, not only plan A, also B and C, and till it works or something better comes up that works even better!

For example never liked social networks and avoided them.
People use it a lot, some things available only there, so I have no choice, my like or opinion doesn't matter anymore.
Can't be liked by everybody and every business have some fans.
Read a while ago article about commonalities business and special things, there are a lot of competition in commonalities market although it liked by everybody(people need and want it).

Article more about knowing area in which you have control and other one where you don't
and just have to accept things as they are and not suffer because of it.
This whole idea wasn't clear enough maybe because of that some of your books don't sell well or otherwise.

People like things because they touch them on some emotional level and they can relate not because it's smart, right or good choice, it's just feels right

Sometimes idea and product is good and you just can't deliver it to the right customer who needs it or he is skeptical and need more proof, who knows for sure, a lot things to consider - right time also very important.

For that reason some business with missing parts can't succeed, you don't have all knowledge you need when you start, there is a time to learn and adapt.
Maybe someone can create forum contents to simplify things here, so many topics, really hard to determine what I'm missing or have very little expertise.
 

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