195. Louis C.K. on How To Overcome Weaknesses & Reach Success

11 takeaways from this interview:


00:01:08 Be known for ONE thing, and try new avenues.
Always be improving that one thing you’re known for. “I (Louis CK) am not a film-maker, I’m a comedian that made a movie.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Dror Benshetrit’s talk Building a generalist/specialist business that there are very talented specialists in every field, and unless you devote your entire life to this craftmanship, you’ll never be able to call yourself a master. You can still do things that are meaningful and iconic by approaching your subject through a generalist’s eye, and instead working with specialists.

Success comes through finding the right collaborators to work with to achieve your goal. Approaching a specialists’ domain from a ‘naive,’ generalist’s perspective allows you to approach industry problems from a new viewpoint and question the limits of why things ‘can’t be done.’]

00:02:29 Success comes in stages. Don’t expect to go from a nobody to a success overnight. It takes time and comes in incremental steps.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my interview with entrepreneur Kevin Knight that building your business is a learn-as-you-go process. Be patient, learn from your mistakes and from the mistakes of others and constantly change and improve upon your idea until you find the right approach. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect.

Everything you do should build upon what you’ve created before, and your largest and riskiest project should always take place in the next 18-24 months…]

00:03:01 You can’t please everyone. The more people you reach, the more people will not like what you offer.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my interview with entrepreneur Karen Rudel that, with regards to services where people may not like you and the only they’re there is because they have to be, that is the client you want to love you the most. That is the guy you want to break.

Regardless of whether the customer is right or not, bend over backwards and kill them with kindness, be fair and empathetic and offer to make any wrongs right. If your business is based on word of mouth and referrals, for every one customer that complains, a hundred others will stand up for you.]

00:04:19 Always be improving, and be efficient about it. Responsiblities and imperatives force you to use your time better, otherwise you’ll find yourself caught in a routine and doing the bare minimum for your next paycheck. Have a working list of things you want to get done, and don’t stop until you’ve done them.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in the book The Rules of Work that for ambitious people, your current station in life is nothing more than a mere temporary stepping stone to your next great leap, and ideally you should spend 50% of your working hours fulfilling your core job responsibilities, with the other 50% of your time invested in planning and preparing for your next promotion or entrepreneural project.]

00:06:44 Always lead with your best. Constantly improving your offer means getting rid of your weaknesses; but it may also mean giving up some of your strengths that worked in the past, but might hinder your future.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my lecture How to introduce your pitch so investors want to invest that

people make snap judgments about you. These decisions about you are unconscious and immediate and are based on years and years of the person’s experience. Therefore right at the beginning the person is paying full attention because it is new information, a new person, a new environment. This is known as the primacy effect – the tendancy to recall information presented that happened at the beginning of an event or exchange. Eventually the person’s attention level drops as they either lose interest and/or become distracted with other things and their mind begins to wander.

For more on giving presentations, download the FREE TEDxIHEParis Presentation and Negotation Strategy handout.]

Instead of saving the best for last, put your best first, that way you must improve what follows.

00:07:29 Overcome failure. The act of overcoming failure can be a productive and rewarding experience if you’re willing to learn from it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Adam Grant’s TED Talk What makes people successful & how to copy them that everyone has tons of bad ideas; but successful people are the ones who fail the most because they are the ones who try the most. The more you output, the more variety you get.]

00:10:47 Know where decisions come from, and why. Why are people doing what they’re doing? Why does the price cost what it costs? If, for example, in order to pay you 100,000€ to do a public speaking engagement, a client has to charge 50€ a ticket, ask yourself if you want the people who are coming to support you to pay so much.

What if you lowered your 100,000€ price tag so more people could afford to come and enjoy and learn from you, which lead to a great working relationship with the client?

00:12:07 Don’t lose control of yourself. Becoming angry probably won’t improve the situation, so take a step back to regain perspective and look at how you can respond to get what it is you want.

Companies, to stay competitive, offer the best possible solutions available today that they possibly can. So before you get angry and lose your self-control, think that it may just be the best on the market today.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in the book What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard that you must constantly be aware of the ‘own-worst-enemy-syndrome.’ For example, there is a problem with your airplane ticket, and you scream and yell at the ticket clerk: the ONLY person who can either fix your problem, and you insult them.]

00:14:30 View stress and pressure as a source of motivation.

00:16:46 Enjoy what you have while you have it.

00:18:31 Keep trying, learning, and improving.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall from Tia Lopez’s TED Talk The secret to success & why you should read a book a day that “you will NEVER find all the answers from just one person. But if you can download the mindset and advice of successful people who came before you, then you will get what you want. Mentors are a short cut.” – Tia Lopez]