203. Joel Osteen on Overcoming Setbacks, Thoughts, & Enemies


11 takeaways from this video:

00:01:15 Plant the right seeds. What you say becomes reality, and the words you use bring life or death to your goals; restraining or opening up your future. Don’t like what you’re getting from life? Change the way you define and talk about life.

00:03:13 Be at peace. It’s easier to perservere through hard times when you believe you will benefit in the long run. Being at peace with who, what, and where you are is a powerful position to be in.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: In chapter 14 of his book Down And Out in Paris and London, George Orwell describes the personality profile of a debrouillard – “a man who, even when he is told to do the impossible, will se debrouiller – French for ‘get it done somehow.'”

Orwell explains that to be a poor, uneducated and unskilled workng class with no hope of earning enough wages to escape a life of hard work and turmoil, that being a debrouillard comes with a sort of pride; an ability to survive and solve problems, no matter how many odds are stacked against him.]

00:04:01 Refuse mediocrity. Don’t be mediocre just because everyone else around you is mediocre, and don’t let mediocre people tell you what can’t be done for whatever reason.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my interview with Rory Sutherland that if you’re in an industry where customer expectation is low – or mediocre – then it doesn’t take much effort to stand out from your competition.]

00:04:52 Think positively and let go of the past. Don’t waste your life victimizing yourself; constantly thinking about all the ways others have hurt you. Don’t keep wallowing in your past failures, addictions and mistakes, replaying them over and over in your head.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Philip Zimbardo’s TED Talk The Psychology of Time that the optimal mentality is to:

  • Have a good perspective of the past, no matter how bad it was. This gives you roots and identity.
  • Have an optimistic perspective about your future. This gives you something to build for.
  • Enjoy life now and give in to your immediate desires within reason. This gives you energy and allows you to enjoy yourself along the way.

Recall also from the book Understanding Cultural Differences by Edward and Mildred Hall and my lecture Managing Age, Cultural & Personality Differences, Jerks & Assholes that cultures tend to be:

  • Past-oriented: Countries and peoples whose customs, language and orientation of time are steeped in the past, such as Iran, India, the Far East, Germany and Japan
  • Future-oriented: Countries and peoples whose customs, language and orientation of time are pointed towards the future, such as The United States]

00:05:13 Stay disciplined and don’t give up. When confronted with setbacks and failures, ask yourself if you’re on the right track and at the right time. If you believe you are on the right track, then get back up, shrug it off and try again.

Never forget that it’s much quicker and easier to destroy your reputation than it is to build it up.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Eric Ries & Ondi Timoner’s 10 Lean Content Rules to Launch A Successful Project that in business, a pivot is “a change in strategy without a change in vision.” It’s imperative to look at a business’s idea at it’s very first origins rather than where it is today because almost every company out there today initially began as something different.

Also recall in my lecture How to Start A Startup: 25 Reasons Startups Fail Within Four Years and James Cameron’s TED Talk that Cameron wrote the movie Avatar 10 years before the technology existed to be able to film it.

Lastly, recall in my interview with Derek Banas that the question you have to ask yourself is ‘Do you just want to make money or actually help people?’]

00:06:10 Be positive, relevant and practical. There’s enough stuff in the world weighing people down. Don’t be a part of that.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in the Ycombinator lectures The Importance of Finding Your Idea & ProductGrowing From Zero to Many Users, and How to Build Products That Your Users Will Love that if you can find and solve a problem people have, you have the beginning of a good business idea.]

00:08:58 Use pain to your advantage. Pain inevitably changes you; you can’t control this. How you interpret how the pain changes you – for better or for worse – is something you can control.

00:10:19 Let your enemies motivate you. Your enemies and adversaries are only there to push you harder.

Often times, your critics and enemies will be more instrumental to your success than your friends and loved ones.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in my interview with Karen Rudel that it wasn’t until she started getting negative feedback on her company’s Trip Advisor profile that her business began really growing because customers then began treating her positive reviews more legitimately.]

Just be sure that when faced with enemies and setbacks that you’re willing to question yourself. If you believe you are on the right path, then get back up, shrug it off and keep going despite.

00:14:50 Ask big. Slaves mentality asks for relief from pain and constraint, and doesn’t consider their dreams possible. Don’t seek mere remedies to be able to live with limitations that define you, go big and set the objective of getting precisely what you want were you to have no limitations.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: For more on negotiating win/win outcomes and reaching your objectives, watch the lecture 20 Tips to Better Negotiate Your Job Offer & Compensation Package at Harvard University.]

00:15:48 Don’t be in it only for the money. Money is necessary to achieve your goals, but don’t make it your top priority.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Paul Piff’s TED Talk Does Money Make You Mean? that even in situations where the priviledged person was randomly awarded their priviledged position and knows he or she has the advantage, the priviledged person is more likely to:

  • Display more dominant and aggressive displays of power
  • Consume up to two-times more
  • Be proud of their material possessions and success
  • Become more rude towards the lesser-advantaged person
  • Feel less empathy and compassion towards others, while feellings of self-entitlement and self-interest tend to increase.
  • Become more self-serving and less likely to consider and cede to others
  • Be more likely to justify the positive aspects of greed, and (in everyday situations) less likely to offer assistance to lesser-advantaged people
  • Feel more entitled to their wealth and prioritize themselves above others
  • Lie, cheat, bribe, endorse unethical behavior and break the law in order to further reinforce their priviledged position to the detriment of others around them
  • Attribute their successes not to their initially priviledged position which had been randomly awarded to them, but rather to their own ingenuity and cunning]

00:16:13 Don’t forget your goals. Setbacks slow you down or show you that perhaps you’re on the wrong path. Set ups position you to ensure success. Be able to distinguish between the two.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Recall in Oussama Ammar‘s talk Managing Your Professional & Private Life that one of the best ways to avoid burnout during the early phases of running a business is to understand that this phase is temporary, and to create a contract with yourself, committing yourself to focus on your project for a pre-determined amount of time. Then respect that contract. If you haven’t achieved your results within the amount of time you set aside for it, be able to truly justify continuing on it or be able to let it go and move on to another project.

Ammar also advises you keep in mind your entrepreneural CV (resume). For example, many entrepreneurs optimize their company to obtain as much seed funding and Series A investment money as possible, and many entrepreneurs would rather gamble and turn down bad or mediocre offers in the hopes of a better offer. But now consider this from the perspective of the entrepreneural CV: that actually raising the funds and selling their company is an accomplishment that VERY, VERY few entrepreneurs can actually put on their CV; that the great majority of startups fail.]