30 September 2017

A real state-changer

For whatever reason I was in a bit of a funk about an hour ago. Nothing too bad; a bit moody and hating on various aspects of the world. We all do it. 

But what can start out as 'a bit of a funk' can very quickly spiral out of control if we don't check ourselves. I remember reading in one of Tony Robbins's books a while ago that when we catch ourselves in these situations we have to snap ourselves out of it quickly. 

This 'snap' can take many forms. The one that just worked for me was putting on a piece of my favourite music - a joyous track by Joss Stone in this case. 

And it worked a treat. I was humming along and smiling, which are perfect conditions to asses what you were in a funk about and set out to deal with it with a sound, rational mind, rather than from a place of stress and anguish.

These snaps can take lots of forms. Tony Robbins uses a plunge pool. Other people might watch a clip of their favourite stand-up comedian in action or go outside for a brisk walk. 

The trick is to find out what your state-changer is in advance, then work to catch yourself in a funk before the real destructive thoughts and actions prevail. 

(And no, turning to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, food and the like is not a good state-changer).

by Nino Rosella
28 September 2017

Taking delight in the little things

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Yesterday my mate gave me a present. It's a brass ruler by a company called Traveller's Company. It's made in Japan using traditional metalworking techniques, and naturally, the brass oxidises over time, which creates a patina all of your own, like a well-worn pair of shoes. 

It's proper geeky and I love it. 

I spent a good ten minutes just revelling in the detail; holding it up to the light and seeing how the light reflects differently off the tilted side and from the inscribed scale. I spent time being charmed by its simplicity. 

In short: I was present, which is delightful. I wasn’t distracted by my iPhone, by a social media feed pumping my brain full of dopamine with each new post. I wasn’t thinking about what I have to do at work tomorrow, or where I’m going to find the time to pick up my Amazon package from some godforsaken . No, I was in the moment, and it was delightful. 

Rather than downing your morning coffee on the train, instead take the time to savour it. Your phone notifications can wait. Or it can be deeply appreciating the guitar solo of your favourite track. It could be savouring the occasion when that hot girl smiled at you. It could be that moment you put on new socks or the 15 minutes spent absorbed in the spec sheet of that new sports car. 

It’s amazing how many opportunities we have each day to be delighted (and present) like this if only we let ourselves. 

by Nino Rosella
27 September 2017

Why I don't practice singing

I caught myself singing today without my headphones in. Oh my days. The racket. 

I'm tone deaf. 

And here's the thing: no amount of deliberate practice will ever see me become a good singer, let alone great. I just don't have any natural ability to be built on. The same can be said for ballet. I'm the wrong shape and I have as much grace and natural flexibility as a concrete foundation. 

Or long-distance running, or painting and decorating, or working with spreadsheets. 

But, just like you, there are things I'm naturally talented at. Things that with enough dedication, practice and hard work I could be great at. Happily, we also tend to be much more interested in and successful at things we have a natural disposition towards. We should do more of these things. We should really double down on them. 

Sure, working on your weaknesses is good idea, too. Although I don't think anyone ever made a dent in the world by dealing their worst hand. 

But then there's the things we're shit at but don't care because we love doing them. We should never stop doing these. Crap singer but bloody love it? Don't stop. Ever. 

Just don't peg you goals, dreams and aspirations on it. As long as we remember this we'll be golden. 

by Nino Rosella
26 September 2017

You're hiding

You will never get enough reassurance. 

Reading just one more business book is futile.  
It’s time to start that business.

Just finished your third woodworking course? 
Time to make some furniture.

But you probably should read that latest John le Carré novel for one more hit of inspiration, right? 
You’ve already read four. Time to start writing.

One more Gary Vee video won’t hurt. You need the motivation.
Incorrect. Motivation is fickle.

"Ruby is old. I need to learn Crystal."
You don’t need to learn any more programming languages. Start coding.

I repeat: You will never get enough reassurance.

You know full well that you’re procrastinating. Hiding.

The time has come to make your move. Go!

by Nino Rosella
25 September 2017

Those who hold all the gold...

..hold all the olden rules. 

Which is why they're ripe for disruption.  

Stodgy, lumbering, old systems. Archaic, dizzying organisations.  

But we have the Internet; the ability to connect to anyone (and everyone) on the planet. To launch a movement, to build something remarkable.  

For free.  

We should use it wisely, and we should use it now.  

by Nino Rosella
24 September 2017

Are you building a tribe like this?

Ordinarily, us guys don’t get complimented on what we wear all too often. Maybe a passing comment from a girlfriend or a grandma here and there. Rarely from our girl mates. Almost never from our guy mates. 

That all changes if you wear Red Wing boots. In the six hours I had my boots on two different guys went out of their way to come and tell me they liked my boots. 

The second guy actually ran across a busy London road to grab me by the shoulder. “8196s?” he managed in between deep breaths. 



Are your customers or fans willing to acknowledge each other in the street like this? At parties? In restaurants? 

If not, why not? 

by Nino Rosella
23 September 2017

Just because I'm not influential

When I was growing up my dad would use any opportunity to throw his version of the Wilson Mizner quote at me: 

"Be careful how you treat those on the way up; you’ll never know if you’ll meet them on the way back down." 

I was reminded of this today when I attended the London Design Fair. In attendance were designers from all over the world exhibiting their wares. As well as being open to the public it attracts some of the capital’s most influential buyers, journalists and industry leaders. The stakes can be high, and those exhibiting are all vying for a piece of their fragmented attention. 

But fobbing off everyone you think is of no value to you is a very risky strategy. 

Being a naturally inquisitive and sociable guy, I like to talk to the exhibitors and find out more about their work and what they do. I am not an influential buyer or journalist. I can’t even afford to buy most of what was on offer, and I made this known to the people I was talking to. I didn’t want to give the wrong impression and get their hopes up. 

I was staggered by how many people abruptly ended the conversation when they realised I was low-value to them in that moment. 

Instead, they should be following the lead of Emma from Woodpop, Miranda from The Do Book Company, and the friendly guy (whose name I didn’t manage to catch in the mad bustle) from Schott Ceran, who were more than happy to dedicate time to answer my numerous questions and to ask some in return. To treat me like a human being, and to provide value without expecting anything in return. 

I will always remember those three businesses. And here’s the catch: I’ll also remember all the brands that didn’t have the time of day for me. Who knows; one day I (or anyone else) might be rich or influential enough to make a difference for these businesses. They should remember that.  

by Nino Rosella
22 September 2017

Will anyone miss you?

You have 5,000 likes on your Facebook page. So what? 

You have 1,368 people subscribed to your email list. Cool. 

Conversions are up 5.7%. Result. 

Forget the numbers for a minute. Will anyone miss you when you’re gone? 

If you stopped updating your social media, stopped writing your blog, stopped making that product, would anyone get in contact wondering where you were? 

There are thousands of little tricks you can use to boost the numbers. You can’t trick your way to being good. 

by Nino Rosella
21 September 2017

A learning opportunity

Hold up your hand if - like me - you’re one of those people who feels guilty when reading fiction because “I should be learning something right now”. Out of the last fifty books I’ve read only three have been fiction. 

But today whilst reading Blake Crouch’s bestseller Dark Matter it struck me what a load of pretentious crap this notion is. In the space of a few pages I had learned the basics about quantum superposition and the multiverse. That’s not trivial. 

I realise now that learning isn't something that's done to us it's something that we choose to do. You can (and should be) learning from everything little thing you experience.  

So you think a work of fiction can’t teach you anything? How about learning how to become a master story teller? Badly written book? Learn how not to write a book. 

Learn how to be a better salesman from that lady who unexpectedly got you to sign up for her service. 

Learn how to have empathy from the one-in-a-million customer service rep who not only fixed your internet from a call centre in India, but cheered you up for the rest of the day.

Learn how not to get that hot girl's number. 

Learn from your mistakes. 

Learn how to learn.

(The caveat to this is to make sure you’re learning and not simply memorising rote facts. Taxicab drivers in London famously have to undergo The Knowledge where they memorise routes through some 25,000 of the capital’s streets. But we really have to ask ourselves in a world of super-accurate GPS how valuable this is anymore. If it’s something that can be found out in a matter of seconds with a quick internet search it doesn’t need to be memorised.) 

What did you learn today? 

by Nino Rosella
20 September 2017

Marketers and bloggers are lunatics

It's your first day at your new job. For the first time in ages you've taken extra care to make sure your shirt is properly ironed. You even polished your shoes. You feel tip-top.

You arrive at the office wanting to make a great impression. To prove you're the right one for the job and that you got it on merit. You do amazing work. This is your time to shine.

You walk in through the front door and introduce yourself to the cheerful receptionist, decling his offer of a coffee because you're pretty nervous which means you're already bursting for a piss. He says your new boss is expecting you and to just go straight up. 

You only have to get to the first floor but you take the lift because you don't want to seem out of breath after climbing one flight of stairs. Remember: good impression.

You quickly check your appearance in the lift mirror. Looking good. The doors open and your boss is walking swiftly towards you, big smile on her face with an outstretched hand. 

"Great to see you again," she says. "I was so glad when you accepted the offer. I've shown the team some of your work and they can't wait to meet you."

You manage to splutter a "thanks" and hope she hasn't noticed your face turning a severe shade of crimson. 

"The first thing I want you to know," she says as she beckons you into her office, "is that we're a tight-knit family here and if you need something all you have to do is ask."

You look her dead in the eyes. "Give me a pay rise."

"Erm... no?"


Only a complete lunatic would say this the first time they interact with a new boss. 

Any reasonable person knows that first you have to offer value before asking for something in return. And not just for a short time. You have to provide value frequently and generously. Go the extra mile. Maybe pull some late shifts and pull large rabbits out of tiny hats.

Yet these very same reasonable people are the ones that serve you a full-screen pop up on their website within five seconds of landing. You know the ones I mean. 

"Enter your email to receive these posts each day". 
No. I haven't had the chance to read one yet. How do I know they're any good?

"Get our free ebook about how to crush it at your next job interview"
I'm reading an article about what might be causing my dog to fart so much. How is this related?

Or my absolute favourite (absolute fucking worst)...

"We'd really appreciate it if you could take 5 minutes to fill out our quick survey and let us know how we're doing"
I've been on your site for less time than it takes a photon of light to get from my bedside lamp into my eyeball. I'll tell you exactly how I think you're doing so far and it won't take me five bloody minutes!

These stupid pop-ups have the result of us losing trust. We realise that all they want to do is take, take, take. We feel like pawns in their game. A data point. 

You know how to get people to sign up to your email list, to like your Facebook page or to download your ebook? Provide value first. Make your offering so damn good that they'll be seeking your offers and surveys out on their own accord. Give, give, give. And most importantly win their trust

Trust is the scarcest resource in the 21st century. Do everything you can to maximise it. Don't be a lunatic. 

by Nino Rosella