Tag Archives: thoughts

Leaders are born or are leaders made?

Leaders are born. Or, is it, leaders are made? What’s the answer? Like usual, it’s probably a mixture of both. Nothing is ever black or white. There’s always a little gray.

Seth Godin believes that leaders are made. Seth is talking about the workplace, so he’s likely correct. I would agree that leaders can be made in the workplace if properly trained.

Magic Johnson believes leaders are born. Or, more accurately, you’re either a leader or not when you come into the NBA (usually 18 – 21 years old).

Two seasons ago the Los Angeles Lakers drafted D’Angelo Russell with the #2 pick. He has the talent to become an All-Star caliber player. Tons of players are drafted during the draft, and a vast majority go nowhere, while a very small percentage go on to have successful NBA careers. An even smaller percentage become All-Stars. The Lakers, of course, were hoping that Russell would live up to his talents.

During Russell’s rookie season, you could see glimpses of his potential, but he didn’t get much playing time since Kobe Bryant was in the midst of his last season before retiring. Last season was Russell’s first full season where he saw plenty of playing time. It was also the first season where Magic Johnson (President) and Rob Pelinka (General Manager) would be in charge. They got hired to hopefully turn the Lakers around, and back into a winning team.

Magic took the job determined to bring the Lakers back to winning. Immediately, he began evaluating each player. Magic wanted to know which players would make great pieces on a championship team. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal.

Throughout last season Magic watched the games, talked to the players, attended practices, and went to workout sessions. He found out what he needed to know.

A few days before the NBA draft (Lakers again had the #2 pick) the Lakers made a stunning trade that sent Russell to the Brooklyn Nets. Many fans felt that it was a bad move (initially me too). That was their #2 pick of only a few years ago, and those are hard to come by! He still had tons of potential (only 21 years old)!

It became clear that Magic had found out what he needed to know, and that he didn’t make a terrible choice. Lonzo Ball had worked out for the Lakers twice, as a draft prospect. Lonzo plays the point guard position, like Russell. He’s big for the position, like Russell. Lonzo is 6’6″ while Russell is 6’5″. Lonzo also has incredible talent, with his passing abilities shinning bright, like Russell.

After seeing Lonzo work out for the Lakers and after hanging out with Lonzo’s family for a day, Magic saw the difference between the two talented young point guards.

Lonzo Ball was a born leader.

Lonzo Ball’s college coaches praised his leadership skills, and so did his parents (he was the oldest child).

On the other hand, Russell was questioned many times throughout the season regarding his leadership skills and locker room presence. Magic knows what it takes to win a championship. Magic knows that the point guard, on a winning team, needs to be a leader.

On draft day, Magic and the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with their #2 pick. Both had incredible talent, but Lonzo Ball had the right mentality. Ball was a born leader. Magic Johnson found his point guard. As a Lakers fan, I hope Lonzo does well and lives up to his expectations.

Social media and validation

Last weekend, I was at the restaurant called Yard House. I was minding my own business and eating my food. Then, Dennis Rodman walks in. You know who that is, right? He is famous for a number of reasons (Chicago Bulls, too much partying & a wild sense of style).

Of course, everyone started looking his way. Two guys even went up to him and asked for a photo. He said no, twice. It got me wondering about how much those guys, actually, wanted a photo with Dennis, versus wanting a photo to post it on their Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. I’m willing to bet they wanted the picture solely for their social media accounts. They craved the likes, and the validation of their followers. We all do.

They wanted their friends to comment, ‘Oh that’s so cool.’

And, ‘Where at!!?? You’re so lucky.’

Since I’m a huge NBA fan, I wanted a picture with Dennis too. But, I started thinking, if I never shared that photo with anyone, would I still want it? The answer was, not really. If I couldn’t show the photo to anyone, forever, then I was happy knowing I ran into him.

How many times is that not the case? Do we really need tons of pictures and short videos at Coachella? Or, do we really just want to show off to our social media followers? In reality, we want the likes, thumbs up and praise. We want the validation.

The entire point of life is to actually live it. The point of doing cool things is to be there,┬ánot to share it to the point that you’re never actually there in the moment. I’m willing to bet most people miss out on experiencing their cool moments (that they were looking forward to), because they are so busy taking the picture, ensuring the caption is perfect, and posting it.

How much social media validation do you really need?

How to stay away from optimism bias

Optimism bias can be a good thing at times. You will tend to make more irrational and riskier decisions, because you will feel good about your chances for the outcome turning out in your favor. How can that be bad?

It can be bad when you are always running on optimism bias. Because, we know that life has it’s ups and downs. Not every decision we make is going to turn out in our favor. And if we continue to make decisions only thinking of the positive outcome, then we will inevitably begin to feel the wrath of those outcomes not in our favor.

There is a way to trigger optimism bias in most people. That’s with low sleep.

As soon as I heard that, I began thinking of those big time entrepreneurs who have taken incredible risks to get to where they are currently at. Then, I started to think about how most of them have admitted to sleeping very little in order to work longer hours. Think, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, Steve Jobs and Gary Vaynerchuk. The list is a lot longer than that.

So how much of their risky decision making is based off of their unique skills, and gut feelings? How much is simply due to the fact that they were running on low sleep (optimism bias)?

It’s a mind boggling idea to me.

Where does skill and talent come into play? Where do brain malfunctions (that’s essentially what it is) come into play?

A lot of the big name entrepreneurs are recommending, the younger crowd, to value sleep much much higher, but that’s not what they did to reach their own successes. And, apparently, low sleep could have been a major contributing part of their successes.

What do we make of this? It’s hard to say, but at least we can be aware of the entire situation and try to make the best decision possible. You can watch a TED talk on optimism bias here.

Do things happen for a reason?

Do things happen for a reason? Or do things simply happen, and we do our best to assign a reason to them automatically. Looking backwards, the path always looks clear.

The later is what many professionals/ scientists believe, and I’ll agree with them for now.

Remember my roach story? Well, the very next day I decided to browse Craigslist to see if there was anything else available, after that less than ideal experience. There was. I found exactly what I was looking for. I found something that I wasn’t able to find during┬áthe previous month of searching everyday. And I stumbled upon it only 3 hours after it was posted to Craigslist. Coincidence? Most likely. Or, like they say, when one door closes another door opens.

I went to check it out the very next day, and it was as good as it sounded. I moved in a week later, and I’m now typing this up from my new room. As bad as the roach experience was, it was definitely worth it since it led up to this.

That’s how most things in life are though. If you put in the honest effort, hard work & grueling hours, things are in your favor to turn out well. That’s why people at the top recommend putting in the work & the hours. You can’t control what will happen, or what won’t happen, but you can control your effort. And sometimes your effort is just enough to tilt the odds in your favor.