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Think. Read. Write. Repeat.
This is Massive
When I was a kid, I was fortunate that my parents owned a set of World Book encyclopedias. The books occupied a wooden bookshelf which stood in a place of honor in our living room. The alphabetized volumes shared space with a massive Webster’s dictionary heavy enough to squish a toddler, and our collection of National Geographic magazines with all topless women wearing strategically placed magic-marker bikinis courtesy of my mother.
When I asked a question (which was almost non-stop) I was directed to “Go look it up.”
There were few childhood questions that couldn’t be resolved by digging through the bookshelf, and when those situations arose, they had to wait for a trip to town and a visit to the library.
Now, of course, all of that information and more is in my back pocket. Just a query to Siri away. All because a small company you may have heard of decided that its purpose was to, “Organize the world’s information.”
We have focused on the intersection of passion and purpose for the past several weeks. We talked about the idea of finding your Sky Anchor and setting a course for it.
I have been reading lately about the business concept first coined by Salim Ismail, the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP).
In order for a business to succeed exponentially, they need to find an MTP. We can learn a lot from this concept.
In case you haven’t guessed, Organize the world’s information is Google’s MTP
Some other examples are :
TED: “Ideas worth spreading”
Singularity University: “To positively impact the lives of a billion people or more”
Uber: “The best way to get wherever you’re going”
MTPs are massive, aspirational, and audacious. They may never be reached, but they can always be aimed for.
They are transformative, they change things, shake them up, and reimagine what is possible.
They establish purpose, which Peter Diamandis defines as: “finding something you would die for and live for it.”
They are also clear, precise, and concise. They are sticky.
We can apply this same framework. While a company is usually best served with a single MTP, I believe we can/should have several stars (MTPs) in our sky anchor constellation. I suggest 2-4.
Our MTPs need to be mutually supporting. By this, I mean that they must be able to exist in the same night sky. Forward progress toward one MTP might not take us closer to another, but it shouldn’t move us further away.
After a considerable amount of deliberation and consternation, I have established my MTPs.
Write things that are meaningful.
Help people get better at getting better.
Keep wild places and things wild.
One thing you may notice that these three have in common is that there is no finish line. They aren’t a bucket list, but a cardinal direction I follow.
Once I am on azimuth, I can start to plot checkpoints on my route in the form of High Hard Goals, and Clear goals. We’ll talk about those soon.
I realize that so far, we have only hit on the first two of the four Ps in Ikigai
Passion (what you love)
Purpose (What the world needs)
Next week we’ll get into the last two:
Proficiency (What you are good at)
Payday (What you can make money at)
This week, your assignment if you choose to accept it is to refine your sky anchor. Identify the MTPs that compose it.
Imagine that you are a start-up eager to disrupt the status quo. Your MTPs are your elevator pitch. Pare them down to as few words as possible but no fewer. Make sure that they are clear, precise, and aspirational. Make sure that they move you.
Make sure that they are ideas you are willing to live for.
Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it) by Salim Ismail Et al.
As far as I can tell, this book first introduces the concept of Massive Transformative Purpose. It came out in 2012 I think, so its usefulness as a business book may have waned, but I think the ideas are applicable to us.
“In the past five years, the business world has seen the birth of a new breed of company―the Exponential Organization―that has revolutionized how a company can accelerate its growth by using technology. An ExO can eliminate the incremental, linear way traditional companies get bigger, leveraging assets like community, big data, algorithms, and new technology into achieving performance benchmarks ten times better than its peers.”
I talk about journaling a lot.
I’m a huge believer in it.
I also suck at it.
I start by realizing that I should be journaling more, then recognize that I require a new journal. I labor over the decision of which journal to buy but usually wind up with a Moleskine journal. Because it is too expensive to lose.
The new journal is a perfectly blank slate and, as a blank slate, it is still possible that I may write in legible, flowing script the torrent of thoughts that rush through my head and inscribe them beautifully on acid-free paper for perpetuity.
I imagine this:
Because I imagine this, I go into a period of depression, frightened to make a mark, knowing that it will not live up to the Davinci codex dreams I have for my journal.
Eventually, I give in and write my name in the front in my best cursive penmanship. I include my contact information should my journal be misplaced, and make a vague statement hinting at a major reward for its safe return.
Then I skip the first several pages to allow myself the opportunity to insert a table of contents at some later date in case I get serious about bullet journaling.
Finally ready to begin, I promptly scrawl something illegible, misspelled, or both. Then comes the period of mourning, which slowly fades to regret, and finally acceptance. Then I have a journal I write my random thoughts in, ideas, and often what I ate for lunch.
I wish I was a better journaler, but I’m happy that I write in it almost daily.
If you are interested in getting better at getting better I believe a journal is indispensable.
If I can offer a bit of advice, find something that works for you. Science says paper is better than digital, (and I trust science) but the best journal is the one you keep.
I’d love to hear how and why you journal.
Thoughts worth repeating from those who said it best:
“The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talent and industry, ‘this far and no farther’.” -Beethoven
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” - John F. Kennedy
“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” - Thomas A. Edison
“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” - Cecil Beaton
I’ll see you next Thursday.
Feel free to bring a friend.