The CR4 Book Club Blog

The CR4 Book Club

The CR4 Book Club is a forum to discuss fiction and non-fiction books that have science, engineering or technology thematic elements. The club will read and discuss several books a year. All CR4 users are invited to participate. Look out for book announcements and the ensuing discussions that follow, but beware of potential spoilers!

Previous in Blog: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 1)   Next in Blog: Book Review: A New Leadership Ethos (Part 1)
Close
Close
Close
6 comments

8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

Posted January 17, 2010 5:01 PM by Steve Melito

Why is losing sometimes better than winning? What does it mean to live on the left side of your but? And why would workers far from Wall Street listen to an adviser to traders about the importance of "accountability"?

In 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life, Dr. Doug Hirschhorn shares career advice he's given to elite Wall Street traders. "This book", the performance coach and TV personality explains, "is about how super-successful people think".

Critics will complain, as Dr. Doug notes, that these traders are "the same guys who blew up and lost billions of dollars in the recent stock market meltdown." Hirschhorn's clients are "coming straight through the eye of the storm", however, he says, and the lessons of 8 Ways to Great aren't limited to one occupation. In fact, for almost a year now, Dr. Doug has been part of our engineering community here at CR4.

Yesterday, Part 1 of this series described the first four principles of 8 Ways to Great. Today's installment reviews the final four lessons.

Principle #5: Be All That You Can Be

What does an old recruiting slogan for the U.S. Army have to do with career success during the Great Recession? Plenty. "Confidence," Dr. Doug explains, "should come from within". Today's headlines may be filled with news about layoffs and Wall Street bonuses, but worry is no more productive than envy – or anger.

Don't compare yourself to your colleagues, Hirschhorn recommends, and remember that "the elite in any field are independent thinkers." Stay positive in the face of adversity, but don't rest on your laurels either. Outcomes are important, but "how well you performed" during the process matters, too.

Principle #6: Keep Your Cool

"When you're making any kind of decision," Hirschhorn advises, "the most dangerous thing you can do is to allow yourself to become emotional or to get overly invested in the need to be right". In a sense then, ego and emotions are a double-edged sword that rivals the one forged of skills and knowledge in Principle #4: Sharpen Your Edge.

Principle #6 also explains how losing is sometimes better than winning. To win when you're losing, "you make the decision you need to make instead of the one you might want to make," Dr. Doug writes. For example, consider the case of a seller who needs to unload a home for a job-related move out-of-state. No one wants to sell a home at a loss, but a wise worker might conclude that in a down market, such a sale is part of the price of making a fresh start.

Principle #7: Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

"Traders know they're operating in a world with erratic highs and lows," Hirschhorn writes, but who likes to be uncomfortable? In this chapter then, Dr. Doug dismisses the illusion of "the perfect moment" in life. "Success is a game of probabilities," he explains, and anything worth doing is worth doing now. After all, you can't succeed if you don't try.

The left side of the brain is your logical one, so don't let irrational fears lead to inaction. "All those 'buts'," Hirschhorn writes about excuses, "are what keep people sitting on their butts instead of getting up and doing something to get themselves where they say they really want to be". Learning from your mistakes and using volatility to create opportunities are keys to professional success. The career of Warren Buffet, one of the world's best-known and most successful investors, illustrates Dr. Doug's point.

Principle #8: Make Yourself Accountable

Accountability and discipline aren't words that many readers associate with Wall Street these days, but both principles are paramount for Dr. Doug Hirschhorn and his clients. "Word without action are just philosophy", this holder of a Ph.D. in psychology explains, and mere goal-setting is not enough.

"What if you can't find a compellingly positive reason to change?," Hirschhorn then asks. "You may need to find your motivation in the unpleasant consequence of not changing," he answers. All of Wall Street won't learn Dr. Doug Hirschhorn's lessons, of course, but now workers in other walks of life can.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
Posts: 1072
Good Answers: 87
#1

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/17/2010 6:57 PM

"What does it mean to live on the left side of your but?"

Spell check is on but grammar check isn't?

__________________
Charlie don't surf.
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - Organizer Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3464
Good Answers: 32
#3
In reply to #1

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/18/2010 8:52 AM

When I first saw this phrase in print, I also read it as "live on the left side of your butt" (with two t's) because "butt" is like "brain" in that both are body parts (i.e. "live on the left side of your brain"). The word, however, really is "but" (with just one t), so neither the spell check nor the grammar check have failed us.

People dismiss their career aspirations for good reasons (reason-based) and for bad reasons (fear-based) For example, there's the "I don't like my job, but I could never make as much money somewhere else" argument. Is that statement true, or is a fear of change motivating the unhappy worker to stay put? This, I believe, is what Dr. Doug is encouraging the reader to examine.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
Posts: 1072
Good Answers: 87
#4
In reply to #3

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/18/2010 9:21 AM

Gotcha.

Keep in mind also that when there are 5 job seekers for every job today it may not be possible to pursue career aspirations.

__________________
Charlie don't surf.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: I'm outa here
Posts: 1924
Good Answers: 196
#2

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/18/2010 1:11 AM

Dr. Doug's book sounds like a good read for you working slugs that still have a lot of career in front of you. While you're getting set to dive into it go find a copy of "Liar's Poker" written about 20 years ago by Michael Lewis. This is a fun read although it might leave you a bit cynical about Wall Street. The author's story is full of case studies of the kinds of things Dr Doug describes in this CR-4 summary.

Ed Weldon

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Tamilnadu, India
Posts: 837
Good Answers: 42
#5

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/19/2010 9:16 AM

Making oneself accountable for his deeds is the best practicable philosophy and one can really improve without external consultancy. Self esteem,patience,competitive spirits and alertness should facilitate realistic development.

__________________
Nature is so graceful and naked. Human possession is ridiculous.
Reply
3
The Engineer
Engineering Fields - Engineering Physics - Physics... United States - Member - NY Popular Science - Genetics - Organic Chemistry... Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Ingeniería en Español - Nuevo Miembro - New Member

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Albany, New York
Posts: 5170
Good Answers: 129
#6

Re: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 2)

01/19/2010 10:07 AM

It's a shame this wasn't "11 ways to be great". Then we could have included:

9. Don't worry about long term goals. Focus on short term results, doing whatever you can to maintain them. When the inevitable cataclysmic results of sacrificing long term growth for short term gain comes in the future, you will have already had your success and can resign.........or not if you don't want to. Then tell everyone how awesome you are because you're wealthy.

10. Be too big to fail - if you're too big to fail, you can take all the chances you want without fear of losing anything. When your risky gambles work, you make lots of money and get to tell people how intelligent and successful you are. When your bets fail, rather go out of business, you tell everyone how your going out of business is a systematic risk and must be prevented. Then in the next year when you make a killing in the stock market as it bounces back, you get to tell everyone how smart and successful you are again.

11. Lastly, be sure anytime you act immorally that you call it acting intelligently. Here, let me try to explain what I mean. Say you buy some powerful computers and watch bid and asks as they come in. Using a special arrangement with the exchanges (which you get because of the high frequency of your trades), you can then submit your own bids or asks in anticipation of those other bids and asks. Since your computer does this in milliseconds and to the exchange your trade appears simultaneous with the others, yours gets priority (because you have that special arrangement). Now thanks you this loophole you can undercut the poor saps playing fair (rather than fair you call them "slower"). You will make billions. When you get caught, rather than calling it cheating, you should just tell everyone that you were being innovative. (Don't believe me? Here's the link)

By the way, this is pretty close to Lex Luther's plan from Superman III:

"The computer program that Gus Gorman created, which took the fractions of cents left over from financial transactions and interest compounding and transferred them to a dummy account, is actually a reasonable way to steal if security has been compromised. Most people do not manually balance their own books, and would thus not notice the missing penny."

Seriously, I'm sure Dr. Doug is a good guy and means well, but I can't and won't stomach being told how great wall street people are. Seriously. Tell me how to be great like Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela, or even Professor Sara Seager, but don't tell me people are great because they are rich. Money does not equal greatness. Seriously, money does not equal greatness. Do I envy them for having lots of money? Of course I do, but that doesn't make them great. In fact, the people I envy for being great are rarely the people I envy for having lots of money (Warren Buffet being one exception).

Reply Good Answer (Score 3)
Reply to Blog Entry 6 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Bayes (1); Ed Weldon (1); s.udhayamarthandan (1); Steve Melito (1); stevem (2)

Previous in Blog: 8 Ways to Great: Peak Performance on the Job and in Your Life (Part 1)   Next in Blog: Book Review: A New Leadership Ethos (Part 1)
You might be interested in: ID Card Readers and Encoders, FIFO Memory, Tablet PCs

Advertisement