About Steve Acho

Business Geek, Musician, Lover, Fighter, Writer, Delusional Optimist

A healthy way to obsess

The RAS is the tiny portion of your brain that notices yellow cars the moment you consider buying one.

One way to use modern technology to activate the RAS and force multiple “exposures” is to save a relevant image to the lock screen on your smartphone, which research shows the average person sees 110 times per day (perhaps the subject of a separate discussion).

If your focus is on money, save an image of a pile of cash as your default lock-screen photo.  You’ll see it multiple times per day, which may unconsciously open your mind to opportunities you may not have seen otherwise.

Simple advice for business email communication

  • Make your subject line an obvious statement of your intent (e.g. Request for documents)
  • Let recipients know what you want them to do in each email
  • Avoid back and forth by using if/then (e.g. If you’re available at 1pm please confirm. If not, then please give me three alternatives that work for you.)
  • Always have your name and contact info in the signature line of every email (I have seen emails from sales people asking me to call them but don’t have their TB number listed anywhere)
  • Give your phone number in an easy to read format 5555631910 is lazy and harder to see than 555-563-1910
  • Name files based on the recipient’s perspective. For example, if your customer is Apple, don’t send an invoice with the file name “Apple Invoice.” That person ONLY receives invoices for Apple. Instead name the file something they can easily find later, like: “MYcompany-June2021-Invoice”

Rules to live by

Some of the rules I learned from people smarter than me:

IN EVERYDAY LIFE
– Don’t take anything personally – most things that seem malicious are better explained by ignorance or self-hatred/anger having nothing to do with you
– Recognize that where you are now is just where you are now. History does not equal destiny. Your present state is just a snapshot, a balance sheet of today
– Avoid negative, toxic people, and complainers. You are the average of the 5 people  you surround yourself with

IN CRISIS OR DIFFICULT SITUATIONS:
– Acknowledge reality –> Make a decision –> Take action
– Ask  “what’s good about this?”
– Always do the best you can, with what you have, from where you are

Skate to where the puck is going

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously said that he doesn’t skate to the puck, he skates to where the puck is going. This seems like a useful analogy.

Communicate, behave, and dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Consume macronutrients in the amount that your ideal body and not your current one requires. Proactively look for business and tech trends to anticipate outcomes and look for what’s next, as opposed to what’s hot right now. The smartest and most forward-thinking world changers are living where the puck will be in five years from now.

Yet another useful cliche that prompts you to move in the direction of achievement. Whatever that means to you.

Without reciprocity

Happy memes that say “pay it forward” are nice, and they might spark momentary inspiration. But to be someone who consistently offers advice, support, and generally seeks to spark joy without regard for what one will get in return…that is life-changing.

Serving as an example to others who are then inspired to do the same normalizes it and allows it so spread and scale. And that is world-changing.

A beautiful perspective on grief

I’m writing this on what would be my grandmother’s 97th birthday.

Grief feels like pain, and therefore something we should fend off. One beautiful alternative though is to view grief as unexpressed love. Unexpressed not because you failed to express it. But simply because there is no longer a physical recipient of your love and gratitude.
 
Viewed this way, grief becomes a way to stay close to those we’ve lost.

Learning how instead of what

Thanks to Google there is little value in memorizing facts. Critical thinking – the ability to analyze facts to form judgements – might be the most valuable skill to come out of any academic system.

We should be careful we don’t simply educate people so they know just enough to repeat what they heard, but not instill the importance of analyzing and questioning.

It’s hard to exaggerate the difference between teaching someone what to think, versus teaching them how to think. 

Decision hack

Pros and cons lists can be helpful when assessing what to do, but they can also lead down a very unhelpful path of over analyzing. One shortcut that can help quickly identify how you really feel is to give multiple scenarios 1-10 ratings, but remove 7 as an option.

This simple hack forces more meaningful choices, because a 6 rating is a step away from a failing grade, while an 8 rating is almost a B+. In a this-or-that scenario the answer will be clear, and in go/no-go scenario, it’s the difference between “hell yes” and “hell no.”

The plight of perfection

Seeing ourselves as perfectionists can lead to a failure to take action out of fear that something won’t turn out ideal.  Aiming for perfection and being attentive to detail is admirable.  But do-ers do. Perfectionists can hold themselves back in a state of non-action and analysis.

There is no perfect time to start a business, lose weight, or commit to learning a new skill. Most often, fortune favors those who boldly take action rather than waiting for the certainty of perfection.

True genius

We think of geniuses as those who can create or invent valuable things because of their intricate knowledge in certain domains. And that’s often true.

But many creative (and wealthy) individuals came up with ideas like the chip clip, the idea for a cameras built into phones, and other creative inventions that didn’t require sophisticated knowledge.

The genius is often the one who exploits the simplest of ideas that are yet unrecognized.