2020 has taken the world by surprise. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t adapt. It is possible in these times to not just survive, but thrive.
The first order of business is the proper mindset.
James Schramko is weathering the wave of change, with a perspective blended with Oriental wisdom and mental readiness to accept what is.
Tune in and gain inspiration to ride out the present and the future that is to come.
01:28 – The vision I had for 2020 and how it’s faring
02:28 – What I’d already decided before now
03:57 – The Japanese have some great ideas
05:39 – What shikata ga nai has to do with the current situation
07:55 – Consider the things that you can’t change
09:20 – A focus on the usually boring stuff
11:45 – Look out – there’s a hangover coming
12:55 – The mentality that you want to avoid
13:55 – Count on it, things are going to be different
James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 765. And it’s just me today. I really want to do these solo episodes from time to time. I’ve talked about this as part of what the content that I had in mind will be moving forward.
I have had some interesting feedback from the episode I did with Rob Hanly, I did a three-part episode. And that was really good. Lots of golden nuggets, bringing along a non-famous peer for us to talk about things and share some stories.
Today is really about the topic of letting go. I want to share with you a Japanese philosophy. It’s called shikata ga nai. Hopefully, I’m saying that somewhere around how it’s supposed to be. I want to give you a state of where things are at, for me and the world I see around me, and for my students. And we’ll see where we get to by the end of this episode.
The impact of 2020 on my vision
But one thing that I have been thinking about is my 2020 vision. When I started 2020, I actually did a training about this inside the SuperFastBusiness membership. And I’ve just reviewed that training and my notes from 2020. And I have to say, it’s almost unchanged.
And that will be partly because I’ve taken a different business route to many. I’ve actually been preparing for winter. You know, much like the Game of Thrones, you know, Winter is coming. I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I’ve somehow ended up in a position where whatever is happening in the market and the world around us at the moment is not really having any negative impact on my business.
In fact, thankfully, it’s not really having a negative impact on my life, aside from some very small changes. Of course, I won’t be able to go on my annual Maldives surf trip. And I can’t travel back and forth between the countries I regularly enjoy. And that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the future. And I’ll talk about that a little bit later in the episode, what’s going to happen with travel.
What I’d decided before
There’s some really good positive things to come from it. And this is sort of what I want to tie in with this episode topic of letting go. I think before 2020 I’d already got to the point where I said, you know what? I don’t want to make an extra five million or $10 million a year, if it means I can’t surf every day or I can’t focus on my health or the relationships around me.
So I’d already decided not to worry about writing down my goals every day, not to worry about having a to-do list that extends, you know, out your office door and around the corner and up the street.I just let that go already.
So I was already in a state of sustainability. Because much like the philosophies talked about by Timothy Ferriss in The 4-Hour Workweek, I wanted to create a life that is somewhat enjoying as I go. I guess I’d classify it as semi-retired. And what I have been able to do is dial back the amount of workload that I have. So I’m not stressed, I’m not worried. I’m not concerned. I’m actually in the best state I’ve ever been. And I want to share some of the ideas around that so you can too.
Firstly, if you haven’t done it already, so if you’re not a member of SuperFastBusiness membership, and you haven’t already gone and got the free training that I have, go to SuperFastResults.com and get the Lifestyle Design Course. It’s free. It’s an extract from the SuperFastBusiness live event that we ran in March 2020. It’s my current thinking around lifestyle design, and some great tips there, how you can adjust your routine and your schedule and your business to suit the way you want to live.
Japanese ideas to live by
So this saying, shikata ga nai, is the Japanese art of letting go. One of the most popular episodes I’ve ever done on SuperFastBusiness was my episode on ikigai. And I really do like a lot of the Japanese philosophies. Of course I studied a few of them when I was discovering, through Jay Abraham actually, I discovered the process optimization work that had been done in Japan and ended up being documented in books like Toyota’s Five Whys.
W. Edwards Deming was the guy who made this sort of popular in Japan. And there’s this concept of kaizen, which is constant improvement. So, never ending change. I love that philosophy. It’s like having an endless loop of chain, and you go from one link, strengthening it, to the next link, strengthening it, and so on and so forth.
So you’re just constantly improving. I live my life by that philosophy, constant improvement in every area. And you just go round and round and round. I also learnt other terms, and I’ll cover those in future episodes, in my leadership career that helped me create better organizations.
So I learned a really interesting Japanese concept in a book that I was reading by Carlos Ghosn, which is called Turnaround. Now Carlos Ghosn’s been in the news a bit lately, had a bit of a bad run, but he did turn around Nissan, and he did it by bringing together people from different departments and having them collaborate and work together, which really short cut the time and budget blowouts and engineering hassles and sales ability of each of the products.
So that’s a good philosophy, I’ll have to look up the name of that. I like the kaizen one of constant improvement. I like the ikigai, finding things that you love that people will pay for that makes you happy. The world needs those sort of things.
Shikata ga nai and why it’s relevant now
Shikata ga nai is probably really relevant for right now. And its literal translation is a Japanese language phrase meaning, it cannot be helped. Nothing can be done about it. So when we think about what’s going on in the world right now, this is important. We can’t help that there’s a virus. We can’t help that there’s been decisions made by politicians that cause economic collapse. We can’t help those things. There’s nothing that can be done about it.
Basically if something happens which is beyond someone’s ability to control or affect, the Japanese reaction is, well, shikata ga nai. With this phrase, someone recognizes that a problem exists, and then gets on with doing what can be done. And this is very important.
So back in the history, it was used a few times, especially in the war. Emperor Hirohito gave a statement in his first ever press conference in Tokyo about the Hiroshima bombing. And he said, it’s very regrettable that nuclear bombs were dropped. And I feel sorry for the citizens of Hiroshima. But it couldn’t be helped, because that happened in wartime.
And in 2011, Japan was devastated by a tsunami that swept away many lives. And Psychology Today shared a story of a man who lost his one and only son and his wife because of the tsunami, and he said, I have to use the life I am lucky to have for the good of others. My son loved this community, and when I help the community, I feel like we’re still connected. So I get to work to do what I can.
In 2019, Japan had a strong typhoon, strongest in 25 years. So it’s interesting to see historically this phrase comes up. These people couldn’t help the tsunami. They couldn’t stop the bomb being dropped. They couldn’t stop the typhoon. It’s just going to happen anyway. The French have a similar phrase, c’est la vie. Iceland’s phrase is petta reddast, which means it will all work out.
But not all cultures have this mindset. Because in some Western places, that actually can sound a little bit negative. So this is really the interesting part. Some people would argue that just saying, well, that’s just going to happen anyway, is like, defeatist or just giving up. But it’s really more a case of just let go of things you can’t change. I think that’s the big lesson.
It’s like staying calm when you’re in a storm, or accepting that things are beyond your control and not worth being anxious about or stressing over. So that’s where I think it’s really powerful.
What can’t you change?
So back to our situation now, it’s important to think about what you cannot change. There’s really two main things to think about when you’re deciding, you know, how stressed or worried to be. There’s the things you cannot change. And then there’s the things you can change. If you can’t change it, then maybe it’s time to just let go. Let go, stop trying to be responsible or panic about things that have happened.
“You can’t change the past, but you can change what’s moving forward.”
I like the Adlerian philosophy, where he talks about there’s no need for trauma because a lot of people are bringing things from the past back into the future. And he talks about the fact that the past no longer exists. Okay? So wherever you’re listening to this podcast, just think about this. The pandemic’s already out of the box. You didn’t start it. You can’t do anything about it. In the past, it’s there. Okay, you can’t change that, but you can change what’s moving forward.
So let’s talk about that. What I’ve been doing is I’ve just really been focusing on routine, relationships. I’ve kept my head away from social media. There’s just far too much politics, social disorder, crazy emotion floating around. I’ve just switched it off. I didn’t feel the need to announce it. But I just stayed away.
I’ve also got a new filter or rule with social media. I’m really just offering encouragement, or praise or support. And I’m not getting invested in arguments that can never be won. That is just a drain. That’s focusing on stuff you can’t change, the way that people argue crazy stuff. So I don’t go down the crazy path. And I feel so much karma for it.
Targeting the boring stuff
I’m focusing on the boring stuff, like what works. If you were to look into my little business, you’d see that I’ve started a new B2B membership. I am working on two books right now, one about memberships and one about scaling businesses from six to seven figures. I put a new course up for free, the Lifestyle Design Course.
I started a new community at SuperFastResults. It’s a $10 per month coaching product. It’s actually something I drafted earlier in the year. I wanted to be able to support people who aren’t ready yet for SuperFastBusiness membership.
So if you’re not making $10,000 a month, if you’re not sure what to do next, if you’ve got a lot of questions and no one to ask, who will give you a decent answer, if you’re sick of getting the runaround from Facebook groups, if you don’t want 1000 terabytes of stuff to download that you buy, if you just want to be able to ask a question and get an answer, that’s what SuperFastResults, the coaching Support Assist program there. It’s 10 bucks a month at the time of recording this.
That’s been really popular, and I love it. The people in there are amazing, really good people. They do buy other products or services which are appropriate for them from time to time, and some of them have gone so well in that program that they’ve actually upgraded. And that’s really the goal of it. It’s a starter, it’s a primer.
I’ve also published my membership course. It really took me over a decade of experience, probably 16 hours of prep, three and a half hours of delivery. And then my team had to, you know, cut up and transcribe and edit and make this into a beautiful little course. And it’s available now at SuperFastResults. It’s called Profitable Membership Business. I highly recommend this if you’re thinking about a membership.
So I published that and I found leverage. The last few weeks lately, I’ve worked around about eight hours per week. And I just wanted to see if I dial back what happens. And it’s still good. We’re still publishing the podcasts, I’m still coaching my students. I’ve dropped some of the SilverCircle coaching, membership-level activities that I’m doing. I’m not taking new clients very often anymore.
I’m focusing a lot more on my revenue share partnerships. And that’s a topic for a future book and course, so keep your eye out for that one. And I’ve just been investing in things. I’m investing in my knowledge, I’ve been reading more books, doing more courses.
I’ve been focusing on relationships and people around me. I’ve been keeping an eye on the world, but not getting wrapped up in it. So I have to be knowledgeable about it. I’ve got to navigate and I’ve got so many good inputs when I speak to my clients that I feel like I’ve got an understanding.
Expect a hangover
Now, what’s obvious to me and hopefully it is to you, too, there is a hangover coming in the financial side of things, I would expect there’ll be some kind of economic difficulties. A lot of companies are technically going into recession now. But there’s more coming. I’ve got a few of my friends commenting on this too. But for me, I’m just watching and waiting for that to happen. I expect that to happen.
“There is a hangover coming in the financial side of things.”
So I’m very careful with things like where my share portfolio is. My property portfolio, in which currency I’m keeping cash in. So I’m watching these changes. That has to be coming. When the government stops supporting and propping up businesses and paying people to essentially do nothing, and the true reality of the unemployment comes through and the amount of businesses that have closed gets disclosed, we’re going to see a rollback.
I’ve been learning a lot about businesses – buying, starting, selling as a continuation. I think right now is the time to renovate your business into a fantastic business to sell, that you’ll also find joyful to keep.
So in summary, the way I’ve been dealing with things is not getting caught up in the mainstream. Not worrying about things I can’t change. I’ve let go. I am focusing on things I can change. And I’m making those changes, but in a peaceful, paced way.
What you want to avoid
Because I can see the other thing that’s happened is some people have got so busy, and so opportunistic, they’ve actually created entire products and programs around COVID, etc. You’ll notice I don’t do COVID marketing. What’s going to happen with those people is, firstly, the audience are going to remember that they were very opportunistic. But secondly, they’re going to get burnt out. They are like pigs in a trough who just overeat, and they’re going to have a belly ache.
So pace yourself. This is a long game. I have hardly any peers from 10 years ago, who are doing quite well now, who are going to be doing well in a few years from now. It’s my prediction. And that’s because they’re playing the wrong game. So pace yourself, let go of the stress and the worry. Experiment with having less strict goals, and relaxing yourself a bit from your to-do list.
“Pace yourself. This is a long game.”
Just think about what’s the logical one or two things that you should do right now in your business to set you up to be going well, this time next year. And by the way, when it comes to, you know, when things are back to normal, or going back to normal, I just don’t think that’s going to happen, especially not anytime soon.
Things are going to be different
We are not going to go back to the way things were in 2019. There will be deep, long-lasting changes, and it’s time to adjust. They’ll still be perspex screens up in the post office and the supermarket. And you still have a little more space requirements for seating and travel and things.
“There will be deep, long-lasting changes, and it’s time to adjust.”
Sure, in 2024, 2023, maybe, there’ll be travel booms and it’ll be such a joyful, fantastic experience to do things that we used to take for granted. Like go to a rock concert, or hop on a plane and go to some in-person event or mastermind. These things will be special in the future. But we’ve got a long way to go until that happens.
So in the meantime, if you need some help, pick the level of whatever service I’ve got that suits you. If you think I am the right person, of course. You should question everything and see who’s going to be a good fit for you. If you’re not sure, just send me an email, james @ jamesschramko.com. Ask me what the right program for you is. Tell me a bit about your situation.
I’ve got programs from free (there’s a lot of podcasts) to $10 a month to a book that’s maybe 20 bucks, or Kindle, I think it’s three or $4, to coaching from $99 per month through to $599 per month. And then there’s some Partnership Program above that. If we’re really good fit, and you’re already rocking it and you think I can help you take it to the next level with distribution and all the things I know, let’s talk about it.
But for now, this is Episode 765. I really just wanted to check in. I wanted to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes thoughts I’m having, because I’m not out there spraying my opinion every five seconds these days. I just want to keep it tight.
The good thing also is I just sat down for the first time in about two or three months, pulled out a big stack of notes that I had, and sorted through them. And I’ve selected a dozen or so of them to turn into little videos and podcasts. So I will produce those in the short term. So lots of new topics are coming.
If you enjoy this episode, please share it with someone. If you think my podcast is worth a review and you haven’t already done it, that’d be terrific. I’d really appreciate that.
And if you’ve got a special request, if you’ve got a topic you want me to talk about and you don’t think I’ve covered yet, or you’d like me to update, can you please just flick me an email? Let me know what your request is or put a comment at 765 on SuperFastBusiness.com. I read every comment, and I would love to be guided by what you need right now.
Because I’m fine. And I’m here now to look beyond me. I need to help you, and we can get a good result for you, if you keep your head right, set your filters and plot your path.
Thank you so much for listening. I’ll catch you in a future episode. I’m James Schramko. This is SuperFastBusiness.com.
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