How Marketing Made Me a Better Performer, Lover and Friend

Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Learning marketing since graduation has been a game changer in my professional and personal life.

But I was never always open to it…

Growing up, I always considered sales and marketing to be reserved for the ones who can’t get a decent job.

But boy was I wrong.

 

Since learning about marketing and working as a marketer, I started to notice a change in the way I see things and interact with others.

I think it’s safe to say that marketing changed my life in ways I never expected.

Here are just some of the benefits.

 

1. Learning to get attention made me more romantic

When you scroll down your Facebook feed, do you click because it interest you or because it was so boring that you had to click it?

Marketers are in the business of getting attention. And to get attention, the idea has to be interesting.

But you can’t be interesting overnight.

You don’t take a”World’s Most Interesting Man” pill and wake up super cool. (If there is, please let me know)

You would have to follow trends or at least find creative angles to tell your story.

Turning something boring into something interesting is the name of the game.

This doesn’t just apply to repackaging or re-positioning.

It applies to our romantic relationships as well.

As G.K Chesterton puts it,

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.

Meaning we are not looking for new things per se, but that we looking for new ways to look at things.

I was listening to relationship expert Esther Perel on the Tim Ferriss Show and she said something that I remembered:

“If people only use 10% of their creativity for cheating and put to their current love lives, they will surprised how far they can take it.”

Think about, if you woke up without a memory of your relationship, you would find your partner attractive and interesting as you did in the beginning.

Ever heard old husbands who say they look at their wives as though it was their first time? Sounds familiar eh?

Learning marketing also helped me get excited about the littlest things.

It helps me reframe any situation or thing to make it all the more interesting and exciting.

 

2. Learning to psycho people made me more sociable

 

I was a serial introvert.

If I were an OS, my socializing muscle will be under “Least Used Apps”.

But since getting into marketing, I started to overcome my shyness and nervousness of making new friends.

It all starts with what marketing is.

Marketing is persuasion at scale.

To persuade, you need to understand the basics of psychology.

Like what are your customers like and how to sell to them.

It goes deeper than that though.

Being a marketer demands that you adopt different worldviews to appeal to different people.

In result, creating a growth oriented, open minded person.

A person who is open to different cultures, values and experiences.

You stop thinking that your view of the world is the only one that is correct.

You start listening to what others say more intently.

You take criticism more easily and you don’t let your ego get in the way of your judgement.

 

By being welcoming of other people’s views, you are bound to have more things in common with them.

And the more you have more things in common with people, the easier it is to become friends.

You make more friends and your professional and personal network starts to grow.

 

3. Learn that perception is reality

Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Everything you know to be true is only true because you believe it to be.

All the things you were told growing up were made up by people who were just as clueless as you.

As you learn marketing, you start to realize an ugly truth: that all social norms were created out of thin air and most of our beliefs are shaped by the media we are exposed to.

Stories are the currency of our lives.

The diamond engagement was only popular since the 1920s because it was marketed as a thing that only real men do. (oh, and the two-month salary rule, wasn’t created by buyers, it was created by sellers.)

Smoking cigarettes became mainstream because tobacco companies had huge marketing budgets to have celebrities smoke. It became cool. Now, with all the health hazards, the tobacco companies are marketing the act of smoking as a matter of “freedom of choice.”

And one quick question, which you think is more dangerous – using an airplane or using a car?

Most people would think airplane, but statistically driving a car is far more dangerous.
The odds? 11,000,000:1 for airplanes. 5,000:1 for cars.

We think airplane because of availability heuristic. Because the news talks about a plane crash for weeks, we think its more dangerous to use an airplane, but lookup your newspaper and you will see that car crashes happen everyday.

I found out about this learning behavioral psychology and the mental shortcuts we use when making decisions.

Being aware of all this – the stories we are told and the biases we have helps me tremendously when I make important decisions.

It helps me find out my weaknesses.

For example, I haven’t been exercising for months.

But since I learnt about the psychology of nudges, I decided to place my gym clothes on my desk.

It’s the first thin I see when I wake up in the morning.

The result? Just placing my clothes very openly where I can see them made me exercise more.

 

***

As you can see, marketing has had a profound effect on how I see things in the world.

I have become more sociable, romantic, self-aware and effective.

I have since also had a hunger for wisdom. For knowledge that can make my life and those around me more enjoyable.

 

What recently changed your life for the better? 🙂

 

How to Have a Great Day Everyday

I don’t know about you. But whenever Friday comes along, two things come to mind:

  1. Hooray! It’s the weekends! I can finally rest and be at ease (for about 2 days and 2 nights of all-you-can-sleep)
  2. Damnit! It’s the weekends already. Time sure flies and I don’t remember achieving what I set out to do or at least enjoyed myself.

Fridays are a constant reminder to me that life is not meant to be delayed. Or as Tim Ferriss would call “a deferred life.”

It seems irrational to slug it out for 5 days while hating the process so that you can finally give yourself permission to enjoy yourself on the weekends.

This post was written to provide food for thought for those 5 days.

 

Designing Your Life By The Day

The exercise is to learn how to design your ideal day.

What on earth does that mean?

It would mean to really think about what would make the day a great one for you.

Now, some of you may think – but to me, an ideal day is travelling the world and sipping Margaritas on the beach.

Fair dream. Fair goal, I would say.

But if it is not within reach right now, why be unhappy till then?

 

Now, just imagine how great your life would be like if you were able to identify what makes a great day for you that you can do right now?

You would be able to do it all over and over again 🙂

 

Here’s my list to give you some ideas:

  1. Sleep eight solid hours (or as much as I need)
  2. Have a good meal (home cooked food tastes awesome)
  3. Exercise and sweat
  4. Meditate for 20 minutes
  5. Have a mid day nap for 20 minutes
  6. Make others more successful (for my company, or for my readers of my blog)
  7. Have “present” time (watching a movie, dancing, reading, writing)
  8. Talk to a loved one
  9. Explore a different part of the city / Change environments

 

Having a checklist such as this will not make you instantly happy but it would serve as a reminder of what you can do in order to feel as though that you made the most out of your day.

One of the things I do every morning is to ask myself what would make today great.

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be a good lunch, exercising, watching a good movie or accomplishing something at work.

 

A Millennial’s Cry to All Fresh Grads (and How to Get Unstuck)

CONTEXT: I’m a 24 year old law grad who graduated officially last November (convocation and all). Gotten a job offer by last September and landed my job of choice at iPrice by last October.

With all the recent barrage of media outlets covering the “unrealistic expectations” of fresh grads in Malaysia, I can’t help but to provide my two cents on the matter.

They frequently cited 5 reasons most fresh grads remained unemployed:

  1. Unrealistic salaries
  2. Poor attitude
  3. Choosy about job or company
  4. Lack of English proficiency
  5. Poor communication skills

Let’s start with salaries –

Referring to an employers survey conducted by JobStreet in 2016, it was report that 60% of fresh graduates expect a starting salary of RM3,500 while another 30% wanted RM6,500 to fund their lifestyle.

I personally think that RM3,500 a month isn’t an unreasonable ask given the rate of inflation we are experiencing. But please don’t go around thinking it’s a given when the average salary of most entry level positions are around RM2,500.

That said, kudos to the ones who are asking for RM6,500 for their ambition to think big.

But there is one HUGE thing to consider if you are one of them:

  • How much value are you creating for the company?

You must understand that from the standpoint of business, the boss will be more than happy to pay you RM10,000 a month if you can provide returns of RM100,000. In fact, they will approach you if you are that good.

Learn to give more value than you receive in payment

Poor attitudes –

Our mindsets determine our outlook on life.

I have no rant for this but just pure empathy.

Empathy for those who have yet to see what they are truly capable of.

I was no private school child. I went through all the Kebangsaan schools like everyone else did and I was never taught the power of the growth mindset until I started my path in reading book almost every week.

I was obsessed with the ones who are successful. I watch Gary Vee everyday, read Seth Godin’s books, had my Instagram plastered with fancy quotes and sportscars.

(This all happened after my finals, mind you.)

This entire journey changed how I saw the world. With that mindset, I went in for my job interview and got my job of choice 2 months before officially graduating.

My recommendation is to read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck.

Tom Bilyeu, the American entrepreneur best known as a co-founder of Quest Nutrition, the second fastest growing private company in North America described the book as “the single most important book ever written in the English language.”

Tony Robbins, when asked which books he has gifted the most on the Tim Ferriss podcast, said this book was one of them.

Here’s a video to get your feet wet:

Choosiness –

What’s wrong with that?

When you have choices, you should choose right?

But please, don’t sabotage yourself because of ego.

There is never a job that’s beneath you, only jobs that limit your potential.

Lousy English –

I can take on two stances on this:

  1. The school system is to blame for not putting emphasis on English
  2. You are to blame for not realizing it was important early on in the first place.

I prefer to take the second stance. But that isn’t fair to those who genuinely came from backgrounds that were very non-English.

If you have difficulty in English now, start learning.

There is no excuse. None.

Can’t communicate –

When we are trained to write more than we are to speak, our speaking will generally be worse off than our writing – for sure.

How to learn? Speak more in low risk situations.

Do it with family friends or close friends to begin with and then slowly move to colleagues and acquaintances.

You got to start somewhere if you want to get to some place.

CONCLUSION

Finding a job is easy. Any job I mean.

To get the job you want is the challenging bit.

The greatest lesson I have learnt since graduating and working on my career is to the virtue of being patient.

We millennials lack it tremendously.

There are times you would think to yourself that your employer is paying you oh so little in the beginning and you are not getting the perks you deserve.

But as long as you practice these two things, you would be alright:

  1. Always do what’s right (even if it doesn’t feel like its worth the effort right now)
  2. Be patient.

Don’t believe me? Ask your seniors.

 

This post first appeared on LinkedIn.

I Still Feel Jealous When I See My Friends…

Why do I still feel this way?

The other day I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I saw a friend of mine post a picture of his first car purchase… I immediately felt belittled.

I felt inadequate… but most of all – JEALOUS (not envy).

But then it hit me – I don’t even like to DRIVE!

Have you ever caught yourself feeling that you were dealt the unfortunate hand when see your other friends succeeding?

“Why can’t I have that?” you say to your self.

We keep comparing our behind-the-scenes to other people’s highlight reels.

And damn is this unhealthy.

What is the best way to deal with it?

The answer is in the quote – comparison.

Comparing yourself in admiration to others is fine. If you strive to be the best in the world one day, then it is good to look at the best and see where you stand.

But the healthiest way (as cheesy as it sounds) is to compare yourself to your past.

This solves the huge “I’ll be happy when I…” problem as well.

Don’t sabotage yourself by delaying your happiness everytime you see something (or someone) that other’s have.

Instead you should look back:

Really. Think about how far you’ve come.

You should be proud and grateful.

There is no merit in jealousy.

SO BE GRATEFUL (but don’t forget to go for gold too)

🙂

How to Be Happy Right Now

The greatest pursuit in life isn’t money or fame. But it is the pursuit of happiness.

We often confuse between a means goal and an end goal.

An example of a means goal is making money and exercising regularly.

An end goal is the reason why you do it in the first place.

Why make more money? To have more options. To be able to know that everything is taken care of.  But what is it that you want to take care of? Yourself? Your family?

Why exercise regularly? To keep fit and to be healthy. For what? To be able to enjoy life and take care of our loved ones.

The end goal should always be at the top of our heads.

Means goals are the fancy ones. The ones that sell. Lamborghinis & Rolexes.

End goals aren’t so sexy. Feeding your family, loving your family.
It’s not glamorous but it gives you the reason to stay in the game.

End goals are to be your focus if you want to be happy right now.

Delaying happiness is stupid at best and destructive at worst.

All you ever needed was around you. But you rather wait and claim it once the dust is settled.

There is a TED Talk titled Be A Man and the speaker, Joe Ehrmann who has been at many deathbeds during his service always heard the same two questions spoken by men in their final moments (and it wasn’t about the things they owned):

  • Love
    Was I a great father, husband, son?
  • Legacy
    Will I remembered? What have I contributed for the betterment of the world? What footprint did I leave behind?

These questions are real and true and it gives a you a perspective on what people in their limited time genuinely cared about.

Warren Buffett was once asked in an interview what his definition of success was and he said that having a big bank account doesn’t make you successful. He has met many wealthy people who are depressed and hated by their families.

To him, the definition of success was simple – that the people who you wished love you love you.

He said money can buy sex, but it can’t buy love.

Some of you may say, “Easy for him to say, he has $60 billion!.”

Well, it is exactly because he is very wealthy that he is qualified to say it.

Would you take him seriously if he were poor?

What is your definition of success? Or put another way what warms your heart?

Tony Robbins, the life strategist, was given a task to take a quadriplegic man who became that way on his honeymoon with his wife after he dived wrongly into the hotel swimming pool and broke his neck. He can barely move clench his hands and can’t feel anything from the chest down. His wife has to change his diapers everyday and his catheter every 2 hours.

When Tony was asked to turn their lives around, he had to question his beliefs on what makes a great life and his conclusion (which I suggest you write down somewhere) is AN EMOTIONALLY RICH LIFE.

So what he did was take them to sky dive. It was a first for the both of them. It was unreal.

After that, they made the guy play murderball – a sport played by wheelchair bound players, and he succeeded in going through it.

He wrapped it up by re-enacting their wedding ceremony on stage with the same people present in their previous ceremony.

It was a spectacle to behold and a great lesson to learn.
In that, life can take away something from you. But how you react to it is what makes the difference.

You either be mad or depressed, or look to the bright side and practice happiness regardless.

You can start being happy now by knowing that tomorrow is unknown and that what is certain is the present day.

Keep working towards your goal, but don’t let it be an excuse for you to not be happy.

3 years of being unhappy so that you can enjoy a moment of achievement?

What ever happened to singing in the shower?
Or laughing hard at a joke?
Or dance like a moron while listening to your favourite song?

It was all emotion. The things that make you feel alive was all emotionally rich.

To wrap up:

  • Remember the bigger picture: Love & Legacy.
  • Live an emotionally rich life.

“Every day set out to be the happiest person on the planet.” – Tony Robbins

Can’t go wrong with that.

Live a life of emotion and practice happiness now.

*****

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