What Mexican Beach Vendors Can Teach You About Business, Dating, and Time Management

I was at the beach in beautiful Sayulita a couple weeks ago, and two vendors kept approaching me. One was selling hammocks and the other was renting umbrellas. Which do you think was doing more business?

The hammock seems like a much better value, right? Wouldn’t it be stupid to rent the umbrella when you can have the hammock for life?

Wrong. A hammock is useless without two trees to hang it between. So hammock-man isn’t selling me rest and relaxation. He’s selling me a project. But I’m not at the hobby store. I’m at the beach. I want to relax, and hammock-man is selling an incomplete experience.

Umbrella-man, on the other hand, not only puts up the umbrella for you, making sure to dig a deep enough hole so the umbrella doesn’t blow away, but he also adjusts it as the sun changes position and takes it down for you at the end of the day. That’s one less thing you have to deal with when you’re ready to go home. That is a complete experience!

So, what can we learn from this?

It’s often better to rent a complete experience than to buy a incomplete experience. I haven’t owned a car in years because I don’t particularly like driving and I don’t need the hassle of looking for parking and dealing with insurance and other maintenance costs. But keep in mind when comparing the difference in costs between two options, that you have to consider not just the monetary costs but also the impact on your time and your sanity. There’s a laundromat in my neighborhood that charges me double what all the others charge, but they pick up and drop off my laundry, and they do it in about 5 hours, while the others take at least a day. That is a complete experience, and I’m happy to pay for it because it saves me time and energy and the stress of worrying about whether or not I’m going to have clean sheets on my bed tonight.

If you’re a business, are you providing your customers with the complete experience? You’re not selling a product, you’re selling the experience that that product provides. It’s not that hard to segment your market, providing some customers with the complete experience (assembly, delivery, etc) and giving others the minimum. The laundromat I mentioned above has some customers who do their own laundry, and then other customers (like me) who are willing to pay for the complete experience.

Are you giving the people you date the complete experience? And I don’t just mean satisfying them sexually, though of course you should be doing that. Are you stimulating them intellectually and emotionally as well? Are you just assuming “I’m hot and good in bed, therefore women are going to love me” but you’re not really that interesting or fun outside of bed? Well then you’re providing an incomplete experience. Maybe some women will be okay with that. But most of them want the complete experience.

Stay sexy, my friends.

How To Recognize and Eliminate Your Limiting Beliefs

Last week, I talked about how powerful limiting beliefs are, and how they can warp your perception of reality.

But how do you recognize your own limiting beliefs? And more importantly, how do you eliminate them?

The problem with limiting beliefs is that they’re so deep inside your head, it’s hard to recognize that they’re erroneous. It’s like asking a buggy program to debug itself – it doesn’t know what the bugs are.

Because it’s so difficult to tell what’s a limiting belief and what isn’t, we’re better off looking for the ones that are holding us back. These ones present themselves as the excuses that you’re using to keep yourself from doing the things you want to do.

Also, look for any negative pre-conceptions you have about yourself. “I” statements that seem charmingly self-deprecating, like:

  • I’m disorganized.
  • I’m not good at talking to girls
  • I’m not the kind of guy who’s sociable.
  • I’m just naturally fat and overweight.

It’s important to realize that some of these might be partially true – maybe you actually do have a slow metabolism, or you’re a bit introverted, or whatever. We still want to discard the limiting belief because it’s not useful. Conversely, you could have a false belief that turns out to be very useful. Imagine you believed you were great at talking to girls. You’d constantly be doing it, and pretty soon you’d get good at it because of all the practice. But even before that point, your confident body language would open plenty of doors.

So, for each belief/excuse/self-perception, apply the following process as described here:

1. Write it down.

2. Think about all the things that this belief is holding you back from (whether it’s true or not).

3. Think of an example that contradicts this belief. Has there ever been a time where you behaved as if this belief were false?

4. Adopt the opposite belief. Meditate on it daily. Repeat it to yourself over and over. Replace all the negative self-talk with positive self-talk. It will take a long time for you to fully internalize this positive self-talk, so in the meantime,

5. Change your behavior. It’s easier to act your way into a different attitude than to think your way into a new behavior.

Repeat this process on a regular basis. Just like the most complex software is never fully bug-free, your brain will never be fully free of erroneous assumptions and bogus limiting beliefs.

Stay sexy, my friends.

Why Setting Goals Doesn’t Work

It’s the received wisdom that we should set goals and work toward them. But amidst all this positive thinking, no one ever talks about why it fails. Laziness and lack of motivation are obvious reasons, but I think another important reason is that people get focused on the milestone instead of the behavior that leads to it. They focus on the product instead of the process. Some examples:

“I just want to lose ten pounds”. This is a classic example of stupid goal setting that leads to stupid counter-productive behavior like juice fasts and other crash diets that destroy the muscle that was keeping your metabolism high, screw up your hunger-regulating hormones, ensuring that you’ll get fat faster in the future. Weight is a meaningless number, after all. If you told me you gained or lost 10 lbs in a month, the first thing I would ask you is how much of it was muscle.

“I wish I could get her phone number/get her to go out with me”. Ok, and then what? Getting a girl to go out with you is just a milestone in the whole process of attraction. A lot of guys focus on getting girls’ phone numbers, not realizing that that’s actually the easiest part. Believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way. I have a lot of numbers in my phone of extremely hot women, most of whom don’t text back. That’s ’cause I didn’t take the time to develop a real connection with them BEFORE I asked for their phone numbers, because I was stupidly focused on getting the phone number as though that was the magic key.

“I wish I had a million dollars”. Most people who win the lottery end up bankrupt and in debt within a year, because they haven’t learned how to be rich, successful people.

Instead, for each of your goals, you need to dig a little deeper and figure out what you REALLY want, and not just look at the outer signifiers or the milestones.

“I just want to lose ten pounds”. No, you don’t. You want to be a fit, healthy person. But that’s not a two-week project. It’s a lifestyle change. But trust me, it’s worth it. And the two-week crash diet will just make you miserable in the short-term and fatter in the long-term. It’s scientifically proven.

“I wish I could get her to go out with me”. No, what you really want is to be so attractive that women like her actually WANT to go out with you. That requires you to work on yourself and improve your social skills. But it’s worth it.

“I wish I had a million dollars”. No, you don’t. What you really want is to be successful. The million dollars is just a trophy that proves you were successful.

Try this with all the goals you set for 2015 and see if you’re focusing on dumb external measurements instead of the things you really want.