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Read me like a book by starting at the beginning

Don’t Worship False Idols

Date - 05 January 2016/ Category - Facts Of Life
Facts of life

At the tender age of 27 I embarked on my first ski trip. It was such a momentous occasion, following 4 years of taking absolutely no time off that I shaved for the event. Thanks to copious amount of stress I ended up looking a maximum of 35.

It’s a funny thing stress, it affects people in different ways. Most people crumble into a mess, others shout random swear words, but for me its water off a ducks back. It literally doesn’t affect my performance, if anything I thrive on it.

There is one problem with the above statement, you see stress does affect me, in fact it kicks me in the nuts on a daily basis but not in a way you would think; the effects are purely physical.

As a result of copious amounts of stress I am what many people would describe as “mildly balding”. In essence, in the midst of an emergency I will save your business, but you might want to invest in one of those Dyson pet hoovers to deal with the hair on your carpet.

The first time I realised I was losing my hair I cried. I don’t really do emotion (a brilliant result of a somewhat emotionless but still loving childhood) but at that moment I broke down. You see there isn’t a lot you can do about hair loss except wear a cap, and I look awful in hats, like some kind of Jabba the hut at a baseball match.

The thing about stress is, you never quite know a person until they’re under the influence of it. It’s a brilliant test of one’s true nature. Most people cover their personality flaws with layers of makeup, but stress brings it all to the front in one huge heap of excitement and yet when the stress goes away they will revert to type like nothing ever happened.

If you want to build a team of dependable people that aren’t prone to wild mood swings and can keep going when the situation gets tough then you need to find a way to work out which potential candidates are good under stress, it will save you thousands.

People that can deal with stress are both much easier to manage and easier to understand. What you see is what you get.

If you’re wondering how to figure out what potential interviewees are like under stress, don’t rely on a test you printed off from the internet, test them out for yourself and take them to an escape room experience. It’s surprising what you’ll find out.

About half way through the escape they’ll start playing a loud buzzing noise to the team and all hell will break loose, then you’ll know who you’re actually dealing with.

Anyway where was I? Ah yes, skiing – well on my way at least.

As I walked through Manchester Airport looking at the idiots who pay for a massage chair in disbelief, I thought it might be a good idea to buy a book.

At this point in my life I didn’t really read a lot of books. Somehow I had become convinced that the world had very little to offer my incredible intelligence, but for some reason, call it the impending arrival of plane orientated boredom, or perhaps an act of god, I purchased a book called “The Psychopath Test”.

Did you know that psychopaths dream in black and white? Neither did I but apparently they do – I somehow feel richer for knowing that fact, maybe even one day it will be the last question in a quiz to win the meat pack and my team mates will raise me aloft like some kind of demi god; who knows.

Now aside from diagnosing my boss of the time as a class A psychopath, I don’t really remember a lot about the book other than one tiny little detail.

This tiny little detail actually turned out to be the inspiration for this book so I guess it’s not that tiny, but then again you might be the second person after my mum to read this and as such it’s all relative.

The author, a handsome and somewhat suave chap called Jon Ronson (for future reference I’m prone to exaggeration) managed to get the inside track on how they recruit for reality TV shows.

You see it turns out ordinary people just don’t make good TV. What you need is the right amount of crazy and it becomes a classic.

Basically TV recruitment goes like this. If you’re on medication, potentially suicidal, believe you get messages from god or you’re extremely bigoted then you’re in. Of course they have a limit, someone prone to mass murder just couldn’t get insured.

Now you’re probably thinking what does any of this have to do with being inspired to write a book based on the lessons I’ve learnt in business, am I somehow a psychopath? Am I about to reveal the details of my medication? Sadly not. In fact the closest I’ve ever been to being on a reality show was when the first series of Geordie Shore was filmed next to my University.

The truth is that the lightning bolt that reality TV wasn’t actually reality struck a chord with my creative brain; how much of the world we are lead to believe we live in is pre-selected because it’s simply more interesting than the truth?

Now I would like to state for the record that I am not stupid. I know these things are staged but the very fact that right down to personality types these people were selected, simply because they were bonkers got me thinking.

If reality TV is the pinnacle of viewer manipulation, on a smaller scale what else in our lives has been re-shaped in the search for higher viewer ratings?

Place good TV to one side, and it got me thinking, do they use a similar method to select the other personalities we see on our TVs? Did they pick the business leaders, commentators and success stories because they’re a little bit odd and make good TV?

More importantly, perhaps the really successful and insightful personalities in business were so ordinary and boring that their wisdom had been drowned out? Boring simply doesn’t make money.

I’m sure you’ve all seen politicians stand up in front of a union and tell them how to do their job despite never having done anything of note in their lives, well from here on in the same disdain I held for politicians was going to be applied to anyone telling me how to run my business through the medium of a TV or book.

Until now I’d spent years ignoring my gut because the world told me I didn’t know what I was doing. When I saw someone on TV wax lyrical about business I stood up and took note, but no longer.

From here on in I was going to start ignoring what everyone else said and just figure this business thing out for myself.

It was time to get my little notebook out and start taking notes about everything.

Chapter Summary:

• Build teams that can deal with stress
• The idols we worship were picked because they sell units
• Start listening to your gut

Read our next blog post “The importance of perspective”.