The Reality Distortion Field (RDF) is a topic that I found particularly intriguing in the late Steve Jobs’ biography. By creating his own reality, Jobs was able to encourage and motivate his employees to tackle tough situations by making the situations appear easier than they were. I was so fascinated by the book and the concept of RDF that I specifically asked my mentor to meet with me at a popular book store, so that we could unpack the concept of reality together.
“Do you believe in the power of creating your own reality?” I probed my mentor.
“All successful entrepreneurs that I’ve stumbled upon along my journey believe that they create their own reality,” he replied. “And in his experience, there are six tools to create that reality.
1. Accept that you are the author of your own reality
Everyone has a different experience of reality. Reality is 100% subjective.
If your first response to challenges is to react by saying “It can’t be done!”, this is your reality. It’s not real; it’s just real to you. There is another reality where these same challenges can be overcome.
2. Find the levers to change your reality
Where there is a dissonance between where you are and where you want to be, there is usually a handful of high efficiency levers available to you to help you create the most effect, with the least effort. The trick is to identify these levers and choose the optimal one which will allow you to focus 20% of your effort to get a 100% result.
For example, if you need to get a product to market, you can either spend time and effort building your own distribution channels, or spend a fraction of the time designing a value proposition to partner with those who have existing distribution channels.
Reality A is that it will take years to get your product to market. Reality B is it will take months. Both are real. Spend your time exploring the most efficient way to solve your problem.
3. Work on your assumptions
Some entrepreneurs give assumptions the status of reality, but successful entrepreneurs tend to rather reality-test incumbent assumptions more regularly, realising the assumptions aren’t real, but temporary and historical.
4. Practice the art of reframing
Successful entrepreneurs have an authentic and inexhaustible ability to reframe situations.
A disaster could be reframed with the question: “If this were a good thing, why would that be?” This question allows these entrepreneurs to capitalise (and take action) on all of the answers that ensue. By reframing the situation, entrepreneurs are given momentum and direction on the next steps.
For example, if you lose your biggest account, this might be the turning point where you never allow any client to be more than 20% of your revenue. You then create this as policy and the result is a more rugged, shock-resistant business.
By asking yourself how it could be a good thing, you also create an empowering policy and direction. Unsuccessful entrepreneurs who are faced with the same disaster would instead assume a reality that the situation is a disaster.
5. Practice the art of acting ‘as if’
Many great entrepreneurs create the impression that they are larger and more experienced than they actually are and able to do more than they actually can. Great success stories are filled with these anecdotes, and it’s normal. Acting ‘as if’ gives you an opportunity to live a different reality, even for a while, and create new opportunities and pathways.
Spend more of your time and effort closing the gap between the veneer that you are projecting and your current reality. The energy required to keep up that veneer is exhausting and potentially fatal to the business.
6. Know that your new ‘self-made’ reality is just that
Just as you move from one reality to another, don’t make the mistake of thinking that reality B is indeed reality, just because you spent time and effort recreating it. It too is not real. If it does not work for you, move to reality C.
Develop the skill of dislocating yourself from your reality and reattaching again. It’s the most powerful skill you can develop as an entrepreneur.
To Get A Job Or Not Get A Job. What Are We Teaching Our Children?
Remember the days where if you went to school and studied a degree, you got a job and built a career that enabled you to retire comfortably? I don’t, in fact I’m not sure those days ever really existed. If they did, they are long gone.
Today STATS SA tells us only 1 in 3 of the youth in South Africa have a job, even worse still – 34% of graduates aged 15-24 are unemployed1. The bottom line is that there are not enough jobs to cater for every child that finishes school. Our children need to learn entrepreneurship. If we want a brighter future for them, we need to nurture, teach and develop the skills and behaviours required to create jobs of their own.
With no intention of knocking the school system it would seem for the most part it discourages entrepreneurial thinking on a fundamental level; it prepares students to become good employees. Tuck your shirt in, sit still, stand in line, do your homework, focus on the task, check this box, you get the picture. Three decades ago this may have worked but it won’t work when we are trying to teach our children to survive the forth industrial revolution and prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist!
It may sound like a cliché, but kids are our future. As a parent I believe one of the most important duties we have is to give our children the best possible start. We need to prepare them on how to live, survive and thrive in a world that is rapidly changing, mostly unpredictable and often unforgiving. This starts by identifying the skills and nurturing the behaviours that will give them the best chance for success.
Teaching entrepreneurship prepares our children for the future
Entrepreneurship encompasses so much more than starting and running a business. It’s a shift in mindset, a different way of thinking. Entrepreneurship views problems as opportunities and fuels creativity in the pursuit of solutions. All these skills can be applied to life.
Successful entrepreneurs are resourceful, self-confident and tenacious. They are great communicators and marketers, good at identifying and understanding risk. They have learnt from failure and made mistakes. Entrepreneurs are financially literate, understand cash flow and how to manage money. Again, these are skills that every child and student can benefit from.
To make it in the workplace of the future you will need to be self-confident, innovative, creative, motivated and curious.
Employers will need to hire staff that have the creative ability to innovate and ensure the longevity of their organisations. Those people that show entrepreneurial flair will be in demand in a world that is ever and more rapidly changing.
Exposing our children to entrepreneurship, teaching them the fundamental skills and behaviours required to start a business, and letting them know it is a career choice should be a requirement in all schools and endorsed and supported by all parents.
- Youth unemployment still high in Q1: 2018 http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=11129
How To, In Practice, Distinguish Between Executive, Non-Executive And Independent Directors And Their Functions
Learn more about the differences in executive and non-executive directors.
Definition of a director in terms of the Companies Act
Section 1 of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (Companies Act) defines a Director as “a member of the board of a company, as contemplated in section 66, or an alternate director of a company and includes any person occupying the position of director or alternate director, by whatever name designated”.
Powers of directors
Section 66 of the Companies Act determines that the business and affairs of the company must be managed by or under the direction of its board and that the board has the authority to exercise all of the power and perform any of the functions of the company, except to the extent that the Companies Act or the Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation provides otherwise.
The board of directors, for the first time in our current Companies Act has been assigned the legal duty and responsibility and play a very important role in managing the affairs of the company and making vital decisions on behalf of the company.
Number of directors required on a board
In the case of a private company, or a personal liability company, the board must consist of at least one director and the case of a public company, or non-profit company, the board must consist of at least three directors. A JSE listed company requires at least four directors. The company’s Memorandum of Incorporation may however specify a higher number, substituting the minimum number of directors required.
How to distinguish between executive, non-executive and independent directors and their functions
A clear distinction is noticeable between the different types of directors in practice, even though the Act does not distinguish between executive, non-executive and independent directors.
The below table gives a clear understanding of the differences between executive and non-executive directors:
Member of the board of directors with directors’ duties.
|Part of the executive team, as an employee of the company and generally under a service contract with the company.||Not an employee of the company.|
|Involved in the day-to-day management of the company.||Not involved in the day-to-day management of the company.|
|In addition to a salary, does not receive directors’ fees.||May receive Directors’ fees, but does not receive a salary.|
|Shareholders are not involved in approving their salary packages.||Shareholders must approve their fees by way of special resolution, in advance.|
|Employee entitlements apply, such as annual and sick leave.||No entitlements apply.|
|Has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the company.||They contribute to the development of management strategies and monitor the activities of the executive directors.|
|They carry an added responsibility. Entrusted with ensuring that the information laid before the board by management is an accurate reflection of their understanding of the affairs of the company.||Plays an important role in providing objective judgement, independent of management on issues the company are facing.
Independent, non-executive director
An independent, non-executive director does not have a relationship, directly or indirectly with the company other than his or her directorship. They should be free of any relationship that could materially interfere with the independence process of his or her judgement and they do not represent the shareholders of the company.
An independent, non-executive director should be evaluated on an annual basis to determine if they are still considered independent.
The role of these directors
All directors should apply objective judgment and an independent state of mind, regardless of the classification as an executive, non-executive or independent non-executive director.
Executive directors may be appointed as non-executive directors on other boards if this does not influence their current position and is in accordance with company policy.
Before a director accepts the appointment, they should be familiar with their duties and responsibilities and be provided with the necessary training and advice.
Managing Your Priorities And Learning To Say No
How you use your time determines the degree of meaning or fulfillment you have and the money you make.
Getting more done is not about managing your time; it is about how you focus your attention and intention during the time you have. When you focus on scheduling your day to do high priority actions, they are more likely to get done.
Since you can have more than one kind of high priority action, it is wise to define them accordingly by further prioritising your high priorities. High priority items or actions can fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Those needing to be strategically planned (working on the business)
- Those needing to be done in relation to yourself
- Those needing to be done in relation to your employees
- Those needing to be done in relation to your clients, customers, patients…
- Those needing to be done that are creative (new divisions, services, products, markets…)
- Those needing to be delegated outside your company (outsourced)
- Those needing to be delegated inside your company (insourced).
It is essential to master the art of saying no to anything less important.
When you are unclear about what your true highest priority or business mission is, distractions can take you ‘off track’ and consume your time, attention, energy, focus, power of concentration and productive capacity.
Related: How To Say No Nicely
Knowing what your highest priority business mission and primary objectives are prevents you from being as easily distracted by every so-called ‘opportunity’ that comes along. It allows you to be more discerning about the activities you choose to take on board and those you discard. Clarity of mission gives you the ability to ignore distractions, and that can be incredibly inspiring and empowering.
You cannot please everyone so don’t waste your time trying. Continually saying yes because you can’t bear the short-term pain of saying no will cost you greater opportunities and lead you to bite off more than you can chew. Your time is finite.
Block out all less important distractions. Give them up. Embrace your trade-off.
Try eliminating, or scaling back some of your activities to determine if reducing or eliminating them makes any real difference in your results. This also helps you determine which actions are truly the most productive priorities. Deliberately eliminate or at least reduce your trivial, unimportant, unnecessary and irrelevant actions. Your intentional limits can help you become more limitless.
Sticking to your own higher priorities each day raises your self-worth. Take command of your time before others do and tell them the truth, or they may possibly keep demanding from you. Your integrity and, at times tactful bluntness, will allow you to get your most important job done. Your true friends or colleagues will respect your time and your priorities.
Since your work will expand or contract to fill the time allotted (Parkinson’s law), if you don’t fill your space and time with high priorities they can become filled with low priorities. And, if you don’t consume your energy and material resources with high priorities uses they can become consumed by low priority ones. If you don’t intensify your day with inspired actions things can slow down. Your time x your intensity will determine your results.
Many distractions that are being initiated by others are often opportunistic in nature. Many are simply others trying to sell you something – an idea, a viewpoint, an opinion, a friendship – in exchange for your valuable life and time. Simply being aware of what is being sold allows you to be more deliberate in deciding whether you want to buy or spend time on it.
Gracefully, respectfully and reasonably saying no, may temporarily disappoint the opportunist, but eventually it will lead them to respecting and appreciating you even more. It shows that you are a professional more than just an amateur and that you value yourself and your time more than their distractions. It is wiser to have a long-term gain in respect than a short-term popularity.
So ask yourself every morning what exactly is the highest priority action step I can take today to help me fulfill my most purposeful, meaningful, productive and profitable dream tomorrow.
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