One-off Bits of Advice Picked Up from Various Podcasts

Los Angeles Clippers basketball player JJ Redick: Your performance and your team’s performance improve when you decide you are playing FOR your teammates and not WITH your teammates. Note: this same perspective is used to build bonds within units of the military, and I’ve seen elite football coaches like Urban Meyer apply it by breaking his 85-man team into smaller subsets to make it easier for players to identify a small unit they are playing for.

Los Angeles Dodgers baseball manager Dave Roberts: As a leader, there are three things your players are looking for from you: (1) Can I trust this person? (2) Does he/she care about me? and (3) Can he/she make me better?

Former basketball player Steve Nash, on being okay with failure in certain types of jobs/pursuits: whether you’re a soccer player trying to score goals, a salesperson making cold calls, looking for a new job, looking for a future spouse, etc. it has to be okay in your mind that you are going to be rejected in over 90% of cases. If that’s not acceptable to you, your psyche won’t survive the work.

Entrepreneur/investor Naval Ravikant, on doing things you enjoy: Your edge comes from doing things you like that others perceive as being hard work.

Announcer Joe Buck, on one thing he’s grateful for about his dad and legendary broadcaster Jack Buck: whenever he meets someone that starts a sentence with ‘I met/knew your father,’ he knows he doesn’t have to worry about what’s coming in the second half of the sentenceGood thing to strive for.

Baseball writer Tom Verducci, on communicating well: Deliver your message clearly enough that someone could remember and say it to a friend an hour or a day later.

From an a16z podcast on building your personal brand: it is possible to go wider AND deep. Just because you’re viewed as a jack-of-all-trades does not mean you are a master of none. It is possible to go deep on a specific subject or craft even if you’re well rounded.

Naval Ravikant, on where a salesperson is valuable: A salesperson or personal brand is more valuable as the product they’re selling is more commoditized. Apple doesn’t need the best salespeople to sell its products, but someone in sales can make millions if they’re in real estate or venture capital (the money provided to an entrepreneur is a commodity; the value comes from how the investor can help the business beyond the funding).

Writer Chuck Klosterman, on one way humans get themselves into trouble: When a person talks about the future, the audience wants a real, definable prediction. Beware of any creeping desire for a false sense of precision.

Actress Anne Hathaway, on extinguishing anger: When you feel like you’re about to start a fight with someone (could be at work or at home), go sit down and write out all your thoughts in a journal for 12 minutes. Then burn what you wrote.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, on how she approached her career: She was trying to get jobs she was proud of, work she was excited to do, and with people she wanted to work with.

Actress Amanda Peet: You can only be as good as the part. Play thin roles and people don’t know what you’re capable of.

Musician Norah Jones, on a cool thing her mom did for her when Norah was little: After young Norah began piano lessons, she pleaded with her mom to be able to stop. Her mom told her, ‘you begged me for piano lessons,’ so stick with it for five years. Then, if you quit but decide later to go back to it, you at least have a base skill level to start from.

Sources: Redick — Roberts — Nash — Ravikant — Buck — Verducci — a16z personal brand — Klosterman — Hathaway — Parker — Peet — Norah