Self Help

Build, Don't Talk - Raj Shamani

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Matheus Puppe

· 24 min read

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  • Everyone needs to admit they suck at something rather than living in denial. This allows room for growth.

  • It’s important to try new things to truly know what you’re good or bad at, rather than making excuses.

  • If you realize you suck at something after trying it, don’t stubbornly stick with it out of false pride. Know when to accept your limitations and find other opportunities.

  • The author shares a personal example of realizing they sucked at public speaking after forgetting their thoughts on stage. They overcame it through hard work and practice.

  • To write this book, the author admits they suck at writing so they hired a ghostwriter. The focus is on sharing their message, not who writes it down.

  • Admitting weaknesses is part of SWOT analysis to understand capabilities and opportunities for self-improvement. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge flaws and seek help from others’ strengths.

The overall message is that humility and honesty about one’s shortcomings is important for growth, rather than living in denial or pride. Trying new things helps identify strengths and weaknesses.

  1. everyone has things they struggle with or aren’t good at, it’s important to accept that and not be ashamed of it. Focus on growing and improving.

  2. when you realize your weaknesses, determine if the thing is important to improve on or if it’s better to get help from others. Don’t get stuck on things you can’t change.

  3. admitting your weaknesses is the first step, but that alone doesn’t lead to growth. You need to take action to improve or get help from others. Don’t make excuses, start taking action.

  4. know your capabilities and limitations. Be willing to quit things that aren’t a good fit, as life is too short to be stuck on the wrong path.

  5. major life experiences, both positive and negative, can trigger realizations about what you want out of life and motivate you to make changes. Don’t be afraid to think big and follow uncommon paths, even if others doubt you.

The key message is that weaknesses, failures and criticisms shouldn’t hold you back from growth and pursuing your dreams. Have the courage to admit flaws, learn, adapt, take action and find your own way regardless of what others think or say.

  • The author felt inferior and wanted to feel superior by being richer than his peers. He started researching online how to get rich.

  • He came across the book “Think and Grow Rich” and read about Andrew Carnegie. According to what he read, Carnegie said you need a business, not a job, to get rich. You also need to meet as many people as possible and start a business in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry.

  • He decided to start a business making dishwashing gel. He experimented at home and failed 86 times before finding a successful formula. His formula was cheaper than existing brands.

  • He involved housewives by making the gel smell fruity. He involved kids by adding fruit pulp and smells. This gave it appeal to both groups.

  • His only concern was the safety of the formula since he lacked chemical expertise. He used his “student power” of begging to address this concern.

The summary focuses on how the author was inspired to start a business after researching how to get rich online, his process of developing a dishwashing gel product idea, and his plan to target housewives and kids as customers while also addressing safety concerns through begging assistance.

  • Don’t focus too much on your goals - focusing only on goals won’t lead to achieving them.

  • Instead, focus on daily habits and processes. Habits and daily behaviors are what will ultimately determine if you reach your goals or not.

  • Goals are important, but a plan or process to achieve them is even more important. You need to work on your habits and journey, not just obsess over end goals.

  • Outcomes depend more on day-to-day actions, not just thinking about future objectives. Keeping track of daily behaviors and continually improving is what will lead to goal achievement over time.

  • Your journey and how you developed as a person through that journey are more important than any single destination or goal. The path you take matters greatly.

So in summary, the article advocates focusing on daily habits, processes, and self-improvement rather than just fixating on specific goals. It’s the whole journey that determines results, not individual objectives.

Here are the key takeaways from the passage:

  1. Copying and taking inspiration from others is okay and actually very common. True innovation is rare - most things are based on existing ideas and concepts.

  2. Successful startups like Ola and Flipkart were inspired by and copied concepts from Uber and Amazon respectively. Minor modifications and customizations are made.

  3. As individuals, we are all combinations and mixtures of the influences, ideas, and values we absorb from role models, family, friends etc. We are not truly original.

  4. Creatives and entrepreneurs openly admit to “stealing” ideas from various sources and then modifying them. This is a normal process of developing new concepts.

  5. Rather than worrying about being truly innovative or original, focus on identifying good ideas worth copying/adapting, filtering them to your needs, and adding your unique perspective. Success comes from execution, not necessarily from completely novel concepts.

In summary, the passage encourages embracing the act of copying and taking inspiration from others as a legitimate source of new ideas, rather than rejecting it as being unoriginal. True innovation is rare; modifications to existing concepts is more common.

  • Having leverage over people is important for success. Anyone making money has some kind of advantage or leverage, like money, connections, skills, etc.

  • In the past, wealth brought leverage through the 1970s-1990s as industrialization grew. Having money allowed more opportunities.

  • In the 1990s-2000s, having people/connections was leverage through forming unions and cheaper production.

  • In the 2000s-2018, if lacking money or connections, intellectual property like coding skills brought leverage to create apps and sell them.

  • Today, most think they lack money, people, or specialized skills as leverage. The next form of leverage is attention - having a large engaged audience that you can share knowledge, products, and services with for mutual benefit. Building an audience allows monetizing attention through various means.

The overall message is that to be successful, one needs some form of leverage over others - whether that’s wealth, connections, skills/expertise, intellectual property, or a large engaged audience. Leverage is what allows people to monetize their advantages and rise higher in creating wealth and building their brand.

Here are the key points about coming up with a business idea:

  1. Choose an industry you are passionate about. Don’t worry if some industries seem more profitable than others - every industry has opportunities if you are good at it.

  2. Within that industry, analyze what topics, products, companies you spend the most time reading and learning about. This shows your natural interests and strengths.

  3. Once you choose an industry, identify problems or gaps within that industry. Things that frustrate customers or aren’t being addressed well. These are opportunities for business ideas.

  4. Consider your own skills and strengths. What can you do better than others? How can you apply those skills in the industry you chose? This forms the basis of your business idea.

  5. Validate your idea by talking to potential customers. Make sure there is genuine interest and demand for the problem you are trying to solve. Iterate based on feedback.

  6. Consider industry trends and where the industry may be headed. Look for opportunities from changes in technology, customer preferences etc.

In summary, leverage your passion and skills, identify problems or gaps, validate ideas, and keep trends in mind when coming up with business ideas within a chosen industry.

Based on the information provided, here are the key points about pricing a product or service:

  1. Industry and market research: Understand the typical pricing in your industry for comparable products/services. Get a sense of what customers are willing to pay.

  2. Cost analysis: Determine your fixed and variable costs involved in developing and delivering the product/service. Include factors like materials, labor, operations, marketing etc.

  3. Value proposition: Quantify the value and benefits you provide customers. Higher value implies ability to charge a premium.

  4. Demand and supply: If demand is high relative to competition, you have pricing power to charge more. Low demand means being competitive on price.

  5. Testing the market: Start with a tentative price point based on above factors. Test customer reaction and refinement based on sales data.

  6. Pricing strategies: Consider options like cost-plus, market-based, value-based, penetration, prestige pricing etc based on your goals and market situation.

  7. Discounts and promotions: Use strategies like introductory offers, bundling, loyalty programs to maximize value for customers over time.

  8. Monitoring and adjustment: Continually track market changes and competitor actions. Be flexible to adjust price up or down based on demand trends.

The key is to find the optimal price point that maximizes profits/sales while satisfying customer needs based on thorough research and testing. Price also influences perceived value, so it’s an important lever to get right.

Here are the key points made in the summaries:

  1. Duct or service depending on how many people are willing to pay you for it.
  • You should decide whether to operate as a duct or a service based on how many people are willing to pay you for what you offer. If many people want to pay, operate as a service. If few people want to pay, operate as a duct.
  1. Put a price on your time.
  • You need to consider the value of your time and skills, and ensure you are paid appropriately via pricing of any services/products you offer. Don’t undervalue your worth.

Here are the key points about the three kinds of observers:

  1. Forced Observers: Their target is set by external forces like parents from a young age, without consideration of their own interests or talents. They are high achievers but lack mental peace due to constant pressure. They observe patterns that reinforce the realities forced upon them.

  2. Emotionally Driven Observers: Feelings like inferiority or rage are what motivate their achievement. Many big achievers have an inferiority complex driving them to prove they belong. They observe patterns related to the emotions fueling them.

  3. Curious Observers: They follow their curiosities without being dictated to by others. They are internally motivated to understand realities through diverse observations not constrained by preconceived notions. This leads them to unconventional learnings and a greater sense of well-being compared to the other types.

In summary, the most effective observers are curious ones who allow their interests to guide diverse observations unrestrained by external pressures or personal biases. This supports holistic learning and balanced success. Forced and emotionally driven observation can still achieve results but at the cost of mental peace.

Here are the key points about inferiority complex from the passage:

  • An inferiority complex arises when people feel inadequate or lacking in some way compared to others. This drives them to try and compensate or prove themselves.

  • It can push people to work harder to achieve things like promotions, relationships, or their parents’ approval to overcome feeling inferior. They want to show they are better than whoever they feel inferior to.

  • This effect is usually strongest in younger people still seeking validation and trying to figure out their place and abilities. It’s common in school or workplaces where people compare themselves.

  • Having an inferiority complex can initially motivate self-improvement, but it’s not a stable basis for long-term success and happiness. People often feel empty once they achieve their goals due to still basing self-worth externally.

  • Overcoming an inferiority complex involves developing inner self-belief, confidence and defining success on your own terms rather than always comparing to others or seeking validation from others like parents. It’s about shifting from an external to internal locus of control.

So in summary, an inferiority complex is a psychological state of feeling inadequate that pushes people to overcompensate and prove themselves to others, but isn’t a healthy long-term motivator compared to developing intrinsic self-belief and self-validation.

Here is a summary of the key points about starting an art channel on YouTube:

  • Focus on creating value for your viewers, not just getting views and subscribers. Produce quality, engaging content that your audience will find useful or entertaining.

  • Choose a niche or topic area to focus on, like drawing, painting, art tutorials, art reviews/criticism, etc. Narrowing your focus will help build an audience.

  • Be consistent in your uploading schedule, whether that’s daily, weekly or monthly uploads. Consistency over time is important for building an audience.

  • Promote your videos using relevant hashtags on social media platforms. Engage with other art channels and communities to gain exposure.

  • Learn video production basics like lighting, audio, editing etc. Presentation matters for keeping viewers engaged.

  • Optimize your videos by adding keywords, descriptions, endscreens etc. Make it easy for new viewers to discover your content.

  • Collaborate with other small art channels to cross-promote each other’s content. Support the art community.

  • Be passionate, fun and knowledgeable about your art topic. Share your skills, process and projects to inspire others.

  • Stay active responding to comments to build rapport with your subscriber community.

The key is to focus on quality, consistency and community building over time to develop a successful art YouTube channel. Viewer value and engagement should be top priorities.

  • The only way to get over failure is to take action and get back to work. Sitting around thinking about it won’t help.

  • Figure out specifically why you failed - lack of skills, preparation, wrong product/approach etc. and improve on that area. Don’t blame external factors.

  • External factors may slow you down sometimes but cannot be the sole reason for failure if you are well prepared.

  • Failure does not mean you are stupid, it just means you were not adequately prepared compared to others who succeeded.

  • To overcome failure, accept that you were not prepared for what you wanted, then prepare better and try again if you still want it. Don’t dwell on the failure, focus on improving for the next attempt.

  • Action is the only thing that can change your situation and get you past failure. Stop thinking and start doing the work to succeed.

The key message is that the only way to get over failure is to learn from it, improve yourself, and take action again instead of feeling sorry about the failure. Preparation and continuous effort are needed to succeed.

Here are the key points on how to talk to anyone:

  • Take the active approach and initiate conversations instead of waiting for others to approach you. You’ll be more comfortable leading the talk.

  • Scan the room/environment to identify people who seem open and approachable to start a conversation with. Avoid those who seem busy or not interested.

  • Have a clear intent for starting the conversation - are you interested in them, their work, making a connection etc. This will guide your questions.

  • Start with closed-ended questions to help the other person feel comfortable like asking about their name, company, role etc.

  • Pay attention to their responses to gauge their level of interest in talking.

  • Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing, like asking them to expand on their work or interests.

  • Maintain good body language like making eye contact, smiling to appear genuinely interested.

  • Stand out by being positive - comment positively on the current situation instead of complaining. This can spark interest.

  • Lead the conversation by following up positively on their responses with new questions.

The key is focusing on the other person, making them comfortable and finding common interests to discuss through thoughtful questions.

  • The speaker was labeled as a “useless kid” growing up and had low self-esteem due to negative comments from teachers and others.

  • They realized many kids are tagged as lazy or useless without understanding their generation. This leads to self-pity which is unproductive.

  • They started building their network by reaching out to influential people, even though many didn’t respond at first.

  • At a business conference, most people weren’t interested in talking until the speaker offered to take someone for local street food.

  • This person became a mentor and said to give value first if wanting someone’s time and attention.

  • The speaker then researched people they admired to see how they could help them, like publicizing an event, rather than just asking for help.

  • Over time, through consistently adding value to 1 person per day, they built a global network that led to opportunities like speaking at TEDx.

The key lesson is that to gain opportunities and connections, the speaker had to shift from asking what others could do for them, to focusing on how they could provide value first through their networking efforts.

Here are the key points from the College Talk:

  • The main message is to focus on adding value to others rather than thinking only about yourself and what you can get. Envision a world where people prioritize giving value through their interactions.

  • One small connection per day can make a big difference over time. Every interaction has the potential to change someone’s life or lead to new opportunities.

  • The speaker emphasizes creating your network by constantly connecting with new people rather than keeping to yourself. Approach at least one new person each day to start building your network.

  • Small daily actions done consistently over a long period can result in great achievements. The speaker talks about how he went from being too shy to speak to giving speeches around the world through daily practice and improving his skills little by little.

The overall message is that focusing outward on others, constantly building connections, and improving yourself a little each day are keys to success, according to the speaker’s experience and advice for college students. Making the most of every interaction and opportunity is emphasized.

Here are the key points about creating wealth:

  • Wealth is when you can sustain your lifestyle and expenses without having to actively work or earn money through effort/time/skill. It means passive income exceeds expenses.

  • To achieve wealth, you can’t solely rely on your own efforts to earn money each day. You need to get other people to do what you’ve learned in order to scale.

  • Money earned from working should be invested in assets/businesses that grow automatically without effort from you over time. This is what generates wealth.

  • On average, people work productively from ages 20-60 but may live until 90. So money needs to last 30 years after retirement when one can’t actively earn.

  • Investing earnings is crucial to building wealth that outlasts one’s working career and supports expenses post-retirement without having to rely on active work/income. Passive returns from investments are what sustain wealth.

The key is to generate money through others’ efforts by scaling what you’ve learned, and allocating earnings to assets that appreciate and produce income without further input from you. This enables sustaining lifestyle indefinitely without active work.

  • Start investing early in life to take advantage of compounding returns over many years. Put aside a significant portion (20-30%) of your earnings for long-term investments.

  • Make your money work for you through investments that create passive income, like mutual funds, stocks, real estate, etc. rather than just spending or saving it.

  • Understand the concepts of compounding and long-term growth to maximize returns on investments over decades rather than focusing only on short-term gains.

  • Diversify investments between safe blue-chip companies/funds, some higher risk startups/equities, real estate/insurance, and small amounts in more speculative areas. This balances risk and reward.

  • Take the time to truly understand investment opportunities before putting money in, to avoid just following trends you don’t comprehend. Focus on trusting capable management teams with a track record rather than technology hype alone.

  • Consider your risk tolerance and start with more conservative options like ETFs/index funds if unfamiliar with investing, and gradually increase risk as your knowledge grows over time through education.

  • Be wary of investments with high commissions like regular mutual funds, physical gold, and products you don’t fully understand the mechanics and fees of. Prioritize lower cost direct investments when possible.

Here are the seven income streams summarized:

  1. Consultancy - Providing advice and recommendations to companies on digital marketing, social media marketing, and paid ads on platforms like Google and Facebook. Earns through consulting fees.

  2. Public Speaking - Giving talks and presentations to colleges and organizations on topics like social media marketing and how to grow small businesses online. Initially did it for free, then started earning speaker fees.

  3. Online Courses - Created online video courses teaching digital marketing skills. Earns through course enrollment and subscription fees.

  4. Affiliate Marketing - Earning commissions by promoting other companies’ products and services through personal social media channels and website.

  5. Info Products - Selling eBooks, guides, templates, and other digital products related to online business topics.

  6. Investments - Earning returns by investing in stocks, real estate, and other assets over time.

  7. Passive Income Streams - Creating automated assets or revenue streams that continue earning without constant work like membership sites, apps, and recurring services.

  • The speaker argues that personal branding is not about packaging yourself into what is currently in demand, but about revealing and unpackaging your authentic self.

  • By being your true self openly, people can connect with you on a deeper level and see that you are like them - figuring life out daily. This is how you build an audience and scale.

  • You don’t need to think about how to present yourself differently to different groups. Just be your authentic self consistently.

  • Even the biggest brands are their truest selves in front of the camera, which is why they have such large audiences.

  • To have authority as a personal brand and get something from it, you need to add value to people’s lives by being yourself and sharing your experiences authentically. Personal branding is about unveiling your real life and qualities, not packaging them.

  • Everything Raj does in content creation comes from his business mindset of finding product-market fit.

  • He constantly experiments to see what type of content fits the current demand and needs of the market/audience.

  • When TikTok was banned, Instagram launched reels and people moved there. Raj saw the opportunity and tried different short format content types to find what worked.

  • Eventually he realized his strength is communicating information clearly. So he started talking about current news/topics in an easy to understand way since no one else was doing that on reels at the time.

  • By constantly adapting and experimenting to give the audience what they want, he is able to find and maintain product-market fit for his content, making it hard for others to beat.

The takeaway is having a business mindset of understanding demand and continuously innovating/adapting the product to meet that demand is key to staying relevant and unbeatable over time.

  • Short term focus is on trending things now that can make money quickly, but won’t necessarily make you very rich in the long run.

  • Long term focus is on investing in and building things that will still be relevant and growing 10 years from now. This allows the potential to become filthy rich over time.

  • Billionaires like Zuckerberg and Bezos built platforms/businesses focused on the future and played a long game, not just chasing short term trends.

  • Our generation wants instant gratification, but long term focus with the right intention can still allow getting what you want over time.

  • Right intention means wanting to improve people’s lives, not just accumulating wealth/status for yourself. Having impact and adding value to others defines the right intention.

The main message is that chasing short term trends may satisfy instant gratification but won’t make you truly rich. Focusing on high-impact businesses and platforms that will still be growing strong in 10+ years allows the potential for much greater long term success and wealth accumulation if done with the right intention.

Here are the key things I wish I was taught in school about personal finances:

  1. Asset allocation is important for risk management and long-term returns. Diversifying across different asset classes like stocks, bonds and gold reduces risk compared to investing solely in one asset class.

  2. Life and health insurance should be priorities before investing. Term life insurance protects dependents, while health insurance covers medical costs.

  3. Gold is best held through sovereign gold bonds which offer tax advantages over physical gold.

  4. Money is really a medium of exchange for our most valuable asset - time. We work to earn money so we can exchange our time for other goals and dreams.

  5. Interest rates on loans can’t be directly compared across countries due to currency fluctuations. Foreign loans may appear cheaper but repayment amounts can vary significantly.

  6. paying bills activates the pain center in our brain, so it’s important to manage finances carefully to avoid overspending or getting into debt. Building an emergency fund helps mitigate financial stresses.

In summary, these personal finance basics around risk management, priorities, asset allocation, currency impacts and psychology of money are very useful life skills not always covered formally in school.

  • Paying for something in advance makes us more likely to enjoy it and spend more on it compared to paying while consuming. This is because the pain of paying is eliminated when paying in advance.

  • Brands leverage this psychological bias by offering gift cards and pre-payments to reduce “checkout friction” and get us to spend more guilt-free since we already felt the pain of paying.

  • Taking a home loan allows substantial tax savings through deductions on interest and principal repayments. Up to Rs. 3.5 lakh can be deducted annually, saving up to Rs. 1.05 lakh in taxes per year for high income individuals.

  • Understanding credit card mechanics like high interest rates, daily interest calculation, and minimum payments leading to spiraling debt is important to avoid expensive interest costs. Maintaining a good CIBIL score also offers financial benefits.

  • Investing only in risk-free fixed deposits risks losing value to inflation and taxes over the long run. Allocating some funds to risky equity ensures real growth, despite short-term volatility being part of the long-term positive process.

Here is a summary of the key points from the passages:

  • Your skills will always be more valuable than any degree. Continuous learning and upgrading your skills is important.

  • As your goals and ambitions increase, you will need to expand your network of people who can support you. It’s better to form professional relationships than rely only on friends.

  • Taking care of your health and wellbeing through diet, exercise, meditation etc. is important for sustaining long-term mental endurance and progress.

  • Prioritizing sleep is important for long-term happiness and performance. Don’t compromise on your sleep for the sake of your work.

  • Consistency, compounding returns over time, and creativity are important pillars for success on social media.

  • Developing strong video and storytelling skills will be important for future career opportunities, both on and off social media.

  • Delegating tasks that sap your energy and creativity allows you to focus on the most important work. Create systems to efficiently distribute responsibilities.

  • Don’t limit your focus to just one platform or job. Continually look for new opportunities to learn, grow and diversify your skills and income sources.

  • Having clear financial goals and an investment strategy that matches your risk appetite and timeline is important for achieving your targets like retirement or property purchase. Regular savings and investment discipline is key.

  • Investors should aim to earn the highest returns possible from their investments while balancing risk tolerance based on investment time horizon and goals.

  • Long-term goals tolerate high risk for potentially higher returns, medium-term goals medium risk, and short-term goals low risk. Investments should match these risk levels.

  • High risk investments like stocks, crypto, small funds have potential for highest growth but also risk of losses if sold within 5-10 years.

  • Medium risk like large caps, mutual funds are for needs in 3-5 years.

  • Low risk like bonds, gold are for money needed within 1-2 years.

  • Diversify investments across different asset classes and companies to reduce overall risk if any one investment declines.

  • Carry insurance for unforeseen life events that may disrupt financial plans and drain savings. Get insured early when premiums are lower.

  • Formulate an investment strategy based on goals, risk tolerance, and balancing returns with diversifying investments accordingly over time.

  • Masoom Minawala Mehta lists four things she wishes she was taught in school about life - how to pay taxes, that it’s okay to fail, time management skills, and networking skills.

  • Nikhil Kamath lists three things he wishes he was taught in school about making money - the importance of timing, having a side hustle, and being taught finance in a more practical way.

  • Ashok Ramachandran lists two essentials of life he wishes were taught in school - mindfulness and focus, and how to be disciplined.

  • Raj Shamani says one thing school doesn’t teach is how to figure things out for yourself and that schools should be more practical and teach students how to make things happen rather than just repeat theoretical information.

  • In general, the entrepreneurs feel schools should do a better job teaching practical life skills like personal finances, time management, networking, dealing with failure, and being self-directed learners rather than just focusing on theoretical academics. These types of lessons would better prepare students for the real world.

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