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Haters, Precedent, & Personafressional

By: Michael Blankenship |

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” 

– David Brinkley

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re discussing why haters are gonna hate (and they have been since the beginning of time), how your personal and professional life are irrevocably intertwined, and why thinking about the precedent you set for yourself is critical for growth. 


Haters Gonna Hate

In 1901, George W. Melville, Engineer-in-Chief of the U.S. Navy, wrote an article titled, The Engineer and The Problem of Aerial Navigation, in which he implicated the pursuit of manned flight as nothing more than a “vain fantasy”. 

Then in 1903, New York Times published an article titled, Flying Machines Which Do Not Fly. It called the attempt to fly a “ridiculous fiasco” and concluded, “To the ordinary man, it would seem as if effort might be employed more profitably.”

It even went so far as to predict that manned flight would require between one to ten million years of continuous efforts by mathematicians and mehanicians, “provided, of course”, it said, “we can meanwhile eliminate such little drawbacks and embarrassments as the existing relation between weight and strength in inorganic materials.”

Nine weeks later, the Wright Brothers achieved manned flight. 

But similar speculation was encountered regarding the practicality of flight for the average person — “The expensive would be prohibitive”, astronomer William H. Pickering said, “to any but the capitalist who could use his own yacht.”

Clearly, that statement has also been proven wrong. 

The point is, haters are gonna hate. 

And the more bold you are with what you’re doing, the more passionately your pursue whatever it is, the more nay-sayers you’re going to encounter. 

But their opinions don’t matter. 

All that matters is your drive, determination, and will to succeed.

“It’s Not Personal”

You’ve probably heard the workplace cliché “it’s not personal, it’s just business.”

And while there’s some truth to that — hard-headed business decisions often aren’t personal — it’s also ignorant of a greater, and more visceral truth. 

The truth that all things are connected. 

Capitalist societies tend to view personal and professional facets of life as being separate. But they are just as interconnected as yin and yang.

In reality, there’s no hard distinction between personal and professional. Each impacts the other.

Which is why doing these personal things can make you a better professional…

  • Exercise 30 Minutes Per Day
  • Go For Lots of Walks
  • Chat With Friends
  • Play With Kids
  • Therapy
  • Travel To Cool Places
  • Take Weekends Off
  • Read

And why doing these professional things can make you a better person…

  • Have Integrity
  • Be Honest
  • Do What You Love
  • Learn to Focus
  • Be Creative
  • Follow Great Leaders

The two facets of life — personal and professional — are interwoven. 

Poisoning one will poison the other. Treating one with care will make the other more fulfilling. 

Ultimately, finding balance between the two will result in a happier and healthier life. 


Precedent is defined as “an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.”

In the court of law, a precedent is a previous ruling that guides future rulings — when a precedent is overturned, it’s a result of a mindset shift among the culture on a given topic. 

But a similar system applies to our own lives. 

Think about it. 

What precedents (I suppose we could also call these “habits”) have you set for yourself this week? 

Did you do the things you said you were going to do (even though you maybe didn’t want to do them)? 

Did you ignore your responsibilities? 

The things we do now rewire our brains and impact the things we do later. In a manner of speaking, we set a “precedent” for ourselves when we do what we say we’re going to do. We also set a precedent when we don’t do what we say we’re going to do. 

That precedent can automate our future actions if we let it, for better or worse. 

This is why it’s important to think about the things we do and the person we want to be — those two things cannot be separated.

That’s what this week’s challenge is all about. 

Extra Stuff

Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!

Books We’re Reading

Here’s what the tribe is currently reading (let us know books you’re loving and we’ll include them in future emails!)…. 

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho“Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.”
  • Best Self by Mike Bayer“Best Self is an accessible and interactive book that distills all of Coach Mike’s wisdom into a compact, focused guide that will ignite anyone’s desire for change.”
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey“Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.”

This Week’s Image

Anupam Nath / AP

“An Indian Rabha tribal Hindu priest runs barefoot through burning charcoal, as part of rituals during the Baikho festival at Gamerimura village, along the Assam Meghalaya border, west of Gauhati, India, on June 4, 2022.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

What is it that no one wants, but no one wants to lose?

This Week’s Question

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

Why is it important to think about your personal and professional life as being fully connected and integrated with one another (rather than separate)?

This Week’s Challenge

You are what you do. What is a person if not their actions and behaviors? Read the section above titled “Precedent” and spend some time thinking about the precedents you want to set for yourself this week — the qualities you want to exhibit. Write them down. Put them somewhere you’ll see them every day. And follow those qualities as best you can. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: A lawsuit.

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