• 6 Ways Piracy Is A Life Skill

    by  •  • Life Skills

    Obviously I don’t mean piracy in the tawdry plagiaristic sense…. No -as ever- I mean it in the camp, swashbuckling, Johnny Depp sense.

    Although, there is an amazing, classic article on plagiarism that you all should read over here. From one of my personal saints/people I would stalk if we shared a city.

    Piracy is about opportunism and maximising an advantage when you have one.

    As a sidebar, how neat is this pirate image? I was going to ironically select this one but then I saw that one of the guys was half-fish. Call me Sarah Palin, but when two dudes are about to have sex, if one of them is half fish then it’s officially unnatural. I’m sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.

    I love your weirdness, internets.

    On with the show.

    1) Roll with the punches

    Piracy -or at least recent fictional piracy- is about change management. And good change management is the key to your personal success.

    Recent instant changes around here:

    • A new flatmate.
    • James got a job at M&S head office, meaning our leisure and project time (we have project time. What of it?) has had to quickly adjust.
    • Some side projects are starting to take off.

    When the punches happen, you need to look at exactly where you are and what needs to change. Is this punch an opportunity? Or is it a delay? Or is it a literal punch? (Been there. You don’t get to be me without attracting a few punches… I almost said ‘attracting a few fists’. Have definitely not been there.)

    I wanted to take this blog in a new direction as it was actually starting to attract visitors who don’t know me in person. And I am still going to do that. However, some other projects have come along that demand bigger chunks of my time.

    So I have to decide what is going to get me to my goal faster (see point five) now that these new conditions are in play?

    2) Use leverage

    So I can’t post as regularly on this blog as I would like. What can I do to make sure I still rank number 1 in Google for the term “gordon white”?

    It turns out nothing because somehow my Posterous has started automatically updating this blog. Not the ideal solution but Our Lord And Master Google MUST have fresh meat. I now have a bunch of digital assets that I can leverage until such time as this blog gets properly re-prioritised (which it will).

    What’s your leverage? Even if you are asking a favour of someone you know, what assets can you bring to bear on the situation?

    Non-monetary transactions don’t have to be direct exchanges. Leverage can be as simple as getting back in contact with someone a few months before you actually ask them for whatever it is you need.

    3) Wait for the opportune moment

    Sometimes the best leverage is timing. I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks, and then yesterday my jerk little brother started whining like the prissy cow she is that I don’t post enough here. Which I don’t.

    Knowing that I would be working from home tomorrow due to the blasted Tube strike, I figured I would use my lunch break to knock it out.

    On an unrelated matter, subscribe to my brother’s amazing blog. He’s got a couple of months left of his super-exciting adventure before he starts living the complete opposite of what I just said back in our home town.

    Other opportune moments:

    • You get one shot to ask important people to help you. Choose it wisely and not before you have demonstrated your value to them.
    • Announce something when it suits you the best. (Also known as ‘be a dick like Steve Jobs’.) Just because it’s ‘new’ doesn’t make it news. Oversharing for the sake of it is bad pirate strategy. Which isn’t to say oversharing can’t be used to your advantage.
    • You can go from “someone I vaguely know through someone else” into “the most valuable person in the world” just through having the right timing. Where can you use this to your best advantage in life?

    4) Multi-scheme

    Think of this like multi-tasking… But for schemes!

    I want a lot of things out of my life and -for the most part- I’m not really bothered in which order they arrive.

    Be sure to run a bunch of different schemes concurrently, that way you can use your leverage at the opportune moment to push the most appropriate one forward. This is precisely where I am right now.

    5) Always have a bigger goal

    Pirates want something. That’s why they are so compelling. They don’t just meander through life bored-casting to their admin assistant friends on facebook that they love drinking red wine by a goddamn fire. They don’t ‘like’ photos of other people’s cats. (Facebook often makes me wish cats were extinct.)

    Piracy is a redundant life skill for these people.

    But not for you.

    All you need to do is ask yourself three questions:

    • What is your ultimate goal? Based on the Captain Jack Sparrow Law of Physical Objects ‘a house’ is not an ultimate goal. The exact quote is “Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and hull and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is… what the Black Pearl really is… is freedom.”
    • Are the things that currently take up your time bringing you closer to your ultimate goal? No? Then what are you doing?
    • Can you get there faster by doing something else or by changing your situation?

    6) Know your place

    I almost called this one ‘quit complaining’. Some things are not going to go your way. Some people are going to be in a positive to actively prevent you from achieving your goals.

    Don’t fucking whine about it. Remember yet another Captain Jack-ism: “The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do.”

    Sometimes you will be blocked. Or stuck in a sub-optimal situation. Well… That’s where you are. Deal with it. Don’t whine. Look for leverage, wait for the opportune moment and then do something about it.

    One last trick

    Why pirates? I mean, besides the awesomeness. (See this photo I posted last year.) Surely we can find better semi-fictional, historical role models that aren’t originally inspired by a theme park ride on which to base some key life skills?

    Well… Maybe. But think about this. At some stage in a pirate’s life, he has looked around, said “fuck this”, got on a rotting wooden boat and headed out to sea to make his fortune.

    Pirates look around and say “I deserve more than this… And I’m going to go out and get it.”

    That’s something we can all get behind.

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