What the Dalai Lama and Gary Vaynerchuk say about patience

Shane Breslin

By Shane Breslin

“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
― Benjamin Franklin

Here are two things that I do every day.

  • I make my bed
  • I brush my teeth

Here are two other things that I also do every day.

  • I listen to podcasts
  • I engage on Twitter

This week, listening to podcasts and checking in on Twitter, I was struck by a common theme that ran through pronouncements from two people I admire greatly, but who we might usually think of as being poles apart: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and foul-mouthed modern communications kingpin Gary Vaynerchuk.

The Dalai Lama will probably not be negotiating seven-figure deals with sports stars or media brands any time soon, while Gary Vee is unlikely to be leading any spiritual retreats – at least not before he buys the Jets.

But cut through the tone and drill down to the content, and you might find a lot of common ground.

On Monday the Dalai Lama tweeted about patience, while Vaynerchuk was a guest on Lewis Howes’s School of Greatness podcast.

Here’s what they had to say about the subject of “patience”.

The Dalai Lama

Gary Vaynerchuk

It is the disease of our society, The lack of patience, bro. Patience and insecurity are 90% of the unlock for everyone listening. Their mom shitted on them their whole life and said they’re going to be a loser, so they believe it. Coz that’s what parenting is.

And they just want to have a Maserati now, and they’ll do whatever it takes to do it.

Do you know how many kids are doing something smart, like doing a good retail arbitrage on Amazon right now and making $100,000 by buying on Alibaba and selling on Amazon. Took a year and a half, three years to get good at it. Now [they’re] taking every profit and buying some random cryptocurrency because they’re playing the Lotto!

We have to have these conversations.

There’s a kid who spent three years being disciplined and getting good at retail arbitrage. That’s a real skill, to have an eye for what to buy in China, how to set up on Amazon properly, how to run ads, it’s a skill! They did it for three years meticulously, they made $13,000, then $47,000, now they’re finally making $300,000 and they could be on their way to 10 million.

Yet, they’ve chosen to kind of stop. Jump on the short-term bandwagon of buying some weird cryptocurrency, hoping it’s the next Bitcoin or Ethereum. I’m seeing that every day, and it’s being predicated on short-term … The ‘follow the leader’ shit, completely predicated on short-term.

Patience is, I believe, a core element of happiness.

This post is part of my Happiness Project.

I send two regular emails: a Happiness Bulletin every Saturday morning, and a slightly longer, deeper newsletter on the theme of happiness on the first Friday of every month.

Sign up for my Happiness Bulletin here


Seven Quick Thoughts on What the Facebook News Feed “Major Change” Means for Brands, Publishers and Public Figures

A few quick thoughts, from a digital marketing perspective, on Facebook’s big news this week, which promises to have far-reaching effects on Facebook News Feed and have adverse effects on brands (link to Zuck post below).

1. User Behaviour

I’ve spoken to maybe a dozen people in the last six months who have told me they don’t scroll news feed any more. They use Messenger, and groups, and that’s it.

2. Facebook Has All the Data About User Behaviour

I suspect Facebook are seeing their data showing this off-the-cliff-face plummet in user engagement in news feed, and knew they had to make massive changes.

3. Facebook Is Trying to Save the Ads Cash Cow

Why did they have to make massive changes? Because news feed remains the single easiest way for brands to reach users via advertising, and if users stop using news feed, it kills the ads cash cow.

4. These Facebook News Feed Changes Were Inevitable

Therefore, Facebook needs to take massive action to make news feed better if they are to get the user curve moving in the right way again, and therefore keep the golden goose laying its eggs.

5. Ads May Get More Competitive, but They Won’t Be Affected

My *guess* is that these changes will not affect ads at all. Facebook News Feed will just filter out all organic page content (or a high percentage of it) and people posts (by friends and family) will take its place. And ads will stay exactly where they are.

6. What It Means for Your Ad Budget

  • If you haven’t been spending on ads, you’ll need to start.
  • If you have been spending on ads, you’ll need to spend more.

(That is, if you still see reaching people on Facebook as a key part of your marketing plan.)

7. Organic Page Reach = Dead.

It has been dying since 2015. Now it’s officially Organic Reach RIP.


Here’s the announcement by Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed.

And here’s Zuck’s post:

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.We built…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, January 11, 2018


Happiness Hack, #3: Goal Setting That Works: Six Key Steps to Setting and Achieving Any Goal in 2018

Goal setting is not something I’ve done enough of in the past. Or to put it more accurately, goal setting properly is not something I’ve done enough of.

I’ve definitely made the double mistake of (a) setting goals only about things I wanted – a new car used to be a common one for me – and (b) failing to set the goal properly: i.e. with a reason behind it and a plan in front of it.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

– Antoine De Saint-Exupery

So this month’s Happiness Hack is all about goal setting the right way – giving you the best possible chance of achieving it.

This approach to goal setting, which is a product and combination of lots of wisdom from too many places and teachers to mention (among them Hal Elrod, Jim Rohn, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, Mel Robbins, Lewis Howes, Anthony Robbins, Napoleon Hill and others) makes it much more likely that (a) I will set the right goal and (b) I have the best chance of making it happen.

1. List Your Categories

When it comes to goal setting, a spread of goals across a number of categories is important. Focus too narrowly – on money, for example – and you’ll leave out areas that are essential to keep you balanced. These are the six categories I’m currently focused on:

  • Health
  • Finance
  • Family
  • Work (you might have career, or business)
  • Personal
  • Happiness (equally you could have something like spiritual health, or peace of mind)

You might have one or two more, for example your hobbies, or a side-business, or a different set entirely, but it’s important to list out the categories which each goal will belong to. This will mean your goal setting exercise ticks as many parts of your life as possible, and ensure you’re progressing all the areas and leaving none behind.

2. Get Specific

Being as specific as possible with each goal is essential.

For example, if you are setting a finance goal, you might be tempted into a goal such as “clearing my debt” or “saving €10,000”. But these, I have found, are just not specific enough and can often stray into the territory of “wishful thinking”. And I know from experience that a wish is not a goal.

Lack of a specific goal will bring lack of clarity, which will bring lack of focus, and before you know it you’ll have completely forgotten what the goal was, never mind got anywhere close to achieving it. (Trust me, I’ve done exactly that…)

3. Finding The Why

Goals with a reason are much more likely to be realised.

Knowing why you have each goal adds greatly to the specificity of the previous step. If there is a compelling reason why you need to achieve this goal, rather than simply want to achieve it, then you’re already a part of the way there.

Add a “so that” to the goal. For example: “I want to save €8,500 [the specificity!] so that we can visit my brother and his family in Australia for three weeks in February 2019 [the reason!]”.

Knowing why you want to achieve something will give you a momentum that will keep you moving forward, every day and every week.

4. Chunk It Down

Now that you’ve set your goals, that’s the easy part done.

The hard part – the part that turns this from something intangible into a real, living goal – is what comes next. Failing to do this bit is where so many goals come apart.

Take that goal of saving €8,500 for a three-week trip to Australia.

If you’re anything like me and, I think, most people, that’s just too big for the mind to truly grasp. If we can’t grasp it, we can’t fully believe it. If we don’t believe it, the chances it’s going to happen are probably somewhere between slim and none.

Instead, though, consider this.

If we chunk that big goal down into the exact number of steps needed to make it happen, an interesting thing happens.

The smaller steps are much less daunting. Suddenly, they become totally believable. And if we fully believe something, it’s not only more likely to happen – it’s almost inevitable that it will.

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

– Napoleon Hill

So this part is vital. It takes focused thought, but it could be the best couple of hours you spend this year.

That “save €8,500” could be broken down into something like:

  1. Open dedicated savings account for Australia trip
  2. Transfer €653 per month to that account for 13 months
  3. Set up standing order on __ day of the month so that the transfer is made automatically

If you can’t afford to transfer that amount per month, don’t fret just yet. You just need a few more chunks and actions to generate extra income or make extra savings. For example:

  • Generate income from unwanted items
    • Make a list of unwanted items from garage/attic/spare room
    • Take 5-10 good quality photos of each item
    • Write descriptions for each item
    • Upload each item to online selling platform (e.g. eBay, Done Deal, Adverts, Craigslist, etc.)
    • Deposit any income into savings account

You could add another series of steps for “Earn €200 per month extra on the side”, for instance, which might involve a small side business, or an extra part-time job for a couple of months, or hosting guests on Airbnb.

It’s important that each action single item is broken down so that it takes no more than an hour or two.

If it’s any bigger, it probably needs to be chunked down again!

5. Schedule Everything

Now that you have broken each goal into its smaller, easily manageable, 1-2 hour actions, an extra step is required: scheduling.

Having the big goal, and setting down the list of actions required to get you to that goal, is fantastic.

But life and everything that goes with it is likely to get in the way unless you take the time to schedule your action plan in every week and every month.

Whatever type of planner you use – a diary, an online tool, a whiteboard or just a notebook on your desk – take the time to enter all those tasks in, month by month, week by week, right down to hour by hour.

All of this might sound like overkill, but that €8,500 and that unforgettable trip Down Under, or whatever your goal, won’t just happen without a clear and well-defined plan.

6. Announce it

Here’s where The Fear can set in.

What? You mean, tell people?

Yes! It’s essential!

It could be a friend, a family member, a peer – but it must be someone who you value, respect and trust.

Because there’s a reason you’re telling them. The act of telling them is a major part of achieving the goal. It keeps you accountable. It’s proven that if we have people we need to be accountable to – who we feel we might in some way let down if we don’t deliver – then this greatly increases the urgency with which we approach the task.

And there’s little doubt that when things become urgent, they usually get done.

So don’t be afraid. Find someone who is willing to take on this great responsibility – the responsibility of knowing in detail what you’re aiming for, and who you can talk to during the journey when things get sticky. Because things always get sticky.


This goal setting exercise is the ultimate cure for procrastination.

Procrastination, after all, owes less to us dragging our feet and more to the fact that, if we’re honest, we’re not really clear on what, exactly, needs to happen next.

Get clear on that, and don’t be surprised to find those goals coming firmly into view before too long.

And there’s no doubt in my mind that making progress towards the things that matter to us is an essential part of happiness.

Try it, and let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below or messaging me on Twitter.

The Outcome vs The Process: Hal Elrod and Padraig Harrington Have Something in Common

I have to confess – I’m a podcast addict.

I listen to perhaps 15-20 podcasts a week. When I’m walking the dog, driving the car, sitting on a bus or a plane – chances are, I’ll be listening to a podcast.

I have my podcast app filled with categories, from Business to Personal Development to Digital Marketing to Sport.

Something struck me when listening to two podcasts from very different sources on the first weekend of 2018 – two people, from completely different backgrounds, talking about completely different things, but they each said something that was so close to the mark.

Call it part of the recipe for success.

Perhaps one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for success.

The people:

  • Irish golfer and three times Major winner, Padraig Harrington
  • Motivational speaker and Miracle Morning author, Hal Elrod

Now, on the face of it, Padraig Harrington and Hal Elrod don’t have a huge amount in common. There is perhaps almost no overlap in their spheres of influence – apart from the fact that I subscribe to Hal Elrod’s Achieve Your Goals podcast and Irish radio station Newstalk’s Sunday Paper Review podcast, a weekly round-up of the sports pages in the company of guests from sport and media.

On Sunday, on the long weekend walk required to take the edge off my half-cocked Irish Terrior Mrs Dalloway, I listened to two episodes back to back: Hal Elrod and co-host Jon Berghoff talking listeners through their top tips for achieving your goals in 2018; and Padraig Harrington joining campaigning Irish sports journalist Paul Kimmage and host Joe Molloy to discuss the Sunday back pages.

The interesting common ground in this particular podcast Venn diagram surrounded the outcome and the process – and both Elrod and Harrington had interesting things to say.

I listened to Elrod first, and as he spoke I found myself making a mental note (since my paper and pencil were about three miles and four fields away…) to remind myself to jot this down for future recall.

He said:

This is what I would personally call the secret to success – to commit to your process without being emotionally attached to the results.

So what does that mean? It means that every goal that we set this year and anytime was always preceded by a process. So, whatever goal we’re trying to achieve, there’s a process that is required to achieve that goal. I’ll give you an example. This is how I’ve been achieving my goals every year for the last 18, 19 years. It was 1999 or 2000 actually, spring 2000. I was making sales calls one day and I had a terrible day on the phone where no one scheduled with me, some people were rude, and I got off the phone just feeling not great.

I was like, ‘This sucks!’. I started thinking, ‘I’m going to get a different job that doesn’t have to do with the way I feel right now. I feel hurt and rejected and it doesn’t feel good and I don’t like it and I want to get a regular job where I just clock in and clock out and it’s easy.’

So, that’s what I was thinking. And then I had a realization that night falling asleep. I realize I’m focused on my results. I’m so focused on my results that all of my emotions are invested in my results.

So, if I have good results, I feel good, and if I have bad results, I feel bad.

And I thought, ‘That’s not a winning game,’ because I’m not in control of my results, not directly. I couldn’t control that no one scheduled in that day. I could do my best, but I can’t control if nobody wants to schedule that day. I can’t control how many will pick up the phone when I call. I can’t control their attitude or their mood on the phone. I can’t control what they decide to do. I can’t control if they show up to the appointment. I can’t control if they buy from me.

And so, I had this realization [that] my goals this year are really dependent on how many times I pick up the phone and dial the number.

If I make 20 calls a day and make X amount, if I were to double that and make 40 calls a day, well then I would double my sales.

On average I double. So, I just started to realize, ‘Wait a minute, why don’t I just commit to the process and just make the conscious decision that I’m not going to be emotionally attached to the results anymore?’

This applies to every area of life. This is what you have to do. You have to define your process first. Before you commit to it, you have to know what it is.

So, I decided I’m going to make 20 calls a day, five days a week and that should get me to my goal. And if I’m not at the end of five days, if I’m behind on my results, I’ll make an extra day or two of phone calls, but that was it. 20 calls a day.

Here’s how this shows up for you in your life. It just minimizes stress and it allows you to be really focused on what matters most. Here’s what happened. I made 20 calls a day, five days a week and at the end of my 20 calls, I didn’t care if anyone set with me. I didn’t care who showed up in appointments that day. I didn’t care if they bought or not.

I was never attached emotionally to my results because I knew that the process over the long-term, over the next 12 months, it would work itself out.”

It’s easy for us to get emotionally attached to results.

It’s not easy for us to define a process that will likely get us results.

And if we do manage to define the process, it’s not easy for us to commit to that process.

And if we do manage to commit to the process, it’s definitely not easy to divest ourselves emotionally from the results.

But if we can focus on that, if we can commit to the process, then it’s very likely that the results will take care of themselves, as Hal Elrod outlined in his “I make calls, not sales” approach.

Put another way, committing to the process is a way of intentionally focusing our energies on the present moment.

When we’re in the process, we’re in the moment. We’re not dwelling on what we’ve done in the past that didn’t go as well as we would have liked. And we’re not worrying about what we might do in the future.

I think, when it comes to succeeding in any area of life, that maxim – commit to the process, not the outcome – is well worth paying attention to. It’s a vital part of success, and I believe it’s a vital part of happiness too – which is arguably even more important.

Which brings us back to Harrington.

Speaking on the Off The Ball Sunday Paper Review on Newstalk, he said,

I hit a shot in Spain last year, beautiful shot, little fade. Then someone asked me to hit a draw, and I hit a magnificent draw, 20 yards further, down the fairway, everything great about it.

The two people who were watching, and they were golfers, they were saying, ‘Look at that! Harrington’s in good form’.

I walked off the tee and I was pissed off. I was annoyed. Because I had hit a great shot, but I hadn’t made a great swing.

And I knew the difference. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have known the difference. I would have just hit a good shot and that’s all that counts.

The process.

Not the result.

There’s a difference.

Do you find yourself getting emotionally invested in results?

Is your process defined?

Or do you think it doesn’t matter – once you achieve the outcome, it doesn’t matter how? Is hitting a good shot all that counts, or does it matter how you hit it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below, or message me on Twitter.