8 Simon Sinek Quotes That’ll Help You Level Up Your Life
5 years ago, I met an incredible man who popped up on my Facebook feed one day. It was a video where the man was talking about “the millennial problem” and how it’s not really much of our problem.
Rather it was the way that we were raised, old ways of thinking, and the overall environment we were given that was wrong.
He talked about the fact millennials were coddled as children. We were told we were all winners despite ending up in last place in a race.
He talked about social media has made instant gratification more prominent in our lives and how it translated to millennials' work atmosphere. The example he gave was him talking to a millennial work and had this exchange:
Him: “Hey how are you doing?”
Worker: “Ehhh… I think I’m going to quit my job.”
H: “Oh? Why’s that.”
W: “I’m not making a big enough impact.”
H: “You know you’ve only been here for eight months?”
He’s charismatic, funny, and has unique and interesting perspectives on the various issues that encompass human behaviour.
His name is Simon Sinek.
While I was first exposed to Sinek from an entrepreneurship and business stand-point, Sinek offers wisdom in all kinds of things. Relationships, how to be leading people, how capitalism ought to be, and more.
His wisdom is something that can be easily transferable to other aspects of life. And through it all, I think that we can all level ourselves up through some of the wisdom that he’s been sharing with us.
“No matter how much money we make, no matter how much power we accumulate, no matter how many promotions we’re given, none of us will ever be declared the winner of life.” — Simon Sinek
In one of his talks, Sinek talked about two kinds of games in the world: finite games and infinite games.
Finite games involve known players with agreed upon rules. There is no option to change any of the rules at any point in time. Once the game is over, it’s over. The objective of this game is to win.
Infinite games involve known and unknown players and with rules that continue to shift and change at any given point. The objective of this game is to prolong the game for as much as possible.
When we’re pitting finite players with finite players or infinite players with infinite players, both systems will work out fine.
The problem is when you have finite players pitted against infinite players.
You run into all kinds of problems that Sinek pointed out. Things like the Afghan war. One side was fighting to “win” while the other side was fighting for their lives.
Life — even though we are on limited time — is like an infinite game. Even though our lives are limited there is no true winning at life. There is no #1 human being in all the world.
There isn’t any specific criteria or rules or measurements that determine who is the winner of life. The only exception is the board game Life — where there are clear rules outlined in it.
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t strive for money, power, or higher achievements. However it’s worth considering looking at our own perspective on these sorts of things.
“Love doesn’t happen overnight. We fall in love with someone when they show us, consistently, that they’re willing to put our needs ahead of their own. It’s the small, seemingly insignificant actions that add up over time, until one day we wake up and say, ‘I love you.’” — Simon Sinek
Even though there are plenty of tests out there to determine whether you are attracted to a person in a matter of minutes, it doesn’t always mean that you should settle for those results immediately.
Attraction and love isn’t always something that occurs at first sight. In some cases, it takes time to nuture and grow.
To Sinek, love — amongst many other things — is like a muscle. If you want to have a loving relationship, you have to work on that relationship. A strong relationship is something you work on every single day. If you don’t, it’ll get weaker and then you’ll have a weak relationship.
And how you grow it isn’t always through the overdramatic over-the-top gestures. Even the most simplistic of things can be good.
Things like, getting your partner something to drink when you’re getting one yourself without being asked to.
It’s not talking about your terrific day and letting them talk about their horrible day if they had one.
These little gestures, these simple acts of kindness are things that connect not just our romantic relationships, but any kind of relationship out there.
If you want to build trust with someone you don’t tell them to “trust you.” You perform actions that make them trust you.
If you want people to work with you, you do a good job and give them results.
Relationships are only as strong as the amount of effort you put into them. If you don’t put in the time, the relationship will crumble.
Money is like fuel. Cars need fuel, but the purpose of the car is not to buy more fuel. Business is the same. The purpose of business is not to make money, it’s to advance a greater purpose or cause. — Simon Sinek
Another large misconception in business is that they’re focused on the money than anything else. The reason this has become so prominent — according to Sinek — is the development of shareholder supremacy.
It was a business theory proposed in the 1970s, popularized in the 80s and 90s — which were boom years in the global economy — and are now standard in the modern era.
Most business executive that Sinek has spoken to have said this line in the past:
“Our purpose of business is to maximize shareholder equity.”
It’s a toxic way of thinking because money shouldn’t be used merely for the accumulation of more money. That’s simply greed.
Instead, money should be something that allows us to go somewhere — a proper destination. That destination doesn’t have to be a physical place. It can be towards a higher purpose than ourselves. It can be towards something that provides fulfilment for ourselves and for others.
Money is ultimately a tool for us to leverage to get there. Any more than that it becomes a waste.
If you want to feel happy, do something for yourself. If you want to feel fulfilled, do something for someone else. — Simon Sinek
The self improvement world has always had this self-centered view for many things. It comes with the territory though since you are trying to improve yourself.
But it can often lead us to thinking solely about ourselves and never considering those around us. It’s a dangerous way of thinking and something that’s gripped millions of people.
It’s the reason for why The Secret is such a popular book — it capitalizes on this narcissistic thinking.
Furthermore, it leans into the idea of expressing gratitude for the things that we have in our lives. The philosophy being if you’re not grateful for what you do have, you won’t be thankful for what you don’t have right now.
There is some shred of truth to that, but a next level play is what Sinek mentions with this quote. If we want to be happy with ourselves, we merely have to express gratitude or do something for ourselves to make us happy.
But if we’re looking for fulfilment and purpose, it’s about getting out there and doing something for people. This doesn’t mean we need to be a living welcome mat for every single person in all aspects, rather serving people through our talents.
If you’re a good writer, share your stories, thoughts, lessons, and teach other people.
If you’re a good leader, inspire people, motivate people, and provide the resources they need to succeed.
If you want to be a good person, help people directly, and teach people.
If you have the opportunity to do amazing things in your life, bring someone with you. — Simon Sinek
No one person has ever achieved something entirely on their own. There is always going to be someone directly or indirectly assisting you in one way or another.
When we learn to walk for the first time, we are inspired by our parents who encourage us.
When we get that promotion, that client, that job, it was due to peoples contributions that lead to our advancement in life to that point.
It’s important for us to be celebrating these amazing things — big or small — but it’s more important to be sharing them with other people. Not as a means of gloating, but that we wanted to share an experience with someone we value.
Life changes for the better when we realize that we don’t have to know everything and we don’t have to pretend that we do. — Simon Sinek
One of the big problems with us Millennials is that many of us can’t admit that we don’t know everything. Perhaps some of it can be attributed to how we were raised.
I remember as a child that my mom always said “Oh you’re so smart, you know everything.” whenever I said “I know.”
My mom didn’t do this all the time, but I can imagine more parents leaned into this sort of parenting technique.
The reality is that while we do know things, there is a lot that we don’t know about. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world with a number of different things — both pertaining to our lives and beyond that.
And that’s okay.
It’s important for us to be able to grow, learn, and realize things. Pretending that we knew all of this doesn’t help us at all.
The quote also reminds me of the concept of a expert. When we think of an expert, we tend to think of them as the person that knows everything. We expect them to have high standards of knowledge.
We assume them to be right all the time because they’re an expert in the field.
But expects make mistakes. And experts aren’t always people who know everything.
In fact, I’d be more concerned about someone who claims to know everything about something. Because we don’t. There is a vast pool of knowledge that continues to grow day after day and it’s impossible to keep up with it.
Instead, it’s better for us to admit we don’t know something and then learn about it to keep ourselves relevant. An expert ought to simply be someone who knows more about something than others — even if it’s only a little bit.
Friendship is an investment, not a transaction. We don’t show up for our friends based on how many times they’ve shown up for us. We show up because we know that when we need them most, they’ll be there. — Simon Sinek
This is something that many are guilty of — myself included.
The relationships that we share with people feel very transactional.
Put in only as much effort into something as someone else is. If you don’t feel they’re contributing enough, you pull back. You stop doing things.
All the same, if you do something for someone you expect something out of it.
This is something I have to remind myself again and again that a relationship isn’t always about transactions. It’s not all about “balancing the books” to ensure you’re not giving more than the other person.
It’s not about how many favours people have done for you vs for them.
Friendships have only become more transactional because that’s how many people have been trained to see them. As Sinek has mentioned in his speeches there have been plenty of times where people have asked him for help with building relationships.
Because that person feels their relationships are all superficial.
When they’re not real, we attempt to cram whatever seems like a sensible thing: this transactional system.
Friendship or any kind of relationship is more than that. It’s like Sinek says, it’s about being there not because you could get some brownie points for that person and cash them in for favours later.
It’s because you feel a connection with that person and genuinely want to be there.
And if you feel that there is no connection, then it’s worth asking how you can change it or whether you want to change it.
When we care less about our people, our people become careless. — Simon Sinek
Sinek uses the example of mass layoffs in a business setting to address this theme. One of the best ways to erode trust within an organization is mass layoffs.
It’s a tactic that’s become very popular in the business world and creates a terrible environment in which people feel like they’re merely a number. That their sole purpose for working is to achieve nothing but great results.
It’s no wonder that many people dislike their job because of this aspect being such a prominent aspect.
At the end of the day, mass layoffs is nothing but a tool that companies use in order to balance their books and ensure top executives get their bonuses and that shareholders get their dividends as well.
It’s bad for business because at the end of the day, you need people. And sure you can recruit more people, but you’re only perpetuating the cycle if you’re not changing your practices.
The other aspect that it’s so toxic and terrible is not so much about the people who were laid off — which is a whole other issue in of itself for those individuals — but the people who have to come back to work the next day.
Mass lay offs sends a message from upper management to the rest of the people below that they don’t matter as much as securing their bottom line.
How would it make you feel to be working for someone who directly or indirectly communicated to you that they don’t care about you and that they expect you to show up to work the next day for more work?
You probably wouldn’t care less about it or the company any longer.
Relationships work the same way. And while that information is clear, it can still be tricky to show whether we care about someone or not through our actions. There’s always those subtle cues.
An example is like having your phone on your desk or in your hand shows that you care more about that rather than the conversation or the person who’s talking to you.
There are a bunch of psychological cues out there that people might not realize they’re doing.
All in all it ultimately leads us to caring less about a person and wanting to build a genuine or stronger connection.
Change creates a ripple effect in our lives. As we improve one area, things change and get easier in another. Our mindset works in the same fashion. If we learn about our past and work to change it, we can change and enhance our lives in dramatic ways.
We can learn about our future from our past because, regardless of technology or the speed of innovation, people are still people. — Simon Sinek