Knocking on doors

There used to be a time where you’d have to ask a record label to publish your music.

Now you can upload it to YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify and Apply Music in a couple of hours.

And before your writing could reach hundreds of eyes, you’d need to find a publisher.

Now you can write a blog post, a Tweet or a status update and it’ll be out there.

What’s the hold up then?

The same thing before the lack gatekeepers. A lack of authenticity. An overthink about what could go wrong rather than what could go right.

Want to start?

Remember, no door has ever knocked on you.

Not wanting tomorrow

I hate the Full Moon. Especially the pool room. We were in there playing pool and the game was on. The game where everyone watches. Even the ones who aren’t fans. Even I was watching it. I didn’t watch the game any other time but I was watching it this time.

Should we meet at the Full Moon? Someone asked.

Yes. Someone else said.

I went along for the company. I hate the Full Moon. But the people were good. I don’t know whether I hate it because I hate it or I hate it because I was there and I knew what I had the next day.

Getting up was like getting out of a coffin. Summoning the energy in each cell one by one. I stayed up late. Had to wake up early. To get to West End. West End was a train and a bus ride away. I’d get in the shower. Then get out, still tired. Have breakfast, still tired. Drive to the train, almost miss it. Get on the train, still tired. Walk to the bus, almost miss it. The bus would drive there and I pushed the button and got off. Then I’d walk down the street, look at the cafe’s. I didn’t drink coffee then. I should’ve.

I’d get in, check the emails. They were there. There was one I liked to read. Someone put the effort in to put together a few interesting things about the area. I read it. The others were worthless.

What would you like me to do today? I asked.

We’d like you to help Eliza and scan the records.

I picked up a box of records and took them to my desk. I’d open the program and plug in the scanner and start scanning. It was easy. One record, one scan, one down arrow press, repeat. I got so good I could watch YouTube whilst doing it. Scan, YouTube, arrow, record, scan, YouTube, arrow. That was it. Hundreds of times until the box was empty. Then I grabbed another box. Scan, YouTube, arrow. Records Officer, that was me.

You did this one wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me. 

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next one.

I fixed the next one. And did the same for the next.

You did these two wrong. She said.

How so?

She showed me.

She wanted it the way I was originally doing it. The way she showed me was wrong.

Okay, I said, I’ll fix the next ones.

I grabbed another box. YouTube, scan, arrow. I watched videos on Physics, videos on health, videos on weightlifting, videos on how to talk to girls. I loved the ones with Michio Kaku. He’s a Japanese physicist who knows how to tell a story.

The end of the day came. I’d been through 10 boxes, maybe 11. Everyone said their goodbyes and walked out.

See you tomorrow!

I went back to the bus. I had a physics quiz due at 5:30 pm. I went to the campus. It was the other direction from home. I got there at 5:15, did the quiz, passed, Michio Kaku helped. Back on the bus. The bus went to the train and then the train went to my car. My car was bogged. It rained heavily and I was parked on grass. I called my friend to help me out and we got out.

On the way home I drove past the Full Moon, still tired. I looked in the top floor window. I was there last night. Never again.

My alarm was set for the next morning. It went off and I summoned energy in every cell. Showered, still tired, drove to the train, still tired, got the train, got the bus, walked in.

Eliza started speaking.

You got these wrong.

Okay.

11 fitness tips which will make you healthier

  1. Sleep and nutrition first, exercise second. You can never out-exercise poor eating or sleeping. If you have a choice between losing sleep and working out more or getting sleep and working out less, choose sleep.

  2. Movement not exercise. The healthiest people in the world don’t have gym memberships. What do they do? They move.

  3. Mobility will save you. Some of the most muscular people in the gym can’t touch their toes and have constant shoulder pain due to poor movement patterns. Don’t be this person. Practice mobility as much as muscle.

  4. Fitness like finances. You’ve heard it. When you’re young health comes easier. Maintain it. It’s far harder to start moving at 57 than 27. No one wants to be the parent who can’t run around or pick up their kids.

  5. Fuck your phone off. Instagram is great for education, the internet is great for finding posts like these but they shouldn’t get in the way of your workouts. Most people’s 45-minute workout would be 15-minutes if they left their phone in the car.

  6. Food not supplements. If it requires an advertisement, you don’t need it. If it has more than 1 ingredient, you don’t need it. Bright labels with a list of ingredients you don’t understand don’t equal health.

  7. Hunger not habit. Your weight problems come from abundance. You don’t need to eat as often as you think. Eat when you’re hungry, not out of habit.

  8. Sweat helps. Before I wrote this I didn’t want to move. But I had to. I wanted to see a friend. Then I wanted to write. Then I wanted dinner. 25 kettle-bell swings in and the sweat started. Then I didn’t want to stop.

  9. Run. Every man should be able to run at least a mile at 80% of their sprinting speed. If you can’t, change it. “I don’t do cardio.” Don’t be a fool.

  10. Stay lean. A healthy human is a lean and muscular human. You don’t need the extra flab to build muscle. If you’ve got it, use the above to get rid of it.

  11. Forge your own path. Take the best from dummies like me and remix it into your own definition of fitness. My views are biased by what I’m into. Yours should be the same.

Source: https://qr.ae/TWhzPd

How fast is this train going?

Mr. Wrigley was on a train with a friend. The friend asked why Mr. Wrigley maintained such a high advertising budget for his products when he already had such a large market share.

Mr. Wrigley starting speaking.

How fast do you think this train is going?

His friend looked out the window and then looked back, spoke.

It looks about 90 mph.

Mr. Wrigley spoke.

Do you think it would be a good idea if we unhinged the engine?

His friend had his answer. Wrigley’s had the lions share of the market but continued to advertise their product. They kept momentum.

It’s show time

It’s helpful to remember when you’re giving a presentation or a talk, you’re putting on a show. That’s what you’re there to do.

People aren’t thinking about you as much as the show you’re putting on.

Go out there and show them something.

On repeat

It’s simple, you put a song on repeat and let it play in the background whilst you’re working.

I listened to Bon Iver’s Hey, Ma on repeat for the past 3 hours. It played probably 50 times. I can’t remember many of the lyrics except Hey, Ma but it took me to a place.

I live for that place.

Try it, one song, repeat. Electronic beats work best for me. RÜFÜS DU SOL is another band worth listening. Go to the place.

Once per year

Little actions every day add up but it’s helpful to remember they’re little actions. 

Judging your progress on the little actions every day will make you feel like you’re not making any. 

Let them add up then review yourself. What little action could you add in now? 

Or better yet, what little action could you take away?

Give yourself a year of putting in effort and then see where you’re at.  

Learning to do it better

Learning happens best by doing.

But after doing something for a while, the habits build in and the craft can become stale. When it does it’s time to start again.

The normal education system won’t teach you to ask this. It prefers the ‘this Is how it’s done’ type of learning. Where there’s a set criteria and if you don’t follow it, you don’t get the results.

Real learning doesn’t happen likes this.

It happens by continually asking yourself, ‘could this be done better?’

The answer is almost always yes.

And it’s hard work. Undoing and redoing the existing mental models. But that’s why it’s worth it. Because now you’re better than you were last year.

The extra 5-minutes

We were at a health hack day. 

The theme was voice. Using AI to transcribe a doctors visit so the doctor didn’t have to type notes during the consultation with a patient.

One team talked to me about their solution.

”We can save 5-minutes per appointment, which means doctors can fit in an average of one extra patient per day.”

Their solution was great. It worked and did what they said it would. 

But I pushed back on what they proposed it could offer. 

Saving 5-minutes per appointment is great. And if it means a doctor doesn’t have to type up notes whilst talking to a patient, even better. But to then ‘fit in’ an extra patient because of the time saving? How about taking an extra 5-minutes with each patient and providing care? Or taking 5-minutes extra to prepare for the next one instead of being rushed back to back?

Some metrics sound and look great on paper.

5-minutes saved per patient, 1 patient extra per day, 300 more patients per year. But it pays to think about how they play out in the real world.

The four-hour work day

An elite athlete trains hard and in short bursts. Then rests. Then analyses their training. Then repeats.

Cognitive work should be done in the same way.

Short intense bursts followed by rest and reassessment.

In the age of information and leverage, your actions have the potential to return 50x, 100x, 1000x the amount of effort you put in.

How?

Create something using code or media and style it with your own authenticity.

Will it take more than four-hours?

At times, of course. The number doesn’t matter. As long as it’s consistent. You can get a lot done in four focused hours every day for a decade.

Short intense bursts followed by rest and reassessment.

​What are you thinking?

Can you write it down?

Can you communicate it to someone else?

We’re wired to skip between thoughts. Things which make sense to us make sense to us because our brains jump from one thought to another. But when we try and tell someone else about it, since they don’t have our brains, they have a hard time understanding it.

So learn to write.

Learn to write your thoughts down. Learn to communicate them in a way others can understand.

Write three versions of it. One you’d use to explain to someone who knew as much as you about it, one to explain to someone who knows half as much as you about it and one to explain it to someone who doesn’t know anything about it.

Pitching your product or service? You could use the three sentence framework and build on it.

1. Did you know?

2. Well we...

3. In fact...

How does it look in practice?

Did you know 50% of cab rides are overpriced?

Well we give you the price of the ride before you book it.

In fact, people using our service can book a ride whenever they need and save a minimum of 20%.

Can you guess?

If you guessed Uber, you’re right. The figures are made up but you see where it’s useful. Now someone knows what you do and what the benefits of using your service are.

You’re probably thinking, “but I don’t need to pitch anything”. But you do have ideas don’t you? And you’d like to see something come of those ideas right?

Most of the time they won’t get implemented and it won’t be because of a technical problem or something of the nature. It will be from a communication problem.

The change you’re trying to make depends on you being able to communicate what you’re thinking.

Write about it.

A sick person only wants one thing

A healthy person wants 10,000 things.

Everyone gets sick once in a while, even if you don’t, you know someone who does. And what’s the one thing you want when you’re sick? What’s the one thing they want when they’re sick?

To get better.

But then you get better and life starts again. The wants come back in. The desires flood back in.

And then there’s the oldest wisdom there is. You know it. 

Desire is suffering.

The more desires, the more suffering. 

Stuck?

Remind yourself of the last time you were sick. What did you want then? That’s what matters.

Every man has two lives

And the second one begins when he realises he only has one. — Confucius 

The old you has to die for the new you to take the spotlight. Old ways of thinking, old relationships, old materials, sometimes they all have to go to make way for the new.

This is it. The more you trade authenticity for affection, the harder it gets to go the other way.

Use your difficulties

There’s a lesson in the hard things. There’s good in the difficult times.

When it’s near the end you’ll look bad. The normal won’t stand out. The hard and the good times will.

Your difficulties are good memories waiting to be uncovered.