Overdoing it vs. under doing it

How much do you need to say?

‘Enough to get the message across.’ That’s the easy answer. But it’s not useful.

Sometimes it’ll take 11-pages of copy to convince someone to buy your product.

Other times you’ll only need 1.

It’s unlikely you’re doing too much.

If the change you want to see in the world isn’t happening, perhaps you’re not doing enough.

How do you know?

Because you don’t know the threshold of doing too much until it’s overdone.

But you already know the results of not doing enough. They’re easy to predict.

Better to risk overdoing it than under doing it.

25 Principles of Human Behaviour

I turned 25 yesterday. I said I was going to write two posts for it. This is the second.

Last year, I wrote some algorithms which I live by. I love those kinds of posts. Reading and writing them.

Principles are exceptional value for money. A few words can lead to a lifetime of easier decision making.

Stuck at a crossroad in life? You can refer back to your principles for help.

I've listed 25 here. There could be hundreds more. But 25 is enough for now.

1. Having guts always works out.

2. Being truthful always works out.

3. No one can be you better than you.

4. Doing the things you set out to do feels good.

5. Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate.

6. The better you get at something the more you'll enjoy it.

7. Material goods are cool at first but the novelty quickly wears off. Chase experiences instead.

8. No one really cares if you fail, except you.

9. Spending time with people who are interested in what you are is energising.

10. Most days will end with you back in a comfortable bed. What's the worry?

11. Worrying causes more problems than it solves.

12. Laugh at yourself often.

13. Happiness is like the tide. It won't always be up. Continue sailing anyway.

14. Give praise more often than disagreement.

15. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all.

16. Health first.

17. You're not the only one.

18. Love is a much cleaner fuel source than hate.

19. A ship is not guided by its wake. Neither do you have to live according to your past.

20. A 20-minute walk solves many of life’s problems.

21. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

22. Life becomes easier when you treat everything as play.

23. It’s okay if you don’t know something. Go and find out.

24. Learning stops when your heart does.

25. If in doubt, go harder.

Treat your art like golf

How often do you see somone get a hole in one?

Professional golfers only land 1 in 2500 holes on the first shot. For an amateur, it's more like 1 in 12500.

You should treat your artworks the same. It will rarely be a hit on the first try. Even if you're a professional.

It will take some refining. A real professional knows the art is in the edit.

For writers, the first draft is always bad. And bad is the nice way of putting it.

For filmmakers, the first cut always looks out of place.

For music producers, the first version of a track is hardly ever a chart topper.

But to make the first of anything takes courage. A willingness to put something out into the world that might not work.

An amateur stops if the first version isn't a hole in one. A professional knows they have to take at least another 2499 shots, maybe more.

What's more important than trying to nail it in one go is trying to improve it on the next.

Let the first version be bad.

Don't worry. You'll go back over it. Again and again. And you'll make it better. 2499 more times.

 

Results go where energy flows

My LinkedIn has overtaken my blog in Google’s search rankings.

It’s because I’ve been more consistent there. Posting something every day.

Google rewards consistency. They like it if you’re active. Pages on the first page of Google are active.

How many times have you been past page 1 lately?

I love LinkedIn but I love my blog more. It wouldn’t seem that way though.

My energy has been directed elsewhere. 

Not today. I’m writing on my blog first before anywhere else. I’m going to push it back to the top. It’s where people can find out the most about me.

Results come from the direction we choose to send our energy. It’s a choice we can all make.

The universe works in mysterious ways when you decide to dedicate ourselves to something. When you choose to take on a challenge.

All of the best gains in life come from compound interest. Small, repeated, actions over time. It doesn’t have to be every day but it does have to be more than once in a while. 

The first action won’t be as good as the 47th. And the 47th won’t be as good as the 347th.

It’s not your last action which counts, it’s your next.

Write like nobody is reading

Be careful. Don't write that. Somebody might read it.

But what if no one did?

Would it matter?

Every writer wants to be read.

It seems pointless to spend hours filling a blank page with words for no one to read them.

But someone always does. The words always get read.

They're read by you.

In your head. With your voice.

They're a reflection of the story we tell ourselves every day. Whether we're feeling good, or feeling bad. Whether you're excited or scared for what's to come.

When you write like nobody is reading, you can be honest with yourself. The truth reveals itself.

What you'll find is when the truth comes out, others like to read it too. Letting it out is hard to do. And that's why we're all seeking it.

Some won't like your story. That's okay. It gives you a chance to consider their arguments and make yours stronger. Or change them all together.

And if you don't like your story, you can always change it. After all, you're the one writing it.

Same direction, new ground

We started a website. Airbnb for gyms.

We wanted to workout together but none of us were members of the same place.

'Surely technology could solve this,' we thought.

It was exciting. We were going to build a solution for ourselves.

Walking around visiting gyms was fun.

'How does your current sign up system work?'

'They fill out this form and then we enter it into the database.'

'How do you enter it?'

'I type it up and my manager checks it later.'

Yuck.

The site was up. It had gyms on there. But only as listings.

We hit a roadblock. Gyms like having control of their memberships. Most of the revenue comes from people not showing up. You know that weekly payment coming out of your account you've forgotten about? That.

The excitement fizzled out. I even stopped using the gym, all I needed was the ground and a pull-up bar. Movement and being around friends were the underlying passions, not a poor sign up process.

The idea is still there but the execution came to a halt.

Then I found a new path. I'm still on it. Still health, still technology. But with a different ground underfoot.

Let's see where it goes.

 

Make Time Your Friend

Faster. Faster. Faster. But what for?

You can't control the time.

Wanting to reach the goal without the journey is the root of your unhappiness.

It's your mind's way of reminding you what matters.

You can board a metal tube and travel anywhere in an instant. The journey and the destination get mashed into one.

Try to breathe. Really try. You'll you mess it up. You've been breathing all your life by letting it happen.

Time is still a new concept for us.

But it's not going away.

Working against it is a losing battle.

It's much easier to work with a friend than an enemy.

What’s the alternative?

The work you’re supposed to be doing. 

The roadblock you’ve got ahead of you. 

That thing you signed up for. 

The journey you’re on. 

When it gets hard, there’s always an alternative. The short cut. The easy option. No option at all. 

It may be right to take the alternative. But it may not be. 

Too many short cuts and you end up taking the long cut. 

Avoiding the hard thing now means facing it later.  And, there’s no shortage of hard things.

Sometimes the most helpful alternative is to forget there is one.

What happens when your crutches fall away?

Quora is down. I've been answering questions on there lately.

Writing an answer to a question feels different from a blog post. With a question you know there's definitely someone on the other side.

You can be that person's guru if you write well.

A blog post can answer a question, it can create a question, many questions.

When I found out Quora was down I thought, what could I write?

Stumped.

Quora had become a crutch. Something for me to lean on for inspiration. Rather than creating my own fire, I'd rely on others to start it for me.

My brother is in a moonboot right now. One of those big braces to keep your leg in check.

I wore one once. Walking up the concrete ramp to the train station sucked. It was hot. I could feel the sweat piling up inside the boot. When I took it off to sleep it smelled like a change room. A stale change room.

"If it doesn't get better in a few days you might need a full leg cast." the doctor said.

A full leg cast for tripping over on the beach. My friend and I were racing to the water. I won but paid a price. The sand underneath the water had potholes. In went my right foot and over went my body.

We swam for two hours. No issues until I got out of the cold water. Walking up the beach was a challenge. We were supposed to play touch football that night. "It's alright guys, I'll still make it."

I didn't make it. I went to the hospital.

My right big toe was chipped. You could see it on the x-ray. A pathetic chip but still chipped. I hobbled to the bus station with a moonboot. I'll be going to that same bus station this morning. I'm working on a project at the hospital.

Working with the boot was a pain in the ass. It was 3-inches off the ground. I couldn't move anything from my knee down. And my hips were getting sore from walking on different angles.

"I'm going to do some repairs and sit down," I said.

"No worries Dan," she replied.

Sitting down was worse. I never liked the chairs we had. The thing at the bottom always got in the way.

Enough complaining. I took the boot off three days later. Putting my shoe on hurt but it was better than wearing a boot. "I'm not getting a full leg cast. This thing is going to heal up." I told myself.

It worked. I never put the boot back on or went back to the hospital, until today.

"If you don't need a cast, it should be fine to take the boot off in 4-6 weeks." the doctor said.

My pathetic little chip was either dust on the X-ray or I've got magic powers.

Crutches aren't a bad thing. They hold us up and let us heal. They take the pressure off. And they come in all shapes and sizes.

Except crutches become a problem when you rely on them too much. They're inconvenient to carry around all the time.

I was leaning on Quora for inspiration to write. What happens if Quora ceased to exist? Stop writing? Not an option.

I should've been leaning on myself.

You might be leaning on something too. If you are, you're probably not giving yourself enough credit. You're stronger than you think. Do you need it?

Sometimes crutches can hold us back from getting better. Ditching the boot meant I had no choice but to get better. Smart? Eh. Choose your battles.

Quora being down means I had no choice but to write this post.

Losing one crutch is great reason to write about how you got rid of another. And throwing them away is a great way of saying, "I'm doing this, whether I like it or not."

Saying that enough times is more potent than any medicine.

How to Create Your Own Luck

“I won the lottery twice in 5 days. My $2.5m secrets inside!” the magazine cover read.

I didn’t read the article but the headline caught me. I got lured. Magazine covers were the first click bait.

Now I wish I read it. I want to be luckier. What if that guy knew the secret? I could get millions!

Then I remembered I already know how to create my own luck.

In year 6, our teacher tried to teach our class how to juggle. We spent the first hour throwing one ball in the air and catching it with the same hand.

I’d found the internet at this stage so, naturally, I got bored and gave up. I still can’t juggle.

Juggling is all the throw. If your throw goes to the exact same place every time, you don’t even have to think about the catch. It just happens.

When I was learning to juggle I was too focused on the goal. I wanted to start juggling with three balls straight away.

The goal blocked me from the process. The process of learning to throw one ball perfectly.

Why would you buy another lottery ticket after already winning? Because luck is another word for trusting the process.

You can’t win the lottery twice if you’re not in it. Just like I was never going to be able to juggle 3 balls without learning to throw one.

Luck has a way of showing up when we do.

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10 things that make my life easier

  1. Stopping trying to make things easier. Use discomfort as a compass. See number 2.
  2. Doing really hard things. I ran 50km in April. Now walking to the bus is easier.
  3. Letting go trying to control things. Your organs run without a single thought being devoted to them. Rather than overthinking everything, pretend it’s like your heartbeat and let it happen.
  4. Cutting out negative crap. Negative food, negative people, negative news sources (all of the news). All cut.
  5. Talking to myself. I write 750 words per day no questions asked. Even if I don’t want to. Most of it is talking to myself. I’m now my own best friend.
  6. Less decisions. Ever been to an ice cream shop and struggled to make a choice? That used to be me. Now the first flavour that comes into my mind is getting devoured. I also threw out my closet and bought 3 plain shirts. No one ever says anything.
  7. Sleeping more. No alarms. Earlier bedtimes. More naps. It’s a superpower. My awake time is 40x better when I’ve slept well.
  8. Loving myself. Another superpower. We’re too hard on ourselves. Now I remind myself each day I love myself. Bad day? Look in the mirror. Into your own eyes. Tell that pretty face how much you love you.
  9. Creating. Creation is setting the ideas in your mind free. Trade a portion of your consumption time for creating and you’ll start to see the world differently. Everything is inspiration.
  10. Realising no one really cares. Go for a drive. Go for a walk. You see the old lady carrying her groceries? She lives a life as beautiful and as complicated as yours. Do you think she cares what you’re going to do tomorrow? Go and do your thing. No one will care as much as you. So you better make it damn good. Impress yourself for the sake of it.

Dam I love writing. I’m charged up. Be careful with number 9, especially before bed.

Time for me to follow my own advice. Number 7 here I come baby!

Zzz

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Momentum works both ways

You know those homeless people you and I walk past every so often?

At some point in life, they lost their momentum.

It’s damn hard to get back.

Most people slow down after completing something significant. What does that lead to?

It leads to going back to doing the same thing.

Use your momentum. Build upon the foundations you’ve laid rather than living in them.

Be careful, momentum also works in reverse. If you’re on a downward spiral, pull your parachute and get the hell out of there.

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