If Someone Comes Into Your House

I went to boxing class tonight. Ben was teaching. He’s got multiple titles, I don’t know the specifics but let’s say top 20 in the world.

It’s one thing to be good at your craft, it’s another to be able to teach it.

Ben was an excellent teacher. He knows boxing inside out but he broke things down so people could understand.

Jab, cross, hook, jab, cross, hook.

”Say it as you’re doing, connect your words to your hands.”

Jab, cross, hook.

I was out of time but then I started saying to myself. Jab, cross, hook. And it worked. My partner and I were getting on a roll.

“Let’s talk about footwork, if someone comes towards you, past this barrier,” Ben waved his arms in front of his feet, “you want to go first.”

”Treat it as if they’re coming into you’re house, you don’t want them in your house, so you attack.”

“If the other person starts to come forward, throw punches at them. Be the first to strike, otherwise, they’ll be too close.”

We kept practicing. Ben went around to the different groups, encouraging those who could improve and doing the same with those going well.

Class finished and I thought about the coming into your house analogy.

The takeaway was go first.

And it doesn’t only apply to boxing.

You can use it anywhere. Be the first to say hello to someone, be the first to smile, be the first to ask a question.

Use it as a rule. A default. Go first.

How many times have you been held back from doing something because you were waiting for the other person to go first?

For me, too many. Sometimes missed opportunities hurt more than a punch to the face.

Thank you for the class Ben.

The newcomer

Who says you can’t?

Who says you can’t show up and put on a show?

You can tell if someone is really supportive of the cause they’re advocating if you turn up and do better than them.

If someone gets defensive of your progress, they’re playing a status game.

If they really wanted their mission to succeed, it wouldn’t matter who did it.

Status games are ones where someone has to win and someone has to lose.

It can hard for newcomers when you join a field full of people playing the status game.

You can navigate this by not starting at all. Not doing the thing you’ve been wanting to do because the people doing are already so good. Because the people doing it claim they’ve got a special talent.

Or you can navigate it by reminding yourself, everyone is newcomer at some point.

No one starts off being great. Even the natural talents had to practice. The thing is, practice isn’t practice to natural talents. Practice is play.

“What if I’ve got no natural talents?”

You do. They’ve just been buried over. Buried over by an a lacking education system and old ways of thinking. They’ll take a while to come back but they’re there.

They’re the things you do which other people look at like it’s work but to you it’s the opposite.

To figure out what you’re talents are, you have to be the newcomer. In the beginning, it’ll suck. After a while, you’ll ask, why didn’t I do this earlier?

And then?

You’ll be the one who encourages others to do the same.

Coming from behind

Dave won his four fights today. We got in the sauna in the morning to make sure he weighed in.

There were people there with more belt tips than him.

His was the biggest division.

There were a few bigger than him. They didn’t make the weigh in but the judges let it slide.

The referee calls them onto the mat. There’s no cheering allowed at this competition. What kind of rule is that?

I say go Dave anyway.

He has good control for most of it.

But then the other guy gets on top. Dave’s in a bad position.

The guy on top gets lazy. Gets comfortable being there. Dave takes advantage of this. Gets him around the neck. Catches him out.

The guy on top goes to tap, doesn’t, then does. Dave wins. He does the same for another fight and wins the other two easily.

He started the morning overweight. He would’ve been disqualified.

He finished the day winning four from four.

There’s always a way.

A Lesson Worth Learning Early

Time is limited. Life feels infinite today. But soon years feel like seasons.

And you’ll realise you won’t have time to learn all the things you want to learn.

You don’t when the last time you’ll look into the eyes of a loved one.

I was a sixtieth birthday party tonight. A best friends mum. I met my friend 15-years ago.

We talked about one of our earliest memories. Making homemade fireworks in the backyard.

15-years feels like an eternity and a heartbeat at the same time.

That’s worth remembering.

Time is limited. But love makes it feel longer.

The best way to see your change in the world

You don't have to see someone get hit by a car to know crossing the road without looking is dangerous.

We learn from each other. Not many other species can do that.

Someone who can't learn is considered to have a learning disability.

But no one ever discusses a teaching disability.

Teaching is hard. Learning is hard. How do you transport knowledge from one brain to another?

It's hard to learn something you don't enjoy. Studying becomes a chore.

It's even harder to teach something you don't enjoy.

The best teachers don't look like they're teaching. They don't tell. They show. They entertain and educate at the same time.

They create a picture in your mind.

They live and breath what they're talking about.

They set an example.

You want to learn from them because you can see what they're doing. You know they know what they're talking about because they are what they're talking about.

The best way to see your change into the world is to live it. If you don't, why should others?

The glass is already broken

If you’ve got an expensive vase, and your dog one day jumps onto the table and knocks it over, you might be disappointed when it breaks.

You can avoid the eventual disappointment by thinking of the vase as already broken.

Even if it’s sitting there fine, in your head it’s already broken.

You preempt the worst case scenario so you’re not surprised when it happens.

Of course, this thinking doesn’t only apply to nice vases.

It can go for anything.

Your business has already failed.

Your relationship has already ended.

You don’t get the job you applied for.

Of course, these aren’t the most ideal scenarios.

But if they happen, you’re prepared.

Reading yourself stupid

Reading is the ultimate meta-skill. If you can read you can learn and if you can learn you can acquire skills and with those skills you can build things, things which bring value to others, value to you.

But don’t confuse reading with doing.

Reading something and learning something new feels good. It feels like you’ve learned it. But the writer has done the thinking for you. They’ve condensed the knowledge into something which you can understand.

Read too much without trying something on your own, without the guiding hand of the author and you’ll lose your ability to think.

The answer?

Read and do.

Read something, do something.

Rewrite what you’ve read in your own words. Don’t look back on it. How would you explain it to someone else if you had to?

How would you use your new knowledge to help someone else?

Writing makes you think.

Doing makes you think.

That’s what the books are for right? For you to learn how to think better.

Don’t read yourself stupid.

Tough conversations

Avoiding them is the easy option. But it’s like putting an infected wound.

It hides the problem but it’s still there.

And it’s not going to get better unless you do something about it.

Soon enough the wound gets more infected and it spreads. Then the small problem turns into something much worse.

Have the conversation which needs to be had when it needs to be had. Especially if it’s with yourself.

One decision Away

The life you want to live.

The things you want to make.

The subjects you want to learn.

They’re all one decision away.

You know what they are. They’re right there.

You know what it is you want to make.

What you want to learn.

There’s no such thing as a lack of ideas. Only a lack of choosing to go through with them.

All it takes is one decision.

I’m doing this.

Saying not doing

That’s my problem.

I’ve been saying to myself, saying to others I want to build things.

But I haven’t.

It’s called signalling. Talking about something instead of doing it.

It started with wanting build a YouTube channel.

Then I did it. And it felt good.

I wanted to write. So I did. Everyday. And it makes me happy.

Now I want to build apps. Build products which add value to the world.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

If you know what you want to do. Remember.

The fastest way to get where you want to go is to go straight there.

My latest YouTube video talks about two things I’m doing wrong in my business. One of them is signalling. The other is jumping from project to project rather than building something scalable (a product built on code or media).

A smile can make everything

I walked into the cafe. Ordered.

Walked outside. Saw her. She smiled. Spoke.

Good morning.

Morning, how are you?

Good, thank you.

I smiled and kept walking. Sat down. Looked at the sun, soaked it in.

My coffee arrived and I sat there thinking. Thinking about the smile.

Everything in that moment was perfect.

You never know how much a small action can affect someone. One smile gave me energy for the whole day.

Now it's my turn to give it back.

The Change You’re Trying to Make

It’s worth reminding yourself what you’re trying to do. What the change is you’re trying to make.

Short-term emergencies arise every day. It can be hard to remember your long-term mission.

Soon enough, the short-term emergencies become the thing you do.

Is this why you started?

To be the person who waits for an issue to arise and then taking care of it?

The short-term metrics are the ones which are easy to measure. Views, likes, sales. These are good. But it’s worth remembering if you can pay money to boost a metric, it’s probably not the change you’re trying to make.

Instead of waiting for mistakes to fix, get out there and make some. That’s how change happens.

Who’s stopping you from playing the game?

If you want to play the game, play the game.

Don’t let the gatekeepers hold you back. The experts. The ones who are supposed to know what you’re capable of. Most of them are you holding yourself back.

Listening to all the things you’re not supposed to do.

You can’t try going into a new field if you’re already in another.

You can’t learn machine learning unless you have a graduate degree in mathematics.

You can’t become a writer unless you’ve taking a writing class.

You can’t be healthy ignoring the food pyramid.

Ignore them. Experts are a scam. Their status depends on you thinking their on another tier to you. Don’t play status games.

Play the game of following your own curiosity. The one you know you want to play.