When you work to change people’s lives, you are eventually going to come across those who do not want to be changed. Even if the work you produce is better, it isn’t what most are used to.
The status-quo is rooted deep in our culture, making it is easy (and even popular) to tear apart people’s work.
The thing is, some wrongs don’t need to be made right. If someone is insisting that your work isn’t good enough, we have to have the courage to say, “Thank you. It’s not for you.”
Critics, trolls and haters all starve for the same thing: Your attention.
Don’t just give it away by engaging with someone who refuses to change. No need to waste our time and energy into convincing those who refused to be convinced.
There are plenty of people out there waiting to be touched by your generosity. Those are the ones we seek to serve.
Spending our time creating the perfect email response or visualizing the perfect comeback, what is it for? What are we hoping to accomplish by stepping into the argument room?
Are we justified? Sure. But is it going to make us feel better?
Revenge is a zero sum game–in order for me to win, you have to lose. No one is going to change their mind in a state of anger.
Far better to use that time to make things better than to right every single wrong that is made in our lives.
Next time someone throws garbage your way–let it lie, let it die.
Take the thing you are most of afraid of doing–that blog post you refused to ship, your business proposal you’ve spent months preparing, getting ready to take the Bar or MCAT’s–if you were to fail, what is the worst that could happen?
Write it down, in great detail everything that could possibly go wrong. On paper with purpose.
Chances are it isn’t as bad as you originally thought. Yeah, you might be fired or have to start over. Money, time, resources might be spent.
But when we take the emotion out of it, when we decide to dance with our fears, it turns out that the worst that could actually happen is not as bad as what we imagined.
There is a space, a void that is only momentarily filled when we create something worth sharing. We fill satisfaction when we change the recipient.
But just like that, it’s gone.
Because no one is forever changed by one blog post. No one is changed after one public speaking engagement.
If we are lucky though, and if we can build enough trust, they will be inspired to read another blog post, to listen to another talk.
Soon enough, real change begins to happen.
Send it. Click it. Ship it. Make better art. Capture us again, if only for a few moments.
Figure out what it is you want to accomplish, where it is you want to go.
Now work backwards from there, all the way to where it is you stand today.
There are no maps to follow but this is closest thing to making one.
Your first step is to write.
Now that you have written something, no matter how bad it is, you can now make it better.
First comes the quantity, then comes the quality.
In the 1400’s, being a Scribe meant you had a rare skill–you could read and write–skills that only a fraction of the population possessed. Often, scrolls and manuscripts would decay, be misplaced or be destroyed; creating more scarcity. Being a Scribe was a lucrative profession.
Until one day, it wasn’t.
When Johannes Gutenberg invented the Printing Press, he transformed the way we duplicate information and provided new access to literature for the masses. You could now copy a book faster than you could read it. The skills that Scribes possessed were no longer a valuable commodity.
Fast forward 600 years to today, are the skills you possess scarce?
If so, how long is it before they become commodities?
How long before they are no longer valuable?
The world of commodities is shrinking. Fast. It is no longer good enough to have a competent skill. Because the world continues to change. Progress continues to step forward.
If you are going to insist that the world stays the same for your livelihood, you are going to be left behind with the Scribes. The few that could see the Printing Press as an opportunity to create a new scarcity flourished.
The question is no longer, What kind of scarcity do I rely on? But rather, What kind of scarcity do I create?
Your Facebook post that you are about to share, what is it for?
The Monday morning meeting where everyone gathers around to talk about what they are going to accomplish, what is it for?
That policy and procedure that no one seems to understand, what is it for?
Writing an angry email to the customer service manager to explain how wrongly we have been treated, what is it for?
If what you are doing is going to help you reach the top of the mountain, the goal you are trying to accomplish, please take one-step forward.
If not, it’s okay to say this isn’t for me and move on to the important work we have been delaying.