Picking a practice

When you publish something every day at first it’s hard to follow through.

But over time, behaviors turn into a habit. Habits turn into action.

You don’t sit there and wonder if you are going to write something today. No, the decision has already been made. The question is what are you going to publish?

Everyone needs practice like this. Something to follow through on, every day, no matter who’s watching.

“Why can’t I catch a break”

You have. At least every once in a while. Someone may run a red light and just miss you. Maybe you bomb a presentation but your boss is in Cabo. Either way, it’s likely you are focused on the wrong thing.

If you study behavioral economics, we know that a loss hurts more than the pleasure of a gain.

As a result, we end up spending our time playing defense.

The question is are you playing the game to lose or are you playing for the win?

Sculpting

Michaelangelo is famous for saying, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

Who knows if he actually said it. But the lesson still holds true. That each of us has beauty inside us waiting to be exposed.

But the hard work for any sculptor, and any other artist for that matter, is that you can’t actually see the lines that need to be drawn. You can’t see where to carve or chisel, you have to imagine it.

Imagine and then hope that your work will actually become a reflection of it.

“Four scores and seven-year ago”

The day started with Edward Everett giving a 13,607 word speech. It was two hours long. Very common at the time.

Abraham Lincoln followed with 271 words which would later be known as the real Gettysburg Address.

All it took was 271 words to heal a nation.

You don’t need thousands of words when a hundred will suffice.

And the same is true about money or politics.

One person is enough to change the course of things.

To spec

Great, you followed the step by step set of instructions.

You did it perfectly.

Except so can the next person. And the next.

If what you bring to the table can be written down in a clear set of instructions, then you are not bringing much.

And if you don’t bring much then chances are we can find someone faster and cheaper than you.

On a scale

It’s a great feeling to finish a big project, to bench a PR or to finish a degree.

But it’s difficult to do something big every day.

You can’t sprint forever.

So, what can you do every day?

Something small.

One blog per day.

One workout per day.

You may never finish but eventually, you can point to a large body of work.

That’s how retirement works.

That’s how you start a small business.

I can’t think of anything more valuable.

You’re not winning the lottery

It turns out that magic lamps and genies are not real. Nor is the Tooth Fairy.

The good news is that the Boogie Man and the Fraud Police are not real either.

You’re not going to be drafted by the NBA. The New York Times isn’t putting your book on their list of bestsellers. And someone isn’t around the corner waiting for your next mistake.

So, go. Do good work anyway. Knowing that the stress isn’t there of having to manage a life gone viral. Knowing that there is still room to make a difference to someone. Even if that someone isn’t everyone.

“Did you hear…”

When is the last time you talked to someone that wasn’t informed?

Of course, it’s now easier than ever to be informed. But I think it is also true that the internet has made us believe that we are more informed than we actually are.

We can sound like we know what we are talking about by reading a couple of headlines.

Increasingly, we put more trust that someone else did their homework. What it really comes down to then is, are my resources reliable? Or perhaps, this is my narrative of the world and my trusted resources support it.

Bingo.