Zero to one

The most difficult jump for anyone to make is going from zero to one.

  • Getting customers to buy something. (To go from completely free to a penny.)
  • Going from no subscribers to one subscriber for your blog or YouTube channel or email list.
  • Getting married for the first time, having your first kid, buying your first house.
  • Finishing your first marathon.
  • The hardest fraudulent account for Wells Fargo to create was the first one. The second account became easier to justify.
  • The first kiss.
  • From never have performed surgery to doing your first one.
  • Scoring one point in the NBA.

It’s hard for anyone to do anything for the first time.

Paradoxically, enrollment is easier now more than ever.

Why this road

If you take the road less traveled, eventually you begin to wonder why you are here to begin with.

Because the road is filled with uncertainty and doubt. No wonder it’s not popular. Otherwise, everyone would do it.

We show up because, really, what choice do we have?

There are some of us thinking about leaping. Wondering, when do we start? The answer is yesterday. And since we can’t go back. Now is the next best thing.

And some of us are wondering where to start. And the answer is to start where you are today.

What do I start doing? Should we do this or that? Well, did you figure out what to eat for lunch? Just like that, make a decision and go.

Maybe you have become distracted. If you are not satisfied with where you are, choose to go down a different road. But no one is going to show you a map on how to get from where you are to where you want to go.

Why this road? It’s not for others to decide. It’s up to you to find your own way.

You can buy some happiness

A Princeton study found that those with lower-incomes reported lower levels of happiness. However, for those making more than $75,000 a year, their level of happiness didn’t increase.

And the reason is that you have to make a trade.

You have to trade something to make more money. You could be spending (interesting word spend) more time in the office and away from your family. Which effects your relationships you have in the home. And of course, the stress that comes when your life is out of balance. Which leads to health problems.

(And around and around we go.)

Sometimes we lose sight on the things that matter most for the pursuit of more.

We can never fill our life’s purpose on the wheel of accumulation.

If making money is really important to you. (And by all means, I think you should get some money.) You should consider shifting your focus at the $75,000 benchmark.

Maybe you say I have enough. Maybe you say that anything I make now goes to charitable organizations. Maybe you look to make a significant difference in someone’s life.

And maybe we don’t wait to start making a difference. So when the day comes of “I have enough” you are already an expert in giving.

Google it

The interesting thing about millennials is that they were the last generation to grow up without Google.

Millennials (and those before them) growing up had more questions than answers. Because answering questions was expensive and time consuming.

What an opportunity for the the youth today to ask more questions.

Better yet, I think we have a responsibility to teach them to ask the right questions. The right questions lead to more possibilities.

It’s important for the youth to remember that we didn’t always have convenience. We didn’t always have access to information. It wasn’t provided by a click of a button. It didn’t happen in the speed of light.

We couldn’t simply “Google it”.

We are made

No one is born to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a blogger.

We are all made.

By saying we are made makes us feel uncomfortable because now we are on the hook.

What a shame for the person who was supposed to cure cancer but they never got around to it. They never realized their potential.

What a waste.

They could have helped so many people but now we will have to wait.


The Japanese art of embracing damage.

The idea originally started in the 15th century, when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa sent a damaged Chinese bowl back to China for repairs. When Yoshimasa’s favorite bowl was returned, he opened the package to find that the bowl had been put back together with metal staples. Yoshimasa asked his craftsmen if they could do better. And sure enough, a new art was formed when gold seams were used to repair the broken pieces of pottery.

(The practice became so popular that some collectors were intentionally breaking valuable works of art just so they could repair it.)

Today, we have unfortunately become a society of disposables. As soon as something breaks, we throw it away. As soon as something wears out, we throw it away. As soon as we grow tired of something, we throw it away. Always accumulating. Always searching for the bigger, better, thing. (The next thing is here.)

The sad truth is that we don’t just do it with TVs, cars, phones, clothes. We do it with relationships.

But aren’t we all just a broken piece of pottery?

Everyone has gone through something.

Instead of throwing away the things that matter most, we should repair the damage. Embrace it. We all need mending. We don’t have to hide it. That mending can be part of our history. It can be seen as art and even bring more value. We can fulfill our purpose again.

Edison’s lesson

On December 10, 1914, a massive explosion occurred at Thomas Edison’s film plant. Burning down more than half of the buildings. The results were catastrophic. It was estimated that Edison lost about $1 million. (Which would equate to about $23 million today.)

During the fire, Edison calming told his son to, “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.”

The flames were too big and the water pressure was too low to subdue. Recognizing that there was nothing else Edison could do. He made his peace and watched the spectacle.

When Edison’s son tried to reason with his father, Edison simply replied, “It’s all right. We’ve just got rid of a lot of rubbish.”

That rubbish was some of his life work and patents.

Edison later that night proclaimed, “I am 67, but I’m not too old to make a fresh start.”

The next morning with the flames barely under control. He called his team of workers together and announced, “We’re rebuilding.”

They got to work. Edison asked one man to lease all the machines shops in the area. And another he asked to get a wrecking crane. As an afterthought, Edison asked his crew if, “Anybody knew where we can get some money?”

(Edison would later get a sizable loan from his good friend Henry Ford.)

And just like that. Three weeks later, the plant was producing more than ever. Edison and his team went on to make almost $10 million in revenue the following year.

Edison didn’t waste any time complaining what he couldn’t control. He instead took control of his circumstances and went to work. A lesson we can all learn when we have a devastating event or explosion occur in our lives: it’s never too late to try again.

What a difference a day can make

We don’t get to decide if we get cancer. We don’t get to decide if we get heart disease. But we can decide what kind of diet we have or if we exercise or if we choose to smoke.

However, it was only 80 years ago that doctors were prescribing cigarettes to their patients. For a long time, many of us were fooled into believing that smoking was good for you.

People began to change their minds. We saw it the late 60’s with the ban of cigarettes in the media and warning labels. People saw that smoking wasn’t something for everybody. No product is.

Yet, too many of us have bought into what the culture is selling. We buy into this idea that we can’t change. “It’s just the way I am.” By doing this we can excuse our behavior. We can put the blame on biology or psychology. Telling ourselves we have no control. (It’s hard. And I really don’t want to quit.)

We are being led to believe things that are not true all the time. That debt is something we need to survive. Or that vaccinations aren’t necessary. That pornography doesn’t affect your family.

It’s like we are being led to believe that smoking is good for you all over again.

We are also led to believe that change is slow and arduous. But it doesn’t have to be.

Change can be as fast as we want it to be. We can make things right. We can change our minds. We can be the person we always wanted to be. Just start acting like it.

All we have to do is decide.

The road

We live in a time where there are more choices and possibilities than ever before. And it’s crippling to people. We are afraid to pick. Because we don’t want to choose the wrong thing. So we tell ourselves its better not to choose at all.

All the tactics in the world won’t matter unless you choose to go down the road and see where it takes you.

The culture of assumptions and presumptions

We have built a culture of assumptions and presumptions.

An assumption is taking something for granted without proof. While a presumption is likely to be more true.

The danger with assumptions is that it leads us down a road of pick your own truth. We ignore the history, the science, the religion, the circumstances. Pretty soon we don’t know what is actually going on. We are trapped in our own fantasy land.

How easy we forget that the world wasn’t always the way it is. We end up taking for granted the access we have: clean water, food, a roof over our head, electricity, education.

The culture needs to find a way to bridge this gap of assumptions to presumptions. Presumptions are on the basis of probability. Which bring us to more interesting questions and discovery.

And I worry that we are going down a road that takes for granted the safest and richest civilization in the history of mankind. We will have squandered this opportunity we have.

It makes it difficult to build a culture we can be proud of when we build it on assumptions.