What kind of failure?

Did you fail because you didn’t follow the manual? Because you didn’t follow the specs perfectly? Did you fail to keep the same promise you made yesterday? Did you break the social contract?

Or…

Did you fail because there was no set of instructions? Did you fail because you were doing something so daring and so audacious that success wasn’t a guarantee? Did you fail at doing something that you haven’t done before? Did you fail because you challenged the status-quo?

It’s clear that there are two types of failures: One because we flew too low and the other because we flew too high.

Most people will never recognize their full potential. The question is: Will you? How high will you go?

No one ever did anything of great value without having a few setbacks along the way. It’s a shame that the culture has taught us to hold back, to go with the crowd. It would be a bigger shame to waste one more day.

Stand up.

Stand out.

Go.

Make a ruckus.

The obstacle is the way

The challenge you’re about to face is precisely why everyone can’t do what it is you’re trying to do.

People like us do stuff like this.

You’re not looking for a short cut because everyone is already on it. You’re looking for choices.

Your compass point towards true north…Resistance. Often, you’ll find that is the direction you need to go. Charge it head on.

Origins of debt

Back in the 50’s, marketers ran into a problem. Everyone had bought everything they could afford. The simple solution then, was to charge it. Why wait? You can have everything you want. Now.

Today, that message has evolved. Debt is marketed as a necessary evil, unavoidable, something you cannot live without. Wealth Debt management.

Marketers continue to push harder for consumers to rack up more debt. In addition, the culture has taught us/programmed us to pay our debts. But what happens when we have a nation of citizens who can’t?

David Graeber has a fascinating book looking into this very subject. In summary, debt dates back further than money. Money wasn’t used to help us barter; instead money was used to feed an army. So, a nation would create a coin that citizens needed to pay as a tax. The taxes were used to feed the army.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Debt has been around for centuries. It’s nothing new. Understanding where it came from may help us understand where we are going. The results of having an entire nation enslaved by debt isn’t pretty, in the past it has led to slavery and much inequality.

The simple rule for borrowing money:

You might consider borrowing money if you are borrowing for things that go up in value. You should never borrow for anything that goes down in value.

An even better rule is:

Stop shopping. Buy less stuff. No restaurants or Starbucks. Eat black beans and rice. Drive a junker. Walk or bike or take the bus or carpool to work. Don’t go to a popular college. Start acting like you have no income. Work really hard. Don’t borrow any money. Live like no one else so later on you can live like no one else.

You could have the marshmallow now. It’s tempting. It’s almost too irresistible. Almost. So resist. Resist!

Debt has never been the key to unlocking one’s happiness.

Lift where you stand

It doesn’t matter what cause you decide to join or whom you decide to help.

What matters is that you cared enough to change something for the better.

Alleviating suffering, of any kind, is a noble pursuit—whether it be sea turtles, pollution, the elderly, the sick or hungry, at home or afar…

There is no room to say your cause is better than mine. There is too much work to do and not enough time for that sort of thing.

Simply, act.

What technology creates

Technology disrupts all of our lives.

It destroys the perfect and enables the impossible.

For every three problems technology solves though, five more are created. Problems that we never knew existed.

Before airplanes were invented, there was no such thing as a fear of flying. You didn’t struggle to afford a plane ticket to get across the Atlantic. There was no need to worry about an attack from above or the need for airports or aeronautical engineering. There was no need for pilots or flight attendance.

Get ready.

More opportunities to solve interesting problems are coming.

The only prerequisite you need

You don’t need an MBA, a business plan, VCs lined up.

You certainly don’t need a bigger badge or more authority.

You’ll be waiting a long time for market conditions to be perfect.

Forget about even having a product. (Much easier to find the customers you want to serve and make a product for them.)

It’s tempting to continue to polish instead of doing something brave like shipping an imperfect product.

Yuri Gagarin wasn’t ready to be launched into space. They basically stuck some tin foil and said here you go, good luck.

When Karl Benz launched the car in Europe it was against the law to drive, there were no gas stations or roads.

Less than 10% of Europe was literate at the time when Gutenberg’s printing press was invented. What a terrible time to get into the book packaging business.

Your product will never be perfect. You’re never going to be ready. You don’t need to wait around for the world to qualify or give you permission to make the change you are seeking to make.

The only prerequisite you need is to care.

Go.

Do.

Do!