Negative space

Good artist learn to look at the space surrounding their subject in an effort to enhance their work.

Sometimes, when we’re stuck, we just need to look at the environment surrounding the problem in order to find a solution.

Take the donut

In 1845, Henry David Thoreau built a 10-foot by 15-foot cabin where he spent two years, two months, and two days living as simplistic as possible. He would go on to write about his experience in his essential book, Walden.

Two little known facts about his time in the woods was that he had built the cabin on a piece of land owned by his wealthy friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In addition, every week Thoreau’s mother would stop by and drop off a basket of fresh-baked good for Thoreau to enjoy. Inside, he would often find donuts.

When we are doing our best work, it is easy to fall into the trap of not excepting help from others. We are afraid of what people might think and we do not want to lose the purity of the experience.

We forget to take the donut.

Next time someone offers you a few bucks to say thank you, take the donut.

When someone wants to give you a ride or a free meal or a couch to crash on, take the donut.

Even the most self-reliant among us needed help along the way.

About me sections

Rule #1: Don’t be a hero.

It doesn’t resonate with your readers or your customers to talk about yourself.

They are the heroes of their story, not you.

Rule #2: Keep it short, to the point.

All we want to know is if we can trust you?

Can you help us solve our problem?

Be the guide.

If you can’t bring them clarity, they will find someone else who can.

Moderation in all things

We live in a world where harmful behavior is more accessible than ever before.

Relying on willpower alone is not enough.

The answer then is to create an environment where temptations are not around.

(Out of sight, out of mind.)

A chocolate cookie on the kitchen counter is much harder to resist than in the grocery store.

Here is the thing we need to understand about social media:

If you use social media, you are not their customer. You are their product.

It has been intentionally marketed and optimized to make you just unhappy enough that you will continue to use it over and over again. (Like a dog that presses a button to get a piece of food.)

The problem is that you can’t be abstinent from technology. You can’t create a world where your job doesn’t use email. Technology is ubiquitous. Which means we need to be ever more vigilant in setting boundaries, making access more difficult than just one click away.

One simple harm reduction strategy that works

Guaranteed to reduce stress, fear, anxiety, depression, uneasiness, discomfort, tension, pressure, agitation, nervousness, worry, eagerness, impulses, urges, pain…

While increasing productivity, profits, longevity, happiness, health, well-being, aspirations, inspirations, motivation, encouragement, enthusiasm, drive, ambitions, pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, joy, prosperity.

In addition, it will improve your relationships with your family, friends, and strangers.

Turn data off your phone.

Human beings have weak stopping rules. We do not know when to quit. Turning data off your phone is built-in time to unplug when you leave your home or office.

70% of office emails are read within six seconds of receiving them. We can access or be accessible anytime, anywhere. But advanced productivity comes with human costs.

The updates, the dings, the pings, the itch gets worse every time we scratch it.

Teaching people a lesson

It has been 15 years, are you still holding a grudge?

Do they even remember what happened?

Do they even know you are punishing them?

Teaching people a lesson that they will never forget is actually pretty forgettable.

Because everyone you meet is the center of their own universe.

Sometimes, it is better to just let it go.

Baggage is too heavy to carry moving forward.

What kind of future?

You can’t sell someone a better future without first selling them a different one.

Different brings change. Change means fear.

If you talk to enough people who are stuck, you will find fear at the center of the donut.

A better job, better pay, better opportunities…means a different job, different pay, different opportunities.

The “what” is easy to understand. Getting people to buy in on “why” they should take a chance is the challenge.

Bigger is not better

If 10,000 steps is good then 12,000 steps must be better.

If your avatar’s level 60 ability is exciting then level 70’s must be out of this world.

More profit this quarter will mean a bigger bonus. A bigger bonus means a bigger house or a better car, which means a better life. A better life must mean a happier one. So we seek more sales and begin the insidious cycle over again.

We make things worse by running through pain chasing arbitrary numbers to keep a streak alive.

Goals are great until we let monitoring and tracking get in the way of why we set them in the first place.

Numbers pave the road to obsession.