Bring water to the desert

Conventional norms are not the same as bringing water into the desert.

That’s just good wisdom. You should always bring water to the desert for good reason. Because you might die otherwise.

There are some rules that you just don’t break.

Everything else, however, with good judgment, can be bent and broken.

0 to 1

You don’t have an idea or business until you go from zero to one.

At least one person who hates it.

At least one person who loves it.

And at least one dollar.

One is good enough for a lemonade stand.

If you can do it once, then you can do it again.

And again. And again.

Drip by drip until, one day, you have something special.

Acquiring vs Contributing

If industrialism has trained us to do one thing it has pushed us to believe that we live in a world of scarcity. Too many of us fall into this trap of accumulating as much as we can while we can.

It’s survival of the fittest: Get a degree, find a job, buy a house, gain some status, etc., etc…

And soon, we realize that it isn’t enough and we forget, rather quickly, what’s it all for in the first place.

Stumped, we start the cycle again and think we need to aim higher. A better degree, a better job, a better house, better status…and then we will make ourselves happy.

It’s a vicious cycle. One that we make worst by choosing to live in a deficit of time, energy and money.

You are more than a collection of artifacts and status symbols. You are what you contribute.

Acquiring more doesn’t mean you are being more.

Instead of asking, “What is it that I want next?” perhaps a better question is, “How can I help someone do something they never thought was possible?”

We don’t need to acquire more money or status to contribute to things that matter, things that are important.

“Contribute. Contribute. Contribute.” can be our call to go forward.


A bitcoin whale is a term in the cryptocurrency world to refer to someone that holds a large amount of bitcoin.

That is how change works too.

It isn’t 20% of the population doing 80% of the work. More like 2% of the population doing 98%.

The bottom line is that you don’t need everyone to influence the world. Only a small amount of true believers who really are thirsty for something great to happen.

Just do it

Why do we say the word Just?

Why don’t we just say, “Do it.”

Do it because it is important.

Do it because it matters.

Just, on the other hand, sends the signal, “What the hell.”

Here’s the thing, we don’t need a narrative around shipping our work.

This blog will ship today because it is a Tuesday. Because that is what professionals do.

Do it.

Merely do it.

Only do it.

But just do it?


Your work is more intentional than throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.

Act accordingly.

Everyone is risk-averse until they learn to embrace criticism

If I were to go out of my way to tell you,

“I’m not good enough”

“This won’t work”

“I’m not ready”

…then I wouldn’t need you to tear me down.

Too often, we would rather choose to self-destruct than to open ourselves up to criticism. To share what is in our hearts and souls.

Because when we put everything we got on the table and it’s still not enough, we’re crushed.

Indeed, the fear of failure plays a more powerful role than we like to admit in our culture.

Without taking risks, making assumptions no one will ever love or hate your work.

And if no one loves it and hates it, then you are not doing much of anything.

Not enough time. Do it anyway.

The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough time in our day to accomplish important things. The problem is that we don’t set aside enough energy to do them.

We focus an enormous amount of energy on busywork. A never-ending checklist of emails, phone calls, chores, bills…reacting from one emergency to the next.

So, let’s be clear: We have a clock management problem, not a lack of time problem.

“I didn’t have time.” No.

More accurately, “I didn’t think it was important enough to do right now.” Bingo.

If we really considered it important we would do it. Be careful what you consider is important.

“Are people doing the best they can?”

Do you believe that when people wake up in the morning that they are doing the best they can?

It’s a fascinating question that, apparently, people are very split on. Half of the respondents say Yes while the other half says No.

For the No’s, it really comes down to is this:

Who hurt you?

We become so attached to specific outcomes that when we see our efforts are not working the way we think they should, we begin to feel despondent.

It seems so human, right? To talk about our efforts counting twice as much as others.

When we can morn the loss of a world that could have been, and start to accept things as they are, that people are generally good and want to do the best they can—we begin to open doors of possibility.

If we live in a world where everyone was to be given the benefit of the doubt, that they are doing the best they can, we will, in turn, become happier.

It’s about finding a new way to measure. Focusing on the goal rather than the ideal.

HT Brene Brown for continuing to bring important lessons of our time to the table again and again.

Dunbar’s law

Robin Dunbar theorized that the size of our brains affected the number of relationships one could maintain in their social groups.

That number is roughly 150.

Only 150 people at one given time can you maintain a stable relationship with. That isn’t that many.

Then why do we focus so much of our limited attention on gaining favor with the masses?

What if instead, we made it a priority to take care of the 150 people around us?

You could spend more time making the relationship better with your boss or a long lost family member or your neighbor…instead of looking for other relationships to fill the void.

It’s seductive to talk about the masses because they are so big, so massive, how on earth are you to even begin? But if we were to shrink it down to focus on making our world a better place instead of the entire world, we can begin building the kind of culture we seek to make.

If you can’t change 150 people, how are you to change a million?

The illusion of choice

I’ve talked about the fascinating research of Barry Schwartz and the paradox of choice. Simply stated, the more choices you have the more unhappy you are. Why? Because you can imagine the other thing you didn’t choose.

I’ve also talked about the default setting and why they matter. When you go to the grocery store and choose to buy cookies, you are now choosing which snack you are going to have later. Another way to think about this is the default station in your car. There is a dial right next to it to search for music, and yet, we go to the default setting.

Indeed, cognitive load is real.

There is a third thing to consider about the illusion of choice. That when you go to the store, you are likely to find 100 different types of toothpaste to choose from.

The interesting thing is that the majority of toothpaste is created by only three brands. Crest, Colgate and Sensodyne make up over 50% of the market. And the same is said about the cereal you eat (four companies control 85% of the market share) to the car you drive (59% by four companies).

Is it any surprise then, that the US has less choice, higher bills and slower internet? Or that 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.

In a paradoxical manner, we have created this market that the more choice you have the less you are able to choose from.

Choice isn’t about which flavor of toothpaste but who made it.