When everything is at your disposal

The next Michael Bay movie will have every resource available.

Unlimited money, unlimited studio time, every writer at hand, pretty much any actor he wants…

The question is Will we remember it?

Will we remember another Transformers movie?

I doubt it.

Formulated, polished products are hardly worth remembering.

When everything is available to you, that may also be the problem.

Constraints define lines, not shrink them.

McDonald’s makes a perfect hamburger

At least, for a burger that costs a dollar, it’s perfect.

Perfect as in it’s made according to spec. Every time.

Perfect as in it tastes the same whether you are in Clevland or Los Angeles.

Perfect because it’s the same today and tomorrow.

Of course, no one ever remembers eating a McDonald’s hamburger.

You know what another word for perfect is?

Boring.

Perfect is boring.

Be memorable and do something that breaks the mold.

But why?

If you ask a three-year-old to do something, it’s likely they’ll respond with, “Why?”

The answer isn’t to keep asking then explaining but to explain and then ask.

Of course, this strategy doesn’t just work with kids but also adults too.

So much of the conflicts we have can be avoided by taking the time to explain our thought processes behind our words.

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.