Small deeds add up

“What really matters are the countless small deeds of unknown people who lay the basis for the events of human history.” — Howard Zen

We won’t remember the names of the health care professionals that helped (and perhaps died) treating patients with COVID-19.

And it’s not just health care providers who went to work despite the known dangers but we don’t know the names of the local grocery store clerks or the delivery drivers or law enforcement or fire department…

Make no mistake these are not ordinary people doing extraordinary things. But extraordinary people stepping up to the time and challenge. They were extraordinary before COVID-19.

No doubt that things will be different. The course is changing.

Drip by drip.

Where do ideas come from?

Two things I’ve noticed:

1) For me, they come while I am in the shower, laying down reflecting about the day, taking a walk, praying…Ideas come when I quit consuming.

2) I’m also extremely vigilant about writing ideas down. Good ones, bad ones—it doesn’t matter. If I don’t write it down then it will be lost forever.

[I write everything down using Evernote on my phone but a simple sticky note will do too.]


Difficult to influence the entire world.

Much more effective to focus on influencing the people in your world.

Even then, that can be a daunting task.

Keep shrinking it down and then all of a sudden it seems possible.

Change the world for one person.

One by one.

That’s how a community grows.

Ask yourself this:

Do the things people learn from me are they turning around and teaching it to other people?


As people all around the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to step up and also fight the infodemic we are facing.

Every moment of every day, we are being hit with a constant stream of information. Too many are willing to change the narrative for an extra click.

We have to recognize that we are not informed. No, we clicked an article that the Facebook algorithm spat out at us. That article already matched our belief. We click to confirm not to change our minds.

Information comes at us a map already drawn. Here are three approaches to smash this:

  1. Be willing to change your mind. More difficult than we think. When we change our minds we have to admit we have been wrong in the past. Instead of trying to work through the shame and loss of status, a better approach is to be known as someone who changes their mind frequently. It’s a posture of “Knowing what I know now…” Knowing what I know now I can now see that this is a better approach.
  2. Don’t be a passive player of information. Read more books on a subject. Become educated on why technology is irrisitable, how people sort themselves, how systems are made, what does history show us…It makes the media much more manageable to digest once we understand how the strings are pulled.
  3. Who’s the source? We should always know the source of every fact, every meme, every claim.

This is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We have these amazing tools at our disposal, and yet, we are still learning how to use them.

The high dive

It’s much easier to make your decision to take a leap on the ground in a safe location. If you are still undecided while standing on the edge, you are not setting yourself for success. The trick then is to decide before you climb the ladder.

Once we commit to the chaos of risk, we must then focus on the journey, not the destination. Because wishing to be back on the ground in the safe zone or for it to be over is a waste of energy.

In these stressful moments though, this is the opportunity to learn something new.

The difference between a high dive and COVID-19, however, is that we didn’t choose to be here. Yet, here we are standing on the edge of something terrifying and also an opportunity for something new. Most of us are still learning how we can respond. We are contemplating, having trouble letting go of what used to be.

Remember: There is no comfort in growing zones and no growing in comfort zones. We are now in a growing zone. Act accordingly.

Demographics and psychographics

Most of us are familiar with demographics.

Height, weight, gender, married, children, political party…

But this information isn’t very useful.

What’s important to understand is psychographics.

What does this person believe in?

What is their pain point?

What is their attitude about the world?

When we can begin to see what people believe, fear, want, we can begin to develop empathy.

Once there is empathy, we can change things.

Reduce and simplify

Back in the late 70s, Sony was trying to develop a product for people to help pass the time on flights.

When the engineers got together and developed what would eventually be the Walkman, they were able to add a record button on it for no cost.

But Chairman Akio Morita asked them to remove the record button.


It didn’t cost anything. It was because he didn’t want the consumer to confuse what this device was actually for. By actually lowering the device capabilities Sony was able to maximize a certain type of behavior.

Not every tool is meant for every job. Keep things as simple as necessary and not any simpler.

“I’m going to contribute less”

Says no one.

If you care about a project, you are always looking for ways to make it better.

The question is What do you choose to care a lot about?

When we choose to be mindful about something, that shift is sufficient in moving mountains.

A good pitch

Everyone in the room has a story. A story they are telling themselves. A story about the people around them.

On top of that, you have an ego that gets in the way. Too much pleasing of the boss. Too much wondering what the other person will think if I truly speak my mind.

So, don’t seduce yourself into thinking you can tailor your message to fit the narratives of everyone in the room.

Instead, share what you have. Share what you believe.

And let the chips fall.

If the idea doesn’t resonate with this group, there’s always another.