“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.

You’re not winning the lottery

It turns out that magic lamps and genies are not real. Nor is the Tooth Fairy.

The good news is that the Boogie Man and the Fraud Police are not real either.

You’re not going to be drafted by the NBA. The New York Times isn’t putting your book on their list of bestsellers. And someone isn’t around the corner waiting for your next mistake.

So, go. Do good work anyway. Knowing that the stress isn’t there of having to manage a life gone viral. Knowing that there is still room to make a difference to someone. Even if that someone isn’t everyone.

“Did you hear…”

When is the last time you talked to someone that wasn’t informed?

Of course, it’s now easier than ever to be informed. But I think it is also true that the internet has made us believe that we are more informed than we actually are.

We can sound like we know what we are talking about by reading a couple of headlines.

Increasingly, we put more trust that someone else did their homework. What it really comes down to then is, are my resources reliable? Or perhaps, this is my narrative of the world and my trusted resources support it.

Bingo.

We cannot give what we don’t have

There is too much information for any one person to process. So, we aggregate. We lump large sums of information, label it and use it as a shortcut to see the world.

As a result, we begin to see things in a hierarchical sense. The pursuit of more money, more artifacts, more titles, more status…more, more, more. As one metric grows, we begin to look down at the body of work of accumulation. And because things like promotions offer instant feedback, we believe we might be doing something right.

The reason why we work so hard to accumulate more stuff, at least that we tell ourselves and those around us, is that someday I’ll give more. Whether it’s to a charity or to our children. We have natural instincts to want to make the lives of those around us better. But you can’t give what you don’t have. Money doesn’t make your children or your spouse or the people you seek to serve better.

The truth is, that deep down, we are afraid to give ourselves to another human being.

When do we do if we give our hearts and soul but are rejected? What does that say about me as a person? Am I really good enough for someone to see me for what I truly am?

That terrifies us.

The key to unlocking the love begins by loving ourselves. Not in a “Treat Yourself” kind of way either. I mean fully embracing vulnerability. Sharing ourselves to another person despite the blemishes.

This is true acceptance.

Accepting someone with their faults. Accepting ourselves with our faults.

We spend so much time hiding and polishing our lives so that no one ever sees us. And if we are never seen, then we are truly miserable. To give is to accept ourselves (and others) as humans.

Which idea is the one you should pursue?

All we do is think.

Constantly.

Incessantly.

Everyone has a million ideas.

So, how do we know which idea to choose? Which one to pick and pursue?

Pick the idea that scares you the most.

The next time around won’t be as bad as your first.

Genius is as common as dirt

What does Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan and Shepard Fairey have in common?

Nothing really, except the fact they are known for creating art.

It turns out that genius is not something you are born with. Genius crosses social-economic lines and appears in many different forms including speeches or music or painting.

But it can also appear while driving down the freeway.

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That person was being a genius. You can be too if you are willing to go on a limb.

The cost of a really good failure

Here’s the interesting thing about failures these days, they don’t cost that much.

Think about it. You can start a design line on Etsy, write and publish an Ebook, start a cooking master class on YouTube, open your photography business with an Instagram account and a WordPress site.

Your list of ideas that you can try is literally endless. And if fail it doesn’t cost you a thing (aside from time and a few bucks).

Your resume can be chocked full of failures and it won’t hurt you. Because you only need one success to build a whole career on. Just one.

The worst choice we can make is to do nothing. Avoid being seen or heard, avoid criticism long enough, no will ever care about the work you do.