How much did you get paid to watch TV today?

They say that Baseball is America’s favorite pastime precisely because it is our favorite way to “pass the time”.

Anyone who spends an hour a day watching television has just demonstrated they have an hour of their time to make something that needs to be made, help someone who needs to be helped, do something that needs to be done.

The world is agressively fighting for your attention. Don’t give it up to just anyone. We have to be diligent if we are going to rescue our time. We need to learn when to say yes and when to say no.

It’s what you do before you clock in and what you do after you clock out that gives you an edge over the competition. Some ideas on lifting where we stand:

  1. Wake up two and half hours before your workday begins.
  2. Start a blog. Write a blog post everyday.
  3. Read one book a week.
  4. Work when no one is watching.
  5. Cancel your cable (and your Xbox subscription).
  6. Cancel your data plan.
  7. Remove five social media apps off your phone.
  8. Join a movement.
  9. Start a movement.
  10. Volunteer three hours a week.
  11. Teach a class.
  12. Work an extra job to get out of debt.
  13. Start a business.
  14. Finish a project. Ship it.
  15. Learn a new skill. (Have you tried coding?)
  16. Learn a new language. (Have you tried coding?)
  17. Give someone a hand.
  18. Spend two hours with your kids today.
  19. Make better art.
  20. Cook for your family.
  21. Bring some leftovers to your neighbor.
  22. Spend some time helping the sick, the elderly, and the widows.
  23. Make something you’re proud of. Put your name on it.
  24. Write a letter to someone. Thank them for everything they did.
  25. Write another letter.
  26. Write a book. Paint a picture.
  27. Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in years.
  28. Quit your job and join the Peace Corp.
  29. Do. Something. Interesting.
  30. Do. Something. Big.
  31. Think bigger…now bigger than that.
  32. Fly higher. (We’re flying too low.)
  33. Ignore the haters.
  34. Pick up that piece of trash. It’s not your job but it needs to be done.
  35. Look someone in the eye and tell them the truth.
  36. Tell someone you’re sorry.
  37. Do something. Say something. Be something.
  38. Stand up. Stand out.
  39. Write a list for everything you are grateful for. Everything.
  40. Exercise five times a week. Eat some vegetables.
  41. Try something new. Order something different.
  42. Give your love a hug. Hold it for 30 seconds.
  43. Ignore anything rectangular (phones, TV’s, computers, tablets).
  44. Share your light with the world.
  45. Do something nice for someone. Don’t tell anyone you did it.
  46. Love the unlovable. Cry with those who mourn.
  47. Have you tried skydiving?
  48. Smile more.
  49. Be generous.
  50. Be A L I V E.

New problems, new solutions

Too many organizations are stuck fitting a square peg in a round hole.

Their stuck because that is not what has worked for them in the past and that isn’t how things are done around here.

There are many government officials fighting to keep things as they are, they’re fighting for the status-quo. We wish those days would come back but they’re not.

This idea that you go to work every day and have a job, is a brand new idea. People were scared back then—we didn’t know what tomorrow was going to look like—and they’re scared today. Like the factory 200 years ago, the internet has changed everything again. For good.

New problems need new solutions. If you insist that things stay the same, you are going to be left behind.

Your marketing sucks

I could set up a lab, synthesize the compounds, and extract the exact recipe for Heinz Ketchup. Actually, I decided to skip all of that and just googled it. The secret formula is no longer a secret but success is rarely achieved by copying someone else work. It certainly doesn’t earn trust. Purple ketchup, on the other hand, will earn lots of attention. Alas, no one trusts that purple ketchup is going to taste better than regular ketchup. (They already tried that.)

Coke in the 80’s changed their secret formula, the first time in a century. After 200,000 taste tests, it was clear that new Coke was better than old Coke by every measure. When new Coke unrolled, angry protests and phone calls ensued. Customers were stocking up on thousands of dollars of old Coke in their basements. Why? Coke underestimated the attachment customers had with their tried and true formula. To the consumers, Coke had betrayed their trust. (We fear change.)

Colgate has over 35 different types of toothpaste. All delivering on the same promise. It’s clear, that there are more choices than ever before. Yet, innovations isn’t turning out another flavor of toothpaste. It’s changing how we think about toothpaste all together. (We’re still waiting.)

Grocery stores carry 40,000 different products. Consumers will check out with about 40 items. How do you compete with limited shelf space and so many products? Of course, it’s worse than we thought. Thanks to Google and Amazon, there is unlimited shelf space and unlimited products.

You can focus on buying better shelf space, slashing prices, copying, polishing, perfecting; it’s working for Walmart. (Can you out Walmart Walmart?)

There is an alternative.

You can forget about mass-market penetration, work on the edges, and do something interesting. You could treat different people differently. Yes, the market gets to decide what product is worth buying, but it’s important to remember that there are unlimited markets to work with. (Don’t believe me?) Find the smallest market that you can lead, that you can change. Spread your ideas. Build trust. Build attention.

Today is another chance

The most underrated asset each of us have is time.

How are we using it?

It’s easy to distract ourselves and avoid doing the things that matter most. In order to catch up, we look for short cuts to become an overnight success. Of course, there is no such thing as an overnight success.

The world is fueled with emergencies and urgencies. But it take years (Decades?) to build an asset bigger than ourselves, before we breakthrough. Drip by drip by drip, poking the box, making a ruckus, earning trust and attention is the surest way to relevance.

Yesterday would have been a good time to start. Today would be the next best thing. It would be a shame to waste another second.

There is still time to do it over again, to get it right.

Hurry. Patiently.

“I’m just trying to run”

You can’t remove every piece of red tape, you can’t jump through every hoop, market conditions will never be perfect before you start.

You have to have a desire to do whatever it is you want to do and then crash the party.

Expect more obstacles along the way (not less). Weeds don’t stop sprouting just because you finished picking for the day.

No one believes you can do what you are about to do. There isn’t enough reassurance in the world to pull you through. You’re probably going to take some hits, but it isn’t as bad as you have imagined. You’ll need guts to push through the dip. You’re never going to feel good enough. You’re never going to be qualified.

But as Kathrine Switzer has pointed out, “I’m just trying to run.

No better words describe someone following their heart and doing what makes them happy. Quit caring about what others might think.

It will never get easier to run uphill. It just gets faster.