I really don’t.
Does a part of me hope you read this?
Do I hope you gain value when you read it?
But in the end, I’m not writing for you. I’m writing for myself. I’m being selfish.
I’ve been on a daily blog post streak for two weeks.
Yesterday, I released a podcast, but I didn’t write a blog post. All day, I tried to convince myself that releasing the podcast counts. But I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt for not writing. I recorded that podcast a month ago and it was all set to release. All I had to do was add the intro/outro and upload it. I felt like I was using my podcast as a cop-out to not write because I didn’t feel like it.
So, I wrote two today. This one and that one.
I know that writing every day and putting my thoughts and ideas out there for the world to see is good for me.
Writing is creating. Creating is putting ideas into reality. Putting ideas into reality is paramount to having an impact on the world and the people around you.
Writing every day is a practice in discipline. I don’t always feel like writing, but I do it anyways because I previously decided that it would be good for me. I didn’t feel like writing tonight, but I sat down and forced myself to do it. Now I’m feeling great.
Publishing a post every day consistently puts me in the spotlight – a place where fear is abundant. Instead of avoiding this fear, I get to play with it every day. Now I’m comfortable with it. Putting my ideas out there for the world to see guarantees I will be judged, disagreed with, scrutinized, praised, commended, or any combination.
So I will continue to put my blinders on. I will create and ship every day, even when I don’t feel like it. I will continue to do this for myself because I know it’s good for me.
We humans naturally gravitate towards habits, comfort, and patterns. We also have the capability to consciously break our own patterns and instincts to create new ones based on our imagination. It’s fascinating.
Growth happens when we break these patterns and replace them.
Bringing yourself to start something new is hard. It’s an entirely different process than continuing to do something you’ve been doing. You’re doing something that is uncomfortable by nature, which goes against your human instincts.
When I think of changing my habits, I see an image of myself stopping a moving train. After it’s stopped (which is a hefty task in and of itself), I have to push the train in the other direction and get it moving again.
I’ve been blogging every day for 13 days. It was really hard for the first few days. It would take me hours but now it’s just part of my routine.
I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for 15 days now. It was hard to adjust, mentally and physically, for the first few days. Now it feels like part of my routine.
Starting is the hardest part. Keep that in mind when you’re starting something new. If you force yourself to be uncomfortable for 3 days, chances are it will start to feel comfortable on the 4th.
Mitchell kicks ass.
This was an engaging conversation with Mitchell Broderick, the first Praxis Participant.
Mitchell’s worldview is fascinating to me. He is able to look at situations objectively and act in a rational way while acknowledging emotions, but not submitting to them.
He offers insights on self-improvement, mindset, building a career path, and much more.
Topics we discuss:
Self-Esteem vs. Self-Confidence
How tough beginnings lead to strength
The reality of sales and cold calling
Why he got fired from Taco Bell
Hitting rock bottom
College as an investment
Being the first Praxis Participant
Ayn Rand – Anthem
Nathaniel Branden – Six Pillars of Self-Esteem
Reach out to Mitchell:
Artists and creatives are consistently under-paid, or expected to work for free. Though I have written previously about how offering free work can be a good strategy for starting up in a new field, it’s a pattern worth investigating.
It’s not that people aren’t willing to pay. And it’s not that art is undervalued. It’s just that art is seen in a different light than most other professions.
Have you ever seen a house painter do work for free just to get his name out there?
I know I haven’t. And I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either. Painting sucks. It’s not enjoyable, and everyone knows that, including the customer.
That’s the difference between art and everything else. People create art because they love it. It’s a creative process that allows you to express emotions, thoughts, feelings, or whatever you want to express. It’s fun. It’s personal.
It can be a “trade”, much like house painting is a “trade”. The service is traded for money. House painting, however, is always a trade, while people do art for fun all the time.
So maybe this is why: everyone knows art isn’t necessarily a trade, thus it’s harder to pay somebody for something they would be doing for free anyways.
Let’s flip this scenario around.
Maybe it’s not that customers view it as harder to pay artists. Maybe it’s that artists know in their hearts they would do it for free, so they create a mental block that keeps them from confidently demanding a payment.
Think about something you really enjoy doing that produces value. For me, it’s photography. While I have gotten paid to do photography, I’ve done mostly free work because I enjoy it. Some of which I bet I could have gotten paid for if I pushed for it, but I didn’t, because I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like someone should pay me to have fun even though it was providing value for them and I could have used the money.
I’ve also done house painting, but never for free. Every time I approach a house-painting customer, my mindset is totally different from when I’m doing photography. There’s a rock solid mutual understanding that if I’m going to put in the work to complete a quality job, I’m going to get paid well for it.
I wonder what would happen if I approached a photography customer the same way. If I went in with certainty that my work was highly valued and is unquestionably worth trading for money.
Artists can, will, and do work for free. But art and creativity is unanimously valuable. Thus, people are willing to pay for it.
All you have to do is ask. Own it.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. On one hand, I gain tons of value from the relevant articles and blog posts that my friends post. On the other hand, it’s tough not to let the new updates distract me from what I’m doing.
Constant distractions make it hard to get deep tasks done. The continuous starting/stopping prevents creative momentum from building.
So I created a game to combat this. The game is called FB123.
The concept is simple: limit yourself to checking Facebook 3 times per day.
Write “FB123” on your hand at the beginning of the day. Every time you check Facebook, cross off one of the numbers. Once you’ve crossed off all 3 numbers, no more Facebook until the next day, when the numbers reset.
This works for several reasons. First, it forces you to use Facebook in chunks. Instead of hopping on and off and constantly switching tasks, you catch up completely and filter through everything on your plate in one sitting. That way when you close the app, you forget about it and are able to fully move on to the next thing.
Turning off Facebook push notifications will make this 10x easier.
Then, once you start the next task, you won’t be tempted to check notifications as they come, since you will have a chunk of time when you can catch back up after the notifications build up.
This also eliminates FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), since you are not missing out on anything – you are simply being more efficient with your time.
By consciously setting these limits, I was able to turn Facebook into a tool that I control, not a distraction that controls me.
The first day I tried this, in lieu of checking Facebook, I opted to:
- Read a book
- Go on a run
- Have an engaging phone call with my brother
On top of this, I got more done and felt more productive about my day than I typically do.
This concept can be used for email, texting, or any other form of communication to increase efficiency.
There is one two-word trait that requires no special skill, can be done by anybody, and will make you more valuable than any amount of experience and knowledge.
Before we get there, I have a story for you.
I used to have this roommate. He was a great guy, super friendly, but sometimes could be forgetful. I was in charge of the internet bill, so when I got the bill every month I would pay it, then charge him for half of it on Venmo.
You can request money on Venmo, so this made the process easy – err, it should have.
After sending the request, I forget about it because there are more important things to focus my daily energy on than half of an internet bill. Plus, once I had requested the payment, no more reminders should be necessary – this is meant to be a one-time simple task.
A few days would go by, and randomly I would have a mini panic attack. I realized that the internet bill situation was still not resolved. So I would remind him.
Another few days would go by. And another reminder.
He always paid it within a week, but not without 2-4 separate reminders from me. This happened… Every. Single. Month.
When a task or an exchange involves more than just yourself, there’s a degree of trust that goes into the interaction. I had to request the money, then trust that he would see it and fulfill the request.
This became an incredibly frustrating exchange because after completing the task, I had to do the same task over and over again, with the effectiveness of it being completely out of my control.
This was completely unnecessary, and a direct result of the other party not following through.
Which leads me to my point.
These two words will change your life. This is the number one trait you can develop in your personal and professional relationships. Making this a habit is more valuable than any amount of experience, knowledge, or credentials.
This requires no skill, but it does require a small amount of effort.
I’m not perfect, and I have not followed through on many occasions. Looking back, these moments have lead to shame, embarrassment, and a negative self-image.
Not following through causes people to trust you less. You start to develop a reputation of flakiness. You create unnecessary work for the people around you. Commitments that you make lose their meaning, and it starts to become OK to not do something if you don’t feel like it, regardless of what or whom is counting on you.
This is what happened with my roommate. Luckily, it was a meaningless internet bill. Can you imagine if this was a different relationship where there was more at stake? If I had to count on him for my business? For my livelihood? For the satisfaction of customers or employees?
You should approach every interaction you have with respect, follow through and courtesy. Spend the extra small amount of effort and follow through.
You will build your reputation as being somebody who is gets shit done. People will trust you more. You will be the go-to person when somebody needs help or needs something done right. You will save the people around you time and stress. People will go to bat for you. People won’t be so quick to question your judgement. People will talk about you as somebody who is reliable, competent, and respectful.
People will hold you to a higher standard. They will expect more out of you. This will hold you to a higher standard, and so you will hold yourself to a higher standard, and you will be better for it.
This requires no skill, no experience, and no prior knowledge. The cost is so low and the reward is so high. By developing follow-through as a habit first, you will put yourself in a position to gain experience and knowledge from the people around you who want to spend time with you and work with you.
Try it out.