longing

love the heat until it gets too warm

long for cold until it’s too cold

longing for change when all there is is now

50 flavors

Who cares if the ice cream shop has 50 flavors? The hard part is having one flavor that’s worth coming back for.

By design

Set your bar high.

Don’t settle for good.

Greatness isn’t an accident.

It’s by design.

Picking sides

Most dichotomies are false. Life is grey area.

We waste time arguing. Trying to put things in a box that don’t exist discretely.

10 times more valuable than picking sides is finding a way to marry the two.

The Pareto Principle

“Roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes” is a succinct way to state it.

It’s a simple idea with profound consequences. Looking for applications of the so-called “80/20 rule” is a great heuristic for prioritization.

80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Instead of spreading your focus evenly across all your customers, why not spend 80% of your focus on that 20%?

There are applications of 80/20 everywhere. 80% of good photography takes 20% of your time to learn. The final 20% of good photography takes 80% of time to learn. It would suit you best to learn the 20% of tactics that give you 80% of the returns first.

Understanding this principle changes how you think about focus, privatization and knowledge acquisition. These arbitrages exist everywhere, but they often take someone skilled to spot. That’s why mentorship and connection to experts are so crucial. Find efficiency and you will be one step closer to finding success.

“We ran out.”

A phrase with many interpretations. Supreme built a billion dollar brand on running out. But when the local supermarket runs out of strawberries, their brand suffers.

Does running out look like poor planning? Or does it look like exclusivity? People pay for rare items but look down upon incompetence.

Interestingly, it’s all a question of framing. Some restaurants promote a special “until its gone” and others toss it on the menu and have to tell customers all night that there’s no more left.

Since you have a choice, which would you rather be?

Seeing without processing

I heard Seth Godin call art, “the act of making something where you forget the name of what you’re seeing”

That concept took me back to my first drawing and painting class. On day one, the lesson was that if you draw what you think you’re seeing, you will always miss the point. You must draw what you’re actually seeing.

The act of doing so requires a smoother connect between observation and action. When any information comes in our brains we observe–>process–>act. The wildcard is the processing, because it typically happens on a subconscious level.

Both my drawing experience and Seth’s quote point to the fact that we’re over-processing our observations. Just like we’re over-processing our food, it takes away all the good stuff. All of the nuance.

Judging and categorizing is easy. The hard work is to really see what’s in front of you without preconceptions.

Process Check

When you’re making anything, you need to know when it’s time to think divergently and when it’s time to converge on the best ideas.

A mismatch in perceptions could ruin an otherwise good team dynamic. If one person thinks it’s time to put their crazy hat on, and another thinks it’s time to focus, there’s going to be conflict. There needs to be a process check where the group gets aligned on which hat they should wear.

It can be as simple as “let’s suspend judgement and come up with wild ideas for the next five minutes.” As long as everyone knows how to behave, you’re on a path toward better collaboration.

The last thing you want are the wild ideas coming out when everyone else is focusing on one idea. That’s a recipe for conflict.

It’s crucial to diverge and converge, as long as you do them together. Next time you’re with a group, do a process check so everyone knows what hat to wear.

Novel to who?

What’s mundane to you could be novel for others.

Great speakers, thought leaders and executives often use the same stories over and over again. They’re certainly not novel to them, but as a first time listener, the polish, delivery and quality of the story makes it memorable.

There’s a paradox here, because if the people close to you hear the same story over and over, they won’t be impressed. But if you’re making first impressions with a new story every time, you’re unlikely to deliver the quality necessary to amaze.

My guess is that most people swing too far towards constant novelty and could use more repetition. Novel to you doesn’t mean it’s valuable or interesting to others. Something mundane to you could be groundbreaking for someone else.

Know your stories, tell them well. Don’t be afraid to repeat because the greatest hits are the greatest for a reason.

Streams of consciousness

Last Friday I experienced a facilitated workshop where I had to write all the things that popped into my head. We weren’t allowed to stop for 5 minutes.

There were two remarkable steps to this process:

1. Getting all of my worries on paper

2. Having creative breakthroughs that were hiding beneath those worries

Both results felt amazing and the treatment was quite simple: just keep writing. Don’t pass judgment. Just write your thoughts.

Truth be told, I’ve done it again since then because it was so helpful. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you’re stuck on a project, just keep writing. Don’t stop until you’ve emptied your idea bucket and filled up a new one.