Repainting your house the same color it already was feels like a waste. It's a lot of effort merely to keep things as they are.
But if you don't do it, time and entropy kick in and the house starts to fade.
The same can be said for 1,000 elements of your organization, including your relationships with customers, staff, suppliers and technology. The way you approach your market, the skill you bring to your craft, the culture in your organization—it constantly needs another coat of paint.
Rust never sleeps.
[PS… delighted that I'll be speaking at the upcoming Convertkit event in June in Boise… Hope to see you there.]
The rest is mechanics. We're not wired to walk in someone else's shoes, it's not our first instinct.
Showing up with empathy is difficult, hard to outsource and will wear you out.
But it's precisely what we need from you.
Look around for a second.
Those bedrock institutions, the foundational supports you take for granted–they rarely last forever.
Nurturing and investing in the things we need and count on needs to be higher on the agenda.
Things that appear to be made of granite rarely are.
That's the key insight of the peer-to-peer connection economy.
Anyone can reach out, anyone can lead, anyone can pick someone else.
But if you wait for anyone, it's unlikely to happen.
It begins with you.
Is that a habit?
If your instinct is to publish, to share, to instruct, to give away, to engage and to put it into the world, then 'save as draft' is a rare thing.
On the other hand, if you find yourself noodling then putting aside, waiting for perfect, you're on track to be waiting for a very long time.
[Tomorrow, Thursday April 27 is the first priority deadline for the next session of the altMBA. This is an intensive 30-day workshop that creates the habit of shipping. We help people learn to see, to take action, to make decisions and to cause change to happen. It might just be for you.]
Six missions after Apollo 11 amazed the world by going to the moon, Apollo 17 was the last trip.
It fell off the cultural radar. Flying to the moon, driving around and getting back safely wasn't interesting enough, apparently.
And the miracle of the internet, which connects billions of people, instantly, is something we all take for granted after less than a generation.
Is it any wonder that your magnificent Facebook post or clever tweet isn't racking up ever more likes?
This is a significant bug in our culture and a glitch in our DNA.
When we're on the spot, giving a speech, or pulled over by a cop, we get nervous.
We sweat, talk too fast, constrict our throat, avoid eye contact, put on a half smile and do many of the things that people often associate with lying.
At the same time, because the con man (who might also be a politician or CEO) has figured out how to avoid these telltale signs, we give them the benefit of the doubt and they lie with impunity.
If you have good intentions, you have two options: You can either avoid getting nervous (which comes with practice) or you can work on the most obvious symptoms you display, intentionally diminishing them. Actors are better on screen than the rare famous person doing a cameo because the actors have been taught how to read their lines without all the telltale signs of lying. (Of course, reading lines is lying…)
If you're using a microphone, use it. No need to brace your body to shout. Talk more slowly. Intentionally make eye contact…
And don't lie. But you knew that part.
You shouldn't have to practice appearing to be truthful when you're being truthful. But you do. Because we're humans and we're judging you.
To countless teenagers who had the wrong teacher in high school, it means, "a boring collection of right answers, categorized by topic."
Once we discover that some things we were taught aren't black and white any more (Pluto, DDT, infant formula), it's not surprising that people begin to go from bored to skeptical. About all of it.
Except that's not what science is.
Science is a process. It's not pretending it has the right answer, it merely has the best process to get closer to that right answer. Science is an ongoing argument, one where you show your work and make a prediction about what's going to happen next.
And you're not allowed to have magical faeries. Not allowed to change the explanation based on what just happened. You must begin again, from first principles, and make a new argument, and show new work, and make a better prediction.
Science isn't only done in the lab. Every one of us does it at work, daily.
Science isn't something to believe or not believe. It's something to do.
… is before it's given.
The best time to campaign is before the election.
And the best time to keep a customer is before he leaves.
We get what we invest in. The time we spend comes back, with interest.
If you practice five minutes of new, difficult banjo music every day, you'll become a better banjo player. If you spend a little bit more time each day whining or feeling ashamed, that behavior will become part of you. The words you type, the people you hang with, the media you consume…
The difference between who you are now and who you were five years ago is largely due to how you've spent your time along the way.
The habits we groove become who we are, one minute at a time. A small thing, repeated, is not a small thing.
[And the same thing is true for brands, organizations and movements.]