Welcome back.

Have you thought about subscribing? It's free.
seths.blog/subscribe

Choice and obligation

If it’s an obligation, then you don’t have a choice.

Pretending you do is simply a way to create frustration. Free yourself to simply do what you have to do.

On the other hand, if you do have a choice (and you probably do) then it doesn’t make sense to treat it as an obligation. Own the choice.

The first piece of tape

I’m sitting on a black couch in the lobby of a nice theater. The couch is cracked and peeling, with seven strips of black gaffer’s tape holding it together. And you don’t have to be an interior geologist to see that it has developed this patina over time, bit by bit.

The question is: Who was the first person who decided to fix the couch with tape?

The third or fifth person did a natural thing–here’s a ratty couch, let’s keep it the best we can.

But the first taper?

The first taper decided that it was okay for this theater to have a taped couch. The first taper didn’t make the effort to alert the authorities, to insist on getting the couch repaired properly.

The first taper decided, “this is good enough for now.”

This is how we find ourselves on the road to decay.


 

Here’s a new video the team just put together for the altMBA. I hope it resonates with you…

PS The early decision deadline for the altMBA is March 1st.

Lessons for telling time

For something as dominant as the four digits that we use to tell time, it’s disappointing that there’s no manual, and not surprising that we do it wrong so often.

I’m not talking about the big hand/little hand part of announcing what time it is. I’m focused on how we use our awareness of time to screw up our narrative about life.

Here are some examples:

We focus on the days, making short-term decisions, instead of being cognizant of the years. We ignore the benefits that short-term pain can have in earning us long-term satisfaction. Which means that we often fail to invest, embracing a shortcut instead.

We rehearse the past, obsessing about sunk costs, instead of freeing ourselves up to make new decisions based on new information.

We put a stopwatch on our best experiences, ticktocking the moments instead of living in them.

But we fail to be honest about the time when we’re in a dip, or unhappy, imagining instead that it is lasting forever.

We confuse the thrill of fast-paced media with the magic of doing work that matters, even though they each take just as long.

We might have a fancy watch, but that doesn’t mean we’re good at telling time.

Five reasons you might want to start a podcast

  1. You’ll meet some amazing people. Most podcasts are based on interviews, and having a podcast is a fabulous excuse to interview fascinating people.
  2. It will help clarify your thinking. You might hesitate to write, but most people don’t hesitate to speak their thoughts. Spending twenty minutes or more to explain something is a great way to understand it.
  3. You will earn credibility. Our culture gives extra credit to people who are thoughtful, generous and well-spoken.
  4. It’s a productive habit that gets both easier and more useful as you stick with it.
  5. It creates an asset, one that people can engage with for years to come.
  6. (not a reason) To make a fortune. You won’t. But 1 through 5 are a bargain, because you don’t need a permit, a license or a budget. You can simply begin.

Today’s the best day to sign up to join Alex DiPalma and me in the Podcast Fellowship.

We’ve run it twice before, and it works better than anyone expected. We’re assembling a cohort of terrific people all on the same journey–to share their ideas and make a ruckus.

Alex is a significant force in the world of podcasting, with experience at NPR and Midroll, and you couldn’t ask for a more insightful and committed guide. She and I have worked together on the Akimbo podcast for more than a year.

Lessons start this week, so today’s the day. It’s easy to sign up.

Podcasting is a way to find your voice and we’d love to have you join us.

Experience and variation

The only way to learn from experience is to have different experiences.

The very nature of an experiment is that there’s a chance you’re doing it wrong, or at least less ‘right’ than the way you usually do it. Which leads to the trap of no new experiences.

The only alternative is to eagerly engage with the possible.

If you follow the recipe the same way every time, you’ll get the same results every time.

Fish in a barrel

There’s some confusion here.

Of course it’s easy to shoot fish in a barrel.

The difficult part, the part no one talks about, is getting the fish into the barrel in the first place.

Telescopes and microscopes

It pays to look at opportunity with a telescope. It’s real, but it’s distant. The telescope brings it into focus and helps you find your way there. Telescopes are easy to find if you look for them.

And it often pays to look at trouble with a microscope. Not to get intimidated by the amorphous blob that could snuff out your dreams, but instead to look at the tiny component parts, learning how it is constructed and taking away its power. Once you realize how it’s built, you can deal with it.

Work before passion

“Offer me something I’m passionate about and I’ll show up with all of my energy, effort and care.”

That’s a great way to hide.

Because nothing is good enough to earn your passion before you do it. Perhaps, in concept, it’s worthy, but as soon as you closely examine the details and the pitfalls, it’s easy to decide it’s better to wait for a better offer.

What about considering the opposite?

“Offer me a chance to contribute, and I’ll work hard on it, with focus, and once I begin to make progress, I’ll become passionate about it.”

Work before passion measures our craft in terms of contribution, not in an idealized model of perfection.

Passion comes from feeling needed, from approaching mastery, from doing work that matters. [HT to Terri Trespicio.]


PS Today’s the first day of signups for the now-legendary Podcast Fellowship. I hope you can listen to some of the feedback we got for the first two sessions. Tip: When asked your favorite color, enter leapnow to save some money today or tomorrow.

Podcasting is a way to find your voice and we’d love to have you join us.

Too important to have a fight about

Battle lines drawn.

Positions solidified.

Arguments made.

All thrilling, perhaps fun, but unlikely to change minds.

If your cause is important enough, it’s worth taking the time and emotional energy to make your case without an argument. The opportunity is to recast your outcome in terms of the other person’s worldview, not insist that they change what they want or what they think they know.

The culture isn’t immutable. You can change it.

But not by picking a fight.

Skill vs planning

If you’re a gardener, planting orange trees in Ottawa, and nothing’s growing, it’s possible to beat yourself up, burn yourself out and say, “I’m a bad gardener.”

Or,

You could realize that oranges aren’t easy to grow in Ottawa. You could either move to Cuba or plant winter wheat instead.

But don’t beat yourself up just because the climate doesn’t match your seeds.

This site uses cookies.

Learn more