30 Days Challenge, Miscellaneous

A Few Of My Favorites From Seth Godin’s Blog

A few of my favorites from Seth Godin’s blog:

What to do next

This is the most important decision in your career (or even your day).

It didn’t used to be. What next used to be a question answered by your boss or your clients.

With so many opportunities and so many constraints, successfully picking what to do next is your moment of highest leverage. It deserves more time and attention than most people give it.

If you’re not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity.

Which change?

You can change the way people get the things they want.

Or you can change what they want.

Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are two of the wealthiest people in history. They got that way by changing how people used tools to find new ways to get what they already wanted.

Nelson Mandela and Jacqueline Novogratz picked a different mission. Trying to change what people want in the first place.

Both paths are available, but they’re different.

Rotating crops

Sure, every farmer knows that rotating crops helps the soil recover and increases yield.

What about email farming? I was talking to Josh today about this and it occurred to me that the rules are the same.

If you’re sending emails regularly, don’t send the same thing. Don’t send the same format, don’t send the same offer, don’t ask for the same response. Rotating your offers and your interactions maintains interest, surprise and makes your core offers more appealing.

Invent a holiday

Find an emotion that needs social approval in order to be easily expressed.

Hook it into something you sell or do.

Discover other organizations that would benefit from the holiday as much as you would.

Voila! Mother’s Day/Valentine’s Day/Festivus/New Year’s. It doesn’t have to be a national one, of course, just one for your tribe.

All the great religious holidays started as secular or pagan holidays first, because they filled an essential social need. Spring is here! It’s dark out!

And if your project/product/cause isn’t worthy of a holiday? Time to find a new one.

When smart people are hard to understand

If you’re in a meeting with smart people and they start discussing a term or concept you don’t understand, what do you do?

Do you know what recombinant DNA is? Analytics? Chapter 7? Fair use? RSS? The Long Tail?

If smart people in your industry are talking about an issue you don’t know cold, it’s very important that you don’t just sit there and nod your head sagely. I think there are two constructive paths. The first is to ask. “Wait, I was with you until a second ago. What does that mean?” You’ll be amazed at how smart and engaging this makes you seem if you say it at the right time.

The second approach is to write it down and not go to bed that night until you know the topic better than the person who brought it up. How else, precisely, are you going to become one of the smart people?

Why bother having a resume?

This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all.

Great people shouldn’t have a resume.

Here’s why: A resume is an excuse to reject you. Once you send me your resume, I can say, “oh, they’re missing this or they’re missing that,” and boom, you’re out.

Having a resume begs for you to go into that big machine that looks for relevant keywords, and begs for you to get a job as a cog in a giant machine. Just more fodder for the corporate behemoth. That might be fine for average folks looking for an average job, but is that what you deserve?

If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?

How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

Some say, “well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.”

Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are  remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.

Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.

Lulled

Everyone has a comfort zone.

Worth considering: How hard (and how often) are you willing to work to get out of it?

You can turn that into a habit if you choose.

The thing about goals

Having goals is a pain in the neck.

If you don’t have a goal (a corporate goal, a market share goal, a personal career goal, an athletic goal…) then you can just do your best. You can take what comes. You can reprioritize on a regular basis. If you don’t have a goal, you never have to worry about missing it. If you don’t have a goal you don’t need nearly as many excuses, either.

Not having a goal lets you make a ruckus, or have more fun, or spend time doing what matters right now, which is, after all, the moment in which you are living.

The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.

It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.

1000 true fans

This is Kevin Kelly’s best riff of the year, and that’s saying an enormous amount. Go read it!

Some people will read this and immediately understand. Others will read it and start waffling over the meaning of “true.” My expansion: you need to alter what you do and how you do it so that 1,000 true fans is sufficient to make you very happy.

Deliberately lo-fi

The resolution of communication has been on a downward slide for more than a decade.

Careful hand-tuned typography shifts to endless Helvetica, poorly kerned.

Face to face goes to landline phone call goes to cell phone call, goes to yelling into a speakerphone goes to lazy Zoom etiquette.

Music goes from live to vinyl to mp3.

Much of this is driven by the need to squeeze more and more stuff into a narrow pipe combined with a cultural desire for more instead of better.

But…

It will flip.

It always does.

Because better is better.

DAY 08/30

See the 30-Days-Challenge here.

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