The reset button.

I’ve noticed lately that sometimes I speak too slowly. Or perhaps it’s more that I think so fast my mouth can’t keep up. I stutter, fumble over my sentences. I usually have to just stop talking, think about what it is I’m trying to say for a second, then restart. I have to hit my own reset button, and often times it helps.

So often I feel like this is the process of life, tumble headlong through situations simply because we’ve already started and we’re committed to doing them, because if we stop talking then there’s stillness and quiet and those aren’t comfortable. Better the devil at your doorstep, right?

What would happen if we all just stopped and hit the reset button with our lives? If we all had to stop, take a couple minutes to think and reconsider life, and then carry on in the direction we felt was most appropriate? What if we all simply did what we wanted to do?

Contrary to the beliefs of some political parties, I highly doubt people would simply stop working if they didn’t “have to.” I highly doubt we would have a world of only writers and artists. I think we would simply have more writers and artists, and would that be such a bad thing?

I think we would have people who, instead of staffing their middle-management desks to make a paycheck, would leave those desks and travel, live in nature, take up a stage career, or maybe work with farm animals…and when they left that position, a burger-flipping short-order cook would take that desk and finally get to learn and practice the management skills they’ve wanted to use for years, but couldn’t because they didn’t have the degree (or maybe the job just wasn’t open).

I don’t think the world would break if everyone stopped and hit the reset button, but I do think it would change. Admittedly, that’s scary. But maybe it’s wonderful, too.

-Josh

Fortune Cookies.

I bought Chinese food from the takeaway spot across the street from work yesterday. It came with a fortune cookie. The fortune cookie read:

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Fortune cookies are like horoscopes; they all apply to you because you can read whatever you want into them. But this one sticks out to me. Perhaps it would stick out to anyone who got it, anyone who felt like he was deferring his dreams for a less-satisfying purpose. But then again, maybe many of us are doing just that. Far too many of us.

The cost of change

I flew out to Virginia on a Delta flight with a layover in Detroit a couple days ago. The Detroit section was pretty bad; we sat on the plane for almost two hours because of a problem with what some have determined was the coffee maker (there legitimately was a broken coffee maker; I’m sincerely hoping there was a more pressing issue that kept us grounded for that long).

A woman sitting across from me vehemently complained about the stewardess, complained about the arthritis being aggravated by spending this much time on the plane. She told the woman next to her that every time she flies Delta she has terrible problems. Does she not have the ability to take another flight? Or was she maybe unwilling to make the changes necessary to take a different flight, to leave at a different time, or pay more money.

Either way, it’s a shame. Maybe she’d have had a better overall experience if she’d tried paying for the change.

-Josh

Finding what you’re looking for

i’ve been doing a lot of reading the past couple of days, making my way through Scrappy Project Management and Poke the Box. You should probably look both of them up, even if you’re not currently employed as a project manager or a box-poker.

What I’ve discovered: reading self-help books can help you find yourself. How about that?

I’m going to start blogging smaller posts when I don’t have the time for large ones. Still trying to make them pointed, relevant, but also consistent. The goal is to get seven days in a row.

Seth Godin says in Poke the Box that you should consider it a moral imperative to start something, to “poke the box” when you have an idea. Kimberly Wiefling says that you should be completely and unapologetically obsessed with your customer.

So what happens when your customer has an idea? You get obsessed with making it happen. And what happens when you make yourself your customer?

Pretty much whatever the hell you want.

-Josh

Someone’s Going to Do It

Ideas are a dime a dozen. I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s Poke the Box. It’s about the power of initiative. I say that initiative is worth something, but he overestimates its power. Initiative is valuable, but follow-through is invaluable.

Discipline. It’s an intimidating word to me. Discipline involves commitment, accountability, vision. Generally the term “learning the hard way” shows up somewhere in there, too. I’m learning that I’m not good at “hard.” I do seem to be good at quitting, though.

I’m trying to learn Dvorak, the alternative keyboard layout that’s supposed to be easier on the hands and more accurate than the traditional QWERTY layout we’re all accustomed to. Like learning any new language, it’s hard. When I do poorly in the exercises, I find myself having to use the restroom, make lunch, start a different project. Starting projects isn’t so hard for me, but following-through has tripped me up in the past. In the present, too.

My goal is to follow-through, to come up with ideas and work hard enough to keep them going. I watch TV, read books, see movies, play games. Each and every one of those mediums has a story behind them, a story that someone had to decide was important enough to dedicate time and effort to. Important enough to discipline themselves to create. There are plenty of people with ideas out there, even bad ones. But a bad idea in production is worth more than the best idea in your head.

I used to say, “Well, if I don’t do it, then nobody will.” But the reality is that if I don’t do it, somebody else will do something else.

Real work takes discipline. Hopefully I’ll be able to teach myself a bit of that.

What do you do to keep yourself disciplined?