The Time Is Now

Don’t let the following thought stop you from sharing what you have to offer:

“But I haven’t been 100% consistent with my philosophy.”

Nobody is 100% on their A-game all the time. We all fall short of the standards and ideals we pursue. That’s why we pursue them: because we understand that character is a journey, not a “one and done” transaction.

The basis for creating value isn’t “I feel satisfied with how perfect I am.”

The basis for creating value is “I know that I’m capable of making a positive difference in spite of how imperfect I am.”

If you have something to give, give. If a certain form of generosity or service brings meaning to your life, don’t let imposter syndrome stop you.

“But nobody cares about what I have to offer. I’m just a silly fool who forgot to stick to my diet today. I’m just some goofball who forgot about an appointment today. I’m just a wannabe who still struggles with this or that.”

Don’t censor your convictions because you missed going to the gym today, or because you lost your cool today, or because you weren’t sufficiently “enlightened” today.

Nothing useful would ever get done if we all required ourselves to feel fully enlightened or fully evolved before standing up for a cause. And can you imagine how obnoxious today’s innovators and leaders would sound if their main reason for speaking was because of how self-righteous they felt?

The power to create change doesn’t come from an attitude that says “After spending many years of perfecting a fool-proof system for hacking every area of my life, I’m going to show the rest of you losers how to get everything you want without a single exception.”

The power to create change comes from an attitude that says “Sometimes I feel like I’m crushing it and sometimes I don’t, but here’s what I’ve learned and here’s what I’m still learning.”

If you’re still in the process of failing and figuring things out, then you’re right where you need to be.

Don’t hide your gifts in anticipation of a day when you feel acceptable and accomplished. Start serving now and the rest will follow.

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Fires Aren’t Everything

If you’re always putting out fires, you’ll never have time to start any.

You can’t innovate if you’re spending all of your time reacting to urgencies and emergencies.

A well-ordered life is a creative life.

If you don’t use your freedom to create your own boundaries, your life will be filled with a bunch of involuntary boundaries that smother your freedom.

How can you say “yes” to your vision of the possible if you can’t ever say “no” or “not now” to anything?

If you have a fire, do what’s necessary to keep things from burning to the ground, but don’t forget to create space in your day to invest in the kinds of possibilities that can only emerge when you’re in a state of play.

The fires might seem to mean everything in the present moment, but your future will be determined by the things you make time for before and between the fires.

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The Known Is Transformed by the Unknown

When we reach for new ideas, it results in a more nuanced relationship to the ideas we already have.

By grappling with unfamiliar concepts, we breathe new life into the familiar ones.

Learning not only begets new information. It begets new opportunities with old understandings we may have taken for granted.

What is education?

Whatever it is, it’s not just about regurgitating what we know. It’s the process of revitalizing what we know through our willingness to wrestle with the unknown.

Knowledge becomes increasingly useful to the degree that we seek out new opportunities for practical application and philosophical adventure.

If you think you already know enough, you’re probably right. The real question is “Do you know enough about the things you already know?”

The only way to find that answer is by exploring the possibilities that aren’t on your map.

When was the last time you tried to learn something that wasn’t easy to understand? That might be a great place to start.

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Am I a Writer? Are You? Does it Really Matter?

I have never troubled myself with a preoccupation over the following question: “Am I a writer?”

I simply write.

Sometimes I do a decent job. Sometimes I do it poorly. At ALL times, I do it in ways that could use some improvement. The most important thing to me, however, is that I do it at all.

For me, to write is to have something to say and to face the challenge of trying to get your point of view across.

I have something to say. I’m willing to face the challenges involved with saying it. So I choose to write.

Does that make me a writer? I have no clue. That’s other people’s question to answer. Some will affirm it. Others will deny it. But I will have nothing to do with those discussions.

My job is to do the work, writing or otherwise, that my heart compels me to do. My job is to keep finding ways to say “yes” to what makes me come alive.

It’s not my job to convince others that I deserve some kind of special label or title for what I do. And it’s not your job either.

Instead of defending your status as a writer, as a creative, as an entrepreneur, or as a whatever, why not use that time and energy to show up for the work your soul summons you to perform?

It’s far more important to do the work than it is to debate your status as someone who does that kind of work.

Actual participation in the creative process has way more value than any in-group label you could chase.

We all have interests and ideas that we want to explore, but sometimes we get stuck in an identity game of thinking “I need to be the kind of person who does X before giving myself permission to experiment with X.”

That’s a trap.

You don’t need to define yourself as someone who does interesting things as a prerequisite for doing the things that are interesting to you.

You don’t need to know all the answers about who you are before you can begin being true to what fascinates you in the present moment.

You can create BEFORE you settle the identity debate.

And here’s the paradoxical thing: you’ll come up with better ideas about who you really are by trying to create things than by trying to figure out if you’re the kind of person who has the right to create things.\

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Don’t Apply for “A Job”

Don’t apply for “a job.” That’s too general.

Apply for a specific opportunity to create a specific kind of value for a specific company.

If you apply for something, that’s actually what you’re doing anyway. So you might as well adopt a mindset that’s congruent with the task.

Apply for jobs with the same practical wisdom you’d display when looking for a date.

Don’t let yourself sound like a desperate person who’s looking for anything under the sun. Make the company feel like you’re uniquely interested in them.

You wouldn’t go on a date and say “Oh, I’m just here because I have no friends and you were available. There was nothing about you that made me intrigued. I’m just trying to get to know ANYONE who’s willing to listen.”

You would say “When I met you the other day and you started talking about how you loved the Chicago Bulls and THEN you dropped that Eminem reference in the SAME sentence, I was like ‘I GOTTA get to know this person right here.’”

Make your pitch personal.

People like it when you’re interested in them in particular.

They like it less when you’re just putting out a bunch of feelers.

The same is true for companies.

Don’t be spammy. Be specific.

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