Picture Yourself

Here’s a follow up on yesterday’s post, Why We Fail.  In that post, we talked about how doing too much can lead to doing nothing at all.  Instead of hopping on that roller coaster of frustration, I suggest you do less, in order to give you the energy and enjoyment to do it forever.

Whatever “it” is for you (exercise, saving, eating healthy, etc.)

Today, I’d like to explain why that works the way it does.

It’s all about visualization, and what you’re saying to yourself in your head.  The problem with intensity is that we’re focusing only on the pain of our activities, and not on what we could be gaining from them.  Here’s how our thoughts tend to go during an intense workout regimen.  This might happen over the course of a month, or a single workout.

Scenario A – The Intense Workout

(determination) “This is pretty hard, but it will pay off, I know it”

(pain) “I can’t breathe”

(more pain) “Ow, I think I broke / pulled / strained/ hurt a body part”

(separation) “Those other people who do this are crazy.  I’m not like them.  I’m just a struggling fatty who’s trying to get through it.”

(justification) “This workout isn’t for me.  It’s too ______.”

I know how this movie ends.  Spoiler alert – you stop.

The first stage (determination) was the only one worth having.  A lighter workout will allow you to continue that for longer, and minimize the pain… thus eliminating the need for separation and justification.  This may take a couple weeks or several months, or years.  Keeping at it is the important part.

Scenario B – The Lighter (or shorter, less intense, more enjoyable) Workout

(determination) “This is pretty hard, but it will pay off, I know it”

(slight pain) “This is uncomfortable, but I can handle it.  I know it will pay off”

(re-association) “This discomfort is really just me getting more healthy.  It’s me building a sweet beach body.”

(growth) “I didn’t know I could do that – I ran / jumped / lifted quite a bit faster / higher / heavier than I used to be able to.”

(re-identification) “I now consider myself an athlete (or I now have a good body)”


It’s all about how you focus during your workout.  Are you paying attention to the pain, or the long-term benefits?  Visualize it!

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Why We Fail

In reading The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman, I came across this quote:

We fail, not because we do not try to do something, but because we let our little efforts become an excuse for not doing more.

Why is it that we always convince ourselves that in order to do something “right”, it must always include pushing ourselves to the extreme limits of our (or anyone’s) abilities?


Most of our goals are achieved not through incredible effort, but with consistency and longevity.  This includes matters related to heath, wealth, wisdom, spirituality, happiness, and so many more.

We know that shortcuts don’t work, right?  Yet we strive for a workout that makes us cry.  We look for the one investment (or lottery ticket) that will take us instantly from middle class to super-ultra-athlete-slash-movie star rich.

I think because we fear time (or our mortality), we need to convince ourselves that we can avoid the time commitment by adding effort.

If we stop thinking about our goals as having a deadline, then we’ll be equipped for true success.  Instead, think of goals as “being”.  What can you do consistently for the rest of your life?  That will drive much greater success.

P90X is good, but hard.  We tell ourselves we need to push ourselves for 90 days.  Subconsciously, however, we tell ourselves that if we do the 90 days, we can then relax.  What if it was P(forever)X?  If you could do that workout every day forever, then do it, that’s great!  You’ll be in the top 0.5% of fit people.  But what if you can’t?  Then a better goal is to scale down the workout to a routine that you’d be comfortable with forever.

Here’s a free poem for you to change your frame of thinking:

Give yourself breaks,

Do less,

Enjoy the process,

Be instead of do,

…and enjoy “forever” success.


One last thought… if you absolutely, positively, must burn a ton of calories in 30 minutes, try doing this:

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All Kinds of Great

I typically don’t “plug” products on my site.  I don’t have any system set up to measure where my traffic goes, or if I can “monetize” the people who read my stuff.  The reason is because I didn’t write to make any money, and if I collide those worlds, there’s a good chance it will result in bad things.  I won’t enjoy writing.  I’ll stress over analytics.  Or people will question my intentions and my bobservations will assumed to have hidden purpose.

That said…

When a great friend does something awesome, you plug it.

When they do it for a great cause, you plug it.

When the completely pull it off… yup, you plug it.

My friend Laura recently took a trip to Nashville (cool).  She got some time in a recording studio to make a CD with her singing (cooler).  It was in Martina McBride’s studio (really cool).  Oh, and Martina’s guitarist and legendary harmonica player Charlie McCoy played with Laura (really stinking cool)!!

When your friend does all this to record her CD, then decides that half the money it brings in should be donated to the MS Society… you plug it.

So I’ll stop watering down her art and give you the link – here it is:

Lonely Roads by Laura Rabell

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Replace discouragement with patience, and you’ll always get what you seek.

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Information Efficiency

I just posted this on Reddit:

I think a lower attention span is good. Schools and government, ignore the following:

Humankind has had several “ages”. Stone age, bronze age, industrial age, etc.

The internet made spreading information cheaper and faster, so we were thrust very quickly into the information age.

The difference between the information age and the others is how fast it developed. There was no time to make all the information “good”. That is, usable, beneficial, and valuable. Think about all those thousands of email forwards you used to (and probably still do) receive. Wasted time.

Since we grew accustomed to digesting mostly worthless information, we also trained ourselves to quickly recognize wasted time. And as a result, we have what some could call a low attention span… as if it’s a mental disorder.

The disorder is actually in the presentation of information itself. Since there’s so much of it, there’s a natural need for organization and sorting by value. That’s why Reddit does so much good – to allow for the very best informationto float to the top. It creates a system that makes information efficient.

tl;dr So Reddit isn’t just decreasing our attention span; it’s forcing information to be presented more efficiently.

Oh, and schools and government – on second thought, please do read this. The students and citizens aren’t broken because they don’t pay much attention – it’s the delivery of information that needs to grow to keep up with us.

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How to Protect Your Ideas

This just in… Startup Weekend is coming to Charlotte this Friday – Sunday.  It’s a competition to collaborate on ideas, and actually launch a startup business.  All in a single weekend.

I come across people interested in this type of activity quite regularly.  It might be chance, but I think it’s more because of my constantly running mouth.  Always talking about businesses, startups, entrepreneurship, ideas, etc.

Despite the large number of people I talk to about cool new ideas, and launching a startup company, there are only a few who end up moving forward with their business.  Why is this?

There are a ton of theories on motivation, drive, and why someone would say they want to do something, but never start doing it.  Those exist regardless.  My focus is on the psychology behind the ideas.

It’s easy to forget how big the world is.  We have 7-ish billion people here, and contrary to some naive (ignorant) opinions, there is no smarter race or culture.  Just different perspectives.  Now all of these people have a mind, and all of these minds are constantly on.  Even when they are asleep, they continue to search archives and send outputs.

So why is it… that when we think of an idea… we instantly convince ourselves (and try to convince others) that we are the only person who has ever thought of it?  Ego?  Myopia?

Patent attorneys, look the other way while I distract you.

There is no million-dollar idea.  There is only million-dollar execution.

It doesn’t matter how good the idea is, or how protected it is.  Sure, you may have thought of the latest trend before it got big, but what does that prove?  It proves you had a good idea.  But good ideas are worthless.  Act on it, and execute the steps you need to share that idea with the world.

My latest favorite idea: a QR-Code t-shirt (or hat).  You wear it, and anyone who scans it will be sent to a personalized site of your choosing.  Maybe it’s your profile.  Maybe it’s a pickup line.  Whatever.

Go ahead, take it.  Make it.  Cash in on it.  I’ll be doing the same on Kickstarter.

And you have my word – if you execute it better than I do (read – if the market buys from you instead of me), I will celebrate your success with congratulations.  NOT with a lawsuit.  How much better would our products be if every idea was developed by the people most passionate about it?

And instead of patent protection, we had the protection of producing the best possible products?  I can’t imagine we’d see too many cheaply-made imitations in the future.

What do you think?  What’s your great idea?

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Life Got You Down?

Check out this perspective (click the picture):

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Funny Sidebar

We’re almost a third of the way done with 2012.  Have you kept your resolutions?  Trying to start from scratch may not be the best idea.

Instead, recalibrate your goals by measuring your initial goal… and map out your actions over the next 8 months.

My take on 2012 resolutions: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3oxf6v/


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I’m Good With Numbers, BUT

This fact blew my mind.

1990 (the year) is closer to the moon landing than it is to present day.

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Mike Schmidt – Perfectionist?

Today I Learned that on this day in 1976, Mike Schmidt hit four consecutive home runs.  That helped (understatement) the Phillies win a 10-inning game against the Cubs, 18-16.

It is quite a feat.  In the 100 years of professional baseball in the US to that point, he was just the fourth player to do what he did that day.

I highly doubt that as he prepared for that particular game with the intent to hit four home runs, let alone four in a row.  Yet so often, we approach tasks with that sort of intent.

What’s the success rate of something like that?

Rough estimate warning

Figure over 100 years of baseball, on average, there were 1,137 games played each season.  That’s 131 games for the 17 teams (on average) that existed from 1876-1975.

Total baseball games played during that time = 113,657.  And every player on both teams had the chance to hit four consecutive home runs.  So we multiply by 18 (number of total players in each game).  That means there were just over 2 million chances.  And it happened four times.

Success rate = 0.0002%

That is not something to strive for.  Or even something to think about.  Because the amount of failure that comes along with that endeavor will stop even the most determined people.

Instead, Mike Schmidt likely did two things to reach that mark.  You can do them too…

1. Practice – I know it sounds old and boring, but it’s the way people succeed.  There are shortcuts, but they aren’t nearly as glamorous or simple as you’d like to believe. Real shortcuts include finding someone to emulate, and tracking your results.  Fake shortcuts are anything that doesn’t involve actually doing the activity.  Think pills and anything else that sells based on “no effort”.

2. Put Yourself in the Way of Success – That means finding opportunities to flex your muscle.  To perform.  Practicing will build your skill, but if you don’t find ways to use it, it will never give back the effort you put in.  Share your gifts with the world.  Give of your value.  Success will run into you, and not the other way around.  Worth noting is that Mike Schmidt, over his career, made over 10,000 plate appearances.  What have you done over 10,000 times?  If you do something every day for 27 years, that’s about 10,000.

Want a secret shortcut?  Do it ten times a day.  :-)



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