Patience + Persistence

Getting what you want is much simpler than you imagine.

You don’t need to find a magic hack. You don’t need to stress day in and day out. You just to need start doing something today that will lead you in the direction of your goals and stick with it for as long as it takes.

You need to be patient; you need to be persistent.

Lots of people have patience. They are willing to wait around all day for someone to give them an opportunity, but patience alone is not enough if they won’t invest time or energy into anything unless it is immediately rewarded. They are happy waiting, but afraid of working.

You need more than just patience; you need patience and persistence. Patience in knowing that big results and great opportunities will come your way and persistence in sticking with the small daily actions that grind you slowly towards your goals.

No matter what you want in the future, you can always a way to translate it into actions that you can take today to start moving closer to it. If your patient and persistent you will always find yourself moving towards your goals and creating a better future.

The Beautiful Chaos of Cryptocurrency

I fell in love with the idea of cryptocurrency because of the power of stateless money.  The idea that you could create a currency, a currency, that anyone in the world could use, trade, and store easily was intoxicating.

That you could allow the unbanked to be banked and allow money to be sent from anywhere to anywhere for practically nothing. That is the bitcoin that I fell in love with and it is a shame that it has strayed so far from that ideal.

But from the small-scale chaos that’s come from the bitcoin scaling issue, you can see something beautiful about the market for the cryptocurrency. There are some small-scale political battles that take place and have consequence, but ultimately, all debates will be settled by the market.

The large block supporters lost the political battle, but regardless, there is once again a bitcoin that holds true to the original ideal of a money that empowers people around the world, bitcoin cash.

And it is not just one option. There are countless different coins competing to solve unique problems. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Monero, and dozens more that have sizable markets and legitimate use cases.

Bitcoin going off the rails is a bummer, but it is fairly insignificant in the greater scheme of things because of the free market in crypto.

In the past when wealth was trapped in fiat currency, you could do nothing but stand by and watch your wealth disappear as politicians destroyed the value of bolivars, pesos, and dollars. But now all you need to do is make a simple transaction on your phone or computer and in less than a minute you can change to one of the plentiful options that serve you best.

Less than a decade since the creation of the first cryptocurrency we are watching the development of a truly competitive market for money. It is crazy, chaotic, and scary, but it is beautiful to watch.

Perspective and Digital Work

When you are building a wall it is very easy to see your progress on any given day. As soon as you step away you can see exactly how much new wall you’ve put up. You know how successful each day has been.

But the end of the day is different when you are doing Knowledge work. You close your laptop at the end of the day and whether you have had the most productive day of your life or the worst day, nothing is different about your physical environment.

As humans, we get a lot of natural fulfillment in relationship to our environment. There is something deeply satisfying about building something physical that is much harder to capture with digital work.

As a result of this intangibility that comes with digital work, to feel happy and satisfied at the end of the day is as much about perspective as it is about actual results.

If you leave your work at 7 pm thinking about the items that are still on your to-do list, you will have a feeling of incompleteness.

If you leave work at 7 pm thinking about all the things that you got done during the day you will likely feel lighter and more satisfied.

For me, and most people I know, the natural tendency is to focus on the stuff that didn’t get done. The things left on your to-do list, instead of what you’ve crossed off. But if you continue this day after day you will eventually get beat down by a feeling of failure.

To maintain results and confidence, the better option is to consciously choose to take time at the end of them to focus on what you got done. To review your wins for the day so the feeling that lingers as you go into your evening is one of accomplishment and not failure.

Investing a few minutes at the end of each workday to review your wins and plan your most important work for the next day, helps you gain perspective on the intangible results of digital work. Writing out your key tasks allows you to release yourself from the anxiety of worrying what you need to start the next day with.

Commerce Brings Light to the Darkest Places (Wonder Woman) 

Last night I watched Wonder Woman for the first time. It is a great movie–probably my favorite superhero movie since the Dark Knight–and a true hero’s tale that is refreshing among the sea of dark and turbulent hero’s that have lead movies over the past decade.

There are lots of great insights you can pull from Wonder Woman (Is ‘Wonder Woman’ War Propaganda by Dan Sanchez; 9 Reasons Wonder Woman is the Best Super-Hero by James Walpole), but I want to talk about a small but powerful scene that you could have easily missed.

Around the halfway point of the movie, Wonder Woman (Diana) and her fellowship are in Belgium approaching the front lines of the war. They have just met up with The Cheif, a smuggler who will join their band and lead them to the front. Diana learns that The Cheif travels back and forth between the two sides, smuggling goods.

What’s there?
British tea from the Germans…
…German beer for the British.
And Edgar Rice Brurroughs
novels for both.

The Cheif explains that he has no side in this fight and that instead, he is here because he can use his skillset to make a large profit.

– So, who do you fight for in this war?
– I don’t fight.
– You’re here for profits then?
– No better place to be.
– Nowhere better to be than in a
war where you don’t take a side.
– I have no where else.
The last war took
everything from my people.
We have nothing left.
At least here…
…I’m free.
– Who took that from your people?
– His people.

In Diana’s (and most peoples) view this is not right. This is a battle between good and evil and to enrich yourself personally in this situation is wrong. But the opposite is true. The Cheif is one of the most virtuous people in the area and it is exactly his profit motive that drives him as a force for good.

In the midst of this hell on earth, where thousands are dying and being mutilated, you have someone who is risking his safety to improve the lives of the people around him. While the governments and leaders of armies on either side are engaged in the act of destruction, there still exists entrepreneurship and selfish profiteers looking to improve their own lives, and lives of others. They are still brewing beer, writing books, and working to make life better.

It is a stunning reminder of how commerce facilitates cooperation even in the extremes of antagonism.

The English soldiers may fight German soldiers all day, but they still want to drink German beer at night. There is no denying the quality.

The German soldiers may fight the English all day, but they still want to drink English tea in the morning. There is no denying the quality.

It is heartening, but profoundly saddening at the same time.

It reminds you of what could have been if the state and the leaders in charge at the time didn’t create this conflict, normal people could have experienced this beautiful cooperation. You wouldn’t need renegades on horseback to smuggle goods across the trenches, you could a fleet of ships and planes transporting beer, tea, and books instead of bombs, soldiers, and coffins.

Most of us live in places where we are enriched by the entrepreneurs and craftsmen in other countries. We can drink German beer, eat Mexican avocados, use Korean electronics, and most other things we want from most countries. But there are still places where the flow of goods is a dark and dangerous trade. Where renegades like the Cheif travel in the dark to bring goods that brighten the lives of normal people.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz | Notes & Quotes

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz documents Ben’s career and focuses on building Loudcloud (and transforming it into Opsware). It is an excellent book for anyone who works in a growing company, both for the lessons you can pick up and also for the simple relief it provides in experiencing second hand the extreme highs and lows of Ben’s experience running a company.

Below are my notes and select quotes from the book.

On business advice/self-help books:

“The problem with these books is that they attempt to provide a recipe for challenges that have no recipes. There’s no recipe for really complicated, dynamic situations. There’s no recipe for building a high-tech company; there’s no recipe for leading a group of people out of trouble; there’s no recipe for making a series of hit songs; there’s no recipe for playing NFL quarterback; there’s no recipe for running for president; and there’s no recipe for motivating teams when your business has turned to crap. That’s the hard thing about hard things—there is no formula for dealing with them.”

Great Work Requires Courage

A massively underestimated part of personal and professional growth is simply showing up and doing things that make you uncomfortable.

Not uncomfortable in a “selling babies on the internet” kind of way, but uncomfortable in that it doesn’t feel good because you’re out of your comfort zone.

As humans, we have a strong pull towards safety. We want to stay in the domains that we can control and that we are comfortable in.

The reason work is so beneficial for personal development is that it creates strong incentives to get out of your comfort zone. The social pressure and monetary rewards give you the motivation to stretch yourself and learn to master new things.

People look at others who do their jobs exceptionally well and attribute it to skill, talent, and hard work. Those things certainly play a role, but what is often overlooked is the simple commitment to following through with your responsibilities and doing the right thing, regardless of how you feel.

Rationalize vs. Actualize

Every day we are faced with small yet important decisions. These small points are opportunities to live up to our ideals or to hide and do what is easy. How we respond to those situations will determine how we respond when we are faced with large problems and they will determine the person we become in the future.

When you do what you believe to be right, even when you are faced with negative consequences, you take steps towards actualization. You become a more confident, capable, and real version of yourself.

But when you don’t do what is right, when you choose the easy way out you sacrifice yourself to hide from reality.

It is incredibly difficult to live with the fact that we have not lived up to our standards. Instead, most people naturally and unconsciously rationalize and explain away their actions. They fall into the trap of rationalizing their behavior and hide from reality to protect their increasingly fragile egos.

This battle between right and easy, between rationalizing and actualizing happens every day of your life. That is the good news. You will never be perfect and you will never be irredeemable. When you wake up tomorrow you have a choice. Choose to build the better version of yourself. Choose to do what is right, not what is easy.

How to Get a Remote Job

A lot of people view employment relationships as a fixed unchangeable state instead of a dynamic two-way relationship. As a result, they fixate on job descriptions and fit before taking on a role and discount their ability to adapt to any role, once they’ve started.

A prevalent example of this comes from the desire for remote work. A ton of young professionals want remote work. But in the search for remote opportunities, many young professionals are ready to throw away great opportunities because they require an in-person commitment.

The best way to get a job you love is not waiting around for the perfect job to open up for you. It is to start working and through your work, create the role that you are best suited for.

For remote work, the best way to get a remote job as a young professional isn’t to wait around for a remote work opportunity to pop up on indeed.com. It is to find a job that you like and can kick ass at, and to get to work.

After 6-months of doing great work in-person, you will likely have the leverage and trust you need to turn a non-remote role into a remote role. Once you prove you can do your job well, then it is so much easier to create more freedom in your role.

Waiting around for freedom to be handed to you will almost never get you what you want. Only by consistently helping others get what they want, will they be eager to help you get what you want.

Empathy as a Superpower

People give a lot of credit to others for the ability to emphasize. But when they talk about empathy, they usually refer to the ability to feel sadness along with others. The ability to feel sad because someone you know feels sad.

This form of empathy is oversized and overvalued.

The truly valuable aspect of empathy is much less common, it is the ability to adopt someone else’s perspective and appreciate their point of view. To overcome simple frustration or emotion that comes from your limited perspective and see the situation you are in from the viewpoint of everyone who is involved.

This is a skill that typically comes from age and experience. Building relationships with friends, partners, and co-workers give you the experience to learn that to get what you want you to need to understand what other people want.

But it is not a secret power. Empathy is a habit of thinking and something you can choose to make a part of how you analyze and understand situations. As a young professional looking to build a career, there is incredible value in consciously choosing to view your interactions from the perspective of the people you are interacting with.

Imagine that you are the person conducting the job interview you are about to interview for, what would make you want to hire someone?

Imagine you are the person making a job offer, how quickly would you want someone to respond to your emails?

Imagine you are the coworker who just gave you constructive feedback, how frustrating it might be that you’ve delayed a project?

This simple trick of taking time to view a situation from another perspective will take almost no time but will give you incredible insight into how to approach confusing situations and get what you want in the long-term.

A great example of this powerful form of empathy is Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones and his ability to change perspective and understand what other people want:

 

My Two Best Purchases This Year

Sometimes small purchases can make a massive difference in your day to day life. Things that you buy for less than you spend on eating out each week, but so seamlessly fit into your life that it makes you wonder how you ever lived day to day before.

I’ve made two of these purchases recently.

Roost Stand (+ a Keyboard and Mouse)

I’ve been working on a laptop full time for the past two years and experiencing back and neck aches for a decent amount of that time. I knew that it probably wasn’t the best thing for my back, but I travel a ton and without a permanent home there was no place to get an external monitor, so I just accepted life with an aching back as necessary.

Then one day I was reading a travel blog for a potential guest for the World Wanderers where the blogger recommended the Roost Stand, a simple plastic contraption that raises the height of your laptop but is made of plastic and folds up making it perfect for travel.

I got one, along with an external keyboard and mouse and it has been a total game changer for my back. I naturally sit with better posture now and I’m not exaggerating when I say that 90% of my back pain is gone.

It is a little expensive for a small plastic stand (and you can find cheaper knockoffs on Amazon), but the amount of value it has added to my life has been staggering.

If your interested, I use the Apple Magic keyboard and a Logitech M705 Mouse.

Paste 2

The second thing is a $10 app for Mac that stores the last 100 things you have copied.

I am late to the game on using a clipboard booster, I’ve obviously heard of them before, but never made the jump to try one. Now, I seriously don’t think I could go back to life without one.

It is simple but it makes life so much better when everything you have copied for the few days is available to you.

You can also set it up so that screenshots go there as well, instead of clogging up your desktop and you can save snippets that you use regularly like you would with Text Expander.

You can probably find some free versions out there, but the $10 for Paste is one of the best $10 investments you will make in your life.