Tag Archive: Challenge


Interruptions

Common Misconception: Your productivity is foiled by interruptions.

Harsh Reality: You allow interruptions to feel productive.

When the road ahead is tough terrain, you are easily diverted onto side streets.  Stopping or going in reverse on life’s freeway feels like failure, especially when everyone else appears to be racing by with relative ease.  Thus when struggling to move ahead on the chosen road, you consider every diversion, detour and alternate route.  Any exit ramp that might offer the chance to get moving again, even if it takes you further away from your desired destination.

Two months ago I was struggling to maintain my new exercise regimen, dietary changes, schedule adjustments and blogging activity—the very things that had enabled me to achieve so much during the first six months of the year.  My steady progress had slowed to a crawl.  It was frustrating.

And then my day job presented a very attractive side street.  Two major projects that required my unique combination of skills and talents.  With little hesitation, I changed course and allowed my rigorous pursuit to be interrupted for the benefit of my employer.  The subsequent busy days and nights provided temporary satisfaction, but ultimately kept me from moving closer to my desired goals.  I recognized it about a month ago, but was unable to get back on track.

So I am going to try again.

Sabbatical

It has been more than a month since my last post. Really. Check the dates. 33 days. Gone.

And the lack of blog activity exemplifies my general approach over the last four weeks. Occasional exercise. Lots of bad foods. Sporadic reading. No writing. No progress on 2MG. No weight loss.

In short, the pursuit was far from rigorous for most of June.

However the month away was not a complete loss—far from it. Family, house and day job kept me busy and I am typing this post while sitting in my newly renovated basement office (now with carpet!!). I reached out to a few linchpins, connected with some old friends and made good impressions with several new contacts. Overall it was a nice sabbatical.

But I also missed the benefits of the rigorous pursuit—structure, discipline, creativity, productivity, and above all else, purpose. So now is the time to resume getting smaller and thinking bigger.

More to come.

Scale

Usually the goal is to get bigger. It provides more leverage. It enables greater output. It helps defend your position.

And most often we work on making ourselves bigger, rather than working to make something bigger than ourselves.

But there are inherent risks with getting big as individuals, such as limited mobility, decreased flexibility, diminished agility and increased vulnerability. And it can complicate things—often turning innocuous situations into serious, crippling, debilitating problems.

So if you want to get bigger without the increased risk, you have to invite others to join you on the scale.

I realized last night I cannot launch 2MinuteGenius by myself.  The time, energy and resources required to launch and support the site are beyond my capacity. And I do not have the financial means to hire or contract the work.  Therefore, I need to recruit volunteers. I need to find others who I can convince 2MinuteGenius is a cause worthy of their donated talent and skill. It’s the only way to achieve significant scale.

Fortunately, I have an idea.

Spark THEN Burn

Creating fire usually requires a spark; a sudden momentary disruptive discharge of energy that ignites anything flammable around it.  Under the right conditions, a spark can set off a chain of events leading to a raging fire. But outside of a combustible environment, sparks are relatively harmless.  They are short-lived flashes, quickly forgotten with little residual effect.

We don’t mind sparks. In fact, we tend to enjoy the occasional diversion they provide.

This is the reason why commercials are short, why brief summaries are printed on the back of books, why movie trailers are released in advance and why magazine covers highlight the articles inside. They’re sparks; brief flashes of information completely harmless and disregarded until they connect with the right audience.

But we are weary of fires.  And if they appear out of control, we avoid or extinguish them.

This is the reason why telemarketing calls are detested, why timeshare presentations are evaded, why pyramid scheme pitches are avoided and why legal documents are largely unread. They’re fires; long, invasive information dumps that burn unacceptable amounts of time and scorch the minds of the audience.

And so when it comes to disseminating information, start with a spark rather than an all-consuming fire.

Time is limited—for you and your audience. So don’t burn it up without their consent. Instead, provide a spark and if the conditions are right it will start a fire—one they can stoke, monitor and maintain to a size comfortable for them. Shortly after, they’ll come to you asking for more to feed the flames and keep it burning.

My vision for 2MinuteGenius is to produce the equivalent of intellectual sparks—short, brilliant flashes of information that ignite fires in the minds of its audience.

More to come…

The Road in My Head

I cannot honestly say where this whole thing will end. But I am excited to get started.

I begin the journey with a pretty good map for the site that includes structure, thematic elements, style, etc. I have begun to acquire and develop some of the assets needed to efficiently create content and I am polishing up some old post-production skills. More details later.

While the road in my head appears straight forward, navigation is continually threatened by a never-ending brainstorm.  There is a constant desire to try something different, learn something new and explore alternative possibilities.  I am the classic ENTP

  • Excited by strategy.  Bored by tactics.
  • Quick to design.  Slow to build.
  • Eager to identify a solution.  No interest in implementing it.

And so the greatest barrier to the launch of 2MinuteGenius.com is myself.

Should make for a fun trip.

Taming My Lizard


For the last decade, I have been searching for the “right idea” to invest my entrepreneurial energy; a Utopian business model derived from self-improvement buzzwords—passion, purpose, prosperity, etc. Since I function like a walking think tank there has been no shortage of options, simply a lack of confidence in any of them.

Then one night I stumbled upon a video—The Crisis of Credit Visualized by Jonathon Jarvis—that caused a “That’s it!” moment and inspired a new idea. Over the next six months, I did what I do best: I thought about it.  I hashed it out in my head, poked holes in it, played devil’s advocate and attacked it from every possible angle in an effort to prove it could not work.

Ultimately, I failed. And there I stood, in my basement staring at a cinder block wall full of Post-it® Notes (Super Sticky, of course) that represented the components of a really great idea for a new blog site: 2MinuteGenius.com.

And I didn’t do anything.

Now admittedly, I have a long history of dreaming about many things and delivering few. It is not that my ideas are quixotic, I just struggle to bring them to reality without a strong, extrinsic, kick-in-the-butt, get-it-done-or-else form of accountability. If someone else doesn’t fire the starter’s pistol, I’ll simply sit by the starting blocks in my sweatpants and “visualize” how I am going to run the race. Bottom line, I would have accomplished little to this point in my life if not for the expectations and deadlines imposed by my parents, my wife and countless teachers, professors and bosses.

Then one night, Seth Godin reminded me about the lizard brain, a concept I first learned from Clotaire Rapaille over a decade ago. Seth asserts the lizard is ”the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise…that’s because the lizard hates change and achievement and risk.” And because you cannot get rid of the lizard, your only option is to figure out a way to tame it.

For me the lizard has been quieted via accountability created by third-parties.  But that didn’t exist for my great idea.  No one knew about it but me.  No one cared about it but me.  No one was waiting for it, expecting it, desiring it, demanding it.

Hence this blog—a first step toward creating accountability for the development and launch of 2MinuteGenius.com.

More to come.  Right, lizard?

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