The crucial skill I learned, forgot, and now have to relearn again (for the rest of my life)

“You gotta ship.”

That’s it. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re empty. Even when it’s not that good (because even when it is that good, it still won’t necessarily feel like it).

I used to write and publish (ship) every day.

I fell out of practice.

If you look back through the archives, you’ll notice a ton of duds. Most of what I’ve published here falls into the forgotten category.

But if you look back over the empty holes where I haven’t published, 100% of that falls into the forgotten category.

What’s that quote from Jordan, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”?

Well, it’s true.


You gotta ship.

Or shoot.

Or publish.

Or whatever the word is in your context that means… get. it. out. there.

Idea Machine [EXPERIMENT] – Day 6

I’m toying with the idea of trying to schedule a speech to deliver at each meeting for the rest of the year. I have seven speeches left to complete my Competent Communicator series. There’s about seven meetings left for the year, one every two weeks. It would definitely be a challenge.

To informally prepare for it, before I commit to it, here are the next seven topics corresponding to the seven areas I’m supposed to focus on for each speech. And then of course I’ve got three extras in there as options in case I need them:

  1. How to say it: “For need of a nail.”
  2. My body speaks: “The end of boredom.” (start off lying on the floor – why is this not boring? Then juggling – why is this not boring at first but then is after a few minutes?)
  3. Vocal variety: “What I’m learning from interviewing”
  4. Research your topic: “How to not have a baby (even when you want to)”
  5. Visual aids: “Couch Surfing.” I don’t have a plan for this yet, but I’m sure I could come up with something on it once I dig into it.
  6. Persuade with power: “How to dry your hands.” But really it’s a head fake (Randy Pausch style) for being open to learning to improve even the most basic tasks. Particularly those in fact because those are the ones that when optimized, leverage the greatest impact.
  7. Inspire your audience: I’m not sure on this one, so here are a few options, encoded in titles that have a lot more behind them than I’ll share here for now:
    • “The Done List.” But focus on its important for being grateful, not on what’s actually on it.
    • “Do you have to have no arms or legs to be inspiring?”
    • “The standard of meaningfulness” (instead of excellence). If I don’t speak on this, I’ll write the blog post.
  8. Bonus topic #1: “Choosing a longer life.” Someone asked the question, “If you could live 100 extra years, would you?” Some people answered no. That seems so contrary to my gut reaction. Why would they choose that? But the more I thought of it, would I really want to live longer if I could choose to? Maybe the first, automatic “No” was the better response.
  9. Bonus topic #2: “Minimalism.”
  10. Bonus topic #3: “The Failed List.”

Idea Machine [EXPERIMENT] – Day 5

How about 10 ideas for making money on the side?

  1. Mow lawns. My brother was very successful with this, working through the summer on this while attending college. It doesn’t have to be a big production. Just walk down the street with a push mower and ask neighbors if you can mow their lawn for a reasonable price. Two or three a week is an extra few hundred dollars each month and can double as exercise.
  2. Bake and sell. Bake cookies, pies, some delicious banana nut bread. Sell everything door to door in the neighborhood for 3-5 times what it cost to make.
  3. Write a book explaining how to accomplish a super specific task. If the task relates to making more money, losing weight/getting in better shape, or accomplishing a specific, technical feat (like building a go-cart from scratch), you’ll be able to show its value even if you’re not a great writer. Compile the book and publish it as an ebook on Amazon.
  4. Get a part-time job delivering pizzas or catering on the weekends. The pay won’t be great, but it’s probably one of the fastest ways to make extra money. Just make sure to apply for a location near a rich neighborhood (think safety and better tips), even if it means driving further to get to work, and find out before hand if you get to keep all the tips or have to share them.
  5. Buy stuff on eBay or Amazon and sell it for more money on Craigslist or Facebook. Except do this in the reverse order (sell it before you buy it). When you have the money in hand from the customer, then make the purchase. That way you’re never losing money.
  6. Sign up for Uber and drive, especially on high traffic days/times, like Derby weekend.
  7. Buy a bunch of Little Caesar’s pizzas for $5 each. Resell them at outdoor events (particularly ones that don’t have much food available, like lines for concerts) and sell them for $2/slice or $12/pizza.
  8. Learn some quick magic tricks and then go perform on the street downtown. Ask for tips.
  9. Tutor kids. Living abroad, most of my friends did this at one point or another. Back in the states, you can post on Craigslist and your Facebook page that you’re available to do it, and pick up a slot or two. You’ll increase the money/effort ratio if you specialize on a specific subject and age group and promote yourself as an expert in that area. Also, think multiple students at once. And meet at a library so you’re not a creeper.
  10. Build crafts to sell. Flower arrangements from your backyard, hand-painted home-made bird houses, refinished dressers, shelves made from old books, pictures frames decorated with hand prints and seashells, window treatments made from plywood covered with snazzy material from a craft store. Search out your friends and acquaintances. Make the deal before they’re made. It’s more personal that way, custom. And you don’t have to spend any money without knowing you’ll get it back.

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