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Discipline

30 Days of Less

30 days of less - minimalism

Backstory

I  haven’t written in a while. My life has been busy. Before you let me off the hook for a lame excuse, you should know that I hate the idea of “busy.” Since I made the move to Florida from South Carolina, I’ve been trying to figure life out. There have been many changes and not all of them for the better. Some aspects of life have been stressful.

I used to be forced to live minimally – I lived in a 900 square ft apartment with another person and I was freelancing just enough to pay my bills. I didn’t need much, life was simpler. Since I moved, I am making a steady income and I now have a larger place all to myself. By most accounts, I have more now than I did a year and a half ago.

But, I don’t want more. I want a life of less. One of my favorite quotes, a quote I try to live by, is by an industrial designer named Dieter Rams:

“Less but better.”

A few weeks ago I started realizing that I had too much: too much stuff, too many people, too many obligations, too many aspirations. I remembered my life of less and I became nostalgic for a life more simple.

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Long Ball > Short Ball

Q: What do the Netflix, Uber, and heroin have in common?

The first two cases are generally accepted as good things. The third is not… unless you’re a junkie. Most new technology, products (which, for this example, includes heroin), and services are aimed at giving us low-friction, instant gratification solutions – the answer to my question. For example, Netflix allows you to stream your favorite show anytime, anywhere, on any device.

At first glance, life appears better because of instant gratification. We endure less boredom and enjoy more productivity. Less waiting, more doing. It’s like we’ve paid for a permanent fastpass to the skip the line and go straight to the ride, no standing around, ever. The world moves faster than it did 50, 20, or even five years ago. In most cases, that’s a good thing. Because many of us are used to getting what we want when we want it, the rest of this post may be hard for some to digest.

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Perfecting Your Craft When You’re Not Practicing Your Craft

perfecting your craft when you're not practicing your craft

I did it as an experiment. My schedule would soon change and I would have less time to focus on the things I wanted to work on. My attention would be drawn in many new directions, none of which faced my writing.

Writing had become my craft. Some people play music, some paint, and I wrote. Though my schedule was changing, I still wanted to continue honing the craft I’d come to love.

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Unintentionally Practicing Stoicism (The Demise Of My Station Wagon)

Unintentionally practicing stoicism

I have to thank Tim Ferriss for getting me into this. He’s had me thinking about stoicism for months. It started when he recommended Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle Is The Way, some time ago. During the book, Ryan mentioned Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. After that, Tim began sharing Seneca’s letters via his podcast. I consumed all of it, but I didn’t feel a change.

Some books hit you at just the right angle + time + mood and change your life. None of these resources altered my way of thinking but they did reinforce a mindset I adopted from playing competitive sports. Football coaches preach, “Nothing is as good as it seems. Nothing is as bad as it seems.”

They usually say this when players get too excited or too upset as an attempt to level a player’s head. It can be used for both sides of the argument, but I find myself using it more when things go wrong. Good coaches know the best players are the ones who remain focused in all situations – good or bad. I was raised to think like this, but it’s easier to write about than to apply.

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How To Use Discipline To Execute Strategy

“One minute to start!” said the announcer over the loud speakers.

I clicked my Nike running watch to “Stopwatch” mode. I wiped my sweaty brow one last time before the gun fired and I took a gulp of muggy, Charleston, SC air before forcefully exhaling.

My warm-up felt good, my shoes were broken in, and it looked like the rain would hold off long enough for me to run a dry race. There was nothing left to do but set my 10K (6.2 miles) personal record. Or, as runners refer to it, “PR.”

“Ten seconds to start,” boomed the announcer. “Good luck runners!”

It didn’t matter that I had run the Cooper River Bridge Run six previous times, I still had butterflies. My training, though grueling and thorough, was solo. This was a competition – something I hadn’t done in a while.

“Three… Two… One…!” The starting gun fired and I raced South with 40,000 fellow runners, walkers, and joggers.

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How To Compliment An Entrepreneur

“You’re cheap.”

This exclamation is rarely used as a compliment. Quite the opposite, it is typically used in a derogatory manner. An accusation that they haven’t earned enough to spend their resources on what most deem an everyday expense.

But if you’ve ever charged a business owner or an entrepreneur of this “character flaw,” you know it is not received as such. Their sly grin and cool shrug indicate an understanding of something that you, apparently, don’t. Your words aren’t received with pain or a offense. On the contrary, you’ve just given them a compliment.

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The Most Underrated Quality of an Awesome Leader

leadership 2

A business requires numerous things for success. For starters, ideas.

The business then requires follow through on said ideas. The business requires a little luck. It will require some sleepless nights and some early mornings. At some point it will require sales whether you like or not Mr. IAmNotASalesman. It requires resources like money, time, or and knowledge. It requires a hint of arrogance. It requires sacrifice and optimism and a number of other practices that most people have never thought of or even considered.

self-dis·ci·pline (noun) – The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

The most underrated value that a successful business requires, though, is discipline. There is no shortage of ideas, but there’s few people willing to sit down and hammer on those ideas until they form into something tangible, something that produces cash-flow.

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The Most Counterintuitive Way to Take More Risks

1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Cup Chopped Organic Green Bell Peppers
1/2 Cup Chopped Organic Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Protein (Lean Turkey/Lean Chicken/Grilled Fish)
1/2 Cup Organic Black Beans
1 Dash of Hot Sauce

This is lunch, every day of the working week. A few office mates think I have screws loose for being so plain. From their perspective my Spartan diet brings unnecessary regimen into a creative space. A space in which we are paid to be innovative.

They’re only half right. Regimen, yes. Unnecessary, not so much.

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