Sometimes you’ve got to make your own experience

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Is there is something you want to do?
Just start doing it. There is no other way

– want to be an author? start writing.
– want to play the guitar? start playing.
– desperately want the job but they won’t hire you because you lack the experience? create your own.

Your ego will readily give you a reason for why you can’t.
And there will always be a thousand distractions (like reading this blog) that will prevent you from taking that first step.

But if there is something you feel compelled to do, just start doing it.
Fake it till you make it.
Do this long enough and you eventually won’t have to fake it any more.

My Wage

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

-Jessie B. Rittenhouse

Dan Pink Drive Video

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A couple have been asking where they can find the Dan Pink Drive video used in ‘The surprising science behind agile leadership’ session. It’s on youtube but you can also watch it here.

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

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My good friend Chad Fournier recently shared this great link about Dan Pink’s excellent book Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.

This video blew me away.

When and how money does (and does not) motivate us?

  • Turns out money is a fine motivator for mechanical tasks (like ditch digging)
  • But is actually a terrible motivator for things that require any kind of form of engagement and creative thinking

The best use of money as a motivator, is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.

  • Why innovation bonuses don’t work and what you can do about it!
  • Why people blog, share ideas, write software, and give it away for free?
  • What happens when the profit motive becomes unhitched from the purpose?

This video beautifully summarizes why people like you and me get up early in the morning, head to Starbucks to blog on weekends (even when you are in another city) and go out of our way to give our best ideas away.

If you can spare the 10 minutes watch this video (3 millions others already have!).

You can watch more Dan Pink here at TED.

Throw your cap over the wall

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Reading Steven Pressfield’s blog this week I came across a few great quotes and ideas from Erik Proulx on personal motivation.

Steven: Once you find the idea, how do you move forward? In what form does your personal kick in the butt arrive?

Erik: My friend Adam Kuhr told me about a JFK quote, and it pretty much sums up how I confront the Resistance:

“The Irish writer Frank O’Connor wrote how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside. When they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall—and then they had no choice but to follow them.”

Kennedy concluded,

“This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it.”

Here’s another about what got Erik motivated enough to make a movie after having been laid off:

Steven: When you decided to make “Lemonade,” you had just been laid off, and said “not doing it wasn’t an option.”
What drove you to knock down Resistance, leave your safety zone, and go after something that wasn’t a sure thing?

Erik: Catholic guilt. Let me explain.

I’m not a very devout churchman these days. As an adult, I’ve either come to question most of what I learned in Catholic school or simply dismissed it outright. But there was one lesson that always stuck with me, and it was when Sister Claire told our 4th grade class that we were all endowed with unique talents, and that wasting them was a sin in the eyes of God.

These are just two of many good quotes from Steven’s interview with Eric (full transcript here)

So the next time you find yourself looking for that little extra nudge, you can always burn the boats, or you try throwing your cap over the wall.

Don’t underestimate the power of a brand

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apple logo starbucks logo

People feel more productive when they use Apple computers.
The wine tastes better in Riedel glasses.
And people prefer it when the coffee is served in a Starbucks mug or cup.

Whether the products actually do these things on their own isn’t the point.

It’s how you feel, and whether you are more productive because of their use that counts.

Some people scoff at the extra cost of an Apple laptop compared to a PC notebook.
They don’t feel it’s worth the extra couple hundred bucks.

But if it makes you ‘feel’ better and inspires you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t, I say it’s worth it.

If buying an Apple laptop, or treating yourself to a cup of fine coffee motivates you to:

  • start that book
  • write the blog, or
  • attend that night class

go for it. The extra couple dollars you spend getting your butt in gear will more than pay for itself with the art you create.

And their is no shame in personally harnessing the power of a brand.

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