Stacking the Bricks in 2015
Amy Hoy wrote a fantastic essay last year with advice on how to REALLY launch in 2014.
I read it from start to finish but, foolishly, I didn’t take any action. I didn’t apply her advice, which was THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ POINT of the essay.
So, I’m doing it now. For realz.
My F%ck THIS! moment
I’m tired of short-changing my personal projects.
It pains me that I have the talent but I’m not using it to improve my situation.
I accept that I’m severely time-constrained with a high pressure full-time job and 2 very young kids, yada, yada (Hey, Amy said my F THIS moment is supposed to be a bitchfest!)…
…BUT I know that if I seriously focus and build momentum I can ship all the things in 2015.
There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is only stacking the bricks.
One tiny win won’t do it. Neither will five. No, success is made up of the accumulation of hundreds of tiny wins — and to get that many, you need to work at it over & over & over again.
I will stack a brick every week. Every. Single. Week. But how? By breaking my bad habits and replacing them with good ones!
Before I go to sleep each night, I’ll make sure I know the next 3 physical actions I need to take to make forward progress.
When I sit down at my computer I will be deliberate. I will write, or I will code, or I will design. If I’m not doing one of those 3 actions, I’m cheating myself.
Motivation is a racket
As Amy points out, the prevailing wisdom is to try and bottle up a motivational feeling, which has nothing to do with taking action. Manipulating feelings is a fool’s game. Instead, create structures and habits.
Show up. Do the work. Plain and simple.
You know perfectly well how to achieve without motivation or grit. Your kids or pets don’t starve when you’re having a bad day.
Amy also writes about why blacksmiths are better at startups than you. The parallel example I like to use is professional fighting.
Fighter Conor McGregor has a mantra that I love: always move forward. It refers to his fighting style in the cage, but it also encapsulates the tiny daily wins—showing up at the gym, putting on the gloves, and getting a little bit sharper every day.
The only way Conor or any mixed martial artist can win fights is through grueling, repetitive, bloody work. If he can wake up every morning and literally get the shit kicked out of him for 3 months straight to prepare for a 15-minute fight, I think I can buckle down and ship some software and a book in 2015.
Further reading on the topic of inch-by-inch success: