When Ideas are Most Vulnerable

Ideas are most vulnerable when they're first conceived.

If you don't take immediate action to move them forward, they'll most likely die.

That's not to say good ideas become bad ideas the longer they remain dormant. Rather, that advancing them forward immediately increases the likelihood of bringing them to life.

Consider some of the ideas you've had in your life. How many have come to pass? What's different between the ones that survived and those that died?

For me, it all depends on how quickly I took action. The longer I go without taking a step forward with an idea, the more likely I am to abandon it.

Ideas don't count as progress. Execution does. I never want to be that guy at the bar wearing his letterman jacket yelling about how he had the idea for Amazon back in his day. The difference is that guy never takes steps toward fulfilling his ideas...

You won't make the world a better place with ideas. You've got to bring them into reality for them to matter.

 

 

To Keep A Streak Alive You Just Need One

Joe DiMaggio stills holds the record longest streak for consecutive games with a hit.

To keep his streak alive, he didn't need multiple hits each game. He didn't need home runs. He just needed one good at bat and one good pitch.

It's a good reminder – progress doesn't have to be monumental each day. Just keep showing up and make one pitch count. Consistency compounds.

*In honor of keeping my one post per day streak alive, I'm typing this while pumping gas somewhere in Arkansas. Sophie, my Bernese Mountain doggo and I are well into a 1,200 mile road trip across country. But, that's no excuse to let pitches go by.

 

What is the best way to get a job easily?

This is a story about Jack.

Jack wants a job. Any job. He needs money because allowance from his parents isn’t paying the bills anymore.

But Jack has never had to apply for a job before. So he did what most people do. Jack Googled “How do I get a job?”

After getting lost reading several dozen how-tos and subreddits Jack got worried. None of the advice told him what he could do today.

Jack was sad, confused, and still broke.

Jack doesn’t have any experience. He doesn’t have a resume – let alone a “good” resume. He still needs a job and his online reading made him feel like an unqualified loser.

But Jack wasn’t going to give up that easy. He decided he’d go visit some local businesses in-person to see what he could do.

The first place he visits is the grocery store, where he’s greeted by a manager. Jack asks him about the now hiring sign he saw outside – “How could I work for you?”

The manager tells him that he’s looking for people who will work hard and show up on time. He asks Jack if he can do that.

Jack tells him he’s never had a job before. “I’m willing to give it my best try.”

The manager tells him he’s leery of anyone who has never worked before. “I’ve had a lot of people applying for this job, son,” he tells Jack, “Why should I hire you?”

Jack doesn’t know, so he tells the manager the only answer he can think of – the truth.

“Honestly, sir, I don’t know why you should pick me over anyone else, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to learn.”

The manager tells Jack to come back Saturday for a test run. “You get one shot to prove yourself, don’t be late.”

On Saturday, Jack showed up early.

He got a new haircut the night before, and picked out clean clothes. His shirt is tucked in and he’s wearing a belt.

The manager greets him again. He tells him he’d like Jack to sweep the floor to start and points him to the back room where the brooms are kept.

Jack doesn’t wait for instructions. Jack races to the back room. He grabs the dust mop and he sets off around the store.

When he encounters guests, Jack politely waits for them to move.

One guest stopped Jack. “Sir, do you know which aisle I can find the grape jelly?”

Jack doesn’t know, so he tells her the only answer he can think of – the truth. “No, ma’am, I do not. But give me one second to find out and I’ll be right back.”

Jack races to the front of the store, reading the signs as he moves. There, on aisle two, he spots it: “Condiments.” And he tears down the aisle, grabs a jar of Smucker’s Grape, and hurries back to the customer.

“Ma’am, I went ahead and grabbed you a jar, but the grape jelly is on aisle two, so you know next time.”

The customer smiles and accepts the jelly. She tells Jack how nice it is to meet such a polite young lad, and that she’d have to put in a nice word with his boss.

When the manager heard the customer’s story, he found Jack and told him he’d like to give him a shot.

Jack’s heart did cartwheels. He found a job! But he wanted to be sure why. So he asked.

“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what made you decide to take a chance on me? After all, I don’t have any skills.”

The manager told Jack he passed the test with flying colors.

“You told me the truth. You showed up on time. You jumped to get to work when you first got here. You wore a smile. You put the customer’s needs over your task at hand. You’re just the kind of person we want to teach.”

Jack beamed all the way home that day. He knew he had learned a valuable lesson.

Getting a job wasn’t as difficult as he first feared.

It was okay he didn’t know how to get a job – because he was willing to ask what it took, and go out of his way to prove he could do it.

It was okay that he didn’t have skills – because he was honest about it.

It was okay that he didn’t have experience – because he was willing to prove he’d work hard to learn.

Jack’s story can teach us all a lot. Regardless of what job we’re trying to land.

Jack’s whatever-it-takes attitude, paired with his commitment to proving it paid off for him.

And next time you’re looking for a job, it could pay off for you, too.

--

*I originally published this post on Quora in response to the question What is the best way to get a job easily?

Optimizing Your Career for Income is Like a Dog Chasing His Tail

Meet Doug.

Doug is a good boy. Some have even called him the best of all the good boys. But that was a long, long time ago.

By all accounts, Doug was no ordinary show dog. He didn’t come from a champion pedigree. He didn’t have the best coat, nor the best markings.

But Doug had something few other dogs are born with: a willingness to work harder than any other dog.

Doug had never seen a show ring, let alone win a prize. But that all changed when Master rescued him.

The Master took Doug under his wing. He gave him a nice house. He fed him good food. But most importantly of all – the Master recognized Doug’s potential and he treated him with respect.

The Master told Doug stories about legendary show dogs – how they bounded across the arenas with grace and how they lifted the spirits of crowds.

Doug wanted nothing more than to be a champion someday, so he could inspire crowds. The Master warned Doug how hard he would have to work – still it did not deter him.

So the Master agreed to train that ordinary rescue pup into a champion show dog.

Doug’s work ethic served him well. When the Master said sit, Doug sat, and the Master rewarded him with a treat. When the Master said lay down, Doug laid, and he received a treat.

Occasionally, Doug would encounter an obstacle that didn’t come naturally – there were no treats for bad performance.

Still, the Master patiently instructed him through drills to improve his footwork – so Doug worked harder and harder until he got it.

After several months, Doug and the Master entered some contests. Doug performed well and earned third prize, but not well enough to win. Doug still had much to learn.

Master warned Doug they would need to work harder yet to win – but if Doug wanted to quit, they could. Doug refused. He said he wanted to become a champion.

So they continued to train.

Several months and contests later, Doug had developed quite the reputation for himself. He had taken home several modest winnings. But his attitude began to change. Doug became prideful.

Doug began to forget why he wanted to be a show dog. He liked the level of success he had attained, and he forgot about hard work. No longer did he dream of glory – instead he dreamed only of more and more treats.

One day, Doug confronted the Master. Doug demanded more treats. Doug warned the Master, if he didn’t pay up, he would find a new Master.

The Master didn’t want Doug to leave. But he didn’t want Doug to miss out on his potential, either. So he told Doug a hard truth…He told Doug the only way to get more treats was to win more.

But Doug refused to hear it. So Doug left the Master who had trained him behind and set out to find a new one.

And a new Master he found. The new Master gave Doug all the treats he wanted. He showered Doug with a regular treat allowance and bonus treats – even if Doug didn’t train. After a few months, Doug gave up training all together.

Then one day Doug woke up. He realized he had gotten fat. It had been years since he competed in a contest…and he felt empty. He had forgotten how to bound across the arena and longed for the applause of a crowd.

He even missed the old Master. The treats had made him too comfortable, and distracted him from his goal…

But now, Doug realized, he was too old to compete. He had missed his chance at glory…all for a few extra treats…

I was once Doug. I set out with high hopes and good intentions. Then I got distracted by money.

It made me forget all the people who helped push me to become better. But it was an easy way to keep score, so I chased it.

Until one day I realized that doing the kind of work that makes me happy is worth more than all the treats…

May you discover the same before it’s too late.

*I originally published this post on Quora in response to the question What career limiting moves have you seen people make?

About Mitchell


Mitchell is a cowboy turned startup professional and Director of Marketing @ Crash. He’s a former champion meat grader. Author of Don’t Do Stuff You Hate. Narrator of Why Haven’t You Read This Book? And previously Chief of Staff at Ceterus – where he helped scale a team from 20 to 150 while quadrupling revenue.

He’s radical about creating a better future and helping others do the same. Unsolvable problems and conspiracies are his favorite conversation genres. The keys to his heart – fine Bordeaux and Hemingway novels.

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