I pretty much failed at my last little challenge for myself. I didn’t even come close to making a post a day for the bit of September left. I did write some things for some other websites but it is not much to brag on since I actually started a lot but finished very little.
Regarding my little test…
I have tried setting a few things up that FB had broken. So this post is a test to see if those are fixed.
1 blog post this week. (Simple enough I don’t think I can fail lol)
Did you ever stop to think about this much?
I think a lot of people assume they are professionals, but in fact, they are a hobbyist. Let’s start with Seth Godin’s post: Worlds Worst Boss
The world’s worst boss
That would be you.
Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you’re doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much of your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.
We are surprised when someone self-directed arrives on the scene. Someone who figures out a way to work from home and then turns that into a two-year journey, laptop in hand, as they explore the world while doing their job. We are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends to get a second education or start a useful new side business. And we’re envious when we encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves into happiness, as if that’s rare or even uncalled for.
There are few good books on being a good manager. Fewer still on managing yourself. It’s hard to think of a more essential thing to learn.
If you fit the description as the worlds worst boss, then you are a hobbyist.
Do you close your laptop saying, “I’m tired”?
Have you decided to wait because “I don’t feel good” seems like a good enough reason?
Do you find yourself thinking, “I’m not in the right frame of mind”; and then walk away from what you know has to get done?
Sure we all do these things at different times. Sometimes we get so fed up that we have to take a break. But it is the consistent slow action that produces the result. If you do any of these things on a semi-consistent basis, then you have already lost. You are a hobbyist.
It’s not your fault. Your teacher told you that you were wasting your talent. Or your parents never really got why you wanted to do ‘your thing.’ But here you are now with nobody holding you back. And nothing.
Because a hobbyist only shows up when it is convenient. A hobbyist wants applauses and credibility. They need someone to cheer them on because they are lost and insecure about that thing they so desperately want to do.
They got tricked, and they don’t even know it because it is easier to not do the thing. It is easier to point a finger and talk about how they felt or what held them back. It is easier to just give in and not be generous.
A professional on the other hand shows up when they are tired, hungry, or in pain. When they are sick or not in the right frame of mind they work through knowing that the work has to be done.
It doesn’t matter if you are writing sonnets, painting pictures, or just trying to make a difference in your little corner. The work you do that is generous is what we all need. The work that you get done when things aren’t going well and you know that you have to push through is what we all need.
The guy working on the roof in the building next to mine didn’t wake up this morning and have self-talk that started with, “I just don’t feel like doing the roofing today so I’m going to do something else” [Lord knows he might have said that very thing, but he also got over it and showed up hammer in hand]. None of them arrived at work to talk to their supervisor and say, “man I am not as good at this as I should be, so I don’t think I’m in the mood to be a roofer today”.
So why do we feel like we can do that?
It starts with putting too much emphasis on the wrong things. It ends with the paralysis of just not making progress. There is a huge chasm that exists between those that do and those that don’t.
Just take a look at writers. Stephen King wakes and writes 2000 words a day, every day–holidays and all. RR Martin is left scratching his head and takes months to write a paragraph. But you know there are plenty more writers in the world that have lived a lifetime to write nothing–and they are lost to time forever.
If work operated this way [and it does to some degree]. People would wake up to head into their job and call off around 80% of them. Sure when I said it does operate like this in some ways it does, plenty of people show up half-cocked and ready for nothing. They are hobbyist at their own jobs.
Price said it best: Prices Law states
50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work.Derek Price
As an organization grows, this becomes more and more evident. The base of people might change. It shifts all the time. When Aunt Sally dies and ol’ Betty ends up with a slew of kids she didn’t have before someone picks up the slack they always do. That is part of what makes organizations work.
But there is a dark side of this whole business. It comes down to that Worst Boss post and the concept of being a professional vs. a hobbyist. No matter your work and your chosen endeavor. Strive to show up and be the professional.
Because the dark side has nothing to do with falling profits or you being a downright ass. Instead, it has to do with what you take from yourself. How you hold yourself back and deny the world the gift you were supposed to share with it.
Ok, I know. I said every day this month.
I had a few days where I was not feeling that great, terrible excuse I know. The other part to the delay is I got all excited and started finding old blog posts and writing some. I ended up doing nothing 😀
Right now I have been working on a proposal for Better PC Health and doing so has forced me to think about many of the details. I know what needs to happen, now it is just a matter of making it happen.
I’ve also been working on an exercise called the self-authoring program. This is an interesting one. There are several modules about the past the present, and virtues and faults. I have been working on the past portion for some time–really I just put it off for some time.
You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.Maya Angelou
I can see some patterns in my life that I need to end. Some of them are caused by the incorrect reaction on my part to other peoples bad behavior, but I can see the unhealthiness. Some of it is overcorrection for self-protection. Other bits are just incorrect assessment, on my part, of the situation.
But we are actually really good at doing these things.
We make these kinds of choices before we even know it. Once we make the choice and the synapsis are firing and the chemicals are flowing… now we ‘decide’ as we know it.
When something happens a region in your brain called the frontopolar cortex starts sending signals in some unconscious ways. But it is not until around 10 seconds later that you actually are conscious of the decision. What is more interesting about this is the next part.
Your conscious mind interprets what choices you have made. In other words, it tells stories. This is fascinating to me. You think you are going down the street because you need to look at new lighting for your dining room, however, maybe your unconscious mind wanted a hot dog from the stand outside and directed you down the street knowing full well you would cheat on your diet.
What is more interesting on the same note is the way we might have an impact on your unconscious minds, and how that might play out in our conscious mind. Part of the program I am doing filling all this info out. Thinking about things will alter the way things will play out. But the interesting part is I may not have as much control over this as I would like to think.
However, I know to some degree the things I take in the thoughts I tell myself to have do have an impact. It is a very strange thing to think about and something I’m doing more reading about etc. Expect future updates on this as I learn more.
This is in a way a cheap trick. Basically it goes like this. I thought there was something ready so I didn’t spend any time writing today. Now 15 min before my deadline I’m sitting here saying “what am I going to write about?”
I think a lot of people would assume writer’s block, however, no. I typically have the opposite problem in my life. Too many ideas, too much to choose from and often it is hard to just pick.
If I want to think about this properly. If that is a thing. We could just apply some structure. I’ll give you an example. When playing poker. One needs to tell others about their hands. There is a way to do so that would convey maximal information.
You could start with the facts. Focus on what happened in the hand ensuring that you touch on all the important points. What was the game type/structure? What were the stacks? What position are you and what about the opponent we are focusing on?
Then you tell your story in a logical, typically time organized, fashion. Bonus tip you can learn a lot about another poker players thinking process and ability in general by listening to them talk about hands.
Now that we have the right information. We can analyze the situation and devising a strategy moving forward. What we have done is take a situation, analyzed the outcome, and predicted a method to have a more desired outcome on the next go around.
Now admittedly this is a little oversimplified. There are differences that we will not look at in this post (maybe another time). Differences between “games” of imperfect information and those with perfect information, but the overall plan remains the same. Think in this case poker vs chess.
This gets interesting because we can do this same thing with any life situation. Personal, business, and whatever else. For instance, let’s pick something easy. Maybe even something stupid but something I have had issues with in the past, maybe I’m not alone in this.
Drinking enough water.
We live our normal daily routine. Then for whatever reason, we might realize that we have failed to have enough water throughout the day. For me, this means headaches and tiredness.
As ridiculous as it might seem the process is simple. Look at what actions happened in the day. Think about the way we can improve or change them for the next day to avoid the headache.
So we might do something like wake up and have a glass of water first thing. Or we could try to carry a water bottle around. I feel like you can get the picture.
Of course, drinking enough water is helpful but that is not the point of this post. This comes back to one of the many topics I would like to talk about in the near future. Elon Musk’s use of “first principles” it is a mental model. Take things down to an understandable base unit and then examine them with some structure.
Doing this allows us to make very good decisions. In life the decisions we make shape our futures and lives. Now I would write some more examples here, but I’ll save that for next time.
So just think about what you want to improve. The exercise is fun and interesting and may lead to insights that propel you forward.