Starve them and they curl up and shrink

Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.

Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.

Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.

Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.

Quality comes out of quantity

The success narrative is that someone cottoned onto the winning formula after the first try or it was sitting there ripe for the picking. The truth is that a killer product is born out of iteration and persistence.

Want to hire a great employee. Widen the net and meet a lot of people. Hone your focus, garner feedback, revisit the criteria, reaching more people. Hiring the right person isn’t just about luck, or the right person walking through the door at the opportune time. If you’ve met a lot of candidates, then you’ll recognize the person immediately.

Shipping successful product isn’t about a gut feeling and striking gold. It’s about relentless execution and velocity. Over time people forget the mistakes, false starts, and damp squibs and only remember the wins. That kind of selective memory is dangerous. That’s why sometimes the worst thing that can happen to someone is an early success. Early success leapfrogs the school of hard knocks which builds up the persistence muscle.

Quantity allows you to sift through the low-quality ideas and pick out the quality. It’s a little like scratch and peck.

Keep calm and enter the Void

If you saw the Netflix show Stranger Things, then you’ll get my next analogy about the Void. The Void appears as a vast infinite expanse of black nothing abyss. It is entirely empty and black, except for the character Eleven herself and whatever or whoever she is trying to locate. Next time you meditate, close your eyes and imagine entering the Void within your mind. It’s entirely still and dark. Thoughts will appear in the distance. Observe then and then keep moving. If you get a freaked out, then open your eyes and start again.

This is a refuge inside of your mind, just for you. Your thoughts will still appear, but this isn’t their home, so let go as smoothly as they arrived.

Remember to breathe.

If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it

This is a gem of an interview with Quincy Jones.

Question from : Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?  
Quincy Jones:
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.

This was the critical line for me. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.

This is true for a house. If the location is terrible, then it doesn’t matter how much money and design you pump into a home, you won’t get your money back

This is true for a product. If you don’t have a great product, then sooner or later your customers will cotton on. You can create smoke screens with marketing and PR, but over the long term, it’ll get beaten by something better.

This is true for people. If their core principles are rotten then when the pressure is on the true colors will come out. It’s doesn’t matter about clothes, cars, entourage.

It’s the same for shitty songs, shitty products, and shitty people. Develop a knack for spotting the great ones early, and you’ll have a happier life.



The Field

Is there something or someone on your mind, something in the past or a problem you are working through that’s making you anxious? The following exercise won’t answer any specific questions you have or offer up a solution, but it will help you.

Take ten deep breaths through your nose and imagine a field. See it bathed in the late afternoon sun, or maybe it’s early morning, and you can feel the dew under your feet as the sun starts to warm up the ground. Feel the breeze on your face and take note of the different smells.

Now take the problem or memory that’s on your mind and release it into the field. It’s now standing in front of you. Sometimes it’s a person, an event or both. Let the sun shine on it and release it from your mind. Don’t try to solve the problem and don’t intellectualize it. It’s free to go. Give it up to the sun and the warmth of the field. If the person you’ve released wants to come back to you, then gently tell them they are free to go with your blessing and love.

That’s it. It’s an exercise in release and surrendering whatever you are holding onto the field and leaving it there.

When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there – Rumi

Side note: It’s incredible how many people imagine a green field. It’s a little uncanny and cool.

Zen before Zen

I think AA Milne was tapped into Zen before Zen was a Western thing. His writing is simple and profound at the same time. It reminds me of Rumi who was a 13th-century Sufi mystic and William Blake, the English poet and artist. AA Milne was an author but also a mystic.

Here are my top four lines from Winnie-the-Pooh:

“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

“‘How do you spell love?’
‘You don’t spell it…you feel it.'”

“I think we dream, so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them


Thought ruts

Have you ever ridden a bike trail and got stuck in a rut. It’s a deep track made by the repeated use of other bikers. If you aren’t concentrating, then the bike finds it’s way into the rut and it’s pretty hard to bounce out.

Thought ruts are the same way. I have thought tracks that I return to again and again. It’s like they are on repeat. I’ve got to catch myself, or I become unconscious and slip into autopilot. I’ll revisit last silly mistake I made, wrong decisions, woulda coulda shoulda. Specific locations like the shower, washing dishes, commuting home trigger this thinking. It’s the mindless work that drops my guard and before I know it I’m back in the rut.

Call it out when it happens, click the reset button and get out of the rut. The trick is to admit you are stuck on repeat and get back into reality.