The 10x Business Isn’t Working 10x as Hard

People earning $1,000,000 per year aren’t working 10 times harder than people earning $100,000. In fact, they are sometimes working less — but they are working differently. – The 12 Week Year

Which one are you?

Which one do you want to be?

Those earning 10x you are planning their weeks. They measure their lead and lag indicators. They’re budgeting.

Those people that have the relationship you want are dating their spouse regularly. They’re having the tough conversations. They’re getting professional help when it’s needed.

If you’re not doing these things, then you’re getting exactly what you’re putting in. Don’t expect to get more.

Start planning your week. Start saying no to tasks that aren’t critically important to you.

Start measuring your lead and lag indicators, especially when they are not going the way you want.

Stop fooling yourself into thinking that mediocre efforts will yield exponential results.

Have an awesome day

Curtis

PS: If you’re ready to start doing the hard work, check out The 8 Week Business Bootcamp, or hit reply and let’s talk about coaching.

Photo by: huguesndelafleche 

Copy Stuff from @austinkleon

I liked reading this as I embark on a 365 project to draw one thing a day.

I’m only like 15 days in and I’ve started to wonder about just copying stuff and following tutorials.

Am I really doing “art” then.

See I have a long term goal for a book. I want to write a book and have a comic strip with it. I’m a decent way off the comic strip part, but I’m going to keep copying.

If what I say is helpful, just steal it and use it please. You’ll find exactly what works for you at some point in the process.

Cal Newport on Facebook’s Smoke Screen

Outrage-invoking political content might have been good business for Facebook, but in its absence, this company’s attention engineers can tap into any number of other distraction wells to keep users compulsively tapping the little blue icon on their phone – Facebook’s Smoke Screen

I’m not a fan of how social media steals our attention. The worst for me is Instagram and scrolling through the feed aimlessly. It cost me an hour of sleep this week.

The thing is, I enjoy posting pictures. I question myself, is it because people like them or just because I like posting pictures?

Either way, loosing an hour of sleep to see silly pictures in their recommended images for people I don’t even know is a vapid waste of my time.

I need to take more steps to cut that crap out of my life because just like Facebook, Instagram, is only invested in stealing my time.

Facebook’s Desperate Smoke Screen

The Starting Key to Being Productive

Finding a good productivity system is so much more than the mechanics of whatever tool you use. In fact, almost every tool is more or less the same.

They have due dates, and start dates. You can organize things into projects and sub-folders. Some of them allow collaboration and some don’t. Some follow Agile methods or Kanban or some other productivity methodology.

In many ways, none of those methods matter for you either. No one can tell you that Agile always works because it doesn’t always. If your team hasn’t bought in 100% and doesn’t follow the methods described, then it won’t work for you.

Mark Manson Tells us To Stop Caring about So Much

We’ll start this review with a disclaimer there is swearing in the quotes. That’s just the style of the author of the book. In the first chapter, it felt like he was using profanity just for shock factor, with some sentences so overloaded that it was almost comical. After that initial bit, it went way down and was used in conjunction with the main point of the book…

The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about what is true and immediate and important.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson, is a bit memoir as it explores when he used to care way too much about things that don’t matter. It’s also part self-help, as he admonishes us to embrace anxiety and hardship. Embrace them not as bad parts of life, but parts of life that we all experience and are entirely normal.

Now here’s a problem: Our society today, through the wonders of consumer culture and hey-look-at-my-life-is-cooler-than-yours social media, has bred a whole generation of people who believe that having these negative experiences — anxiety, fear, guilt, etc. — is totally not okay.

It’s also part manifesto as it rails against the focus on being positive which pervades everything around us.

Ironically, this fixation on the positive — on what’s better, what’s superior — only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be. After all no, truly happy person feels the need to stand in front of a mirror and recite that she’s happy. She just is.

Manson isn’t preaching that we shouldn’t care about anything though. He’s saying that we should care about what truly matters only and put effort into those things.

He modifies his bold statement about not caring with three subtleties.

Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent: ; it means being comfortable with being different

The question, then, is, What do we give a fuck about? What are we choosing to give a fuck about? And how can we not give a fuck about what ultimately does not matter?

This matches up with High Performance Habit 1 out of High Performance Habits by Brendan Bouchard1. We need to seek clarity if we want to perform well.

Subtlety #2: To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.

This also ties into having clarity or a WHY to use Simon Sinek’s term. Without a purpose to your work, you’ll abandon it as soon as something hard gets in your way. You’ll care less about the work than about avoiding the hardship.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a fuck about.

The final subtle tweak is that you’re always choosing. Just like the idea that not choosing is choosing. You are choosing. When you say, you want to read, but watch TV all night instead. You’re choosing TV and choosing not to read.

With the introduction to the ideas that Manson will be writing about done, the rest of the book is designed to question you on what you care about so that you can think more clearly about it and start caring more about the things that matter to you. This means you’ll quite possibly stop caring about the things that matter in everyone else’s minds.

Manson uses each of the following chapters to explore an idea that we should be rethinking.

Happiness is a Problem

There is a premise that underlies a lot of our assumptions and beliefs. The premise is that happiness is algorithmic, that it can be worked for and earned and achieved as if it were getting accepted to law school or building a really complicate Lego set.

How many books a year are being written to help people achieve happiness? How many people get to happy by reading these works? One of the ideas Manson gets behind has already been stated in one of the quotes you’ve read. It’s the idea that a happy person doesn’t just stand in front of the mirror quoting happy things at themselves. They just are happy.

He contends that the premise of happiness as a solvable equation is where we break down and harm ourselves.

This premise, though, is the problem. Happiness is not a solvable equation. Dissatisfaction and unease are inherent parts of human nature and, as we’ll see, necessary components to creating consistent happiness.

By figuring that we can “solve” our happiness, we negate all the emotions that have been labelled as negative. Like dissatisfaction or yearning or anxiety. By avoiding these emotions, so often labelled as problems, we avoid getting to any semblance of happiness.

Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feeling like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable.

Finally, the focus on achieving happiness gives us the subtle indication that we get happiness and then have it. That happiness is not something which ebbs and flows and changes as we move through life

But it is. What makes you happy today, may not bring happiness in the future. It may bring you pain in fact.

Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress — the solution to today’s problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow’s problems, and so on. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and solving.

You are not special

Get ready for this; you are not a special snowflake worthy of all the good juju in the universe. I know your parents may have told you differently. They meant well, and they still loved you. But they lied to you.

In the process, they may have even set you back because when the truth of life comes to knock you upside the head, you’ll be left without a base to stand on.

The truth is, you’re good at some stuff and bad at some stuff. You need to take the good and the bad in turn and deal with it.

A person who actually has a high self-worth is able to look at the negative parts of his characters frankly — “Yes sometimes I’m irresponsible with money,” “Yes, I rely too much on others to support me and should be more self-reliant” — and then acts to improve upon them. But entitled people, because they are incapable of acknowledging their own problems open and honestly, are incapable of improving their lives in any lasting or meaningful way. They are left chasing high after high and accumulate greater and greater levels of denial.

Acknowledging the things you suck at, will allow you grow in them or find a way to compensate for them.

Acknowledging this will help you gain resilience. You’ll be tougher for it. You’ll be able to stand in the face of things that you don’t like and weigh them then decide if it’s worth fighting them.

You’ll develop grit.

Numerous professors and educators have noted a lack of emotional resilience and an excess of selfish demands in today’s young people. It’s not uncommon now for books to be removed from a class’s curriculum for no other reason than that they made someone feel sad.

The Value of Suffering

This chapter opens with a crazy story of a Japanese Military officer that was dropped off in the South Pacific near the end of World War II and told not to surrender. Well despite many efforts to get him to come in, it was 1974 before he finally gave up his guerrilla war.

Decades after the war was over. More than half of his life spent fighting a war alone. He still felt that all his suffering was worth the effort. He was evaluating himself against his final order: “Never surrender.”

The question is not whether we evaluate ourselves against others; rather, the question is by what standard do we measure ourselves?

While he did stop the fight, he never did surrender. In Perennial Seller2, Ryan Holiday, talks about what we measure ourselves against in our creative endeavours.

People claim to want to do something that matters, yet they measure themselves against things that don’t, and track their progress not in years but in microseconds. – Perennial Seller

They’re both talking about the same ideas. How we measure ourselves matters. What mark are we trying to hit?

Are we measuring the gap or the progress? Measuring the gap means we look at someone we long to be and measure how far we are from them. Measuring progress means we still have that far off goal, but we measure the progress we’ve made on the road.

Changing how we measure our efforts changes the happiness we have in our work.

The rest of the book takes a similar format, but he classes the chapters as Counterintuitive Values, that we must adopt if we want to live a life that feels worth living.

You Are Always Choosing

The recognition that you’re always choosing is Counterintuitive Value 1. You need to take responsibility for what’s happening to you.

There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.

One of the key ideas here is that fault and responsibility are not tied together.

Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. Fault results from choices that have already been made. Responsibility results from the choices you’re currently making, every second of every day.

You can take responsibility for solving a problem, without accepting the fault for that problem. You can also opt out of both. Push the fault for the problem on someone else, and then the responsibility for fixing it on someone else.

You won’t get very far with that though. You’ll always have some reason that someone else is causing your issues, and you’ll abdicate your ability to make any changes in the situation and to work towards something better.

Of course, success and happiness are something different.

We all love to take responsibility for success and happiness. Hell, we often fight over who gets to be responsible for success and happiness. But taking responsibility for problems is far more important, because that’s where real learning comes from. That’s where the real-life improvement comes from. To simply blame others is only to hurt yourself.

You either need to take responsibility for all of it, and thereby seize control, or acknowledge you’re letting others dictate how far you’re going to go. How much joy you’re going to experience in your life.

You’re wrong about everything (but so am I)

The second Counterintuitive Value is the uncertainty value. According to Manson, we’re all way to concerned about being right. Instead of worrying about being right, aim for just a bit less wrong than before.

Then test and refine and aim for just a bit less wrong.

We shouldn’t seek to find the ultimate “right” answer for ourselves, but rather, we should seek to chip away at the ways that we’re wrong today so that we can be a little less wrong tomorrow.

This process requires that we admit we don’t know everything. We must not be so cemented in our beliefs that we view other ideas as stupid3. Being uncertain about our values doesn’t make them wrong. It should make us strive to test them and face up to where we might be ignorant.

Before we can look at our values and prioritizations and change them into better, healthier ones, we must first become uncertain of our current values. We must intellectually strip them away, see their faults and biases, see how they don’t fit in with much of the rest of the world, to stare our own ignorance in the face and concede, because our own ignorance is greater than us all.

You don’t have to know it all.

Failure is The Way Forward

Counterintuitive Value 3 is about embracing failure and makes me think very much of The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday4. If we want to improve, then failure will happen.

Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the measure of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something. If someone is better than you at anything, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.

This idea also harkens back to Manson’s earlier idea that we need to change our measure. Instead of measuring successes, should we measure failures? One hard point to reckon here is, failure doesn’t pay, and we all have bills to pay.

It can be easy to espouse failure as a better measure, when we need success to eat.

I can’t stress this enough, but pain is part of the process. It’s important to feel it. Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, if you continue to indulge in entitlement and delusional positive thinking, if you continue to overindulge in various substances or activities, then you’ll never generate the requisite motivation to actually change.

Ryan Holiday, and Seth Godin both talk about pain being something you’ll experience on the way to creative success5. If there is no struggle to build something worthwhile, are you on the path to something that provides value? Are you building something that’s worth the time of anyone else?

The Importance of Saying No

Rejection is the focus of Counterintuitive Value 4. This is the idea that we need to say no to something. That something has to be more desirable than the rest of the stuff that’s on our plate.

But we need to reject something. Otherwise, we stand for nothing. If nothing is better or more desirable than anything else, then we are empty and our life is meaningless. We are without values and therefore live our life without any purpose.

Without a goal, a desire, we have no direction to go. We will wander from one marginal thing to another wondering why we feel so empty.

He takes it a step further though and brings in conflict. Specifically, conflict with relationships. Not just romantic ones, but with any relationship we have.

Without conflict, there can be no trust. Conflict exists to show us who is there for us unconditionally and who is just there for the benefits. No one trusts yes-men.

Thinking back over my 15-year marriage, we have grown the most in the days, weeks, sometimes months, where we didn’t like hanging out with each other much. The times when we argued daily about the same topic over and over.

It was in the midst of this partial rejection that we both got to express our deeper love for each other, by still showing up to keep working through the issues together. We adopted the phrase, “I’ll still be here” as a way to continue going through the struggle together.

…And Then You Die

Counterintuitive Value 5 is mortality. The recognition that we’ll die someday and in the face of that, why are we wasting our time on so much crap that we don’t care about.

Confronting the reality of our own mortality is important because that obliterates all the crappy, fragile, superficial values in life. While most people whittle their days chasing another buck, or a little bit more fame and attention, or a little bit more assurance that they’re right or loved, death confronts all of us with a far more painful and important question: What is your legacy?

I find the problem here to be, how do we do that. Yes, imagine your eulogy…or any number of other imaginary scenarios can be played out in your head. They do have some benefit in helping you think about the man you want to be.

But in none of them do you encounter your mortality in a profound way. It seems to me that the only way to do that is to have a near-death experience or have someone close to you die.

Neither of which will I wish on you.

The goal here is to dig deep into your core and know what you value. To realize that in the grand scheme of things, we’re not that big. There is so much immensity around us.

If we can do that, we won’t feel so entitled.

The gravity of entitlement sucks all attention inward, toward ourselves, causing us to feel as though we are at the center of all the problems in the universe, that we are the one suffering all of the injustices, that we are the one who deserves greatness over all others.

We’ll start to focus on that which brings us joy and brings joy to the ones we love.

Losing that entitlement and gaining that focus is what Mark Manson is trying to achieve in the readers of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Recommendation for The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

First, take my starting caveat on the use of “fuck” in the book. If that’s going to cause you to discount the content or not finish the book, then just don’t get it.

If you can read past it and dig into the message Manson is sending you, then this is a great book. I love Manson’s style in that he tells us to suck it up buttercup. He’s a straight shooter and isn’t interested in our excuses.

Now, this is what I’m like6, so maybe that why I resonates with me so much.

If you’re looking for a kick in the ass so you can stop caring about things that don’t matter, then The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is worth your time.

Get The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck on Amazon

Photo by: cdharrison


  1. My review of this will be coming out in a few weeks. Just finishing the book up as I write. 
  2. You can read my review of Perennial Seller
  3. Read The “Other Side” is Not Dumb for a great look at this idea. 
  4. I reviewed The Obstacle is The Way
  5. Holiday in Perennial Seller and Godin in The Dip
  6. This is what people tell me they value in my coaching and talking to me. That I hold their feet to the fire and I’m not interested in the excuses and don’t let them go. 
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life Book Cover The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Mark Manson

Mark Manson calls us to care about so much less that doesn't matter and to focus on the few things that truly do.

What’s on My Desk Mobile Edition

I have two modes of work. Every morning I head out to a local coffee shop and read then write. This is my mobile office and 90% of my writing happens in a coffee shop.

So let’s look at my mobile office1.

1. iPad Pro 9.7

This is my third iPad. My first was an iPad 2. Then I got an iPad Mini, which I ended up giving to my wife and not having any iPad for a few years. Even the initial introduction of the iPad Pro 9.7 didn’t get me to purchase it.

What finally kicked me over the edge and made the iPad compelling again in my workflow was the addition of Scrivener for iPad. I use this almost daily as I work on books that will be coming out in the future. Scrivener is an amazing writing tool, and the iPad version is nothing short of stellar.

I’m seriously tempted to get a large iPad as I use my current one more and more. Specifically, because the split view would be larger with a larger iPad. Sometimes with the 9.7, it feels like I just don’t have enough real estate to see what I want to see as I’m researching and writing.

2. 1ByOne Keyboard

I run to Starbucks and home at least once a week. That’s over 12km with my stuff on my back; I wanted to find a keyboard that was functional and small. I’m amazed at how nice the OnebyOne keyboard feels and how long the battery lasts.

As I head into the local electronics store and try out the MacBook Pro’s currently being sold, this little $35 keyboard feels much nicer, and it’s inexpensive.

The only caveat is that it took me a few weeks to get used to typing on it. The keyboard is small, and the right shift key, in particular, is where I usually trip up now. I end up hitting the up arrow instead at least a few times in the morning. It’s not a big enough problem to change keyboards though.

3. Hydro Flask Coffee Cup

First, I want my coffee to stay warm as I sip on it. Second, I want to throw out less stuff. For Christmas, my amazing wife got me this Hydro Flask. Funny story, I got her the same one in the same colour.

I take this with me every time I head out and reduce my waste, plus closing the lid means nothing spills. This is something my 1-year-old has tested many times.

4. Jaybird Freedom 2

I had an original pair of Jaybird BlueBud headphones for exercise, and after around five years they finally died. While I did try some much less expensive Bluetooth sport headphones, nothing lasted more than a few months.

This is my second pair of Jaybird Freedom 2 headphones because my first pair just wouldn’t stay connected to my devices. Lucky for me, Jaybird has a stellar warranty and sent me a replacement pair which have been trucking along for three months just fine.

It’s not uncommon for me to have these on and running from 6 am – 12 pm and then some days back out to a coffee shop in the afternoon for another few hours. This is possible because of the battery clip on the headphones. I can unclip it and charge it while using the headphones. Then, clip it back in, and it starts charging the internal headphone battery again.

5. Pen

What’s pictured is a Sharpie Pen, but I’m still looking a bit. I love the feel of the Sharpie on the page, but being a lefty, it smudges a bit.

6. Kindle Paperwhite

One of my best purchases a few years ago was a Kindle Paperwhite. This device is terrible at anything but reading. It’s way lighter than an iPad and much easier on the eyes to read for a number of hours.

This single device helped me increase my reading in 2017 to 80 books.

7. Leuchtturm Notebooks

I carry two notebooks pretty much anywhere I go. The one I use throughout the day is the one that’s open in the picture. It’s a Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal. I’ll be writing a bunch about how I use this later in the month.

The second one that’s almost always in my bag, but is always out with me in my mobile office is again a Leuchtturm1917 notebook. I take all my book notes in a physical notebook because I figure if it’s too much work to write a quote down, it’s not worth writing down. I’ve just started choosing the same colour for a year of notebooks.

Last year I used pink. This year its teal. I’m looking forward to the day a few years in the future when I have a shelf of notebooks that change in colour by the year of book reading.

Not pictured

There are a few items that are in my bag and may come out to inhabit my mobile office, but don’t always come out.

  • Battery
  • Apple Pencil

The spare battery is only used when I forget to charge something. I use the Apple Pencil to do sketching and annotate images, like the one you see above.

The Tools Don’t Matter

While I know people love these posts on people’s tools, it’s important to remember that the tools don’t matter. I could still write without an iPad. A larger keyboard would still mean that I can write and run, it would just make my bag heavier.

Don’t focus on the tools you have or don’t have. Focus on the process you use to get work done.

The best tools in the world, in the hands of someone that doesn’t ship work, are useless.

Have an awesome day

Curtis

PS: If you’re looking for better process check out The 8 Week Business BootCamp.

Photo by: paulbhartzog 


  1. I was inspired to do this by my friend Ryan’s post about his desk. I’ll do my home office in a bit. 

Podcast on Rules for life

12 Rules for Life

The big takeaway here is that the little things add up. If you’re laying around making excuses, that’s what it adding up.

If you’re kicking ass, or trying to, that’s what’s adding up.

If you’re taking a step on the path towards kicking ass. That’s what is adding up.

You Have to Finish Something First

After Brendon Burchard’s first book didn’t do as well as he hoped, he started interviewing bestselling authors to see what made them bestselling authors. He describes his findings from these authors in High Performance Habits on page 199. The first point is the crucial one:

  1. Finish writing a good book. Until that’s done, nothing else matters.

If you want to start selling plugins, finish a plugin.

If you want to start selling themes, finish a theme.

If you want to become a podcast editor, finish editing a podcast. Have one yourself if you don’t have anyone that’s willing to be the first to take a chance.

Point two is also good:

  1. If you want a major publishing deal, get an agent. Or just self-publish.

Note the second sentence. Don’t wait for permission. It’s not coming. Finish your thing and start telling people about it.

Tell people about it as you do it.

If you’re not going to finish something, stop wasting everyone’s time telling them about it.

If time for that thing isn’t on your calendar, you’re not going to finish it. If that time on your calendar isn’t sacred and can’t be moved. You’re not going to finish it.

Stop fooling yourself.

If you are going to finish it, put it on your calendar and don’t let anyone move that time. Stick to it and make forward progress.

Have an awesome day

Curtis

PS: If you’re looking at time blocking, we talk about building your idea week in The 8 Week Business BootCamp. Get your time on track.

Photo by: clement127