Just Because You Haven’t Done It

One of the things about having an incurable disease or two is that you learn a valuable lesson that many people who live a “normal” life do not; you CAN and WILL accommodate whatever you need to, to survive.

This motivation to writing this post came from listening to Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann speaking yesterday on the Back To Work podcast about whether it is possible to give something 100% attention, say to a new enterprise, while working in a job.  At around the 50 minute mark Dan is talking about how he believes he succeeded in creating 5by5 is because of the timing. How if he had started even “a month before” he may have failed….and as he turns back to Merlin for his opinion you can hear that Merlin is thinking long and hard about what Dan just said, you can hear the gears grinding in his head; and I think that Merlin disagrees. I certainly do.

As I just wrote in a response to Ed Dale on Google+

No! timing is just when it happens.. There isn’t some magical “time and place” where it will happen no matter what- “time and place” is just where you happen to be after you have been putting the work in to make it happen.

Dragging this back to the post title, if you haven’t actually done these things then it’s hard to imagine that they can actually be done. Just like living with an incurable disease. If you haven’t REALLY had to work two jobs, moonlighting your passion so to speak, then it must seem impossible that you could improve, progress and get to the jumping off point.  On behalf of those of us that did work a job and work on the “enterprise” in the time left over (and I consider that i did it for years and years) I say to you Dan Benjamin, you are wrong.  The only thing you don’t put in 100% is 24 hours a day, but if you are using all the time you have then that’s still 100% effort!

I am not going to claim that working your passion 50 or 100% of the time will guarantee success. Nothing guarantees success. But don’t tell people they might as well not even START because they will be doing a half arsed job and that’s not good enough – so NOT true.

If you want to do this crazy stuff, then do it, for how ever many hours you have.


p.s. Ed was talking about an article about the advice John Mayer had given the kids at Berklee and it iis really worth reading if you are one of the ones that want to make it for your art or enterprise . Basically feel the SUCK but do it anyway


timing is nothing


I am excited like I have not been for a very long time. I bounce out of bed (well small exaggeration as my bouncing is usually my top half responding to any kind of movement) after 4-5 hours sleep and I cannot wait to sit down and wrestle with the next things on my to-do list. Every day brings more frustrations, making change is like swirling water, the deeper you dip the harder the resistance. You move enough water deeply enough and massive unforeseen change just happens (and often long after you stopped applying force). I love this life

When I started this blog it was called the Four Hour Work Week Project. Firstly to grab visits from people looking for examples of Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week in practice, and also because the one underlying message from that book was reduce the things you don’t like doing by creating something that allows you to have time to do the things you do like doing. Even Merlin Mann got this point wrong recently (and I would perform any sexual act he would care to choose because I think he is that awesome ) by intimating that was all about the laying about in hammocks. No sir! If volunteering to help little brown babies in a far off country makes you all squishy then that’s your hammock. If like me, you dream of creating useful  Software as a Service for people to use to make their online business life easier then that’s your hammock.

In a week or so I move to an energy self sufficient mud-brick house in the middle of 700 acres of trees and wildlife and beautiful scenery. Every time I think about the 3-4 days that I won’t be able to do what I love makes me sad. The effort of packing and driving and unpacking doesn’t phase me, the lost time to do what I want, does.

So this is freedom;  it took 3 years of work and planning to get here, and I would not change it for the world. If you are reading this and are wishing you could do the same thing then it’s time to put your hands deep into the water and start pushing as much of it around as you can manage.

swirling water

Image courtesy of everhalle


mosquitoAfter watching Merlin Mann’s recent video on make-believe help I started thinking about the relationships, in particular on the internet, that are being used for survival. Merlin’s video was response to a satirical video he made yesterday about the sometimes ridiculous hacks that self-help type sites put up. For me the 30 odd minutes he uses to explain his point came down to two things

  • stated clearly – think about who is telling you how to be you
  • less clearly –  much of internet business is based on keeping people reliant on receiving information on who  to be/what to do

Merlin is particularly nice about how he describes this industry. He doesn’t condemn it outright, but it is clear that it troubles him, and troubles him a lot.

I can see where he is going, and I agree with his sentiment. Yet the conundrum that Merlin finds himself in (and me too) is there is no black and white answer for each of the world’s ills, no matter how much we want to say “this is the cure”. There is no magic bullet.The example of the butcher with 40 years experience is quite true, there is no substitute for actually doing the work.

Does that mean that helping people on the internet is a bad thing? The answer is no and yes.

Humans, business and the internet are like a rainforest to me. You have the predators that make their own way in life (entrepreneurs) who are out there killing and eating (and dying). Then you have the symbiotic relationships where one entity is supported by another, and gives back in their own way  (employees, networks) and finally the parasites who live off of the others but do not kill them as that would end their meal ticket (service industries such as self help).

Parasite has a negative connotation because it is seen as less of an effort to sup from the rest of the rainforest, than to go out and create your own mini system where you are top of the food chain. There is work involved in being a parasite though; sourcing your sustenance, getting to it, keeping it close by. In service industries this can be “creating a clientèle” , a fan base, your tribe. There is a niche and you fit right in there doing what you do.

In a perfect world one stop solutions would be available for every ill you will come up against; one haircut lasting for life, one inoculation for all diseases, one way to get motivated. There isn’t and there can’t be, so what is the next best thing? Offering the cure where there is a cure, and making sure the person purchasing your services are pre-qualified to ensure they take the cure.

This goes against what most of the continuity based programs out there in the “make money online” land. You must find the mark, hit them up for a program, ensure they stick around for as long as possible. You are the mosquito and if you take small enough sips the cash cow is never going to notice you are there (yes there are teachings that actually state how to do that). Or you find the mark, sell them a program, that leads up to selling another program, ad infinitum. The worst in the industry sell nothing but steps to get to the next program, not steps to get to the next level of expertise (which of course comes from experience and practice and no course).

Over at the SWBN we have struggled with how we can morally provide the best of services without being (or becoming) parasites ourselves. We could blame our clients not progressing on “human nature” and take their cash because they are stupid enough to give it to us, God knows the majority of programs out there do that and no wonder they are shit scared of the FTC ruling that says tell us how it really is. In the end we decided to take our coaching to a micro level. One person, one task, one focus. A “never want to see you here again with this problem” cure, that is financially less rewarding, but morally infinitely more so. I can hear the scoffing right now about “cash left on the table”, a term I have always despised, you can be grateful and happy with what you have, or you can bemoan what you left behind.

I know we will be happier being a cure, than being part of the problem.