Consumption vs. Creation

How much are you consuming on a weekly basis and how much are you creating? By the way, I'm not talking about food but instead the kind of consumption that is equal to endlessly scrolling on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It seems I can come up with a load of reasons for not creating even the simplest of blog posts but when I do get one out, I feel immensely better. Like this one. It counts.

Thoughts on Specialization

At times I find myself wishing that I was really good at one specific thing but I’m coming to grips with my versatility and how to use it as an advantage.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A. Heinlein

Unique Content for Unique Networks

If you’re on more than one social network, you really should be using them uniquely. It looks bad if you're posting the same exact stuff to each network.

I think it was Jeff Goins that likened social networks to individual countries and how they don’t all speak the same language. Great description.

That said, I thought I'd lay out the social networks I currently use the most and a brief line on how I’m using them uniquely. Hopefully it spurs some thinking of your own (while keeping me accountable from crossposting).

  • Twitter: Short bursts (because it’s limited to 140 characters anyway). As far as the online world goes, I’m most active here and share a variety links that I find worth sharing. It's really great for sharing something quickly and forces me to be succinct.
  • Facebook: With all of the articles/videos/products/etc. being shared on Facebook, you can easily treat this as a Twitter clone or alternative. But in an effort to use it uniquely, I plan on making Facebook more personal. Which probably means it'll be photo albums from trips or adventures.
  • Instagram: These are all original photos taken by yours truly using either my iPhone or Olympus camera. I enjoy photography, even when it's mostly just snapshots.
  • Tumblr: I use Tumblr as a sort of lookbook for things that I find visually interesting in one way or another. If you want to get a feel for me as an individual, give it a scroll.

Focus

I don’t always focus as much as I should. I'm working on it. I often find myself jumping around different tasks and tabs and windows and notes.

But every now and then (and more frequently mind you), I put all of my resources into one thing. And boom, it’s done in no time.

This is simply a note to myself to spotlight instead of flood. Get it done.

Remember folks, it's not enough to simply feel productive.


Bonus Content

Pardon the language but Daniel Duane said it well when he said...

Vague goals beget vague methods; the unfocused mind is the vulnerable mind, deeply susceptible to bullshit.
— Daniel Duane

Thoughts on Travel Priorities


I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled a good number of places since I was a kid. My parents made it clear to us that the world was a big place and more than just our small town. I’m sure it wasn’t easy but they gave us kids the valuable gift of experiencing different cultures and seeing firsthand how people lived, both in the States and abroad.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
- Mark Twain

More recently, I’ve been able to visit parts of the United States that I haven’t seen before, Wyoming specifically. And no, it wasn’t Yellowstone or even the Bighorn Mountains (both of which are on the list), but Casper, where I was in town for a best buds wedding.

I drove up from Denver with my kid brother and while we wanted to make good time and were eager to hang out with a friend we haven’t seen in years, we also share an adventurous spirit and are easily distracted with stopping to check out anything that catches our eye.

The best stop of this trip was the Oregon Trail Ruts. We stood in ruts literally carved out over the years by hundreds of thousands of horse, oxen, and wagons as emigrants traveled West. A seriously historic place that we had all to ourselves.


Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true. There was one other person besides the two of us, an older gentleman* with a Dodge truck and giant camper who was traveling all along the Oregon Trail. Hats off to that guy.

I apologize for the long winded post but I’m basically saying this: it’s ok to take the highway but don’t be afraid to venture off and see what you see. I can be a strict planner and even I know how important it is to remain flexible and allow time for whatever may come up. Don’t rush to make the 3 PM check-in at the hotel, it’s not worth it.

*Fun fact: We ran into the Oregon Trail Ruts guy at the laundromat in Casper as he was passing through. Small world and fun to catch up with a fellow traveler.

Chris Brogan on Failure

I don't believe that I've ever met someone who truly doesn't worry about failure in some aspect. Some are better at keeping those thoughts of failure pushed away most of the time but every now and then it creeps back into view.

Whether it’s in a relationship, career, foot race, or whatever other situation we find ourselves in, the fear of failure can prevent us from taking risks and ultimately gaining ground outside our comfort zone.

Here’s an excerpt from an email Chris Brogan sent on Sunday, September 13, 2015 that's simple yet illustrative.

P.S. If you like this, you should definitely subscribe to his email newsletter.

Another View of Failure

Think of failure as “an outcome you didn’t expect or want.” That’s what Tony Robbins taught me. It’s very freeing to consider failure that way. Instead of “Oh wow, you suck! You’re terrible! You’ll NEVER make it,” this kind of mindset is, “Huh, well, that’s not what I wanted to see happen. What do I do next?”

It’s a powerful reframing and it changes everything.

Actions You Can Take

Want to test this? DELIBERATELY do something you know you’ll fail at and work on accepting the response. For instance, take three bean bags or tennis balls down to the street corner and show off your juggling prowess (with no previous knowledge). Go to karaoke and belt out the lyrics to a song you don’t really know (especially if you can’t sing). Just let it out there, fail, and see if you die. (Hint: you won’t.)