skip to Main Content

I’m Taking My Time With This One

Photo by Aaron Andrew Ang on Unsplash

I’m looking forward to the new year, but I’m also not rushing the current year out the door.

The greatest rewards belong to those who can eagerly anticipate the future while also learning how to make peace with the present moment.

It’s great to get excited about the big finish. It’s even better if you can make your way there with a playful spirit.

AsĀ Alan Watts observed, “If the point of a song was to finish it, the best musicians would be the ones who played the fastest.”

Enjoy the song. It’ll be over soon enough.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

 

“Yes, but…”

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

There is a “Yes, but…” that could be added to any sentence you write.

Here’s an example:

You may write something like “Work hard, do your best, and things will work out.”

Well, to that we can easily add “Yes, but…I have a friend who worked hard, did his best, and really ended up in a bad spot. Things still haven’t worked out for him.”

Your sentence about working hard still has value, but so does the observation about the guy who ended up in a bad spot.

Send me a sentence and I can send you a “Yes, but…” rebuttal in half the amount of time it took you to write your sentence.

There’s always room for one more bit of nuance. You can end your essay or your story with a single sentence, but you can never end the possibility of someone seeing it in a different way. The end of a sentence can never reach the end of human understanding.

If you ever choose to write something, it’s quite likely that someone will greet you with a “Yes, but…” followed by their own point of view.

No matter how much you tiptoe your way through it, someone out there is going to do it.

The anticipation of this can feel paralyzing at times.

Yes, but…write the sentence anyway.

The biggest mistake you could make as a writer would be the one where you refuse to start a conversation merely because you’re afraid your words won’t be the ones to end the conversation.

The Power of Starting with Kindness

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Here are two fundamentally different approaches to seeking someone else’s cooperation:

Option #1: “I would like to achieve X. Can you help me?”

Option #2: “Here’s a list of all the bad things I will do to you if you don’t help me achieve X.”

Option #1 will almost always give you the advantage if you’re trying to motivate people to cooperate with you and it’s usually less stressful for everyone involved. When people don’t feel antagonized or attacked, they’re usually more creative and clear-headed in their ability to help you get what you want.

Option #2 will almost always cost you more time, energy, trust, and social capital. Even if you get what you want, you’ll likely end up with a headache and an enemy at the end of the process. It’s a very difficult strategy to sustain. The more you do it, the less you can get away with doing it.

Some people prefer to lead with option #1. When they need things, they begin with a polite request and they go from there.

Some people prefer to lead with option #2. Rather than risk having their request rejected, they begin with threats in an effort to let the other party know they mean business.

Option #2 is actually a powerful and legitimate technique, but it’s a terrible place to start.

When you start with being mean, it’s very hard to go back to kindness.

If you want to be effective, being kind is usually the best place to begin. If you eventually need to get mean, you’ll still have the opportunity to get mean.

There’s no expiration date on your ability to be mean. Kindness, on the other hand, is time-sensitive.

And that’s one of the greatest advantages of starting with kindness. It’s the only option that doesn’t eliminate your other options.

Conduct Your Own Initiation Ritual

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Most of the “secrets” to success are open secrets.

They’re secrets because they’re hidden. They’re open secrets because they’re hidden from the inside out.

That is, when we have a deep hunger for knowledge combined with a willingness to take responsibility for the outcomes we wish to create, even the most elusive clues can somehow find us.

But…

When we shift responsibility and wait for others to make things happen, even the simplest of truths tend to remain hidden in plain sight.

Success isn’t about finding esoteric information. It’s about accepting personal agency.

If you’re waiting for an initiation ritual into some inner circle of greatness, stop waiting and start acting.

If you want access to “hidden” knowledge, make sure you’re not the one that’s hiding.

Don’t Let the Comments Stop You

Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash

I honestly believe that most people don’t put themselves out there because they’re afraid of being mocked, belittled, or harassed in the comment section.

If you write a book, someone may give you a 1-star review. If you start a business, someone might give you a negative rating. If you create a video, someone could make fun of the tie you’re wearing.

So instead of dealing with the possibility that we’ll get our feelings hurt, our egos wounded, or our precious work criticized, we censor ourselves before the hecklers remind us why we should have never dared to ship anything in the first place.

It’s an understandable fear, but a tragic one to fall prey to.

Someone has to be the person who takes the risk of creating things and the trolls aren’t going to be the ones to do that. They’re too busing hiding behind the illusion of superiority that comes from turning their noses up at every new idea. It’s their way of feeling powerful without having to face the resistance that real creators face.

I love the way Thomas Sowell puts it:

The beauty of doing nothing is that you can do it perfectly. Only when you do something is it almost impossible to do it without mistakes. Therefore people who are contributing nothing to society, except their constant criticisms, can feel both intellectually and morally superior.

If you want to step forward, you can’t be intimidated by the people who only know how to sit back and shoot things down.

100 years from now, no one is going to remember the guy who made fun of your tie. And they won’t remember you or your creative work either if you allow that guy to be the excuse you use for letting your own dreams die.

I think your contribution is worth the risk of getting a few mean comments. I hope you do too.

Back To Top