On Quitting

It took over 100 ‘No’s before someone told me Yes.

It took over 500 blog posts before I changed my thought process.

It took me over 700 days to end a relationship.

Some might say I am a slow learner.

Perhaps.

Id argue differently. Im not notoriously a slow thinker yet I strive to be like one.

There are benefits to thinking slow:

– Creating a well designed plan.

– Calculating risk.

– Physically writing down the advantages and disadvantages regarding a situation.

– Sleeping on an email before sending it.

It took Tim Ferriss 28 publisher rejections prior to being told Yes to the NYT best seller The 4 Hour Workweek. And thats after he did the work of writing it.

Shackleton’s men endured over 500 days escaping an icy death. That was after they decided to take the voyage.

It took Derek Sivers a decade of experience before he could write Anything You Want.

A team of people failed countless times before creating a working light bulb.

Sinek will ask you to Start With Why.

Seth will ask, Whats it for?

And Carse will point out playing for the long game is about playing to play, not playing to win.

Deciding to end or start something both have one commonality. You must decide. And then go do that thing.

Thanks for reading,

Cory

Plan de Vida

In South America, plan de vida is similar to the term vocation.

Vocation is the intense feeling of suitability for your career or occupation.

It is the reason why you do what you do.

In Japan, it is also called ikigai. 

I was thinking about these terms this morning as I read Shawn Askinosie’s book Meaningful Work and his reference to Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It got me thinking more about what I am currently doing, what I’ve done and what I am planning to do.

What truly drives you?

This conversation in my head, now written in this blog, starts with an excerpt from Tuesdays With Morrie.

Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

“You’ll notice,” he added, grinning, “there’s nothing in there about a salary.”

“Do the kinds of things that come from the heart. When you do, you won’t be dissatisfied, you won’t be envious, you won’t belonging for somebody else’s things. On the contrary, you’ll be overwhelmed with what comes back.”

Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

Helping others drives me.

To actually propel someone forward, to leave them slightly better than you found them, and to make a small dent in the universe requires showing up daily with generous intent.

This will look different depending on who you are.

Making a dent in the universe doesn’t mean saving the world from the next pandemic. It doesn’t involve curing cancer. And it doesn’t necessarily mean holding the door open for the person behind you.

Helping others is really about an attitude and approach towards life.

It shifts the focus from me to you. 

Metaphorically, it requires stepping out of one’s shoes and swapping with your neighbor. It also doesn’t mean you must keep your neighbor’s shoes. It is more about understanding where the other person is coming from.

And this involves listening deeply. And not waiting to speak when the other person is speaking.

It is about being heard and being seen.

Parents who are actively involved with their kids know this. When you have a kid, you stop looking at the ground in front of you. You shift your eyes to the horizon. You pick your kid up higher above your shoulders so they too can see the view ahead.

Plan de vida, ikigai and vocation.

Whatever you choose to do, whether that be a project, career, or even lifestyle, do so with intent and tact. Think about how you will end or transition the project before you even start it.

That’s all for today.

Thanks for reading,

Cory.

The day I quit the cube farm and became a Fromager

It was my first day in the cube farm.

And it did not last long.

I took one look and thought to myself, I will not last one minute.

I thought of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson and Walden by Thoreau.

I thought of scenes from Office Space and Fight Club. Further, I visualized myself melting into a puddle of wax like a candle out of an Indiana Jones movie.

And then I had an epiphany.

I could change my life trajectory in a flash.

I could seize the entrepreneurship lifestyle so many adore and talk about.

It was a wizard-like stroke of insight.

I could become a Fromager, an expert who makes cheese.

https://www.instructables.com/Basic-Steps-of-How-to-Make-Cheese/

What indeed could be better than such an escape?

Visions of sharp, soft, and gooey cheese melted into my brain.

The much sought-after lifestyle of the fromager had never previously crossed my mind.

Oh, mild-cheddar bliss!

The cheese caves. The dark must funk of the fascinating cheese universe. I could not resist the idea.

I promptly walked into my new boss’s office and told him Goodbye.

He could see the sparkle in my eye, his eyebrow slightly raised.

The alarm buzzed.

Startled, I half opened an eye and then realized it was Monday.

All the action happens at 32 degrees.

Focus on systems, not goals. 

Since 2012, when I took a travel writing course, I wanted to write a book. This was my goal.

It is now 2021. The book hasn’t happened. I have pitched this goal. Instead, I made a system.

Why now?

I got so sick of myself not writing. It was too big of a goal to write a book and I felt paralyzed.

Like wanting eight pack abs, one goal for me was to show up and write. This goal wasn’t working. I didn’t have a well-designed system in place. I atrophied.

James Clear, the best-selling author of Atomic Habits, says that massive change occurs over time in small increments.

He tells the story of an ice cube sitting in a warming room.

At 25 degrees, ice is ice. Nothing exciting happens.

At 26 degrees, ice is still ice, yet at the molecular level, things are changing.

At 27 degrees, same story.

At 32 degrees, BOOM! Now we have water.

No one can see the small molecular changes happening in those 7 degrees of change. To the outside observer, it is as if all the change happens instantly.

Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

Now I have a system in place. 

It took me a long time with other projects (photography, healthcare drug waste, comic strip, a children’s plush animal for a book) and sunk costs to realize what was and wasn’t working. And that is okay. Those previous experiences are all part of the building process.

I am writing.

The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain the habits associated with it.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

It is motivating for me to look back and connect the dots. It is more exciting to imagine and plan for a brighter future. It starts now. When asked, “Are you a writer?” What do you say?

Thanks for reading,

Cory