With dynamite, you can hurt yourself, hurt others, or achieve a goal. The inventor of dynamite intended for it to be a tool for good. When combined with the right expertise and focus, dynamite could carve roads through lands that were otherwise impossible to traverse. Consider the intense effort that Dashrath Manjhi spent over 22 years carving a road through a mountain. Imagine how much faster and easier this process could have been if he had a team of experienced detonation experts? It probably could have been opened in a few months.
Newsletter subscribers have probably noticed that I'm a bit more active on my blog these days. In fact, I published more new content in the last 10 days than I did in the previous 6 months. The feedback has been fantastic, which I take as an indication that I'm striking a chord with the hearts and minds of people like you. Honestly, it's an honor that you give me permission to reach out to you. I hope I can continue to keep your interest as you invest your time with me.
My 5-year old daughter loves to surprise people with gifts she's found or created. Honestly, she probably gets more joy than the recipient! There are only so many rocks from the park that one can receive before they all look alike. And there are only so many places you can put them before you run out of table space. Still, I find it endearing that she tries so hard to make another person feel special.
Everyone struggles with some level of resistance. The task ahead of us looks too long, too hard, too risky, or lacks a big enough reward to provide the motivation to act.
Everyone struggles with some level of procrastination. We'll get to it tomorrow, or when we find the time, or the most nebulous of all... "someday."
But what if circumstances change and we have no choice to act? Moving homes is a bitch, but not if you discover your house is perched on a foundation that is about to experience a landslide.
On any given day, you probably pass within arm's length of at least a dozen people. In a city, that number may be 100 or even 1,000. Yet how many of them will forever remain strangers? How many of them could become a close friend, a member of your tribe if you discovered that you share one or more deeply relatable experience? I know, it sounds unlikely. Yet in this past year alone, I've had the privilege of experiencing this again and again. And the best experiences were with people that, at first glance, I was adamant that we would have zero in common and it would be a waste of time.
For those that don't know the entire backstory, this was a great big huge year for my family and me.
Big choices were made.
I left the company I co-founded. We reversed our decision about whether to homeschool Ev and, in a few short days, we got her into Pre-K at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder.
Big discoveries happened.
We all hope to live happily and healthy into our golden years. However, we don't always know when our time is up. This is why I love the Memento Mori coin, which effectively translates to "remember you will die." This is not to say we must live in fear, but that we must each day to the full because we never know if it will be the last.
In his book The Lean Startup (published 2008), Eric Ries popularized the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP). Sidenote: I highly recommend reading the book if you own your own business or have an idea for a new company or product. One of the main objectives of an MVP is to release products or features as soon as possible. A rule of thumb is that this means the minute a customer could receive ANY value. By doing this, you shorten the amount of time it takes to get feedback. This is critical for many startups because it minimizes the cost (time, effort, money) to validate an idea.
My friend Bryan put into words a concept I wrestled with for years, which is the difference between being nice and kind. For many years I used the two interchangeably. However, that would often lead me to make choices in the moment that I thought would be helpful. Instead, it usually made life more difficult and stressful for all parties involved.
So what's the difference?
Imagine pulling up Google Maps and asking where to find the best slice of pizza. This is already a loaded question because “best” can be highly subjective based on personal tastes and preferences. But let’s imagine that we could systematically take each one of these inputs, insert into an algorithm that adds it all up, and assign a single value to hundreds of thousands of restaurants that may sell pizza.