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ADAM’S BLOG

Create what matters. Sell it ethically & effectively.
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943: Better Than Passion

“Do work you’re passionate about” is a common mantra in the workplace.

And it’s holding people back from their best work.

Passion is a side-effect of mastery (h.t. Cal Newport), not a prerequisite. By focusing on a passion, we become limited only by the experiences we happen to have had already.

A child that got good at drawing will want to draw when he grows up. But what if he’s an even better speaker, or developer, or writer?

By exploring and refining craft, we often experience more passion for that craft as we progress. Passion isn’t the point, though: craftsmanship is the point.

Instead of “Do work you’re passionate about”, we should become advocates of “Refine your craft and try new things” – the results could be more fulfilling than you know.

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942: Achieve More By Not Being Dumb

If you pull an all-nighter, do you get more done?

Most would agree that the lack of sleep will have a real impact on your working IQ, diminishing your output and quality of life.

What about multitasking – do you get more done then?

Most would concur that multitasking helps us achieve more, hopping between essential activities like some kind of productivity ninja.

Except both of these things reduce working IQ by the same amount – as much as 40%.

If we want to achieve more, produce better work, and serve people more fully, we need to not be dumb:

Resist multitasking precisely as much as you resist all-nighters.

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941: Avoid Opinion Neutrality

When I say “Unilever”, what do you think?

Exactly.

Nothing. It pressed, you might expand your thought to “faceless, spineless blob that takes a stand for nothing”.

When I say “Virgin”, what do you think?

Fun.

Because it was designed that way. The way products and services are designed and marketed ooze the personality of their founder.

People don’t just buy your products. They buy why they exist. They buy as an expression of a shared belief.

If you’re opinion neutral, there’s no reason to buy beyond the need for an essential, marginalized commodity.

Are you opinion neutral? How can you be a little more yourself, for the benefit of your work and for those you wish to serve?

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940: They’ll Steal, That’s Fine

Your ideas, your work, these are things that people will steal… if you’re lucky.

It means they were good. So good, in fact, that they’re prepared to walk where you’ve trodden, accepting that you’re out ahead.

It means people took notice. So much so, in fact, that they’ve taken a totally different approach in their own work, bending toward your view of the way things should be.

Doing good work that people notice is good thing, not a bad thing.

They’ll steal, that’s fine. I’ve had bodies of work stolen, even falsely attributed in award ceremonies – things that I made, and worked hard on – they‘ll steal, that’s fine.

In some cases, it’s indefensible; in others, our attorneys took care of it (and then some).

The thing to focus on is not whether or not someone might steal, but whether or not it can be so good, people take notice.

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939: The Disease Is The Cure

We know vaccines contain the very thing they vaccinate us from. What about other problems we experience in our pursuit of meaningful bodies of work?

Don’t know what to say on video? Make more videos. You’ll find the words with practice. The disease (inexperience on video) is the cure (do more video).

Don’t know what to write today? Write more. You’ll find the words flow easier with practice. The disease (writers block) is the cure (write more often).

Don’t know how to make the sale? Sell more. You’ll find the pain behind the pain that needs solving, by spending more time with those you wish to serve. The disease (sales problems) is the cure (just keep selling).

What are you struggling with?
The cure is in there somewhere.

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938: Your Selfish Secret

Earned authority enables good people to help other good people move forward in life.

What makes you the authority?

What other people say.

If you’re the best, but nobody knows it, you’re a “selfish secret” – remaining hidden due to fear or lack of enthusiasm toward the pursuit of those you wish to serve.

When you’re not that great, and everyone knows it, you’re safely discarded by the market.

When you’re the best, and everyone knows it, you’re able to influence significant change.

Are you being a selfish secret? What are you going to do about it?