How to steadfast on your long-term decisions

  • Make the decision once.
  • Make something consistently.
  • Put your work out into the world when it’s done, and in the same location while in progress.

Over the years I had many different projects that I started that I never finished, and while every person has their own “process” the three steps above are what I recommend to anyone who wants to make progress on their goals in life. Let’s review the steps.

First, make the decision once. Set the amount of time you’re willing to work on your project and what your expected pay off is. After that do the work, don’t continue to question whether or not it’s worth the effort after the fact.

Second, do the work consistently, daily, weekly, or whatever interval you like. Building a body of work takes times. Stick with the routine.

Finally, ship the work. You don’t need to save it, organize it, or whatever else, you need to ship it out there. Having a system for managing your works in progress is a huge benefit.

These aren’t big tips, but they are a useful reminder from time to time.

The firing squad…

was invented to spread the blame, so that no one person had to know they executed the person they were firing at. It allowed people to participate in an atrocious act without their morals getting in the way.

It’s often that starting projects people want “help”. Help is fine, but the projects also need a leader, someone to take charge. For projects, you’re not committing an atrocity, no need to hire a squad to spread the blame.

Internal to a company, when something goes wrong, people also want to have options to hide accountability.

Just like we don’t need atrocious acts, spreading the blame and accountability is becoming less and less useful. Better to establish the leader and the accountability and perform a “lessons learned” biopsy after a failure, then to hide where everything went wrong in the first place.

People want to grow.

Looking at humans in comparison to any other animal, its obvious that growth (mental/spiritual) is ingrained in them. Societal growth. Building upon the work of others.

There aren’t many lions that build upon the work of previous lions. They hunt their own food, and protect their own pride, but that’s about it.

Taking that point of view about human society, many people are unhappy because they are stuck. Not because they aren’t fulfilled with their needs, but because they don’t see a direction to grow into. How can this be changed?

Here are some thoughts:

  • Do a project. Literally anything. Make something. This will sound silly, but when I was teaching myself to cook, I would look at prepackaged food labels at the grocery store, then buy the ingredients listed in it and try to make my own “real” version of the food. The labels don’t say proportions, but they are listed in order by highest quantity to lowest, so that gives a rough idea. It was amazing for my future thought processes on how to do things with no background in them.
  • Ask people your strengths, and take on bigger responsibilities related to them. No one needs to give you permission to write a letter to a customer or congressman, to organize the company inventory, or to build tools that automate tasks. These are all things that can be chosen. Pick something.
  • Anyone can mentor a younger person to share what they have learned and provide them direction. There are plenty of forums online where people are asking for this type of information. comes to mind.
  • Inspire others by showing them direction. Cooking shows are a great example of this, when you see something delicious made, it makes you want to make it. Of course, some people want to buy it, instead of doing the work themselves.
  • Invite others into something. This is a big one. Few people seem to extend invitations to anything these days. We’re all connected virtually, and online, but that seems to be the extent of many relationships. It would do good for the world to invite others into things that you are working on. Or a group they can contribute to. Or a place that they can simply belong.
  • Call others to action. Some people need outside motivation to move towards their goals and achieve things for themselves.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, just something that was running through my head this morning.

If interfaces didn’t matter…

spreadsheets would be all we have.

You can program just about anything with a spreadsheet after all.

For a computer design tool page after page of spreadsheets that took coordinates, dimensions and other settings then produced a graphic of the geometry could be used. It would be a nightmare to work with, but it would do the same work as modern day CAD systems.

For a tax system, a spreadsheet that contained every possible tax form and every possible line item could be made. Except scanning through it and finding the right places to put your information would be a nightmare.

Features and benefits are nice, but interfaces are what sells. Without the right interface, there are too many mistakes, too much data entry, too many misunderstandings. However, there is a big gap between the interface of a spreadsheet being used to build a rocket, and the interface of a CAD tool. There is much less difference in the interface between Autodesk Inventor and SOLIDWORKS. Don’t find the space that has the interface the could be tweaked a tiny bit, find the space that’s still looking like it’s from an era gone by. That’s where the opportunity lies.

This is artistry.

A website can be a piece of art. Changing the scrolling from bottom to top is an artistic choice, break-ing normal conventions. Most times it wouldn’t fit, but in this scenario, mimicking a rocket launch into space for a company in the rocket business it makes sense.

Sticking to convention can be a hindrance at times. It can make us miss the opportunities that are present. Being an artistic or creative is about knowing the conventions, but seeing the opportunities to side step them when appropriate. Neal Agarwal’s work above is an example of that.

Cooking is a great art to learn for someone without patience.

A meal comes 3 times per day. Each meal is like a fresh canvas to paint a new masterpiece on.

I say this from experience. In college, I wanted something creative to do, but I couldn’t afford the materials. I was broke, however, everyone needs to eat. So I started learning how to make better and better things. I’ve continued the practice for my life since.

One of the best parts about it is that a meal generally takes 30 minutes to an hour to make. That is a project from start to finish. Whether it was good or bad, it’s time to start on the next one at the next meal time.

This contrasts with something like painting where a picture could take hours and hours. Or with sculpting, wood carving, etc. These outlets are both larger commitments, require their own tools, and require additional materials to be put in your budget. While you can sell these items to pay for more materials, cooking is nice in that you need to buy the materials to survive anyway.

If you want to foster a bit more creativity in yourself, consider learning to cook. It can be healthier too.