Do What You Love

My son and I were looking for a new video game to play today when we came across one called CTRL-CV. Your character tries to navigate different rooms with platforms, spring loaded platforms, spikes and holes in the ground. At the same time you have doppelgangers that multiply rapidly around you.

The longer you wait to move, the more difficult it is to distinctly see yourself and where you’re moving. It gets disorienting very easily. But, if you move quickly, before you get swarmed by your other selves, you can see clearly enough to get through the obstacles unscathed.

The game reminds me of how early adopters of things like blogs, Youtube and Twitter were able to capitalize on those technologies and build huge followings. Now, there are so many millions of content creators and consumers on these and other channels that it’s extremely difficult to have your voice heard.

I love blogging, tweeting and posting on Youtube. But to have anything I produce discovered on a large scale by others I either have to rely on luck or find different channels that haven’t yet hit their peak. And who can tell what parts of the web will take off and what parts will disappear into the void next week?

It just goes to show that when you write, produce videos or any other creative online endeavor, you’re better off doing it because you love the journey. Not because you want to get online famous.

Hacking Your Mind

Have you ever been watching TV show where someone is having a heart attack and you start to feel a tightness in your chest or a pain in your left arm? Or maybe someone is standing on top of a tall building and you start to feel dizzy? When you watch a show or read a book you can get so engrossed in the story that your mind convinces your body that you are the one living it out.

When our minds encounter a story, they become extremely susceptible to the suggestions those stories put across. You can use this phenomenon to your advantage and hack your mind and body into doing what you want. You simply need to tell yourself the story you want to have come true.

OK, maybe that’s a little simplistic. Telling yourself you want to be in shape will not make it so. But telling yourself (with conviction) that you are athletic and can easily get into shape with the right exercise regimen will go a long way to getting you there.

If you say or hear something over and over, you will start to believe it’s true. If you believe something is true, your actions will typically support that truth. This is why self-help gurus are so big on mantras. They help shift your mind into a gear that’s in sync with what you want. In fact, many business writers suggest telling yourself that you are already successful before you actually are. Shifting your mindset

Of course this trick can be used negatively too. If you find yourself constantly mumbling things like “Nobody would ever hire me” or “I’m such an idiot”, you are much more likely to never get hired or do stupid things. Some people have been known to be chronically ill because they continually tell themselves they don’t feel good.

So whether you’re wanting to get healthy, become a better photographer, get an A in a class or improve your relationships, you should have a positive outlook on your situation. Not only that but you need to continually tell yourself the story that you want to have come true. Write it down and read it or say it out loud to yourself to ingrain it into your psyche.

Speaking what you want out of life is no a guarantee that you will get it. But you will be much more likely to get where you want to go with a positive outlook and consistent self-messaging.

Rebate Cards You Wouldn’t Want To Use

There are a lot of advantages to consumer rebate carts. But they’re all for the companies giving them out. For the consumer, you get a pseudo-debit card that expires 12 seconds after it’s mailed out. By the time you get the card in the mail after 6 to 8 weeks, the account maintenance fees have reduced your $3 rebate to 17 cents. Of course, you can still use that amount at any retailer that accepts credit cards – right?

There are some brands that have a unique advantage in the rebate card racket. They could almost be totally assured that the rebates would never be used. All they would have to do is make the card a bright color and emblazon their brand names the top. In no particular order, here is my list of the top 10 branded rebate cards nobody would want to use:

  1. Dulcolax
  2. Preparation H
  3. Bengay
  4. Gas-X
  5. Rogaine
  6. Tinactin
  7. Imodium
  8. Vagisil
  9. Benzoyl
  10. Depends

Stop Putting Things Off, Start Getting Things Done

Have you ever put something off for days, months or maybe years before buckling down and getting it done? Or maybe you never finished it even though you can and probably should?

Sometimes circumstances force you to get them done. For example, at the last house we lived in I kept intending to remodel the bathroom, remodel the kitchen and re-landscape a section of our front yard. After two years of living there I finally did all of these things in the last few weeks before selling the house.

I often put off returning unwanted items to a store until just before the deadline. Even now I have a piece of luggage that needs to go back. Throw it in a box, tape it up and put on a label. That’s all it would take. But I keep walking by it and thinking, “I’ll do it later”. Yes, I’ll finally get it returned but it will feel like a chore because it’s something I have to get done.

This type of reactionary thinking sometimes follows me into the workplace too. I’ll have a map that needs to be finished or a piece of code that needs to be refactored. But I’ll wait until the deadline to finish it or until software breaks before fixing it.

Why do we leave some things undone even if they could be completed relatively easily? We might put off difficult tasks because we don’t want to get started on a chore. But I have a theory that we put off difficult tasks because we don’t want to finish them. When you have something you know you could accomplish but you don’t, it does two things for you.

First, it gives you a sense of control over your life and environment. You can do these things with relative certainty of success but you choose not to. If it were a task or project that didn’t have a clear path to completion it would become a major project and would, in a sense, control you. We like to keep some unfinished but doable projects around so we can have a hand in our own future.

Second, we keep certain projects around a buffer to the bigger and more uncertain things in our lives. Maybe these are those big projects that threaten to control us. Maybe they’re buffers against a phone call you have to make or something you need to learn. Whatever the thing you’re avoiding, you distance yourself from it by first avoiding something simpler and giving that thing priority.

So how do you break free, sweat the small stuff and get the big projects off your plate as well? It’s actually pretty simple. But it’s hard to actually do. I’ve found that you need to create a new habit of accomplishing at least one small thing on your to do list every day. You also have to commit to working daily on any big projects you may have looming.

Along with creating work habits, you have to carve out specific times to do them as well. It really comes down to self-discipline. You’ll soon discover that you get a much more satisfying sense of control over your life when you purposefully tackle your tasks. And those bigger projects will soon seem much smaller and more doable as you chip away at them day after day.