Day 46 - Proof That I'm A Dumb, Idiot, Stupid Fucking Moron, & A Challenge, Maybe

9:20 am, Aug 21, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job…

THE STORY OF BEING THE MOST JUDGMENTAL HUMAN ON EARTH

I'm judgmental. Like, brutally so. I see a person and I immediately identify all their flaws. I hate it, but I can't seem to help it.

I've read some things about how to "overcome" this problem, and it all boils down to something like, "accept people for who they are, recognize your own thoughts." Whatever. It's fucking bullshit.

I think the truth is EVERYONE is judgmental, all the time. It's programmed in our heads to be defensive about the motives of someone else. Or maybe I'm just justifying my own craziness.

I try not to be. I try to catch myself doing it. But I can't stop the initial impulse.

And I know that all my negative judgments about others is only a reflection of myself. It's all the things I find flawed in me that I project onto others. I hate it, but I can't seem to help it. So I embrace it. Instead of trying to change it, I just let it happen, then turn it back on myself.

For example, if I see a person driving like an idiot I make a complete judgment about them as a person living on the planet. "Oh, look at this dumb asshole, what a fucking moron," I'll think and/or mumble under my breath. Then I'll think, "Oh, I do that, sooooo, I guess that makes me an asshole moron idiot also."

And that's it. If you're judgmental, then you're the same asshole you think someone else is.

The end.

8:15 pm, Aug 21, 2014, sitting in Starbucks, checking out the girl in purple pants...

THINKING ALOUD: THE DRY BALLS THEORY

I have a hard time asking for what I want. I have a hard time going after what I want, recruiting the help of others. 

Chris Rock had bit where he talks about getting a woman to suck your balls. He said something like, “you can’t just ask her, like, ‘excuse me, would you, uh, mind, uh, sucking on my balls?’” He said you have to tell her, not ask. You have to go after what you want, or you end up with dry balls.

My balls are dry a lot. Because I don’t even ask, I just accept whatever someone is willing to give me. My girlfriend says I have a problem with letting people run all over me. That’s true, in most situations. I’m too nice. I don’t take enough social risks. I overanalyze everything. I try to control what people think of me. And I don’t know how to get better.

I think I should devise a challenge to strike up a conversation with at least one stranger a day. Even if it’s, “hey, how’s your day?” and they look at me then fart in my face. I practice writing every day. I practice other stuff every day. Why not practice social skills every day. I need to remember my own tips, if it’s important, do it everyday. And maybe that should be extended to, if it’s scary, do it every day.

I don’t have anything in the relationships category of life, so maybe this would be a good thing to add for September.

Day 45 - Why You Feel Like Shit All The Time

7:54 am, Aug 20, 2014, sitting at my kitchen table feeling irritated...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #15 - Ruthlessly eliminate choices/possibilities.

The blank page is always intimidating. I hate it and I love it. It’s like it brings out all my insecurities about whatever creative talent I think I have. It’s the time to shine, the time to suck, the time to go from head to world. That’s sounds so fucking stupid.

I read a thing in a book the other day that said the incidence of depression increases as the number of choices people have available increases. That graph looks something like this:

I wonder if people know they're supposed to be depressed when they have an overwhelming number of choices laid out before them? It's like the blank page. The possibilities are endless, and therefore, somewhat depressing, because you could've picked drawing a penis on the blank page as opposed to writing War & Peace.

That's why it's important to simplifyGet rid of choices. All of them.

The subject of excessive choice has been beat in the ground enough, yet we hardly do anything about it. Then we wonder why we get stuck in inaction and feel down. I know I want to do just about everything, write novels, make music, create apps, podcast, become the strongest human alive, paint, cook, all of it. All the things there are to do in the world, I want to do them all at the same time. And it depresses me when I can't.

So the second part of the simplify equation is to get rid of that nagging feeling that you're missing out by choosing X over Y. That's the hardest part. I still want to do all those other things. And it makes me sad that I can't do them all. But I can trick myself into thinking, "one day, maybe."

4:40 pm, Aug 20, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job, distracted, tired, worried...

THE STORY OF WHAT IF YOU CONTRACTED DEATH RIGHT NOW

There's something wrong with me. Not as in serious, I don't think. But what if?

I'm not feeling the greatest, and the thought just popped in my head as I was resting my face on both of my fists with my eyes closed trying to recover: what if I died right now? What are the things I wished I'd accomplished?

I came up with the usual bullshit, write a novel (check), record an album (incomplete), yadayadayada.

But then I went deeper. Like, creating another life, and keeping myself in better shape, as opposed to settling for this doughy, skinny-fat body. Shit like that.

I suppose these are things considered regrets, but they're also things that can be changed with a little effort. These are the things that are most important. As you float up to Heaven or descend into Hell, what are you going to wish you would've accomplished? I'm not talking about the bullshit, "no regrets," those are unavoidable. I say regret can be a huge motivator. But I'm talking more about what would you do if you had more time and didn't squander a second? Things that don't require time travel. Things that can still be done if you had just a little more time to squeeze them in.

Day 44 - Sucking On A Daily Basis & Changing Directions A Bit

9:15 am, Aug 19, 2014, sitting at my stand-up desk at the job...

LESSONS LEARNED: MEASURING AMBIGUOUS PROGRESS

I have no idea how to make money. Like, the subject itself confuses me, and I don't know how to get better. I know how to get a job, and then show up to that job every day, and setup direct deposit, and all that shit. I suppose that's a good skill to have. And technically, it is a method of making money, just not a very efficient or rewarding one.

Since I have no idea how to make money outside of getting a job, why not start a blog about making money? Seems like a good idea, right?

I know when it comes to strength and fitness and weight loss, the worse you are (i.e. fatter, weaker, etc), the more gains you're going to make in the beginning. Like, going from sitting on the couch all day watching Maury to taking a 30 minute walk every day will bring huge gains in a short amount of time. But it seems this doesn't translate very well to making money. At least on the surface.

I think making money outside of a job entails more than just collecting the cash. Like, it's hard to measure the gains someone has made in the beginning if they haven't collected a dime. In other words, it's hard to quantify failure. I have made money outside of a job. Not very much, but I have. Is that considered a huge gain?

On the flip side, the person who goes from knowing absolutely nothing about making money to making thousands of dollars a month in two weeks, is s/he now a master, or just lucky? Those are the stories you hear about on the line. The overinflated bullshit about someone going from nothing to dream life in a matter of days or hours. The stories that prove the "system," or whatever, works. Fuck those people, they don't matter.

I guess the lesson is, it's hard to measure how far you've come in the beginning without solid evidence of your money making skills. Mainly, money in the bank unrelated to a job. But it doesn't mean you haven't made progress. It also doesn't mean you've made good progress. All you can measure is you've gone from doing nothing, sitting around drooling in front of a glowing computer monitor filling out weekly status updates for the plethora of bosses who lord over you, to doing something. At the very least, you've changed your thinking and started taking DAILY actions towards whatever.

And there's the real key, right? DAILY actions, small steps every day, bigger steps on good days, not so big on other days. But at least a step, even if it's backwards.

I can't say the money will come if this is all you do. The money hasn't come for me yet. And I do feel sometimes I'm doing things wrong, or I'm not motivated enough, or I don't possess some key skill required to get over the hurdles, or I'm not smart enough, or I'm too old, or I don't have enough friends, or I'm not tough enough mentally, or I'm too scared, or it's not the right time, or ...

I think I'm OK if the money never does come. I've said before, yesterday in fact  that money isn't the only reason I do what I do. I think to sustain anything long term, you have to have other reasons besides the money. Although I think you need the money to validate that what you're doing is valuable. And of course, that leads down another rabbit hole, does it matter if it's valuable or not? 

I don't know. But I do know what's directly in front of me, and I can see the horizon a bit, but it's really fuzzy. I know I like doing this every day, it's making me think better and become a better writer (try coming up with meaningful content on a daily basis). I like building my little writing app, Knorbi  because it feels like I'm making art; it's a spawn of my imagination (even though it's heavily influenced by other apps that already exists; I'm comfortable with that).

2:45 pm, Aug 19, 2014, pacing nervously around my desk at the job...

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

I've decided to mothball The Hustlecast. Everyone in unison, "awwwww."

It just isn't my cup of tea, because I feel preachy and lecture-y, like I'm a fourth or fifth rate professor trying to teach you kids something I have no real world experience with. Maybe one day it will return, when I have some actual stuff to say. Until then, I'm going in a different direction with the podcast.

I'm turning my attention to sports, and specifically, Dallas area sports. I listen a lot to The Ticket, one of the best radio stations EVER. That's not just my opinion, but that of Earth also. Don't believe me, look it up.

Anyway, I'm going to create a podcast centered around the show after the show, calling it P1 Podcast, or something like that. It's not related specifically to The Ticket, but it's going to be the show to listen to after your favorite sports yaks go off the air.

I'm excited about it, because I have a lot of opinions and shit on the world of sports and stuff, so, why not, right?

I hope you'll give it a listen.

Day 43 - How To Fix Information Overload

9:45 am, Aug 18, 2014, standing at my desk at the job...\

THE STORY OF UNSUBSCRIBING FROM THE INTERNET & THE FUTURE OF ONLINE (VAGUE)

I had to unsubscribe from another source of information I used to consume. Tunneling down into the depths of hell that is called affiliate marketing just doesn't interest me any more.

I'm slowly turning my back on all things Internet. It's nice to have information at my fingertips, but it's also a curse, an endless source of distraction. I have too much shit going on to be getting sucked into nonsense about how someone built eleven billion niche sites in 2 hours and made $1,000,000 the second they went live. It's taken me about ten years to see it for what it really is, overinflated bullshit.

I'm not saying that ALL sources of information are useless. I have a very short list, and getting shorter almost daily, of stuff that is valuable. I suppose I could list them all here so you can go consume them too, but I'm not, because I don't want them to become so popular that whoever is generating the information gets the bright idea to start pumping information products down his subscriber's throat, like almost all of them do eventual (but not all, see dereksivers.org, you're welcome).

That's what I'm striving for this blog to become, not just another "How To Make Money Sitting Naked On Your Couch Watching Golden Girls Re-runs While Eating A Gallon Of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream." I would really like this to become some kind of open source, abstract thing that transcends just the latest money grab scheme going around. Because I'm not in this to just make money. I'm in it for a whole bunch of other, more important reasons. Would you like to know what those reasons are? Great, I will now tell you.

  1. Make Money - suck it, you know that's why we're all here. Everyone needs money to live. It's an unfortunate part of modern day life. And the sad thing really is, we spend too much of our time in the pursuit of it. It practically becomes what we are, a thing that needs to make money to survive. Just like a squirrel needs nuts, humans need money.
  2. Freedom - this is one of those generic, fair catch answers that can't really be defined. I think what it means to me is, being free from the controls of someone else. Having a job is out of your control, no matter how you spin it. Company fails, you get fired. You screw up, you get fired. Boss is having a bad day, you get fired. Freedom means being immune to that system. It means being outside it, beyond it, whatever. You get the picture.
  3. Recognition/Fame - yep. I'd like to be famous. Not like Brad Pitt famous, but on a much smaller scale. I want fans, but I also want people who are not content just being a consuming human. I don't want a bunch of mouth breathing, checked out "ditto heads," although that's what I might get. I want people who want to be more, even if in the long run, it's all meaningless (and it is, don't let anyone else fool you into thinking that YOU or what you’re doing is somehow special or more important than the next. You aren't, and neither am I).
  4. Fuck The System - superfluous.
  5. My Own Tiny Empire - I think humans are just as territorial as other animals. We all want something that is wholly ours. I think the only way to achieve that is through building your own unique skill set and the mental and physical toughness to survive on your own. Physical property is never owned by you. The government and the banks own all the land. A job is just a rental as well. Even a business can be wiped out at the blink of an eye. But what can never be taken away is your skills, your physical and mental strength, and your ability to apply those skills. This goes beyond simply making money. It's something that you can pass on from generation to generation, like the teachings of Marcus Aurelius or that one guy whose been dead for a really, really long time.
  6. Time - it's the only thing we truly have. I don't like spending my time fulfilling the reasons on someone else's list. Perhaps I'm not a good enough "team player," or I truly do have a bad attitude. I don't give a fuck. As I get older, the more and more I realize how valuable time is, and how much of it I've squandered not being true to myself. It's never too late to start a new path.

Day 42 - The Doctor Says I Need Large Doses Of Reality To Fix My Nonexistent Penis Problems

9 am, Aug 16, 2014, sitting on my couch scrolling through the 1,000 channel TV menu for something to “watch” while I write this…

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #14 - Dwell in reality.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about complexity and the overall deluge of information that’s shoved in our face every single second of every single day. I swear when someone figures out how to advertise to us in our dreams, that person is going to be heralded as one of the greatest humans to ever live. We’ll probably build a statue of him doing whatever action makes the machine or thing work that delivers the ads.

The problem with all this information, I think, is there’s no filters any more. We’re constantly plugged in to whatever, and everyone else is plugged in to the same thing, and everyone is given a megaphone and an anonymous identity[1]. There’s always a source to pull information from. And I think that’s one of the reasons so many people just check out and go with the default. “Just give me what’s most popular/easy/doesn’t make me think too much,” a person might say when they reach an age where they have to start choosing what to do with their time.

That’s reality. Also known as, the way it is. It’s not ever going to stop. The more we tunnel down the technology road, the more creative and subtle ways people will find to deliver us information. Imagine driving with your Google Glasses on and being shown “billboards” in the corner of your eye. Stuff like, “pull over now because you won’t believe the monkey making secrets I’m about to share with you!” And we’ll build designated pulling over spots where people will be forced to go and watch an ad instead of having to pay a toll.

I know I spend a lot of time, more than I should, living in that fantasy world. Thinking, “oh, I need to be doing this, this, this, this, and this,” all at the same time. I’ll read an article that says avocados are bad. So I’ll cut avocados out of my diet until I read another thing that says avocados are good. Then I’ll add them back in. I can’t help but get suckered down these rabbit holes. It must be in my DNA or something.

But when I’m dwelling in reality, things become simple. The answers are clear. The information firehose becomes just a thing in the background, like an annoying gnat that you have to shew away every few seconds, because it doesn’t matter any more.

Reality is hard to deal with, because it’s full of unexpected, sudden changes, and it’s also really fucking boring for long stretches. The sudden changes are most of the time easy to deal with. It’s the boredom that’s the problem. Boredom seems to be an epidemic in the U.S. because there’s so many things to keep one from having to feel the slight discomfort of having-nothing-to-do-itis. God forbid you have to stand in a line for 30 seconds without any stimulation.

I’ve found that dwelling in reality solves almost every problem. It always answers the question, “what should I be doing with my time?” And isn’t that such a comfort that we often take for granted. That question wasn’t even a thing thousands, even hundreds of years ago. Because the answer was always, SURVIVE. And that’s what everything really boils down to.

And I have to constantly keep pulling myself out of the distraction pit. When I get tunneling down some rabbit hole about some subject that I didn’t even know existed until 2 minutes ago, I have to reel in the insanity and get back to work. It’s not as easy as that, because I’m just as comfortable and bored as everyone else. I’m just as guilty of checking my phone a billion times a day, getting lost in twitter or Facebook, or endlessly searching for THE solution to all my problems.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to tell you to unplug, and don’t watch so much TV, or blah blah blah. Nope. I don’t give a fuck how you twiddle your time away. I think the key is in just being aware of what you’re doing. Know why you’re playing that repetitive game where you have to steer an out of control car through a hilly obstacle course and collect coins so you can upgrade to a better car. Know why you’re sitting in front of the TV looking at the Facebook on your phone and thinking, “Oh my God, she was cut off in traffic today? What a tragedy.”

Also, know when to stop and get back to work. That’s the hardest one for me to see.

[1] Whatever, Facebook and Twitter all those like to give you the illusion that you are a unique snowflake and that everyone knows exactly who you are, but it’s not real unless it’s “said” in person, face to face, flesh in front of flesh. It still feels strongly anonymous.

Day 40 - Ramit Sethi, et. all, Can Suck My Sweaty Balls

9:23 am, Aug 15, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

THE STORY OF BEING A PERSON WHO IS A SOURCE OF INCOME FOR ANOTHER PERSON, AND REDEMPTION

Allow me to run down some of the things I've bought into, literally, that promised to teach me how to make money:

  • When I was around 21 years old, me and a friend went to this "free conference," which turned out to be a sales pitch for a business selling custom coupons. We found out about the "free conference" through a small classified ad in the paper. We went, we got suckered in, and 6 months later, the "business" was sitting in the corner collecting dust. Strike one.
  • Many years later, after consuming hundreds of "make money" web articles (aka blog posts) and books about this and that related to making money (aka self help nonsense), I bought into a "program" called The Micropreneur Academy. Out of all the things I've paid for, this may have been the best, although it didn't "work" for me. I found a niche, built an app, marketed the shit out of it, and zero, nothing, nada (p.s. the product I built sucked because I had no business being in that space). Strike two.
  • Then I bought into Ramit Sethi's nonsense. Earn $1k on the side, find your first profitable idea, Ramit's brain trust, all of it. I showed up to his "free teleconferences" (see any similarities here?) and bought in like the gullible sucker I am, looking for THE answer. Strike three.
  • The last course I took was Create A Profitable Online Store, created by Steve at My Wife Quit Her Job. I used to write some stuff for Steve and I got in on the ground floor of the course. I spent a year building up an online store, made a handful of sales, and gave up, probably earlier than I should have. Strike four.
  • I bought into Noah Kagan's bullshit, make your first dollar, or somethng like that, and quit after discovering it was just a money grab for Noah. Actually, this may have been the "course" that made me realize that the only people making money off these make money courses were the folks who created the course. Strike five.

None of these things "worked" for me. I put "worked" in quotes because I gained some value from each of them, even if the lesson was, "don't buy in to someone else's system, create your own system." And I suspect  that most people who take ANY course on making money, or [insert some other abstract subject here], come to the same conclusion. My theory is, for every 100 "students" who pay for these courses and follow them as intended, only 1 will "succeed," with "success" being defined as loosely as possible.

I'm not bitter (except at Noah and Ramit, because they're both money grabbers and full of bullshit. They don't care about helping you. They only care about their bottom line. Don't give them any money, please). I'm actually glad I bought in to all of them. Because it's brought me to this point, reality.

Reality says you have to find your own way. And what that means is, you have to do things your way. If you're doing things anyone else's way, trying to follow someone's system on making money, you're most likely going to fail. You may not, but if I could bet on everyone who takes one of these "courses," I'd bet every penny I have on their failure.

And it's not that the systems don't work or are a scam (except in Noah's case, THAT one's a scam[1]). They just don't work for anyone except the person who created it. I have a saying that has yet to reach the mainstream, feel free to tweet it or start using it yourself, “the secret to making money is selling the secret to making money.” If you have a “formula,” or “system,” or “tactics” to making money AND you have a clever marketing approach, you’ll find suckers to buy it. Doesn’t matter if it “works” or whatever, as long as it gives the illusion that it’s THE answer people are looking for. There’s your million dollar business idea.

I’ve come to terms with my fate and generally who I am as a person. A lot self help books and crap want to sell you on some proposition that you’re broken in some way. Only a small handful have actual value, the others are pure fucking garbage, just like all the money making courses you find throughout the inter webs.

I have a lot of fears, a lot doubts, a lot of worries (all these things are the same), and a lot of self limiting beliefs. I've given up hope of finding THE answer, and instead, I'm focusing on creating THE answer for myself. There's a big difference. Maybe I won't be able to quit my job and live on a beach surrounded by bikini models whose only purpose is to serve my every sexual desire. But oh well, maybe there's something better if I keep cutting my own path? Maybe I’ll fall of a cliff and die? Who knows.

You can take all the courses you want, but in the end, you're going to have to figure things out for yourself. If I could go back to my 21 year old self, I'd slap him in the face and tell him to stop being a sucker. Stop buying into the notion that you're "broken" and need fixing. You're perfect as is, embrace your limitations and get busy making your own way.

But I can't, yet. I'm still hoping for someone to invent actual time travel. Until then, I gotta start making my own way at 42.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN

I'm changing the name of Super Poppycock back to its original name, Knorbi, because I just learned that Orville Redenbacker, that asshole, has a canned popcorn Idiocracy thing called Poppycock. Fuck me. I probably subconsciously saw it on the shelves at some grocery store and it stuck in my head.

So from now on, Super Poppycock is called Knorbi. Like you give a fuck.

[1] I can sum up the course in one sentence: get a business idea, post the idea on Facebook and beg your friends to buy it, repeat. That’s not a complete sentence, but that’s the course, filled with a bunch of other bullshit.

Day 39 - Letting The Audience Direct The Movie (HINT: The Movie Will Suck)

8:30 am, Aug 14, 2014, sitting at my kitchen table in my shitty, noisy apartment…

THE STORY OF SUCKING AND WHAT THAT MEANS

I hate sucking at stuff. I’ve talked about having a low frustration tolerance and how my reaction to any resistance or obstacles is to quit. That’s the first thing I turn to when things get the slightest bit difficult. And thus, it’s the reason I hate sucking at stuff.

I suck at podcasting. I suck at talking in a coherent way. I suck at coming up with material. I suck at just about every aspect of it except the actual nuts and bolts of recording, mixing, and producing. I’m actually pretty good at those more technical activities. And I hate it, because I’d rather be good at the part that people like, the talking, the riffing, the being interesting/entertaining.

The Hustlecast has hit one of those lulls where I’m struggling to come up with interesting content. At least, that’s my perception. I THINK I don’t have enough material. But how am I defining enough? How am I defining interesting content? I don’t have an answer to those questions.

I think it’s a matter of wanting to be “the best” right now, without putting in the hard, gritty work to get there. I listen to some podcasts and think, “how are they doing this? It sounds so professional and interesting, how can I do that?” And what I don’t see is the years of work they’ve put in to getting to that point. If I’d started podcasting 2 years ago and stuck with it, where would I be today? Who knows. But what if I stick with it, push through this shitty first phase of ramping up from absolutely terrible to somewhat mediocre? Where will I be 2 years from now?

I read a thing the other day, I don’t remember where, probably some book or something. It said something like, where will you be 5 years from now? If you start doing the thing you want to do, what will your life look like 5 years from now? If you don’t do the thing you want to do, where will you be 5 years from now? If you don’t do it, your life will probably look similar to what it is now. I really mutilated the quote, but that’s the jest of it.

So I push through the lull  working with what I got  practicing, experimenting, growing. I’m going to record a segment for The Hustlecast right now...

I totally didn't record a segment. I surfed the Internet instead, looking for THE answer. I should know already, since I've told you, to look in the obvious places. Why am I driving myself insane again? Everything is right in front of me, I just need to stop looking to the crowd for assistance.

Day 38 - Your Boss Is Trying To Kill You & Passing On The Lure Of Responsibility

10 am, Aug 13, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

THE STORY OF THE MANIACAL BOSSES

I've had two terrible bosses in my lifetime. One was a bully and the other I was convinced was a robot who had no off button.

The bully called me a pussy one time in front of the entire office. I had broke my ankle, literally shredded the tendons and cracked a bone, and I was on crutches. My ankle was swelled to the size of a small watermelon and just throbbed in pain every time I put my body in a vertical position. Getting out of bed in the morning took all the will to live I had.

I don't remember why he called me a pussy. Maybe because he was trying to prove to everyone he was the alpha male (he wasn't, he was a weak coward). The whole office was standing in a circle around him as he talked about, whatever, corporate bullshit talk. For some reason I can't remember, he looked me right in the eyes and said, "look at this pussy on crutches." I looked around like, "what the fuck?" His name was John Dome. I found his facebook thing a few weeks ago and was disappointed. I was hoping he'd be dead.

The other boss was more recent, at my last job. I could never prove it, but I had a suspicion that he was a robot. The only thing that threw a wrench in my theory was he was a really nice guy away from the work. But when there was work to be done, you'd better be doing it and doing it perfectly or there was hell to pay.

He'd constantly check on our work. He was constantly monitoring the computer systems our team managed, looking for issues, looking for problems, looking for things to get anxious about. Whenever there was a real problem, he'd go into a manic state of what I can only describe as enthusiastic confusion. He'd sigh a lot, beat on his keyboard, and yell at people who weren't keeping up with his robotic pace. I could see his blood pressure going into the red every time. And his stress caused me stress, to the point where I started having panic attacks.

I had to quit both jobs. The bully boss tried firing me because I sucked at collections (the job was collecting student loan debts, before I went back to college and got a degree). I had to quit my last job because my boss was trying to kill me. He wouldn't have been convicted of murder because it wasn't intentional. More like, manslaughter. He couldn't help but be an asshole in stressful situations. And he couldn't help stressing himself out over the smallest problems.

I was just thinking about this morning for some reason. Probably because August 2012 is when the panic attacks hit their peak and I sought medical intervention. I survived, and luckily found another, less stressful, marginally more rewarding job.

Listen to more on The Hustlecast...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #13 - When it comes to jobs, always take the easy road.

You don't get to choose who your boss is, unless you work in a very forward thinking company where bosses are "voted out of office" and replaced with someone elected by the people (I can't find the link, sorry).

My old bosses were just people who probably shouldn't be put in charge of other people. That's most bosses. Most people aren't good leaders. There was an experiment done at Stanford where ordinary, mild mannered students were organized into a prisoners and captors scenario. The conclusion of the experiment was people who are put in a position of authority tend to abuse their power. Not because they're terrible people, but because that's almost what's expected of people in positions of power.

The moral of the story is to ALWAYS take the easy road when it comes to the job. Take the easier, less paying job over the high stress, high pay, high expectations job. There's nothing rewarding about getting things done for a company that's only going to reward you with more work. There's no reason to put your body through the stresses. It's just not worth it.

It's more important to keep your eyes on doing your own thing, whatever it is. Do the minimum amount of work to get by at the job and save your energy for more interesting pursuits. Unless you're a career person who has no aspirations of anything more than getting a plaque and a handshake when you retire. Then, who fucking cares about you, get the fuck out of here!

I took my last job with the robotic boss because I needed the job. I didn't mind 99% of the people I worked around, and the company was a fun one to work for. But my robot boss and his douche bag boss were too much for my fragile body to take. Stress begets stress. It's contagious. Stay away from people who are in a constant high state of stress, because it'll infect you.

For things that don't matter, and your job doesn't matter (if you think it does, you're delusional and should seek therapy), the easy road is the best way to go.

Day 37 - Forced Experiments In Sleep Deprivation

9:11 am, Aug 12, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job, barely alive...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #11 - Push through the lulls.

     Tip #12 - SLEEP!

My thinking is foggy. I'm anxious. I'm feeling lazy. I'm having a hard time concentrating. The smallest tasks seem like a huge chore. Why?

Sleep is important. When I don't get enough, I feel like a zombie. I feel like I'm just marching along like the rest of the living dead. Everything seems hard. I have no motivation to do much of anything. My mind feels like it's standing in a hurricane of blowing garbage.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. I don't know what it is. I've cleaned up my diet, I'm back to wearing ear plugs, all the shit that helps me sleep in the vortex of a noisy, shitty apartment. But I keep getting up early and I'm not able to go back to sleep. 6.5 hours just isn't enough to keep me fresh.

Regardless, I still move forward. I still force myself to write this, even though it's really, really fucking hard. I force myself to work on things that matter, sacrificing as much as possible things that don't matter to save precious bandwidth.

I suppose there's other people in worse places. Insomnia and all that shit. I've never had much of a problem going to sleep. I have problems staying asleep. I remember when I was younger, I could sleep for days without problem. Now it's in my head, it's psychosymatic, where I believe if I wake up, I won't be able to go back to sleep. I'm blaming my sleep tracking thing, because I think about it when I'm lying in bed unable to go back to sleep. It's like your boss looking over your shoulder at everything you do. I've had those types of bosses before. It ain't a great feeling.

Regardless, I still move forward. Not that pressing forward is a good or healthy thing to do. Sometimes it's best to just be lazy, embrace to lull, wallow in it. But at least I need to show up to work. My job doesn't give a shit if I didn't sleep good the night before. There's no, "oh, OK, you didn't sleep good last night, take the rest of the day off." Fuck no. Progress must be made. I'm expected to show up, sit at my desk, and at least pretend to be working.

And that's what I do, at my job and in the things that matter. If it's important, do it every day  Remember that one? Wasn't it Woody Allen, the second creepiest celebrity behind Michael Jackson, that said, 90% of success is showing up? I could use the Google to look it up, but I need that energy to do more important things, like sit and stare out the window.

LESSONS LEARNED: FOCUS

I think it's safe to say, Super Poppycock has taken over as the primary, and only, project on my plate. I've tried scheduling time for other things (this blog and The Hustlecast aside), but I can't shake building this app. I see a lot of potential with it. And the best thing is, I don't feel overwhelmed any more. I feel like I've settled into a routine, for now. Now if I could just fucking sleep more, I might get on a roll.

Day 36 - Building Neurological Strength & The Busy Work Jack Off

10 am, Aug 11, 2014, sitting at my desk at the job...

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #10 - If it’s important, do it every day.

I want to do more pull ups. And by "do more," I mean, "do a." I'm weak like a boy who eats too much sausage.

For the longest time, it just wasn't that important to me. I was more worried about my pecs and my biceps, the vanity muscles that don't really contribute that much to overall strength (I was never that worried). It might be impressive to bench 275 lbs and curl 155 lbs, but, who fucking cares (I can’t do either of those, in high school, I could barely do the bar, it hasn’t got much better).

I decided that doing pull ups was a thing that was important to me. It's not the only thing that's important, but I added it to the list. Like writing is important, "getting abs" is important, building Super Poppycock is important. I do all those things damn near every day, because they're all important. OK, big fucking deal, I get it, it's important, do it every day, blah blah blah.

Why is it important to do it every day? Neurologically, (like I know anything about how the brain actually works) the more you repeat a task, the stronger the connection in brain becomes in regards to doing that task. For pull ups, that means my muscles get stronger the more I do them and my brain conditions those nerve pathways, or whatever, to do the work. In other words, it primes the pump better and better every time I do them.

I started not being able to do one, so I did them "assisted," using my legs only enough to get me to a point where I could pull myself up the rest of the way. After a couple of weeks, I was able to do one full range of motion, strict pull up. This is what a strict pull up looks like, not those leg kicking, Cross Fit garbage types. My goal is five, every day, and I'll probably keep going, because, why not?

If something is important to you, find the time to do it every day. If you're a writer, write every day, even if it's just the act of sitting down and thinking of something to write. Train yourself to do it every day, and suddenly, you'll have the time because your brain has programmed it as a habit, and habits must be exercised. Same with anything else, working out, starting a business, making money, whatever. Repeat after me, if it's important, do it every day.

LESSONS LEARNED: PIDDLING IN BUSY WORK

I figured out that I've been piddling in busy work when it comes to Super Poppycock. I've been polishing and polishing and shining and stewing on how to do some things for way too long. It's almost like I'm clinging to the obstacle instead of finding a way to either go around it or break it down.

It's taken me a while to see it. I've done it before on another app I was building that I never finished. I spent so much time, a few months, designing and redesigning and redesigning and thinking of features and how things should work to the point I never made any actual progress. Then I quit, because fuck it, it's too hard.

I lied, I’ve done it more than once. I’ve done it a lot. It’s almost like the thing I do.

That was about 4 years ago. Just thinking of where that app could be today makes me sick. It could be THE app everyone turns to for the niche it was going to be built for. Fuck me.

I've decided to simplify, build a rough sketch of the user interface, then make it work. I've scaled down the complexity and forced myself to work within limited space. It's amazing the creativity and progress that comes from cutting out choices and focusing on only a few. Penelope Trunk has a great thing about how keeping your options open is a recipe for stagnation. So far, focusing on just getting something functioning is paying off. I expect to have version 0.1 ready to use to start composing the So I Quit My Job project.

Day 34 - Fuck What Everyone Thinks, Says, Does, Or Advises

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #9 - Ignore everyone.

Hugh Macleod wrote possibly one of the greatest books of all time. Surely The Future Explorers will think so after it’s all said and done (and by all said and done, I mean when humans leave the planet for good).

The title of the book is “Ignore Everybody, and …” whatever. The premise is simple and powerful and so obvious that most people will ignore it. It can be summed up in a few phrases. All business models are broken, create your own. Scratch your own itch. Stop trying to be like everyone else and be like yourself. If you don’t know who yourself is, make it up so that it’s not like anyone else you know.

Super Poppycock was born from ignoring all the advice that was telling me that I should only build apps that are marketable, and that scratching your own itch is a recipe for failure. And I’ve talked about this before, maybe it will be a huge failure, a failure to make millions or even thousands or even hundreds. It may not make any money at all. But I’m defining failure a little differently. Since I’m building it first for myself, and second to sell to others, the only way I can fail is if A) I find something that already does what I want it to do, reliably, or B) I quit before it’s finished. Money is a secondary concern at this point, although I’ve already run some test ads and received some interest from others.

If I had listened to the gurus and self proclaimed “experts,” I’d be building some stupid generic business app for the lackeys who buy such crap. And it wouldn’t feel nearly the same as creating something useful for myself. Is any of this making sense?

It’s not that I’m a great success because I’ve stopped listening to the idiots droning on about doing it this way or that way; that worked great for them I’m sure. But I feel better about where I’m going. I’ve let go of deluding myself into thinking that I’ll ever be able to quit my job for good. But I have figured out a system that works well for me now. A system that allows me to work on shit I want to work on and spend only minimal time on shit I don’t give a fuck about.

My girlfriend told me a few months in something like, “you can’t change the system, create your own system.” And if you’re trying to listen to the talking advice head expert idiots, you’re going to end up in the same places over and over again. It’s a good sign if what you’re thinking about doing, or what you’re already doing, flies in the face of conventional wisdom, or goes against the norms of society, or rubs people the wrong way, or makes the purists angry, or is so boring that no one wants to pay any attention to you. Grind it out and see what comes of it.

THINKING ALOUD, BALDERDASH

I’m sitting in a Starbucks watching a parade of uptown hots stroll in and out. They’re wearing their lululemon outfits (nothing wrong with that, I got my own, quite impressive, lululemon collection), their shirt dresses with go go boots, or whatever they’re called, and they’re sauntering around trying to be seen. I see them. I see them all.

I’m wondering, whose fucking these girls. I read a thing somewhere, I think it was actually in “Ignore Everybody,” that said, anywhere where there’s an abundance of young hot girls ready to fuck will be expensive. I can’t help but think about that every time I step out on the street and see all these bunnies running around.

Then I’m reminded of this Louis CK bit, where he’s making fun of the hot girl at the bar. “What do you do?” “People want to fuck me, but not you, ha ha.” I don’t know why these things roll through my head.

I’m part of the whole dance, a willing participant. It makes me a little sad. But still, I wonder, whose fucking these girls?

Then the buff guy from the gym walks in. He’s a good 3 inches taller than me (I’m 6’2”) with shoulders as wide as a semi, and I think, “Oh, that’s who.” But I don’t know if that’s true either. At least not 100%. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but everyone is so wrapped up trying to be cool all the time that real business never gets accomplished. Like, they all stand around at the club waiting for the other to make the move. Or they’re all afraid of losing so they don’t act at all. I don’t know. I never see them flirting with each other in the wild, so I have to assume something weird is going on.

But still, someone has to be fucking them, right? Maybe that’s the book I should write next? The book about whose fucking all the hot girls.

Day 32 - The Top Of The Bell Curve & The Value Of Learning From The Ordinary

JUST THE TIP

     Tip #8: Never be the best, never be the worst.

This is my all time favorite tip for worker drones.

I've worked with a lot of over achievers, or people who thought that being the smartest, most productive worker meant they would get ahead faster, whatever "get ahead" means. The truth is, working harder than everyone else, getting more shit done than every one of your peers will get you ahead SLIGHTLY faster, but you can never outrun those who are in charge of your career. HINT: you're not in charge of your career, the people making the decisions about what you will work on and how much you should get paid are in charge. You can change jobs, or lobby for a bigger raise, but in the end, you're not going anywhere much faster than the person barely keeping his/her head above water, work wise.

Here's another hint: the destination, or the goal, or the expectation keeps getting pushed further and further out the closer you get to it. So if you produced 12 widgets this month, the expectation is to produce 15 next month. The powers in charge always expect more and more and more, especially if you're the best. It's not their fault, everyone is programmed to always be growing, getting better, producing more, which is stupid, because there's more growth opportunity from failing than there is from constantly succeeding.

If you're the best, your reward for working hard is more work, and MAYBE a half a percent higher raise at raise time. It's not worth it.

If you're the worst, you get fired, typically. Unless you work for a government contractor, then you can get away with being a bottom feeder, except you won't get much of a raise.

The best place to be is right in the middle. Blend in with the average, right at the peak of the bell curve. No one ever looks in those places for anything. They always look at the people sitting at the far right of the curve when something important and time consuming and labor intensive and stress inducing needs to get done. And they look at the people on the far left of the curve when they need to cut costs.

In the meaty, fat middle, you'll get your COLA raise every year and people will tend to leave you alone. This works best in a big company, where it's easy to disappear into the crowd. At smaller companies, it's a bit harder, but still can be done. I think I've become a master at it. Shit, maybe I should write a book about that. I'm not sure I have enough material to fill an entire book. Because I'm running out of material right here, now, these are just filler words.

The point of staying in the middle or slightly below is to save your time and energy for more interesting pursuits, which you do want to strive to be your best at.

THINKING ALOUD

As I scrubbed my ball sack this morning, I was wondering, yet again, the purpose of this blog. Is it so I have an outlet to write in everyday? Is it supposed to be useful? Will I somehow be able to turn all this content into a book some day? I don't know.

I guess I was hoping when I started this thing that everyday would provide a good lesson in making money or whatever. Turns out, that some days are just regular, boring days where routine dominates. Actually, that's most days. Extraordinary days are rare, and I question anyone who claims to have a remarkable day every day.

Then I got to thinking that maybe I should only write when I have something really valuable to share? But then, if I go that route, then I'll lose interest in writing this thing. I know myself. I need to do it every single day. And not just write drivel, but also share. I at least need the illusion that someone, somewhere will find value in this.

Then I wondered if I would be interested in reading something like this. The answer was no. Why do I care about the struggles of some nobody who isn't really engaged in doing anything spectacular? All those bloggers who pump up their lives and write clickable headlines are full of shit. Douche bag shit fucks. At least, that's my justification.

Although, I do think there's tremendous value in learning from people doing ordinary, boring things, and being successful at them. I look at my grandfather and uncle and think if the internet had been a thing when they were in their prime, they might have very popular blogs about welding and running your own shop. They'd probably leave out all the hyperbole though, like this sentence, this post, this whole month worth of material.

I guess I should let go of trying to force fit this into being useful to you, the precious reader, because I don't have any readers, so it doesn't really matter what I write here. But maybe the reason I don't have readers is because there's nothing useful here? Ugh, I'm driving myself insane thinking about it. I'm taking tomorrow off from thinking about this stupid thing.

Day 31 - Thirty Day Progress Report, Or, What's Going On In A-ron's World

Ordinary Hustla is now 30! Days, not years. Ha ha, you thought it was going to be, whatever.

I think every 30 days is a good point to stop down the bombardment of useful information (sarcasm) and give a little progress report. A sort of, What's Going On In A-ron's World. Aren't you exited?

Super Poppycock

Super Poppycock is a going to be a writing app, specifically catering to digital books and geared towards self publishers. It uses markdown as the format editing language, because markdown is simple and the new new thing right now in the world of markup languages. It will allow a writer to quickly convert and "prettify" a book that is Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc ready. It'll do everything but design the cover image. It'll run on Mac and Windows with plans to run on iDevices in the future.

Here's what the thing looks like so far on Windows...

If you're familiar with the Mac only app, Ulysses, then you'll notice a lot of similarities. Mainly, the interface looks almost exactly alike. I don't care, it's a nice interface. Wasn't it Paul McCartney or Oprah or someone that said, "good artists borrow, great artists steal." Well then, just consider me great because I stole the concept of their interface.

Here's a shot of the greeting screen...

I modeled it after Garageband, which has a really intuitive opening screen to guide you exactly where you want to go in a hurry.

That's about all it does right now, besides the fancy markdown syntax highlighting (I'm really proud of that, although Qt made it really easy). I really wrestled with how to make it behave. Now I'm currently struggling with how to store books. I hate the whole syncing nonsense. I like being in control of when things get saved, although there will be some sort of auto save functionality, just in case you forget, or your grandma walks in on you watching scat porn and you accidentally slam your computer shut so hard it bursts into a million pieces.

I've been going back and forth with storing book data in a SQLite database or just using plain JSON. I think I've pretty much settled on using JSON, because it's simple, it's text based, and Qt has good support for it. I can always ramp up to a database if need be in the future.

I estimate I'm about 20% done, with plans of having version 1.0 ready for the public sometime in October or November of this year.

So I Quit My Job

So I Quit My Job is a blog I wrote in 2009 outlining my adventures after I quit my high paying corporate gig and took a year off from cubicle slavery. This is a project to turn all those posts, the good ones anyway, into a book.

I haven't made much progress, aside from setting up the directory on Dropbox and editing a couple of the posts. I anticipate giving this more attention in the next 30 days.

I estimate I'm 10% done with this. After all, the hard work of writing the shit is done. All I got to do now is edit the damn thing and format it into an e-book. And also, design a cover, which is a huge pain in the ass because I suck at digital design.

The Abs Project

The Abs Project is my quest to "get a six pack." It's more about experimenting with different protocols that don't require me to starve myself or train for ridiculous amounts of time. It's also about getting super strong and the mental aspects of lifestyle change.

This is my first week, so not much to report other than I did a bunch of research, and pretty much in the end decided to incorporate only a little bit and make changes gradually. So this first month is all about eating protein and fiber for breakfast, working out every day doing "fat burning" movements, and staying away from the sweet stuff. Oh, and keep a food and training diary.

This is an ongoing thing, for at least the next few months. The eventual goal is to turn the results into a book or maybe some kind of weekly e-course, something I can sell. To that end, I've made almost no progress, but I'm optimistic I can pull it off.

The Hustlecast

The Hustlecast is the audio companion to this blog. It's billed as the condensed, more useful version of this site. But I know, and you'll know if you listen, it's all about me honing my broadcasting chops for the big time. That doesn't mean it's not useful, or interesting, or funny, it is. Go listen.

There's no progress to report. I'm 3 episodes in, with plans on publishing a new show every week. After a year, I'm going to pitch local radio stations of the show idea. Yeah, this means I'm practicing for a major career change.

---

You are my friend, cherished reader person. I hope you play along instead of sitting on the sidelines watching with a 64oz beer chomping down buckets of those nasty stadium nachos.

If you'd like to tell me how awesome and sexy you think I am, or you want to tell me how stupid I am, send me an email: i@a-ron.me. I'm always open to friendly things, and not so friendly things also (but get ready for massive abuse in return ;).

Day 30 - Producitivity Limitations & The Habitual Stupidity Loop

[JUST THE TIP]

Tip #7 - Observe the two hour rule.

Reading this changed my life.

If you work in an office where you're not performing some repeated task over and over again[1], you observe the two hour rule on some level. Whether you pace your productivity to match the hours you have to be at work, or you slack off by yakking with your co-workers about LeBron James going back to Cleveland (he'll regret it if he can't deliver them a title). Or any of a number of distracting activities that take place during the workday (meetings is the one that pops in my head first).

I'm writing this as I "work." I spend about 2 hours a day, 2 highly focused, highly concentrated, kick ass hours, working on work stuff. Sometimes more, sometimes less. And I feel I'm more productive in those 2 hours than I ever was over 8 hours.

This goes hand in hand with Parkinson's Law, which states: work expands to fill the time allotted. I still do the same amount of work that's expected of me, no more, no less, but I've re-arranged the time frame I complete it in. Instead of spreading the work over 8 hours and getting bogged down in distractions, I compress all the productivity into a 2 hour window, leaving the remaining 6 hours all to myself, for activities such as this. It's amazing how tight deadlines cause incredible leaps in productivity, creativity, time management, and eliminating distractions (i.e. getting shit done). 

The point of it all is to cut the fat out of your work day if you can and focus your efforts on work work to free up time for more interesting pursuits. Don't go to meetings you don't have to be at. Don't get sucked in to conversations with your co-workers about inane things like weather patterns or what happened on soccer mom cougar housewives of Beverly Hills last night. Don't dawdle your day away on the Internet. Instead, schedule time for these activities. I keep a simple note card that has my day mapped out. I schedule 30 minutes for this blog, a couple of hours for Super Poppycock, and a few hours for work work. During down time, I can do whatever, surf the web, chat with co-workers, take a walk (<-- prefer this over everything else).

It's not a foolproof plan, because there's circumstances that can limit your ability to pull it off. Bosses and the rest of the uninitiated members of the work force think 8 hours must be spent engaged in work work. And if you're not doing work for work's sake, then there's a problem. They never stop down to take an objective look at the actual work they produce in a day, or ask the simple question, "is there a better, more efficient way?" The answer is yes, this is it.

Then you have the bosses that think, "well, if you can cram a day's worth of productivity into 2 hours, imagine what you could get done in 8 hours." I'm not an expert at how the mind functions, but I do know I can't force myself to sustain any level of focused concentration longer than about 45 minutes. And I only have about 2 to 4 good 45 minute bursts in me a day. The rest of that time is spent trudging along at a snail's pace. Thinking that 2 hours of 100% productivity translates linearly into 8 hours of 400% productivity is stupid, idiotic, fucking moronic. We're not fucking robots. And I'm not even going to say anything about expectations and how the reward for doing excellent work is simply more work.

I guarantee applying this rule will change your work life for the better. Guaranteed, or your money back! Ha! Get it? You didn't pay any money for this, so, OK, fuck you!

[1] If you have to answer phones, or stuff envelopes all day, or something else that requires you to keep repeating a task over and over, it's hard to follow the two hour rule. Sorry.

[END: JUST THE TIP]

I get this little voice in the back of my head sometimes when things start getting hard. It's not really in the back though, it's more like sitting right on my forehead smoking a cigar and shouting at me through a bull horn.

I've run in to a bit of an issue with Super Poppycock. Not really an issue, more like something that's going to be really hard to implement because Qt doesn't offer an already made solution. Two things happen with me when these things pop up:

  1. I think about switching tools. Instead of going with Qt, go see if something else makes it easier.
  2. I get the urge to look for the next idea, one that might be easier to do.

The problem with #1 is there is probably a tool that makes the hard thing easier, but it might make something else harder. I have to remind myself of Tip #6work with what I have. And also, that I'm a more than competent computer scientist. It may be a little, or a lot, of extra work, but it's worth it in the end. Besides, if it wasn't hard, everyone would be doing it, right?

#2 is typically the route I pick. I put whatever it is that got hard down and go looking for something new to play with. It's low frustration tolerance coupled with laziness resulting from living in extreme comfort. (I love how we keep inventing new things to "treat." When the meds come out that address my low frustration tolerance, I'll be the guy in the commercial jogging through a field of daisies or whatever with a big smile on my face.)

I have to keep reminding myself to push forward. If I keep going, where will I be in a year? If I give up and start something new, then I'm only buying in to that way of doing things. It's inevitable that the new thing will get hard at some point, and the precedence is to quit and go do something different. I can't keep reinforcing that paradigm. That was the old A-ron.

Day 29 - How To Be Mediocre, But Look Good Doing It

[JUST THE TIP]

     Tip #6 - Work with what you have available.

To me, there’s nothing more conflicting than the mixed emotions of preparing to do work. Planning, gathering equipment, jockeying for position, more planning, more equipment gathering. Gotta have the right tools if you want to do the job right, right? Can’t be excellent if you’re not using “the best” most cutting edge stuff available for the task at hand, right?

I had written and recorded about 18 demo songs for an album I was trying to make. I did all this using nothing but a cheap Marshall amp, my grandfathers acoustic guitar, a $100 Blue Snoball USB mic, and Garageband, the free audio app that comes with all macs. Buts that’s all I ever saw the songs as, demos. I couldn't possibly “release” these to the public being recorded on shitty equipment I had just laying around. I needed to re-record them all on professional level equipment and in a proper studio.

So I did just that, kinda. I spent months collecting the equipment I was going to need to turn these demos into professional sounding songs. I built a home studio, lining the walls and ceiling of an extra room I had in my big, overpriced, albatross of a house with expensive fiberboard. I bought a $4000 tube amplifier, a $2000 audio interface, $2000 worth of microphones, cables, compressors, software, and even a brand new acoustic guitar. I became an ebay jockey, snatching deals up left and right. I was about to become a rock star!

You know what wound up happening? Nothing. I had all this kick ass equipment, songs ready to go, and I did nothing. I made excuses about not having enough time, or it not being the right time, or blah blah blah. I got off on the preparation, the spending of the money, the pretending to be at the finish line in first place, but I wasn’t willing to put in the actual work.

The reality was, I already had everything I needed with the original setup. And I’d argue, that the cheap setup was better than the fancy, smancy expensive setup, because it made me focus on the songs instead of the equipment. I was more limited, so I had to be more creative. And with a little extra work, those demo songs would’ve been just fine.

I thought better equipment and more hardware horsepower would magically turn those demo songs into audio gold. But if I would’ve just worked with what I had available, I might be in a different place right now (I doubt it, even though I think those songs were good, the humans of Earth would probably disagree).

It’s taken me a long time, and for smarter people than me to articulate it in a way my stupid ass can understand, that the equipment doesn't matter. Hugh Macleod calls it “hiding behind pillars.” That’s exactly what I was doing by gathering all the equipment. I was trying to turn myself from a dabbling amateur with limited talent into a pro by throwing expensive equipment at the problem. When the real problem was my limited talent.

I think I’ve learned my lesson. Although, I do find myself thinking I need the latest and greatest writing app, or the latest and greatest business philosophy, or the latest and greatest fitness equipment in order to get started. Just get fucking started and make due with what you have available.

[END: JUST THE TIP]

The girlfriend was out of town again this weekend. I had all sorts of time to waste, and surprisingly, I didn't waste much of it. I did spend more time than a human should playing this stupid iPad game where you steer an out of control car across a hilly course and collect coins and shit. It’s very addictive. I could sit on the toilet and play it all day if that was an activity that people considered healthy. Luckily, I realized what a zombie I was becoming and quit before the damage became irreversible.

I did some prepping for the abs project. Mainly, psyching myself up. I’m worried that I won’t be able to execute the plan over the long haul. I’m afraid I’m going to miss “children” food (think fast food, candy, sodas, sweets, and any crap that comes out of box or bag). I’m afraid people aren't going to support me and it will give me an excuse to cave. That last one is more like a risk than a fear, because the likelihood that it is realized is almost 100%. People don’t tend to like it when you suddenly go off the rails and stop eating the same things they eat. Food is such a religion in this country, along with just about everything else, and when someone changes religions, it’s a big deal and people like to get upset.

It happened this way when I did the vegan thing for a while (which, for the record, don’t ever go vegan, it’s complete bullshit). I had to go upstairs and talk my neighbor one time, this weird Canadian couple who sounded like angry rhinos when they walked across the floor. She offered me some turkey and I had to politely tell her that I don’t eat meat. You would think by her reaction that I just cut off her husband's head in front of her and ate his eyeballs, or something. She said, “oh,” and then switched the subject. Food is a big fucking deal.

Today is only the first day, but so far so good.

Day 27 - Your Life Is About To Get WAY Easier

[JUST THE TIP]

     Tip #5 - Simplify.

Remember yesterday? Remember? This tip fits in nicely with that one. They should actually go together, but I have to do this everyday, so….

I’m having deja vu, and in the act of having deja vu, I’m having deja vu. It’s like inception, where they have to go inside that guy’s dream and then go into the dream he has inside his dream. And I think they have to go inside that dream also. It makes me insane.

Anyway, the deja vu has past. I read a thing on Uberfacts on Twitter that said deja vu was your brain’s attempt to apply a past memory to the current situation, failing, so it just makes something up and you feel like it’s happened before. Or something like that.

You see how complex all that was? Worrying about the details before the details need to be worried about will drive you insane. Trying to figure out EXACTLY how to do something before even doing it will also drive you insane. It’s driven me insane on numerous occasions. So when things start getting difficult/hard/frustrating/insane, time to simplify.

I used to try and jump in the middle of something, or flagellate about starting something because I didn’t understand the starting rules that someone was trying to desperately explain, or I tried to do something advanced when I didn’t have the basics down. If I would’ve just started with the basics, step zero, I might be a lot further ahead in life than I am.

I remember trying to do back rolls in ninjutsu. It took me two months to get it basically right. And I only started doing them right when I let go of trying to focus on the details and instead concentrated on just getting my feet over my stupid head. Before, I was worried about my shoulder position, was my arm in the right spot, did I tuck my chin at the proper time, was I using enough velocity. I was almost literally trying to calculate complex physics equations in my head during the roll instead of just worrying about throwing my fucking legs over my fucking head.

That’s what it means to simplify. Start with the absolute basics and build from there. Those motocross guys who jump 80,000 feet in the air and do all sorts of stunts while airborne had to start by just landing the jump. Actually, they had to start by working up the courage to go higher and higher until they got so good at it they decided to do stuff in the air because it was so boring. Actually, they had to learn how to ride a motorcycle without dying first.

That’s what it means to simplify. Learn to ride the motorcycle without dying first before worrying about where the perfect hand position is on a double piston superman scrap triple flip (if that’s even a thing).

[END: JUST THE TIP]

I got a ticket today for an expired inspection tag and a couple of warnings for not having a front license plate and an out of date drivers license. My license is from Arizona. It doesn’t expire until 2035. Why would I want to pay for a license that expires every couple of years. Fuck that.

Texas is the only place I’ve lived where everything driving related is a separate transaction. In Arizona, when you get new plates, you have to get a new license also. Here, you get plates at one place, your license at another, AND you have to get a stupid inspection sticker from somewhere. Whatever. Fuck that cop for being a dildo.

Despite all those hardships (just the one), I got some work done on Super Poppycock. It’s coming along nicely, although I’m struggling to figure some things out. I suppose I should take a step back and apply the tip of the day, huh? Fucking simplify, idiot!

Day 26 - The Obvious Places & The Preacher In Me

[JUST THE TIP]

Tip #4 - Look in all the obvious places. You'll find all the answers there.

I've been reading a lot of Dan John stuff lately in preparation for the abs project, which started today. He's the type of guy that can see the forest for the trees. He can spot the leopard that's about to eat your throat standing right in front of your face. He easily finds Waldo...

I spent a lot of time trying to fit into someone else's mold. And by "spent," I mean "wasted." I always ignored the obvious in favor of trying to find the latest and greatest, or thinking that I could recreate things. I talk about this a little on The Hustlecast, about force fitting someone else’s path, trying to make it my own, which NEVER works.

It's like the default path The System provides, which is go to school, get a job, take a knee and wait to die. That path works great for most people, but it's never suited me very well. Not because I'm somehow special or different or whatever. Actually, I don't know the reason. It's probably because I'm a control freak. I like to have complete control over everything. And I don't play nicely with others, which isn't 100% percent true all the time either. And I don't like people telling me what to do and how to do it and when to show up where and what to wear and how to behave, etc. That’s why I’ve been told more times than 10 that I have a bad attitude, typically by someone who is slave to following stupid fucking rules.

Anyway, Dan John talks a lot about simplifying, about looking for the answers to you strength/fitness problems in the obvious places. The cool thing is, this also applies to about 99% of the rest of life. Almost all the answers a person is looking for are right in front of their face. They just have to be willing to focus their eyes off the bullshit that doesn't matter and instead focus on the obvious. And the reason most people don’t do this is because the obvious isn’t sexy or exciting or fun or profitable. That last one is the reason the self help industry rakes in billions every year.

The wasted time I spent looking for the sexy answers to my problems could've been better spent building the skills I already possess and focusing on the simple things that make up my foundation. Instead of trying to do this and that, things that never felt like a good fit for me, I should have been doing the obvious. Writing, making weird/creative/whatever software, and whatever else is better suited to me.

I guess the bottom line is, when things start getting tough or frustrating or whatever, it's time to simplify and look in the obvious places for the answers. Trying to find a business idea? Stop reading crap about how other people are doing things (and crap like this) and focus on what you already know. A lot of idiots are going to tell you it's stupid to scratch your own itch, but I argue that scratching your own itch is more rewarding, fulfilling, etc. It may not make you $100 million and turn you into the next big Chris Chris, but you'll be happier for it in the long run. I promise.

If you don't have an itch to scratch, then make one up. Pick a direction and move. In a short time, you'll find the answer. This blog started like that. I just decided to start doing it one day. It may turn out to be nothing after a while, but it's put me on a path. It's given me the answer I was looking for at the time. It's validated my existence. It's silenced all my questions...for now. Try doing something similar, for your health.

[END: JUST THE TIP]

Ain’t I special, being all preachy and shit. The same crap I rail against. I feel like such a hypocrite. Oh well, I feel like it needs to be told, for my own sake. Because a month from now, when i’m tunneling down some rabbit hole chasing the Sasquatch, maybe I’ll look back and read these tips as a slap in my stupid face. Yeah, that’s it.

Day 25 - If You Move More, You Won't Die Sooner Than You Should

[JUST THE TIP]

Tip #3 - Walk and move, a lot. 

Remember yesterday's tip, stand up to work? This tip is along similar lines.

I read a thing the other day, I don't remember where, probably Twitter Uberfacts or something similar. It said, we perform tasks and learn better when we do it in intervals. Like, working for 30 minutes, then taking a 10 minute break is more effective than working 2 hours straight, sitting in a chair, scarfing down mountains of hot dogs (not sure why that image popped in my head). Learning is similar, except you're supposed to study, then sleep, study then sleep, etc. When we sleep, our brain takes all the information you've collected and "stores" it where it needs to go, plus makes sense of it.

Working is the same way, for me anyway. I tend to get my best thoughts in the morning, right after waking up, or in the middle of the night when I'm sitting on the toilet peeing (yeah, I sit down to pee at night, because I have a tendency to pee on the floor when I'm half conscious). Like, if I could capture every thought I've ever had in the morning, without having to get out bed or make any effort, the world would laud me as some kind of genius. I'm not sure what kind, but some kind for sure.

The point is, work in bursts, then go move. Walk, run, pushups, pullups, jumping jacks, sex, whatever. I get my best ideas when I'm away from trying to force ideas out of my head. It works. Our minds were built to think on the go, while running away from a blood thirsty jackalope, or fighting some other human whose trying to kill you because you thought about banging his woman.

Plus, it'll help you not die sooner than you should. If you were paying attention yesterday, SHOULD can't be quantified, but God likes taking the slothful first. Thinning the heard as best He can I guess.

So if you're stuck and/or frustrated and/or pissed off, go for a walk and shake your fist at God for giving you all these uncomfortable feelings.

[END: JUST THE TIP]

That's all I got today. Tune in tomorrow for more fun.

P.S. I've punted the whole time invested, progress made stuff. I don't think it was helping anyone, including me. I'm trying to think of something better/more interesting/more useful. If you have any ideas, please tell me or someone else first. Thanks.

Your pal,
A-ron

 

Day 24 - Standing Up & Zero Progress Shame

[JUST THE TIP]

Tip #2: Stand up to work.

I'm as guilty as anyone snuggling in my comfy, faux-leather office chair. Or sprawling on my soft, pillowy couch when I'm doing work that requires a computer.

It's the classic "work position," or "C position," because you're upper body is shaped like a "C" when you're scrunched over your keyboard feeding the corporate profit machine, or sending that Facebook status update that lets everyone know just how miserable your life has become (everyone knows it but you), or whatever.

When you stand up, you're more focused, you have more energy, and you're less likely to die earlier than you should. I don't know how true that last one is, because how do I know when I SHOULD die? That doesn't mean you should give God an excuse to pull the plug early on your existence. Standing up will at least make Him think twice.

Scholarly types and the always vague, "experts," are touting that sitting is the new smoking. I don't know how true this is either, but it doesn't matter. I just know that when I'm standing, I tend to work better/faster/stronger (that last one is hard to measure). And when I sit, I tend to fall asleep easier, or drift off into la la land, or watch my waist increase. Plus, I make poorer food choices when sitting. That one's hard to quantify also, but I know it in my head hole (or maybe sitting gives me an excuse to eat shittier?). It's almost as if sitting makes me feel like I've given up. It drains my motivation. It turns my brain to mush. The ideas stop flowing, the energy fades, and I might as well be sinking down into my coffin.

[END: JUST THE TIP]

Today has been one of those days. Those types of days where progress is practically non-existent. I feel so worthless.

I think The System is designed this way. I think we're trained to feel shame if we're not constantly contributing, or moving forward, or not working towards some stupid goal. The System needs a dedicated work force that feels a deep obligation (aka FEAR) to get the job done. At least until the robots take over. Or, hopefully, this new generation, or the one after, or the one after, will break this paradigm and invent something new to repress people. Until then, I have to SIT and feel shame for making zero progress. And the likelihood of making progress today is close to nothing.

I blame it on the beat down day at the job. It's such a whip. Absolutely draining, mentally and physically. And plus, the boss is here in person, and he asks questions and sits around a looms. Studies show that an employee's blood pressure and anxiety rises when in the presence of the boss (I can't find the link, but it's true. Trust me, I'm an on the line blogger :). So see, even more reason to get off your ass and try to get out from under a boss that is trying to kill you.

That's my excuse of the day. Maybe I should start that section as well? I can call it, "Why I Didn't Do Shit Today, And Here's A Hint, It's Because Of My Job."

OK, it's still early. I'm gonna go do something useful to justify my existence on this planet.

OK, it's later. I didn't do shit.

Day 23 - Irresolution & Debut Of "Just The Tip"

I was thinking how worthless this blog is to anyone but myself. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, because the point of this whole thing isn't to ram MY philosophies down your throat, but to document my struggles, successes, and things that work and don't work for me. It may seem harsh and turn a lot of people off, but I ain't doing this for anyone but myself, and if someone else benefits, even better. The Hustlecast is more for ramming philosophy down your throat, so go listen to that and have a laugh.

But I think this thing is not very beneficial to me either. Now we've got a problem. So I ask myself, how can I make this be more beneficial to me first, then you, the cherished reader (I got an A in sarcasm), second?

When I wrote the So I Quit My Job blog way back in 2009, I used it as more of a "do this, don't do that" thing targeted at myself. Stuff like, only look at social media for fifteen minutes a day, stay away from TV, and shit like that. I never followed any of those stupid rules. Instead, I did almost the exact opposite. I spent all but 15 minutes of my day doing the things I considered a waste of time.

Or maybe I should just stick to formula for a while. It's only been 3 weeks. Surely, if I keep practicing, useful stuff will come of this, right? I'm such a wishy washy flip flopper.

Really, this blog isn't the most important thing. I don't have any plans to make money from it. I'd like to share everything I know, answer questions, and help others without making people fork over money for it. Besides, I don't have any real valuable information to share. Well, I do, but those will be put into books later. See? See how conflicted and contradictory I am? Don't be like me. Love me?

How about this, I promise myself that I'll try and include some useful tidbits every day. Maybe I'll dedicate a section of each post to "lessons learned" or "do this, don't do that," and actual mean it this time (because I'm already following it).

OK, I already got one. Ladies and gentlemen, the first "Hustle Tip of The Day" (the name needs work. How about, "Just The Tip?" No? Too sexual?):

Tip #1 - Stop drinking alcohol. Seriously, stop.

I can hear your mouse clicking the back button after reading that. Am I insane? Why should I stop drinking?

Back in 2009, if I had not been a drinker, I might've been better suited to achieve my goal of never having to work a stupid fucking job ever again. If I hadn't spent a good HALF OF MY TIME either consuming alcohol or recovering from consuming alcohol, I mght've actually hustled enough to call the day job paradigm quits.

I quit drinking for real about 2 years ago and haven't looked back. It gets easier to quit with age (I'm almost 42 now), but the sooner you get serious about leaving alcohol behind, the sooner you'll discover the greatness of living in absolute sobriety.

So just stop, 99.9%. I drink one day a year. Super Bowl Sunday, and only during the game, when the player men are actually on the field running around and doing stuff. I hope it stays this way, because I like not having to (re)schedule my life around being drunk and being hungover.

Oh, you don't like that tip? Well, suck it.