One Conversation Can Change Everything

One Conversation Can Change Everything

It’s been my experience that creatives often feel a sense of pressure when confronted with the idea of “networking” or “building connections.”

Lest you consider me unsympathetic, I was very much confronted by the idea of holding a conversation with a stranger, let alone ordering food at the mall food court, in my early 20s. It took me a long time just to feel safe and comfortable with a seemingly simple exchange like that.

If we were to think of our comfort zone as a series of concentric circles, it follows that there would be a new level of comfort to develop at each step – saying “hi,” holding a meaningful conversation, making a request, asking someone out on a date, and so on.

But.

The whole idea of comfort zones and degrees of comfort, and even the idea that you can’t network because you’re an introvert, is all made up. They are conventions to help us better understand ourselves and our surroundings, but rarely do they hold up as concrete rules without exception. Also see: Make believe.

Which is to say, it’s fine to approach the idea of a comfort zone as if you were leveling up a character in a role-playing video game, so long as you understand that you’re basically making up the rules as you go. I’m a big fan of gamifying life.

But innumerable anomalies exist in thinking there is only linear progression and no exponential progression available.

For instance, someone could go from saying “hi” to asking their crush out in a hot minute, if the desire and motivation was strong enough.

I have also found that seemingly small things like the day you’ve just had, the consumption of caffeine or alcohol, or reading 10 pages from a book can alter what you perceive as being possible for yourself. Basically, your willingness to act is a moving target, regardless of personal temperament.

All that to say, one connection can change everything. Sometimes, just one conversation can change everything. I know because I just had one of those conversations today. I can see it being a game changer in how I approach content creation, which is something I enjoy, but at times, has been a burden.

Sourcing everything from your own mind sets certain limitations in place, since you can only act on what you know, and what you know that you don’t know. If you know how to write, you can use that. If you know that you can’t speak German, you can at least take the first step today in learning a new language.

But there exists another category of knowledge – what you don’t know that you don’t know. You can’t penetrate that barrier without reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a video, taking a course, getting into conversations, and the like.

If you source everything from what you know, you’re leaning solely on your past. That’s the biggest limitation of all. The past doesn’t equal the present let alone the future. The past can’t necessarily tell you the best course of action now. It can help, but its accuracy and efficacy are in question.

When it comes to connecting, you don’t need to force anything. You can simply allow. You can allow others to contribute. You can allow yourself to ask “stupid” questions. You can allow yourself to feel whatever you feel in terms of physical symptoms when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time. Emotions and physical symptoms don’t make an interaction “bad.”

Your next breakthrough may be waiting on the other side of a conversation. Maybe not. But how will you know unless you try?

The New Podcasts Page is Here

The New Podcasts Page is Here

Yesterday, I shared about the addition of The Question Podcast to my blog archives.

And today, I bring you the new podcasts page.

On the old podcast page, all you could do was subscribe to The New Music Industry Podcast and Thought Thursday. The new podcast page is a huge upgrade in that regard – you’ll be able to scan and access podcast content directly.

Now, this page should not be considered complete as of today, but I think you can see where I’m going with it.

On the left side, you’ll find links to the 100 most recent episodes of The New Music Industry Podcast, a show that’s been going strong since 2016. The last couple of weeks have been a little insane in terms of workload for me, so unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to adding a new episode in a while, but I do have many in the can to be published.

Then, on the right side of the page, you’ll find links to some of the other podcasts I’ve been involved in. There are still more shows to add to the sidebar (and thus to the archives), but all in good time.

Some shows are ostensibly complete, like The Question Podcast. Some have been on hiatus, like Thought Thursday. And some I’m either involved in or just getting started with – The New Music Industry Podcast and the brand-new Adrenalize Def Leppard Fan Podcast (which is already gaining some traction out of the gate!).

I have no plans of adding the Adrenalize Def Leppard Fan Podcast to the blog archives, at least not for now, so you will be taken offsite should you choose to listen to it. To be fair, that’s the case for The New Music Industry Podcast as well.

There is still much to do for this page to reach its full potential, but we’re getting there, so stay tuned.

The Question Podcast Has Been Added to the Archives

The Question Podcast Has Been Added to the Archives

In my ongoing efforts to simplify and bring my content under fewer umbrellas, I’m excited to announce the addition of all 29 episodes of The Question Podcast to my blog archives today.

I’m not looking to steal any thunder from The Question website, which will remain online indefinitely. Ostensibly completing in July 2018, the podcast (blast from the not-so-distant past), had a multi-year run, beginning October 2015. It was even available for download on iTunes while it was active.

The community began as a TEDx Talks style grassroots initiative exploring the nature of truth. Our bold community leader, Frederick Tamagi, was the primary presenter at most monthly gatherings, but I also gave a few presentations and was even onsite tech / host of the podcast. We also had performances via local poets and musicians at each gathering.

As I recall, not all presentations were ultimately turned into podcast episodes (I oversaw the initiative in my limited spare time with two helpers), but almost everything was captured and uploaded to The Question YouTube channel.

Next Steps:

It’s times like these I’m grateful for WordPress’ import / export function, because without it, adding just five episodes to the blog would prove a lengthy and tedious process.

So far as boring technical details are concerned, though, I still plan to:

  • Add a featured image to each post.
  • Add a canonical link to each post.
  • Revise the introduction and content for each episode.
  • Add a transcription for each episode.

A Complete List of Episodes:

If you’d like to delve into one of the lesser known shows I was a part of, here’s a complete list of episodes for your perusal. You can also find everything under The Question Podcast.

On Thinking Slow

On Thinking Slow

Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. – Tim Ferriss

In the world of performance, action is all that matters. But not all actions are weighted equally. Different actions lead to different outcomes. Therein lies the challenge of the modern creative, creator, or entrepreneur.

It doesn’t require specialized knowledge, skill, or talent to be a hard worker. Anyone can have a work ethic. In culture, work ethic is worn like a badge of honor. But with so many competing on work ethic, it’s fast becoming the mass transit to burnout and disappointment as opposed to the golden ticket to success.

The adage, “if you see everyone going the same way, turn and run the other way” applies here, even among the population that consider themselves counterculture already.

To be highly effective today, you’ve got to start thinking slow.

Most Things Make No Difference

Your to-do list may be a mile long. But if you were to 80/20 your list, you’d discover that just 20% of your work accounts for 80% of the results. If you apply 80/20 to itself, it becomes 64/4. Which means just 4% of your activity accounts for 64% of the results.

Let that sink in. Ferriss’ assertion that most things make no difference is devastatingly accurate as applied to the life of an independent creator or entrepreneur.

What does that mean in concrete, real-world terms? Let’s have a look.

You may be sharing your message across 18 marketing channels. The Pareto Principle (80/20) suggests only three and a half channels are producing any kind of results for your business. But if you were to apply the rule to itself (64/4), you’d find that barely one (if one) channel is responsible for the results you’re generating.

Author, podcaster, marketing speaker and entrepreneur Joe Pulizzi frequently says you can only do one or two things with excellence. Examine what you’re doing, and you will find that of the many items that line your to-do lists, you’re only doing a few of them at a high level. Everything else is noise.

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it. – Henry Ford

Thinking is hard work. But if you’re chasing true productivity, you must identify the few things that are going to make a difference.

Busyness is a Form of Laziness

To me, “busy” implies that the person is out of control of their life. – Derek Sivers

Why are we so busy? What exactly are we doing with our time? Where is it all going?

I’ve shared about the horrifying realities of busywork before. Engaging in busywork is a lot like pulling your smartphone out of your pocket to alleviate boredom and anxiety. It may give you temporary relief, but all it does is reinforce your addiction and deplete your time deposit.

Engaging in busywork is a lot like pulling your smartphone out of your pocket to alleviate boredom and anxiety. It may give you temporary relief, but all it does is reinforce your addiction and deplete your time deposit. Share on X

All things being equal, action is better than inaction. One of marketing guru Dan S. Kennedy’s Wealth Magnets (as proposed in the sublime No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy), is Do Something.

But that doesn’t negate the importance of thinking. Thinking offers access to the specific actions that hold the keys to your greatest goals and desires.

If you’re busy doing the right things, it’s planned. If you’re busy taking indiscriminate actions, you’re in an insanity cycle and have delusions of grandeur.

A Fresh Access

We’ve all heard about working smarter not harder. But it’s like pouring salt on an open wound, because we’ve all felt guilty for not knowing what to do or even what working smarter is supposed to look like. Then we begin to assume we’re too dumb or untalented to figure it out!

But we shouldn’t. Finding the one decision that removes 100 decisions, as Tim Ferriss puts it, requires deep intellectual work.

Thinking slowly gives you the much-needed access you’ve been searching for. But thinking must be scheduled, just as you would put anything else into your calendar – meetings, grocery shopping, working out, or otherwise.

Thinking slowly is giving me a fresh access to productivity. Here are just some of the ways it could play out:

  • If you’re blogging daily (as I do), you would actively look for ways to repurpose and monetize the content you’re working so hard to create.
  • If you wanted to maximize the value of the content you’re creating, you would spend more time researching and identifying viable keyword opportunities.
  • If you wanted to increase response rate for your email pitches, you would invest heavily into upgrading your communication skills.
  • If you have five book ideas, you would home in on the single one that represents the greatest commercial opportunity.
  • If you have an established business, you would home in on the two or three things you do well and allocate more time and resources to them.
I Still Have So Much To Do

I Still Have So Much To Do

I recently watched the 2022 documentary Halftime, featuring Jennifer Lopez.

Now, at the risk of offending someone, I still feel it important to tell you that I’m not a fan of J.Lo, her music, or her acting (which has admittedly gotten better).

But after watching the documentary, I got two things: 1) her intense work ethic (which I respect and admire), and 2) her commitment to representing her culture (which came off in a weird way in the documentary, but I respect anyone who takes a stand for what matters to them).

In an odd way, I also felt like I was watching a kindred spirit.

At her 50th birthday, she says, “I’m just getting started.”

Later in the documentary, she says, “I still have so much to do.”

I feel the same way, and I say the same things all the time.

Even when I went to Japan in 2017, and all my friends were saying, “we’re all ossan now” (which literally translates to “uncle,” but it’s as good as saying “that stinky old man over there”).

And how did I respond? I said, “I’m just getting started.”

I can’t compare my accomplishments to that of J.Lo, nor do I mean to.

But when I think about the contribution I’m going to make, the books I’m going to write, the music I’m going to produce, man, I’m just getting started, and I still have so much to do.

No matter where you may be at in life…

No matter what you have or haven’t accomplished…

No matter how many tragedies, difficulties, or challenges you may have faced…

I want you to get this:

You’re just getting started, and you still have so much to do.

Learn from J.Lo. She doesn’t look “old,” I bet she doesn’t feel “old” either, even at 53.

You’re not a dog who can’t learn new tricks. You’re so much more capable than you even realize.

Make 2023 the year you prove this truth to yourself. Don’t wait. Time is passing. Now is the time to go out and make the difference you know you can make as an artist.

How do you go about accomplishing more in 2023 than you did in 2022?

I would make the argument that my new Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook is the perfect place to get started.

Learn more about the blackbook now >>