Big Dreams. Small Steps.

Your biggest dreams don't come with an elevator.

Your biggest dreams don't come with an elevator.

Beware of a tendency to get over excited and idealistic about things that you cannot actually execute. (this is me writing in my own journal - but it might resonate with you too)

Maybe it's a lack of focus, maybe lack of commitment - or maybe we just don't have the right skill (yet) to attempt the thing we dream about. 

Each of these exalted ideas that you promise yourself but don't execute is a serious blow to your self-trust, which could eventually lead to not getting excited about ideas, or avoiding exciting ideas altogether to avoid dissapointment of leaving them undone.

The ideas that we are meant to bring to life - left unattended and unfinished will haunt us when we realize we no longer have the ability to make them happen. That's why it is so important to take action everyday - no matter how seemingly small, no matter how seemingly insignificant, messy, rough, awkward....every small step matters, as long as you are heading in the right direction.

What saves a man is a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Every one of these small actions creates ripples and results whose consequences can amaze us in the long run. Only movement creates movement. Nothing happens, when nothing happens.

But more importantly, small actions strenghten our self-trust. Seeing ourselves act on our big ideas everyday gives us the confidence to dream big dreams, to continue generating seemingly impossible ideas because we believe we will work to make them happen. 

Big ideas. Small steps. Every single day.

This Diary is Not For You

The screens we stare and type into are like a perfect diary. They capture everything about us. But…

This diary is not for you.

Your innermost wants and needs are right there for them to see…with every scroll, click and query.

“them”?

Them. The smartest guys in the room, on the other side of the glass. Sort of like an interrogation room, except in this interrogation — no one has to force the answers out of you.

You tell “them” everything.

Everything they need to know to grab you by the eyeballs, and keep you there — flicking, pinching, swiping, scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling…

Will you handwrite something for yourself today?

Or will you continue being a font in someone’s else diary?

Magic and Money.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art. Andy Warhol.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.
Andy Warhol.

I am a craftsman who trades magic for money.

This means I have to be two people in one: an artisan and an entrepreneur.

As an artisan, I want to make something wonderful. As a business man, I need to make something that fulfils an actual need for someone who has the money to pay for it. As an artisan, I want to surround myself with like minded makers who inspire me and with whom I can collaborate to create magnificent stuff. As a business, I want to find the brightest people in the world who can help me to multiply my time so we can get more work, make more stuff that people want and grow as a business.

The artisan wants to stay busy but small, so he can touch everything that goes out of the shop. The business man wants to grow, increase turnover, maximize profit and all that boring stuff. But since I am two people in one, and I want to avoid a civil war inside myself - somehow I have to please both of these guys - the artisan and the entrepreneur.

I convince the artisan that he cannot always and forever do the work. Someday, the eyes and the ears will go, the hands won't be steady and maybe I will forget stuff. I need to start passing on my legacy, my ways of doing things to young, bright folks who I can teach in the ways of my trade. We will multiply time and money. We will leave a legacy. And we will set some money aside for when it's time to step aside.

I tell the business guy that I've seen a lot of makers turn mundane when their only goal became to make money.  They grow, sure. But gradually the work becomes uninspired, as the craftspeople brag about how much money they are bringing in instead of worrying about making delightful things. Then the company is sold to some dull giant who puts even more pressure on everyone to make money. Instead of making things with soul, you spend most of your time doing spreadsheets. 

When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money. Oscar Wilde.

When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money. Oscar Wilde.

Artists run the biggest risk of losing their soul when money enters the picture. Oscar Wilde got it right when he said: 

 

When bankers get together for dinner, they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner, they talk about money.

 

Money is necessary. No doubt about it. Let's make it. Let's make lots of it. But let's never chase it for its own sake. Money is a good slave, but a terrible master. A means, not an end.

The end is life. A life well lived. Productive, enterprising, useful, creative, full of adventure, full of love - full of people who make it all worthwhile. 

Nobody cares.

Guess what? 

No one except your mom cares about your dream. And though your mom cares, there's little she can do to help you make it happen. 

As you begin to get over the honeymoon phase of making your dream a reality, you will notice that the magnificent vision you had in your mind of how you will save the world - the vision that people were going to line up for, the vision that was going to make your phone battery die after dozens of incoming calls, the one that was going to make strangers stir with your sizzling enthusiasm...you will notice that despite your magnificent vision - no one is lining up, your phone is silent (so you keep checking if it's on) and your emails remain unanswered.

Nobody cares about your dream. Except your mom.

But it's not your mom who will have to get over herself, to smile at the silence of reluctant strangers and to stay responsible for pressing on. It's you.

It's your dream. Nobody cares. Do you?

The silence is just the test from the universe to see how much you care. Dreams aren't handed out to the enthusiastic sprinters. They are earned by committed triathlon runners. The ones who won't let a little blood, sweat, tears or silence slow them down.

Nobody cares about your dream. Except you and your mom. But your mom can't do a damn thing about your dream.

So give your mom a hug, thank her for sending you into this world and then get to work.

 

 

On Persistence

What happens when you have no luck, when hard work doesn't pay off, when connections don't respond, when focus fails, when your tools break down, when money runs out, when clients cancel, when you lose your location, when the press pisses on you, when your staff sucks, when your strategy sinks and your sales stall?

Nothing.

Until you have luck, until the hard work pays off, until connections respond, until focus and tools are sharpened, until money comes in, until clients show up, until a new location is found, until the press admits it was wrong about you, until you find your stars, until the strategy succeeds and your sales soar...

You persist.

 

 

 

 

 

The Fiddler

Violin Making - The Fiddler (1975) This amazing film showcases an elderly East Texas fiddle maker and his wife. After his hand-crafted fiddle is finished, we discover that he's an amazing country fiddler, too.

Dreaming and Doing

Dreaming without doing is like like sitting in your car, revving your engine but never putting the car into first gear. You eventually run out of gas and you're still in the same place. The only thing you've done is produced a lot of smoke.

Doing without dreaming is like driving around without a destination. Since you don't know where you're going, you have no idea when you have arrived so you keep driving around. And then you run out of gas. And guess what, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere - having to ask strangers for help.

To dream and not do is blasphemy. If you only exercise the imagination and never the execution, eventually your execution muscle will atrophy and you'll be nothing but a dreamer.

To do and not dream is drudgery. If you only execute what's in front of you, and never elevate your mind to possibilities, you will atrophy your imagination and soon enough you'll be one of those tight, dull parents telling their kids: "Son, life is what it is. Keep your day job, take your vacations and wait for your pension".

Dream and do.

Do and dream.

That is the way to make your life a masterpiece.

Never let a day go by...

Don't let a single say go by without working on your dream. You don't have a dream? Don't let a single day go by without dreaming. Notice where your imagination takes you time after time. Maybe, just maybe - your future self is calling you. Listen. Then begin walking toward your future self - right now.

You will not get there with imagination alone. You must combine your imagination with initiative - you must initiate the right kind of causes - which in turn will produce the right kind of effects. Never finish a day until you put a cause or two in play. It's called sowing seeds.

What would expect to reap without sowing? Sow seeds daily.

Never finish a day unless you moved, even but an inch, toward your dream.

Thick Fog...Move Slow.

Intense fog…just the other morning. Made me think of the inner fog I occasionally go through. Moments and even months when I find myself in a fog: confused, lacking clarity, anxious to move but afraid of making a step in the wrong direction. What do I do with this mental fog? The same things we all do in a real fog.

First, I become aware it is present and observe it with curiousity: “Look at this fog! Wow – intense…”

The fog we see outside of our window is surely more interesting and even pleasurable to look at than the experience of inner fog. But we can still stand back when we feel the mental mist and watch it dispassionately. A combination of things led to this fog – it is a necessary process that will eventually give way to a clear blue sky.

So the first step: acknowledge and be aware. The second step: know where you are going.

It is very difficult to get to a place you’ve never been during a heavy fog. Don’t rush into unfamiliar streets when it’s hard to read the street signs. Stick to the streets you know, the tried and tested, reliable routines that produce reliable results. The fog is just heavy mental RAM usage. It’s your mind trying to sort and process various and sometimes contradictory bits of information to (hopefully) arrive at a satisfactory decision. By sticking with the familiar, we lighten the load on our mental processes which, during foggy times, need all the capacity they can get. We should not stand still however, we have to keep moving – which brings me to my third point. How do you move in a fog?

Third step: Move slow.

No hasty turns and foot light on the gas pedal. Eyes ahead and alert. Slow down. Avoid rushing important decisions, avoid taking on large projects, avoid committing to new contracts. Wait patiently for the fog to settle before you pick up speed again. It is important that you continue to move. Standing still can make the fog and confusion worse. We need to occupy a part of our mind with movement. Mental and physical. Especially physical. But while the fog is heavy and the road unclear, move slow.

When the fog lifts and your mind shines with clarity – full speed ahead again boldly into the unknown – but only as long as you can see the road ahead.