Just a couple of generations ago the dream life involved working your ass off for an ever increasing salary until you were 60.
If you were successful, you would have been investing portions of all those pay-checks into assets, which would increase in value over time – hopefully just enough to let you retire comfortably and leave something for your kids.
In fact, unless it’s an exceptional book, my attention span struggles to with written text. As most of the books I ‘read’ are audiobooks, reading quickly is just never a skill I’d invested in.
This was until a few days ago, when I stumbled across a ten minute Tim Ferris video which changed the game.
I’ve been trying out the techniques he describes for a few days, and I can’t believe nobody taught me how to do this sooner.
The tip which blew my mind has to do with taking advantage of your peripheral vision.
When we were first learning to read, we had to focus intently on the letters which made up each word. As we did this, our eyes were trained to jump from word to word as we read across the page.
Unfortunately, most of us didn’t adapt our reading style once we started to recognise words without needing to break them down letter by letter.
Now we can!
By progressively indenting your focal points further into the centre of the page, you can eventually end up only needing to focus on the central third of a chunk of text, as your peripherals allow you to read the first and last third of the page without needing to direct your focus away from the centre.
Never before had I considered that I could read words in my periphery.
I understand how strange this sounds, and I’ll admit that it does feel weird for the first few pages.
But once you adjust, you’ll find it hard to go back. My reading speed has more than doubled in less than a week.
There are a couple of other techniques to add to this one in the video below, which I highly recommend checking it out.
It’ll take ten minutes of your time, but has already saved me hours.
The only way to guarantee failure is to stop moving in the direction of your goal.
This seems obvious, but our brains are excellent at avoiding long term goals which involve uncertainty or risk. Too many of us find ourselves stuck doing things we don’t want to do, all the while convincing ourselves that we’ll start working towards our real goals when it becomes convenient.
Is there anything you’re planning to do when the time is right, or as soon as you’ve done ______?
Odds are that the time will never be right, and the thing you’re waiting to finish before you start working towards what you actually want to do will be replaced by another thing, then another, until the end of time.
If you want something, you need to walk at it, not around it.
The goals you set in order to get there need to be relevant to your long term vision.
Goals need to be achievable, but challenging enough to maintain focus and flow.
You need to be able to directly explain how your short term goals relate to the master plan; whatever it is you’re tacking towards.
Your master plan has to be tactile. If your long term goal changes, so should your short term goals.
Don’t be afraid of this.
If you lost your job tomorrow and had to rebuild, could you?
Of course you could. You would have to. The pressure to do so might actually be good for you.
If your long term goals don’t align with your current reality, it’s time to re-assess.
This is a reminder for myself more than for anyone else.
Put one foot in front of the next. Walk towards whatever it is which ignites you.
I’ve been on a Seth Godin binge, and I can’t get this Q&A out of my head. I adore it.
I had flirted with this idea of ruckus before I encountered Godin’s work, but it had always plagued me with a sense of vagueness.
I liked making ruckus. I wanted to make more and I knew it was important. I believed in it, but I couldn’t explain it succinctly – until now.
The central premise of ruckusmaking is that in the modern age;
“It’s free to be wrong.“
The required cost to start something; whether that’s a business, a blog, a charity, a community, an anything, is now little-to-none.
The internet provides the means to connect to almost anyone on the planet for a fraction of the cost it would have just a few decades ago.
People know this is the case, and so we’re craving connection more than we ever have before. Everyone wants groups to be inside. Whenever we make a purchase, whenever we show up somewhere, we are actively seeking out a feeling of belonging.
A feeling of; people like us do things like this.
The result is an economy where good ideas that connect people are immensely valuable, as long as they get followed through.
How do you know if an idea is a good one if you don’t tell anyone about it, and then try it?
You don’t. Herein lies the problem.
To illustrate this point Godin metaphorically refers to the game Pictionary – charades with pictures.
Ruckusmakers are amazing at Pictionary, because they start guessing from the second the first line is drawn.
They guess, because it’s free to be wrong, and the rewards for being right are high.
They continue to guess, thinking out loud and unfiltered, until they get close. The drawer then gets excited, and with a flurry of pencil tapping and minor adjustments, they bring the ruckusmaker across the line.
People who sit back silently while they watch their partner slowly recreate starry night might end up with a much better hint for the Pictionary card which reads ‘Vincent van Gogh’, but they will have done so in fifteen times the time of someone who drew this;
The ruckusmaker brain generates a volley of ideas until they find the right one;
Person, hat, cowboy, depressed, monkey, ear, cowboy ear?, cutting ear (the pencil tap-tap-taps), OH! It’s Van Gogh.
The starry night folks might have ended up with a beautiful picture; but the ruckusmakers beat them to the punch, and win the game. Every time.
This is making ruckus.
In this economy, people who make a habit out of generating ideas and commit to the right ones do better jobs at connecting people, and inevitably come out on top.
So make ruckus.
Seth has published an accumulation of work which centres around ruckusmaking on his blog, which I highly recommend reading if this resonated with you in any way.