ruckusmaker

All effective teams have three things in common;

  • A shared goal which excites them;
  • communication strategies which enable them;
  • and accountablily methods which keep them on track.

At the end of the day, this leaves you responsible for being a part of things you care about; communicating with respect, honesty and kindness; and doing the work you say you’ll do.

If your current workplace prohibits you from doing one of these things, you’re in the wrong workplace.

If you’re unable to do these things in any workplace, the change probably needs to come from you.

The reason lottery winners wind up depressed is that our happiness depends not on what we have, but what we have in relation to what we’re accustomed to.

It’s why a getting a NutriBullet is so exciting… for about three weeks.

Once having a nice blender is something you’re accustomed to though, you’re far less likely to actually enjoy using it.

Image result for nutri bullet
Photo: Michael Hession

The shine on 20 million dollars lasts a little longer, but the novelty of driving an Mercedes wears off just like the novelty of blending spinach seamlessly into smoothies.

This isn’t the same at the bottom end of the financial scale.

Not having enough to get by is horrendously taxing on one’s happiness.

Once your basic needs are met, satisfaction lives in the process.

Setting big goals is less about achieving them than it is about the happiness we enjoy taking strides toward them.

Lean the instrument, write the book, make the ruckus, or play the sport because the pursuit itself delights you.

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.

That’s lovely, but here’s the thing; robots are getting pretty good at doing the stuff we currently pay people to do.

There won’t be many honest livings made in driving a truck, taxi or Uber come 2030, and the law graduates aren’t safe either.

This puts young people in a pickle.

As unemployment rates rise and entry level jobs get automated into the abyss, how is anyone meant to make enough money to do all that smart long term investing we’ve been encouraged to do?

We need to learn to thrive in the gig economy by honing our enterprise skills.

By investing our time into brand.

By creating things which have the potential to generate value that exceeds our own input until something sticks.

By making a ruckus.

We have to invest in ourselves, and we need to start now.

Are you a writer?

How would you know?

Writers tend to write, right?

But how often, who for and how well?

This line of questioning is ambiguously annoying for a reason; there are no hard and fast metrics which dictate what a writer is or isn’t.

If you write anything at all, you have a case to state.

Whether or not you’re a writer depends entirely on whether or not you think you’re a writer.

The same goes for dancers, photographers, fighters, models, philosophers and nearly everything in between.

You become a writer (and cease being an ‘aspiring-writer’) the second you decide to mold your definition of what a writer is to include yourself.

I believe you should do this with everything you’re passionate about.

The ‘aspiring’ part of ‘aspiring writer’ is a safety net. It shields your work from scrutiny and justify mistakes.

Unfortunately, the shield perpetuates itself.

There’s not much use in considering yourself an ‘aspiring’ anything. Making mistakes and processing critique are both essential to growth.

‘Aspiring’ implies that the goal is to get good enough to shed the preface. It implies a destination which is an absolutely arbitrary definition.

It’s better to be a bad writer than an aspiring one.

Nobody is going to respect your work or hold it to a professional standard until you do so yourself.

Being bad at stuff is great. The worse you are, the more you have to learn.

Those who identify as ‘aspiring’ tend to be the most fearful of failure.

Become petrified enough of failing, and you might just scare yourself out of ever getting the practice you need to reach your destination.

Stop aspiring, start doing.

Find what you love.

Show up.

Do the work.

Embrace the failure.

Grow.

I’ve never been a fast reader.

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.

Here’s two things which are deeply important to me;

Helping people understand what attention deficit disorders look like, how they function, and what someone lucky enough to have one can do to turn their variance into an asset.

Helping people (especially us millennial/Gen Z types) find ways to grow, learn, and reduce anxiety through the dedicated stoic practice of a meaningful pursuit (jiu-jitsu, in my case).

I’m going to be turning one of these into a book.

Perhaps I’ll even end up writing both. But for now, I need to decide which one gets to be first or I’ll bounce between the two forever.

I’m not married to a deadline yet, but I am commited to the outcome.

One book has to die for the other to thrive. If this is going to happen, I need to focus.

I need to make a choice, and I’d appreciate your help in making it.

Which book would you read first (if either)?

Which book are you more likely to champion?

Which book would you gift to a friend?

This is wildly important to me, so I’d appreciate any and all of your thoughts.

You can contact me publicly or privately.

Give me a call.

Let me buy you a coffee.

This is happening one way or the other. I want to do it justice.

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.

Fail, and persevere.

Don’t quit.

Get gritty.

You know the feeling when your attention is so engulfed that the world stops in its tracks?

It’s the moment you leap off the diving board.

The moment your parachute triggers.

It’s the freezing-warm rush of the lights striking as they reveal a stage, with you on it.

It’s whenever time feels stuck and the air feels tight.

You feel the world begin to animate as the feeling unravells.

Energy spills out of you as everything returns to equilibrium.

You senses snap back to focus as adrenaline peaks, then subsides; a bodily epiphany.

These are airlock moments.

Named such because airlocks transport you between atmospheres of differing pressure (imagine an astronaut being released into the vaccum of space).

In these moments, for a split second, you become the universe; as far as you’re aware, nothing else exists.

Chase these moments.

There is nothing more authentic than a human body hitting auto-pilot and taking control; acting on pure instinct until the moment passes.

Let your heart race.

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.