Category Archives: advice

why can’t I party as much on a friday as I get older?

It’s FRIDAY!!  In college that used to mean soon as it became dark outside I would get jitters to go out.  I literally had to go out on the weekends.  Hanging with friends, frat parties, clubbing, bowling, art gallery opening, picnics, meteor watching parties, house party…..I ALWAYS had to do something on the weekends, I literally could not stay home or I’d get jittery.  

This was probably a remnant of my childhood since my parents were very socially active.  I remember through elementary school, middle school, and high school, it was pretty much the norm to attend at least 2-3 parties over the weekend plus other activities.

Friends at school would tell me their family just, “stayed at home and got a movie from Blockbuster and ordered a pizza.”  This was LAME I thought, since that was never a normal thing for my active family.

Even after college I kept that pace up…..actually I increased it.
Remove the classes + add some income = party time!

Now all this partying wasn’t just drinking and crazy stuff.  A lot of times it was cool events and social clubs and entrepreneur clubs and tech meetups, but it was still an active social life.

However, now that I’m 30 (almost 31), it’s slowed down a bit.

People always say “As I get older I can’t drink as much” or “As I get older I can’t go out as much.”

…..I understand that, but I don’t think it’s fully a function of age.

For the drinking part, physiologically you CAN drink as much when you’re older, but the increased fat, decreased muscle mass, age-related problems, medications, and decreased frequency of drinking (aka lower tolerance) causes this for the most part.

For the going out part, I agree some of it is a decreased stamina issue as you age, but I think a whooollee lot of it is a DESIRE issue.

Let me nerdily calculate this out for you:

Let’s assume I entered college at age 18.  I was in college for 5 years (slow track for me).
How many times do you think I went out?

45 weeks a year I did at least two events (extremely lowball figure) = 90 x 5 years =
450 times.  
After college from age 23 till 26 I went out 5 days a week probably 45 weeks of the year.  45 x 5 x 4 =
900 times.

From age 26-30 went out maybe
400 times.  

…..ok, enough fuzzy math (and notice I was only account for 45 weeks a year not 52….I assume all those numbers are WAY more especially during the crazy holiday times.

THE POINT OF THIS IS:

By the time someone with a reasonably active social life is 30, they’ve been “out” over 2,000 times!

 

That number kinda blows your mind right??

When I was 23 if someone said, “Hey let’s randomly go out to 6th St!” (austin’s party area) I was sooooo down.

But at age 30 if someone said, “Hey it’s Tuesday let’s randomly go out to 6th St and get drunk” I would probably say ::in nerdy excited voice:: “No thanks I’m gonna sit at home and get some work done then read, then blog, then play with my 3D printer.”

That’s not always true, but it happens more and more frequently as I get older.

But it’s NOT a function of age, it’s a function of experience.  

Those two things just happen to correlate to each other.

To prove this….see if you know someone who missed out on much of their youthful freedom.  Maybe they got married crazily early then got a divorce when older, or always lived at home with strict parents, or had to provide for their family and never got to play.

When these people get older then all of a sudden come into freedom, they start going out with the youthful exuberance of a 21 year old, even though they’re weirdly old to be acting like that.  But eventually they get over it….like after going out 2,000 times :-P

Anyhow, there was no real point to this email other than to present an alternative view of this.
So if you’re not going out as much, it’s not because you’re old…..maybe you’re just not as EXCITED for the same old stuff anymore.  And maybe other things in life become more exciting.

With that, have a GREAT Friday!  And think of something to get excited about!
Maybe add some Novelty, Beauty, Growth, & Love in your day?

Sincerely,
A 30 year old Neville Medhora

P.S.  If you want, lemme know in the comments what get’s you excited as you’ve gotten older.  I’m FASCINATED by the changing enjoyments of people.  Would love to hear yours, no matter how silly :-)

4 ways to sell something online realllly fast

I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years.  Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.

But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.

But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!

So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):

I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.

Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software…..
(Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad.  It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??

When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.

You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest.  I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email.  GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.

All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done.  Wanna see it in action??

I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.

All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file.  GumRoad was PERFECT for this.  You can see it here:

(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)

Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:

https://gumroad.com/l/VVTf

I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.

GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things.
GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.

 
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services:
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount.  You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal.  Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P

Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:

Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button

….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!

(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).

So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system.  I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email.  Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff:
(Setup time: 1 hour)

If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
-Shopify.com
-BigCommerce.com
-Volusion.com

NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy.  FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).

Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest).  It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.

BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify.  They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.

*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery.  You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless.  With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.

But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).

 

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book.  
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??

It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays.  Especially through the Kindle platform.

And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version.  Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio.  Other author friends have told me the same findings.

So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books.  And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.

You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book.  Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com.  BAM….you’re a self-published author!  See my recent book on amazon:

http://amzn.com/0989895300

In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version.  I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!

Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services.  These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you).  Here’s a quick list:

-Selling an educational course?  Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing?  Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills?  Post yourself on eLance.

The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules.  Obviously they also take a cut of your sales.  But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.

Don’t over think stuff too much though.  You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.

Sincerely,
Old Uncle Neville

P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start!  Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.

P.P.S.  I made this entire blog post from my pool!  I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party.  It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also.  Fun mixed with productivity!  Image credit to Corina.  There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:

How to get your life back on track

For a little now I’ve been “stuck” in my life. Things were great, then I got too comfortable, then things started to stagnate.

It happens to everyone.
It can be caused by things being too good, or too bad.

And lately I’ve been trying desperately to get OUT of it and back to my PRODUCTIVE life.

Well I did a lot of soul-searching kind of stuff and talked to a lot of people….and that helped to an extent, but dammit….there’s nothing like taking some good-old ACTION STEPS to get out of it!!

SO here’s my Guide to getting your life back on track:

I feel like if you do some/all of these, things will slowly start to spin around for you again.  The underlying concept is getting momentum.  I’ll try to back up each example with my own actions:

 

HEALTH WEALTH LOVE (3 minutes)

Quickly evaluate three main areas of your life and rank them from 1-to-5.
Health: Your health situation.
Wealth: Your money situation.
Love: Your relationships with family/friends/spouse/partner.  

Before I was:
Health: 3
Wealth: 5
Love: 5

Then it became:
Health: 5  (+2)
Wealth: 2  (-3)
Love: 2  (-3)

So I can obviously see where I need to concentrate on.

Try doing this for your own life, and it’ll shine some clear idea on where you can get started improving.  Here’s more about this concept.

 

 

Your Top 5 Influences (10 minutes)
This is one of my favorite concepts:

“You are the composite average of the top 5 people you hang around.”

This doesn’t mean your favorite people to hang around, it means the people you LITERALLY SPEND THE MOST NUMBER OF MINUTES WITH PER DAY.

So if you live at home with your parents, just by the nature of that arrangement, your parents will be some of your top influencers. Or if you have a husband/wife….they will be one of your top influencers.

So take a look around, and write out who your top 5 influences are (aka who you are physically around the most):
1.) __________________
2.) __________________
3.) __________________
4.) __________________
5.) __________________

Now…..
Are those people the kind of people you wanna become?
Are they as successful as you wanna be??
Do they have the kind of attitudes about life that you want???
Are they going to places you want to go????

If you’re hanging around a bunch of losers with crappy attitudes…..it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.

If you’re hanging around a bunch of positive people with great attitudes and ideas……it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.

So check your list to see who is negatively influencing you, and try to cut down the time you spend with those people so they don’t take you down also.

I dare you to cut out at least ONE of those people. DARE YA!!
Here’s more about your top 5 influences.

 

 

To-Do Lists (5 minutes)

You KNOW I’m obsessive about to-do lists.  But I’ve been a little unfaithful to my dearest to-do lists lately, in that I haven’t been completing them everyday.

I have since returned, and the productivity has begun.  Here is my to-do list when I started writing this blog post:
Life back on track To Do List

I actually took some of my OWN advice to get back on track:

Watch that to-do list video for some inspiration on how to make your own to-do lists.
You can find out more about to-do lists here.

 

 

Stack your calendar (10 minutes)

Simply GOING to events that interest you will help get some momentum going.  I started to skip a lot of tech events and conferences….and this bad, because those usually motivate the hell out of me (meeting other people doing cool things always makes you work harder).

I still use a physical calendar to track all my stuff like this:
Life back on track - Calendar

I went to my bookmark bar of “Austin Events” and started adding things recently.

All good spots to start: Meetup.com, Yelp.com, Craigslist Community.

Wanna go to tech meet ups? Then search “tech meet ups Austin” (or wherever you are).
Nearby universities generally hold a lot of cool events.
I have a whole bookmarks tab of websites/museums/charities etc that hold cool events.

 

 

Re-connect with friends by giving to them

Next thing I did was throw a small party (not a typical party though). I only invited 1 or 2 other people.

It was called the “Early Morning Blog Post Writing Party From Nev’s Pool Party!”

The rules were:

  • We start at 8am
  • We go to the shallow end of the pool at my apt
  • You bring your laptop
  • You write a blog post from inside the pool

I wanted it to be like “having your own writing island.”

So me and Billy (Forever Jobless) hit up the pool at my apartment at 8am with laptops for a “Blog Post Writing Party”! It may have been the nerdiest party in the WORLD at that moment!

Blog Post Writing Party

Billy Forever Jobless Blog Post Writing Pool

I’m literally writing this post from the pool right now!!

It was actually damn fun, and Billy even said:

“I got more writing done today than I have in 4 months!”

If there’s any Austinite’s out there interested in joining me for this every once in a while, lemme know.

 

 

Changing your living space

I think changing your living space often signifies changing your life in some way.

I bought a super-kick-ass “Float” desk from HumanScale a few weeks ago, and it just arrived.

It’s awesome in several ways:
1.) It can quickly adjust to any height with a small lever.
2.) The work area is clean, all-white, and HUUUGGEE.
3.) The engineering behind it is awesome (it uses a counter-balance system that uses the weight of the stuff on your desk to move it up and down)….yet it’s all hidden inside the desk and you’d never know it. Basically it’s like a desk Apple would make!

It’s super-neat to go from standing to sitting in less than 2 seconds with this desk.  Sometimes I prefer moving around and standing, but sometimes sitting down is necessary and more comfortable.

Screw all those “Standing” desks…..this one can do both!

life-on-track-desk

The large size of the desk isn’t really conveyed in that picture.  I’ve had it for a while now….and I can honestly say it’s been an awesome investment and really helped with productivity!

Also in the “changing your living space” department…….I needed some art for the loonngggest time but couldn’t find any. So I sat down and ordered two of the BIGGEST pieces of art from Ikea I could possibly find.  I stuck one of them over a boring white wall above my bed:

bed

It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but that picture is HUGE.  It’s like 6.5 feet across.

I’m also making sure I make the bed every morning.  I learned this trick from Gary Halbert:

Make your bed as SOON as you wake up in the morning, and you will already start the day off with a small win!

“Messy bed, Messy head.”

 

 

WELL…..
Those are a few things I’m doing to “get my mojo back”.  Most of these things are more to mentally-psych myself into being productive once again.

Perhaps if you’re going through a period of time where you need this, you could take some inspiration from any of these tips.

 

Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

P.S. From my last Superpowers post, these people won NevBox’s: Dave, Dave H, Allen T, Jacqueline P, Robin W.
Thanks Sithana for helping me decide. I’m sending YOU one too for that!

 

P.P.S. Comment on this post with actions that helped your snap out of a sluggish phase in your life….I’ll physically ship 5 commenters NevBox’s (worth $97 each…and you can’t even buy them if you wanted to). Not only that, but your comment might give some poor soul trying to “figure things out” an idea that could change their life!

 

P.P.P.S. Please share/send this to anyone who could use a little “jump-start” in their life.

Keeping Kreative with a 3D printer

So get this, a few weeks ago I took a 3D printing class!!

I haven’t learned any new skill in a while, so I thought this would be a fun nerd-activity.

I’ve been fascinated by 3D printing since around 2007, but only now are 3D printers become semi-reliable enough for home use.

Anywhoozle…..I Googled “3D Printing Class Austin” and found a place called TechShop that holds them:3d-print-test5

This TechShop was connected to a Lowe’s hardware store, and you can pay a monthly membership to use all the high end machine and manufacturing tools there like this:3d-print-test4

The class I enrolled in would teach you how to use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer.  You can see the Replicator1 (left), and Replicator2 (right):
3d-print-test3

Our instructor mainly showed how to use the cool-looking Replicator2:
3d-print-test6

The first step was to learn the software, so we all downloaded pre-existing .stl files from the internet and loaded them into the 3D printing software.  Here’s the little toy octopus gettin ready to print:
3d-print-test9

Once the file is sent to the printer, it starts printing out small layers of PLA plastic less than 1 millimeter thick.  Once it’s done with that first layer, it moves up and prints another layer.  It does this hundreds of times until a full object is printed out!

Here’s the printer in action using orange plastic:
3d-print-test7

After about 15 minutes of printing a REAL OBJECT WE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET CAME INTO EXISTENCE!!!
3d-print-test1

Now I’d been wanting a 3D printer for a long time, and after taking the class I was dead-set on getting one….so I made a quick internet order for a MakerBot Replicator2.

I ordered a couple of spools of plastic filament and the MakerCare Insurance (because there’s like a 99% chance something WILL go wrong with the machine in less than a year).

I’ve also started downloading the printing software and experimenting/downloading objects from the internet.

The first thing I want to print are these 3D shot glasses which would be impossible to create with a lathe or laser cutter:
Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 7.15.49 PM

I also just for fun wanna print a gun….now keep in mind it’s just a mold of a gun made out of shitty plastic with no moving parts….but the CRAZY thing is the file I’m printing from actually includes all the parts to make a gun (assuming you had a high-precision metal-printing 3D printer you could possibly make one):Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 7.17.11 PM

I also downloaded a bunch of other random cool stuff from Thingiverse for free.

I dunno exactly where 3D printing will go…..but the ability to create and print out highly complex objects from your home is going open up a WHOLE new plane of creativity like Apps did to smartphones.

It’s so cool to imagine that from my apartment I can manufacture things.  I mean….crappy things for now, but the technology will soon get better-and-better to the point where we’ll all be able to print out highly complex objects, machines, and circuitry.  SOOOO FREAKIN COOL!

Since I left college I’d always been trying to learn something new at all times….and lately I haven’t, so getting this excited about something new is very refreshing :)

 

Keep Kreative!
Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

superpowers

I wish I was a hacker.

Seriously.

I literally used to (and still do) day-dream about being a famous ethical hacker.

I sort of was one a long time ago.

In high school, I was able to gain access to the Novell security systems used by the school computers.  I was also in a special Cisco class where they taught us to create, modify, and break-in to computer networks.

So I was able to hack into routers, gain teacher access to school computers, and do this totally anonymously.

But I never used these nerdy superpowers to hurt anyone or be malicious.  In fact, I used to HELP school administrators clean up the servers from kids putting weird videos and such on the servers….or help with issues they would have.

When I day-dream, I think of telling people at a dinner party, “Me? I’m a hacker.  But an ETHICAL hacker! I go to big organizations like NASA, GE, Facebook, Google and try to hack into their systems.  Then when I find a vulnerability, I tell them, and they pay me to help fix it!”

I imagine myself making millions of dollars by ethically hacking into these systems.
“Oh yeah, I found a loophole that would give me access to any Gmail account on Google, and showed Google how to fix it….they paid me $900,000 for a one-day consultation”

I dunno….it just sounds so damn COOL to me.

But alas that’s not my skill anymore.  I can’t program anymore, and realized in college I was WAY behind the curve in the world of computer programmers (in fact I got kicked out of the computer science program at UT in my first year there because I was SO sucky compared to others)!

So my ambitions of being a super-hero hacker fell through because:
1.) I suck at it….
2.) I’m not willing to put forth the effort to become one….
3.) I don’t really enjoy programing all that much, I just like the “idea” of it.

But….something happened later in life around college where I discovered another super-power:

Writing stuff, doing experiments, and reporting about them in a weird enough way to keep people interested.

It sort of came naturally and by accident.

Like….it was super easy to know what would be more interesting to others….which was the exact opposite of programming which was hard an un-intuitive to me.

This was a Facebook post I saw from Michael Fishman which demonstrated this perfectly:


Wow!  Well said Michael!  :::gives standing ovation:::

When I made the KopywritingKourse, it just performed well, people learned, and subsequently lots of people made lots of money from what they learned in that course.

It was easy.  It flowed.  it was FUN.  It was natural.

My superpower had been exposed!

Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

P.S.  I ‘m physically sending out five NevBox’s for this post…..just leave a comment on the post letting me know if you have a “super power”….even if it’s kinda dumb, and I might be shipping you a NevBox in the mail!  Would love to hear your superpower.  I read every comment.  (btw, you can’t buy NevBox’s anymore, and if you could, they would cost $97 each…so leave a comment below to enter to win)!

P.P.S.  There’s a maid in my hotel room right now making the bed and cleaning stuff while I sit here and type….am I supposed to tip her??

doing dumb crap is good for you

I used to do a lot of dumb crap that ended up becoming useful later on in life.

I did these things just for fun.

Maybe I was a nerd.
Maybe I had too much free time.
But they almost always translated into useful skills SOMEWHERE down the line.

In high school I started to learn Photoshop for fun.  I illegally downloaded it and tinkered around.  Since I was a high school student around the year 2000, there wasn’t much use for it, so I used it for dumb things.

I used to do crap like take pictures of my first car (a 1992 Mercury Sable) shown here:

….and I would Photoshop different rims and graphics onto the car like this:OOhhhhhh yeeeaaa Pimp My Ride!!!

….OK, clearly this was stupid, but by accident I started teaching myself Photoshop.

Now I use Photoshop on a daily basis for….
–Friends ask for images to be modified.
–I can mockup spec-sheets for outsourcing really well (like this and this).
–I can make website elements really quick.
–I can make stuff for my blog and business instantly.
–I can show a developer exactly what I want on a webpage.

Through “stupid things” I also learned to:
–Make webpages.
–Make & use blogs and eCommerce systems.
–Started to write.
–Do handstands and backflips.
….and way more.

So if there’s a dumb hobby you have, stupid thing you wanna learn….  GO DO IT and don’t worry if it’s “useful”!

There’s always some useful application for it in the future!
Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

 
P.S.  I still remember this picture being the favorite thing I ever Photoshopped in high school!

about alcohol

I wanna talk about alcohol.   

I recently had a small “discovery” about myself which has drastically cut down on my alcohol consumption.

And just for fun, I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!
Cheers:
——————————————

So here’s how I’d normally drink alcohol:

IF I’m at a party….
–and–
IF they are serving alcohol…

I will normally drink.  

There’s no real rhyme or reason to this.  I’ll simply have a cocktail or beer out of habit.

Now my problem is I drink FAST.
If I have a drink in my hand (whether it’s a beer, martini, or CocaCola), I’ll keep taking sips until it’s finished.

When I’m done, I’ll get another.

I could finish three drinks before someone else finishes one, and not even realize it till it “hits me.”

I went to 9 weddings in 2012 alone, and I want to share with you a common theme:

1….) I would show up to the wedding reception where there’s always an open-bar starting around 7pm till dinner starts.

2….) I would load up on free drinks, and by dinner time, be kind of buzzed (let’s not use euphemistic words to hide the truth here ….I’d be kinda drunk by this time).

3….) Every drink I take lowers my ability to keep up conversation and be “sharp”…..so I’d be bit dull by the time dinner starts.

4….) Since I’ve been drinking, I’m SUPER hungry by dinner time, and I scarf down the meal and whatever leftovers I can get from others.

5….) So now I’m at a wedding, can barely stand up, feel bloated, have to take a huge dump, feeling cranky, and can no longer make witty conversation.  I just wanna leave at this point.

OK……so by the end of a wedding I’m feeling like crap all because I had too many drinks too fast in the beginning.

This was shockingly apparent to me when I was at a wedding in Cancun (the 4th wedding of that year).  I drank before the dinner started, then scarfed down three plates of food (they flew in a chef from Goa and the food was incredible)….and I felt so bloated and full that I had to go back to my hotel room to throw up.

I ate SO much food I literally couldn’t keep it down.

This was my body’s way of saying, “OK YOU DUMBASS YOU NEED TO SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.”

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story until now.
It’s incredibly embarrassing.

SOoooo I ended up making a “Wedding routine” I started following with great success for the next round of weddings.  Perhaps you can use this advice for parties you go to:

1.) I would not have any drinks till AFTER dinner.  Because of this I could keep up great conversation and have a good time without an impending crash.

2.) I would only eat HALF the dinner portioned to me (to avoid feeling so full).

3.) Sometime late into the dinner or after, only if I felt like it, I would start having drinks with friends.  Having a few drinks helped me have more fun on the dance floor.  Several times I simply didn’t feel like drinking at this point because I was having a lot of fun and didn’t want/need any drinks.  It was liberating.

THAT’S IT.  That simple change of “only drinking after dinner” completely changed the outcome!!

Such a stupid little hack changed everything!!

Now that routine worked well for events like weddings, but I frequently go to tech meetups and events, and they’re often held at bars.

The WHOLE point of these is to meet other nerds and have cool conversations.  But with every drink I have, my intelligence goes down.

So one day I was talking with a shy-yet-incredibly-intelligent friend *cough cough* STEVE *cough cough*

….and we were talking about drinking habits.  He asked me one question which till this day I cannot get out of my mind.

This is almost verbatim what he said:

“I don’t understand why you drink.  You’re already outgoing, so why do you need alcohol?  I’m super quiet and nervous at parties, so if I have 1 or 2 drinks, it actually loosens me up and I have a better time.  So the alcohol serves a purpose for me.  But for you it doesn’t.”

–my friend Steve

HOLY FREAKIN CRAP.

I had never ONCE in my life asked the simple question:
Will this drink make my time here better or worse? 

This led me down this path of thinking about all the other hidden invisible scripts I (and others) follow in life.

Go to party with drinks —> You drink. 

Go to college —> Then get job. 

Party is invite only —> You can’t go

It seems that we all follow these invisible scripts for seemingly small things.

So remember in the beginning of this article I said “I’m going to write this email, whilst drinking a beer!”

That wasn’t a joke.
I am sitting on my couch with my Macbook Air and a Blue Moon beer on the table.

But here’s the thing…..
I was feeling lazy and un-creative before.  I was tickled by the idea of drinking a beer WHILE writing an article about drinking, so I did it.  And the beer served me.

Actually the beer isn’t near me anymore.  I only drank half and put it back in the fridge.  Because instead of following the script of “Have open beer —> Drink it”….I’m asking if the beer is serving me or not.

It served me when I started.  And now that I’m done, I don’t want anymore.

I’d like for you to identify one invisible script you do on your own, and how you’ve changed that behavior (or plan to).

I love hearing stories that have TINY changes that product BIG results (so I can emulate them).

I’m particularly interested to hear about changes in your relationship, work, or habits.

Leave a comment on my blog about them (you can remain anonymous or change your name if you’d like).  I will be selecting 5 commenters to send a NevBox to in the mail (anywhere in the world)! (remember each NevBox cost $97 and I have to physically ship it to you via snail mail…..and I’m no longer selling them).

So go comment with a SMALL change that’s produced BIG results for you, and I might be contacting you to send you a NevBox!!!

Baby steps

So for the longest time (3 1/2 months now) I’ve been trying to buy a rug for my apartment.  

I can already hear you say: “Ok Neville, I really don’t give a shit about the status of your apartment decoration… ::eye roll::”

Shut up.

So when I got my previous apartment, I had zero furniture, and zero idea how to decorate.  I hate decorating.  It’s not something I’m good at.
And I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

Since we can trade people our money, to do things for us….. I hired some designer friends, gave them a $5,000 budget (including their fees) and told them to just “do the whole damn thing for me.”

In less than a week I had a fully furnished apartment that looked like someone in semi-adulthood lived there:

A while later I moved from that place for a few reasons

  • I had lived there for 2 years.
  • The apartment got robbed and someone stole all my Apple products (this really jacked with my head and made me resent the location a bit).
  • It was EVER SO SLIGHTLY on the ghetto side of town (just found out the 4 people got mugged outside my door this past weekend….so I made a good decision).

So now that I’ve moved to a new place, I had to move around a lot of the furniture and get rid of certain things that didn’t look right.  But one new thing was hardwood floors.

So APPPAARRENNTTLLYY for your living room, you gotta get a big-ass rug to indicate “this is the living room area.”

Whatever…. how hard could this be??  I decided to try doing this myself in order to learn SOME design skills.

Well I never realized what a hard decision this was.

My previous crowning achievement in the decoration department was this black & white Homer Simpson poster that followed me for years through 2 dorm rooms and 3 apartments (I’m not kidding):

So clearly my interior decorating skills are on the poor side.

But like I said before (and this is important):

I’m not good at it, because I put no effort into it.  

 A few YouTube searches for “How to design a living room” and asking some people about design (aka my mom), and it was pretty clear this whole “decoration” process was kinda of logical and formulaic.  

The people I knew who were “good” at design spent lots of time reading magazines about design, watching tv shows about design, keeping an eye out for cool decor, and practicing it themselves.

But they all started somewhere. 

Basically if you want to learn something….there’s always small baby steps you can take to get started.  Here’s a couple examples:  The reason I suggest baby steps is from experience of watching people “want to do something” ….and then HATE it when they start doing it.  

THING TO LEARN: BABY STEPS TO TAKE:

If you wanna learn to decorate:
–Try re-arranging your own living space.
–Go through decorating magazines or pick up an Ikea catalog for ideas.

If you want to start a blog:
–Start a free blog on Blogger.com and start writing something. ANYTHING. Stories from your life. Advice you’ve learned. Just write.

If you want to start an ecommerce website and sell stuff online:
–1st get familiar with how to sell things online. Signup for BigCommerce or Shopify and build test stores.
–Don’t worry about exactly WHAT to sell first….just get the technical side down and keep writing down ideas.

If you want to learn a specific skill like woodcarving (I couldn’t think of anything better):
–Start by Google’ing “How to woodcarve”
–Grab a piece of wood and your mom’s best knife and start carving.

If you want to become a copywriter:
–Google it.
–Watch copywriting advice for newbies.
–Go to Amazon and buy books about copywriting or get my KopywritingKourse

If you want to start making apps:
–Big surprise: Google “how to design an app”
–Go to Udemy and take a free or paid course on how to make an app.
–Download some app templates and start tinkering with them.

If you want to learn ANYTHING:
–Google “how to (insert thing you wanna do).”
–Go to Amazon buy books about it.
–Start doing a ghetto version of it. Just “tinker”.

I wanted to be a doctor when I was in high school (I mean…I AM Indian), so in high school I joined a program where I got to shadow 10 different doctors.  By the end, I realized I HATTTEDD what the doctors had to do!

I quickly realized the environment and the work of a doctor were not my cup of tea.

Likewise…..taking a baby step towards something will show your true passion for it quickly.  Either you’ll start off and soon your brain will become obsessed with it…..or your interest will quickly fizzle.

Have a happy Monday….and if you’re looking to start something new, try some baby steps for it.  Lemme know what you’re trying to learn in the comments here, and I’ll answer with some baby steps on how you could get started!

Sincerely,
Neville

P.S.  As for the rug decision?  I went to the rug store yesterday with the mindset of walking out with a rug.  By the time I made a purchase, I was still unsure about it…..but at least I dove into it, and within 5 days it’ll be delivered.  At that point I’ll quickly realize if it looks awesome, or sucks….but at least I’ll learn something from the decision!

Sifting for good/bad ideas

Fresh off a trip from Cabo, I went back to Austin, did laundry, packed the exact same clothes, and headed off to our AppSumo Getaway in Seattle:
http://www.appsumo.com/how-to-make-your-first-dollar-seattle-getaway/

Some of the people who came were already running businesses, some were not.

I noticed something while talking to the people who DID NOT have a business going….

There were lots of ideas floating around in their heads (and even written down), but no apparent framework to make sense of those ideas.  

I realized something I accidentally did back in the day, and still to this day, that has helped me immensely: I would write down tooonnsss of ideas, and rank them.

Read that last part?
The part about “ranking them”?

It’s immensely important.  So lemme take you through the simple process I use to find business ideas, product ideas, ways to make money…..

I first am fully aware of this:

“The best way to get a good idea, is to have a lot of ideas!”

I write down a ton of ideas.  Anything.  The point is to get the brain jogging:

  • Bad ideas.
  • Good ideas.
  • Funny ideas.
  • Stupid ideas.
  • Wacky ideas.
  • Ideas that solve problems.
  • Ideas for stuff I personally want.

Just by it’s nature, this list will contain some gold, and some crap.  Mostly crap. But who cares, it’s just a freakin list!!  (usually mine are written somewhere in a notebook).

Now here’s how to sift your list of ideas for gold (in a semi-scientific way):

You rank each idea on a scale from 1 to 5 in several areas:

  1. Easy-ness – How easy would it be to get this going?
  2. Fun – Is this fun for me?
  3. Profit – What’s the potential profit here?

Total up the numbers, and almost instantly….the piece of paper you wrote these down on will turn from a random list of ideas, to a piece of paper telling you which ideas you should move forward with.  

Here’s a ghetto example I made in 2 minutes:

Obviously some ideas will be easier for some than others based on skill/talent.

So in my particular case, this list has shown a book about Kopywriting will be my best bet.  A yogurt stand however, doesn’t seem very fun (although I love GOING to them and pretending my CakeBatter yogurt with 9 pounds of chocolate toppings is “healthy”)!

So this my friend, is a key difference between a regular-ole list of ideas….and a list of ideas which tells you which one to go with.

Now I’m a big pencil/paper kind of guy, but I thought I’d make a cool “Idea Calculator” for you to use.

Simply click on the Google Doc, and save it for yourself.  It’ll auto-calculate your ideas, and tell you when something is promising (usually anything over a “10″ is decent):

Here’s your Idea Calculator (save it for yourself in any format you choose to start entering your own):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuaB65FccS9sdDVZVWU1ZFZYaXdaQVNsMWZPdF8zNmc#gid=0

The point of this is to get you to start ranking your ideas with a number…..so you can spend less time sifting through ideas, and spend more time trying the winners.

Cool huh!?
Neville – Enjoying the awesome Seattle summer weather (and surrounded by 25 nerds in a house)

This is Earl Nightingale, by Earl Nightingale.

One of the best investments I’ve EVER made in my life was a small book called:

This is Earl Nightingale.
by Earl Nightingale.

It was published in 1969, and I have an original copy I bought on Amazon for maybe $15.

I’ve obsessively read books since I was younger, and so many of them are phenomenal….but this is THE ONE BOOK I would grab out of my house if it was on fire.

I’m not a very religious person, and I consider this book, the closest thing I have to a Bible.

 

BUT NEVILLEEEEE….WHY IS THIS BOOK SO GOOD??
The book is just transcripts of a 5-minute radio spot Earl Nightingale used to do in the 1960’s.

He did over 5,000 of these small radio shows about various topics (he was like a blogger back in the day, but his medium was radio).

The book contains about 80 of these transcripts. Each being an average of 3 pages each.

Theoretically I can read each chapter in about 30 seconds. However every damn time I pick up this book, I read one or two chapters, and it literally takes me 10+ minutes or more.

The reason is each chapter is so incredibly thought-provoking, and mind-shifting, and new-idea-giving that they make me sit there and THINK.

 

THE WAY I USE THE BOOK:
It’s pretty damn simple:
If I’m confused, pissed off, sad, or lazy (or in some similar state that is not desirable)….I pick up this book and open a random chapter.

Within a few minutes of reading, I generally have a paper/pen out and am jotting out the quickest solution to my problems.

It’s almost like a sure-fire way to make me feel better since it gets me thinking RATIONALLY about an issue I may have, rather than just “oh poor me complain complain complain” shitty circular thinking that gets you no where.

 

I HOPE YOU ENJOY!
I have no affiliation with Earl Nightingale. Or am trying to get anyone to buy the book for any reason whatsoever.

Just thought I’d share what I consider to be one of the greatest investments in myself I’ve ever made.

I was reading the book , got an idea, then wrote this post from Kerala in India.

Reading the book over tea in Kerala, India.

 

I refer to this book when I have a problem.  It's like a Bible, except without all the fiction.

I refer to this book when I have a problem. It’s like a Bible, except without all the fiction.

 

I love this book.  Such a tiny investment has yielded huge results.

I love this book. Such a tiny investment has yielded huge results.

 

A sampling of some of the chapters.  I randomly open the book and start reading.  Never fails.

A sampling of some of the chapters. I randomly open the book and start reading. Never fails.