Here’s my goals for August 2013:
I’ve been a little on the un-productive side last month, so to keep me on track, I’ll be trying to post my daily to-do list’s all scratched out on this blog.
Hope you’ve got YOUR August goals set!
Neville's Digital Surrogate Brain
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!
So here’s how I’d normally drink alcohol:
IF I’m at a party….
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.”
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!!!
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::”
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
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.
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:
–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!
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!
I had made it.
Sometime in the summer of 2012 Noah and I rented a furnished condo in Manhattan. East Village to be precise. It was three bedrooms, and only two of us. Having an extra bedroom in Manhattan is baller.
I was 29, also had a nice apartment in Austin, TX, could work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, renting a condo in semi-arguably one of the coolest cities in the world, and made something in the neighborhood of $40,000 that month.
Life was going well.
But here’s the part that’s a total mind-fuck:
We sat down at a coffee shop for a sip, and started discussing life. And this….what we were doing in that moment ….THIS was it.
THIS was “the American Dream” we were living.
Working from wherever, making good money, travelling, being young/healthy/ridiculously-good-looking, the world is your oyster! Oddly enough, that realization only brought a slight grin to my face for a few seconds….then faded.
I wanted to get back to work soon.
I wanted to produce something else.
I wanted to work on myself some more.
I wanted to improve/go-further/learn-new-stuff.
STOPPING AND RESTING at this point was a frightening and boring option.
It reminded me of all the times my parents took us to some breathtaking place somewhere in the world. We’d travel long-n-far, make several stops, encounter several obstacles, and when we were finally there, it was pretty neat-o for a second……but as I saw it and took it in for a moment, it was then time to move on.
The journey was fun.
The stories along the way were fun.
The stresses of being with the same people for weeks-on-end was fun.
Working towards some common goal was fun.
The journey of getting to a point is what made you grow. Simply “being there” was relatively insignificant compared to “getting there”.
That was an odd realization.
Goddamn it. I’ll just admit, the old cliche:
“The journey is better than the inn”
…pretty much summed it up long before my dumbass figured this out.
Ok, so what’s the takeaway here? I’ll tell you:
You will always be working hard, so you may as well WANT to….and make it fun for yourself.
I’ve met a ridiculous amount of people who’ve said to me, “I just want to have a business on auto-pilot where I don’t have to do any work, and it spits out a lot of money.”
Those people never go anywhere. I’ve never seen one of them succeed. They’re dweebs who want SOMETHING for NOTHING.
They want the world to give them something, without giving the world something back first.
It never happens that way. So before you ask yourself how to get something you want……maybe reverse the question and ask how YOU can give something to others first.
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:
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:
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:
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):
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.
Neville – Enjoying the awesome Seattle summer weather (and surrounded by 25 nerds in a house)
“Books are the training weights of the mind.”
I’ve read a helluva lot of books, and they’ve helped change my life for the better, and maybe that’s why I’m so interested in making them (that desire comes/goes in spurts).
Two years back I wanted to see if I could write a book in two weeks. AND I DID!
But only recently did I think of publishing it on Amazon.
I buy pretty much EVERY book through Amazon Prime….and I was curious if I could get that little book available to everyone on Amazon.
And it happened……check it out!!
I just get a kick that someone can order that book on Amazon, and get my face delivered to their door!
When I show people the physical book, they get curious how I made it.
It was pretty damn simple:
1.) I went to CreateSpace.com
2.) Uploaded the book in PDF format (I wrote it in Microsoft Word, although now I’d suggest you write your book in Google Docs and do “save as PDF” when done).
3.) After entering in other random info, the book was ready to ship!
Within a few days, the Amazon.com listing goes up live. You can separately upload the same book to Amazon’s Kindle Publishing platform, and within a few days, the physical book and Kindle book get linked…..like mine are here:
I started giving out random copies of this book recently, and everyone so far has loved it, and said, “This makes me wanna go out and do my own experiments!!”
Just thought it was cool that nowadays you can publish something so easily.
Maybe if there’s a solid piece of material you wrote, you could upload it and get it published on Amazon.com just for fun too!