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Information imbalance is why you waste time and money at the gym and don’t get healthier

Gyms are designed to be useless. If all of the people who have gym memberships worked out even semi-regularly, they would be overcrowded and lose members. That’s fine. They make a lot of money telling you that you’re fat. Not a lot of people complain. After all they knew what they were getting into when they signed the membership contract.

Plenty of businesses follow this model. Producing a product that is just good enough to get by. Packaging crap in a golden bag. When you open the bag up though, it still smells like crap. Most mobile phones are this way. My cable-internet provider was this way. Many of the classes taught in colleges are this way.
People are smart though. Businesses that act this way won’t last for long. Services that prevent information imbalance will become very important in the next couple of years and the gap between terrible and acceptable will continue to grow

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You’re bored because you’re boring

Be the opposite then. Be interesting.

Do you remember when you first started this job or class or relationship?

“How do you like it?” Your friends and family would ask you.

You  couldn’t rant for less than two minutes about all of the new things you’ve been learning or the stories the people you work with have told you (if it wasn’t this way for you, it’s because you live in a shell. Your fault, not theirs).

You came across as interesting to that friend because you were interested.

Now I’ll ask: How do you like your job?  (or fill in the blank)

Call it a honeymoon stage, call it naivety or whatever you want. That’s crap. You’re bored or uninvolved or jaded because you stopped being interested. You realized that there was a boundary that you’re not supposed to step outside of and you became uninterested in finding it. Ever seen a dog with an invisible fence?

Nobody ever does anything great by staying in boundaries. Low risk – low reward. People who find boundaries and cross them are both more interesting and more highly rewarded.

Here’s something you can do today to quit being boring. Ask a single question that will help you find a boundary. Verbally ask your boss or spouse or friend or professor where the boundaries are. Do it in your calculus class or in your fast food job. Once you have an answer (if you didn’t get one you didn’t try – seriously) cross it. If it’s a real boundary, that’s great. Some of them actually help us grow. If it’s just a facade, do away with it.

Become awesome at continually trying something new.

The single secret to beating your snooze button and actually waking up when you want to

You can get a lot more done in the morning. Scratch all of that about whether or not you’re a “morning person.” I’m not. And I still know that my most productive time is in the morning right after a quick (not too warm) shower and a cup of steaming hot coffee. There’s no question that I go through my morning at my job with much greater ease if it does not feel like the first part of my day. I like having been awake for a while before I go to a job that’s not so exciting. So the reasons for waking up early are abundant and they make perfect sense to me. Except when they don’t.

The problem is with getting past the 5 am logic which only makes sense when we’re inebriated with melatonin.

As soon as I hear the sound of your alarm clock, my groggy logic-ator (yes, that’s scientific) begins working overdrive to produce a highly potent argument. I can shut down the most airtight plan for your morning with just one small dose of this stuff. I think we all have this problem.

But have you ever noticed what happens when you wake up late for work?

You spring up out of bed faster than a guy shot from a human cannon out of a burning circus ring full of man-eating pythons (a little dramatic but you get the point).

We only want to wake up when there is something to lose.

This may seem pessimistic, but even when I have the noblest of reasons such as breakfast with a beautiful young lady (my girlfriend – back off), I still find it hard to actually want to get up.

But anytime that I fear that something bad is going to happen if I don’t get up it seems relatively easy (and that’s a big relatively) to wake up and at least get to the shower. It’s probably something to do with adrenaline or something. Even the Bible gives my science-esque reasoning some clout.

A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest, So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” – Proverbs 24:33-34 (NKJV)

 I don’t know why it works this way, but this is just the way I’ve noticed it works (let me know in the comments if I’m wrong).

Remember what you had to lose the night before

Because there was clearly a reason for setting your air-raid siren of an alarm clock the night before. The only other possible explanation is masochism  (And yes: you morning people fit in this category).

Do I really want things to stay the same way they are now? My prayer life, my job and my car could all use an upgrade. This is what I think about. This is the hustle. I’m motivated by hope, and I realize that sleep will steal that away from me if I allow it to.

Jon Acuff wrote a great post about this on his blog and he covers it in his book too.

What is keeping you from your hope? Please, write it in the comments if you’re feeling gutsy.

If Steve Jobs hadn’t dropped out of college, the Macintosh would have flopped

But he did not drop out all of the way. He did what an American student population the size of Mumbai does every year. He went non traditional. He decided to learn about what interested him the most, then turned that knowledge into the idea that sold the Mac during it’s early life.

As long as you’re not dropping out because it’s hard or it scares you, it may be the best thing you could do. 

The secret to being successful if you’re not “traditional”

Is to be great at being non-traditional. The interesting thing about the end of mass is that we all are non-traditional now. In at least one part of your life, you do not follow the norm. Whether it is window-farming or specialty coffee you are not a part of the mass. So, for you, it doesn’t make sense to look at the mass-market because you can build something of greater value anyways.

Instead of trying to make what you do more like the “traditional” model, use it as a starting point and tweak it (there’s a reason that it became traditional).

The bottom line is this: you’re wasting time when you try to do someone else’s trick better and better. Take the best idea you can see and do something to improve it in a way that no “normal” person would.

Procrastination actually helps us achieve more.

There is a negative correlation between planning ahead and good grades. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

This is also confirmed in a study conducted at MIT which highlights the difference between deadlines others set for us and those we set for ourselves.

A control group was given the semester’s assignments with evenly spaced due dates through the term. Another group had the choice of choosing their own deadlines. Surprisingly (or maybe not), most of the group knew they would procrastinate if they chose to have all of their assignments due at the end of the term. Most of these students, however, picked due dates close to the end with small spaces between. But students who picked deadlines similar to the control group performed just as well. This study also found the correlation to be true in work environments where money is a factor.

Your deadlines can be as effective as others’ you if you pick the right ones. 

Basically, our procrastination helps us as long as it is incremental procrastination.

Here’s an idea:

  1. Think about the project, business, application or relationship that scares you the most.
  2. What’s one thing you could do today to make progress on it?
  3. Tweet, text, call or smoke signal someone who you trust to ask you tomorrow if you did that one thing.
  4. Now don’t allow yourself to go to bed until it is complete.

You’re allowed to procrastinate all day long, but if you go to bed without doing it you’re a liar.

If you have an iPhone, Commit will help you out. It’s the best dollar you’ll spend today. Buy it now.

The smart alternative to throwing money and time at problems

Is to become better at it whatever it is you are doing.

Or outsource it.

Do what only you can do.

This thought was inspired by this post.

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