Truly Valuing Our Time
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I enjoyed this post from Khe Hy about a $10,000 hourly rate.
We're aware of this, but often we forget: That time is by far our most valuable resource.
You can turn it into anything you want, and that optionality is precious. An hour, or a day, is malleable, and as we stack them on top of each other, we can continue to bring into fruition incredible things.
Time is the energy behind growth and change. We need time for creation and without it
On a personal level, it's finite. And it's supply dissipates each day, meaning each day is more precious than the previous, needing more intention than the previous.
No two people utilize it the same.
And so, the person who uses it with intention, spending 2 hours of focus per day may accomplish more than the person who has so much free time that they waste it.
Ultimately, it is us who assign value to this time, who decides what it is worth doing during it. Looking back on myself as childhood, I don't regret playing outside for hours. But looking back this week, I do regret paying so much precious time to other small things.
Time doesn't have a complete market – however, in the world of work we do create hourly rates, which somewhat simulates this.
Let's say that you charge $100 per hour for your work. And let's say you spend an hour a day, each day of the month on Facebook or Instagram. Effectively you paid $3,000 (30 days x 1 hour) to Facebook for using it. Double it and you are spending $6,000 per month just to scroll this feed. And that's only 2 hours per day. And that's not including what you could have done with the time otherwise.
So it's interesting that people will value their time around work but are happy to pay that much in their attention. Would we pay that much in physical dollars, if that's what they charged? Of course not, so I wonder what that number is for you? How much would you spend to have a Facebook account each month?
I think it's more than zero, less than $6,000 – and probably somewhere around $150 per month. Which would mean you'd get 1.5 hours PER MONTH to use the service.
Instead of scrolling, you'd likely use it to catch up with family, friends, connect, post stories…?
And, let's say you were heading out for a meeting with someone who you could potentially do work with. Let's say you spent 30 minutes in traffic, and 30 minutes waiting for them to arrive. You've now spent $100 to meet with this person… $200 if you include the hour during the meeting.
Would it still make sense to take this meeting?
And I know it sounds like $100/hour is a lot, but for the most precious resource, you own on the entire planet, which is being reduced by 24 hours every 24 hours… it might change your calculation.
So to me, I want to bump that value up to at least $500 – and probably a lot more. Probably to Khe's $10,000/hour.
So now I'm spending $1,000's to meet with someone for a potential opportunity. If there was a shopping cart and that's what I was buying, that would look pretty expensive to me, depending on the opportunity.
Of course, this analogy isn't perfect – but interestingly, it is about our perception of time.
How much value our time is in direct proportion to how much value we create with it.
We might skip that meeting entirely just to read a book to our children.
And we would be very upset about getting kept on hold at the bank for 2 hours waiting to speak with customer service. That cost me $1,000!!
So you are the arbiter of the value you place on your own time. You get to decide on these trade-offs every day, about what you should do with this energy and fuel.
What will you transform it into?
And given enough time (what you have is still enough) how will you value it?
The Hard Work of Simplicity
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In the age of abundance, the web has allowed us to publish infinite pages, download thousands of apps, expand our footprint without any borders…
Our ideas extend with the space we give them.
The hard work, then, is adding constraints to an infinite page.
A master flips the foreground and background, seeing only what is relevant.
Whereas we see the forest, they see only a few trees.
A master uses compression.
Reducing the materials into a small packet of deep value despite its apparent size.
We Don't Want Another Product
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We want your perspective, on another product.
Tell us, how should this product, experience, or brand be?
How do you think it should be done?
Anyone can create another something-that's-already-been-done-before.
Sure, you can make just another cafe, or another bicycle, or another service.
But what we really want is what you see and think that it should look like.
If it's a cafe... should it only sell one kind of coffee? If so which type, why? Is it a no-caffeine coffee shop? Should there be cereal or bagels?
Should the staff all wear black? Should rock and roll music be playing? Is there wifi? Why or why not?
What do you think?
The quickest way to fit in is to follow what you think others think your product should be...
And miss that it's your opinion we're interested in.
Life is a Garden
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There is a difference in the quality of your day when you are proactive instead of reactive.
When you're proactive, you realize that you can make time, in the literal sense. And when you're reactive, there is never enough time because you are too frozen to fully act on anything that you need to.
There is a patience that comes with intention, which is less like a war (like the 'war of art') and more like planting a garden.
You invest in small seeds of ideas, relationships, and if you tend to them well, they grow. It would be wrong to overwater or to neglect, and so a balance is needed. And you can't be erratic. And you cant force the time or seasons to change, but they do.
If you're aware, the transitions show themselves in subtle hints. And so you work with them.
Getting ahold of your time, and your life is about seeing it all as one wider landscape.
If we lose our ability to see the full picture, we suffer from myopia, and we run to a forced pace of life that is out of sync with how things happen.
You plant, you tend, you eye the changes, and some works the way you expected, and other twists and turns arrive but you have seen these coming, even if you weren't sure what they would be. Because that is life and that is nature. And so are you.
You can be patient and effective.
You can work and not struggle.
You can feel peace and not have everything where you'd like it to be.
Time can work for you.
But so can the storms, the earth, and the sun.
The only path is to continue
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Without forcing success...
Without burning out...
Without setting expectations.
Without compromising your intuition.
Quit when it helps you move forward.
Chip away at your own progress.
Keep arriving in new places and learning new ways of being. Keep reminding yourself of the changes that have happened. It only feels like groundhogs day. But inside and outside, things can't and won't be the same. This is the only thing we can expect. That things will be different either way, so why not keep working to make them different in the way that you want them to be...
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My mind has been more on the creative process lately.
While it can feel that way now, we are not helpless. As humans we solve problems, we invent, we coordinate, and we generate a thing from no-thing.
We invent makeshift respirators, non-electrical pumps, new methods, technologies, and we share them with others. This creative process is what builds wealth for us as humans.
And sometimes the problems we solve are emotional.
And sometimes the problems we solve are psychological.
We solve these problems with new technologies as well, as John Vervaeke likes to call them, "Pyscho-technologies."
And so the most powerful gift we have is our creativity. That ability to think about a problem and come up with something new to solve it.
You can do this all on your own, but you can also do it with others.
You could go for a walk… no music, no podcast, no phone calls, and just think.
You can just think up an idea, or a solution, or something to share. And more often than not when you give yourself true space ideas will come to you. And you can work them out in your head and work through them if you continue to let that flow.
Yesterday I took the afternoon off to brainstorm with myself. I went on a walk, and I used Otter.ai to record my thinking. Anytime I felt I had worked out a note worth sharing I could just speak it out loud (I was wearing Airpods) and Otter transcribes and records the speech.
Most people probably thought I was on the phone.
It's both fun and fruitful to brainstorm with other people, too, but I would think about doing it with yourself.
You'd be amazed at how many ideas are there, and how you can work through them if you just put in the focus…
- Go on a 45 min walk without any distractions, purely to think. You can have an idea ahead of time of what you want to ponder.
- Consider different sides of this idea, different approaches, and different creative solutions.
- Quiet the logic part of yourself, if you feel yourself thinking "but how will that…?" stop and move back to open ideas without the need to know everything or have it be perfect.
- Use Otter.ai to record any thoughts you have both via audio and transcribed text, it will timestamp it for you as well so it looks like a conversation.
If it feels awkward or weird pretend you're on the phone and telling someone about your ideas, invent the other person in the brainstorm and you can even hear there ideas and replies.
5 Books from my Reading List
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I've been asked to put together a list of some of my favorite books and to share them with you. Choosing books is difficult, because reading a book is very personal, and much of the benefit comes from reading them at the right time, in the right place in your life. And context matters, so what you pull from a book changes based on the context of your life and what you're thinking about most. So I'll share a convincing sentence or two about why I liked certain books or what I took from them. But I would tell you just grab the books you're most drawn to at the time. Don't listen to popularity but instead go on themes.
Pick out books that you feel like contain the right next lesson or the right building block for your progress.
1. The Icarus Deception –
I read this book when I realized the type of work that I wanted to do was non-conventional. And this book is, I believe, the best treatise on what it feels like to be an artist or want to do something different. It will speak to you if you're in that struggle.
2. Choose Yourself –
This book came to me at the right time right after some larger failures. Right when I didn't know what to do next. As the title suggests, it's a great call to action about not waiting for others to "pick you" to do the things you want but instead to choose yourself repeatedly and build healthy practices that help you get where you hope to go.
3. The Alchemist –
This one is on all of the lists, but its beauty is in the story of the journey of a young wandering boy who goes on an adventure. This one is playful and reads like a Disney movie, but it is full of simple deep truths about trusting your intuition. Paulo Cuelo told himself as a child that he would be the most famous author on the planet, and he did it
4. Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic –
Most people know Osho from the Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country." I haven't seen it, but I can only imagine. Osho was a true rebel. He's written hundreds of books, and I've read probably 8-10 of them. This one is the story of what a truly rebellious soul looks like. He is unconventional at every turn and I was in awe of that. This book taught me much about that, but it also taught me that almost all that arrives to us through culture is somewhat skewed from reality. I realized that reading a book written by someone helps you know them better than watching a movie constructed years later. Not that he wasn't crazy, but that you can understand part of the crazy.
If you want to follow up with another book, check out the "The Search" for the 12 Bulls of Zen he also wrote.
5. Just Kids –
This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. It's written by Patti Smith from her time growing up in the '60s and '70s in New York City. It's a book about friendship and relationships, and her prose comes from notebooks she wrote at that time. It's moving and I would recommend it on audio!
There are so many other books worth recommending, and there are so many stories to read. I guess the only other thing I'll mention is that it's ok to pick up and toss books. It's ok to read stories and books like blog posts, you don't have to read the whole thing. I only read ~20% of the full book of anything I read, and if I make it to the end it was a great book. There are science books in my list, books about astronomy, books about copywriting and investing, books about technology, books about building a cabin.
Reach for whatever speaks to you next.