On being discouraged, value, and words

On being discouraged One of the more common ways I notice you become discouraged is when you're not sure what you're working for. This is especially so when you think you need to (or can) know the long-term purpose of your endeavors. With what you wrote this week, I think you understand the impossibility of knowing your long-term future, and how that's unimportant at this moment. However, there are short-term goals that you have, and when those become cloudy, you're discouraged. In any work, you have to know what the next step is. You're writing this daily reflection because you have to write four hundred words today and then later on you will post it on your site. From there, you will develop a collection of writing and this will be part of your writing practice and make you better. It also gives you something to do. Simple enough. What about the other things that occupy you during the day? You've got to know the short-term goal of that, too. You'll sit down to work on an article because it's going to help you organize your thoughts or you want to write it for someone who you think will get value out of it. Something—it can't be useless. When your work feels unimportant, or you just don't understand the importance of it, you will give up quicker than you get started. You'll lose right out of the gate. Make sure this is clear at all times.

On value Your primary job in all your work is to provide value. If you're ever confused as to why you're writing something, think about the person on the other end of the screen. If you don't know why you're doing a task, understand who you're helping on the other end. The most menial activities have effects on others, and this can never be ignored. Focus on providing value and you will provide lots of it. Maybe, later on, you'll get some value out of it, too.

On words As you read in Dan Coyle's The Culture Code, catchphrases are powerful yet simple. Sometimes it's a few words that shape an entire culture—see Google's Don't Be Evil or Apple's Think Different. I think you can adopt some of these; they've already influenced you a lot. I'd like you to develop some of your own. I think you could simplify them down to single words. For example, from Bobby Fischer you learned insanity. From Steve Jobs you learned "different." From Benjamin Franklin you learned "equanimity." These are fundamental values that should shape your life. Put these down on paper and live by them!