“Why Do People Do That?” New Series¬†

Hey readers,

Trying a new approach to the blog this week, if you like it I’ll do more of them!

We’re breaking down human behavior based on principles from books and authors that have already been reviewed here. We’ll answer questions about people’s behavior in general.

Have you ever wondered why people don’t start the things they say they want to start?

We all know someone who wants to start a business or get in shape or learn an instrument. What holds them back?

In thinking this through it seems like there are two central issues, though there could be more. First is fear, second is misunderstanding success in your chosen area as being driven by talent rather than skill.

Fear is real. Fear is success enemy number one.

The Magic of Thinking Big starts chapter three with those twin sentences. But how to overcome fear? That is shared there too. 

Action cures fear. -pg 110

You can always take a positive action that will diminish your fear. 

Afraid of that phone call? Make it, and the fear is gone.

Seems like a pat answer, but its power is in the simplicity. Just do it. 

A great way to push yourself to action is through accountability. I remember making plans to start this YouTube/blog series at the beginning of 2016, yet I was fearful because I didn’t know how to edit video. I missed the first weeks of January and decided I couldn’t back out if I told my friend Russ I would start in February. 

This series launched the first week of February. 

The second thing is a misunderstanding of how people who are successful in your chosen field got to where they are. 

Seth Godin wrote on Friday, Sept 23, on his blog “If even one person is able to learn it, if even one person is able to use effort and training to get good at something, it’s a skill.”

Jeff Olson calls the skills mindset the Slight Edge philosophy. The idea that your habits have a cumulative effect either positively or negatively on your life.

How does this relate to people not starting the things they want to start?

People who have the talent mindset don’t realize they can improve slowly but surely in their chosen endeavor. They also tend to compare their beginner skill set with world class skills. For reference, Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, Outliers, that world class abilities are developed over 10,000 hours before mastery can occur. 

We’ve all thought “I’ll never be like that.” But we have to remember that there may be thousands of hours of practice between our point A and our hero’s point B.

My friend Carlos, who runs the YouTube channel ProyectoGTG, gave me this advice before I started the series. He said its more important to just get started than than to be good when you get started. I agree, just start, and you can develop your skills along the way just like everyone else.

Hopefully this gives some insight into your interactions with others! Let me know if you like this format, I would like to bring helpful content on the weeks I don’t have a chance to read an entire new book. If you’ve got a better format idea or a question about “Why do people do that” Let me know! ūüôā

Until next week,

Keep reading friends!

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Why Should I Read | Tribes

For those of you that don’t know Seth Godin, go type “seth” into any search engine, and he’s the first result.

But, for anyone who has been even remotely connected with the marketing world of the twenty-first century, the name Seth Godin is probably not new.

The concept of “Tribes” in the current era has also made it’s way through the cycle of introduction, fads, and then, rather than fading away, it is now part of¬†the lexicon of business jargon.

The book, written in 2008, makes sweeping declarations about the opportunity available for individuals to lead a tribe. Some people criticize the book for making these generalizations as it seems they would like more of a textbook approach to leadership.

Seth Godin, rather than responding to his critics, makes it a point of his to define leadership as those people who are willing “to do things that might not work.”

This is at the core of the book¬†Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us.¬†The idea is that a tribe leader doesn’t create the tribe, she merely provides a way for those with shared interest to communicate and coalesce.

While I totally disagree with Godin on certain worldview issues, I believe he has one of the best minds on building trust and attention in the marketplace of ideas. At the end of this article there will be a couple links to some long-form interviews with Seth Godin. If you are at all interested in building a group of people or an audience, you owe it to yourself to pay attention to what this man has to say.

In this week’s video, we talk generally about assumptions and specifically about “Sheepwalking.” The book, and the article just linked, defines “Sheepwalking” as: “the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.”

Enough fear to keep them in line.

Ever thought you’d like to try something great at work but didn’t because you might get in trouble?

Ever thought about starting a blog to share your ideas but didn’t?

Ever wanted to start your own business but decided it was too risky?

Our culture, and our education systems are designed to churn out individuals who can work a job optimized for the industrial age. The problem is that we ceased to live in that age back in the early 90s.

As I was writing this article and trolling through Seth’s blog & Google results (If you’re not subscribed, try it! It will make you think every day), I found this video from him given to a group of kids at a TEDxYouth event. I am going to go watch it, and I’d encourage you to as well.

Think about your ambitions. Go lead a Tribe. Don’t be held back by the fears supplanted into your mind on top of your dreams.

Interviews with Seth Godin:

With Tim Ferriss: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/02/10/seth-godin/ (Long but AMAZING)

With Chase Jarvis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xMxAZhgVvU 

With Gary Vaynerchuk:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D65-9sz7V0g (Shorter than the others, Gary probably swears ūüėČ )

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WSIR 007 | The Slight Edge

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have a drastically negative effect on your life?

How many of you honestly believe that in the next twenty four hours you could do something that would have an immensely positive effect on your life?

Likely you believe that each of these things are possible but that these two paths of action are quite different.


What if they were nearly identical?

In¬†this week’s video¬†I quote from page 41 Jeff Olson’s book,¬†The Slight Edge,¬†

“The difference between success and failure is not dramatic. In fact, the difference between success and failure is so subtle, most people miss it.”

The Slight Edge presents a philosophy of our actions, one that affects the choices that you and I make over the course of our lives.

This philosophy is based on the principle of compounding, the idea that one thing builds upon another and adds up over time to a logical conclusion.

Before we get into the body of this post, a story.

I hate weeding.

weed photo

I should probably frame my experiences differently in my mind but at this point in my journey of life I haven’t achieved that yet. I grew up on a farm and while the sheep were fluffy and the fruit tasted good, I could not stand being dirty, sweaty, and bending over for hours on end to pull tiny sprouts out of the dirt. One summer sticks in my mind because we had a new 4 acre field of strawberries and they all needed to be weeded. For those of you who don’t know what 4 acres look like, imagine a field that you have a hard time hearing someone on the other side who is yelling and you’re pretty close.

So myself and the other workers that summer were busy in the field from roughly 8am til 12pm 6 days a week and then we got to work on less offensive projects. During that year the worst weed was Nut Grass. I also hate Nut Grass. My description of this plant wont be written on this blog because children could read it. Anyway, as we weeded I can remember doing enough to make the field look great, but it wasn’t 100% clear. Generally there were a few small weeds left, or roots not fully unearthed and those would spring back like, well, weeds. Several weeks later, by the time we had made our way across the yell-distance field, those first small weeds had grown back and multiplied and we had to start over.

My point with this story is that had we put in that last 5-10% effort to demolish the weeds, we wouldn’t have had to weed the field multiple times. That final 5% was the difference between a summer filled with 4 hour¬†spinal stress sessions and one that still included weeding, but only¬†half as much.


That is the Slight Edge.

A cursory search of “Compound interest retirement saving” got me Business Insider¬†article. Check it out if you want a reminder to be consistent in the things that you do, or if you like graphs and charts.

The slight edge not only applies to finances but to areas as diverse as health, relationships, skill sets, and thought patterns. It can be summed up in the following image, thanks to attackstylewrestling.com for hosting the image online and demonstrating that it also applies to wrestling!

Your daily actions matter.

They do.

So what does this mean for our original idea that our actions tomorrow on the success path or our actions tomorrow on the failure path look quite similar?

Simply put, the right actions to take are easy to do, but they are also easy not to do.

Brushing your teeth. Easy.

Buckling your seatbelt. Easy.

Writing down 3 things you’re thankful for each day. Easy.

Pulling 38 more weeds in the midst of 3200. Easy

Listening to an audiobook instead of the radio. Easy.

However each of these things are also easy not to do. 

Would you agree with me that¬†NOT¬†writing down three things you’re thankful for would be unlikely to mean that you are a grouch and constantly complaining¬†tomorrow?

Would you agree that NOT buckling your seat belt on your commute on Monday would be unlikely to end in a fiery car crash?

In my opinion, one of the main ideas of the book is that our habits generally rule the actions that tie directly into the slight edge.

Your habits are what will propel you up the success curve or down the failure curve.

–J. Paul Getty

If we can structure our habits so that they feed our positive progress up the slight edge, we can use the momentum we build over time to ride our way to goals that may seem incredible at this time.

This post is not designed to be the exhaustive resource on habits, if you would like more information on the power of habits, making them stick, and a book recommendation on the subject, here are three resources:

However, I would like to encourage you to start as soon as you can to build the habits that you need to propel you towards the goal you have. Think of it in this way, could you move in that direction by 0.3% tomorrow? That’s only one third of one percent!

If you usually run 1 mile, you would run 1 mile and 15 feet.

This is a ridiculously small improvement, right?

Consider this though, if you are able to consistently improve at this rate, one year from now you will be well over 100% better!

This old Chinese proverb is worth pondering.

Be not afraid of going slowly;

be afraid only of standing still


So what easy thing are you going to do today?

Have you watched this week’s video?

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