"One person with a passion can be more effective than an entire company that works 8 to 5. -James Wilder"

Whatever You Do, Become a Master

By: jwilder, 2/16/2022

Why not go all-in on the talents we have? Why stop at hobby level? Why not do something crazy with the one life we have and become a master?

I chased the wrong thing for a while. There is a guitarist that absolutely blows my mind. That guitarist inspired me. However, no matter how much I practiced I could never get even close to what he played. Some things I could mimic, but other things I could not. My mind could not even figure out how he did what he did. And my fingers weren’t able to reproduce what he did.

After years of practice I realized that his mind and his body are unique to him. And while some highly skilled musicians could duplicate what he played, they could not compose a new work that sounded like him.

I realized that there are some things I love, but cannot do very well. But I still love them. I realized that effort is not always effective when applied to something that is not your talent. You can get part of the way, but you can never come close to mastery.

Your talent is not necessarily the same thing as what you enjoy in life. In other words, there is a difference between being a fan of something and being talented at something. That is why some people are patrons of the arts, rather than artists themselves. They appreciate art, they love art, they buy art!

Initially I had this idea in my mind that I would become a singer songwriter progressive rock guitarist. Oh yes, I would spontaneously combust if that were to happen. But that’s not my talent, it’s my appreciation. I am a patron of progressive rock!

But how do you discover what your talents are? You try, you experiment, you do, you create, you follow your curiosity, until you can answer the question for yourself. This is my talent! Then, go all-in.

I believe we are on the right track in finding our talents when we can devote time to improving our talents, and it is sustainable. In other words, we can do it year, after year, after year, forever. That’s talent!

Now, what I want to do is imitate my heros. They follow their talent and devote their lives to creating. I will do the same, with my talents.

We only have one life. Why not find your talents, go all-in, and become a master?

The Seed of a Business

By: jwilder, 2/15/2022

How do you start a business? Why do businesses fail?

I am fascinated with seeds. A seed contains a complete set of instructions on how to create a plant that grows to maturity in a specific environment.

It sounds like a business can be codified into a set of instructions. In someways this would be a franchise. A franchise business is similar to a seed. All of the essential ingredients are there. It just needs to be planted and nurtured.

For solo businesses or side businesses, we sometimes lack a complete picture of how to use our talents to serve and be prosperous. It could be that we simply lack the seed. We lack the detailed instructions.

So the first step would be to identify the plant in the wild. There must be someone doing something that you would like to do also.

The key is to write down or clarify all the instructions that make that business successful.

The variable is the environment. That is you need instructions I said must be planted in an environment that enables it to grow to maturity.

So there's the instructions and there's the gardener (the business owner).

The key is in order to build a set of instructions that describe in detail the business you want, you would need a framework of some sort.

A quick framework would be:

  • Business name description
  • Purpose
  • Products or services
  • Talents and Skills required
  • Tools required
  • Legal requirements
  • Accounting requirements
  • Cash management
  • Cash Transaction System
  • General instructions
  • Launch/Growth Plan
  • Key Milestones

It's one thing to have a talent, it's quite another thing to run a business that is sustainable.

One way we struggle as a creator is we don't clearly define the business we want to be in. If we could clearly define the business, then we could find the key instructions (the seed) that represents a proven sustainable business. It sounds easy, but as far as I know there is no place to buy proven business frameworks. Usually it's trial and error. Everyone starts from scratch and makes the same mistakes as everyone else. And if you're lucky, resilient, and diligent, you will figure it out.

I do believe at some point these solo/passion/creator business frameworks will exist. Today they exist as one off training by bloggers or writers that create courses to explain how they succeed.

What makes this possible is that creator economy type businesses are fairly simple compared to large companies.

It should be feasible to purchase a framework for a cookie making company, or wedding photography, marketing business, food truck, etc.

Once these proven frameworks are available I believe the creator economy will become mainstream.

The Scarcity of You

By: jwilder, 2/14/2022

The microchip shortage Has slowed down manufacturing of certain products, such as cars, and driven up prices for used cars. This is the effect of scarcity. When demand is greater than the supply there is scarcity. This drives up prices.

Similarly, each human being is unique and therefore scarce. But each individual is not necessarily in demand. One of the many reasons to invest in our skills and follow our curiosity is to increase our unique value. We could also invest in a scarce but valuable skill.

In addition to being unique and valuable, we must be known. That is, we must put in the time and demonstrate our uniqueness in a way that we are known. To be known is not to be famous. To be known is simply for example: Joe is an amazing furniture designer in the style of mid-century-modern, infused with his own personal style. That is being known in a very specific way. And that is being scarce.

There is only one you. Follow your curiosity. Keep learning. Serve a group of people you care about.

To your success!

Eliminate Unnecessary Decisions for Stress Free Creativity

By: jwilder, 2/8/2022

Too many decision points can cause loss of productivity and unnecessary stress.

The Internet is a convention center of ideas, entertainment, and weird stuff. So fun to wander around looking at it all. But after a few days it gets tiring and overwhelming. And, the convention never goes away, doors always open, 24 hours! Act now!

We are full of ideas. We are told we need to do this and that. Do you even TikTok? How do you even have time to create anything?

The key is to shut it all off and just create. Once you have found what you want to create, then it's time to get in a groove.

Here are a few mental tools that work for me.

  • Schedule time daily to create. If you ask, "should I create?" you have a decision point! When you schedule time, you remove a decision point.
  • Create a schedule for the week for must do activities. This means you don't have to waste time wondering "what do I do today. this or that?" Once you develop a habit of creating, you know what to do. You can build your system. Schedule it into your week so you don't have to think about it anymore. Just do it.
  • Be conscious of over-thinking, or giving time to something that does not matter. Ask yourself: is this really important now? Can I defer this to some future day? Can I schedule this in my system?

Sometimes we stress over decisions that don't even matter. The quicker we realize it the quicker we can get back to creating. First we create. Then we refine. For example, if we're building furniture, it's better to build 10 chairs very quickly, and learn through the process. Then, we can add refinements as we feel necessary.

There are decisions we must make every day. Weed out the ones that aren't necessary. Build a system that reflects your best path through the week. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Eliminate unnecessary decisions.

To your success!

Success is Ancient

By: jwilder, 2/7/2022

While others chase the latest ideas and personalities, the ancient way of success continues. The principles of success endure forever.

  • Knowledge - Not all knowledge is profitable. Seek the right kind of knowledge as there is infinite knowledge available. The right kind of knowledge is knowledge that increases your value.
  • Discernment - Discernment is about making good choices. It is a skill that is obtained by gaining knowledge and asking questions? Discernment helps you weigh options, consider consequences, and choose the better path. Discernment helps you avoid the temptation of void pleasures.
  • Health - Make good choices in health. There is no opportunity for wealth if you’re sick or cannot work.
  • Invest in Your Talents - Everyone has talents. However, talents require investment. Investing in our talents increases our value. It is a gift to be able to use our talents to help others. Be skilled at something other people need.
  • Character - Good character leads to a good reputation. Who seeks out the services of a liar? Who trusts anything to a thief? Who can depend on anyone that is unreliable, who changes with the wind? One must be known in order to have a good reputation. So a key activity for this is to become known in various positive ways.
  • Generosity - Being generous is not easy for us. We have a strong fear of loss. However being generous does not mean giving all you have to the poor. Being generous is helping people when you have the means to do so.
  • Diligence - Diligence is waking up every day and using our talents to create something of value for the world.

These principles have been around from the beginning, and will continue forever. They produce value and attract abundance. The principles of success are ancient and eternal.

The Habit of Creating

By: jwilder, 2/4/2022

What is one thing you do daily that moves you closer to your goal and improves your life?

If you can develop one habit then you will see by experience how powerful habits are. Once you see how powerful habits are you don’t need to be convinced. Then you can add more positive empowering habits.

The greatest habit is the habit of creation. At the end of the day you can tell if you were successful by what you have created. Create one small thing each day and at the end of the year you will have 365 things.

The key is to build a mindset of a creator by building the habit of creating. This breaks the mindset of waiting for the right time. A creator creates, and never waits, for ideas will appear while the creator creates.

Let’s keep it simple. Success is about creating something that is satisfying to us and valuable to others.

Build a habit of creating daily. Don’t wait. Don’t judge. Just create.

To your success!

Understanding - A Component of Wisdom

By: jwilder, 2/3/2022

Understanding comes from asking why. Asking why illuminates the consequences of a particular object, rule, activity, or process. We begin with learning rules, then grow in understanding to see the reason for the rule.

Our understanding of anything can grow, deepen, and even change. Initially we might have a shallow understanding. A shallow understanding is enough to be useful to us. For example, we are taught not to steal. We might have a shallow understanding that it is wrong and we can be punished. A deeper understanding would be the pain stealing inflicts on others, the suffering of a guilty conscience, and the shame being revealed as a thief.

As we gain a deeper understanding, we see more consequences (good and bad). A deeper understanding helps us become more valuable. If you understand something deeply you can troubleshoot issues better and improve processes or outcomes, you are more flexible when things change.

I have seen far too much bad advice. Like parrots, many people just repeat what they hear. These "parrots" seem cool and colorful, and are all over the internet. They are not trying to deceive, they just don't think deeply. Their skill is to collect things that seem valuable, and pass them to others. Beware!

The deeper we understand the things that matter, the more valuable we become.

To your success!

Success is Not New

By: jwilder, 2/2/2022

Since the beginning of time each generation must learn the same lessons. No one is born with wisdom. Wisdom was learned, taught, and passed to the next generation through stories, proverbs, and counsel. Wisdom was recorded on stone tablets and papyrus scrolls long before books were available. In the chaos of early civilization, wisdom was preserved in sacred texts.

Success is not new. I see the early books (or scrolls) on wisdom as the first success books. However, each generation needs teachers. Teachers are able to take the principles and practices of success and present them in a way that makes sense in the current generation and culture.

That's why we must continue to tell people about the principles and practices of success. They are timeless but we have to hear about them. We also have to study them and put them into practice. And of course, teach them to the next generation.

To your success!

How Much of Success is Due to Natural Abilities?

By: jwilder, 2/1/2022

I would argue that success is more likely when leveraging natural abilities. Utilizing natural abilities is more sustainable over the long term. The good news is, everyone has some sort of natural ability.

The questions are, what are our natural abilities? And can we use our natural ability as a source of power to produce something of value?

There is more to success than talent. There is no one key to success. Success is a combination of elements used in concert.

  • Talent - Talent is an ability that comes natural to us. However, talent must be developed.
  • Deliberate Practice - Deliberate practice is a way to learn almost anything. When it is applied to our natural talent, we can usually excel.
  • Purpose - When you add purpose to natural talent and deliberate practice you get access to power that can give you perseverance.
  • Ambition - Ambition is the inner drive to achieve something you desire. I believe ambition helps us determine (decide on) our purpose.

There are many other factors involved in the success equation. However, I believe that natural talent is like oil. It reduces the friction and makes things easier.

The bottom line is, success is not one element. It is a combination of elements used effectively achieve a desired outcome.

To your success!

Leverage the Pareto Principle for Abundant Success

By: jwilder, 1/31/2022

You can apply the Pareto Principle to success. The key insight of the Pareto principle is many things in life are not distributed evenly.

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, noted a pattern while at the University of Lausanne in 1896.

"Pareto noticed that approximately 80% of Italy's land was owned by 20% of the population. He then carried out surveys on a variety of other countries and found to his surprise that a similar distribution applied." -Wiki

Being aware of this principle and applying it to our specific area of service can be enlightening. For example, we might start with the idea that 20 percent of wedding photographers in my city get 80% of the business.

This is not a law, but it is a common pattern of distribution. It is a place to start. We want to be in the 20% zone so we can access 80% of the business.

There are many strategies to get us to the 20%. We could advertise more than others. We could be the most skilled. We could offer the highest in customer service. We could be reliable. The key is, always leverage your strengths. For example, if you have limited experience, leverage something you have that is just as valuable.

This is why success principles are so valuable. Most people rely on their skill and improvise on the rest. Those who leverage success principles have a greater possibility of operating in the 20% zone. The higher our success (the 20% zone) the more leverage we have. The more leverage we have, the more we can grow. It is a success feedback loop!

Think about the different ways the Pareto Principle can be applied in everything in your life.

To your success!

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Never give up. Keep learning!