Step 2

People – especially really smart people – have a tendency to attempt solving big problems (like earning a profit) without first solving more basic ones (like how you’ll get there). This is why the “Step 1, Step 3” joke resonates. And it’s why understanding the hierarchy of earning profit is so important.

~ Morgan Housel from,

Oh, crikey! That’d be me. I too–frequently get frustrated when my “awesome idea” isn’t received the way I’d like it to be. I think it’s exactly the same step–two problem that Housel points out. I’m jumping over step 2. But in cases where I try to figure out step 2… *crickets* It occurs to me that there’s another way to address the issue: Stop chasing ideas that solve a problem that I have, and instead try to chase an idea that solves a problem someone else has.


The gap

The Wrights’ story shows something more common than we realize: There’s often a big gap between changing the world and convincing people that you changed the world.

~ Morgan Housel from,

On one hand, we could simply define “changed the world” to be when people have actually noticed, or when the change is wide-spread. On the other hand, it’d be much more interesting to acknowledge that the change happens at the moment of the advance—the moment the Wright Brothers figured out controlled, powered flight. (It’s the “controlled” part that really made them first.) The challenge for us creatives… for those of us out trying to change the world… is how do we act during the gap. Do we keep working, quietly changing the world further? Do we stop working and start marketing? Or… something else? To quote William Gibson: “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”



The world is filled with overconfident people. Overconfidence leads to malpractice, to fraud, and to broken promises. Overconfidence is arrogance. You don’t want an overconfident surgeon or even an overconfident bus driver. By definition, overconfidence leads to risky behavior and inadequate preparation. But the practice requires us to do our work without becoming attached to the outcome. It’s not overconfidence, it’s a practice of experiments that respect the pitfalls of hubris.

~ Seth Godin


Culture, passion, curiosity

If culture is sufficient to establish what we eat, how we speak, and ten thousand other societal norms, why isn’t it able to teach us a process to make art? Isn’t it possible for the culture to normalize goal setting and passion and curiosity and the ability to persuade? It can. And you don’t have to wait for it to happen. You can begin now.

~ Seth Godin


And being on the hook is hard

So people are getting what they asked for. Autonomy. Responsibility instead of authority. The chance to speak up and be heard. Most of all, the opportunity to be on the hook.

Not surprisingly, some people, particularly if they’ve been indoctrinated into the industrial mindset, don’t like this.

They can’t ask, “just tell me what to do.” The search for an A, the hope to be picked by someone in charge, the desire for perfect–it’s gone. So is the deniability that comes with following instructions.

~ Seth Godin from,

I don’t know if what Godin points out is a common problem. I’m wondering if those who can’t make the shift mentioned by Godin are simply surrendering too soon. Modern life is complicated—the most clever thing the devil ever did was convince people the Internet was easy! The more time you spend knee-deep in technology the sooner you learn that you have to be able to throw your arms up and tap-out. That’s useful in some situations (all of life that touches technology) but would look exactly like idunnoitis in a business setting.


The danger of plans

It is essential to get lost and jam up your plans every now and then. It’s a source of creativity and perspective. The danger of maps, capable assistants, and planning is that you may end up living your life as planned. If you do, your potential cannot possibly exceed your expectations.

~ Scott Belsky


Learning to see

Most people to this day think of [the sciences and the arts] as so radically different from each other. But I want to posit a different way to look at it. It comes from what I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of art on the part of most people. Because they think of art as learning to draw or learning a certain kind of self-expression. But in fact, what artists do is they learn to see.

~ Ed Catmull