On any project I can quickly get to the doing. Nearly as quickly I start thinking about how to improve whatever it is I’m doing. Sometimes whatever-it-is has a clear end; I can spend many hours (thank you ADHD) laser-focused on an immense number of trivial steps knowing it will mean I can remove something from a to-should list. But with open-ended stuff, like “publish conversations as podcasts”, it doesn’t take long for my urge to fiddle to get the better of me.

I recently went to a Picasso exhibition. What impressed me the most was not any individual piece of art, but rather his remarkably prolific output. Researchers have catalogued 26,075 pieces of art created by Picasso and some people believe the total number is closer to 50,000.

~ James Clear from,

I think it comes down to motivation. (And I find reading about others’ huge accomplishments to be crushingly de-motivating.) If I have the intrinsic motivation, then the iteration happens; only by great effort could the iteration not happen! Clear points out that Picasso had a very dark side which presented in his interpersonal relationships. I don’t think that dark side—anyone’s dark side—motivates iteration. And a dark side is not a necessary feature either. I really believe one can be a decent human being and be motivated and get great stuff done.


Moving the goal posts

Do you think it is easy writing all these thoughts for this blog/email? It’s a strange experience for me. The writing is really easy—I’m just tapping some little keys and moving a few ones-and-zeros—and my brain has never not been full of thoughts and questions. The writing is really hard—for over a decade I’ve been crafting digital output in various forms for this site, using various systems and routines but it’s an endless task.

So what [is it]? What determines success? Hard work or good fortune? Effort or randomness? I think we all understand both factors play a role, but I’d like to give you a better answer than “It depends.”

~ James Clear from,

The odd thing is that whether I think the writing and all the web site work is hard or easy depends on what I think I am trying to accomplish. To be widely read? …to generate income? …to help others? …to write a certain amount, or for “the most years”? —yikes, this is extremely difficult and arduous work. If my goal is a bunch of stuff over which I have no control, ouch.

On the other hand, when I manage to write because I enjoy fiddling with technology, because I’m curious and love to see/hear others be curious, because thinking and writing and thinking more lead me to clarity and insight… well suddenly it seems so easy.


Tiny incremental improvements

James Clear talks about the importance of becoming just one percent better every day. This may not seem like much but he writes “The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” None of us know how long the crisis will last or how long we’re going to be stuck at home. But we are in control of what we do to improve during this time. Don’t be fooled, the version of you that comes out of quarantine can be much better than the person that went in, if you make tiny positive changes every single day.

~ Ryan Holiday from,

In any given moment, of any given day, of any given year, wether or not I’m freaking out, there are a few ideas which do well to help me live a good and meaningful life. This succinct collection covers those ideas better than I ever could. ‘nuf said.