The Business Found Me

I’ve grown 10 years in the past 12 months.

But somehow, I feel younger.

Like my mind is much more open and…

My financial situation hasn’t changed at all.

I didn’t come upon $1million.

It’s my mindset that’s done a 180º turn.

And the truth is I’ve spent thousands of dollars on coaching, often 3 days each week, which might as well be therapy.  And you’re saying, I can’t afford that. And I understand. But I MUST go deeper on this path of understanding.

And you know what, it’s worked.

Or rather, examining myself instead of the outside world has been fruitful in a deep, non-cosmetic way.

And so much of the “fixes” of our society today are cosmetic, literally and figuratively.

Covering up the superficial, rather than taking us deep, giving us lasting change.

What we’re all seeking is to become deeply engaged in our lives, while we’re here.

The problem is our obsession with productivity, and with money. Both are a part of the quality of life, it’s just that in our voracious search for them we’ve become lost.

We’ve got the sequence all wrong.

We’ve placed the analytical before the feeling.

We become entrapped by the sheer number of choices and possibilities, analyzing all the potentials with so much fervor that we can’t hear our own desires and inspirations. And  then when things don’t go our way, we shame ourselves for being “unproductive.”

Our personal genius comes from feeling and instinct, rather than following any model or step by step program.

And innovation happens at the edges, in unexplored territories.  How can you explore the unexplored by following someone else’s route that has already been trodden?

We’re scared to go out there on our own limb, because of fear.

Fear is the most destructive disease of our time, affecting Billions, leading us to disastrous outcomes; large ones like war, medium ones like hiding our best work, and small ones like alcoholic dependency.

I say this without any judgment, as someone trying to unravel this, and only to begin the discussion.

Fear is the mental chatter that drowns out our experiences, covers up our inspirations, and prevents us from deeply connecting with each other.

See, in the last few years, I was totally trapped, I just didn’t know it. I only realized this once I started becoming aware of my fears, the ones hiding in the deep corners of my mind. I began unpacking them, seeing them in a new light.

This is how you change the world.

You change how you see the world.

You remove the distortion, and fear is the ultimate distortion. It provides a cloudy haze around our vision, and how we experience life.

People often ask how Death to Stock took off.

And I can tell by the way that they ask the question that they want tricks and hacks that they can simply apply to see results.

But the reality is that the mindset I was in allowed for me to freely act without expectation from anyone.

The truth is I didn’t set out to start a business. But I did have something inside of me.

So, in some ways, the business found me. It started with a pull, one that was felt, and one that had no analytical outline for how things should be done. One that I couldn’t help but not do.

Which started with a desire to explore something new and different.  It wasn’t overcomplicated. And I didn’t set out to “build a following.”

Can you simply work hard to build an audience? I’m not so sure.

Give someone $10,000 and 6 months and with that time and money will they truly build an authentic audience around their work if that’s their goal?

Hard work is a part of it, but it’s not the impetus.

Building an audience is a byproduct of a person becoming something.

Because we all seek to become something (ourselves).

And so we’re attracted by it.

And so it can’t be faked.

I already know that this post will be misunderstood.  When it’s so against the way that the world does things, what we’ve been taught, the thousands of podcasts and posts about the steps to wealth, or the steps to starting a business. We should learn from them but they should not be our guide.

If the business was a byproduct, unfolding from personal growth and listening to my own voice, which I believe many others who have found success would say, then the step-by-step methods are cosmetic information.

They’re the output, rather than the source of the output.

And people who continually make magic happen in art or business have found a source to pull from that is opaque to the outside world and then disguised as tactics which are faintly retold, years later.

The leaders we follow provide us with incredibly valuable feelings, not simply information.

We internalize their worldview, and the tactics they share are tiny compared to the feelings they transmit, the feeling of that source that they pull from which creates their work.

And as we study the output, I believe what we’re really searching for is the source of the output.

Which can be found if we go deeper ourselves, in our own way.

So this is the beginning of a discussion about seeing fear as our largest burden. About creating a space for us to stand out from the crowd, by simply being ourselves without the cover-up, the hiding, or the distortion of fear.

And asking the question that maybe we’ve taken the “how-tos” and “productivity” a bit too far?

I feel some fear as I hit send on this post. That I’ll be misunderstood.

But that’s just the analytical part of me layering on top, asking if I’m “doing it the right way.”

Which is good to recognize.  And I’ve taken it into consideration…

Then I click “Send.”

Sunday Caffeine – Life Audit

An audio note from the desert.


Whatup Artists, welcome back.Somehow I’m still in the desert.

Each medium provides me a different outlet, a different perspective on the same ideas. I pick up my phone, record an audio, add to Soundcloud, “lock” and put it in my bag.

Grab my SonyA6300x, snap a wide image, tether the wifi to my editing app and crop, export and upload to Dropbox to share with a client. Then grab a screenshot while reading, crop it and it’s exported to with an arrow and a highlight.

It’s all unfolding, this is the world now.

A quick life audit.

Let’s check in together for where we’re at…

What went well last week?

What went poorly?

If someone were to ask you this each week and check in on how things are going…

It would change your life for the better.

Here are a few questions, answer all or answer none.

Paste your reply or write it freehand in your journal.

Highs and Lows:

What went great last week?
What was the low?


What gave you energy?
Where did you lose energy?

Maybe it’s writing in the morning that speeds us up, or a call with a client. Or maybe that’s the opposite and that slows us down.

Feels Right, Feels Wrong (Feels Right for Now):

List out any major decisions or areas in your life that have been coming up in your mind lately.

Then simply, using your gut give each one a quick gut check by adding next to it “Feels Right” or “Feels Wrong” or “Feels Right, For Now”

For example:

Early mornings at Orange Theory:  “Feels Wrong.”
(I’ve switched to an at home AM workout)

Living in LA: “Feels Right, for now.”

Our conflicts come from continuing to hold onto areas that we’ve listed as “feels wrong” for too long.

Notes to Self:

You’ve learned some things this week or this month, write them out.
What did you learn?
Who are you becoming?


Now say out loud “I don’t know.”

Totally ok, and feels so good. How often do I respond because I feel like I should have all of the answers or I want to appear a certain way?

“I don’t know.”

Mmm.. it’s good practice.

Notes to myself:
You can rescue yourself, and you can care for yourself.Self-rescue removes distraction, crutches, and aimlessness.You can’t go in a direction if you don’t choose a direction.Gather outside input, then decide for yourself.Seeing truth is simple and effortless.
“Busy” is complex and blind.

Effectiveness is minimum effort, maximum results.

Working to be seen a certain way; for ex. “visible” or “competent” is arbitrary and ultimately purposeless.

When you get stuck, become a stranger to what you love and you will rekindle the spark.

Effective days flow without interruptions, including the interruption of fear.

You create art when you disappear.

Life is blinking by.

This Week’s Playlist.
Curate well this week. Every blank space doesn’t need to be filled or be pressured to be filled. Focus on effectiveness and keep things simple. Don’t let the train run ahead of itself… breathe or take a step back from the easel.If I caught you on last week’s stream, to me it was the most productive yet. While it’s labeled “no agenda” it appears to be a conversation that is ongoing and develops with every week and every new perspective shared by our guests. It’s an unfolding process and a sharpening of our collective and individual eye.

Speak with you soon, and see you Friday.



From Needs to Choices

When we’re excited about our work, it translates.

People can feel it.

I don’t know how; maybe it’s the subtle choices we make when we’re in that state?
Maybe our minds are more open to interesting ideas and less constrained by fear?

If you’ve stalled out on whatever project it is that you’re working on, it’s likely because you’re no longer feeling excited about it.

At some point, the excitement of writing that book or making that podcast turned into…

“I just need to get this done.”
“Why am I not working on this?”
“Why can’t I do this?”

It’s at that stage that the art dies.

Art isn’t work.

You’re spending time and effort, but it’s not drudgery, it’s discovery.

It’s a matter of “needs” vs. “choices”

If you need to do something, if something else is forcing it to happen, we approach it with a dull attitude.  We’re indifferent about the process and instead seeking the result.

We just want it to be complete…

Rather than falling in love with the creation.

In a way, you don’t want your art to be complete, because at that stage you need to start again, and you risk falling back into needs.

The task at hand is to continually re-approach our work from a place of excitement.

To relieve the pressure and choose.

And then re-choose it every day.

Moving from needs to choices.



If you’re just joining us, this is Creative Caffeine, an ongoing conversation from David @ Death to Stock about using our creativity to earn a living without losing our soul.

Hit reply if you have something to share.
+ I occasionally share a roundup of community responses –
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Tune in for no agenda. our weekly community Livestream –
11 PST on Friday’s.

Related Video, Do something that excites you every day (CC on Youtube).


You’re always worried that you’re sick, even if you’re healthy.

Small signs feel like impending doom, so you follow the rabbit hole of Web MD all the way to mortal danger (and hey, no matter what symptoms you type in, they all point the same way).

Maybe you know someone like this?

I’m rarely worried about my health.

I don’t think about it unless something seems seriously off.
My guess is that most of you function like that.

But don’t we all do this in some way?

What is a hypochondriac? Someone with a repeating question in their heads, telling them that there’s fear (that they’re sick), even when they are totally healthy.

So maybe your question is different but the effect is the same.

Maybe every day you have a question that pops up in your head that… “Maybe this will all come crashing down and I’ll go broke.”

Or that you might get found out, and get fired.

Or that someone might up and leave you.

Regardless of which fearful question arises, the point is the same; by spending mental energy (sometimes, 5, 10, 30x per day) fearing the worst when there’s no real sign of danger, you’re wasting a tremendous amount of time living in fear.

So sure, when true problems arise, face them square on.

But there’s no use in going over false problems in your head over and over every day when they don’t exist.

If you’re just joining us, this is Creative Caffeine, an ongoing conversation from David@ Death to Stock about using our creativity to earn a living without losing our soul.

Hit reply if you have something to share.
+ I occasionally share a roundup of community responses –
or @me on Twitter.  

Tune in for no agenda. our weekly community Livestream –
11 PST on Friday’s.

   Are you a Creative Hypochondriac? (On Youtube)

Sunday Caffeine – The Arc is Long

Hey hey, welcome back to the world, it’s May.

This is no agenda..err Creative Caffeine. I’m headed to a coffee shop in the desert. The temp is 98 degrees.

Once again I’m looking for a way for my many projects to intertwine perfectly, which has never been the case. I’ve got new brand assets to share for my streaming show and a video shoot for Death to Stock in the works for June. There’s got to be a way to integrate them all and not bring about confusion…What I mean is that I’m in a long-term relationship with an audience.

The projects and businesses are because I am passionate about them and the questions that they pose. Along the way, I share the discoveries, stories, whatever I can do in a way that’s interesting or valuable or meaningful to others who are like-minded, on similar quests… Each comes packaged differently, but the intent behind the messages come through the same.

The process is long. A decade maybe more.

The story arc is still developing…

Digital Hygiene

Today I’m doing my Sunday Digital Hygiene Routine. It’s marked off on my calendar. I clean my “rooms” and do maintenance on anything that needs to be fixed up or organized. I place my things neatly into folders, clear out my mailbox and spend a bit of time learning new micro-skills that assist in my daily digital life.

These are our new chores.

Our online world is entropy. Our spaces look entirely different. Our systems will be uniquely our own. But the problem is the same.

Code rusts over time, apps fall out of favor (but we stay subscribed or keep them in our toolbars).

So the task is to stay up to date as much as possible, to simplify continually, to pick up new skills to keep things neat and tidy. Curating your digital mind with the right influences.

Then when it’s done we can sit there with the window open so as to allow the breeze to come in…

Staying in the Room.

This is the mantra this week.

You sit down at the blank page and you struggle to stay in your seat. You’re there to write or record or make something new.

At the beginning, your mind is telling you that there’s nothing here for you and you should probably just go back to doing something else! You pick up anything you can to distract yourself; I go to the kitchen and open the cupboard and give it a blank stare.

But if you stick with it past the awkwardness, if you stay there with the A.D.D. and the second thoughts… 15 minutes… 30 minutes…

Suddenly you’ve forgotten about all of the struggles and you’re not thinking about what’s coming out of your mouth or your fingertips, it’s just coming out. It’s sort of a creative blur. Things are flowing and time goes away.

And then you look up you’re done and you feel like you’ve added something to the world. Voiced what you’ve needed to.

Then you hit publish… and it’s up to the market.

You know more than anyone when it’s good or not. And chances are, the more you were feeling it in the moment the more the audience will, too. But that’s not always the point, sometimes it’s just getting something on the page. That’s the step you needed. To build momentum and get something out is gratifying.

There’s no formula, it’s a feeling. A state change.

And so the days are optimized to allow for that feeling to take hold. Last week I talked about productivity being tracking a metric, not tracking your time. It’s what I track. How many times I’ve got that feeling that this is showing up through me and I’m not in control but there’s something there. I want to feel it all of the time.

This only works if I stay put with it. If you stay in the chair. If you allow things to show up,

like a breeze…

— David

If you’re just joining us, this is Creative Caffeine, an ongoing conversation about using our creativity to earn a living without losing our soul. I’m David from
Death to the Stock Photo
Hit reply if you have something to share via email.
I occasionally share a roundup of community responses –
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Creative Caffeine – Today’s Moment of Gratitude

When I think about my day, and how I spend my time, I’m starting to see how simple it really is.

Most of how I spend my time now is dedicated to this small screen of my computer or phone. Sure, it’s a scary place, a stressful place, or mean place… if you let it be. But you don’t need to choose to connect with it in that way.

You can go to your screen to help you have more ability every day.

It’s where I go to write.
It’s where I go to read (from thousands of others freely sharing their thinking).
It’s where I talk with friends and acquaintances.
I listen to music or watch videos.
I learn.

I problem solve things that come up in my business.

Sometimes I can even ask for help.

And when I’m not tapped into my screen at the coffee shop or at home, I go for a walk or I work out. Or I can go interact with people and events, and observe it, or document it, think about it. It doesn’t always need to be there.

But usually, I’ll get ideas again that I jot down on my screen for later.

I’m plugged in; It’s a place where I get to share and interact.

There’s a lot of noise but there’s also a lot of simplicity in having it all in one place, curated by me, available for whatever and whenever I want.

I can turn it off.

But I couldn’t go back.

It’s magic.

The Creative Caffeine Youtube Channel

If you’re just joining us, this is Creative Caffeine, an ongoing conversation about using our creativity to earn a living without losing our soul. I’m David, conductor of the group and founder of Death to the Stock Photo.Hit reply.
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Our collective Burn Rate is getting better

Community Mail, Re: What is Art?/Productivity.

Re: Productivity

Interesting thoughts, David!

I’ve been struggling with metrics for a long time now. Most writers use word count as a metric. Thing is that while I’m a writer, daily word count turned out to be an aweful and discouraging metric. Just because I pound at my keyboard x number of times doesn’t mean that I feel I accomplished anything. X words of crap is still crap. I’d rather write a lot less but be happy with the quality.

So instead I gauge my daily accomplishments with whether or not I feel satisfied with my work. Regardless of time, word count or any other metric, I measure satisfaction. Because satisfaction is triggered by hormones, it is an ‘on/off’ situation: while I’m not satisfied, those hormones don’t trigger and I won’t feel satisfied. Once I’m happy with that day’s work, ‘BANG!’ they’re off and I feel so grateful and pleased with what I’ve done.

Bonus aspect: when I’m satisfied with that day’s work, I often feel eager to do a little more of it.

And those days when I don’t hit my goal? I analyse what went wrong (usually I got distracted by something that broke my pace) and take steps to prevent that from happening again.

The basic principle is the same as with classic metrics and SMART goals, but for me, this is much more gratifying. 🙂

Love to hear what others are using!

All the best,



I just read this after reading your recent missive about following your own creative process. Loved your love about how it’s easier to follow a template than the blank canvas. It’s so true.

Anyway, your piece and this seem like good bookends to one thought: just create.

Hope you find it interesting.


Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

Martha Graham on the Hidden Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others

by James Clear
Read this on


Hi David,

I haven’t dropped you a reply before, so “Hi” from the UK. I’m just going to put a few words down after reading your email below.

I’m a writer, working for an eclectic group of clients, creating stories for non-English speaking children worldwide (mainly Asia and South America). I get to write about dragons, unicorns, secret portals, and mushrooms that fly, etc. It’s a job I love! And, I feel so  lucky I planned my escape from corporate life to do this. I take time out to work on my inner game regularly. Otherwise, the need to be constantly creative can be draining and I like to keep fresh. I’m also working on a few other creative projects (exploring Patreon as an option) and my own gritty, contemporary fiction. (I like to keep things real!) Initially, I was drawn to your photography because I look for inspiration from many directions. Thank you for sharing those!

I joined a membership site recently and left soon afterwards. It ‘felt’ phoney. Phoney praise, phoney likes, cliques and, favoritism for a select few, from the founder.  I wanted fresh thinking, lack of ego, and a desire to share and learn.

Your posts are different. They are intelligent, considered and not just make me think, they stretch my thinking, in the right way for me. I have a few days off next week to explore your videos and catch up on a few emails.

There is some great stuff about growth mindset developed by Dr. Carol Dweck. Just an example link below. There’s tons of stuff out there on YT.

I absolutely agree that adaptability of our mind is the way to sustain ourselves moving forwards. I’m hoping that my work sows one seed in a child’s mind about what they can do, not can’t do. I want to create positive energy and challenge limits, in a fun way.  What may be impossible now may soon be possible!

Now, I’m off to write about an insect hospital for a series I need to finish by Monday. It will be fun! I’ve got so many ideas for insect injuries and treatments. 🙂

Who knows the ripple effect of our collective efforts. Keep being real and continue to challenge our thinking.

Best Wishes,



I usually make a To do lists for every day/ week on a small notebook I keep with me. If all the points are checked by the end of the day or week (depending on the task’s timeline), I feel I had a productive session. It’s a nice way to track just how much procrastinate on a give span of time.

Yet, I don’t force myself to follow it to the end. I try to just let go sometimes. I’ve discovered that certain things that are or seen extremely “urgent” usually aren’t so much.



Ha David, love you emails!

I think an implicit distinction you seem to make (that I think is wise) is to have input metric. Metrics for things you put in and have full control over. The hope or theory is that doing these will lead to the desired output. But it can be depressing to measure your succes by the outputs. Since, a lot is out of your control. Of course, you can measure both and have that help you readjust your plan.

I wrote something about this here:

Tijmen Rümke

Re: What is Art?


Wow, this one hits home for me. I’ve actually got a story, that I think you might enjoy, relating to this idea!

In 2016 I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Europe, specifically Berlin, to study for the Summer. During my time there we were given two ‘free’ weekends, that we could spend traveling abroad or explore the city.

For one of those, I went to Amsterdam with friends and had one of the most profound art experiences I’ve ever had while there. (Side note: Yes, I was in college. No, I was not high at the time.) Of course, Amsterdam has the Van Gogh Museum (amazing) and the Rijksmuseum (also amazing), but it was Stedelijk museum that
changed me as an artist.

There I was able to view, for the first time in my life, the work of Piet Mondrian. Piet is, literally, my favorite artist. So much
so that I plan on getting my first tattoo as a tribute to his work.

I remember standing in front of his work and almost crying. Whether it was tears of joy, or just being overwhelmed by the reality of seeing his work in person, I don’t know. It was this surreal feeling that after years of seeing his work online, in textbooks, or reprinted elsewhere that this was real. Hanging less than a foot in front of my face, was one of my favorite works of art ever.

Whether or not I felt what Mondrian had intended, I felt something.

Since that trip, I’ve always felt more confidence in my art and creativity, I just don’t think I really credited this experience as something that could change you in that way.

Thanks for the read, and helping me put context around my own experience. Sorry for the long read, but I hope you enjoyed it!

Nathaniel H


Hey David!

I kept this as a draft and douted my response. I thought maybe it’d be silly to reply but as a writer, you inspired me to hit reply anyway.

So to keep the pot a-brewin’…

Art seems to level the playing field. While yes there are famous poets, painters, sculptors, photographers… there’s an inborn desire to express and be understood in every being. To belong, or be accepted. To say I am and I was, and we are and we were.

The work of the famed & glorious are worth no more than that of the child who never shares his sketchbook, or the elderly man who carves his time into figurines, the girl who holds a song of trials never heard by another ear… the value to the artist, a passing of time which is worth something. It allows us to achieve a peace, tap into something other than every day, the chaos that doesn’t make sense and leaves us constricted.

It is a language within itself. & roots in multiple directions, without gravity, without time, space. Lines, colors, and motions cutting out a place in matter; engraving a thought, emotion, experience, or moment into physical energy.

Happy thoughts & good vibes!


I wish we could spend more of our time on art rather than transactional work. There’s nothing more rewarding than honing a craft for the sake of it, free of the pressures of meeting someone’s expectations, deadlines or preferences.

Unfortunately, we live in a transactional world. And so here I am writing during a pause from my work while dreaming of the art I don’t make with the life I don’t have.



In your video you say “The results of connection that comes from art are what make it all worth it.” I could´t agree more!!!!

Creative Caffeine emails are always inspiring, thank you. And doing videos on what you write about on these emails is a great idea, I loved it.

Just wanted to connect and say thank you, I thought you should know you really inspire others to embrace even more their creativity and art:)

(from Argentina)

Check out the Creative Caffeine Youtube Channel

If you’re just joining us, this is Creative Caffeine, an ongoing conversation about using our creativity to earn a living without losing our soul. I’m David, conductor of the group and founder of Death to the Stock Photo.Hit reply.
(I occasionally share a roundup of community responses – and if you have a question I’ll try my best to respond)

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Sunday Caffeine – Digital Ocean

Welcome back! Another week to make and share our work with the world, another CreativeCaffeine Sunday update.

This time from a new desk courtesy of Ikea, and 45 minutes of unpacking and using miniature metal tools with big paper instructions that look like hieroglyphics.

Last week was the most enjoyable community hang out yet, I have a bazillion links to share from it that will likely slip by me as other emails, videos and work take hold.

This week I’ll be at LA’s Blockchain conference. Saturday I went to the second ever Peer to Peer Web meet up hosted at Folder Studio. It felt like I was seeing the birth of the internet. The 30-40 people who attended were all packed into a small windowless gallery space with free spring rolls and La Croix and a host of presentations with projects being worked on.

I need to do a digital Spring Cleaning.

My Mailchimp is full of cobwebs and there are Google docs and screenshots and stray podcast MP3’s, photos etc. that all need to be organized. I want my digital space to be simple, but the web is a firehose and it takes an intentional practice to keep yourself dry.

This week feels like floating on the Sea of Infinity, with many options on the horizon and an accelerating timeline. Using the wind…


Adjusting course.

Business is a series of pivots, some bigger than others. And if you’re not changing direction, you’re not seeing that the ocean you’re sailing is changing all of the time. But, it’s also a game of context and timing. Sometimes you point your ship at a location and have to weather the seas for 2, 5 years before you make it to the beach. Either because the market isn’t ready, or you’re, not or a mix of the two. Enjoy leaning into the wind and riding with it, either way, you’re sailing.

Artists Today

Collaboration is the foundation.

Their perspective is that the world is their oyster and that everyone can win.

Hate and criticism are overrated and replaced by collaboration and saying “yes and.”

Are in a mental revolution as much as technological one.

See themselves as able to cross between industries with fluidity, and then bridget them together.

Bring their full self to the table, your opinions, your flaws, your passions.

Use whatever medium they can to shine their light and message through.

Like Virgil Abloh, from architect streetwear to Louis Vuitton and Ikea.
Like Donald Glover, from acting to rapping to producing film scores.
Like Jordan Peele, from Comedian to producing “Get Out.”
Like Lin Manuel Miranda.

Patiently In Between.

I’d take long walks, and bring books with me to the park. Or I’d read at home in bed in the middle of the day. No one knew where I was but me, I could disappear. Not that it was easy, I was totally unsure about where I was in my life, but something told me to stick to a routine. That I was in the middle of a transition and I just had to sit with it for now. So I’d make projects and I’d send out emails to companies and in the open space I rested and thought a lot.

Things like this you feel more in your body than in your head. Over the following months, I’d stay with friends a few weeks at a time, or fly out to other cities and pretend to be local for a while.

A few years after is when I packed all of my things and put them into my car… Then another few months traveling around seeing friends, spending real quality time. A sort of farewell from one stage to the next, even though I wasn’t sure what the next was. Then a tough conversation in a Diner with a mentor.

Then a trip to the West Coast…

The most important question:

What am I afraid of?

You can live with that…!

– David

The New Creative World

The biggest shift of the next few decades will be of the mind.
Wait for it; the books, the lectures, the debates, the gurus – all will turn their focus from our structural institutions to upgrading our individual mindset and it’s adaptability. It’s the next frontier.

And I’m not talking about intellectualism.
And I’m not talking about science.

The turmoil of today; the stress, anxiety, opioid addictions, the fear, all come at the same time that we’ve reaped massive benefits from the industrial age.

We’ve got an abundance of food, goods, access to infinite information freely, infinite entertainment, connection, unlimited education. yet….

The shackles of the 20th century are off, but do we feel that way?
We still don’t feel the abundance, we’re trapped in our heads.

It’s “Whiplash.”
(Joi Ito)

So the story of the day is the transition from the linear, productive world of industry, to the open, freeform, ever-changing world of the next century and beyond. There’s no clear straight line anymore, and we’re accelerating faster.

This is where we will need to upgrade our ability to adapt, shift and focus on the abundant opportunity at hand. Because the opportunity and abundance are here. The tools are here. We just have to build some bridges to help bring the world into the future.

“The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”
-William Gibson

The New Creative World (Youtube)


What is Productivity?


Time is a poor measure.

Yet, that’s the system we’re still in.

I’ve had a hard time in the past understanding if I’m being productive or not.

I’d get to the end of the day, and if there were hours still available and I’d feel pressure to fill that space because it feels like being productive.

But just because we spend time on something doesn’t mean we’re making progress.

Most time-filling work is clerical. It simply fills space.

And important work, the stuff that actually helps you go in a straight line to where you want to go, happens in short to medium length bursts (across a day or week).

So, instead of time, we can ask ourselves, “What metric makes a difference towards our goal or what we hope to do each day?”

If you want to be a writer, did you write?
If you want to be a vlogger, did you create a video?
If you’re in sales, did you make your 10 calls?
And so on…

This metric can vary widely depending on the field.

The point is, it should be something you care about or is the leading indicator for the thing you care about. (For example, if you’re trying to optimize for happiness, and you know that working out in morning leads to more happiness, track your AM workouts).

The world will make this hard for you.

Often it will attempt to pull you away with time-filling work instead of productive work.

The frequency in which we have bursts of time on important work, work on what matters to us, will make the biggest difference in our lives for fulfillment and progress.

Pick a metric you care about, make it your top priority, and sleep tight knowing you completed that today.

I’m Curious: What metric would/do you follow?


P.S .There’s always a metric. If you’re having trouble, think like Cal Newport, in his book “Deep Work,” where he talks about how he simply tracks hours of interrupted work time per day. The more days in a row he gets his block of deep work time, the bigger his scholastic output.

P.P.S. Maybe your work has a metric for you that’s not what you want as your metric. You can pick both! Feel awesome accomplishing what your job cares about, and get that other metric done on your own time.