I’m Developing a Paper/Pixel Hybrid to Manage My Life

10 years ago I carried a pocket calendar, an ipod and a cell phone with me everywhere I went. I needed all three items to navigate my day. And I was always looking for the holy grail item that would integrate all three.

First up was a blackberry. I loved the full sized keyboard and email capability. Texting was getting popular so I liked not having to press a button 5 times to change a letter. I loved having all of my contact information is one spot even if backing it up and keeping it synced with my pc was a pain. The downside to the blackberry was I couldn’t play music and the screen sucked.

The iPhone 3G was my first holy grail moment of having everything in one spot. It wasn’t perfect but it was dang close.

Keep in mind this was before social media. This was back in the days you had to have a college email address to sign up for facebook. There was no twitter or instagram. Mobile web browsing was an exercise in patience due to slow 3G connection speeds. But I had access to everything I needed on a daily basis with none of the distractions. In other words, I wasn’t glued to my phone.

Everything changed when 4G LTE and twitter came on the scene. Now I could surf the web at speeds close to what I had at work and twitter was my gateway drug to world that had a constant stream of information. Back then I also subscribed to about 50 blogs using Google Reader. When you combined that with twitter, I was hooked.

I thought I was done looking for the perfect way to manage my life. But now 10 years later, I’m understanding it was all a mirage. A computer enhanced hallucination. I hadn’t gained the most useful tool ever that would triple my efficiency and thereby enable me to redeem time I could spend as I pleased. What I had gained was a crutch.

My holy grail had become my holy jail. I was addicted to information, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Apps. . . The time I redeemed was sucked up by my crutch.

The results were small and seemingly insignificant at first. I’d laugh off not remembering a phone number or forgetting an appointment because I’d failed to put in my phone.

Now I know I robbed myself of basic skills I need to survive and the needed repetition to keep those skills sharp. For instance, studies have shown your retention rate is above 80% when your write something as opposed to less than 30% when you type it. And the more times you dial a phone number the more it’s cemented into your memory.

All of this means I’m going to start working on a hybrid system. Part digital part analog. As of now there’s no way to carry around my music and podcasts without it being in a digital device. But I’m going to keep a list of my most critical phone numbers in my paper pocket calendar. I’ll also make this calendar my master and use the digital version as my backup. I’m sure I’ll come up with others but that’s where I’m going to start.

Stay tuned.

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I’m Developing a Paper/Pixel Hybrid to Manage My Life

What I learned When Augusta National Wouldn’t Let Me Bring iPhone In.

Yesterday I went to the pinnacle of Southern wealth and hospitality, Augusta National Golf Club. It’s like Disney World, it looks too perfect. Except it’s not artificial, it’s just what you can accomplish with an unlimited budget. Heck even the pine straw is perfect. No clumps or lumps.

To get in you have to get past metal detectors, bomb sniffing dogs and a high end ticket scanner, but after that you’re transported back to the 1960’s. From the clubhouse to the cabins used by members, you’d swear it was 1962.

This means cell phones are not allowed. And I mean NO cell phones. You can’t even use your phone as a camera. Another old school tradition is people smoking outdoors. I saw several cigar smokers and not once did I  hear some snowflake cough and go “excuse you!”.

The cell phone ban stressed me out a little because I’m way more addicted to my slab of glass and metal than I care to admit. I SAY it’s because I use it to get work done and I do but the real reason I love my iPhone is social media. Not so much Facebook but Instagram and twitter. I lost count of how many times I reached for my phone because I wanted to post something on instagram or tweeter while walking around the course. It was a reflex. See something cool, tell the world. Here’s the weird part, not having the ability to post made me appreciate whatever it was I wanted to let the world know about more. At one point Susan and I were walking down a fairway and I stopped to look around and realized how much I was enjoying being on the grounds. I took the minute I would have spend posting to simply enjoy.

I redeemed that minute.

Why was it redeemable? Because the hard truth I learned is 90% of what i post on social media is not about “sharing” it’s about ME, ME, ME or more to be blunt BRAG, BRAG, BRAG. Ouch, that hurt.

I did carry a camera with me so to create my memory book but I was able to fully engage with the experience because my iphone was in the car. The sights, the sounds, the smells. I posted a few pictures the next day but not from a ME, ME, ME perspective but a “I got to go to a place a lot of people would also like to go and here are some images” purpose.  

I discovered another negative about my iPhone habit, I don’t know anybody’s phone number anymore. I got to work on that one and least have a short list I keep on me at all times.

As much as I enjoy my iPhone, Augusta National showed me I can and should live without it more. It’s not been the positive influence on my life I thought it was.

PS

I’ve been to Disney World and have eaten at Chick Fil A, which were always my gold standard in terms of customer service and experience. Augusta National now has that title.

How did they build that kind of culture, here’s what’s on signs all over the employee areas at Augusta National Golf Club

“Thousands of guests are visiting your home this week. Love them like your family.”

What I learned When Augusta National Wouldn’t Let Me Bring iPhone In.

You Learned How to be Afraid

What’s the worst bar bet ever? Betting your buddies that can’t name the top 3 most common fears. The answer is:

  • Arachnophobia- fear of spiders
  • Ophidiophobia- fear of snakes
  • Acrophobia- fear of heights

But here’s a bar bet you can win, name the two fears people are born with? The answer is falling and loud noises.

Nobody is born afraid of spiders, snakes, or heights. If you’re scared of any of these, you learned at some point in your life.

Fear is a touchy subject with men. Most men don’t even want to talk it, and men dang sure don’t like to admit they have fears. But men do have fears. Their fears aren’t so much about spiders or snakes, instead here’s what men are afraid of.

Top 10 Fears of Men

  1. Someone will leave me
  2. Someone is criticizing me
  3. I am disappointing someone
  4. Failure
  5. Someone won’t like what I have to say
  6. Someone will reveal I’m an imposter
  7. The haters are right
  8. Going broke
  9. Asking for help
  10. Losing respect

I won’t say how many but I will admit to having more than one of these fears at different times in my life.

The sad part is these fears having being holding back generations of men from being the best version of themselves for no good reason. Remember, other than falling or loud noises, any fear you have was learned. You didn’t come into the world with the fear someone would reveal you’re an imposter (even though you’re not). Going broke is a fear you learned at some point along the way.

These fears have feed wrong thinking. And wrong thinking have sent you and me to the bench instead of getting in the game. All because we were afraid of something we didn’t have to be. We don’t have to be afraid to ask for help or disappointing someone. We don’t HAVE to be afraid of anything.

Life is too short to live in fear.  All fears are defeatable. Don’t let fear hold you back and prevent you from being the best version of yourself.

The Guy’s Guide to a Good Life tip is to look at every fear as defeatable. Don’t allow yourself to fall into fear trap. Stand up to fear.

Try this, the next time you’re afraid to ask for help, ask anyway. You’ll discover they’ll respect you more not less. And you will have taken a giant step to overcoming fear.

 

You Learned How to be Afraid

Why Do Guys Spend So Much Time Playing Video Games?

Women believe men are mysterious beings. The things men do in the course of a normal day cause women all kinds of concerns. Not only do they have concerns, they have questions:

  • Why did you eat that ghost pepper if you knew it would make you throw up? (answer: a guy never backs down from a dare.)
  • What smells? (answer: you don’t want to know.)
  • Did you really think the Super Bowl ads were funny? (answer:of course. I thought the talking baby with the hidden cell phone so he could trade stock was hilarious)

And the number one question these days: Why do guys play video games?

It’s a fair question when you consider all of the time and money guys spend on video games. Did you know the gaming industry made $23.5 billion in 2015? $16.5 billion was spent on games alone.

This has been going on for a while. The only thing that has changed is the location.

When I was a teenager, I had to go to an arcade when I wanted to play video games. In the little town I grew up in that meant The Orbiter or The Fun House. By the way, I’d be much closer to having my first million if I had back all of the quarters I fed into those machines. Now I know I was making the guy in our town who owned the machines a millionaire.

This was the early 80’s and home game consoles still pretty much sucked. Then came xbox, playstation and nintendo. Now game consoles are super computers. That’s one of the reasons the number of hours guys spend playing video games every week has gone up so drastically: 6.5 hours online and 5 hours with face to face.

But I still haven’t answered the Why question.

I think there are several reasons

One is this generation of men, unlike their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, has no great war to fight. No World War II. No Desert Storm. Which means they don’t have an outlet for the warrior they have inside them. Football, basketball, baseball even Mixed Martial Arts are fun and combative but they aren’t a substitute for the adrenaline rush that comes with warfare.

But first person shooter games are so realistic they provide a setting where a guy can experience that which he is wired to engage in, combat, without suffering any of the consequences (pain).

Another reason is guys develop relationships by doing things together. When a guy hangs out with his buddies playing video games, he’s getting much needed relationship time with other guys.

Finally, video games may be how he deals with stress. It’s how he relaxes.

Rewiring Your Brain

There is a very dark side to video games. Playing too much can actually rewire a guy’s brain by supplying an endless amount of variety. It’s easy because anything is possible for a video game developers. They can make a computer or xbox game do whatever will keep a guy engaged and reaching for his wallet.

All of this means guy’s brains are being rewired to demand change, novelty, and the biggie, constant stimulation. How many of us pick up our phone when a commercial comes on or when we have a free nanosecond? Constant stimulation is rotting our brains.

Here’s the danger.  Ask any compulsive gambler, alcoholic or drug addict and he will tell you they need more and more of whatever their thing is to get the same buzz. That’s why a gamer plays more, moves on to more violent and intense games. Game developers know this and are happy to keep feeding the beast.

The problem is life doesn’t work that way. Success takes time. Delayed gratification is the key to contentment. A guy in his mid-twenties needs to be setting long-term goals but his brain is being rewired to only think about the next 20 seconds, not the next 20 years.

Why is this a big deal? Here’s what one guy said “The excessive use of video games is creating a generation of risk-averse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment.”

And that is why there are so many guys in their twenties and early thirties living in their mom’s basement who don’t think it’s weird. They aren’t ashamed of the fact they have become boys who can shave. There’s even a label for it “prolonged adolescence”.

What I do now?

Guys, like a lot of things in your life, video games aren’t always bad. Play them, hang out with your friends, whatever. But remember this phrase from the Roman comic dramatist Plautus (c.250–184 bc),

‘moderation in all things is the best policy.’

Why Do Guys Spend So Much Time Playing Video Games?

Who’s Messing With Me?

Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is out to get me. Not in a creepy, conspiracy, more like a big brother torturing his little brother. It’s like the world has his hand on my forehead holding me back and I’m swinging my fists hitting nothing but air.

I just finished writing the latest edition of the email newsletter I send out every week. I started the newsletter a couple of months ago and really enjoy the process. The normal format is an intro featuring whatever is on my mind, then a map, globe and sometimes a PS.

Articles under Maps are practical content, stuff you can use as soon as you finish reading. Globes are the high level stuff you need to succeed in life. Core values, moral guardrails, that kind of thing.

Today’s Globe is what’s got me checking to see who’s messing with me. I started a series on the three skills every man needs to live a successful life, Wisdom, Discipline and Good Judgement. I’ve written and spoken on the magic three countless times. This time I was talking about Discipline. Specifically a quote from my friend Andy Andrews.

“Am I willing to do something I don’t want to do now, to get a result I’d like to have in the future?”

Are you kidding me? I don’t want to write today, South Carolina plays Florida then Kentucky plans North Carolina to see who goes to the final four. Plus I just finished writing 1500 words for the newsletter, so the last thing I want to do is come up with 500 new words there’s a good chance nobody but me will ever see.

Common sense says I should take the day off. I’ve written 500 words every day for 26 straight days. That kind of dedication should qualify me to watch the game.

But here I am, writing 500 words. Why? Simple, I’m willing to write today so that a year from now my writing will be better and therefore I’ll be able to inspire, educate and entertain more men which means there will more good men and that means our world will be better. That’s why I’m writing.

Having big goals help. Discipline for small goals is tough. If my only goal was to become a good writer, I’d be watching the game. Being good for the sake of being good is not enough. At anything. Being good at something is meant to make others lives better. To make your world better. Who cares if you can sit in a chair and say “I’m the best”? That’s wasted effort and time.

I want to be a good writer because reading is not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dead tree book or an e-book, a blog post or a tweet, people will read. Writing has the ability to move people to action, to achieve things they never thought possible.

There’s also a sense of personal satisfaction when you keep a promise to yourself. I promised myself I was going to put in the work and part of that was writing 500 words a day. That’s day 27.

Do you have a big goal? What are you willing to do now so that you can have that goal in the future?

Who’s Messing With Me?

Common Sense is Not So Common Anymore

Starting a company is a pain in the butt. What structure will you use? Sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp? Accrual or Cash based accounting system? What will you call your company? Is that name available?

What about your web presence? What .com domain name is available? Don’t forget about Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.

It all matters. And all of this is before you have a single dollar of revenue.

What you figure out is while the paperwork is semi-expensive and a major league pain, it’s for your protection. You reduces the chance you’ll lose your stuff. For instance, an LLC is a limited liability corporation. The reason you need one is right there in the name, it limits your liability in the event something horrible happens.  Your personal assets like your house and retirement accounts are shielded from any judgements declared against you.

Because our society has become so litigious Protection has become the number goal of any business instead of making a positive impact on the world and making money.

I’m writing this because we’ve starting down this path with Modern Southern Gentleman and A Guy’s Guide to a Good Life. Both entities are going to be owned by the same company called 72 East which My wife and I will own.

Modern Southern Gentleman is a lifestyle company focused on great products that celebrate the South. T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, croakies, koozies and of course stickers. In addition we’ll continue to produce The Modern Southern Gentleman podcast where we talk to successful southern men and any man with a great story. My wife Susan is going to head up the merchandising for MSG. She has a great eye of products that people will want to purchase.

A Guy’s Guide to a Good Life is all about exactly what you’d expect when you hear the name. I’ll be sharing strategies, processes, and tips to help motivated men win at life. We’ve got some great products coming to help you leverage your time and resources in ways you’ve never thought of. We’ll also gather a few times a year as a group to get to know each other and learn from each other. I’m working on the book, A Guy’s Guide to a Good Life And finally, there will be an opportunity for all of us to gather in a private place online to vent and support one another.

But before we can do any of this cool stuff, we have to do boring crap like setup bank accounts, file for Federal ID numbers and other adult stuff. I’m banking on the advice I’ve been given that the better job we do on the front end setting up the infrastructure and systems, the smoother life will be in the future. Undoing a mess is way more expensive in terms of time and money than taking the extra day to get it right the first time.

All that being said, it still ticks me off that I live in a world so devoid of common sense that I have worry about this kind of crap. <sigh>

Common Sense is Not So Common Anymore

Hemingway Had to Learn How to Write

Today is a good test to see if writing is a skill or some sort of mystical ability. This is important because every writer asks the same question, “how do I write when I’m not inspired?”.

The short answer from every professional writer I’ve seen is: amateurs wait for inspiration, professionals show up and go to work.

Here’s a few quotes on the topic:

“Do your bit, even when you’re not inspired. Especially when you’re not inspired. Strangely it’s the quickest route to becoming inspired

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”

– Ernest Hemingway

“People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it.”

– Harlan Ellison

 

Well today I’m going to put the writing is work theory to the test. I’m as far from inspired as you can be. There’s not a creative idea percolating in my body. The reason is my job today is supervising movers. Not quite but close to as an unglamorous, uninspiring way to spend day as you can find.

Most of my conversations today went something like this:

“That desk goes. That table goes. Those filing cabinets go. Etc.”

When we got to the new place the conversations went like this:

“That goes in the third office on the left. No, that’s not where that goes” but all the movers heard was “blah, blah, blah”

Can’t you just feel the energy and inspiration swirling around me? Now I know why Hemingway drank so much.

Let’s talk about Brother Hemingway. It’s my opinion he, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and John Steinbeck are the Mount Rushmore of American writers. (Sure John Grishman may have sold more books than all of them combined, but great writers are seldom given their due while they’re still breathing fresh air). And even Hemingway says, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” Ernest Freaking Hemingway admits he wasn’t born with the ability to write. Instead of descending into a fit of false modesty, I’m going to boldly declare if Papa Hemingway learned how to write, I can too.

Let me be clear that’s a declaration I could not and would not have made before I began the 500 words a day discipline. Writing 500 words a day has opened my eyes to the fact that writing is just about work. No different than hauling hay, picking peaches or any of the other manual labor I’ve done through the years. The only real benefit to being a writer is you can choose to do it in the air conditioning. But that’s it. Hauling hay was all about putting one foot in front of the other to get through a 12 hour day in the middle of July in Alabama, while writing is putting one letter in front of another. It’s all about the grind.

So that’s 529 words I wrote when I was the opposite of inspired, that means the writing muscle continues to develop.

 

Hemingway Had to Learn How to Write