The Power of Tiny Gains & The Horror of Tiny Losses
I wish I was better at discipline but I'm not and this chart isn't helping me
It's supposed to inspire you. But maybe you're like me. A pessimist. Not that I don't believe that discipline is good. It is. But I know I suck at it.
I see this chart and all I see is the bottom line. The 1% worse line.
And the Shame Wizard says, "See, that's you!"
And I want to tell you why I'm bad at discipline, but it's embarrassing. Too much ego wrapped up in not wanting you to read the braggiest of all humblebrags.
I struggle with discipline because I am pretty good at a lot of things, without much effort.
Ugh. Let me eye-roll myself so you don't have to. 🙄
How did I get into web marketing? I read a book and did it.
How did I learn Photoshop? I read a book and did it.
How did I build a starter career in improv, acting, and Shakespeare? I read books and did it.
How did I figure out screenwriting? Books.
How did I learn how to grow a company? Spoiler! Books.
I wasn't ALONE while doing these things (I had great people around me), but I tend to get good at things quickly. Not "mastery good," but "passable good."
That's the rub.
I'm a ready-fire-aim guy. No research necessary. I am unreasonable. I am hubris. I am folly.
Imagine what it's like to live with me. That I think I'm an instant expert at most everything (and am often right!). My poor wife. My poor kids. The ego!
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, but it was built faster than my house
I got to design and build our house. I mean, I didn't do it (I'm not that crazy), but we worked with an architect, general contractor, and designer to build a house. I realize how lucky I am in this, so it pains me to share that it was one of the harshest experiences of my life.
I was told it would take 11 months to complete, and because (hey) I'm smart, I knew it would likely take 14 months. But it took 28 months. TWENTY EIGHT.
I felt (feel?) SO ashamed about how long it took.
Friends, neighbors, and colleagues would strike up a friend conversation with "When's the house going to be done?" They were excited for us, but all I heard was, "You're so bad at building houses!"
Still feel the sting of a project managed poorly, when I think of myself as an instant expert. How is this possible?
And while I can criticize my general contractor for how long it took (and I did, often), I must realize that it takes longer than you expect to build something that can withstand the elements.
And while I currently have a newfound desire for writing, for humor, for creativity, and for building something worth you paying attention to, my ego wants it NOW. RIGHT NOW.
My fragile little man-boy ego is so bruised that I only have XX followers across LinkedIn and Substack. How is it possible? Do people not recognize my genius? It does not compute.
The reality is that I'm terrible at discipline, but I want the result of discipline.
I do not do the things that I say I want to do. I do the things that impede my progress.
That's it. No answers. Just honesty today.
Anyone else struggle with this?
Hard to say that you should subscribe today, after BEMOANING how great I think I am. Nothing ruins the moment as much as a prideful ego.
But hey, I promised vulnerabilty and some jokes and I’ve delivered.
Thanks for staying with me for the journey.
I will look back at this post in mid-to-late 2025 and RECOIL IN HORROR about how petulant I was.
Mark your calendars.
PS - I wrote this on my personal writing retreat in Lake Arrowhead last week. Also wrote two other pieces: