Been a while since I shared something here – I thought this was extraordinarily entertaining and insightful. Too many of us are staring at our screens instead of seeing one another face to face these days.
It used to be that when people would complain about Mondays and having to go in to work, I’d chime in and add my $.02 of agreement, thinking it was just something you did. Everyone complains about Mondays, right?
But I didn’t feel it.
For years, I never really got what people were complaining about on Mondays. I mean sure, it’d be nice to not have to work on Monday, but that’s reality right? If you have to work, you’re going to have some version of a Monday and you’re going to have to start your workweek. Why complain?
Then, I experienced it for myself. I was at WebEx, had been there for ~2 years and I started to really dislike Monday mornings. I’d wake up, hit snooze 3 times, be late for my carpool and just really want to come up with a reason to skip work or, heaven forbid, to even call in sick.
“This isn’t like me”, I thought at the time. I’d never been one to call in sick or make up excuses. But it kept showing up, Monday after Monday.
So I thought about what was going on, at a deeper level, for a while. And I came to some conclusions:
- Most people hate Mondays because they truly dislike their jobs and don’t do anything to change the situation
- I like making things so much that I’d never really disliked my jobs, no matter how bad they were (for the record, working 100+ hours a week was nothing compared to the babysitting gig I had one summer)
- I’d finally experienced what it was to dislike my job for the first time
- I didn’t want to ever find myself in the “most people” camp
So I created my “Rule of Mondays”. Which goes like this:
“If you find yourself waking up on the first day of your workweek, whatever day that may be, and you don’t want to go into work, listen to it. If it’s back for too many weeks in a row, change it.”*
For the past 8 years I’ve held that rule in my head and observed it fastidiously. It’s served me incredibly well. I knew when it was time to leave Yahoo! – that voice was there.
Damn it feels good to be an entrepreneur
Fortunately, I haven’t felt that way since 2008. Being on my own, working on things I want to work on with people I want to work with has been super fulfilling in a ton of ways, but the most important way is that every Monday comes with excitement.
I love the feeling of waking up on Monday, having an entire week of people’s time ahead of me to work with. I love the feeling of taking my first “official” day of the workweek and kicking the crap out of it.
I love knowing that every Monday is an opportunity to set the tone for myself and to accomplish more in one day than I think that I can. I strive to make Monday my longest and most productive day because it carries on into the rest.
Wasting opportunity is a terrible sin
Finally, I love Mondays because of this:
I’m fortunate enough to live in a country like the US and that I have the means to decide what I do and how I spend my time. I want to know that I’m making the most of that opportunity and every Monday is another chance to prove it to myself.
*Some of you might recognize this as sounding very similar to Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech. It’s one of the reasons that reading that resonated with me so very deeply – I’d just gone through this exercise in my own way
The tears didn’t fall, but they were there.
I don’t believe in idols anymore, but I do admire people and seek to learn from others. In the past decade, I’ve come to really admire and respect Steve Jobs.
For me, it’s his sense of humanity that is most important. Many people bring technology to people. Steve brought how people worked to technology and forever changed our expectations about what’s possible.
Which is why I found myself almost crying yesterday afternoon when I read on Twitter that he’d passed away.
An important voice in the world is now silent. He guided us to build technology for people, enabling us to be more creative, free and human. Fortunately, we had that voice around long enough to learn from.
Steve – your Stanford Commencement speech has been on my refrigerator since you gave it, pushing me forward, reminding me to do what I love. I didn’t have to meet you in order to learn from you.
Thank you. You are missed.
- Mmmmmmondayyy! #
- Late night working and Star Trek, The Next Gen. #dorkygoodness #
- *sigh* So sad that FB keeps breaking stuff in a way that compromises user data. Even more sad that no one really cares: http://awe.sm/5J3BU #
- Soundtrack for some late night math: ♫ http://blip.fm/~14gfa9 #
- From Google I/O: 17 million applications dl'd from Chrome Web Store to date. App distribution continues to accelerate! http://awe.sm/5J6pF #
- Sometimes, the act of ordering the round IS the sobriety test. #
- Kicking off bay to breakers the right way: whiskey in my coffee. #
- I believe in peeing on trees #baytobreakers #
- I don't believe in luck and neither should you. #
- Now hiring: someone who can fix this f'ing terminal http://twitpic.com/4tki48 #
- Life looks a little bit different after building an underground oven and successfully cooking a calf head in it. #woocamp2011 #
- "Employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure." – Benjamin Franklin #
- Run through walls: ♫ http://blip.fm/~141owe #
- Yet another reason to never own a Playstation. Nice f'ing job Sony, you constantly find new & interesting ways to suck: http://awe.sm/5Id3e #
- Would be sweet for testing: RT @creativeapps: App Store should have a "developer" section where you can download work in progress apps. #
- Best way to start a travel day http://twitpic.com/4qk86l #
- Soundtrack for the next 6 hours: LCD soundsystem, atmosphere, arcade fire, booka shade, kanye and the BS report. #eclectic #
- Dear pakistan: you got some 'splainin' to do. #
When I was a senior in high school, I was asked to speak to a group of high-achieving junior high school students who were participants in the CTY program of Johns Hopkins University. As per my usual with respect to public speaking, I did a lot of thinking and not a lot of writing. In fact, I still hadn’t settled upon my speaking topic when I showed up at the auditorium. I remember sitting at the table with the 3 other students who were slated to speak and feeling irresponsible, since I was still bullet pointing my speech out.
However, as I watched each of them nervously fret over their neatly-typed, single-spaced speeches and mouth the words to themselves with their last few prep minutes, I discovered that I knew what I really wanted to talk about: seeking risk and failure in your life.
I’ve often looked back on that speech because I was proud that I took the opportunity to use that moment to speak about what I actually believed. The idea that we don’t take enough risks is something I think about a lot and Morgan Spurlock artfully talked about it at TED this past March much more eloquently than I did back when I was 18. Check it out:
I’m always reading a lot, soaking in new information and trying to refine how I think about building, based upon what others are sharing about their experiences. Here’s some my recent favorite stuff:
- The most difficult CEO skill: Managing your own psychology: yup, Ben Horowitz is great at saying it exactly the right way. “I didn’t quit,” the answer of great CEOs who made it through.
- From GigaOm: Steve Blank on How Startups Can Take Advantage of The Bubble. I love how he starts out the video by saying that he thinks that entrepreneurs, at their heart, are artists. Resonates with me, for sure.
- Mark Suster and Bill Gross talk about product development, strategy and many other things. Great stuff here for people who want to solve lots of problems and make progress on a regular basis.
Also, some music to enjoy:
- Tracks from Death Cab for Cutie’s forthcoming (and appropriately titled) album, “Codes and Keys”
Here we are, January 23rd, and I’m already receiving emails for invites to “Broken Resolutions” parties and hearing from friends that they’ve already cheated on their diet/workout/productivity plan.
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions for myself (they don’t work for me), but for those of you who do and especially, for those of you who never keep them, it’s time to think about your goals & what they really mean to you.
First, if it’s something that you “resolve” to do – you should be serious about it right? I’m assuming that your Resolutions are actually serious, that you have resolved, mentally, that you want to follow them.
Secondly, if you’re resolved about something, you should have a plan of attack in order to execute. It’s very rare that any of us can just “resolve” to do something and then immediately do it.
Let’s say that you’ve resolved to change your eating habits in order to eat more vegetables. Actually acting on that includes changing your shopping lists, your cooking plans and recipes, your lunch ordering behavior and much more. This is true all of the time – really committing to making a change requires a plan of action and some realistic thinking.
To that end, I’d like to share two things for you to think about as we near the close of the first month of the year. The first is by way of Barry Ritholz’s blog, and speaks to the top mistakes people make in approaching behavioral change:
The second piece is something that might seem a bit tangential, at first, but that I believe should serve as a motivator in the pursuit of personal change.
This post on self-esteem and self-confidence makes this point:
“Self-confidence is the belief of believing in yourself; to believe that one is able to accomplish what one sets out to do, to overcome obstacles and challenges.”
So, if you made New Year’s Resolutions this year and have already discarded some or all of them, I suggest that you look at that choice and see it through the lens of achieving self-confidence. The mental impact of that abandonment is likely very poor. For many of you, this pattern of behavior weighs on you and continues to lead to the feeling that you can’t accomplish what you set out to do.
All is not lost, however. Through the simple act of revisiting your resolutions and actually creating a reasonable plan for change, you can reverse the cycle and set yourself on a path to creating greater self-confidence.
Go try it out .
The only thing that would’ve made Marshawn’s Beast Mode touchdown run more awesome would have been if it sounded like a Super Mario Brothers game real-time: