Do the obvious things

My cliff notes for “Obvious advice“:

Before enacting a decision or a plan, do the obvious things. Ask yourself what a reasonable person would consider obvious for the success of the action, and do those things. We often skip them, so simply minding this will get you ahead. Make this a reflex.

(Also, consider whether you’re acting hastily out of emotion and about to enact a terrible decision or plan, and if so, stop. Just don’t. Again, we often do the opposite of this advice.)

Simple, obvious advice is easy to give others — and helpful. Learn to try and give it to yourself. When stuck, step back and imagine if someone who was facing the same problem as you came to you for advice. What advice would you give? What questions would you ask to help get them unstuck? Try doing the same, yourself.

(This exact pattern is what prompted Nate to come up with many of the tools presented in this whole series on replacing guilt.)

Also, do ask for others’ advice. They will likely give you “obvious” to them advice that you wouldn’t have thought of. This is a very useful way to gain skills.

This post is part of the thread: Replacing Guilt Cliffs Notes – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

I will blog every day in January

Beginning today, I will blog once a day in January.

At the end of this month, I’ll reflect on the experiment and decide whether to continue.

Why you should give a shit, Dear Reader

Here’s what’s in it for you:

A developer’s journal. I’ll write more about things I learn as a practicing WordPress developer, and publish references that help me for recurring tasks or situations. Looking back at traffic statistics for this blog and others, technical topics are clearly the most attractive to readers — in particular, “cheat sheets”.

Podcast recommendations. I’m a dedicated listener to dozens of shows — I’m currently subscribed to 29. I’ll tell you which episodes and which shows have added the most value to my life, and why.

Music recommendations. I also listen to a lot of music, and I’ve been told I have a gift for describing what I like about a song or a band. I’ve never penned music criticism before, so set your expectations to ‘amateurish’.

Business leadership insight. I am involved daily in managing the company I own. This is a rich experience that occasionally inspires thoughts I’d like to share. Sounds boring, right? I promise only to publish the ones I think are truly good.

Comedy. I am honing my make-you-laugh skills. Thus, I may occasionally try to make you snort your drink through your nose. Again, I’m new at this, so I can’t promise that will taste or feel very good.

Football, a.k.a. soccer. We’re in the MLS offseason, but that does not stop me from thinking about the Timbers every day. Perhaps I shall write about them, too.

General nerdery. I have mostly been shy to fly my nerd flag in public. This is a vestige of social anxiety born of mostly-forgotten agonies endured in middle school. Now well into my thirties, I belatedly see that the world is better when I share my prodigious knowledge of Star Wars, than when I don’t. (My other current nerd obsession is Kingdom Death: Monster.)

Politics and current events. Because I can’t help myself and it’s an election year here in the U.S., I will occasionally tell you what to think.

Religion. I may get inspired to tell you more about my beliefs, etc. I’m in a waning phase of religious involvement, so this is unlikely.

Personal updates and stories. I am the sharing type. You may only care about my personal highlights, growth, and challenges if you are a friend or family member. Then again, maybe not.

What’s in it for me

Taking the time to blog every day seems good for several reasons, but mainly this:

I expect the daily practice to make me a better writer. I also expect the discipline will benefit other areas of my life.

The truth is that I’m tempted to pledge to do this all year long, right now. But I realize that’s a terrible idea.

I could quickly grow to wish I hadn’t made such a pledge, in the moment, when it seemed like a good idea, before I tasted the reality of it. I could simply become overwhelmed by the commitment. I could decide I have more important things to do with my time. Less likely, I could simply run out of topics. (Actually, no way that’ll happen.)

But, I still want to give this a shot.

So as a gift to my present self and to my future self, I pledge to do this for just a month, and then decide whether to continue.