Before starting to write this post I set a timer for 45 minutes with the goal of writing 1,000 words in 45 minutes. I set the constraint on myself in order to get myself to work faster.
I’ll start with a story of my first venture into E-Commerce. I had taken a course to learn how to start a drop shipping store about a year and a half ago and I’m only finding out now that the niche I picked is a bad niche. It took me 1.5 years to figure out the niche I picked was a bad one. That’s absolute garbage. The reason it took me so long to actually figure it out was simply because I was too scared. I was afraid of failing so I moved very very slow to try and make the right moves each time.
Everything from picking the right niche, making the calls to the suppliers, and checking my site. I over did everything when I had no reason to. First off I didn’t have any experience in E-Commerce so I should have moved as fast as possible however hindsight is 20 20.
A deadline wasn’t set for me to launch my site so I drifted around. I drifted around for 1.5 years before actually going through the material that the course taught.
If I were to be teleported back in time to 1.5 years ago. What would I have done differently?
I would have moved very very fast.
The standard pace is for chumps
I first came across this concept while reading Derek Siver’s blog. The post is titled: There’s no speed limit. I remember reading it years ago however the concept never really sunk in until I experienced 1.5 years wasted from my E-Commerce experience.
The jist of Derek’s story is that a mentor of his was able to help Derek graduate college in 2.5 years opposed to 4 and graduate with a bachelor’s by the time he was 20. I recommend reading the entire story though.
Derek’s mentor was able to raise his standards, “the standard pace is for chumps.” As a result, he was being tutored at a much more accelerated pace. The idea of setting higher standards and expectations was ingrained in Derek’s head. Eventually Derek was able to sell his company, CD Baby, for 22MM.
4 years in 1.5
On Steve Pavlina’s first attempt at college he planned on going through the typical process of spending four years at his school however he found himself uninspired and depressed. Four years felt like it was too distant for him so Steve spent the weekends getting drunk, shoplifting, and playing poker. Still he found himself depressed and eventually he was expelled out of school after being in school for three semesters.
After taking a year off, Steve set an ambitious goal for himself: earn a 4-year computer science degree in 1.5 years. This really lit a fire under his ass and got him excited.
What I love about speed is that it pushes me not just to achieve the goal but also to become a better person along the way. In order to achieve a goal faster, I have to change myself. I have to release more limiting beliefs. I have to become more organized. I have to focus better. I have let go of more fluff. I have to cultivate new relationships with like-minded achievers. I have to get better at avoiding distractions.
Steve was able to complete his goal of graduating in 1.5 years and now is a very successful blogger.
Why work faster?
Why should we work faster anyway? Shouldn’t we just enjoy the process?
I agree that enjoying the process is important to sustaining work however that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice speed for it. You don’t need to work at a snails pace in order to enjoy the process.
I’ve found in my experience that when you do work fast and set deadlines/constraints, I become much more engaged in my work because there simply isn’t any room for distractions.
For example with the deadline of writing 1,000 words in 45 minutes for this article, I simply do not have time for distractions while I’m writing this so as a result I’m much more engaged in the process of writing.
Each one of us have a finite number of seconds on this earth. That means that when one second is wasted, it’s gone forever. When you work faster you’re able to produce more and gain more reference experiences. There simply is no other way to gain reference experience outside of simply doing.
- When you work faster you’re more engaged.
- When you work faster you get what you need to get done more quickly.
The end result of those two benefits combined results in a more efficient use of your time.
Take Bob who decides to write a 1,000 word article for his blog. He has no deadline and no urgency to get it done. Maybe eventually he get’s it done this week or next. He’ll pick and poke at it without full engagement.
Now let’s look at Jill who set a deadline to have her article done by the end of the day today. There’s a hard deadline set for her. She’ll have it done today and that’s that.
Who is using their time more efficiently?
Quantity Trumps Quality
In order to become better at anything in life you need to put in the reps. Arnold didn’t get to where he was simply by lifting the weights really hard for one day and calling it good. Kanye didn’t get to where he is now simply by writing one song really well and calling it good.
Both Arnold and Kanye did massive volumes of work. Arnold did a massive volume of reps with weights while Kanye created a massive volume of music.
In order to get better at anything you need to ship and then adjust based on the feedback.
Create -> Ship -> Feedback -> Create .001% better -> Ship -> Feedback -> etc.
The quickest way to getting good at anything is maximizing the quantity of work you’re doing. You do that by moving very quickly. Ship. Ship. Ship.
Especially for newbies
The idea of moving fast is especially true when you’re a newbie. Move fast on your ideas because you don’t even know the things you don’t know. The only way to find out will be to take action and actually do. The quickest way to move out of being a newbie is to move as fast as you can while gaining as much reference experience as you can.
That was my downfall when starting my first E-Commerce store. I got sucked into perfectionism and as a result it took 1.5 years for me to fully realize the niche I had chosen was a bad one. Had I moved quickly and set a deadline for myself, I would have found out within a month that the niche I chose was bad and I could have picked a different one.
A blogger who I follow recently completed a 30 day drop ship store challenge. He set a deadline for his store and planned out what he was going to do. He moved quick and is now reaping the rewards. His post is what triggered me to write this blog post.
You can read more about his challenge here: Result of the 30 Day New Store challenge
Is this article the work of an amazing writer? Hell no and I know that. To be honest, it’s probably pretty bad with my many points scattered. I’m aware of that though. It’s literally the fourth blog post I’ve written in my life. The next XX posts will probably be bad as well and I’m OK with that because I know it’s part of the process. All I can do is simply work faster and create more.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.