7 Principles for How to Become Good at Almost Anything

I’ve been thinking about this concept for a while: What’s a good pattern for becoming good at something? There’s a lot of literature out there on this; most of it’s garbage (in my not-so humble opinion). I’ve read a lot of it, tried many of the ideas for myself, and I think I’ve come upon a pattern that yields reliable, repeatable successes.

That said, I should start with the caveats and disclaimers: This pattern works for me. Your results may vary, but I think there’s something to this pattern, which is why I’m sharing. This pattern will help you become good at almost anything. Continue reading 7 Principles for How to Become Good at Almost Anything

I’m Getting Old. Meh.

This morning, before I had even begun to drink coffee, I wobbled downstairs to find my wife sitting at her desktop doing some research. Next to her were a few reprints of our wedding photos she had recently made in preparation for Christmas. I glanced down and almost cringed at the half-as-old me grinning back. I was thin, too thin, like a stick. Glasses. Geek.

Many years have passed since then; nearly half my life to date. I’m still a geek, but I’m a lot older, greyer. No more glasses. Some would say I’m more distinguished. They would be wrong. My hair is thinning; my waist line isn’t. My muscles have opinions about the sort of mattress I sleep on and express these opinions well. My joints are holding out, at least so far, but I have noticed a curious inability to think as clearly and with as much focus as I did 20 years ago. I’m certainly much more wise now versus then; smarter too if you measure in terms of raw knowledge and data. I can learn things faster, being that I can leverage a history of previous similar learning experiences. But I feel (unscientifically) that I’m slowly slipping as an intellectual. Continue reading I’m Getting Old. Meh.

Business Ethics

I happen to be a successful software developer, businessman, and entrepreneur. I’m no millionaire (yet), but by most measures I’m doing pretty well. I started my own business in November, 2007 with a single client and a single employee (me). It’s now 9 months later, and I have five people on staff and am seriously contemplating the purchase of another company that would result in a total combined staff of about 15. The whole time, the business has been profit-positive.

Is that because I’m some sort of business genius? No. (I’m above average, but my staff are all smarter than me.) What about being a guru of a software developer. Nope. (Again, above average here, but there are a lot of developers whose programming foo I envy and will never attain.) Maybe because I just got really lucky? Not a chance. (I don’t believe luck happens on its own. You make your own luck by working really hard and being thereby ready to pick up on opportunities as they arrive.)

So what is it that made me successful, not just in this latest business venture but across my career and life? There are a lot of little things: I strive for excellence in whatever I do. I’m always pushing myself to achieve more, grow more, learn more. I try to have a positive attitude (most of the time). I try to bridge knowledge and experience cross-discipline. But honestly, I think none of these things really makes a difference in the long-run because I constantly see people who have these things and more who are not as successful. Instead, what I see in every enduringly successful person is ethics. Continue reading Business Ethics