Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

If you make your living as a writer, a designer, a marketer or an entrepreneur, there is this invisible pressure you place on yourself to “keep up with the Joneses”.

The Joneses not being your parent’s archnemesis across the street but the leaders in your space who are producing at an uncanny pace. 

When we choose to participate in this competition, we might get greener grass but the fertilizer we're sacrificing to get this greener grass is our own happiness. 

It's taken me many years of being overly competitive with those around me to discover that it’s impossible to be totally happy whilst competitive because it's impossible to be competitive without being comparative. 

Even if you’re always winning, you’re still comparing your performance to the performance of those around you.

And, well, tell me the last time you've compared yourself to someone else with a big ole smile on your face?

(Think back to the locker room when you were in high school... a whole hell of a lot of fun, huh?)

Not to mention, there isn’t a good argument anymore for producing at a prolific pace, especially if your quality suffers.

Once upon a time, being “prolific” was a differentiator.

But, nowadays, with every jackass who has an opinion spewing daily horseshit on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and YouTube… being “prolific” feels a lot like having dinner at Golden Corral.

It gets the job done and there's a lot to be had but you drive home planning a serious $100 juice cleanse for the following morning. 

This year, I’ve slowly begun to turn my focus from “quantity” to “quality”.

I’m taking on less advertising but I’m trying to execute really well on what I take on and *hopefully* create something worthy of a museum wall.

I’m putting out less poems but I’m trying to make each poem I put out “great” or something close to great. I don't think I could have written "Coffee?" back in 2020 or 2021 when I was doing more typing than writing.

And, I’m writing less articles –– a lot less articles –– because I’m realizing that the writers I aspire to be never spent their time running “how-to” content mills, they spent their time writing the books we’re still reading today. 

(The idea of Ernest Hemingway or Virginia Woolf running a blog on writing is almost comical to me...)

There’s a saying in the Navy Seals: “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”. 

These days, I’m trying to be slower and smoother because I’m realizing that one essay or one book or one spoken word video done incredibly well, can deliver the same value and garner the same attention as 1,000 blog posts or Tweets or Linkedin broems done mediocrely

We live in an age where it's easier than it ever has been before to create content of any kind. Because of this, a lot of shitty content is being created on a daily basis. As a brand or individual, you have to decide who you want to be.

Golden Corral?

Or, The French Laundry?

But, I digress. 

Cheers, 

Cole Schafer.

P.S. If this newsletter made you weak in the knees, give me some love over on Twitter, Linkedin or Instagram. And, if someone sent you this newsletter and you'd like to receive it weekly, subscribe at the button below. 

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Here's how to become the Don Draper of Cold Email.

I'm not going to spill the beans here, obviously.

(A man has to eat, after all...)

But, several months back I wrote an afternoon-sized guide that teaches you how to use cold email to get anything you want: a job at x,y,z startup that will probably blow all of its angel money in a couple of years, a coffee with that bald-headed guru on Linkedin that seems a lot more impressive than he really is or a deal with that wholesaler for your basketweaving crafts business. 

Folks seem to really like it.

Maybe you will, too?
Jump, before you can't. 

As kids, my brothers and I would pile into my parents’ Nissan Armada –– a gargantuan tank of a vehicle convenient at hauling around three growing boys –– and we’d journey from Southern Indiana over to Kentucky Lake.

Many of my fondest childhood memories are of Kentucky Lake where we would run around, unsupervised, getting into all sorts of mischief.

I recall us once high-jacking a couple of neighborhood golf carts and then transforming them into mobile rocket launchers by sawing down PVC pipes, mudding up their bottoms with duct tape and shoving lit bottle rockets down their open mouths.

We’d drive around like heathens in the night, feeling more powerful than Zeus, waging war against other neighborhood kids who had constructed makeshift firework weapon contraptions of their own.

Besides my crash course is pyrotechnics, Kentucky Lake also taught me how to jump.

There was a small cliff that hovered 30 or 40 feet above the lake that kids would jump off of, plunging into the water, disappearing for a moment before reemerging, smiling, spitting out water and swimming back to the trailhead to do it all again.

The first time you jump, it takes you ten, twenty and sometimes thirty minutes to find the courage.

You’d stand up there, staring down at a still body of water thirty feet below, wondering what the hell you got yourself into.

What nobody tells you at the time, is that the longer you wait to jump, the higher the cliff becomes.

And, isn’t this true for anything in life?

The fear surrounding something compounds with each passing moment you wait to ju––

Just don't look down.
Cut the shit. You're fake busy. 

Every high school has a wide-eyed nerd, high out of his gourd on Adderall, grinding his molars down to goddamn dice whilst telling everyone who will listen just how busy he is, as he studies for the test everyone knows he is going to ace.

For many of us, whether we knew it at the time or not, this was our first run-in with someone who was “fake busy”.

It feels good to be fake busy. It feels good to scratch away at a bullshit to-do list. It feels good to drone on to other fake busy people about just how fake busy we really are.

But, as the busy beaver that once tried to whittle away at a steel beam will tell you, busyness doesn’t always translate to value.

In fact, busyness can be a subconscious game we play to avoid doing the hard, important, deep work that actually can take our careers and vocations to the next level.

As a writer, I’m constantly warring with the tragedy of fake busy: gunning for Inbox Zero, thinking up my next clever Tweet, writing another blog post about x, y or z… did I mention gunning for Inbox Zero?

A practice I’ve been using to escape the perpetual fake busy cycle is asking myself the following question…

“What is the one thing I can work on today that will have a 10x impact on my career a year from now?”

Unless you’re a customer service representative, an executive assistant or a real estate agent, the answer to that question shouldn’t have a damned thing to do with email.

ATTENTION: GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT

P.s. Once again, if something I ever write resonates with you, please share it via the icons down below and encourage others to subscribe here

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