The Law of Diminishing Returns… Kind Of

So, I don’t remember what math class I learned about the Law of Diminishing Returns. Probably Pre-Calculus or Calculus. That’s a moot point. The point is that, today, while I was driving, I realized that speeding is pretty pointless. I was driving to a place 46 minutes away. I’m often the kind of driver who tries to figure out how to beat the clock. Where can I cut corners (either in speed or backroads) to get where I’m supposed to get anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes earlier?

Today, I did the math and it hit me. By speeding, I’m not really making a sizable dent in my time and I’m risking a lot more. In order to go 20 more miles in an hour, I have to consistently drive 20 miles over the speed limit. That 20 mph could very well lose me my license, ultimately costing me in insurance and Uber/Lyft fees. That being said, anything above 10 mph is a risk that isn’t really worth it.

Apply that to your life: Are you staying awake just to stay awake? Are you in the gym just to be in the gym, hours pas the point of productivity? At a certain point, you’re putting out more bull🤬 than quality thoughts. That bull🤬 is a liability to your brand. So, do the responsible thing. Push yourself to a reasonable point, get some rest, and go at it hard again. But make sure you go at it after you rest.

 

Make efficiency a priority.

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Bet on Yourself

What if we all invested 100% in what we’re supposed to? What if you believed in your ability to start that business instead of leaning on that job you hate? Or gave your all to your marriage instead of sliding in someone’s DMs? Or worked out 4 days a week instead of just using “I’m 30 now” as an excuse to let your health deteriorate?

Bet on what you said you believe in. We are called to do more than we actually do and this is the year that I call you do do exactly what you’re called to. Let’s actually commit. Write that book. Apply for that EIN. Go for that promotion or that new job. Save that defined amount/percentage. Invest in your growth, don’t spend on your survival. Don’t be afraid to tell yourself that you’ll do it. You won’t disappoint yourself because, even in starting, you’ll be further than you are now.

 

Make making the jump a priority.

APPL’s Stock Struggles, NFLX’s Bandersnatch, and Where We Go From Here

Yesterday, Apple’s stock closed at a major deficit, causing the overall market to take a hit. If you want to know more about the stock side of things, check out the NYT or WSJ. They can explain it better than I can. What I’m here to talk about is the trajectory of American business and the role we, as young professionals and creative minds, need to be focused on playing.

Innovation is the name of the game but how do you innovate when everything you thought could be done is being done. Seriously, we just reached Ultima Thule (no, that’s not a car by Nissan) and a manned SpaceX rocket could take off as soon as 2019 (Oh s***! We’re in 2019!). Smartphones (or smartwatches or tablets or whatever other piece of tech you always have with you) are extensions of ourselves, essentially making us cyborgs, minus the inserted chip. It is an amazing time to be alive. But it’s also a confusing one. What is the final frontier? Where do we go from here? What are humans if we’re not continuing to push the society around us forward?

That is an issue that Apple is obviously struggling with. Yes, trade issues between the East and West were pinpointed as the reason for Apple’s terrible finish on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (yes, I looked up what NASDAQ stood for so you wouldn’t have to). But, Apple users, let’s be honest: the advancements we’ve seen lately are disappointingly underwhelming and increasingly overpriced. Why does a new iPhone XS, at $999, cost 77% of what a Mac Book Pro does? (I intentionally chose the least expensive versions of these items. Bells and whistles cost more, of course.) I know, I know… I can do almost everything with an XS that I can with a MBP but it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m paying so much for cellular phone. And, not to mention, the new features to the phone aren’t that great. I wasn’t inclined to upgrade my phone this time and I probably won’t be unless A) some major changes come out or B) the updates stop working (which usually happens after a few generations).

What does this have to do with Bandersnatch? I’m glad you asked. Bandersnatch is Netflix’s movie version of the extremely popular show “Black Mirror,” a show that didn’t have enough episodes to satisfy my interest but hopefully they’ll bring it back. The good thing is I cannot give anything of substance away about Bandersnatch because I’ve only seen one scene so far but I will say this: even if the movie isn’t good, the concept is simultaneously out of this world and eerily nostalgic. Remember, as a kid, reading books where the ending was up to you? I want to say Goosebumps and Animorphs had some like this but I’m sure a ton of other series did as well. Bandersnatch is that in movie form. I can only imagine the planning and time spent in shooting, editing, and coding that had to go into making this movie work but, once again, Netflix has set a new standard. Only, this time, in order to look forward, it first had to look back.

Innovation is the name of the game but, as Netflix has shown us that the answers are sometimes behind us. Brands like Apple have spent so much time pushing the bar forward that they’re starting to hit a brick wall. So, why not look back at something pre-modern technology that changed an industry and reformat it to improve our modern lives? Just a thought for Apple, General Motors, and any other company that is having a hard time being innovative.

You may have a hard time teaching an old dog new tricks but maybe you can teach a new dog a few old ones.

 

Make innovation a priority.

Can Versus Will

This year isn’t about knowing you can. Those of us in developed countries with the foresight required to be reading professional development material all know that we can do anything we set our minds to. The question is “Will you do what you can do?”

I’m tired of seeing people who are less skilled, less competent, and less passionate than I doing better than me in the things I know I should be doing. So, this year, I’m knocking down doors to get where I need to be AND to get paid a fair amount in those spaces. Why? Not because I can but because I will. Will you?

And this isn’t just about your professional or entrepreneurial goals. In October, though I never had, I knew I could run 60+ miles but I didn’t know I would until I had 10 days remaining to run the last 35 miles. In college, though I never had, I knew I could graduate but it wasn’t until that fifth year that I knew I would. Make this stuff happen. This is your life. Put in the time. Ask for constructive criticism. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. He called you by putting a fire in you to make something happen. That’s your calling. Step up to the plate. Now is the time. What are you going to do this year that you’ve never done?

 

Make knowing you will a priority.

Are Your Goals Actionable?

Before I begin, I want to thank you all for coming along on this ride. Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere (or at least I don’t plan to). I just wanted to announce that, as I write this, I have published exactly 1,400 posts to The Daniels Daily Reader (and hundreds more on those blogs that came before this one). So, as we come up on 2019, I’m going to put out some of my best young professional content to date and I expect you all to hold me to it. This is #TheRoadToPost1500. Let’s work.

I know, I know… We all say “New me, new you” is overused but let’s be for real. We’re just over a week from a new year and that year is a new benchmark (Obviously, this was written before Christmas but just work with me). We figure out what we set out to accomplish and examine what we did. We evaluate what we lost and what we learned. And then we move forward.

Last December, I wrote down a decent-sized list of objectives for 2018 and shared it with one of my accountability partners for feedback. This year, I am doing the same, and I’m adding a plan of action for all measurable goals this time. Steps. Timelines. Things that you can measure. Make the list actionable and malleable. If you find yourself ahead of schedule, stretch further. If you’re behind, adjust the action plan. Let’s make this year phenomenal. Let’s learn more about ourselves and how far our potential can take us than we ever thought we would.

 

Make making it make sense a priority.

Across the Aisle

This morning, I woke up around 4:30, lay in bed with my phone in hand, and found out that J. Cole has another feature with a trap rapper. While some fans may have been confused by it at the beginning, especially because the content many trap rappers put out is antithetical to Cole’s overlying message, I see what he’s doing and I love it.

As far as current messaging within mainstream hip-hop goes, J. Cole is arguably the dopest lyricist. He doesn’t appear to compromise his values to remain at the top of anyone’s charts and yet he remains in that #1 conversation. He’s done everything that every revolutionary hip-hop head needs him to. So why is he on songs with artists whose lyrics frequently fail to uplift black communities? Because that’s the only way he can continue making progress. J. Cole isn’t rapping to wake up the woke just like doctors aren’t here to heal the healthy. He has his fan base. We’re going to rock with him as long as he keeps coupling fire lyrics with complementary beats. But he has to reach across the aisle if he ever wants to have the impact on the nation that he can have.

Boom! Ok, now you’re asking when I became a music blogger. But there’s a point to this. As a young professional, you will hit a point where you have made all the waves possible in your own office. You’ll have gotten your numbers up and this and that. You’ll be good but that’s when it’s time to step into a leadership role. There are some in leadership roles who aren’t leaders. They sit in their corner offices and expect everyone in the building to know everything they do because they have access to it. But what if more managers took the J. Cole leadership route after they have become individually successful? What if they reached back to those who were least likely to succeed, put them on game, and helped them transform? Without touching 21 Savage’s or 6ix9ine’s bases, he’s just another dope conscious rapper. But now he’s a thought-leader because his thoughts are affecting change outside the room of other thought-leaders. That’s culture-changing influence.

 

Make stepping across the aisle a priority.

Preparation is Key

We’re three weeks from 2019. WTH? This year has flown by. It could’ve been a little better or it could’ve been a lot worse.

As we get ready for Jan. 1, I implore you to really take an honest inventory of what 2018 looked like for you. What goals did you hit? Which ones did you miss? How far off are you? Can you still accomplish these goals in the next three weeks?

Now, as you plan for next year, adjust accordingly. If you didn’t finish something you still want to finish, reset the goal and give yourself a realistic time frame.

On this Monday, let’s start getting the vision for next year together. Sure, everything we plan for won’t happen the way we expect it to but we can at least prepare for what we can, right? Build that vision board. Set a defined list of goals and steps that will help you reach them along with a timeline. Schedule the difficult review or meeting now so that you know how to move going forward.

Do the hard work now to help offset the additional amount of work next year will bring. Make 2019 your year by putting pen to paper in December of 2018. Let’s get it.

By the way, I’ve got some 🔥 coming next week to help you start 2019 off the right way. Follow @DanDailyReader on IG to be apart (and win some cool stuff).

Make proper planning a priority.