Josh Long

Download Silence for an Email Address

I’ve got a new opportunity for my latest book, Silence, so I’ve removed it from sale. Today only, you can download it at no cost, in exchange for your email address. Why an email address? I’ve realized in the past that hard work and things of value can be tossed away like a blog post if there is no exchange of “value”. I want you to value this book and truly get something out of it that helps you going into the new year. I have no idea what I’ll do with the email address, but I’ve never spammed anyone and don’t intend to start. If you feel like someone you know could also benefit from this book, please share the link. Happy Holidays!

Consistency

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last few years it’s that consistency can carry you farther than almost any other trait.

In a world where people build an app and give it two weeks to take off or die, consistency is a seriously overlooked advantage.

If you’re trying to build a brand, a business, an app, or a writing career, consistency is an essential part of fundamental business principle.

In my opinion, too many people forget that most successful careers, projects and businesses have taken over 20 years to build.

Don’t fall into the trap of Silicon Valley’s overnight success dream. Show up every day and do your work.

Seth Godin is one of the most successful people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting, and every morning I still have an article in my inbox.

Consistency, my good friends. Consistency.

Taming the Voices

Our lives are a constant battle between ideas, what to do, when to do it, and what to do first. We have bouts with resistance, doubt, fear, uncertainty and negative self-talk.

What app should I build? Which one of the hundreds of ideas floating around in my head, should I do first? What is my process? What is my design philosophy? How will I stand out? What makes the things I make different?

The key to getting what you want is to “Tame the Voices”. The way to tame them is to first identify them, and then act on them.

Identify ideas. Get clarity on whether or not they are worth testing. Understand when you’re negative talk is just fear of the uncertain. Find a way to separate the good ideas from the bad ideas and act on them immediately.

All of the ideas that you have philosophically about the work you do can easily be worked through by writing.

The only way to “Tame the Voices” is to isolate them and execute.

The longer they’re left to converse in your head, the longer they’ll keep you from your art.

Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity. Apple on Simplicity

Master

Have you ever been in the presence of someone that is an absolute master at what they do? Can you remember how it felt?

Trying to describe how I feel when I’m watching a master work is hard for me. How do you describe such admiration, respect, craft, legacy, and awe? How can you summarize the tools, the hours and years spent practicing, the broken fingers, the callused skin, and the breadth of knowledge?

You can’t.

You can only see it in their face. You can only see it in their work. You can only see it in their confidence.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

That’s an interesting quote: “Mastery demands all of a person”. When watching a master in action you can see them consumed in their craft. You can literally see the passion flooding out of them with every swing of the hammer, every stroke of the key, and every swipe of the brush.

Everything has purpose. Everything has singularity. No step is unnecessary and the process is gospel.

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” Michelangelo

There’s your advantage. People love to witness mastery. They love to taste it. They love to own it. They love to experience it. But the number of people willing to sweat and bleed to attain it are nearly nil.

What will you master?

Kill Your Heroes

I have a lot of heroes. So many people that I see online impress me with great work, thoughts, and creativity every single day.

So much so that I spend more time in admiration and thought than I do in creation. This is backwards and unproductive to say the least.

I think it’s a good thing to study and admire the work of others, but I think it’s counter-productive to have heroes. I say “Kill Your Heroes”. The people that we look up to are no different than we are. They still wake every morning with their own routine and their own ambitions for the day. They have the same fears, challenges, set backs, and epiphanies.

The difference is that they ship. Even if it’s something incremental, the people that we admire ship some form of work almost daily. They write, code, build, make, paint, draft, and anything else related to producing something of note.

The irony of all of it is, that once you start to be known as someone that makes, ships, and creates, your heroes will eventually come to you.

If you have no body of work there is nothing more than the potential discussions of one-way flattery.

Build something great.

Then you’ll have something to bring to the discussion.

Kill your heroes. Their work is great but it’s no more than you’re capable of.

No Such Thing as Side Projects

A lot of people have been asking me lately how I can do so many side projects. The truth of the matter is that I don’t do side projects. Side projects are ideas that people want to try and tinker with on the weekends. I feel that I have my work and that’s it.

This year alone I’ve written 3 books (Execute, Jenius and Design Evolution), started four podcasts (Happy Monday, Execute, Treehouse Chat, and The Industry Radio Show), started one job (Editor at Treehouse), started two applications, started a new magazine (Execute Mag) and started one company (Execute Ventures).

If you know me or know of any of these projects, you’ll know that none of them are side projects. They’re serious projects each with their own goals and execution of those goals. They’re businesses and passion projects all at the same time. I simply don’t work any other way.

That being said, new opportunities for projects and businesses come across my desk every day, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the factors that I use to test whether or not I’ll take on a new project.

Here are a few of the factors I look for in new projects:

  • Does it make money or is it viable?
  • Is it possible or feasible?
  • Does it help or delight people?
  • Is it different?
  • Does it have a unique hook?
  • Is it simple to prototype?
  • Does it make me uncomfortable and push me to learn something new?
  • Does it fit into my life’s goals?

These are just a few factors, but I think you get the point. I try to make sure that everything that I do has a point or a purpose. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s how I’m wired. I just don’t want people to think lightly of their work by calling it a “side project”. Start and test things to be real projects with your whole heart and purpose, and it will make a lot more impact than other people’s “side projects”.

Copyright © 2014 Josh Long — Designer and Writer Up ↑