Finding what is enough

There are many reasons why we do things. Our jobs, our exercises and even our meals. And within each, there are layers upon layers of reasons.

Perhaps the job was about money, but it might also be for friendships or a place to feel useful.

Perhaps cooking our meal was about health and deliciousness, but it might actually be a semi-distracted environment for your child to reveal the truth about their day.

As we get stuck, getting caught in a cycle, it could be a good time to start a dialogue with ourselves. Why do we do the things we do?

And as we get to the core of it, we start to uncover these motivations. It could be about guilt, shame and fear. It could be about perks, status and jealousy. It could be about fun, learning and joy.

It worth noting here that any piece of wisdom that anyone gives, about what you need or what you want, it’s going to sound like nonsense to you. I think fundamentally we just have to find it for ourself, so the important part is not the answer, it’s the question.

We just have to sit there and dig with the question. Unpacking the layer of reasons and finding the motivations behind each one of them. Differentiating between necessity and fuel, fear and longing.

Perhaps then, we can piece it back together, rearrange it with our priorities. But this time, consciously.

Maybe just maybe, when we can find enough, we are able to get unstuck and do the next thing, and the next thing. Slowly, we can shift from something we ‘have to’ do, to something we ‘get to’ do.

Like all important things, it starts with a pen and paper, staring into mid-space and asking why.

(Thanks Chiara Cokieng for teasing out this article.)

A different way of getting groceries

Imagine a market with local seasonal produces. Organically grown or raised without synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics or GMOs.

Imagine getting to know the people that make and grow your food. Their process, their promise and what they stand for.

Imagine a company ran by people that care about the betterment of your eating first, profits second.

Imagine earth-friendly practices and packaging. Simple and clear labels. A sustainability report done every other year.

Imagine paying for the same groceries with the regular price, what you’re already paying today.

Start with 10 paying customers with 3 months of subscriptions and commitment.
Start with 10 types of produce (preferably the most profitable, delightful and delicious ones).
Then, aim for 10 delighted customers telling 10 of their friend.
This is how you build a new future.

It’s possible. We are waiting for someone to get started, and it might be you.

In the spirit of enough

Too many times, one of the biggest source of unhappiness (that I have witnessed) derives from a lack of enough. More, more, and more. And we chase it. Unknowingly walking into a trap.

It is the kid in the candy store that wants a bigger bag.

It is the influencer that wants more likes and followers.

It is the chef that wants to open another restaurant.

It is the entrepreneur that wants to scale up.

It is the pick-up artist that wants to have more casual sex.

Too often, before the endeavour, we don’t ask the hard question of ‘what is enough (for me) and why?’ We get swept up by someone else’s standards to keep doing what it is we are doing. But this time, it has to be bigger, better, and faster.

It is the kid that didn’t realise that too much candy makes him sick.

It is the influencer that didn’t realise that there is never enough likes to be famous.

It is the chef that forgot that the joy is in the sparkle someone’s eye eating your food. And no, you can’t be at 2 restaurants at the same time.

It is the entrepreneur that forgot that a $10k salary is beyond her wildest dreams when she got started.

It is the pick-up artist that did not realise that physical pleasure is a biological hardwire. There is never enough sex.

It is to be clear of why you do (what you do). It is to ask the hard question upfront.

What is enough for me? And why?

Because once we have enough, we have plenty. Instead of the unhappiness of not enough, we can thankful for too much. And then instead of taking, we can be giving.

And maybe just maybe, we can live in a world where we have a surplus of care and generosity.

The New Generation of Learning

It’s incredible how much things you can learn online.
Start a business
Get a fit body
Calm the mind
Throw flying cards

Here’s another list of thing you can’t learn online (yet).
Find interesting problems
Solve problems that have no clear answer
Lead a group
Empathy

Today, the resources to learn are infinite. It is the desire to learn that is scarce.

If you want to (raise a child and) succeed in the new connection economy, perhaps the focus should be on the second list.

Legal Advice for Freelancers and Startup

Once I had a wedding intern (who was also a law student) to create a legal document. I was doing my best to keep it concise and she was trying her best to protect me with legal English. It was stupid.

A legal document might be an important marketing tool in certain business scenarios or if you’re a law firm where the presence of a dense block of text makes you look more official. If that’s the case, you might want to buy that or do a google search because stealing legal documents is always a fine thing to do. 

Generally, the goal is not to get sued (or sue others), not to have a legal document in case you get sued. You can write a legal document that will help you not get sued. There are two important points.

One, write it in really clear English so you both know what you actually agreed on. Process, timeline, deadlines, payment terms, additional fees and so on. That dramatically decreases the chances of you getting sued. 

Most of the time people sue because they are hurt and angry, not because they think they can make money. If they know what they signed, they’re way less likely to feel hurt and angry because they know what they signed. 

Two, which I learnt from Seth Godin, put a clause in that says, “Any disagreements will be resolved through binding, informal arbitration. You pick a lawyer. I pick a lawyer. The two lawyers pick a third lawyer. Submit up to five pages of material to state the case. That lawyer spends three hours looking at memos and decide who’s right. Everyone will abide by her decision.” End of discussion.

Both sides can’t outspend each other because the whole thing is only going to cost $1,500, 3 hours of a lawyer’s time. This way no one can bully their way into victory and the whole thing gets done in 3 hours. The best thing is you’ll almost never need it as you both will try to find a way to agree with each other because it’s not worth a crapshoot. 

In the case of getting paid, using a legal document to threaten someone is never a good idea. You end up paying more in legal fees. The way to do it is to get a deposit upfront, and then the rest of it before you submit the work. Get paid when you have maximum leverage. Of course, you can trust them to pay on-time later, but that’s on you. 

As the business goes forward and get bigger, what you want is a lawyer who works with you in the following way: 

You write down what you want an agreement to do. You do all the hard work of figuring out what you want. And then go to the lawyer and say, “All I’m paying you to do is make an agreement that does this. I’m not asking for advice about how I should win. I’m just asking you to make the agreement do this”.

It’s going to be a long time before you need what Airbnb has. Airbnb has millions of users that they have to worry about edge cases. You don’t have to worry about edge cases because you should be busy building your business, and when your business is big enough to afford a lawyer, you’ll know what to do.