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Giving Up, Working Hard, & Falling Asleep

By: Michael Blankenship |

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

– Thomas A. Edison

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re talking about giving up, falling asleep fast, doing the little things well, and determining the trustworthiness of a news story using “narrative-market fit”. We’re also challenging you to go on a date with someone you love and, as always, posing a riddle, asking a question, and sharing a photo. 

Enjoy!

Giving Up

Have you seen this cartoon before, where a discouraged miner quits just inches before he uncovers the riches he’s been working so hard to find? 

At one time or another, we’ve all probably done something similar to that. Facing much work and little payoff, we threw in the towel a little too early, making ourselves wonder a few weeks, months, or years down the road what would’ve happened if we’d stuck with it. 

So how do we keep ourselves from quitting too early? 

Just as important, what is too early?

After all, what if there aren’t diamonds just a few inches from the other side — what if there aren’t diamonds at all and we’re digging in the wrong spot? 

Then isn’t walking away to our benefit — the sooner, the better? 

On the one hand, we’ve got to take the measure of our faith and ability to persevere. Do you have the necessary faith to keep going? Do you believe (without evidence) that what you’re doing is going to pay off? 

On the other hand, we’ve got to determine if there’s evidence to the contrary — or is it just insecurity? Is there clear cut evidence that what we’re doing isn’t going to work? Perhaps that just means we must make a slight adjustment. Or is that “clear cut” evidence really just our insecurities and anxieties making us feel like it’s not going to work? Then mindfulness and meditation are the solution, not quitting. 

In the end, if we’re going to pull it off, then we’ve got to believe that we’re going to pull it off. If we lose faith, or if we let our insecurities get the better of us, we’re going to quit before we’ve achieved success. At the same time, we’ve also got to pay attention to real evidence that we’re going in the wrong direction and make adjustments based on that evidence. 

Perhaps it boils down to this…

  1. Keep the faith. 
  2. Pay attention. 

Here’s a great quote from Napoleon Hill:

“Wishing will not bring a successful result. But desiring a result with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to achieve it, and backing those plans with persistence which does not recognize failure, will produce results.”

Ninja Sleeping

When most people think of keeping themselves physically and mentally healthy, they consider things like their diet, their exercise routine, and their work environment. 

Too often, quality sleep gets left out to dry. 

But as Matthew Walker, English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, writes: “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.”

According to Healthline, here are just a few things that quality sleep improves…

  1. Weight
  2. Concentration & Productivity
  3. Athletic Performance
  4. Physical Health
  5. Depression & Anxiety
  6. Immune Function
  7. Inflammation

If you want to live a healthy and happy life, don’t neglect to get quality sleep. To learn how to fall asleep in as little as 10 seconds, check out and practice these methods

And if you want to learn more about the science of sleep, Matthew Walker has a MasterClass on the topic.

Anything is Everything

I’ll (Mike) never forget when I was talking to the CEO of a now Inc. 500 company based out of Oregon. He told me a story about when he was in college and, driven by his life’s disarray, he looked at his messy clothing drawer and decided to fold his clothes. He then cleaned his closet, his desk, and his entire bedroom. Ultimately, he decided from that moment forward that he was going to do his absolute best on everything he set out to do, no matter how big or small the task.

Then he told me why: “Because how we do anything is how we do everything.”

In a 2018 article on Medium, the stoic-minded author, Ryan Holiday, writes, 

But we are always so busy thinking about the future, we don’t take enough pride in the tasks we are given right now. Too often we phone it in, cash our check, and dream of some higher station in life. Or we think, This is just a job, it isn’t who I am, it doesn’t matter.

This is foolishness.

Everything we do matters — whether it’s making smoothies to save up money or studying for the bar — even after we’ve already achieved the success we sought. Everything is a chance to do and be our best. Only self-absorbed assholes think they are too good for whatever their current station requires.

He continues…

Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well. That’s our primary duty. And our obligation. When action is our priority, vanity falls away.

An artist is given many different canvases and commissions in their lifetime, and what matters is that they treat each one as a priority. Whether it’s the most glamorous or highest paying is irrelevant. Each project matters, and the only degrading part is giving less than one is capable of giving.

Same goes for us. We will be and do many things in our lives. Some are prestigious, some are onerous, none are beneath us. To whatever we face, our job is to respond with:

  • hard work
  • honesty
  • helping others as best we can

Narrative-Market Fit

News outlets today are determined to get clicks — every click is a website visit and those website visits drive ad revenue. 

That business model creates click-bait happy media sites with little focus on truth and lots of focus on sensationalizing the truth

So how do you know what to believe? 

In one of his most recent short form essays, David Perell explains what he calls “narrative-market fit.” Here’s the idea:

Just as companies with Product-Market Fit are more likely to be funded, stories that reflect the zeitgeist and serve readers what they want to hear are more likely to be published. When a narrative is hot, writers are incentivized to focus on them at the expense of important but less popular stories — and sometimes, the truth. Instead of fitting the narrative to reality, they fit reality to the narrative.

The media runs on narratives because hot narratives usually sell better than truth. 

So whenever you read something, ask yourself: “Does this story have Narrative-Market Fit?” 

The more it has, the less you should probably trust it.

This Week’s Photo

Stefano Mazzola / Awakening / Getty

“A violin-shaped boat parades near the Accademia Bridge in Venice, Italy, on September 18, 2021.” via The Atlantic 

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

Alone I am 24th. With a friend I am 20. Another friend and I am unclean. What am I?

Extra Stuff

Here are some other awesome articles that caught our attention this week…

This Week’s Question

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

How do you stay passionate about something for a long time? 

This Week’s Challenge

Go on a date with someone you love. It could be your son or daughter, your spouse, a friend, or another family member. We’re humans and we’re meant to connect with other people outside of the internet. So go grab a coffee or a beer and strengthen that relationship. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: The letter X

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