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Starship Landing, Violent Faith, & Skipping College

By: Michael Blankenship |

“The greatest portion of peace of mind is doing nothing wrong. Those who lack self-control live disoriented and disturbed lives.”
~Seneca

Greetings from LA and Hawaii.

This week we watched a rocket landing, read about the dangers of fundamentlist faith, talked about growing a freelance business, listened to Jonathan Zimmerman discuss why asking “Am I good at this?” is a bad idea, and learned about how to choose a business niche. Our challenge is for you to set a consistent sleep schedule for yourself.

“Starship Landing Nominal!”

On May 5th, SpaceX — Elon Musk’s rocket engineering company with the goal of sending people to Mars — launched a high-altitude Starship prototype (pictured above) and successfully landed it, “overcoming a key challenge in Elon Musk’s whirlwind quest to build a fully reusable Mars rocket,” Joey Roulette writes on The Verge. He explains,

“Starship SN15 lifted off at 6:24PM ET from SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas facilities, soaring more than 6 miles in the sky to test in-flight maneuvers. As it reached peak altitude, SN15’s three Raptor engines gradually shut down to begin a horizontal free-fall back to Earth. Nearing land, two engines reignited to execute a complex ‘landing flip maneuver,’ where the rocket reorients/repositions itself vertically ahead of a soft touchdown.”

Upon landing, Elon Musk tweeted…

You can watch the video of the landing over here.

Violent Faith

On July 24, 1984, brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty — Mormon Fundamentalists — murdered a woman and her infant daughter because they believed that God had ordered them to do so.

Presiding over the trial of Dan and Ron Lafferty, Judge Bullock said,

“In my twelve years as a judge, I have never presided over a trial of such a cruel, heinous, pointless and senseless crime as the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. Nor have I seen an accused who had so little remorse or feeling.”

In Under The Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of what happened and explores the fundamental dangers of religious belief when taken to extremes. He also looks at the wishy-washy history of Mormonism (a religion that started only 200 years ago) and asks provocative questions of its leadership. It’s a disturbing book and certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s also an important book — an eye-opener to the human desire for an Almighty.

Krakauer writes,

“As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane — as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout — there may be no more potent force than religion.”

Skip the Degree

This week I (Mike) was interviewed by Dr. Ai Addyson-Zhang. She’s the co-author of Skip The Degree, Save The Tuition — a book that advocates for self-learned digital skill sets over the high tuition costs of college. In the interview, I told the story of how I went from making $100-$300 per article as a freelance writer to now $1,000 to $2,000 per article. You can watch it over here.

Joe & Jon

On episode #1643 of The Joe Rogan Experience (which is only on Spotify), Jonathan Zimmerman and Joe talk about a smorgasbord of topics such as arranged marriage, the importance of focusing on the work at hand, problems with healthcare and politics in America, and lots more. It was a fun episode to listen to and we learned a lot. Here’s one of our favorite snippets…

“When a student asks me, ‘Do you think I’m good at history?’ I say I don’t know and I don’t care. All I care about is what you’ve written. That’s it. This is not an existential judgement of your soul and the more you think about [whether you’re good or bad at something], the worse you’re going to do… just don’t think about it. Just do it.”

“The key for me is experiencing the action. Whatever it is. You’re a great billiards [player] and you’re finally able to hit that incredibly complex shot that you weren’t able to hit before. Instead of ‘Wow I’m a great billiards player’ or ‘I’m not’, it’s ‘I hit that shot.’”

Market, Submarket, Niche

Entrepreneurs and marketers are well-acquainted with the phrase, “The riches are in the niches.” That is to say, businesses that serve a very specific group of people are typically easier to grow than businesses that serve the general population. 

But choosing a niche is easier said than done. How should entrepreneurs think about niches? How far down should they drill? How niche is too niche?

In Traffic Secrets, Russell Brunson simplifies this process. He suggests that there are only three markets — health, wealth, and relationships. From there, entrepreneurs must identify their submarket, for which there are an unlimited number of possibilities. Here are some examples…

  • Wealth > finance, investing, real estate, sales, marketing
  • Health > nutrition, strength training, weight loss
  • Relationships > marriage advice, dating advice, love

Then Brunson recommends going one layer deeper to find your niche. For example…

  • Wealth > Marketing > Facebook Advertising
  • Health > Nutrition > Vitamin Supplements
  • Relationships > Marriage Advice > Navigating The Birth of a New Child

It’s not a fool-proof system, but it’s a useful exercise for business owners to identify what niche their company belongs to.

Extra Stuff

Here’s some extra stuff that caught our eye this week…

Anatomy of an Incarceration: Life in a cell by Mada

The Hume paradox: how great philosophy leads to dismal politics by Prospect

Why People Feel Like Victims by Nautilus

The Weekly Challenge

How has your sleep been recently? It’s no secret that getting enough sleep or not getting enough sleep has a huge impact on how productive and creative we are on a given day. And this week, we want to challenge you to set consistent sleep patterns for yourself. Go to bed at the same time every night. Wake up at the same time. It’s a simple and easy way to ensure that you’re as rejuvenated as possible for what lies ahead.

Until next week!

Mike & Alec

Join the movement below and challenge yourself to be better every week!