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Free Advice

free-advice

Free advice is often worth less than the price. Much of the time, you already know what you need to do about something—you just need to do it.

Nevertheless, I hear a lot of things being repeated, and I get asked a lot of the same questions … so here’s my less-than-$0.02 for anyone who cares. As the saying goes, take it or leave it.

***

“The customer is always right.”

Actually, sometimes the customer is dead wrong. Sometimes you don’t want the customer, and if you go out of your way to please one of them, you’ll disappoint the others.

I recently received my first PayPal buyer complaint in more than two years of doing business with Unconventional Guides. Two years! A great streak. Then one guy comes along with an axe to grind and tells PayPal I owed him money despite all evidence to the contrary.

It depressed me. My PayPal rep said I could dispute the claim and I would win, because my account was in such good standing. But in the end I just gave up, sent the money to the axe-grinder, and said goodbye. That customer wasn’t right, but if I kept stressing out about him, my ability to help anyone else that day would have been negatively impacted.

“You should ask people what they want when developing a project.”

Who said that? Oh, it was me. Oops. Well, here’s the thing: sometimes this is true. I’m the first to say that it can be helpful to run your ideas by people, get feedback, etc.

But it’s also true that if what you’re doing is truly innovative, not everyone will understand in the beginning, and maybe you should just go for it. Lately I’ve been thinking about what Henry Ford said:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’”

Consider myself reprimanded. Sorry about that.

“Never check email in the morning.”

I’m on a one-man crusade to say that it’s OK to check email in the morning, or whenever you feel like. If you read blogs about productivity, you know it’s a lonely crusade, but I think I’m on to something. You don’t have to feel guilty if you like checking to see what people have to say to you.

Who knows—maybe that’s even the most important work of the day? OK, I’ll duck now.

“Don’t waste time with Twitter when you could be doing real work.”

What if 25% of your business comes from Twitter? That’s how it works for me, even though in the past 30 days I’ve mentioned my actual business work a total of once. Therefore, I think I’ll keep hanging out on Twitter. And you can too if you want, or not if you don’t want. Oh, and one more thing about this —

“To build a following on Twitter, you should share interesting links and reply to people.”

It’s good to do those things, but they won’t help you build a following on Twitter. The best way to build a following is by doing stuff away from Twitter, and encouraging people who find you elsewhere to add you on Twitter. Yep, that’s how it works.

“You must have a local support team to succeed.”

I think a support team can be very helpful. But what if you’re on your own and no one around you believes in your mission? Those people sound like a non-support team to me. If you have to choose between a non-support team and going it alone, I suggest going it alone.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

What race are we talking about? It’s probably a good idea to know which race one has in mind before making blanket statements. Some races go to the slow and steady; others go to the fast and furious. See Mario Andretti:

“If you think that you’re in control, you’re not going fast enough.”

Maybe that isn’t your style, but I think there’s a time and a place for it. Speaking of that:

“Good things only come to those who wait.”

Some good things come to those who wait; others come to those who go out and get them. If what you want is in the second category, what are you waiting for?

***

Feel free to add to my list in the comments below. Advice is free! Even when it’s unsolicited.

###

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91 Comments

  • Ross Hudgens says:

    “The best way to build a following is by doing stuff away from Twitter, and encouraging people who find you elsewhere to add you on Twitter.”

    This is the golden ticket right here. Create, create, create outside of Twitter and you’ll get people to come to Twitter and follow you. The most followed people on Twitter, bar none, are represented highly because of the work they’ve done outside it. Besides the one-liner comedians, very few people build a large following doing it internally.

  • Jeffrey Tang says:

    See, this is why I read AONC religiously – because you have the audacity to write things like this (and back them up with action).

    Awesome.

  • Always, always wear sunscreen.

  • Chris Mower says:

    Great post Chris, really. Some advice that’s free is worth more than that–your blog is a great example. Keep it up.

  • ManoRanjan says:

    Great Chris,

    My motto is “Slow and Steady”

  • Dena says:

    I have been linking out to your posts like crazy lately — you must be going through a wisdom spurt recently. I love that you included the Ford quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’”

    I recently did a 4-hour workshop for the volunteers in my association & I used that quote. Sometimes we have to stop asking, “What do they want?” and start asking, “What do they need?”

    As always thank you for your insights.

  • Awesome Chris!

    “The customer is always right” – That always makes me chuckle, and it one of those ubiquitous terms that never seems to carry any weight. Bad customers render that statement obsolete.

  • Thanks for this Chris. It’s nice to hear the other side of the advice! I love checking my email, because often it changes the direction of my day. Also, another biggie out there is the benefit of waking up early. I’d rather sleep a little longer. I do better with more rest. It’s not a popular position right now!

  • Elena Scott says:

    This list makes me grin from ear-to-ear. What works for someone else may not always be what’s best for you. It’s okay to follow your own path. Advice should be treated only as that – advice. You still decide how to act. Thanks for all the good insights!

  • Karen Banes says:

    Love the Henry Ford quote – so true. Unless your customers are more innovative than you, you can probably work out what they want more easily than they can. You have to flip ‘ask the customers what they want’ to ‘ask the customers what problems they want solving’.

  • Monique says:

    Seems like the themes here are “Do what works for you” and “Know Yourself”. Just because some tactic works for someone else doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you. Just because no one else is doing something doesn’t mean what you’re doing won’t work. Certainly don’t feel guilty if you’re not following conventional wisdom and it’s working for you.

    The advice I pay most attention to is the stuff that’s 1) worked for someone else and 2) resonates strongly (in a good way) with me. That usually means I’ll have a lot of success with it.

  • Norma Hill says:

    I checked email this morning – okay I check it every morning. Because gems like this particular post are often enough waiting to get my day GOING!

    Thanks!

  • Fun! Just goes to show there are many ways to look at things.

    So many people think Twitter is a waste of time, but it’s been a phenomenal resource for us as we travel the world ( yet I doubt I would even know about it without our travel lifestyle).

    Not only did it get us featured in the New York Times and the UK Guardian ( out of the blue through DM’s), a fantastic Halloween with Conde Nast Traveler’s Wendy Perrin and family, an awesome violin teacher who works over Skype internationally… to name just a few of the wonders, but also helped our family find us when I landed in the hospital after a bike wreck in Austria.

    It’s a good thing. 😉

  • Patrenia says:

    Ok here’s one: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

    WHAT?!?!? Why have the cake if I can’t eat it? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve said it a time or two. Well maybe more than that, but I try to keep it out of my free advice. It really makes absolutely no sense. Or am I missing the point?

  • James says:

    Some great takeaways- I had never heard that quote from ford, but I think its a great one because sometimes you won’t have a market to test before you create a product.

    One of the greatest quotes I’ve heard recently was from Darren Rowse at problogger, who said basically that instead of focusing on getting “lightning bolts” all the time with our blog posts and tweets, focus on the slow build. It will pay off in the long run

  • Loved reading these, Chris. I feel particularly compelled to agree with this: “You should ask people what they want when developing a project.” I’ve erred many times by asking people what they want. I might not have been articulating my questions correctly, but the responses were rarely satisfying.

  • “Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a waste of f***ing time”

  • Lori Latimer says:

    Every single one of these is so appropriate for me right now and tell me I’m doing the right thing by doing it my way.

    I think it comes down to listening to your own intuition and not all the noise that’s out there.

    Thanks! This was worth much more than $0.02 🙂

    Lori

  • Ken says:

    Great post, Chris. I love finding the escape hatches that are hidden in almost every rule or absolute.

  • Devin says:

    Entertaining list, Chris,

    I tend to go against the general consensus when it feels right, which is often. I tend to fail a little more but they are failures I can live with.

    I did have a question: “It’s good to do those things, but they won’t help you build a following on Twitter. The best way to build a following is by doing stuff away from Twitter, and encouraging people who find you elsewhere to add you on Twitter. Yep, that’s how it works.”

    I can see how this works by getting a few people on Twitter, not sure how it works to get many. It feels like there is an extra step for people who find you. Of course, I don’t know squat about Twitter.
    devin

  • I love it! Of course, the way you handled the very wrong customer is exactly the point of the phrase “the customer is always right”: behave as if the customer is right, even when he’s totally wrong.

    Thanks for starting my day with the reminder to follow the rules that work for ME, not The Rules as handed down from above.

  • Jenn says:

    Um hello! Anyone who’s worked retail knows the customer isn’t always right. In fact, some customers are never right.

    But, if you are lucky, the one’s who on occasion aren’t right will admit it and buy more stuff for more money. It happened for me and I didn’t even handle it gracefully.

  • You’re absolutely right man. With every maxim or “golden rule” there is always a way to sidestep it, break it or ignore and and still see great success. I think truly successful people are able to have guidelines and rules but also are able to break them as well. They know that contradicting themselves is OK. Life is full of contradictions and that’s actually the way it’s supposed to be.

  • Mars Dorian says:

    haha, that post spoke directly to me. I’m not a patient person at all, I have to have anything…like right now.

    Very good article, and I really enjoy the way you switch the status quo points. Even the ones you created yourself. It takes courage and an open mind to question the phrases that everyone’s churning out. That’s the quality of a real game changer.

    I’m glad you’re one.

  • Mike Willner says:

    You hit the nail on the head – the customer is not always right. Oftentimes you may know so much about your industry that you will have unique insights which your customers just can’t grasp… yet. In a previous life I went around to our professional investor customers with a prototype of a real-time information service covering the high yield bond market (a very niche service, but our customers were portfolio managers who had huge budgets when it came to subscribing to services which helped them make money). They told me there were only about five people in the world who would subscribe to the service, so we shouldn’t bother. We didn’t listen to them (hey, if five people wanted the service, why not 500?). So we launched the service and within two years we had hundreds of customers and were generating over $250,000/year in profits on that product alone (information products can be great money makers – produce once, sell many). Just goes to show, sometimes your gut trumps your customer.

  • Brandon says:

    Don’t ask customers what they want, ask them what their problems are. Then use creativity to find an innovative solution. Asking people what they want might get you an answer like “faster horses,” but asking them what their problem is might get you an answer like “the horses are too slow and can’t carry enough.” The latter is a problem Mr. Ford was able to solve creatively.

  • Tory says:

    Excellent, Chris. I agree with Dena, you are in some kind of smarts spurt lately.
    Been sending your links everywhere.
    Your ideas in this post are timely, accurate, and funny.
    Love the whack on the side of the head feeling!
    Thanks.
    oh, and my .02 , especially from here in Santa Fe: DRINK MORE WATER!

  • Giulietta says:

    Mighty fine list. I’m with you on checking email whenever I please. I LIKE to check it … I’m a writer. I get awesome ideas answering emails.

    My motto as rebel girl: MAKE YOUR OWN RULES.

  • Brendii says:

    Another great Guillebeau quote for the life lessons book — “If you have to choose between a non-support team and going it alone, I suggest go it alone”. Thanks Chris, that’s just the unsoliticited advice I needed to hear today!! ;o)

  • “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” — unless you’re building an empire, and you suspect it might be filled with a small army of enemy soldiers…

  • Excellent post! I love your statement about doing something truly innovative and then using the Henry Ford quote to hit home with your point. That really spoke to me. 🙂

  • p.s. thank you again for the fierce wisdom, and questioning/cutting through the accepted wisdom — you gave me a big smile…

  • DONNIE NAIR says:

    Great advice Chris-I have had a lot of success in various ventures, including real estate, by being a problem solver in the people business. That gets rid of the customer is always right and the ask people what they want. What they need to hear is not always what they want to hear. Solve a problem and the money will follow.

  • John Bulmer says:

    “Good things only come to those who wait.”

    This is such a traditional view of our world, and what it does is inhibit people from growing. I find it most used in the employment field where we are told to maintain the 30 years of drudgery in order to obtain a pension, then go live.

    I prefer to live now, while I am healthy, rather than put up with the drudgery.

    I believe that this is generally a power play used by our global power brokers to keep a steady and willing mass of low level uninspired employees who will continue to work day in and day out without complaint in exchange for a few sheckles of pay every few weeks. If the powerful can keep the masses “thinking” they are satisfied then the powerful can stay in power without fear of a challenge. Politicians are experts at this strategy.

    Keep up the good work Chris.

    jb

    jsbulmercreations

  • LyndiT says:

    Awesome. Just epic. Glad to hear the other side of all the advice. I really like “It’s good to do those things, but they won’t help you build a following on Twitter. The best way to build a following is by doing stuff away from Twitter, and encouraging people who find you elsewhere to add you on Twitter. Yep, that’s how it works. “

  • Anshul Gupta says:

    Truly nicest post, that you have ever written (there are many though!). Your views are absolutely motivated by your work. And gives inspirations to so many feeling walking alone before.

    Thanks.

  • Kenn says:

    I’m with you on checking email in the morning; it’s usually the first thing I do as I have my morning coffee. I honestly don’t understand the arguments against this — where’s the benefit to putting it off until later rather than getting it out of the way before diving into more focused work?

  • Dave says:

    “That customer wasn’t right, but if I kept stressing out about him, my ability to help anyone else that day would have been negatively impacted.”

    Great perspective. I spent my 20’s in customer service management bending over backwards to fix wrongs, real or perceived, for customers. No wonder I’ve jumped ship for travel blogging.

  • Sandra Lee says:

    I enjoy you breaking the rules! How about “everything is circumstantial?”

  • Niel Malan says:

    I like the Henry Ford quote. If you have to ask customers what they want, they don’t know what they need. If you’re really good at what you do, the innovative customer will come to you and ask if you can do what has never been done before.

    As for “good things only come to those who wait”, I counter with yes, but “never confuse patience with inactivity.”

  • Scott says:

    My dad gave a great toast at my wedding about free advice. Sometimes, as you point out, it is worthless.

    But other times, free advice is given like a gift by people who care about you. They give you free advice because they don’t want you to make the mistakes they did (like a divorced parent at a wedding). My dad then proceeded to confess to some of of the mistakes that he made while married and offered some guidance on how to avoid them.

    There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

  • emma says:

    Love that Henry Ford quote. Had never heard it before.

    You deserve a mountain of pennies for this post. Great advice.

  • Meg says:

    Oooooh, Mario Andretti quote! He was a great, great man… Andretti said many awesome things in his life, and he was a damn good driver.

    I’m very much without a nice support team and pretty on my own… I have a total of 1 1/2 fans who support me 100%. (My Mom, who is awesome, and the 1/2 goes to my husband who isn’t always a fan of my plans but still supports me.)

    Ah, wait until everyone finds out what I’ve decided to do in regards to school… I’m sure they’ll flip, but I feel so excited to work it out.

  • Andi says:

    I would have paid for that advice! 😉

  • Charlie Ahern says:

    Thanks for mentioning one of my favorite quotes by Mario Andretti: “If everything’s under control, you’re going too slow.”

    Another of my favorites is “Ready. Fire! Aim.” We often spend too much time aiming without taking any shots.

  • Aaron says:

    So true. There are (at least) two sides to every piece of advice. Thanks for sharing this. Very applicable right now to me.

    Take care,
    Aaron

  • Angelique says:

    Who on EARTH would take a directive like “never check email in the morning” seriously? What ELSE don’t they think is appropriate for morning – voicemail? the stock market? showering? The only way this advice would make sense is if it were the year 1994 and the only email messages the advice recipient received were chain letters and rogaine ads. However, if you do indeed live in 2010, you can’t let the clock dictate your emailing hours. (Or showering.)

  • Ilyas says:

    Loved both quotes (Ford and Andretti) so much that I immediately tweeted them both. Time to dream bigger, go faster.

  • Heather says:

    For me, the funny thing about this post is that, being a long-time reader, I knew more or less what you were going to get at just from the title, but the psychological hit of “free” made me initially value the post less than I would have if it had been called “$0.02 Advice.” And you’re quite right, of course, as you usually are. As my mom says, these bits of advice are in the same category as “nothing is impossible” and “smile!”. Blanket advice is NEVER useful (though generalizations are.) 😉

  • Lex Garey says:

    I’m sure we all have some kind of “non-support” team or another. For me, it’s been a surprisingly positive thing. The nay-sayers and the doubting looks have pushed me to show what I can do. For the most part, I go it alone but every once and a while I snag the interest of a member of my “non-support” team and they seem to get it! That’s an awesome feeling.

    It’s never good to embrace the people who are bringing you down, but you can gain something from their words and attitudes. I know that it’s been a driving force for me.

    I’m curious of other people’s thoughts on the issue.

  • Barbara Winter says:

    Nicely done, Chris. Priceless, in fact.

  • Becca says:

    I loved this post – it so spoke to me! I know when I check my emails to much and I don’t have the messages that I wanted it bums me out to much! But the ask what they want before you produced it really him home with my website!

    If you don’t mind I wanted to share the old school meaning behind a few of the quote people have share here.

    The customers is always right, means that even if they are wrong it’s better to treat them like they are right, having a customer scream in the store, or court or whatever will come back to bit you 2-fold. That customer, all those that over heard, and all those that they told!

  • Elaine Huckabay says:

    Interesting timing on your post. Just this morning I was thinking about the rule, “Save for a nice retirement.” Really? Is that all there is? Don’t get me wrong – I am ALL about saving. What about the idea of an un-retirement? Of working throughout life while still living (quite like you are, Chris)? I think we should abolish the idea of ‘retirement’ and live our years of 20-65 in such a way that we both save for the future and not become slaves to our day jobs.

  • Tim Schwartz says:

    I agree with you completely on morning email and twitter – try as I might I cannot avoid either, though despite repeated warnings on contrary I will now continue with your blessing 🙂

  • Elaine Huckabay says:

    Also, the customer is NOT always right. You are exactly right in saying that some customers just aren’t worth it to the company, the entrepreneur, the fellow customers, or the culture of a business. Kudos to you for having the courage to point that out (as you have before in other posts on the blog).

  • Becca says:

    You can’t have you cake and eat it too, means if the cake is pretty and you don’t want to eat it, so if you eat it is is gone. (this must have been pre-cameras) It relates to you can’t keep one thing without give up something else. ie: if you buy that car, you’ll loose $ you’ve saved. etc.

    Good Things come to those who wait, was about teaching patience, it meant if you wait your turn in line you will be treated better, if you take your time and do something right the first time you will get better results.

    Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, means don’t critize if someone gives you a gift you don’t like or want. You see a horse’s mouth tell the age and health of the horse, so it someone gave you a horse you wouldn’t look into the mouth and say this is an unhealthy old horse in front of the giver.

  • Becca says:

    Oh then there is Don’t put the cart before the horse, this one means do your research before you jump into anything, if you haven’t laid a good plan down first it ain’t gonna work, the cart can’t pull the horse, no matter how well you built the cart.

    I say these old saying to my daughter and she’s always asking what does that mean, these were said in my childhood all the time. I thought you might enjoy these old saying’s roots!

    Becca

  • Crowsister says:

    Brilliant – I saw a Newsagent confronted by an angry woman who claimed that she had paid for last week’s newspapers twice, he got out the account book; it was not even marked paid once – she was indignant; there was a shop full of people. He didn’t argue; not only refunded her money but marked the next two weeks paid as a good-will gesture. When the shop was empty I commented to him that we both knew the woman and she was always trying to dodge bills and trick people. He smiled at me – “We both know that, all my customers here waiting know that, and I used her as a chance to advertise my kindness, care, and customer skills. I just got the best word-of-mouth advertising ever, they will all be telling the story today around town.” I learned that lesson. You reinforce it for me, thank you.

  • Playstead says:

    Great post, and proves once again that life is just different shades of gray. Always do what works for you.

  • My 2-cents…

    People largely gravitate towards convenience, comfort, and status quo, even if unhappy.

    If I listened to my clients wants, and did not interject ‘needs,’ I would have a caseload of increasingly anxious and depressed teens and adults, who would grow overly dependent and rarely leave therapy.

    Possessing experience, authority, trustworthiness, and respect goes a long way, regardless of the industry.

    Also, treating your customers/clients/patients as competent and inherently well-intentioned is critical.

    Thanks Chris.

  • Alexis Yael says:

    Hell yes! This definitely spoke to me today!

  • shantilia says:

    Thank you so much for the free advice, especially about having a support system to succeed. I am going at it alone because what few people were in my “support system” I had to let go and I’d also outgrown them in where I am in my life and where I want my future to be.

  • Right on Chris!

    I appreciate this not just because it’s outside the box, but because it’s seriously helpful.

    I see so many people getting tangled up in the rules. And sweating about the fact that they fall outside of them.

    What you’ve said here? It feels like a double shot of comfort + smarts.

    I’m betting many are breathing a big sigh of relief. Myself included.

    Thanks Chris.

  • Wyman says:

    You can’t create a PURPLE COW if you ask your committee of subscribers what to produce.

  • Deb Mallett says:

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Maybe in some cases (when time is of the essence), but more often than not it just impedes creativity and progress.

    Great post. Agree on all points.

  • johanna says:

    wow chris that advise is priceless (maybe that’s why is free) I once worked in a place where the manager told me “we don’t go with the customer is always right” And i have to say that’s the most confident I have felt at a job.
    Is only when i don’t have control over my crazy life when I think that everything will work is also how i feel more confortable living.
    thanks for writing

  • Jesse says:

    Sometimes it takes a good leavin’ alone.

  • Great job, Chris.

    My own quote is “Done is Good!” …when I’m agonizing over too many details of something that doesn’t matter that much.

  • Amber says:

    So damn true. When dealing with clients, I’ve found that setting boundaries of what you are willing to give really makes them respect your time and energy. When I am unavailable all of a sudden my pilates clients want to jump in for a second session. We don’t need to jump through hoops for people, we just think we do.

    The biggest take away for me is to simple do more. Do more of what you want and you’ll build the followers who love what you do. I’m learning more and more everyday the importance of defining what you stand for and doing more of it….even if that definition changes.

    Always such great inspiration Chris!

  • Eric Tsai says:

    This is my MO and what I coach clients on: The road to success is paved with incremental actions from knowledge. And knowledge without actions is just potential power.

  • Javier Munoz says:

    There is much advice out there that is contradictory. For any subject there multiple views. As a coach, I try not to impose my own way of doing things. The right way for each person emerges as a person flows with a given process. What remains a constant is that you must take action, experiment, play, fail, and succeed.

  • Dave says:

    “You’re throwing your money away on rent.” I’m not saying this is wrong, but it is not necessarily a sweeping truth either. Any home owner can tell you that houses cost money and time, and given the current economic climate they can also devalue. Yeah, in the end, if you stay in the house a while you’ll probably make your money back and then some. But having lived in my home for 4 years I can say this for certain: at least 40% of the time, I long for the days of living in an apartment where I didn’t have to mow the lawn before it rains at 8AM on a Saturday, I could call maintenance whenever something needed fixing, and I didn’t sign over my paychecks to Home Depot. Houses can make you money, but they also cost you time, and time is money.

  • As a time management coach, I cringe when I hear phrases like “don’t check email in the morning.” They’re just sound bites, quotable bits of wisdom to get people talking. The real advice is, “don’t check email when you have other, more important work to do right now” but that’s not as catchy.

    As for that Twitter advice, it’s aimed at people who are using Twitter as a video game instead of working, not at those who get value from it (or create it). That said, email and Twitter can be enormous time sinks unless you manage them by limiting your time or having a specific outcome in mind, such as posting 5 tweets about a new product.

    So here’s my advice: never say never.

  • Randy says:

    A Sicilian proverb I like says “Don’t ask for what you can’t take.” If you sit back and wait for the universe to deliver your dreams, you’re likely to be disappointed. Life rewards action.

  • Roberta says:

    Chris, stellar post. I always check email in the morning. Sometimes there is something important; most times, I get to catch up on my comics and dailies while I eat breakfast and start (or end the day – I work night shifts).
    Charlie Ahern – YES – a friend of mine long ago told me I thought too much and needed to DO – love “ready, aim, fire” as well as Mr. Andretti’s quote “If you think you are in control, you are going too slow.” I have driven autocross which is not real racing but we did learn to push the envelope of our cars and selves. What impressed me in autocross was cars can be repaired; people may not be – so, “be careful out there – but GO!”
    Dave – I have a house and acreage which I keep as I have a dog sanctuary here but I long for an apt. again someday w/o the headache of homeownership. As a fav financial columnist whose name escapes me said, it is all about lifestyle, not the bottom line.
    Chris – your website is on both my blogs and I get AONC into your own in-box.

  • Grace says:

    Great post Chris! Thanks! In case you wanna know, the Korean translation in the pic says “caution, steep staircase.” They seem to have left out the word steep. 🙂

  • Becca says:

    Dave, this one is sooooooooooo true! It just never ends, if you’re there long enough you’ll actually replace the same thing more than once, My folks build there house in the 60’s and were there for over 60 yrs. They had 12 hot water heaters, 6 roofs, 3 furnaces, 2 sets of gutters, 2 sets of windows and about 10 outside paint jobs, followed by siding! Inside they had all Hardwood Floors, then cover up with 5 different carpets, then back to hardwoods again! Orginal cost was around $25,000 with the land, 60 years later it sold for $99,500. I’m not sure they made a profit!

    But at the same time it was there to do as they wish with! So as they say “there is no place like home”, or is there???

  • I really like the Henry Ford quote too @emma, @neil, and @karen. I was talking to a friend the other day about how people get stuck in “in the box” thinking so easily. Part of our job as consultants (and just generally forward-thinking people) is to get out of the box. It’s definitely a skill that requires some talent. Sometimes a lot.

  • Filip Rabuzin says:

    Agree with the email. I check it and any social media first thing, usually with breakfast, get it out of the way, reply to anything whilst i’m most motivated to do so, then move on with the rest of my day.

    No need to check it again till next morning, free time to focus on other stuff.

  • Jason says:

    My boss’ favorite thing to say is “you have to patience.” Strangely, patience seems to be one of our company’s biggest problems. We are slow to move on almost anything. All the while, our competitors move quickly. It is frustrating to say the least.

  • Great post! I have never believed in ‘slow and steady’. I’m just not a very patient person. Why wait if I can do things now and fast?

  • sheila joss says:

    the one and only piece of free advice that works for me is “Do something every day towards your goal” I got that off Chet Atkins

  • Berthold says:

    I’ve recently written about this topic as well. Free advice is only as good as the person giving it to you. This is true for tweets – if the person has no real value, their proposing it everywhere won’t change a thing. If on the other hand, offline greatness trickles onto the net, that is worthwhile and remarkable.

    Oh and @Patty people who live only by the “now and fast” mentality tend to abandon bigger things because they take a long time and spend too much time flitting between small or half-finished stuff. Like the Hummingbird, they run out of energy quickly. Turtles may not look overly exiting, but they stick with things and reach the biggest goals at their pace. Especially in the fast-paced internet world, those who go at a steady pace last longer.

  • DONNIE NAIR says:

    few things are worth doing as well as they can be done. Master the art of “Good Enough.”

  • Joe Boyle says:

    I guess you proved a very true statement- Every argument has a counter argument. Great post!

  • Tim Moss says:

    Feels a little impotent to be the 87th person to tell you how much I enjoyed your article but I did, so I am.

    I particularly enjoyed:

    “…if what you’re doing is truly innovative, not everyone will understand in the beginning, and maybe you should just go for it.”

    Thank you.

    PS GlobeTrooper Todd (above) – How about this is as a family friendly version: “Patience is a virtue… for other people”

  • Sheila says:

    Steve Jobs was a Ford kind of guy. He believed the customer really did not know what they wanted and it was up to him to figure it out. What really made him a brilliant success, I think, is that he then went a step further and made it easy for the customer to use.

    We’re all experts in our field in the sense that we spend the most time there. Much more time than our customers do anyway. So, we should be constantly refining the experience we provide for our customers based on all the experience that we have.

  • Elisa says:

    Loved the Ford quote too. I believe Steve Jobs worked by that quote too.

    Although, I think the quote can be balanced with informed choices. Information in support of a clear, personal direction can work just as well. It’s when we’re overwhelmed and discouraged with outside chatter and lose our own vision that things ‘don’t work out’.

    Great post Chris!

  • My brother recommended I may like this blog.
    He used to be entirely right. This post truly made my day.

    You cann’t believe just how a lot time I had spent for this information!
    Thank you!

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