"Are you kidding me? I've been telling everybody that you write a blog post every single day!"
Sebastian just learned that I fell off of my writing-every-single-day habit, and became outraged. One thing led to another, and before you know it, we'd shaken hands and a bet was made. Both of us will be writing a blog post every single day for the next two years. I can say that with certainty, because we've also bet $10,000 on it.
There are some bets you make because you think that you have an advantage and you can exploit it to make money. This isn't one of those bets. Writing every day for two years is incredibly hard, and I don't think that I have an advantage over Sebastian. He's just as likely to be able to complete this as I am.
I'm willing to make this bet because it puts me in a situation where I can't fail. I'm not willing to lose $10,000, so my only other option is to succeed by writing every single day. Maybe there's a 2% chance of something weird happening and me losing by accident, but if that's true, than the expected value of this bet is a loss of only $200. In return for that, I get a 98% chance of having 730 blog posts in the can, and the improvements in my writing that go along with that.
The biggest benefit, maybe, is that I can avoid thinking about writing for the next two years. There's no point in thinking about how much I don't want to write or trying to come up with a justification for not writing. Those things are irrelevant, because giving in to them will cost me a large amount of money. The stress is erased, and I'll just write.
There are a million ways to motivate yourself, but huge bets like this are a quick acceleration. I did the same thing back when I was into pickup-- if I was chickening out and not approaching, I would hand my car keys to a friend and tell him the car was his if I didn't approach a certain amount of groups. He would have kept it, too.
You don't have to make giant bets, but it's a tool worth keeping in your toolbox. By default people don't really come up with strategies to stick to the things they want to do, meaning that most of them inevitably fall apart. Finding devices like this is a good practice to up your adherence.
Photo is a secret passage from Dracula's castle.
My writing gets a lot better when I'm writing every day and only posting the best two. I predict that within two weeks this effect will kick in.
Well, I'll go ahead take this opportunity to point out that you haven't written about RV life in a while... :)
Don't like this idea. Quickest way to suck the joy out of something is to a) make it mandatory, and b) attach it to a monetary incentive. I think your blog quality is going to suffer. It's going to be the Tynan version of a 24 hour news network.
This is an excellent point for most people and for most things. There's an expression I was often quoted growing up: "if you love something never make it your job".
But Tynan is definitely exceptiional, so I believe the decision to enter this bet was based on its potential utility as a motivational tool for both parties rather than just a frivolous wager.
I believe it will likely inspire him to stay committed to writing. Because I greatly enjoy reading this blog even as it it now, I can only imagine it will improve. Most great writers write daily, so it's not an unrealistic goal I think. Anyway, I prefer to stay optimistic.
The same thought crossed my mind as well.
Usually a good writingtopic can just come to you and you'll get a big urge to write about it. For me this happens a couple times a week, but in their case they may find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel unless blogging is on their minds 24/7
I'd still caveat this with "Don't try this at home!" if you don't know what you're doing with wagering. Counterparty risk, realistic assessments of your self-discipline and ability based on evidence, and fully fleshing out the boundaries/terms around the edges of your agreement before jumping in are important.
Will you be posting them? Personally I'd be interested in reading more of your content.
I'll be posting the best 2 per week. I may move up to 3 per week at some point. I was also thinking about releasing PDF "mixtapes" that have 5-10 not-quite-polished posts, like how rappers have mixtapes that aren't quite to the level of their albums, but are still good.
I'm posting the majority of mine; Tynan is sticking to two-per-week (and maybe mixtapes as he commented).
We have slightly different strategies -- he's going for having a very high average quality level with good polish, an approach similar to how Paul Graham and Derek Sivers do it. I'm going for get-better-at-expressing-myself-all-the-time-no-matter-what, perhaps more similar to Seth Godin.
Advantages for his style -- higher average quality for his readership, higher consistency of experience, more opportunities to get very experimental knowing that not every post goes into production.
Advantages for my style -- forced to learn how to write out all sorts of ideas, faster iterative learning on how to write, more audience feedback, more serendipity / luck surface area from something I thought wasn't good getting surprisingly popular.
It's an interesting tradeoff... biggest reason I do it, though, is I get perfectionist if I know I'm only going to publish if it's good, and publishing almost everything mitigates that perfectionism a lot.
Curious about the details of the bet. So if one of you misses a day, that's the end of it? Is there a minimum word count?
No minimum word count, but if I write half of a post and abandon it because it's not working, I have to notify him. If I do that too often, he can audit my posts.
We each get one skip per rolling 30 day period. So if I skip tomorrow, I can't skip for another 30 days. Also, we're allowed to have a buffer of one post written in advance.
While I loved First Kiss, I thought one thing was missing... Color..
Is this $10k each time you mess up? Or $10k once and then you're off the hook and don't have to try anymore?
I've been rethinking how I set goals after our discussion outside of Taco Deli the other day, where you talked about your daily meditation bet/goal and how you lost because of passing out one night due to food poisoning before meditating...even though you had a 99% confidence level that you would achieve the goal when you set it.
I normally set goals similar to this one..."frequency" goals. "I will do X every day." or "...every week." or "...every time I do Y."
But I'm starting to think that's not the most motivational way to do it because when I break it once, I have negative motivation to continue. I failed. I have to start all over again. No fun. No motivation. And usually the reason I failed was something stupid, like I forgot, or got distracted (by another goal that I ALSO wanted to do), or had some other circumstance that prevented me from doing it (like passing out from illness). OR I did it, but only sort of, so I'm not sure if I feel like it counts, like the half-done blog post mentioned in another comment. Does that count? How much is half? How much time do I need to spend on a post before I have put in my time for the day?
What I'm trying now are "accumulation goals". Sometimes these have an overriding deadline, like in this case "730 blog posts written over the next 2 years". To meet that I would need to stay on a pretty consistent schedule, but it gives me some flexibility to write a few in a day if I get off track, and I can be more honest about whether or not I did the thing I wanted to do. But the benefit is that I build up a mountain of work results, and I can see that mountain every time I sit down, so I'm never starting from zero. I find it much more motivational. And from what I've read of "influence" techniques, most people find something that's "started" to be more motivational to finish than something that's starting from zero. (The example was a car wash loyalty card. Cards with 8 stamps that started at zero were redeemed less often than cards with 10 stamps with 2 stamps free. Same amount of work, but the customers valued and used the 10 stamp cards more.)
$10k once. If I mess up I'll just keep doing it, though. That happened with the meditation one, and I'm still doing it even though the bet's been over for weeks.
I'm a natural procrastinator, so if I do 730 blog posts over two years, I'll probably get behind. Here there's no way to do it. I also really like the momentum of doing something every single day.
As you may know, my friend Sebastian and I have a bet going where we must write a blog post every single day for two years. We ironed out the terms and conditions, but one area was left slightly fuzzy-- we both travel a lot, so what happens when time zones interfere? We agreed that no one would lose because of a time zone shift, but to be reasonable.
I went west on a cruise ship, which led to me crossing the international date line, and thus losing a day. I had the twenty-fifth, the twenty-seventh, but not the twenty-sixth. No big deal, though. I woke up every day, wrote my post, and checked that box.
But then, returning east by plane, I essentially had a 36 hour day where I woke up twice. It was a bit of a grey area-- I treated it as two days for sleep and meals, but the calendar never clicked over.
I wrote two blog posts that day. I wouldn't have lost the bet if I hadn't, but when applying external forces to habits, it's important to remember that you're doing it for the habit, not for the external forces.
Sit down before you read this.
We've got to talk.
Look. This is going to piss you off. This is going to look like I'm causing problems.
I'm not causing problems. I'm just pointing out where problems already exist.