[Note: If you're in San Francisco or Austin, read the bolded part at the very bottom!]
For most of my life, at least until my late twenties, I was a slacker. I did almost nothing to help around the house, choosing to procrastinate on things assigned to me until someone else just did it themselves because that was easier than goading me into doing it. Even in friendships, I would rely on my good friends to come up with plans or invite me somewhere, and then I'd join. The only reason I got into college was because my best friend at the time, Phil, pushed me into filling out an application. I wouldn't have done it otherwise.
There were exceptions, of course, but in general I was probably a burden. I was a good friend and family member in other ways, but in terms of carrying the weight of those relationships, I wasn't putting in my fair share. It's embarrassing to say that, but it's true.
A couple years back, Todd wasn't as invested in Sett as I was. We had started it as a side project, but it seemed like there was enough potential that it was worth going full time. I wanted to do so, but Todd's priorities were elsewhere, so he worked a lot less than me. If Sett was going to continue, I would have to take full responsibility for it.
I remember crystallizing the decision down very clearly: I could either decide that I would carry all of the weight for Sett, or I could do what was "fair", which would result in Sett stalling. Put in that context, it wasn't that difficult of a choice. I decided that I would carry all of the weight, no matter what.
So, for a while, I carried all of the weight for Sett. I felt resentment from time to time, but overall it was a surprisingly good experience. I liked the responsibility. I felt myself become stronger and more disciplined. I gave myself a chance to rise to a challenge, and I met it. I even felt good that I was working for Todd, carrying some weight for him when he couldn't or wouldn't. He's certainly done that for me any number of times during our friendship.
Sometimes all it takes to change yourself is to try out a new mindset once. You see that it's better and you can't imagine going back. That's what happened with me and carrying weight. I decided that, in all cases, I would carry whatever weight needed to be carried.
As I've written about before, my friends and I bought an island. One friend, Elliot, and I came up with the idea, and then I did almost all of the legwork to make it actually happen. People asked me if I would get to make all the rules or own more of the island because of that, but I never thought of it that way. Ten of us put in our money, so it's all of ours. If I can put in some work to make it happen, then I'm happy to be able to do that for my friends.
Four of us went up and started clearing a path up to the top of the hill, which is backbreaking work (literally-- one guy had to rest on his back for a whole day). People cautioned me that with such a large group it would be hard to get everyone to put in equal effort to make it fair. I didn't see it like that at all, though. Getting to do hard work that benefits people I'm close to is a privilege. If I didn't have so many friends who are also eager to carry weight, I'd be happy to carry it all and do all of the work myself.
Even on the small scale now, I try to do little chores whenever I can. If I'm staying at someone's place and their dishes are dirty, I'll wash them. If friends and I are going on a trip, I'll do whatever planning needs to be done.
I don't say any of this to make myself seem like a saint, by the way. If anything I realize that I'm late to the party and I know that I'm still trailing behind most of my friends who have been carrying some of my share since I can remember. The small silver lining of only making this change recently is that I may have a lucid enough perspective on it to share.
When you carry all of the weight, you make other people's lives better. You also make your own life better, in both predictable and unpredictable ways. You develop strength and confidence, knowing that although you can work with others and accept their help, you can also manage a lot by yourself if you have to. You build discipline. You become the kind of person that gets invited to everything because no one has to worry about carrying weight for you. You feel a sense of pride knowing that you're providing for others.
Be willing to carry all of the weight. When you see a situation where someone need to step up and put in extra effort, be that person. Maybe you already are. But if you're like I used to be, and you wait for someone else to take care of it, try carrying more than you're used to. I bet you'll like it more than you think.
Photo is Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
I will be speaking at the San Francisco and Austin dates of Sebastian Marshall's Give Get Win Tour. It's free, so come out and say hi! I'm probably going to be talking about rapid decision making.
Todd carries a lot of weight at Sett now, by the way. I unfairly expected him to want to make it his full time gig just because I did, so any resentment I felt towards him for not carrying half of the weight was because of my own actions.
"I'm probably going to be talking about rapid decision making."
This made me chuckle. :)
I've experienced a very similar feeling after moving into the Rialta.
I plunged feet first into the RV thing without a clue how to do half (nay, a quarter) of the things I signed myself up for.
And soon, I began to regularly encounter problems I had no clue how to fix. Frequently they were scary things like: I have a small roof leak, no caulk, 3 hours of daylight left, and it's going to start downpouring for two days straight, starting later that night.
Before moving in, I'd look at problems and be biased towards figuring them out as comfortably and safely as possible. Now that I'm feet first into no-man's land, where I'm regularly encountering mini-crises that I have no clue how to fix, I'm finding my thinking biased towards let's get in and do this and make it happen. Because that's the only chance these things will ever get done (perhaps not unlike the feeling of realizing Sett would probably fail, if you didn't step to the challenge).
Anyways, after apply this mindset for enough problems related to RV life, I eventually started applying it to other areas of my life for things I didn't want to (or know how to do) and quickly you realize being the guy that gets in and gets it done generates pure, raw value. And that's something you just can't really argue with.
It may not provide the highest, most immediate amount of benefit to you for the work you put in, but, it'll still be of some kind value to someone at some point and, eventually, putting out enough of that - especially when it's for friends and people you surround yourself with - is always bound to end up benefitting you. Even if it only means you just cleared a path for yourself to walk up and discover a cool view of an island or something (at least now it's your path).
Sweet, grabbed my a ticket for the SF talk! What's the address of the conference? It just says 'San Francisco' on the ticket.
What's your plan to market and monetize SETT? I see an awesome platform with a ton of potential, but I see very little promoting of it going on.
The honest answer is that I don't really know. We have some ideas, but I focus on making the product better because it's most exciting and comfortable for me. I will have to transition more to marketing and monetizing at some point, but growth is good even now.
How long will you go with SETT if it continues to be a low-profit enterprise before you give up on it? I've had time sinks of my own that I ultimately had to bite the bullet and terminate. It's painful, but it's better than spending the rest of your life bailing the Titanic to keep the neatly-arranged deck chairs dry.
Based on where we're at and where I think we'll go, I'd say two years.
If SETT isn't a large financial and status-building success, will this impact your mate and breeding-related goals?
No, I'm ready for that now. Not looking at the moment, but will be in 2015.
It'll be a curious sociological experiment to see what kind of environment you create for your mate and offspring. Frankly, I consider it amazing that you can manifest so efficiently -- I've been mate-searching for 18 years and have thus far failed with miserable consistency.
Seems like a blind spot to me.
At least do a podcast tour, that should give fairly high bang for the time spent. I can send you a list of podcasts if you want, and even do the outreach if you want.
I'm going to take you up on this. Right now I have too much going on, but maybe later in March. Thank you!
This advice is gold. Pure gold. Too many opportunities are lost out on because we insist on things being "fair." I've found that more often than not, when you are willing to carry the weight, you actually benefit more, because often hard work itself is a reward greater than the actual result.
I too was a slacker until just recently. I did the least I could do and get away with it but then I thought why not do just a little bit more than expected. Sometimes iI even surprise people by doing it all. It feels good. I allow myself to savor each and eery moment of each project.
I am now a good partner and not a slacker!
Great article thanks
Early in my college years I used to think that one of the crappiest parts of classes was doing group projects. Oh man, those really sucked. Not so much because the assignments/projects were hard, they were actually easy compared to other types of assignments, but the task of coordinating and relying on other people always seemed like a disaster. There's always at least one person who procrastinated, though typically more, or even the whole group; and that always ended up making a rather simple assignment much more anxiety filled than it should be.
After one does enough group projects, you soon realize that the person who carries the weight and starts getting stuff done in a timely manner soon becomes the defacto leader of the group and typically is able to motivate others into doing their work sooner as well whether that be out of guilt or enthusiasm, who knows; but having at least one person diving into the project early tends to have a much better outcome than those groups where everyone waits until the night before.
So you became able to live without having to do much work without putting in effort and have essentially been retired for 10+ years nigh effortlessly? Now I feel like even more of a lump for being the same age and still having to push the money boulder.
Seriously. I may not have mentioned this before, but my life revolves around one thing. Tostadas. Whole foods makes them raw, and they are a flax seed cracker with fake beans, avocado, mixed greens, pico de gallo, and fake sour cream. I love these things with most of my heart. Since discovering them I get one every time I go to Whole Foods, and sometimes I take one home with me even though they get soggy.
Tonight I had myself a nice little night planned out. I was going to drive to Whole Foods to meet Todd for Dinner, come back home, get ready, and go hit SXSW with some friends from San Fran.
As usual I took a lesuirely shower and planned it so that I would have JUST enough time to eat dinner there.
I got this really, really amazing email from a reader. I get a lot of emails, but this one in particular was fantastic. Check out his recommendations in here as well -
We exchanged a bit of email last year, but I felt the urge to reach out to you again to just say "thanks". When I started reading your site last year, I was a completely different person than I am now. I was 300lbs, unhappy with my life, my work, and my achievements.
Since then, I've completely turned my life around.
Reading your blog has been (by far) the biggest influence in my life changes, and I'm extremely grateful for all of your writings. I really associate with your writing a lot--I feel like I've always had lots of ambition and purpose, but was never able to harness it to do what I wanted to. Your blog has really helped me understand a lot of critical things in personal development.