It's not your job to disqualify yourself

"It's not your job to reject you. It's your job to apply." - Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (via @kaysarahsara)

We live in the most abundant time in human history. We can pick from thousands of careers or invent our own. We can eat incredible food from all around the world in a single city. We can talk to dozens of people we’ve met before on Twitter, make unimaginable connections faster than ever and learn the 101 of nearly anything with a book and a few good YouTube videos.

What a fucking time to be alive.

And yet our minds are frequently overcome with the feeling of scarcity. Nothing is ever enough. It’s true! Scarcity is baked into the language we use which then gets unconsciously internalized into how we live our lives and the relationship we have with ourself.

If “I didn’t get enough sleep” is how we start our day, then that means that the first thing we say to ourselves when we get out of bed is that something wasn’t enough. And the dialogue invariably turns into how we’re never enough.

Scarcity comes in other forms you’ve probably said or heard in the last month:

I don’t have enough time.

My { thing I’m making } only has 10 users, I can’t possibly get into X.

There isn’t enough money in the bank to do Y.

I think we can do better. What if we flipped all of those and reframed them:

I have 45 minutes to work on X today. What’s the most important thing I can do in that time? The 45 minutes today will lead to more time tomorrow or next week for this.

A month ago { thing I’m making } didn’t exist! It was just an idea in my head. Now I have 10 users I can talk to and learn form and make this for. Let me apply to X and see what happens. You never know!

There isn’t enough money to do Y, so how can we get creative here? Are there discounts? Are there cheaper alternatives? Constraints force creativity.

When we play a game of comparisons, combined with using scarce language, we can never win! That’s because 1) we’re never enough and 2) there’s always someone with more or less of the thing we’re trying to optimize for. There’s another person with more time, money, or resources. There’s a person with less body fat or someone who can lift more weight or run faster.

So let’s reframe the game itself.

  • We are where we are today. (Cool! 👊🏻 pound it)

  • We’re alive; we’re free; we can make our thing.

  • We have support around us from friends and family to lean on if we need it.

  • And tomorrow will be better, but we have to put in the work today.

  • Life is about the aggregation of marginal gains and getting 1% better every day.

My company right now is a bunch of things, roughly in this order:

  1. Notes & Conversations

  2. Code

  3. Doubts

But that still means I get up, I show up and I take a step. And then I take another. You’ll probably see me writing a lot about momentum here, that’s because it’s such a powerful thing.

Newton’s First Law says:

an object in motion stays in motion

A step today makes a step tomorrow easier. A bad 5k today makes a better 5k possible tomorrow. The first step is not counting yourself out of the game. It’s not your job to tell yourself no, it’s your job to show up, take the steps you can take today, apply and no matter the answer, keep the momentum.

Keep the momentum.