The Biggest Mistake We Make

Re-Route to What?

This past weekend, while finishing my new book, I had a Community seasons 1-3 marathon playing in the background (some of the best writing on TV, bar none).

One scene in particular left me in tears of laughter, followed by some really deep thought on the choices we make in life.

In this episode, Greendale (the community college the protagonists attend) is competing with a neighboring community college to be the first community college to simulate a moon landing.

After a series of ridiculous events, the main characters end up stuck inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken RV Moon Landing Simulator (I said it was ridiculous). The only way to get out of the simulator is to successfully fake land on the moon.

But there’s a problem: the group of protagonists caught in the simulator have no idea how to use it.  The only person who can help them is their friend outside of the simulator: Abed.

aintgotnogrammar: Señor Chang: I’ve worked out a way for them to re-route the power from the auxiliary battery! Abed: Re-route to what?

Abed proceeds to lead a group of students to coordinate the fake moon landing before the competing school does– it’s a race against time and every second counts.

At one point, Chang, their ex-Spanish professor, races up to Abed holding a piece of equipment in his hands:

Chang: "I worked out a way for them to reroute the power from the auxiliary battery!"

Abed pauses and looks at Chang: "Reroute to what?"

Chang silently walks backwards out of the room.

Life and Choices

In life, we all wish we could be the brilliant detective problem-solver, or the unassuming martial arts master, or the reluctant hero who saves the day.

Life, after all, is a drama, which we make manifest in our music, movies, and art.

Even something as silly as Community touches upon desires that are deeply routed in the human psyche.

The only problem is, most of us are playing the part of Chang…

Life throws us into a situation and we need to figure out how to get through it unscathed. But instead of working on the important things – the things that will actually fix the problem or complete the mission – we put our time and effort into the things that are ultimately inconsequential to our project.

I was speaking with an aspiring writer the other day.  I asked him how his book was coming. He told me it’s been really hard.  It’s taken him way longer than he expected. I told him that’s normal – it takes time.

I asked him how much time he put toward writing this week.


But he did find some great logo designers online for cheap.

Just last week, I was on the phone with a friend of mine - an aspiring entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur, your main job is creating profit.  So if you’re not selling, you’re not really an entrepreneur.  My friend knows this.

I asked him how many sales calls he made, and how many people he’s spoken to about buying his product.


But he did find a cool plugin that adds social media buttons to all of his pages.

Just last week, another friend wanted to "pick my brain" about entrepreneurship and starting a business. He was interested in starting a car-wash.  I thought it was a great idea – car-washes can make some really great money in the right areas.  After talking conceptually about it for some time, I gave him some pointers for where to start (research the market in dense, wealthy neighborhoods; see if you can spot a trend among successful and profitable car-washes; figure out their business model; copy it).

He told me my tips were great and they’ll come in handy after he goes to business school.

These are just a few examples from my own experience.  There are many more like this.

The problem is clear, isn't it?

The Simple Solution

The solution is to stop hiding and start doing the hard work.

Whatever it is you want to do – write a book, build a business, create or break a habit – isn’t it glaringly obvious that you already have all the tools you need to begin right now?

The answer isn’t a logo designer – it’s you sitting down to write your book.  The answer isn’t a plugin to get people to your facebook account – it’s you selling your product.  The answer isn’t business school – it’s you hustling to figure it out.

Seth Godin opened up the Revolution conference back in 2012 with this thought: everybody is so worried about getting their ducks lined up in a row that they spend all their time lining up their ducks…

Well here’s the truth – you already have your ducks, and they’re already lined up.

So now what are you going to do?

Start Doing the Hard Work

This isn’t a sparring match – this is the main event.

Like AJ Leon says: this is your one and only life.

How are you going to live that life?

You can continue to prepare to live the life you intend to live, you can spend your time getting your ducks lined up in a row, and you can put all your effort into rerouting the power from the auxiliary battery…

Or you can start living the life you choose this instant.

Want to write a book?  Sit down and write.  Want to be an entrepreneur?  Start selling.  Want to start a brick and mortar business?  Validate your business model and get hustling.

Yes, that means doing the hard work - now, not later – but it doesn’t happen any other way.

And why would we want it to?

Good luck, and keep creating.

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