Category Archives: Recommended Products

The Charge: Control

One of the more interesting notions in The Charge is the one where how much of a given drive you have is simply up to you.

So the drive for control isn’t a drive to have more control, or to control this or that aspect of your life – but a drive to feel like you have the right amount of control. If you’re a big control freak, this drive will be for detailed control over all the minutia of your life. If you’re more of an anarchist, the drive will head in the opposite direction – to get rid of this detailed control, so you don’t have to deal with it.

Brendon also splits this up into three different types of control, which I found to be a reasonably productive idea.  These three types of control are basically yourself, your lifestyle, and your job. (He uses different terms.)

Controlling yourself is basically about feeling like you get to be part of the world you want to be a part of.  That may sound a little weird and touchy-feely, but look around; there are plenty of people stuck in a world they don’t want to be a part of. I myself was in that situation just a couple months ago; I was trying to manage my business in a way that was compatible with other people’s businesses, and those other people basically wanted nothing to do with it because “compatible” wasn’t enough. They wanted my business to look just like theirs, instead of just being compatible with it. So I walked away from that, because they were removing my control over myself by trying to control who I was.

Similarly, control over lifestyle is important. Simply put, this is the ability to control the work/life balance as well as the old/new balance. Instead of feeling trapped in the office or a routine, you have a certain drive to walk away from the office a certain amount of time, and to try new things at a certain frequency. These are what allow you to grow as a person and as a professional. Brendon goes so far as to recommend taking a short vacation (or “stay-cation,” where you don’t go anywhere, but just take time off) every ninety days… one to five days at a time. This isn’t a terrible idea.

The real productivity tip – and the one everyone seems to be focused on – is control over your job. He’s got a worksheet that goes along with that, which he tells coaching clients to fill out by hand every morning.

It’s basically Products – People – Priorities; you list your top three projects, and five big things you MUST do to move each project forward. Then you list the people you need to contact, and the people you need to contact you. Finally, you list the things you MUST get done today no matter what.

Once the worksheet is done, you go into your email inbox, and read ONLY the emails from people you listed on the sheet – then send emails to ONLY the people listed on the sheet, as necessary. No other email is dealt with until the end of the day.

When you’ve finished these emails, you shut your email client, then proceed to work your way down all the things you MUST do today. After you’ve finished those, you work on the things you MUST do to move your projects forward; and when you’ve done all you can do there, you’re done for the day.

It’s reasonably simple, and a good idea. Planning your days is a pretty simple thing, but people who neglect it often have zero control over their work day.

Tomorrow we’ll go over the drive for competence.

Brendon Burchard’s Latest

I’ve got a copy of Brendon Burchard’s The Charge over here which I’ve had for a couple weeks, but didn’t get around to reading until I had that massive do-nothing day interviewing at Microsoft for a position that it turned out I couldn’t have on a bet. (I can’t discuss it in any meaningful way, because of nondisclosure.)

So for the next couple weeks, I’m going to be posting my thoughts on Burchard’s ten fundamental human drives… dealing with the five “baseline” drives first, then the five “forward” drives, with a slight break in between for Music Video Saturday and a midpoint commentary.

I’m a fan of Brendon’s, and tend to buy whatever he puts out at the drop of a hat. He’s a smart guy, and this is a smart book.

The basic idea of the book is that we’ve all got unprecedented access to information and tools and awesome shit we could do these days, and yet most of us are deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. I’ve been wrestling with this ever since… well, honestly, ever since I first realised my wife didn’t give a shit whether I ever got my business back off the ground again.

Burchard divides people’s lives into three types: the caged life, where you feel trapped and unable to accomplish anything; the comfortable life, where you have pretty much everything you need but aren’t really making much of a mark in the world; and the charged life, where you’re kicking arse and taking names and everything is awesome.

Most of the world is divided pretty evenly into the “caged” and “comfortable” camps. When I first got into the internet marketing world, I was very much in a “caged” life; now, I’m even more effectively caged, since my wife had been in a “comfortable” life and repaid me for my efforts  by pulling everything down around our ears in a desperate effort to make me abandon what I was trying to do.

Selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean. “I want my life to stay exactly the way it is! But I’m not going to work for what I want! And I won’t talk to anybody about it, either! I’m just going to ruin everything for everybody else!”

But what isn’t dealt with very much in Brendon’s book – largely because, like me, he probably can’t entirely fathom the idea – is that an awful lot of people don’t want a charged life. The comfortable life, where they don’t make a difference, is all they really want in the first place. Because people are selfish, lazy, ignorant, and mean.

Making a difference is based on a fundamental idea of serving others. Brendon gets this. I get this. A lot of really great teachers and mentors and gurus get this. And when you really dig into it, you’ll find out that they are almost universally… religious people.

There’s no single common thread of religion. Burchard is a christian. I’m Jewish (Music Video Saturday is actually an observation of the Sabbath). Many other people have been Buddhists or followers of Islam. But when you really look at the greatest role models in the world, almost all of them are religious in some way or other. It’s very rare for them to be atheist or agnostic, and even when they are, they usually have a religious upbringing which instructed and informed their values.

I don’t believe this is a coincidence. Religion often rests on the idea that you have a duty to share your good fortune with the world – to help others whenever you can. And without a deep conviction that you need to help others, most people won’t do it if it’s even mildly inconvenient.

So I’m Reading Brad’s Book…

I’m reading the Brad Gosse book, “Chronic Marketer.”

This is a great book, but if you want a review, go to Amazon. I’m digging into some guts here.

I see a lot of people saying they just can’t write a book. It seems like an insane amount of work.

Let’s get real, people.

Brad’s book is 248 pages and contains 32 chapters plus acknowledgements at the end.

Of these pages, 15 are blank on both sides and 18 are blank on one side. That’s 48 pages, dropping the actual written content to 200 pages. And it’s not hard to figure out that 33 pages – the last one of each chapter and the final page of the acknowledgements – are likely to be incomplete pages. So it’s productive, since it may be anywhere from a near-full page to just a couple lines, to count those as half-pages, reducing the page count by another 16. 34 additional pages are completely taken up by images. There are five pages of “excise” – title, copyright, ISBN, contents. That sort of shit. Stuff that isn’t actually the book. Which leaves us with 145 pages of actual, you know, content.

That’s not a slam. That’s just reality. You can do the same thing with most books. The number on the last page isn’t something you can use to do math. And all that stuff up there has value – the contents, the pictures, the blank pages for layout. I mostly want you to understand that the supporting material of the book, what folks in the design world call the hygienic factors (without which the book would suck and you wouldn’t want it), is damn near half the fucking book.

So what’s on one page of Brad’s book? If we take just the writing on one page, what do we find?

Each page contains thirty-two lines, for one, of which three to five are blank between paragraphs. So call it 28 lines per page. Those 28 lines each contain ten to twelve words; call it eleven. These are normal, sensible amounts for a modern book.

They also amount to roughly 300 words a page.

Think about that for a moment. Really think about it.

This blog post is already longer than one page of Brad’s book. You write blog posts, too, don’t you? Or articles? And aren’t most articles more like 500 words?

I know I shoot for the 500 word mark. And if we do the math on 300 words a page across 145 pages… we get 43,500 words.

That’s eighty-seven 500-word articles.

If you put your mind to it, you can write ten to twenty 500-word articles in a day. That’s about the limit of productivity for article writing – beyond that, quality starts going down the toilet.

That means you could write a book in less than two weeks. Ten articles a day for nine days. Fifteen a day for six. Twenty a day for five. The amount of work isn’t the limiting factor – it’s the big idea your book is going to be about.

It’s all about the planning. What are these articles? What are they about?

Give me a while to get back to you on that. Maybe a couple weeks. Right now, I’m putting my big idea and plan together on a book of my own. I’ll tell you what I learn in the process.