Speaker. Entrepreneur. Author.

Un

Added on by Sam Davidson.

When was the last time you undid something? When you CTRL+Z an action, a routine or a habit? 

Parents are unschooling. Gwyneth is uncoupling. And you are un-....what? 

The reverse of something can help us get a better understanding or a new perspective. Challenging tradition isn't an exercise in futility; it may very well be the activity we need to get a better handle on something or to come up with our next great idea.

What can you unplan? Can your team unmeet? Could you unsell a prospect, uninterview a job candidate, or undesign that website? 

You don't need to undo every system or behavior, but if you're in a rut, the key to getting unstuck may be going back and untrying everything that keeps you in place. 

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On Efficiency

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Remember: Enjoyable and efficient may also be opposing claims.

Efficiency can be a fine metric, but it shouldn't necessarily be your only one. 

I mean, check out this cake from a can. You just spray it out and then in a few minutes, you have cake. 

Pretty efficient. And the taste seems to be fine. 

But what's lost is the experience of baking. Of measuring, stirring, and maybe even messing up. Cake taste sweeter when your time, sweat (not literally), energy, planning, and effort go into it. 

Efficiency is good in many ways, but your entire life doesn't need to be spent in its pursuit. 

Take your time. Prize enjoyment over efficiency and you may find a host of byproducts you can't get from a can, like meaning, learning, and belonging. 

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When At First You Don't Succeed

Added on by Sam Davidson.

It's not a question of if, really. 

When you don't succeed on the first try (maybe not every first try, but I bet you won't succeed on a lot of them), what will you then do? Pack it in? Give up? Tell yourself it wasn't meant to be? Hang it up? Walk away?

Carolyn Davidson failed when she first pitched her logo ideas. And now? She's the creator of one of the most iconic symbols in the world.

That's right: the folks at Nike didn't like the swoosh when they first saw it. And Carolyn could have thrown in the towel, told herself she wasn't any good, stopped designing altogether, and found another line of work.

But she kept at it.

When at first you don't succeed, keep going. There is no other plan.

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The Risk of Stillness

Added on by Sam Davidson.

I was driving around in whatever city I was in the other day (I want to say Los Angeles), eating up a few minutes before I needed to arrive at the event. I thought I'd wander a bit in my rental car, seeing what was nearby. 

As I navigated traffic and took in what I could, I started to wonder if I was being foolish. Should I be driving around? I didn't get the extra insurance at Hertz - what if someone bumps into me? Is it worth the risk for me to be driving around like this?

So I thought about pulling over into a parking lot. Maybe I'll just check email on my phone and play games for a half hour while parked. I assume my odds of being in a 13-car pile up are lessened when I'm stationary at this Walgreens. 

Or maybe not. Maybe this drugstore parking lot is known for its random collisions. Anyone hopped up on their prescriptions could rear end me, too. Is the parking lot safer? 

Probably. It's usually safer to stay still, to not move, and to sit pat. There is less risk there, for sure.

But there is also less reward. We like to think that staying still is safer, but many times, the risk of not moving is much greater than that of staying put. 

And when it's riskier to not dare, to not try, and to not move, then we've got to lean into the unknown, take a deep breath, and move.

Besides, staying still doesn't eliminate the risk. Chance and happenstance and opportunity are each something we all live with. So why not leverage the risk to your own benefit? 

I dare you to move. 

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What I Want You to Know About Art

Added on by Sam Davidson.

I'm reading two great books at the same time (I usually don't do this). And both are hitting home runs when it comes to creative endeavors and entrepreneurial ambitions related to following a passion.

Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, says this in Creativity, Inc.:

Craft is what we are expected to know; art is the unexpected use of our craft.

In other words, learn as much as you can. But then, take that knowledge and make something wonderful from it.

The second book I'm devouring is Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stephens. She examines the life and work of Jim Henson and how we was able to do what he did. Some of her observations and admonitions:

How many hours a day does an artist work on his [or her] art? All of them.

And:

The key to your success may lie in something you already do, but do not yet see as your power.

Art, it seems, is something that lies deep within us. And if we are to be artists, we've got to bring it to the surface, to use it in a new or unexpected way, all the while releasing the greatness within.

So what will you do with your week? In what way will you make art?

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