“Write it again,” she said. “And this time, I actually need to know what word you’re trying to put in this sentence.”
I wish I’d known how the world was going to turn out in elementary school because if I had, my response might have been something like:
“Well, how about this Ms. Jones! I don’t care about spelling, and one day, when I’m a semi-famous Internet writer, I’m going put my disdain for your lesson at the top of a post.”
I hope she reads this.
#1) Spelling things correctly:
Yes, I’m a “real writer.” Yes, I think spelling is important. So maybe the subhead to this should have been “Spelling things correctly on the first try” but I’m not changing it.
Saying “technology is getting better and better every day” is a little like saying “the sun will probably rise tomorrow.”
That technology includes language, down to syntax, sentence structure, and grammar. Even autocorrect is getting wetter* by the day.
Do you need to still have a good education in your language? Of course. God knows there are too few conversationalists in the world. But in the amount of time it takes you to slow down and try to remember if this is an “I-before-E” rule, you could have buzzed through a draft, right-clicked on six words, and gone to the next thing.
*I would like to point out that yes, I typed this on my phone, and yes I’m being ironic. I know how to spell wetter.
*I mean WETTER
#2) Getting credit
Here’s a nifty little career trick.
Whatever you do at your job, give the credit to someone else.
All of it. Every time.
If you really want to go far, find out whatever your boss wants to happen (which is not necessarily whatever she gives you), make that thing happen, and then give her all the credit for it.
Do you know the best part about this is?
People up to and including your boss know who is responsible for the success of the team.
#3) Your beloved opinion
My grandma used to say:
“Opinions are like butts. Everyone has one, but that doesn’t mean you need to show it all the time.”
Too true, Granny. Too true. If you’ve never been around a southern grandmother, I highly recommend it.
Is it okay to have opinions? Sure. Should you sometimes fight about your opinions? Of course. But most of the time, what you think doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Which is also fine. Many things don’t matter anyway.
Life is a lot more fun when I talk about what I do have in common with people, not what we disagree on.
#4) Other people’s beloved opinion (of you)
Sometimes people’s opinions (just like their butts) are ugly, pimply, and offensive.
Here’s the strange thing, though — two people can have very similar experiences with you and come out with completely opposite reactions.
In order to make people feel a certain way about you, you’d have to analyze all their experiences, their family, their wants and dreams, their failures, their successes, the news they take in, and their DNA.
Oh, and by the way, all of those things change daily.
Instead — be exactly who you mean to and let the opinions fall where they may.
#5) “Overloading” your followers
I have a friend who recently released his first book for pre-order*.
After getting so-so results, he asked:
“I know I should pitch my email list, but I’m honestly a little nervous about selling to them.”
Another friend and I encouraged him to go ahead with his pitch. After the first email to his people, he doubled the number of pre-orders.
Here’s a challenge for you. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back. Just for me — double all the communication you do for a week.
- Text/call your parents twice as much as normal.
- Send twice the amount of emails to your list as you normally would.
- Think you’re on Snapchat a lot? Cool. Double it.
I guarantee you, you’ll get few complaints. Actually, you’ll probably hear “I’m actually seeing your work now!”
Don’t underestimate how noisy the world is. If Dreamworks has to spend a 26.1 million dollars in TV ADVERTISING ALONE to remind you a Minions movie is coming out, you can send a couple extra tweets per day.
*By the way, my friend’s book is called “The Millennial Way,” it’s a powerful read. You should probably go ahead and preorder it for $0.99 before the price goes up on release day.
#6) Knowing how to get places:
Trust me. I probably get lost more than anyone on the planet. If Siri fell through on me while I was driving home, I’d probably knock on the door of the nearest house to use their Wifi.
With self driving cars already making news, I’m going to lean on my GPS, wait for the technology to catch up, and use the drive time to talk to my mom, thanks very much.
#7) Remembering Passwords
Soon*, we’ll have biometric readers on everything that matters. Until then, for God’s sake, use LastPass or just trust Google to keep your stuff safe.
*Soon is obviously relative. I would like to claim there would be fingerprint authentication on our computers, houses, and offices within the next 20 years, but I’m starting to doubt it.
Darn you Back to the Future 2 for setting my expectations so high
#8) What articles on the Internet tell you to do
Over the last three months, I’ve started my first business. Want to know something interesting?
I’ve learned more in the past three months than I have from Pat Flynn, Gary Vee, Jeff Goins, Jamie Tardy, and all the other wonderful people who write online.
For a long time, I used reading as a crutch. I looked for answers. I inhaled expert opinions.
Later, I found I was no closer to what I wanted to be doing.
Maybe you’ve had the same experience. Maybe you even came to this post looking for some sort of answer.
So here’s one: