The call of glory

Glory-chasing is first common among humans because we recognize, even if unstated, that glory is in our blood.Desiring God

What a powerful, rich thing.

The difficulty for me as someone who is a self-employed entertainer, for lack of a better word, is that my job is to be seen by as many people as possible.

May my writing and blogging and general demeanor in all instances always point outwardly lest I become so consumed with self that I start to think that any of this is about me.

Building a better take

I’ve been thinking about this post from Dan Shanoff off and on for the last month. In it he discusses taking back the take and what it means to be smart in a not-so-smart world.

Actually, I can’t stop thinking about it.

All of this came to a head after the Ryder Cup when I was writing what I write after all rounds of a big tournament or game: 10 thoughts on what I just watched.

Each of these thoughts is a take, of course, and when melded together they form a Big Take on the entire day. The problem? The post usually goes 1,000+ words which is a lot for a one-day event on golf.

What I realized, though, on Sunday during the Ryder Cup is that each of those thoughts — a paragraph or two (usually about 100 words) — is my wheelhouse.

I can go smaller on the thought for Twitter or bigger for a 400-word column but building around takes (or thoughts or whatever you want to call them) like these is ideal for me.

So let’s start there from now on — 100 intelligent words on something that happened or something it reminded us of — and either strip away or build upon.

But let’s be smart about it because as Matthew Ingram wrote here, all that matters is how good you are:

It doesn’t matter what it says on your masthead, or how many centuries you have been publishing, or how many industry accolades your columnist has. All that matters is whether people want to read it or not — and that force is as mercurial a mistress as any newspaper editor ever was, and then some.

We’re going to have to trust aggregators

One of my primary frustrations with reading and writing for a living is that I am unable to read everything I want to read.

Granted, “everything I want to read” is pretty close to everything that exists and last time I checked I was constrained by time as much as the next guy, but still.

I’ve written before that one of the best attributes a writer (or anyone in the entertainment industry) can obtain is the ability to sort.

Sort through the longform stories you want to read, podcasts you want to listen to, and blogs you want to browse. If you aren’t good at it you can potentially spend more time sorting than you do consuming which is a bad spot to be in — your ledger isn’t looking too hot at that point.

I realized today as I signed up for yet another TinyLetter that at some point I’m going to have to stop sorting (maybe I’m already there) and just trust the aggregators of things I choose to put interesting content in front of me.

At some point it becomes about picking good aggregators of material on the front end so that the back end is fruitful.

One of my friends is going to Mexico next week and he said to me the other day “I want books from you. Give them to me.” I am his aggregator of interesting material — he doesn’t search for stuff because he trusts me to provide it for him.

I need about 10 of those folks I trust innately to do that for me. And in exchange I think I can do it for about 1,000 others.

That’s some math I can get behind.

Nobody wants to be the rabbit

There’s a great profile of Tom Watson in the new Golf Digest

I found this bit on how he viewed golf when he got into it pretty interesting:

“I played for money,” he says flatly. “To make the top 60. To not have to Monday-qualify anymore. To stop being a rabbit.”

A tremendous visual. Chasing is a thrill but it’s exhausting work and you can’t do it forever or you’ll burn out.

Eventually you have to catch what you’re chasing and then fend off everybody else trying to get it.

On creating opportunity

I enjoyed this from Biz Stone in Things a Little Bird Told Me:

My dictionary defines opportunity as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. The world has conditioned us to wait for opportunity, have the good sense to spot it, and hope to strike at the appropriate time.

But if opportunity is just a set of circumstances, why are we waiting around for the stars to align? Rather than waiting and pouncing with a high degree of failure, you might as well go ahead and create the set of circumstances on your own. If you make the opportunity, you’ll be first in position to take advantage of it.

A few thoughts:

• This is easier said than done but if you can pull it off it pretty much always works.

• This is reminder No. 39,094 that what we have been conditioned to do by the world is not necessarily what’s best.

• Stone quit college because he got a job during the middle of college that he went to college to get. He called it “skipping three grades.” People see college as a life-changing thing but it’s really just a means to an end.