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Issue #10: Iterating on Life

This past weekend I spent my time doing two things: Saturday: moved houses. After 6 years of living i

James Costa

May 2 · Issue #10 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

This past weekend I spent my time doing two things:
  1. Saturday: moved houses. After 6 years of living in a moderately-sized condo-apartment, I moved into a semi-detached house in Toronto. (I’m presently surrounded by boxes that will likely haunt me in my sleep until they’re all unpacked.)
  2. Sunday: held a family gathering in the new house. My son observed the sacrament of Eucharist for the first time (i.e. he had his “first communion”), and we celebrated with a ridiculous amount of food (including a Dairy Queen cake that I’m sincerely looking forward to eating for breakfast tomorrow morning).
Seems like a pretty hectic weekend, right? I could have planned to have the family gathering elsewhere, or even moved on an earlier day, but I chose to approach these two things the same way we get our clients to approach product development: release, and iterate.
Now, this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Some people would look at the above and would rather approach things with more preparation and strive to achieve perfection on the first go. I get it. It’s tough when the pressure is on and your reputation is on the line. What I’m not proposing here is to not strive for perfection: commit to a decision, make a decision, and then learn from that decision.
I find I do some of my best work when I’m faced with a tough decision and a limited amount of time to act. (Hell, this email is generally ideated and written on Sunday night or Monday right before it reaches your inbox.) While thinking and assessing the scenario is important, taking too much time to make a call can mean adding unneeded pressure and be paralyzing.
Remember: most of the decisions we make on a daily basis are reversible, and decisions are easier to learn from if you make them. Also, don’t be afraid to be honest when you’re committing to something: set the expectation for people so that they understand your goal, and let them be a part of the process. Ask for help, listen to advice, and kick it up a notch for next time.
Some inspiration for this concept:
  1. Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” talks about the power of split-second decision making, and how for many it can be more successful than overthinking things.
  2. The fine folks at Filament Creative in Toronto, and their awesome “coming soon” landing page (here’s hoping this peer pressure helps to keep them going).
  3. Yesterday, designers around the world participated in the May 1st Reboot to redesign their websites and get them live.
So, whatever you’re working on, take the shot:
  1. Make the commitment public.
  2. Don’t give yourself too much time.
  3. Give it your all.
  4. Iterate and improve.
Have an unreal week. ✌
P.S.: If you have a moment and enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or writing a musical based on this week’s issue, it would mean the world to me.

Good Reads
The Cure for Creative Blocks? Leave Your Desk.
Why Hiring is So Hard in Tech
“Sleeping on It” Doesn’t Lead to Better Decisions
Stand for Something: How to Establish Authentic Core Values
Six Components of a Great Corporate Culture
Inspiration for the Week
“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” — Kim Collins
In Closing
Woah, we made it to the double-digits now! Who knew this little experiment would stick?
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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