Tag Archives: Flywheel energy storage

It’s The Little Things

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the little things add up. Like plaque in your arteries.  I’ve seen that commercial with the little globules piling up in that guy’s heart.  Those globules are really tiny (they tell you the head of a pin tiny) but of course they go on to say the tiny gobs become a clog that can kill you, or you end up with a gurney following you around all day or any number of scary advertising metaphors.

Little things of course mean a lot. They say divorces start over small arguments over the toothpaste cap.  So much so that toothpaste manufacturers have been kind enough to attach the cap to the tube, an innovation that has saved millions in legal fees.  The point is that there becomes enough of anything (positive OR negative) and a critical mass will eventually arise. So, lately I’ve become obsessed with this concept.

I’ve also become a bit obsessed with cultivating a positive attitude. Now starting with heart attacks and divorce may not sound like an overtly positive person at the keyboard, but I think I’m becoming a pretty positive person. For instance, if you end up having a heart attack and it doesn’t kill you, you’ll probably begin to appreciate the important things in life with your second chance.  If you get a divorce, maybe there’s someone better out there for you. If you have a heart attack and get a divorce at the same time, maybe it’s time to realize that your attention to everything may need some work.

Our lives are a process and too often we bump along through that process letting the tide take us wherever it chooses to go.  It’s part of the American dream.

If you don’t believe me, just walk into any bar for Thursday night Karaoke and you will hear someone drunkenly singing ‘Rambling Man.’ But the other part of the dream is to have a successful, fulfilling career that showers upon us all the trappings of our achievement.  My assessment: the concept of American Dream lives at cross purposes and drives us crazy.

If you live and work in Hollywood as I do, you find yourself at the epicenter of this contradiction.  The media that we create tells us that life is easy, we’re supposed to be beautiful with not much effort and no matter the problem, it all works out in the end.  Even in Vampire movies for some reason.  Nothing more compelling than violent, brooding vampires finding true love, attacking helpless wildlife and living happily ever after.

So, our eyes and ears tell us yes, yes, yes, anything is possible and our brains assess our reality and tell us, no, no, no, all of this is BS.  The result:  paralysis.

So I want to talk about how to move past paralysis and a way to move forward.  I’ve talked in the past about the 1% solution.  The idea that making 1% progress in your career everyday compounds and reaches the tipping point that little heart globules can.  But how to exact that 1%?. I think I’ve found a way.

I recently read an article by Darren Hardy in Success magazine (yes, I’m one of the dorks that reads that publication) about an equation for building and maintaining your career network through doing little things.  It’s called the 3 – 15 – 5 – 1 equation.  It breaks down like this: each week commit to 3 – in person meetings, 15 written communications, 5 direct phone calls, 1 gift. The idea is to sit down at the beginning of each week and plan it out.  Then work your way through the plan over the next 5 days.

Here’s the paralysis that hit me with this strategy:  Do I know enough people to make this work week to week or will I just be hitting the same people over and over again?  It forced me to sit down and write a list of all my business contacts that I feel close enough to do this with.  I came up with about 120.  But, then I took it further, I wrote out a list of people and companies I’d like to get to know or that I have vague aquaintence with. Then I brought in the people I work closest with and reviewed the list, adding people they know well and want to get to know.  Now between us all the list is rather large and we can all do it.

It occurred to me as I was putting this together that these are all little things.  All doable if I write a weekly plan for it.  I haven’t figured it all out yet, the gift thing in particular because that seems a bit forward to me, but I am committed to trying it all out.

Instead of picturing globules piling up in arteries, I am looking at it as more of a turn of the flywheel with each communication.  If you want, you can go back and read that blog post also (Lord of the Flywheel).  See, I’ve been writing this blog for a year now and the material has compounded to a point where I can refer to previous posts!  This works the same way, only you’re compounding a network of relationships!  Do 1% daily, turn the flywheel and those relationships will begin to intertwine also.  When that happens you reach Hollywoods Holy Grail: BUZZ

Now isn’t this a better use of your time than sitting around waiting for plaque to build up in your heart?  As a matter of fact, I’m thinking the positive direction and actionable steps may prevent a heart attack. Oh, and lay off the nachos.

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Lord of the Flywheel

Spoked flywheel

Like this only made of stone and weighing 2000 pounds

I’m not sure what a flywheel is exactly, but Jim Collins describes it in his book “Good To Great” as a large heavy stone on an axel of some kind. Sounds pretty medieval I realize but OK. My imagination places this contraption off the ground at about eye level.

Like this, only made of stone and weighing 2000 pounds.  Great big stone with a an iron pole running horizontally through a hole in the middle.

OK then, if you were to try and turn the wheel, you obviously could not make it turn 100 MPH instantaneously, right? It would take all your strength to just move it an inch. So you take a try and indeed it just moves an inch or so. When you realize that you’ve only moved it a little bit, then what?

That’s always the question isn’t it? There are only two real answers: move it again or give up and look for a lighter wheel to turn. So, your answer to that question begs another question: how bad do you want it?  Momentum can only be built on a fly wheel by turning it little by little. With each turn a little more momentum is gained and the wheel gets easier and easier to turn.

The problem is in this fast paced, want it now, tweet it now, buy it now and have it all now world, the concept of daily toil to build momentum over time seems out of place. Mostly I blame advertising and the Kardashians for this, but like it or not, achievement demands that you struggle turning the wheel as much as you can each day. Over time all those small turns add up until the wheel can turn freely and quickly.

I read somewhere that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to gain mastery over any endeavor, be it playing a musical instrument or directing traffic. That latter one scares me for obvious reasons, but let’s make that assumption. If you were to work on the fundamentals of building a business, craft, practice, etc… for one hour a day, it would take you 27 years to gain mastery. Work 8 hours a day at it and it only takes 3.42 years to gain mastery.

Here’s the beauty of it all though: hidden within this 10,000 hours resides the effect of momentum in the form of compound knowledge that we gain by so much practice. As you invest more time in any activity the benefits come back to you exponentially. That is the beauty of momentum. That is the beauty of the wheel turning faster and faster the more you make small investments in turning it.  When the flywheel gets to turning very fast, you are really looking at all of the knowledge you’ve gained spinning the wheel on its own.

Even Kim Kardashian can do it.  One day she’s clubbing and dating football players, releasing sex tapes and showing up on every red carpet she can find. Next thing you know, she’s a judge of a talent competition show?  How does that happen? Based on what? Certainly not talent.  It’s based on the flywheel.

You see, it doesn’t matter the reason you decide to turn the wheel, it matters THAT you turn the wheel.  You choose, you can save the world like Mother Teresa, or you can be the Mother of all self promoters.

I would like to think most of us are more like Mother Teresa, but I have a feeling we’re either somewhere in between, or at the very least, just trying to figure out how to move our careers forward in subtle and unassuming ways.  Yes, I think I’ll go with that.
The Flywheel is a very powerful thing.  Daily practice of one sort or another is the message here.  Knowing what your goals are and committing to moving the wheel a little at a time is the exercise. Having faith that all your effort will get you where you want to go is the discipline.
As for me, I’m off to turn the wheel a bit.  I’m taking an African orphan to The Country Music Awards….