The 8 words every kid who stares at a plate of broccoli dreads:
“Finish your dinner or not dessert for you.”
It’s a solid lesson.
Sometimes you have your knuckles down and you just eat the green stuff, and even the mushrooms, if you want to get to the ice cream.
But despite what people say, I don’t think ice cream tastes better from effort.
I don’t think I ever appreciated ice cream more for having to devour my mother’s attempt at a full meal.
I certainly disagree with people who say that nothing in life worthwhile is easy:
A friend of mine was given a house once, I’m pretty sure it was worth owning.
Also, a good beer business is easy to come by.
What about travel insurance? That was easy, I just filled out a form and paid, and it literally saved my life the last time I was in Thailand …
So no, sorry, not all amazing things are hard to come by.
But I agree to eat your veggies to get the nutrients, or else you’ll end up malnourished, plagued with preventable diseases, and most likely unhappy or unstable if recent gut biome research is anything to go by.
There’s a reason it’s called instinct, right?
Anyway, all this eating your vegetables before eating your pudding is why I made a pact with myself that next year I will buy zero more books … until I finish the ones I have pending.
This is what is currently unfinished on my desktop:
This is Seth Godin marketing
Carol Dweck’s mindset
America’s Most Dangerous Man (spoiler alert: it was Timothy Leary)
The courage to be unpleasant
Stories from the customer service crypt
Chomsky’s – What kind of creatures are we?
And the third volume of Sandman – Dream Country by Neil Gaiman.
Then there’s the Kindle …
But like most human animals, I take great pleasure in buying books, especially books with a lot of information that promise a desired outcome.
I make the emotional decision to buy a book based on a dream of what the book will give me, regardless of the time and energy it takes to extract the good things from the books …
So they sit on my shelf (or desk if they’re lucky), gathering dust.
While the next day there I am buying another book … and so it goes … and so it goes …
I’m trying to go straight to the ice cream, without eating the broccoli.
With the exception of the Steam sale if you are a PC gamer, there is no worse niche for this behavior than the internet marketing niche.
The shiny object syndrome is not limited to books, but to e-books, reports, courses, training, forums, widgets, plugins, applications, software, all these things that sound great until that you have to get down to work and read, learn, or use them.
Look at your hard drive.
Look what you bought last year.
How much of that is giving you value today?
How much is left unused, unread, unopened?
What were your goals for a certain course? Why specifically did you buy those books? Are they still relevant? Can you still extract the value from them today so you can eat your ice cream tomorrow?
If so, congrats, you’ve just saved a ton of future cashola!
There is a caveat to all of this for anyone who writes a copy, or who wants to …
Buy and read fiction recklessly. If it sucks, buy more, keep switching books until a book appeals to you, then devour it.
Because fiction is 100% ice cream that nourishes you like broccoli, and it will directly influence your writing and your ability to communicate and even conjure ideas out of nowhere.