david pierce is a freelance blogger and lover of all things web-based. his blog is "the 2.0 life", and he can frequently be found on twitter.
Here are David's "Five Rules For Life":
1.) Just ask.
You know the phrase "good things come to those who wait"? It’s completely untrue. Good things come to those who ask for them. Every great opportunity that has come my way has been because I asked for it. Sure, there are people who are better, smarter, and more qualified for just about everything I’m currently doing. But they’re all sitting around waiting for people to come after their spectacular talent.
If you want something, ask for it. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no, and you’re right back where you started - down only the few minutes it took to ask. Particularly in the world of Twitter and email, asking is so simple and quick that there’s no reason not to just go for it. Ask, and you shall receive.
2.) Whenever possible, quit.
I take on too many responsibilities. I’m bad at saying no, and good at overwhelming myself and then not getting anything done. It’s something I think a lot of people are guilty of, and it’s not actually beneficial to anyone. I get overwhelmed, the people I’m doing things for get at best shoddy work, and everybody’s worse off.
So here’s what I’ve learned: quit. Anything you possibly can, quit. We do so many things that don’t add any value to our lives or anyone else’s, and those things get in the way of that which is actually worthwhile. My favorite example is reading a book – if it’s bad, we still tend to finish it just because we’ve already invested time in it. Why not cut our losses, stop reading, and spend that time reading a better book? Being a quitter is not a bad thing - it’s a smart thing. Remove the things from your life that have no value, regardless of how much time you’ve invested, and put your time and energy into things that actually matter.
3.) Ready, Fire, Aim.
I didn’t invent the phrase "Ready, Fire, Aim," but I wish I did. It speaks to a different way of doing things that leads to infinitely better results. Our tendency is to wait for the perfect moment, wait for the stars to align, and for everything to be perfect before we start doing whatever it is we want to do.
Don’t do that, just start! Do it - do it terribly and then step back, take a look, and re-focus to do it better the next time. Google’s done it with a ton of products and it works; they get a decent, but imperfect, product out there and let the trial by fire help them improve it.
If you want to do something, do it. Do it now. Do it wrong. Then figure out what was wrong, and do it better the next time. Ready. Fire. Aim.
4.) Think huge.
One piece of advice everyone gives is "shoot for the moon...even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars." First of all, that is just false. The stars are SO much further away than the moon. But, despite vast astronomical inaccuracies, the point of the saying is dead on.
Dreaming big has two great advantages. First, it ensures that you don’t get bogged down in the small stuff, and that you’re always shooting for something bigger. We’ve all got the capability for huge things in us, and if you want something that’s way beyond you it will keep you running forward rather than standing still.
But the best thing about goal-setting is that it helps you figure out what to do and who to be. When you’re making important decisions, knowing what you ultimately want is critical. If, say, you want to be a fashion designer, many decisions in your life will be made easier by knowing what you want the end result to be. You’ll take certain jobs, live in certain places, meet certain people, and so on. Dream big and know what you want, and the steps to get there usually make themselves clear.
5.) Live in the details.
This sounds totally counterintuitive to the last point, but it really isn’t. Whether as a friend, family member, co-worker, or whatever, being detail-oriented is a huge skill. You’ll remember things better, know people better, and be more equipped to know what’s going on. Knowing the small steps - the "nitty-gritty" - makes you indispensable in all that you do.
To be honest, it’s a rare breed that can both dream and be in the details, but both can be worked on. Being detail-oriented comes from paying close attention, being careful to observe everything, and being present (don’t get lost in your own head). Details can be anything from knowing when your best friend is lying, to understanding a complex process at work. Be observant, be careful, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded and highly sought after.
These all boil down, at their most basic, to one thing: seek value. Get rid of things that don’t add value, find things that do, and keep evaluating everything.
David currently resides in Virginia.