Copy success, map out a book

I mentioned this in a previous post. It’s worth repeating. Not only does success leave clues, but successful people write books about how they did it. Sometimes, they write the chapters in sequential order. Why not outline the book and build from there, hence standing on the shoulders of giants? Why reinvent the wheel?

Right now I’m reading Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (2013) by D. Goleman, psychologist and bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence. Really good book so far. I started en media res with the chapter titled, “The Myth of 10,000 Hours.”

A couple years ago, I found myself in a psych ward. I didn’t expect to end up there and especially not for as long as I did, but I’m grateful for the time to reflect. People asked why, and if I had a reason, I feel that having a reason itself would imply a rational decision. I didn’t get myself sent to nuthouse because I was being rational.

I always imagined the psych ward as a place with white padded walls and people wearing straight jackets. No. Not this one, at least. We wore hospital gowns and blue socks with a non-slip coating at the bottom. I still have the socks, which I call my crazy socks.

If I could point to some reason that got me there, I’d say it was my focus. I hated my job. Still do, if by “I hate my job” one means rating job satisfaction as 6 of 10 or lower. Hate might be too strong a word. I’m proud of what I do, it just doesn’t fulfill me anymore and hasn’t for quite some time. I’m not alone.

I see it both inside and outside the military. It’s rare to find anyone who honestly likes his job. A job seems to define having to, as opposed to wanting to.

My focus on everything going wrong with my life (divorce, losing my kids, hating my job, getting yet another undesired duty station, another undesired position…) precipitated into my trip to the psych ward. My focus became a daily, self-destructive habit.

I began reading regularly, out of desperation for something more yet not knowing exactly what more meant. I’ve averaged one book a week since then. I started with a book recommended to me by an occupational therapist, You Are a Badass (2013) by J. Sincero.

The personal development category of books seems to overlap plenty with the small business and entrepreneurship sections. I found my way into learning about e-commerce and Amazon FBA. Earning that first dollar online was just amazing. Although, I wouldn’t call that first year profitable. I’d call it educational.

When we moved from Texas to North Carolina this year, 2018, we placed that on hold. I’ve taken more interest in digital products. Learning about digital products fits our need to remain mobile while serve on active duty in the military.

Digital products also more readily allow for scale, performance measurements, and independence between my time (which the military makes unpredictable) and operations and the performance of the product. And so I read books about the business models that I believed I could implement while working my full-time job.

Anyway, if you want to learn about any business model, someone probably already wrote a book about it. Maybe it’s not a great book, but it’s a start. If you read several books about that same model, you begin to think like someone already using the model.

You prime the RAS (reticular activating system) and begin seeing in the world the thing you’re looking for. And if you outline one of those books, the very act of writing it produces discoveries and a more complete picture – like conducting a map recon.

Like a map, its user’s present location and desired destination remain specific to the user. I believe that there’s really no one or no book to help you get to where you want to go, because that’s very specific to you.

M.J. DeMarco in his book Unscripted (2017), says that there is no fucking list! That is, no list of steps to what you find meaningful in life. Only you know what you find meaningful in life. Having a map helps.