Fire and Motion

Developer Joel Spolsky talks about progress and moving forward:

For me, just getting started is the only hard thing. An object at rest tends to remain at rest. There’s something incredible heavy in my brain that is extremely hard to get up to speed, but once it’s rolling at full speed, it takes no effort to keep it going.


It took me another fifteen years to realize that the principle of Fire and Motion is how you get things done in life. You have to move forward a little bit, every day. It doesn’t matter if your code is lame and buggy and nobody wants it. If you are moving forward, writing code and fixing bugs constantly, time is on your side.

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The Advantage of Commitment

Steve Pavlina:

If you think it’s difficult to commit to something for so many years, you’re right. It is difficult. That’s why average and below average results are more common than exceptional results. Most people aren’t going to commit. But therein lies your greatest advantage. If you simply stick it out longer than most people, your odds of success increase.

Your field may look crowded, but that’s most likely because it’s flooded with dabblers. They’ll be gone within a year or less, replaced by new dabblers. These people don’t represent any serious competition. In fact, they’re most likely helping you. They’ll introduce new people to your field before they give up. Think of these dabblers as your volunteer marketing team. They help to expand the market for the products and services that you’ll eventually deliver.


Commitment doesn’t mean trapping or limiting yourself. It’s not about putting yourself in a box or a cage. It’s about choosing a certain line of development and running with it, which isn’t that difficult to do when you discover something you really love. Then your commitment is a commitment to enjoy your life and to express what feels good to you. It’s still going to involve a lot of work, but that work is mostly a labor of love. The question is whether or not you’re willing to put in the time.

Commitment and action bias are teammates. If you have a strong action bias but your actions are random and haphazard, you’ll pile up a lot of feedback, but it will be tough to make sense of it. On the other hand if you make a commitment to pursue a certain direction, and you cultivate a strong action bias too, then you’re going to acquire feedback that you can use to go further and further down that path. This is a terrific way to experience a fulfilling life that makes you happy and contributes to others.

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Massive Action

Grant Cardone, from The 10X Rule:

The highly successful take unbelievable amounts of action. Regardless of what that action looks like, these people rarely do nothing—even when they are on vacation (just ask their spouses or families!). Whether it is by way of getting others to take action for them, getting attention for their products or ideas, or just grinding it out day and night, the successful have been consistently taking high levels of action—before anyone ever heard their names.

The unsuccessful talk about a plan of action but never quite get around to doing what they claim they’re going to do—at least enough to ever get what they want. Successful people assume that their future achievements rely on investing in actions that may not pay off today but that when taken consistently and persistently over time will sooner or later bear fruit.

Massive action is the one thing I know I can depend on from myself, even when times are tough. Your ability to take action will be a major factor in determining your potential success—and is a discipline that you should spend time on daily. It’s not a gift or trait I was “lucky” enough to receive or inherit; it’s a habit that must be developed. Laziness and lack of action are ethical issues for me. I don’t think it’s right or acceptable for me to be lazy. It is not a “character flaw” that’s caused by some invented disease, any more than a highly active person is somehow “blessed.”

No one is born to sprint or run a marathon any more than some people are born to take more action than others. Action is necessary in order to create success and can be the single defining quality that will enable you to make the list of successful people. No matter who you are or what you’ve done in life so far, you can develop this habit in order to enhance your success.

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Only the hits

Seth Godin:

The economics are compelling. Start a movie studio, a record label or a book publisher that only markets hits. No clunkers. No filler. Simply the hits.

Easier than it sounds.

Why doesn’t a musician go straight to a “greatest hits” record and save everyone a lot of time and hassle? Why doesn’t a salesperson only call on people who are sure to buy?

Because no one knows anything.

You won’t know if it’s a hit until after you bring it to market. Dylan recorded 50 albums. Picasso painted 10,000 paintings. VCs fund hundreds of businesses.

Do your best. Then ship.

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Keep Going

Steve Pavlina:

I’ve been seeing effects like this with a variety of daily conditioning methods, such as listening to positive audio programs every day or reviewing my goals every morning. At first it seems like there’s little or no effect. But with enough persistence over a period of months, it’s quite possible to suddenly tip into a whole new level of experience.


All experience is mental programming. Whatever you experience through your senses is still actively programming your brain. It’s up to you to take control of this programming. If you don’t like it, you can change it.


When you use the priming effect or any other daily reinforcement technique to condition yourself for success, abundance, or other positive changes, patience is key.

During the first week or two, it will usually seem like your efforts are having little or no effect. But if the technique is effective, then usually within several weeks after you begin, you’ll start seeing significant shifts in your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors.

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New City

Steve Pavlina on staying the course while doing vibe-shifting work:

When you begin any sort of vibe shifting work, such as shifting from a scarcity vibe to an abundance vibe, expect to feel out of sync with your current physical reality for a few weeks.


This is also a test of sorts — to see if you’re really committed to holding the new vibe. If you allow the old reality to get the better of you, and you swing back to the old vibe due to feelings of guilt, regret, fear, attachment, and so on, you’ll simply reinforce the old reality and cancel the shift.


It’s extremely tempting to cancel the move along the way, especially during those first two weeks. It takes a big inner commitment to shift your vibe and let your physical reality catch up, just as it takes a big commitment to move to a new city.


If you’re truly committed to the shift, then stay the course. Your outer reality will catch up eventually. Just be prepared for a bit of chaotic restructuring along the way. Do your best to relax and breathe through it. Keep going back to your new vibe and reinforcing it, even when it seems like your outer world is screaming at you.

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No More Zero Days

Great motivational post by a Reddit user:

Rule numero uno – There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros.

I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM?

Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter.

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Tony Robbins:

If you want to be happy, it’s one word: progress.

If you can make progress — and if your progress is not only within yourself, but it’s actually doing something of value for more than yourself — you’re going to be a damn fulfilled person.

Pete Michaud:

The factor that divides the successful from the average is not greatness.

It’s consistency.

No matter how busy or distracted or distraught you are, if you show up every day and do what you do, and you do it and do it and do it and do it, you will win.

Go do it.

Joel Spolsky:

You have to move forward a little bit, every day. It doesn’t matter if your code is lame and buggy and nobody wants it. If you are moving forward, writing code and fixing bugs constantly, time is on your side.

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Success Takes Time

Steve Pavlina on 5-year commitments:

People commonly overestimate how far they can get in a year, but grossly underestimate how far they can get in 5 years.

If you actually want results, make a 5-year commitment to a particular path, like building an online business, developing your social skills, becoming a world traveler, etc. A lesser commitment is largely pointless.

And on time horizons:

Think about what you can achieve between now and 2025 if you commit to it. You can lose any amount of weight and develop any kind of physique you want. You can start your own business and make it profitable. You can meet the mate of your dreams and start a family. You can relocate to anywhere in the world.


You have an enormous degree of control and power when you think with a time horizon of 5 years. Don’t let that potential go to waste. Set a course now and get moving.

Jeff Atwood has similar thoughts on success and time:

…success takes years. And when I say years, I really mean it! Not as some cliched regurgitation of “work smarter, not harder.” I’m talking actual calendar years. You know, of the 12 months, 365 days variety. You will literally have to spend multiple years of your life grinding away at this stuff, waking up every day and doing it over and over, practicing and gathering feedback each day to continually get better. It might be unpleasant at times and even downright un-fun occasionally, but it’s necessary.


Obviously we want to succeed. But on some level, success is irrelevant, because the process is inherently satisfying. Waking up every day and doing something you love — even better, surrounded by a community who loves it too — is its own reward. Despite being a metric ton of work.

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