Sharp.

Lincoln gave us some invaluable advice, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

It’s revolutionary when it comes to work and getting better results from your work, yet few choose to follow it because it seems that many are vastly impatient. 

I see this often among young writers. They approach the page swinging, with the let’s throw shit at the wall and see what sticks mentality. And, as a result, they don’t see results. 

Writing and other professions must be taken with a level of seriousness and thoughtfulness. You approach the page or any day’s work with a focused respect or you should not approach it all. 

You must be sharp. 

You must be sharp first. 

Then, you can chop. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Compounding.

I don’t write often on investing because I first and foremost view myself as a writer and marketer. But, I stay very active in both the stock market and other forms of investments. 

One important lesson that investing has taught me is how to gage cost. 

Prior to watching my money grow through investments, I viewed money and cost in the present tense –– $100 was $100. 

But, since finding modest success in the stock market, I now see $100 for what it truly is –– $1,083.47 when compounded annually at 10% over the course of 25 years. 

When you begin to gage cost not just in present tense but in future tense, your decisions when it comes to money changes drastically. 

For example, spending $4,000 a month on rent living in San Francisco becomes completely absurd when you realize if you were to invest the $48,000 you were spending each year on your rent for 25 years at a 10% return, it would eventually be worth $5,236,063.56. 

Now, I know these are extreme examples, but they are examples none the less. The $1,000 couch today ends up costing you much more than $1,000 tomorrow. 

Don’t be overly frugal, just be intelligent. Think like an investor and you will find you spend money on less ridiculous things –– or at least that has been my experience. 

Finally, if you are interested in getting started in the stock market, I use a service called Robinhood. On the other end of this link there is a free stock waiting for you. Yes, you read that right, free money. To be transparent, this is an affiliate link so I will also receive a free stock too.

As always, thanks for reading. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Drawing a line in the sand.

When it comes to work, you need to draw a line in the sand.

You need to have the courage to say, you can have this, this and this but you can’t under any circumstances have anything behind this line. 

The individual that doesn’t know when enough is enough is the individual that ends up losing everything. And, many times, the individual that ends up losing everything is the individual that never took the time to draw a line in the sand. 

I’m willing to build this million dollar business, but I’m not willing to live everyday on just four hours of sleep. 

I’m willing to hunt down this promotion, but I’m not willing to sacrifice being a good husband and a good father. 

I’m willing to give everything to this company, but I’m not willing to be taken advantage of. 

Startup and business culture has us believe that in order to get what we want we have to be willing to risk it all –– health, money, family, happiness, ethics, etc. 

That’s bullshit. There are multiple paths to whatever it is you want. You’re just not seeing them right now. Drawing a line in the sand has a way of opening your eyes up to other avenues. 

Grab a stick and mark off where your work cannot go –– draw a line in the sand. 

By Cole Schafer.


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On flossing.

People who floss everyday are less likely to develop Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and tooth decay.

In other words, if you agree to run a tiny piece of string through your gums for thirty seconds seven times a week, you are more likely to keep all your teeth and live a longer healthier life. 

Yet, almost 19% of Americans don’t floss. 

There is a metaphor in there somewhere... 

Like flossing, our lives consists of numerous tiny actions, that when compounded daily, offer huge benefits down the road. Saving, investing, dieting and exercising are a few that might come to mind. 

If you’re interested in changing your life, stop looking for the big break. There is no big break. 

Instead, find small actions you can do daily that can compound into massive change. 

And, also, floss your damn teeth. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Money.

I’ll give you one piece of advice when it comes to “money”. 

When you hear the word “money” take notice of how you feel. 

Do you feel excited?

Do you feel indifferent? 

Do you feel scared? 

Do you feel hatred? 

Do you feel inspiration? 

There are a lot of people in this world who hate money. 

They talk bad about money. 

They think money is the root of all evil. 

And, it just so happens that none of them have much of it

When you hate something, the universe has a way of keeping it as far away from you as possible. 

So, I would be careful about the things you choose to hate and the things you don’t. 

I would be careful in regards to your feelings on important matters –– be it money, love, food, sex, religion, drugs and politics. 

On matters of importance I would be well aware of how you feel and where you stand  because ultimately it will determine how much or how little of it you receive. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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On dying & On living.

I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with death. I would say I’m obsessed with living. 

But, I think to get the most out of life we must think about our own mortality, uncomfortably often. 

At 24-years-old, I think about my own mortality more than I would care to admit. I remind myself that it could be either close or far away on the horizon –– or perhaps somewhere in between. 

I also try to remind myself that the people I love aren’t going to be here forever either –– that like everyone who has ever come into this world screaming, eventually, they too will breathe their last breath. 

When I feel myself playing it safe… when I feel myself not giving this world everything I got… when I feel myself not being fully present around those I love… I remind myself. 

 

I remind myself that all of us start dying the day we are born. And, that for some of us, it comes quickly. It steals life from us in an instance. And, for others, we grow old and hairless and hopefully not mind-less. 

When you regularly remind yourself that you are one car accident, one doctor's call, one misstep away from everything going dark… you give yourself permission to live. 

I suppose I’m trying to give myself permission to live. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Resistance.

I feel It every time I sit down to do the good work. 

I start writing and when the words stop flowing It shows up with it’s charismatic grin and tells me to call it quits for the day. 

It, is a sharp-toothed burly beast called Resistance. 

It will bite at my heels and howl in my ear. It will chomp at my focus and intimidate me into walking the other way. 

It stands between me and the good work that needs to be done.

It stands between you and the good work that needs to be done. 

It is boredom. It is scrolling. It is not being present. 

It is Googling. It is Tweeting. It is refreshing email for the 17th time. 

It never goes away. It is always there. It is always staring at us. It is always fighting us tooth and nail –– doing its damndest to keep us from doing the good work. 

And, when It wins, we must face the fact that we lost a day. We must face the fact that we lost a step to the beast called Resistance

Nobody will win the battle against Resistance. Not every day, that is. 

But, those who are great will win against It more times than not. 

The ones who are great wake up daily ready to fight the beast that is Resistance. The un-great do not –– they give in. 

Don’t give in. Do the good work. Fight the beast. Kill the Resistance

And know the son of a bitch will show up again tomorrow. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Heard-ing demons.

We hurt a lot of people because hurting people is human. 

But, we forget that loving them is human too. 

The screens have made things worse because we can’t see their eyes go glassy or their minds go dark as the things we say take hold and blossom into new thorny insecurities. 

There’s bad people and there’s good people, who at the end of the day are just people. So, when we say things aimed to hurt, we should ask ourselves if we would say them face-to-face in a coffee shop over something iced .

If not, those things can go unsaid. 

If not, those things can go unsaid. 

If not, those things can go instead. 

We’re all just people with loose tongues and demons screaming in our ears –– don’t be another demon screaming in someone’s ear. 

By Cole Schafer.


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Ready Player One?

For a long time, we only had two world's we could live in. 

We had our dreams when we closed our eyes at night. And then, of course, we had reality. 

Today, we have a third world, it's a pretty illuminating screen nestled in our pockets. 

When we feel anxious, we grab for it. 

When we feel lost, we grab for it. 

When we feel sad, we grab for it. 

When we feel aroused, we grab for it. 

When we feel happy, we grab for it. 

When we don't want to face reality, we grab for it. 

I'm not an expert on anything but I think we should try hard to grab for the pretty illuminating screen less. We need to ask ourselves the question –– when we grab for it what are we losing? 

I would argue two worlds. The one we are living in right now. And, our dreams and ambitions.

Are you ready... player one?

By Cole Schafer.


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Piñata.

You’re the Piñata hanging from the tree outback. The world is the little league baseball bat. 

It pummels the hell out of you and before you know it, you’re spinning around like a jackass in an obnoxious vibrantly colored clown costume. 

Everyone is laughing. Your ribs are hurting. And, as you spin faster and faster the world begins to look like the globe in your 7th grade science class. 

As soon as you’re certain your ribs can take no more, you hear a crack and the candy falls out. Except, there’s no screaming kids and the jolly ranchers are all for you. 

The world breaks all of us and it should, because what’s inside of us is much sweeter than we realize. 

But, to taste it, we’ve got to be okay with looking like a jackass in a tree. 

We’ve got to be okay with getting pummeled. 

I’m still getting pummeled. 

And, from time to time, if I’m lucky, the taste of something sweet will tickle my tongue. 

It’s jolly rancher –– blue or green

I’m not sure, yet. 

Actually, it might be blood. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Scarlett Letter.

I found out today that an old friend of mine put a shotgun to his head. While the blast scattered the demons howling in his skull, I imagine they found new homes in the hearts of the loved ones he left behind. 

When I heard the news, all I could think about was kick-ball, four square and tetherball –– the games we used to play together during recess growing up. 

As the years passed we’d chat from time to time, but not nearly enough. And, eventually, things ended as most childhood friendships do –– we lost touch with one another. 

As kids, I remember him smiling a lot. 

Shame on me for assuming he would grow up to be a smiling adult too. After all, you know what they say about assuming. 

If I could, I would go back in time before he pulled the trigger and ask him out to lunch. I would tell him when the demons cry he could come talk to me. 

I would tell him that he meant something to me and the rest of the world and that I think he should stick around a little while longer. 

But, most of all, I would tell him that I’m sorry and that if I had it to do all over again, I would work harder to mend the deep cracks his smile was covering up. 

I’m sorry, T.S. 

By Cole Schafer. 

P.S. Keep the kick-ball warm while you're away. 

Snooze.

The snooze button is a good indicator that something is off

When you find yourself hitting snooze over and over again, multiple mornings in a row, you can quickly determine something isn’t right. 

Instead of hitting snooze on repeat like a broken record, sit up and ask yourself –– what’s really going on here? 

The answer might be as simple as you having one too many glasses of red wine before your head hits the pillow. Or, it could be as significant as you being dispassionate and unfulfilled with work. 

Life is made up of a handful of little snooze buttons –– fried foods, drugs, alcohol, masturbation, mindless scrolling, etc. 

They’re okay in moderation, but when hit excessively, they could be an indicator of something much bigger. 

Monitor them. Watch how many times you hit them. While it’s not the act of hitting them that’s the issue, it’s the meaning behind it that you should be concerned about. 

The snooze button is just an indicator of a storm brewing you haven’t yet noticed. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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The 40% Rule.

Jets burn 40% of their fuel during take-off. 

There is a metaphor in there, hiding somewhere. 

When we start things –– businesses, books, projects, blogs, etc –– we need to get them up in the air before we move on to start the next thing. 

Something creatives everywhere struggle with is trying to get multiple planes up in the air at the same time. 

They get a few hundred feet off the ground, they putter and then they crash and burn.

The next plane you choose to fly, make it the only one. Get it up in the air and let the wind take it from there. 

Then and only then, move on to the next one. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Fried Rice.

My grandmother was full-blooded Japanese and she was my best friend. 

She lived right down the street from my parent's house. 

After school when I got off the bus I would run in her front door. 

She would sit me down at the kitchen table and make me a snack. 

She would ask me about my day. 

She would ask me what I learned. 

She would tell me how much she loved me. 

All while making me my favorite snack.

Fried rice. 

Five years back, she dropped dead from a massive aneurysm. 

She was standing in her kitchen when it happened. 

Right by the kitchen table.

Right where she used to cook for me and ask me about my day.

And, tell me how much she loved me.

God took her there of all places. 

I still miss her. 

Some days more than others. 

And, no matter how hard I try.

The fried rice never quite tastes the same. 

I don’t think it ever well. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Mark | Twain

Don’t be so quick, especially when it comes to trends, movements and widely accepted norms. 

Cigarettes –– for a very long time –– were the coolest thing since sliced bread. 

And sliced bread –– for a very long time –– was recommended to make up nearly 50% of our daily intake. 

People died or got fat or both and as a result cigarettes and sliced bread became less cool. 

In the words of Mark Twain –– “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

But, then again, on Twain’s 70th birthday he also said –– “It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep and never to refrain when awake.”

I’m pretty sure Mark Twain ate sliced bread too. 

But, I digress. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Sitting silent in a room.

I can tell you the difference between a happy man and a sad man. One can sit silent in a room. One can not. 

These dings and buzzes and flurries of notifications weren’t created to make us productive. They were created to distract us from silence. They were created to be louder than the noise in our heads.

In a world that is filled with unhappy people whom are constantly connected –– it might be worth while to disconnect from time to time. 

Let the thoughts and the demons and the fears and the anxieties creep out from the darkest corners of your skull and surround you as you sit silent in a room. 

The first time you see them they will hurt you. But, if you show up everyday and commit to sit silent in a room away from the world’s distractions, eventually they’ll sit with you. 

And then, you will find peace. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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0 to 1.

The difference between 0 and 1 is the greatest difference in the world. 

It’s the difference between nothing and something

It's the difference between never doing something and proving to yourself that you can do that something over and over and over again. 

I believe all of our life’s successes and failures are dictated by the numbers 0 and 1, because when we prove to ourselves that we can do something just once everything changes. 

You will never remember your 100th sale, your 16th single, your 27th home run, your 1,000th cold call... 

But, you will always remember your 1st.  

Why? 

Because going from 0 to 1 shows you that you can –– and knowing that you can is the only battle we are up against –– it's the battle between nothing and something. 

And something is everything. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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the axe & nail scenario.

You would never take a sledgehammer to a tree, just like you would never take an ax to a nail. 

These tools are exceptional when they’re used for their intended purposes –– but little to no use when they’re not. 

People are the same way. 

Generally speaking, people are not unsuccessful because they aren’t capable. But rather, they’re unsuccessful because they’re being utilized in the wrong ways. 

If someone on your team is performing poorly, don’t be so quick to chalk her up as a loss. First, decide if she’s an ax you’ve been forcing to do a hammer’s job. 

Give her a tree and watch what she can do. 

By Cole Schafer. 


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Duck. Duck. Goose.

We used to sit around in circles and wait all recess long for someone to tap us on the head and say “goose”. It was a fun game when you got picked. Not so fun when you didn’t. 

In many ways, it wasn’t any different from the political fight club that is Corporate America or the golden ticket that is social media fame–– you wait around long enough and hope that fate will eventually show up, tap you on the head and say… 

“goose”

“your turn”

“you’re promoted”

“you’ve finally won”

It’s the same game that’s a whole lot of fun when you get picked –– but not so fun when you don’t. 

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m going to play another game. 

By Cole Schafer.


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