On showing up.

They say half the battle is showing up. I would say 90% of the battle is showing up. Today, everyone wants to be successful, but they don’t want to put in the work to be successful.

Everyone wants to be a photographer. They will go out and buy a camera and take a few pictures. But, when they find out photography is more than just taking pictures and that it requires deliberate practice to develop an eye for the art of picture taking… well, you don’t see them carrying the camera around anymore.

Everyone wants to be a writer. They will go out and buy a domain, build a website and rattle off a few blogs. But when they find out writing is more than just throwing words on paper and that it requires the discipline to pick up the pen every day to become decent… well, you don’t see any more blog posts out of them.

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. They will boast to the world about how grand their business idea is and dream about how much money they are going to make. But when they find out building a business is more than just talk and that it requires an extraordinary amount of discomfort, rejection and loneliness… well, you don’t see them talking much about entrepreneurship anymore.

The vast majority of people are quitters. This is unfortunate for them, but an opportunity to anyone willing to show up every day and put in the work.

Let’s say your dream is to become a professional photographer, but you never give it a shot (pun intended) because you are intimidated by the competition…

If 100,000 people want to become a professional photographer tomorrow, 25,000 of them will drop out after seeing how expensive a camera is.

Out of the 75,000 people who buy a camera, another 25,000 people will call it quits after discovering how difficult it is to operate a camera.

Out of the 50,000 people who stuck around and took the time to learn the camera and put in the practice, another 25,000 of them will leave the race after receiving their first bit of criticism.

This means after the first year, if you showed up every day to become a better photographer, you have already beat out 75% of the competition.

And by year three, there will only be 1,000 of the original 100,000 wannabe photographers left that can actually call themselves professional photographers.

In other words, if you want to become a professional photographer, show up every day for three years –– if you do this there is a good chance you will find some level of success.

But here is the problem, people don’t want to show up.

They want the applause. They want the Instagram likes. They want the notoriety. But, the last thing they want to do is show up…. the last thing in the world they want to do is show up and put in the work.

I am not writing this post to put anyone down, I am just addressing the reality of the world we live in today.

We have access to thousands of opportunities at our fingertips, and because of this, "stickability" is non-existent… as soon as people begin to feel the smallest amount of pushback in a particular direction, they pull out their phones and look for an easier route.

Relationship not going well? Hop on Tinder.

Taxi taking a little too long? Call an Uber.

Don’t want to wait in line at Starbucks? Order from the app.

Today, we live in a world where innovation and the progression of technology are removing something fundamental to personal growth and development — adversity.

We have grown so accustomed to living lives free of adversity, that when we inevitably experience it in our journey towards success, we quit.

Here's the deal folks, they don’t make an app for success, there is no easy route.

You have to show up every single day and give it all you got, and if you do, you will be 90% of the way there. 

By Cole Schafer

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How to manage feelings in life and business.

Feelings are difficult. They come and go… and they almost always leave us regretting what we did or said in their wake. 

In this article, I am not going to discuss not having feelings… because in many ways that’s impossible if you are alive and have a heartbeat and aren’t a sociopath. 

However, what I am going to discuss is how to better manage them in life and in business. 

First and foremost, I think you need to realize that it is completely natural to feel. It is natural to feel angry when someone wrongs you. It is natural to feel “curious” or “enticed” by the attractive individual that walks in the room (that may or may not be your spouse). It’s natural to feel hurt when your client decides to go a different direction after working together for a number of years. 

Regardless of what anyone says, these feelings are natural and I don’t think we should ever feel the need to apologize for feeling a certain way about a certain situation. That’s ridiculous. 

But, where I think feelings get tricky is when they lead to harming others or ourselves. 

Feeling angry when someone wrongs you is one thing… punching him or her square in the face is another. Feeling attracted to the man or woman that’s not your spouse is one thing… having sex with them is another. Feeling hurt when your client decides to move in a different direction is one thing… sending him a nasty email is something entirely different. 

The bottom line is that we can’t always control our feelings towards someone or something, but we can control how we react to those feelings. 

So, here are my thoughts on managing feelings in life and business ––

  1. When you feel something well up inside of you and you’re on the brink of exploding, step outside of the office or the house or whatever situation you are in and get some air and go for a walk. I don’t care if it is the dead of winter in the middle of July… walking has a way of placing things in perspective. 
  2. Call-up an individual you trust that isn’t scared to shoot you straight. No… not someone that has taken your side your entire life… someone that is brave enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear. Tell that person the situation. Tell them to be honest with you. Ask them if you are being an asshole. 

3. Talk about your feelings –– voice them. 

You will notice I made #3 its own section. This is because I think it is by far the most important. One thing I have noticed about Americans is that we don’t like talking about our feelings. 

I am not a psychologist so I couldn’t tell you exactly why this is. But, if I were to guess, I would say it is because it makes us feel vulnerable. 

But, what would happen if instead of lashing out at the person who wronged us, we talked to them ––

“Tom, I am not sure if you realize this… but the joke you made the other day hurt my feelings. Do you care if we talk about it?”

By simply having the courage and willingness to have this conversation… we reap the rewards. For one, we get the opportunity to hear Tom’s side and ultimately come to a resolution. And two, by talking about these feelings, many times it results in a better relationship being built as a result. 

When you get deep with someone many times they are willing to get deep in return and as a result, the two of you can build a deeper relationship because of it. 

I would go as far as saying that the majority of the world’s problems could be solved if more people were willing to sit down in the same room, leave their egos at the door and just hash it out. 

But instead, we either choose to make up a fabricated story in our own heads that makes us the hero of the situation or we act like we don't have any feelings at all. And, as a result, we hold onto our pride in exchange for a couple dozen burned relationships. 

But, who cares... what's a friend worth anyways. 

I digress.

By Cole Schafer. 

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David vs. Goliath -- how small brands out-maneuver industry giants.

Since Ivy League dropouts turned billionaire entrepreneurs have taken the place of society’s electric guitar shredding rockstars, businesses across the country now believe the only business worth having is the business that is growing at a lightning pace. 

Scale. Scale. Scale. It’s all we hear nowadays. It’s a mindset that has been fueled by the “Gods” of Silicon Valley. And, as American small business owners are drinking the Kool-Aid by the gallons, their businesses are suffering as a result. 

Good business practice is no longer about offering a handful of loyal customers a world-class product, but instead bringing a good (sometimes mediocre) product to as many people as possible.

In other words, the question businesses are asking has gone from ––

How can I make Janet’s dining experience here the best she has ever had?

–– to ––

How can I get Janet in and out of this restaurant as quickly as possible so I can serve the next person in line? 

At first, businesses see a bump in revenue as they are feeding more customers. But, eventually, they’ll see the side-effects of cutting corners to save time. 

Customers are smart –– they know when their favorite businesses start choosing the bottom line over the quality of their products and services

Make no qualms about it, while this growth mindset might work for McDonald’s it will never work for small businesses. In fact, it will eventually kill them. 

I believe that in the next decade or so, the way businesses will survive the Amazon’s and Walmart’s and McDonald’s won’t be by trying to out grow them… it will be by outdoing them when it comes to the little things

Since Amazon, Walmart and McDonalds have grown too big to effectively do these little things, it gives small to medium-sized businesses a huge advantage — they are still nimble enough to easily go the extra mile for their customers and that’s going to make a world of difference as competition becomes increasingly stiff.

Here are a handful of little things that small brands can do that industry giants can’t. In other words, here is how you outmaneuver Amazon ––

  1. You build one on one relationships with your customers. As much as we love Starbucks, there is nothing like walking into your favorite local coffee shop and saying to the barista, “I’ll take my usual.” They know you. They know what you like. They’ve built a one on one relationship with you. 
  2. Value quality over time. I touched on this a bit earlier. McDonald’s is about moving people through the line as quickly as possible. Sam’s Burger Stop can be an obvious choice over McDonald’s because they choose to value the quality of their product over the time it takes to make it. You have a choice. You can choose time. You can choose quality. You can rarely choose both. You will never beat McDonald’s in a foot race. You can, however, beat them when it comes to quality. 
  3. Experience. Experience. Experience. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to Walmart –– cheap prices and hell. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to Amazon –– cheap prices and 2-day shipping. Customer’s know what they are going to get when they go to McDonald’s –– cheap prices and subpar food. You need to decide what the experience is going to be when your customers come to your store or use your service. While you can’t be cheaper than any of the big brands I named previously, you can offer a better experience. 

By Cole Schafer. 

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How to run the best dentist office in the world.

I am not a dentist. I am just a marketer that doesn’t enjoy going to the dentist. 

Sometimes, when I don’t enjoy doing something or think something could be done better, I write posts about how I would improve the experience –– previously I have done this with gas stations and coffee shops

Today, I will be doing this with dentist office(s). And, if you don’t happen to be in the teeth cleaning business, I think you still might find some helpful tidbits. In many ways, good business is good business. Let’s begin ––

  1. Know everybody that walks into your office by name. If you don’t know their name, ask them. Write it down. 
  2. Don’t expect your patients to remember their appointment times/dates (insurance requires six months between teeth cleanings). Get their phone number in your system. Send them reminders two weeks, one week, three days and one day before the appointment. This will cut back on no-shows and will result in both more money for your dentistry, along with healthier patients. 
  3. Install a quality Bose speaker system and create a customized Spotify playlist for your office. If I were a dentist, I would choose Frank Sinatra. 
  4. Modernize the interior design. Your dentist office shouldn’t look like it is stuck in the 80’s nor should it smell like mothballs. Install hardwood floors, tear down the nasty wallpaper, paint everything white. 
  5. Offer your patients a cup of freshly brewed coffee after their appointments. This will make the office smell better. Plus, everybody loves coffee. 
  6. Hire a full-time masseuse to come in five days a week to give out complimentary foot and leg massages to patients. 
  7. Partner up with an Orthodontist(s). You have very similar practices and require very similar teams, there is no reason why you shouldn’t split the rent. Together, you can create a dental powerhouse in your city. 
  8. Upon finishing your patient's teeth cleaning, spritz a tingly finish (like fresh peppermint) in their mouths. Perhaps they will begin associating a feeling of freshness with their dentist appointment. 
  9. Reward patients to refer friends and family members to you. Maybe you give them a free teeth cleaning. But, I would consider something more exciting, like a gift card of sorts. 

All of this can be summed up as follows –– create more value for your customer(s). Many times, when we run businesses, we forget about what it feels like to be a customer… and this keeps us from offering world class customer experiences. Great business owners are customers first, business owners second. The same could be said for dentists. 

Ask yourself, if I were a customer of my business, what would an A+ experience look like for me? 

By Cole Schafer. 

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17 words I fell in love with this week.

If this is your first time reading the words I fell in love with this week series, welcome. The title is pretty self-explanatory, but just so we are all clear… it’s a weekly practice where I curate a bunch of lovely words and tell lovely people like you what they mean. 

If any of these words make you purr like a walrus, you might consider reading episodes sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve and eleven.

Before I begin, I want to announce a brand I will be promoting/featuring in these post moving forward –– Grammarly. As a writer, copywriter and professional that doesn’t want to sound like an idiot in his emails, I use Grammarly to help catch my spelling errors and typos. 

I highly recommend you check it out –– but after reading the 17 words I fell in love with this week obviously


Dreadnought — this word might be the reigning king or queen of badass words. While it has multiple meanings, here are my two personal favorites. One, a heavily armed battleship equipped with guns and cannons. Two, a fearless person. 


Dekko — a look or a glance. This word actually relates to the word dragon or drakon… which brings us to our next word. 


Drakon— Greek word meaning giant serpent. 


Spoilsport — an individual who ruins other people’s enjoyment. Everyone was having a blast and a half at the company Christmas party, but then John the spoilsport decided to get bastardly drunk and take shit in the fruit punch.


Circumferential — surrounding or lying around the outskirts of something. 


Sawbones— this is a horrifying word for a doctor or more specifically a surgeon. 


Killjoy— this word is nearly identical to spoilsport, but in my opinion more aesthetically pleasing. It is a word to describe someone that kills the joy of others. Or, the act of cutting an Almond Joy in half with a machete. 


Paseo — a slow leisurely walk or stroll. 


Stroll — after typing out the word “stroll” I thought to myself, mmm that’s pretty. I looked up and found it had an alternative meaning to just walking. It also is used to define an easily won victory. 


Saffron — an orange-yellow flavoring.


Behindhand — late or tardy. 


Krummholz — a forest of stunted windblown trees near the timberline on a mountain. That’s a damn lovely word, isn’t it? 


Busticate — to break into pieces. Crunch bar, back pocket, busticated. 


Denigrate — to criticize unfairly or say mean hateful things about another individual. I think as a whole, we should all work to do less denigrating. 


Gehenna — a much prettier word for hell. 


Haberdasher — a dealer in men’s clothing. 


Seventeen — three more than fourteen, three less than twenty; 17.

By Cole Schafer.

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Who gave us permission?

Most of us are waiting for permission. 

We are waiting for the $40,000 piece of paper from the prestigious university to say that we now understand business well enough to start a career in it. 

We are waiting for an ‘important’ person with a name tag to shake our hand and say we are allowed to do what we want to do. 

We are waiting for our boss to walk into our office and say that we have worked long enough and hard enough to make more money than we were making before he stepped foot through the door. 

This is why entrepreneurship, freelancing or doing anything on our own is scary –– because once we quit our job and our salary and our safety net we are forced to sit and face the scariest question in the world… who gave us permission?

If I can give everyone reading this one piece of advice, it’s to live your life as much as possible without other people’s permission. 

Give yourself permission. 

By Cole Schafer. 

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Misplaced Energy.

Cutting down one mighty Oak tree requires the same amount of energy as planting ten saplings. 

Holding a grudge against a person that wrongs you requires the same amount of energy as buying a stranger lunch. 

Counting every dollar you spend requires the same amount of energy as starting a small side-hustle –– which will bring greater happiness and financial gain. 

Flicking someone the bird after they cut you off requires the same amount of energy as smiling and waving at the individual stopped next to you at the red light. 

Scrolling through Twitter and keeping up with Kanye and the Kardashians requires the same amount of energy as reading a good book. 

We have the choice to decide where we want to place our energy. We can choose to place our energy in things that will make the world a better place (and ultimately make us much happier) or we can choose to place them in the same things we’ve been placing them in. 

When people start spending their energy planting trees versus tearing them down, all of us tend to breathe a little better… and that to me is well-placed energy. 

By Cole Schafer.  

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Choose your hard.

Being fifty pounds overweight is hard. Running 10 miles a week and giving up pizza and ice cream is hard. 

Living paycheck to paycheck is hard. Budgeting and keeping an eye on what you spend is hard. 

Feeling distracted because you’re always on social media is hard. Overcoming the feeling of FOMO and deleting Twitter and Snapchat is hard. 

Working a job that you despise is hard. Quitting that job and starting a business is hard. 

Contrary to common belief, life isn’t a series of easy versus hard decisions. Every decision that we make is hard to a certain degree. Fortunately, some hards are better than others in terms of value, purpose and fulfillment. 

And, while everything is hard, you have the choice to choose your hard. 

We just need to decide what that hard is going to be. 

By Cole Schafer. 

P.S. If you liked this post, you can get more like it straight to your inbox by subscribing for free on the other side of this pretty red link.

16 words I fell in love with this week.


Vendible — something that can be sold.


Whipjack — a beggar that pretends to be an out-of-luck sailor. While I think this is a neat word, we don’t run into too many beggars impersonating sailors. So, I recommend using it as an insult for your friend that always acts like he was dealt a bad hand. 


Benighted — overtaken by darkness or night. 


Ergophobia — an abnormal fear of work. 


Peculate — to steal or take dishonestly. Perhaps a word to describe the acts of your little league coach that requested an additional $25 per player to throw a pizza party at the end of the year but instead used the money to get hammered and visit the town’s strip club. 


Seriocomic — while this word sounds like something that would fall from the sky, it’s an adjective to describe something that is partly serious and partly comic. 


Kyoodle — to make loud, useless noises.


Expiation — the act of apologizing or making amends for a wrongdoing of sorts. Example: After shotgunning several Pabst Blue Ribbons at the family BBQ, Carl made a complete ass of himself by calling his Aunt Margo a whale –– the following day he brought his Aunt her favorite dessert, chocolate covered strawberries as expiation.


Dawdle — to waste time, be slow. 


Gallivant — to go around from place to place in the search for pleasure and entertainment. Think: five fraternity brothers six shots deep grab-assing on the strip. 


Bird-dog — to watch closely. 


Woolgathering — this is another word for daydreaming. I think all of us should dedicate more time to woolgathering versus scrolling aimlessly. 


Capricious — impulsive; prone to sudden extreme changes in mood or behavior. 


Alliteration — the use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word. Think: Roger Rabbit ran rapidly at the Runnymede Radish Race.


Hyperbole — extreme exaggeration. 


Sixteen — equivalent to the sum of ten and six. Or, the number that comes after fifteen but before seventeen.

By Cole Schafer.

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Marketers? Here’s what my generation is running from. Pay attention.

1. We are running from the life our parents had. Some people say we end up like our parents. I believe otherwise. We pursue the lives they did not have. If they had nothing but a big house, we run from fancy cars and green grass. 

2. We are running from being cog(s) in the wheel. We saw our parents and our friend’s parents work their asses off for the big company that treated them like a number. We are running from the organizations that treat employees like disposable tools versus living breathing human beings. The first question my generation asks isn’t “How much will you pay?” but “How great is the culture?” In other words, how much will you care about me being here?

3. We are running from lack of meaning. They say my generation is lazy. They say we are entitled. They say we don’t have the gumption to work an “entry-level” position… to wait our turn. We aren’t looking for turns. We are looking for meaning. We are looking for impact. We are looking for change. We aren’t interested in punching a card to hopefully one day be the big executive. We are interested in making a difference now. 

4. We are running from wasted time. We don’t want to wait for a taxi. We want to hit a button and be in an Uber in 2 minutes. We don’t want to fuss with hotels. We want to instantly book an Airbnb. We don’t want to stand in line at the bank. We want to simply take a picture of our check and have it deposited. We want to save time on mundane tasks so we can spend more time doing the stuff we actually want to do. 

5. We are running from the lies. We’ve been lied to our entire lives. The biggest lie? Go to college, spend $40,000 on a degree and you will get a job. We are tired of getting f***** over. We want an organization to be honest with us. We want to do business with people that will tell us the truth. We want to buy products and services from brands that value us over our wallets. 

6. We are running from material. We don’t want to pay the mortgage on the mansion. We want experiences. We love Airbnb for the experience. We love traveling for the experience. We love music festivals for the experience. We love sushi and street tacos and Sriracha for the experience. 

7. We are running from quantity. We were raised in a world where quantity was more important than quality. We were raised in an America where it was better to have twenty of something mediocre than one of something extraordinary. But, we don’t want lives weighed down by endless goods. We want craft beer. We want selvedge denim. We want handcrafted leather. We want designer sneakers. We want art. We are looking for art. 

By Cole Schafer. 

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If tomorrow never comes.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I wrote today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I played ukulele today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I tipped my waitress well today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I had tacos or sushi or ice cream today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I kissed Bradie today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I listened to Bon Iver today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I gave all the money I made away today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I got a good sweat in at the gym today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I told the people I love how special they are today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I read at least one more Seth Godin post today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I fed my fat pit bull a marshmallow today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I didn’t spend too much time worrying about that one awful client today.

If tomorrow never comes, I hope the guy I yelled at for cutting me off on the highway doesn’t really think I think he is an asshole today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I didn’t worry about tomorrow today. 

If tomorrow never comes, I hope I was present today. 

By Cole Schafer.

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The blogging paradox.

Reasons to write:

Write to get customers. 

Write to build your brand.

Write to gain followers. 

Write to increase SEO. 

Write to go viral.

Write to build your email list.  

Write to make money.

Write to get shares. 

W̶r̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶c̶a̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶l̶o̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶.̶

By Cole Schafer. 

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15 words I fell in love with this week.

I was supposed to ship these out yesterday morning, but I had the sudden urge to write about fighting the good fight

Regardless, I am glad I waited until today because my God do I have some nice sexy word porn for us to drool over this afternoon. 

We’ve got fifteen this week… since last week we had fourteen… and the week before that we had thirteen… and the week before that we had twelve… and the week before that we had eleven… and the week before that we didn’t have any at all. 

My personal favorites from this week? Hyetal. Rasputin. Dragoon. Iconoclast. 

Read them. Love them. And, most importantly, use them. Because let’s face it, the world doesn’t need anymore awesome’s.


Tutti— music term meaning “all”; all voices or instruments together.


Hyetal— this is a beautiful word that means –– of or relating to rain or rainfall.


Rasputin — an individual that exercises great but insidious influence. This word is derived from the evil Russian sorcerer monk, Grigory Efimovich Rasputin. He stood six foot four inches and was as creepy as a banshee. 


Tantivy –– this word has two meanings, both of which are noteworthy. One, a swift or fast gallop. Two, a cry a hunter makes when riding a horse at full speed. 


Goldilocks — neither being hot nor cold –– not varying from one extreme to the other. 


Fain — to willing or gladly do something. 


Ufology — the study of unidentified flying objects.


Piecemeal — one step at a time, gradually. I love this word because I think it defines everything our society is not. There is beauty in waiting. There is beauty in showing up each day. There is beauty in moving slow but moving purposefully. Not everything is a “start-up”.  


Aberration— ahh, yet another lovely word. Aberration is the act of departing from the right, normal or usual course. The choice to deviate from the ordinary. 


Marplot –– this is a fancier way of saying someone is a party pooper, a Debbie-downer, an asshat, etc. It is used to describe an individual who spoils a plot. I suppose it is more related to fiction.


Bashment — a large party or dance.


Dragoon— this word is one of my favorites simply because it sound so badass. It means to coerce or persuade someone into doing something. The wife dragooned her tight-wade of a husband into buying her the red heels. 


Sylph — a mythical being like a sprite or fairy. This is a lovely word because it can also be used as an adjective to describe someone that is stunning and graceful.


Iconoclast — someone who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions. 


Fifteen— equivalent to the sum of seven and eight. Or, the number that comes after fourteen and before sixteen.

By Cole Schafer. 

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Fighting the good fight.

All of us are in a constant never-ending battle between fighting the good fight and fighting the easy fight. 

The good fight is going for the two-mile run. The easy fight is watching another episode of Breaking Bad and laying waste to a bag of Cheetos. 

The good fight is doubling down on a great person and relationship when times become challenging. The easy fight is sleeping with someone else where there is less vulnerability and commitment. 

The good fight is walking away from your dead-end job to start that flower shop you’ve dreamed of since you were nine. The easy fight is not giving up the paycheck. 

Somewhere, between the good fight and the easy fight is something called resistance. It is essentially the fear or the immediate gratification that keeps you from fighting the good fight.

One of my favorite writers, Steven Pressfield defines it as follows in his book The War of Art ––

"Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. "Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two is resistance."

The reason we are more inclined to sit on the couch and eat fried foods is because of resistance. The pleasure of fried salty goodness overpowers the discomfort we know we’ll face as our feet begin to pound against the pavement. 

For me, I experience the most resistance when I sit down to write in the morning at 8 a.m. I experience resistance leading up to my writing session –– leaving my warm bed. I experience resistance during my writing session –– avoiding the dopamine rush that is email. I experience resistance in my head –– am I good enough? 

Some days, this resistance overpowers me and I don’t write, I succumb to fighting the easy fight like sleeping in, checking email and letting the voice in my head become louder. 

But, most of the time I prevail. I tell the resistance to go f*** itself. 

I fight the good fight. 

You should fight it with me. 

By Cole Schafer. 

P.S. If you liked this post, you can get more like it straight to your inbox by subscribing for free on the other side of this pretty red link.

The lies we tell ourselves.

1. I’ll start tomorrow. Start today. Not tomorrow. Do one small thing right now that will get you a half step closer. 

2. I need a college degree. You don’t need a college degree. You need a hunger for education. Everything you need is on the shelves of your local library or buried somewhere in Google.

3. I need more experience. You don’t need “experience” or a signature or a fancy piece of paper to be allowed to do what you really want to do. Your intuition will be your guide. That’s built into our DNA. It can’t be learned in school anyway. 

4. I don’t have time. You make time for what is important. If Netflix is important, you make time for it. If you want more time, make it. There is no such thing as not having time. There is, however, such a thing as spending the time you have on the wrong things. Masturbating never got anybody a promotion. 

5. I am too old. Then die while you’re building or pursuing whatever your dream. Nobody dies at the top of the mountain while sitting in their armchair watching the sunset. They die climbing up or not climbing all. I would rather die climbing up. Scratch that. I will die climbing up.

6. I am too young. Your great grandfather was killing men in trenches at age eighteen. I think you will be alright. You’re not too young. You’re scared. Understand the difference. And be thankful that while pursuing your dreams is scary, you don’t have to worry about a trench knife being plunged between your rib cage. 

7. They won’t take me seriously. Then find someone else that will take you seriously. You can’t control how people feel about you, but you can control doing business with those people. Go play in another sandbox if people aren’t willing to share their toys. 

8. I don’t have enough money. Two words. Serving job. Two more words. Nights & weekends. Your side hustle doesn’t have to be selling software or affiliate marketing or whatever these blowhards are telling people to do these days. If you need more money to start what you’re wanting to start, find an additional job.  

9. I can’t quit my job. Sure you can quit your job. You can do whatever you want. But, you don’t have to quit. You can ease into your dream. Carve a 2–3 hour window out three times a week. Start building. As it grows, carve more windows out. Keep building. Once it has grown so large that it can’t be contained, tell your boss you’re done. 

The bottom line is this –– our lives become the stories we tell ourselves so it’s important that we are telling ourselves the right stories. 

If we tell ourselves lies, we create lives that don’t feel true to us. 

Tell yourself the truth, even when it hurts. 

By Cole Schafer.

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I wrote this for the struggling creative(s).

There is a reason we don’t see many creatives working careers as creatives –– it’s hard, time-consuming, soul-wrenching work. When you make the choice to work in a creative field you are making the choice to expose your sensitive insides to the salty claws of the outside world. That’s brave. 

While I am not J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, I make a living writing at 24 and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I wanted to share with you a few things I think about when being a creative hurts. 


Being creative feels uncomfortable because for the greater part of human history being creative got you killed. 

For most creatives, being creative feels uncomfortable. It feels as though we are volunteering ourselves to walk out into a field of tall grass, where we know there is a pride of hungry lions lurking somewhere in its depths. 

If Homosapiens have been around for 200,000 years, 199,000 of them have been anything but safe to be a creative. Imagine Lady Gaga prancing around in an obnoxious red leather suit singing Paparazzi 10,000 years ago? She would have looked like a bloody, dying, screaming snack and would have been quickly been gobbled up by a saber-tooth tiger. 

Being creative is standing out and for most of human history, standing out got you killed. However, today standing out gets you paid. So, when I feel my insides start to turn at the idea of releasing my creative work, I remind myself that it’s just the ghosts of my ancestors.


Plums are a beautifully stunning and delicious fruit –– yet some people hate plums. 

When you work in a creative field, you have a deep tie with the work you are putting out –– and while I believe most everyone have a sense of pride in the work they produce (or at least I hope they do) –– very few people create work that is directly tied to their being. 

When you are creating work that you care deeply about, harsh criticism can rip through your heart like a hot dagger. 

In the moments I feel discouraged by criticism, I remind myself that as wonderful as plums are, some people just hate plums –– and that’s okay. 

With that said, it is important to differentiate between plums and dung. Don’t kid yourself, for the first couple years you will be making dung. 

I am still making dung. It’s your critics' jobs to help you salvage this dung, turn it into manure and then grow plums from it. Which brings me to my next point. 


You have to commit yourself to creating every day for a long time if you hope to create a plum. 

The biggest mistake I see most creatives make is not “shipping”. It’s a term made famous by Seth Godin. It essentially means to give the world what you create. I write every single day Monday thru Friday. Not because I have the misconception that people want to read me at that frequency, but because I owe it to myself, my craft and my daemon (or creative muse) to write and hit “send” every day. 

Young creatives often times don’t hit “send” because they are waiting to create work like Bon Iver, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Virginia Woolf, Seth Godin, Paula Scher, Hemingway and Rupi Kaur. 

Don't be ridiculous. None of these people were overnight successes and you won't be either. 

I’ve been chasing Godin for a couple years now and there is zero chance I will ever catch up with him. But, I realize by placing pen to paper I can get closer to the work I know I am capable of creating. It's in here somewhere and the more I write the closer I get… 

The more I write the closer I get…

The more I write the closer I get… 

The more I write the closer I get… 


By Cole Schafer. 

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All customers are liars.

If you have ever sold anything, you have been lied to. That’s because all customers are liars. And, being that you and I are customers, we are liars too. 

Very rarely do we tell a salesman, “No, I don’t want to buy your shitty product because I have no use for it.” Instead, we make up a lie, the most common being, “I can’t afford it.” 

While I wish the world was more honest, it’s not. So, it is our jobs as salespeople to get our prospective customers to tell the truth. Or, if they refuse to tell the truth, discover what truths their lies are covering up. 

In reality when a customer says, “I can’t afford it”… what they are really saying is, “I am not willing to risk my hard earned money on your product that I am uncertain about.”

Now, some people reading this might make the argument that some customers really can’t afford the product you are selling, to which I would agree. 

But, to which I would also argue that a large chunk of the United States can’t afford the iPhone X but this hasn’t stopped them from buying it. 

How come they can’t afford it? Because customers find a way to cough up the money for things they really want. Zig Ziglar sums this up well in his book Secrets of Closing The Sale.

People buy what they want when they want it more than they want the money it costs.

Write that down. It is applicable to anyone, whether you are selling snow globes, helicopters or SaaS products. 

Now, let’s rewind. When a customer looks you in the eyes and says, “I can’t afford it”… what they are really saying is, “I am not willing to risk my hard earned money on your product that I am uncertain about.”

To this answer, you need be asking yourself two questions:

How can I remove all risk in buying my product? 

How can I remove all uncertainty in buying my product? 

Pause. Before reading any further, take a moment and think about how you yourself would go about answering these questions. Keep them in mind as you continue to read, I will be curious to know if we thought up similar solutions. 

Now, let’s continue. 

I consider myself a creative individual but when you are face to face with a customer, creativity isn’t the first tool you should reach for in your toolbox.

However, logic is. 

When you understand that your customers buy because of emotion but justify their purchases with fact… you realize that it is your job as a salesperson to give them the facts. Or, rather, help them through the buying process in a logical way. 

I believe the best way to do this is by removing both risk and uncertainty like I mentioned previously. 

I would do this by:

Offering a two-week money back guarantee or a free trial and in turn, remove all risk from trying the product or service out. 

Show them previous cases where the product or service has worked wonders for individual more impressive than themselves. 

One was pretty self-explanatory, but I think it is important we talk more about two. 

Why do you think websites include testimonials of high-caliber individuals? It’s because when customers come to visit their website and see that Jeff Bezos said this product was the bee’s knees… they will believe it is the bee’s knees. 

In other words, if it worked for someone like the Prince of Amazon, it has to work for me. Right? 

While all customers are liars, all customers also have truths their lies are covering up. It is our jobs as salespeople to uncover these truths and then provide a logical fact driven answer to them. 

“Oh, you can’t afford this Greg? Well… what if I gave you a couple weeks to try it out? Jim down the street did and he still uses it to this day.”

By Cole Schafer. 

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14 words I fell in love with this week.


Hyperborean –– what you would call an individual that lives in the extreme north or cold. With that said, I think it would be a funny word to use as an insult, “Shut up Richard, you hyperborean.”


Fantasticate –– to make fantastic. 


Bossdom ––  the status, influence or power of a boss. 


Sanguine –– staying optimistic or positive, especially in a bad situation. 


Festoon –– to decorate. 


Boisterous –– I like this word and use it often in my writing. It means to be noisy, energetic and rowdy. 


Apoplectic –– so overcome with extreme anger that it is nearly impossible to form words. 


Glissade –– to skillfully glide over ice or snow while descending a mountain. 


Mercurial –– this word has two meanings. One, it is used to describe a person that is subject to sudden unpredictable chances in mood or mind. Or, two, something containing the element of mercury or pertaining to the actual planet Mercury. 


Breatharian –– an individual who believes that through meditation it is possible to reach a level of consciousness where one can obtain all sustenance from the air and sunlight. Or, a word used to describe an idiot that doesn’t think you need food or water to survive. 


Kaleidoscope –– a toy tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass, creating reflections producing changing patterns that are visible through an eyehole when the tube is rotated.


Profligate –– to be recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Your rich friend might demonstrate profligate behavior with his spending of money. 


Biddable –– while this word doesn’t have the most powerful of meaning in the world (to be docile and obedient), I think it sounds neat. 


Fourteen –– equivalent to the product of seven and seven; five more than nine, or 6six less than twenty; 14.

By Cole Schafer.

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Separating yourself from failure.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three failures that still sting to this day:

I was 10 years old. I told my friends I was going to try out for the 5th grade basketball team. They laughed and said they didn’t think it was a good idea. I cried when they laughed but still tried out anyways. I didn’t make the team. 

I was 15 years old. I made a girl that I liked a bracelet. She took it and then told the entire high school cheerleading squad how pathetic it was for a teenage boy to do something so childish. She didn’t like me back. 

I was 22 years old. I was just starting out my career as a copywriter. The client that was paying me 90% of my monthly income called me up out of the blue and fired me. I considered not ever writing copy again. 

These aren’t meant to be sob stories. We all have stories like these. Many of us have stories worse than these. They consist of small failures that hit us like a colt 45. And, while they never destroy us, they leave behind tiny bits of scar tissue. 

The reason failure scars us? Because we take it so personally. 

The hardest part about failure isn’t experiencing the failure but rather letting go of the failure after it happens. 

Recently, I started reading Zig Ziglar because he was the mentor to one of my favorite people in the world Seth Godin. Mr. Ziglar once quoted something on this subject of failure that everyone should read. 

“Failing is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.”

In other words, failure isn’t a person but rather an event that a person experiences. And, like milk, events have expiration dates. 

It is our decision whether or not we want to drink the milk when we wake up in the morning. I think I am going to start drinking the orange juice instead. 

By Cole Schafer. 

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The rich get richer.

I anticipate that over the next decade we will see an already alarming gap between the rich and the poor in the United States increase to an unfathomable range. 

In 1982, when Forbes first came out with its list of the nation’s 400 richest individuals, the average net worth of any one individual on that list was $230 million. 

In 2016, the average American on this same list had a net worth of $6 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the 2016 average was 10 times the 1982 average. 

The 400 individuals on this 2016 list have as much wealth as 16 million African American households and 5 million Latino households in the United States. 

With that said, here is what scares me about what’s going on in the United States today. In the past, when somebody would build a million dollar company, it meant that they would create hundreds if not thousands of jobs. 

But today, it is very possible for somebody to build a multi-million dollar company while only employing 10 highly skilled individuals. 

Think about that for a moment. 

I am talking coders, UX designers and growth hackers –– skills that aren’t currently being taught well in American colleges. 

Which, in turn adds yet another issue. Kids have been told to go to college to get a job and are now coming out with thousands of dollars in debt without the proper skills to go and work for the top 1%. 

I know I have thrown a lot at you, so let me lay out these problems neatly… 

The poor are too poor to afford to learn the proper skills necessary to thrive in the new age of technology. 

The middle class are now poor because they were scammed into spending thousands of dollars learning skills that aren’t applicable in the new age of technology. 

The rich are now richer because continuous advancements in technology and productivity have meant they can make more money without hiring more people. 

So, how can this be fixed? 

Here is the problem with fixing the wealth gap present in the United States today. Let’s say you are building your own house and everything you spend is coming out of your own money. 

If somebody came to you and said… I will sell you a nail gun for $100 and you can be as productive as 10 workers with 10 hammers… or you can hire 10 workers at $15 an hour. 

Now, when you aren’t in a position where you are building a home and writing checks for the home you are building, it is easy to say, “Oh, I would for sure pay 10 workers to do it so they can put food on the kitchen table for their families.” 

But the reality is, it is extraordinarily difficult to make this decision when you’re the individual writing the checks. And guess what, the individuals writing the checks or the top 1% are choosing the nail gun every single time. 

So, to make things “even” or “fair”, the United States has gone about taxing the shit out of the extremely wealthy who keep choosing the nail guns over the people.

But, here is the issue with that… 

Lets say we take a classroom filled with 100 elementary grade students and we told them to study for an extremely difficult exam for a week? 50% of the kids would not study. 40% of the kids would study some. And, 10% of the kids would study their asses off. 

Now, as a result, 50% of the kids would get F’s, 40% of the kids would get C’s and 10% of the kids would get A’s.

What would happen if the teacher walked in the class the next day and said… “We are going to take the A’s away from the A-students and use them to increase the F-students grades. And, as a result, everyone will get a C on the exam.”

I can tell you what would happen… the A-students would stop working hard to get A’s. The C-students would lose any ambition to work harder for the next exam because they would know what happens to the students who get A’s. And, the F-students would be incentivized to not study because they can do less work and still get a C. 

This, in my opinion, is why you can’t solve America’s wealth gap by taxing the shit out of the extremely wealthy. 

With that said, here is how I think we should go about fixing America’s wealth gap… 

Step 1 ––

Sue the shit out of the academic institutions that have scammed America’s youth. If you disagree, you should know this… over the past 20 years, in-state tuition and fees have increased by 237%. This isn’t “inflation” this is called a scam. America has been scammed. 

Step 2 ––

Take the money earned from the lawsuit and use it to pay off student loans and fund the next wave of higher education that teaches the hard skills necessary to thrive in an ever-advancing world. 

Step 3 –– 

Make higher education 1–2 years max and highly concentrated. If a student is going to be an engineer, they should only be taking engineer-related classes. They don’t need to be paying $1,000 for a philosophy course. 

Step 4 ––

America’s youth currently in elementary school , middle school and high school will be taught to solve difficult problems versus be really good at taking multiple choice tests. You don’t fill in bubbles in the real world. You solve hard problems. 

Step 5 ––

Teachers under no circumstance will be allowed to say, “don’t spend too much time on one problem on the test, skip it and go on to the next one.” The real world doesn’t allow you to skip the hard problems.

Step 6 –– 

You make higher education affordable for everyone, whether they are white, black or latino. Make it a choice for them not to go to school, not a matter of circumstance.

Step 7 ––

Creating a highly-skilled American population will mean more business which will in turn create more competition for the top 1%. There won’t be just one silicon valley sequestered out on the west coast, but rather dozens of them all over the United States. 

Step 8 ––

I digress. 

By Cole Schafer. 

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