I Forget Companies Like This Still Exist

And it makes me sad every time I remember

I collect good stories about business. I eat up examples of good people working at good companies who make good products and do customer service with excellence. I cherish every model company who actively treats people well, from team members to customers to stockholders.


I just can’t get enough of it. I find these stories undeniably encouraging. They hint at the many benefits of capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit. They make me desire to find something — anything — and make it better.

But I apparently think about these things so often that I forget the other kind of companies still exist.

A Few Fine Tastes

Being selective about your luxuries

Having nice things is not a problem. By all means, have some. However, wanting everything to be nice all the time will leave you broke — if not massively in debt. Instead, what if you only had a few fine tastes? Wouldn’t you be able to afford them?


In most cases, yes — assuming your short list doesn’t include a mansion and a Bugatti Veyron supercar.

The trick is being intentionally selective about your fine tastes. Too many, and your lifestyle will suffocate your income.

Money is easy enough to count. Countless tools make budgeting straight-forward, and smartphones make it easy to check your checking account balance. So what’s the problem?

Real Artists Focus

Saving energy for what is most important

In his book The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin describes artists as “fairly normal” when they are not creating art. He goes as far as to call them “boring” the rest of the time. But wouldn’t you expect an artist to be an artist all the time?


First, what is art? Art is what you would do even if no one ever saw it. It is your God-given desire to create and express your unique shade of excellence.

Who is an artist? Anyone who actively creates. Painters, musicians, construction workers, bartenders, teachers, and dentists all start on the same level. Some become artists, while others consume art.

Back to the original question: Should an artist be an artist all the time, in all aspects of life?

What is Your Financial Priority?

Attacking your financial goals one at a time

How many financial priorities do you have? Do you spare money in certain facets of your life in order to have a large percentage available for a few important goals? Or do you spread your money everywhere under the sun — thin and sparse?


After I graduated college, wife and I wondered what to do with two incomes. Do we pay extra on a home mortgage? Do we pay off our student loans? Or do we squirrel away money in savings?

Or, should we do all three?

Shotgun Goals and Focused Intensity

If you’re anything like me, you don’t do well with long, drawn-out goals. It it’s not short and sweet, it’s just not going to happen.

Instead, I highly recommend shotgun goals.

© Team Ralon

It may sound like I’m contradicting my earlier post about big hairy audacious goals, but I’m not. We all absolutely need to aim at a target on the distant horizon — this is good leadership.

Rather, I suggest compressing goals into a reasonably tight time frame for the sake of focused intensity.

Why not rip off the band-aid whenever possible?

Let’s say you want to read the whole Bible front to back. Normally, reading plans split it into one year. Since the Bible has 1,189 chapters, this means reading 3.25 chapters every day to finish it in 365 days.

That was my exact situation. But I’m flaky and very unlikely to do the same thing, every day, for an entire year. I would probably miss a couple of days in a row, then be overwhelmed and try to catch up but fail miserably. Then somewhere around the beginning of April, I would likely give up completely.

Plus, I would definitely have forgotten what I read six months ago, missing the big picture context of the Bible.

It seemed I could follow through on reading the Bible every day for four months, though. I may be flaky and get bored of a repetitive daily schedule after a few months, but 120 days isn’t that long.

The new math is this: 1,189 chapters / 120 days = 10 chapters a day. Heck, even I can read 10 chapters a day for 120 days!

And so can you.

Shotgun goals and focused intensity are powerful. They explain how you can get out of debt quickly and have fun at the same time.

Don’t just accept a big goal will take you years. See if there’s a way to shotgun it into a few months or weeks!

Never be afraid to re-write the terms for your goals. You know your quirks and can plan around them. Trick yourself however necessary to be truly effective and accomplish your milestones. I have to trick myself constantly to get anything done.

And a great way to get things done is to tighten up the schedule and increase your effort.

Hence, shotgun goals and focused intensity.

How do you feel about concentrated deadlines? What if you could find a way to accomplish your goal in weeks or months instead of years? Share your thoughts below.