The Great Pasta Surplus of 2010

How to have fun while getting out of debt

Wife and I were four months into Baby Step 2 — pay off your debts smallest to largest. We are fiercely competitive about ridiculous things — on the same team against the obstacle, of course. Finances were especially competitive. In January of 2010, we turned our attention to the cost of food.


So, when we saw pasta was on sale for fifty cents a box, it was obvious we needed to get thirty boxes.

Yes, thirty. For a staggering fifteen dollars.

The pasta was just one of the many ways we made getting out of debt fun. Not to mention a marriage-strengthening exercise.

Rigorous Filtering

The most successful, most determined, most achieving people are the best at saying no. They are painfully aware of the precious moments they have to do only what is most important, what they are most passionate about.


Any other opportunities must be cut rigorously and without apology in order make great progress in the direction they are driven.

Nearly everything else is filtered away.

Yes, even good or great causes with noble goals. Opportunities to make tons of money which do not align with their inner sense of meaning for their lives.

They are able to make decisions easily. Either something helps their life’s purpose or it is a distraction from it and thus does damage to it.

There is such clarity and purpose in the following statement.

“I won’t be there. I have to write my book.”

This is such a narrow filter which only allows the most intentional commitments through.

Creativity is strict. But this rigorous filtering allows you to spend your time, energy, and money on passions. Not distractions.

How do you filter opportunities?

Why You Should Ship Products After Short Development Cycles

It’s tempting to get your product “just right” before shipping. I mean, why produce (publish, manufacture, create) something if it’s not the best it possibly can be?


Well, because you will never improve it fast enough until you actually ship it.

And revise. And repeat.

Each time you complete a phase of your product’s evolution, your ability to refine it also improves. Said differently, you will improve your product much better the more iterations (cycles) of develop-and-release you complete.

The key to bettering, therefore, is not huge phases of development. Instead, the key is more, shorter, development cycles.

Remember the Rev Dash concept?

It’s important to ship Rev Dash so you can get started on the next revision, Rev A. Then B, then C, until you eventually get to Rev K or so. That’s when your product really starts to become great.

There’s no other way to refine your product. But let’s imagine it anyway.

You could develop your product for a decade, then have it on the shelves for a decade. But that’s still only one iteration of your develop-and-release cycle!

The goal is to get over being afraid of shipping something that isn’t perfect. It will happen every time, so just accept it! Instead, realize “done” is the goal.

90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.
–Jon Acuff

This is what I do with Leadership Vacuum. It forces me to ship three times a week, whether great or awful. But this way I’m getting better at the creating, editing, and shipping process — three times every week.

Once you have shipped your idea, you can process feedback about it. People can’t try out your product until it is in their hands. Mentors can’t read your book until you send them a draft.

And until you are done, you don’t really know what problems your product has. Why?

Because you only use the product how you intended it to be used. Others will use it a hundred different ways than you imagined. They will expose the product’s strengths and weaknesses.

As a software engineer, I experience this constantly. I write an app that works perfectly, but only when it is used like it was designed. When I “test” my software, I use it the right way and it works. When the customer uses it, they ignore my intentions and make up their own rules. They are not limited to my “ideal” test case.

It is difficult to fully test your product as the designer. That’s what users are for!

Ship already. Then your users can give you feedback. So you can better your product.

And ship again.

And use short develop-and-release iterations to help you get rid of bad ideas and find good ones quickly.

Extra Credit: Read this article.

How awesome would your product be after the tenth time you revise and ship it?

Done is Better Than Perfect

By aiming at perfection, you guarantee your product (art, book, song) will never ship. Perfection is unachievable and a huge distraction.

Yet it’s so easy to get caught in the trap of trying to make things perfect.


Let’s say it differently: Perfect is the enemy of done.

They hate each other.

Here’s encouragement to replace “perfect” with something much better.


The temptation to make your work “perfect” only distracts you from releasing it for the world to experience.

Take this post for examp

What do you need to stop working on and just ship already?!

Freedom Versus Security

Every time I read anything by Dan Miller, I get inspired and excited about working for myself.

Ten seconds after I get excited, I have a miniature heart attack as fear and resistance sets in. I worry about not having a regular paycheck and benefits.


And then I remember we’ve already been unemployed for an 18 month stretch — on purpose!

Guess what happened? We didn’t die. Our teeth didn’t fall out. Not having benefits didn’t hurt near as bad as you might imagine. Our lack of security freed us up for powerful experiences and extreme growth.

It’s just hard to get to the point where you can shun security and embrace the freedom of working for yourself.

It all boils down to the trade-off between security and freedom.

There’s nothing wrong with getting salary or hourly pay. It means a bunch of security.

But what if you’re itching to be your own boss? What if you have a company you would love to get started? What if you realize you could be making more money doing something you love?

To follow through on those possibilities, you will need to sacrifice security. No more guaranteed hourly rate. No more biweekly paycheck. No more pre-packaged benefits or paid holidays.

Yet at the same time, you gain freedom.

Freedom to work the hours you decide. Freedom to work with clients you choose. Freedom to do the tasks you enjoy.

And freedom to make more money than you would ever earn in a lifetime at your typical job.

It can be done.

You can find your own reasonably-priced health-care. You can save up three to six months as an emergency fund. You can get long-term disability insurance.

And you can achieve unlimited income based purely on how hard you work.

It’s all easier than it has ever been.

None of this will convince you unless you are dissatisfied with security and itching for adventure. None of this matters until your desire for freedom trumps your dependence on security.

I don’t know your life experiences, and I won’t mock anyone’s desire for security.

But this message is for all who are yearning for freedom, those who are beginning to despise security, and those who are ready to be uncomfortable for the sake of pursuing powerful goals.

Freedom awaits.

What does freedom look like to you?