Do common things uncommonly well

“What makes you different?”

A question I come across often by the authors of books and articles in the world of entrepreneurship.

There seems to be an obsession with being different. I’m told that if I can’t clearly state what makes my business unique then I shouldn’t plan on doing well.

What I haven’t thought about until now is that there isn’t much competition for businesses doing common things uncommonly well. I don’t see enough of is people willing to put in the time and effort to get good at the fundamentals. Just by doing this, we will not only meet the expectations of those we care to serve but regularly exceed them.

If a business does what I expect it to do, I am much more inclined to come back. And if they can consistently deliver on those expectations they are the first place I turn when I need help with whatever problem they solve, and I recommend them to others.

The lesson for me then is not to concern myself with the need to be different, but to focus on executing the basics consistently, and do common things uncommonly well.

Writing is hard

I’m only on day 4 of writing a blog post a day, and I’m already not feeling great about it.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult. I think I have a lot to say, good things, even some helpful things. But when I sit down to write, it’s like there’s nothing there. The dots don’t connect, and nothing worth posting comes out.

They say to just write and the words will eventually flow, but it’s late and I don’t feel like taking the time or investing what little energy I have to see it through.

Instead, I’m going to post this and hope it helps someone feel like they’re not alone in the struggle to create meaningful things.

Let’s hope for a better day tomorrow.

Help your future self make better decisions

A key component of starting and maintaining a positive habit is how you set up your environment. Make the path to acting on the right decision as easy as possible.

I like to run in the morning when my willpower is at its peak. I try to leave early enough to get back before our kids wake up, so this typically means I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00.

I don’t naturally wake up that early, so when that alarm sounds, I need to make each step I take from choosing to get out of bed to going out the door as effortless as possible.

With a little bit of preparation the night before I can significantly reduce the friction and increase my chances of overcoming the resistance.

The night before a run I set out my running clothes, tell my wife I’m going running in the morning, set my alarm, and go bed at a decent time. By doing this I’m setting myself up to make as few decisions as possible when that alarm goes off in the morning.

When I’m tired, the quality of my decisions goes way down. The more I automate the process beforehand, the easier it will be for me to do the thing my past self committed to doing.

A little bit of planning and preparation can make all the difference.

2021, another year to get better

Better at being like Jesus.

Better at learning from others not like me.

Better at being a better dad.

Better at being a better husband.

Better at learning from my failures instead of letting them define me.

Better at being present.

Better at trusting God when things don’t make sense to me.

Better at sharing Jesus with others.

Better at teaching, writing, and coaching.

Better at standing up for the oppressed.

Better at using my voice to make a difference.

Better at expressing gratitude for the life God has for me.

Have a goal, but focus on the process

Goals are good.

A well-defined goal provides a clear picture of where you want to go. It dictates what you need to work on. It provides direction and motivation.

Having a goal is important, but once a goal is set, your focus needs to shift to the process. The process is the intentional action you make over time that takes you to where you want to go.

If the goal is the where, then the how is the process, strategy plus action.

Doing what excites you

The best book to read is the one that excites you.

The best workout is the one that excites you.

The best job is the one that excites you.

The best topics to write about are the ones that excite you.

When you do the things that excite you, you dramatically increase the probability of sticking with it.

When possible, choose what excites you.

A Recipe for Success in Business

  1. Know what you want
  2. Communicate it with clarity
  3. Find the best talent, tell them what you want, and why you need their help to get it
  4. Allow them to choose how to use their skills and talents to reach your goal
  5. Regularly remind them how valuable they are
  6. Care about them as people, not just someone who works for you
  7. Offer a way for them to share in the success of the business

My Toolbox

For Saving Things I Want to Remember Later

Roam Research

Roam is my Second Brain. It’s where all things I want to remember go to be easily retrieved when I need them. I use it primarily for Note-Taking. Any interesting or helpful knowledge from books, podcasts, articles, video, etc., are stored nicely in Roam. It helps me capture, process, and use my notes to create valuable content.

Apple Notes

I use Apple Notes to quickly capture thoughts or ideas I want to remember for later. I try to process these notes into Roam once a week. I also use Notes as a sketchbook. Sometimes I can think clearer when I draw a concept or idea, instead of just writing about it.

Apple Reminders

If there’s a one-off task I want to do at a certain place, I use the Reminders app to notify me when I get to that place. For example, earlier I asked Siri to set a reminder to “Air up Sophia’s bike tire” when I get home. Using my GPS, my iPhone will notify me of this reminder when I arrive at home.


Things is where the bulk of my task-management happens. All of my commitments and project related tasks are stored in Things. I like Things for it’s simplicity, design, and deep iOS integration. It is my favorite GTD tool.

For Communication

Spark Email

I’ve been using Spark since my Dad recommended it to me years ago. Spark is built by Readdle, a company that specializes in productivity apps. I like using tools, especially core apps, built by companies I know are in it for the long haul, and the team behind Spark is one of those companies.

Apple Messenger

Apple’s Messenger app is good. I use it mostly out of convenience.


I’m only using WhatsApp because that’s what other people like to use. I actually don’t care for the app. My biggest problem with it is that there is currently not a native iPadOS app. 


Cocoon is a fairly new app I use for staying connected with family. I don’t use Facebook, so it’s nice to have a way to easily share quick updates with the fam in a private way. 

For Capturing and Editing Photos & Video

VSCO – Photos

VSCO has been a part of my toolbox for a long time. Though it’s not the most efficient way, I do like using the camera function inside the app to take my photos when I have time. The iPhone can capture images in RAW format, but there is currently not a way to do this using the standard camera app. Photographing in RAW gives me more flexibility to adjust my images and works better for the filters I use in VSCO.

ProCam – Video

When shooting video, I like to have control over white balance, frame rate, and exposure. You are able to adjust exposure with the standard video app, but it’s not that great. The default video app also shoots film at 30fps, and I prefer the look of 24fps.

What is a Habit?

A habit is an automatic response to a specific situation.