Pacman

Pac Man undoubtedly exists at the summit of classic arcade glory. So when Tyler Neylon was challenged to develop it in one day, it would seem to be absolutely crazy, right?

Challenge accepted.

“My own challenge began when I made a remark about how easy it is today to build the old-school games like Pac-Man. Less than a day, easy, I said. My wife, being skeptical, and I, loving a code crunch, turned this into an official double-dog-dare. I had to do it.”

Tyler got to work, and along the way, discovered quite a few “easter eggs” behind the scenes of the beloved game we all spent entirely too many quarters on during our youth.

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“I can’t do it.”

“Everyone thinks I’m crazy.”

“I’m going to fail.”

“Who am I kidding?”

You get an idea and for a brief moment, you think it’s brilliant. But just as quickly, you convince yourself it can’t be done. The moment passes and the idea fades away. It happens time and time again – and perhaps in some ways for good reason (let’s face it if we pursued every wild idea we had we’d never actually get anything done).

But what about the idea that sticks with you? The business you want to start. The thing you want to try. The marathon you want to run. The change you want to create. The goal you want to achieve. The impact you want to have.

Those ideas – that idea – the one(s) that stick with you, that you can’t shake, may seem crazy, but there’s a reason that it won’t go away. It means you’re onto something. It’s a sign that you’ve discovered something that may in fact be crazy, so incredibly crazy that it’s begging to be pursued.

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Hire people smarter than you

In a recent Inc article, Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, gave what is probably the best solution to any leader who’s struggling with what is one of the most common problems amongst leaders: Feeling the need to micromanage.

“I made a new rule: Everyone who reports to me has to be much better at doing his or her job than I could ever be.”

My biggest challenge as a business-owner has been letting go of control. Which is funny because being controlled was what I loathed so much about my 9-5 agency job coming out of college. Being told what to do and how to do it by someone else, leaving no room for creativity or suggestion, was the single-biggest motivating factor in my pursuit of starting my own company.

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I read the following from my friend Melissa last week:

“I’m learning, little by little, to let go of the idea that I have to get everything done. I’m learning—slowly, but surely—to let go of that anxious feeling I get in the silent moments when I’m not typing away on my computer or out networking with a group of people. And I’m doing my best to remember what I know at my core to be true: that the silent moments and unexpected events are what I’ll remember when my time on this awesome planet is over.” 

The biggest challenge for me as an entrepreneur has simply been learning how to best manage the ebb and flow that comes with running your own business. At times things flow through at an insane pace and I feel like I can’t possibly keep up, much less get ahead. And when things slow down just a bit, I feel the pressure to put my foot down firmly on the gas to make sure things pick back up and there’s no loss in momentum.

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“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” - Mark Twain

As we lay my grandfather to rest today, I can’t help but think about death. The first emotion that comes to mind is fear. But I realized yesterday, as I gathered amongst family at my grandpa’s wake – it’s not that I (and we) are afraid of dying. We’re afraid of not truly having lived a full life.

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Today I’m back with my first video post in over a year. Since then I’ve gotten a little wiser and my hair’s gotten a little longer.

Hard to believe, but I’ve been writing here on LWP for four years now! It took me a couple of those years to really get to a place where I actually enjoyed writing.

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Last week I grabbed a beer with my good buddy Brett and shortly after went to Jon Acuff’s book-launch-palooza (which, by the way, remind me that when I publish my first book, to rent out a classy old movie theatre and have a big party with 250 of my friends).

As the night came to a close and I drove home, one message swirled through my head from the conversations I’d had that night. The message was this:

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One of the most consistently poignant writers I know, Rebecca Thorman, had this to say last week in her article, “How to choose between money and meaning”:

“Making money is fantastic. People that tell you otherwise, I don’t get them. Money feels good, and earning money feels real good. There’s something particularly great when you earn it directly, without a middleman, something about proving your worth.”

This was incredibly refreshing to read (and honest). The post goes on to define the importance of meaning – of creating opportunity – of experience and moments and stories to tell.

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The path to success is an inward journey. Success is defined by your accomplishments – not on how those accomplishments compare to everyone else.

Here we are in a new year. And while I have goals and resolutions, overwhelmingly, my mission this year is to work more effectively – and more efficiently - and by doing so, working less.

That’s right, I want to work less this year.

Why? Because I want to allow more space to think. More space to develop ideas. More space to write. More space to create. This means I’ll have to say “no” a little more often. That means I’ll have to be more deliberate in my planning and scheduling. It means I’ll have to be selective with my time. It means I’ll have to make sacrifices.

But with Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week and Sarah Bray’s 90-minute workday, I know I’m not crazy. Here are 5 things I’m doing to work less.

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