Both hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot always arrived half full.
The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream:
‘I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.’
The bearer said to the pot, ‘Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’
This is not a parable that I came up with, but it is one that I love rereading. Thank God, you do not need to be perfect for God to use you to bring beauty to this world.
One link promises months of great content to follow, one will make you smile, one may change your career outlook. Not a bad week I’d say.
When I told people I was planning to write a post about society, and the way people are acting, and the way the media is acting, and the way the government is acting, and the way everyone else is acting, people kept saying the same thing to me.
Don’t do it. Don’t touch it. Write about something else. Anything else. It’s just not worth it.
It was one of those weekends when everything went right. The weather was perfect—sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and just cool enough to make the approach tolerable in a t-shirt, without sweating. The two climbers started to hike in with what they felt were very light backpacks, each wondering if they had, in fact, brought everything they needed.
If you’ve ever done any camping, backpacking, or climbing I beg you to read this. It will have you smiling from ear to ear.
Something stupid you can stick with will probably outperform something smart that you’ll burn out on.
If you view “do what you love” as a guide to a happier life, it sounds like empty fortune cookie advice. If you view it as the thing providing the endurance necessary to put the quantifiable odds of success in your favor, you realize it should be the most important part of any strategy.
Social media is meant to help you connect with others and part from the stressors of the outside world — but these platforms are also designed to keep you scrolling, and over time, all of that positivity-driven content can leave you feeling the effects of what psychologists are now calling “toxic positivity.”
I’ll be totally honest, this is partly why I stay away from facebook sometimes. I have to remind myself that social media is not what normal life really is. It’s a highlight reel that never ends.
Social media can be inspiration for sure…but you have to be aware.
Unless you have at least a modest understanding of and appreciation for technical rock and mountain climbing, you will likely be some combination of bored and confused by half of the stories in Some Stories, a new anthology of the writing of Yvon Chouinard, best known as the founder of outdoor gear and apparel company Patagonia.
I was surprised at how close to home some of these hit. I bet you will be too.
But as I began thinking about all the things I’d like to say, a realization hit me: I’d have to get my message tight because the odds are high that no matter how strong my conviction my younger self wouldn’t listen to a word I’d say.
Below are four pieces of advice I would roll the dice on anyway —
“I needed to give myself permission to suck in order to get better. When I did, it felt like a weight had be lifted off my shoulders. Shortly after that experience, I hit “publish.”
I needed to give myself permission to suck in order to get better. When I did, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Shortly after that experience, I hit “publish.”
It may seem like this is in direct conflict with what I posted yesterday but I’m not sure you should see it that way.
I see this more along the lines of allowing yourself to learn to walk before trying to run. With any endeavor, you can strive for quality, but you can’t let a never ending pursuit of perfection prevent you from taking the next step. In the case of what I hope to share on the Patagonia Dad blog, I want the content I deliver to be interesting, quality, and contribute to your life in some way.
However, I can’t do that if I don’t give myself permission to suck every now and then.
How does the saying go?
“Perfection is the enemy of progress.” –unknown
“The best is the enemy of the good.” — Voltaire
“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” — Confucius
“You do not need to be prolific to find success with your words. You just need to commit yourself to creating your specific value in the world and allow others to join in on it too…”
You do not need to be prolific to find success with your words. You just need to commit yourself to creating your specific value in the world and allow others to join in on it too.
You are not a product of the quantity of your output, but the quality of the value you put out into the world around you.
Do you see your contribution to the world as work en masse? Going for volume like a kid piling up a bunch of rocks to prove how many he can stack until they fall over?
Or do you have a paced intentionality? Work that may never be impressively voluminous but will make someone stop and really look at what you have created – bringing them moments of peace and reflection.
It is easy to get excited when starting something new…even if it is something you have done before, like me with this website. I fell in to that trap with my past sites, and not only did I burn myself out doing it, but I didn’t always have a site that I was completely proud of.
I’ll have to take heed of this as I move forward here. Call me out if you see me falling off the quality train and appearing to go for quantity!
There are many things that kids do that confound us. As a parent, I often look at my kids sideways, wondering why they thought it was a good idea to see mud and head straight for it, why they think that dipping cheetos in chocolate milk will make them taste better, or why they diligently avoid the crust of any sandwich they eat.
Today it hit me…
They’re Going Straight For The Flavor
I was standing there watching my daughter eat a bagel with peanut butter, getting it all over her face. After I had wiped her face a couple times, I gave up – waiting for her to finish before I went in with another wipe. As she chomped away, her eyes were focused; she was determined to get to the heart of the semi-melted peanut butter bagel that held her attention like no preschool teacher ever could.
All she could think about in that moment was how good that peanut butter was going to be and again how good it was while she was eating it. Nothing else. She could have had peanut butter from her lips to her ear lobes and she would still be happy.
Which led me to my second realization…
They Don’t Stress The Mess
A couple days ago my oldest had jelly from his pb&j on his ear and either had no idea or didn’t care. His first priority was not making sure he looked good or wasn’t messy, he was enjoying the moment. He wasn’t really avoiding the crust of his sandwich, he was just going straight for the flavor, and not stressing the mess. No inner voice saying “Look at your face man!! You look like you rubbed an uncrustable all over it!”.
He was all in on that pb&j…not a care in the world about the somewhat superfluous things that adults care about.
Two Lessons From A PB&J
Think about those two things.
Go straight for the flavor
Don’t stress the mess
How many places in your adult life do you think you could apply those two lessons? The next time you plan a family fun night…a trip…a kid’s sleepover?
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that as we gain more responsibility, it becomes harder for us to let go – because we know that we have to do the “adulting” on the backend of any event, big or small – sandwich or family vacation. However, thinking about everything you have to clean up or do afterwards often takes away from your ability to enjoy the moment. Hell, sometimes I end up not enjoying it at all…I don’t get any flavor from the peanut butter and jelly of life! That’s no way to live.
So what do you do?
You step back, self-reflect, decide to change, then change. Next time you take your kids out you go straight for that flavor and don’t stress the mess.
I know that I may be stretching my illustration a bit…but I think next time I eat a pb&j…I won’t eat the crust.
I learned some valuable lessons about vlogging in 2018. Some I liked and some I didn’t. These lessons range from the art versus science aspects, to the external versus personal – sometimes very personal.
I don’t know what gave me the vlogging bug at the beginning of 2018. It was probably the fact I had started watching more YouTube in general…discovering creators out there that inspired me, or that I wanted better keepsake videos of my kids and family events than 1 random iPhone video with no context, and still perhaps some subliminal YouTube message seeped in to my brain; but I got bit and bit hard.
Below I’m going to share with you 7 lessons I learned from creating and posting 40 vlogs in 40 weeks.
Jason Koertge is one of my favorite, what I call, accidental YouTubers and probably my biggest personal inspiration because of how he vlogs with his kids in tow. Now it’s no accident that he currently has over 41,000 followers because he checks all the recommended YouTube creator boxes:
He has “niched” down
He consistently posts videos
His thumbnails are almost always killer
oh…and his content is really good (I thought he was a professional editor at first)
I call him an accidental YouTuber because I don’t believe he intended to try and build a following on YouTube. He found something he was passionate about (his 4Runner & Overlanding), that people are interested in (like me), then he made a ton of really good videos about that…and he posted them to YouTube.
The YouTube algorithm ate his stuff up and wanted more.
#1 Consistency is Key
There’s a reason that I am putting this as #1. In my opinion this is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do if you want to create a following on YouTube. I even created a video about just that…but if you’re reading this, I would only watch it if you have 4 minutes and 31 seconds to watch me tell you what I just told you here. (and you can learn what my voice sounds like I guess)
All the big time YouTubers do this 1 thing extremely well. At least they used to…Casey Neistat is a more recent exception to this rule…but he has hundreds of videos out there circulating the interwebs and was incredibly consistent for years.
#2 Content Over Gear
This was a tough lesson for me to learn and it wasn’t fully realized until my very last vlog of 2018. Like a lot of people, I went a little crazy, spent a bunch of money, and got nice but not professional gear. More than I ended up needing.
I reveled in all the Amazon price hunting, the box opening, gear organizing, learning, and more. I got a pretty nice lens for my Canon 80D along with some other nice to have/less expensive lenses…and guess what, a year later I have just sold the majority of it.
You’re probably shaking your head right now and telling me that I’m an idiot…even a non-YouTuber could tell you that Scott! Well, this lesson is about how incredibly easy it is to fall right in to the rabbit hole of camera gear and enjoy the wonderland of better images, video with more bokeh, wide angles, better audio…the list goes on.
Why did it take so long to learn this lesson? Why wasn’t this realized on vlogs 1-39? First, I saw a Casey Neistat video where he said that for a long time, almost 50% of the content for his vlogs were filmed with his iPhone. Second, on vlog 40 my expensive lens was acting weird and I used my “cheap” lens. Vlog 40 turned out to be my favorite video I created, got some gorgeous shots, and the resulting video almost made me cry when I finished it. (don’t worry…sentimentality is in the eye of the beholder…me)
Somehow, due to this “restriction” to using the less expensive lens made me focus on everything else and the result I will cherish forever.
#3 Story Matters Most
No one will watch your high quality vlog if it’s not interesting.
This is why major Hollywood productions flop. The story line sucks, people can’t identify with the character, no flow, etc. Think about your storyline before you start filming for the day and you’ll be much more likely to have a good end product.
This was the steepest learning curve for me, but once I got the hang of it, it made all the difference.
Felix Schlater is a vastly under rated YouTuber who actually started as a video editor who came to vlogging. You can see it immediately and has a great series he’s making that covers the process of video making, vlogging etc.
You can overcome (sometimes) the lack of a planned out storyline with good video editing…if you have enough footage to work with. Sometimes this means that your video ends up going in a completely different direction, but you salvaged it.
#5 The Flow is Fun
I really enjoyed making these vlogs. It was challenging but very rewarding. It forced me out of my own comfort zone, prompted me to shoot video when I wouldn’t have previously, and I now have 40 videos of 2018 that I can cherish forever.
#6 I am Not a Full Time YouTuber
2018 was the year of vlogging and YouTube for me.
There is an amazing community of vloggers you can discover out there. I saw some creators start the year with only a couple hundred followers that are now over 50 thousand, some create literal movements, and some that I purely enjoy for enjoyments sake. However, just like all the “How to Write Everyday” posts you find on Medium, the one thing you will figure out by making vlogs every week…is if you enjoy the grind.
I am very satisfied with my vlogging experience and I will still make more. I learned a new skill, made some memories, and get to keep those memories. 40 vlogs with hundreds of hours of video footage, many afternoons and evenings editing video, and getting comfortable talking at a camera in public is not easy. Nor did I expect it to be…and that’s ok.
I tried it and it’s fun, but not my current profession.
#7 If You Decide to Try Something, Give It Your Best
It doesn’t matter if it’s vlogging, blogging, exercising, or eating healthier for a new year, new you. Give it your best shot…don’t hold back…and you will learn more than you ever imagined.
Take another look at this list…but this time, in your mind, replace the terms video, gear, or YouTube with whatever project or new practice you have taken up.
Consistency is key
Content over gear
Story matters most
Editing is where the magic is made
The flow is fun
I am not a YouTuber
If you decide to try something, give it your best shot