You only have to be right once, but... by Evan La Ruffa

I saw a quote on Twitter recently that said, "you only have to be right once." I think it was posted by a startup incubator. While I think there's a lottery mindset in many startups, fundamentally, the statement is valid. (Notice I didn't use the word "true.")

But the quote resonated with me. With some savvy, strategy, and love for what we do, a lot can be achieved.

Luckily for us, the distance from where we are to where we want to be is shorter than it has ever been, if only because we have more tools than ever before.

The present is cool that way. It always will be.

What's more, I think there's plenty of room for all of us to be right once. 

We have to be discerning as well as hopeful. We have to find better ways to listen and work. We have to find the right partners. We have to be attuned to timing.

It can be hard, but we have to pick our spots.

Let’s pick intentionality over chance.

I see the child in you by Evan La Ruffa

An incredible exercise when facing an impasse, is thinking of your counterpart as a child. It makes us inherently more compassionate and gets us to a softer, gentler place.

If we give others the chance to see the child in us more often, then that means we’d receive softer, gentler communication.

What might we do with that good will?

When-to? by Evan La Ruffa

I've been thinking a lot lately about when I do what I do.  I'm also thinking about how being more strategic in that regard can influence my state of mind and productivity. I'm currently reading When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink and it's inspiring a lot of ideas regarding when-to.

I highly recommend the book, especially because it speaks to biological and intellectual patterns of flourishes and fatigue that we all have recognized most of our lives. Instead of struggling against that and slogging through, this book is making me be even more intentional about when I put energy in its corresponding bucket.

'Timing is everything' is a ubiquitous and self-evident truth, why not embrace it more?

At least we're looking in the right ocean by Evan La Ruffa

When we think about our place in the greater scheme of things, one can't help but come to some type of nihilistic conclusion about our inconsequential role. We're each just a tiny part of the cosmos, yet we find ourselves on this particularly beautiful, habitable, complex, unique, conflicted, imperfect planet.

Even though sometimes it can all feel like a crapshoot and we wish we had more control, we should be permanently buoyed by the insane, superlative beauty of our greatest relationships, loves, communities, and experiences.

When we zoom the lens out, it's a little easier to breathe.

We are small. It's true.

But at least we're looking in the right ocean.

Build everything but the ceiling by Evan La Ruffa

Much of the time, we build the ceiling before we build the walls. That makes for an odd version of a room, doesn't it?

All too often, we say what can and can't happen before we have the data. We cloud the reality from the jump and we limit an ideas ability to grow.

Our tendency to curb possibility before we've even put ourselves in a place to turn it into reality, is a recurring pitfall many of us succumb to. The great part is, we're just one choice away from flipping that. Just one decision away from assuming we can actually do it.

One thing we can be sure of, is that thoughts are patterns that replicate in our lives.

In that case, why not choose, YES?

Why not build everything but the ceiling?

Evolution is collaborative by Evan La Ruffa

For evolution to be exclusively about competition, conflict would have to be permanent. We would never get anywhere by working together, and we would never reprioritize personal gain for the sake of teamwork. Our regular lives show us that can't be true.

Every day we wake up and cooperate with others to achieve goals.

When people talk about survival of the fittest, they're often rationalizing a cutthroat approach. The reality tends to be a lot more docile than that worldview might suggest.

When we get things done in our jobs, families, partnerships, and projects, we're almost always working with others to make something positive happen.

Far from notions of hard knocks, evolution is collaborative.

Preset: busy by Evan La Ruffa

It feels like a version of talking about the weather. But there's a social game going on too... "I've got a lot going on, and I have stuff to show up for, and things are going well for me, and I'm legit, and I'm, and I'm ... "

Without me even saying it explicitly, you see the game going on there. As an extension of that interaction, most everyone we talk to is "crazy busy", "slammed", "up against it", or even "fucked."

It seems like a hell of a preset: busy.

What happens when we're rushing, over scheduling, showing up late, canceling appointments, rescheduling them, etc etc?? In my experience, it tends to mean that reactivity is the general state of things.

When we reject the cult of busy, we at least have the chance to reclaim our preset, and choose a different story to tell ourselves about time and the way we show up.

When we say we're busy, we're really just justifying ourselves in a space. The thing is, busy often infects our ability to ever be in a place fully. We can still achieve without being busy. We could just be...

... effective.

... potent.

... inspired.

... focused.


Addendum to Selfish Altruism by Evan La Ruffa

My dear friend Matt Leathwood sent me this response to my Selfish Altruism post: 'Does anyone do anything for free? Doing something for someone else makes most of us feel good about ourselves..... The pay off is the apparent altruism. It's the true sign of goodness when we do things for other people without the bells and whistles of praise.... Silent givers are indeed kings amongst men.'

Touche, Matt! What's interesting is the role habit plays in all this as well. If we get on a roll of being altruistic, perhaps it becomes our default and we can, without ego, make that our life's preset.

But more so than FREE, like Matt says, it's about doing good because it's good, not because you will be praised for it. We can all do a lot worse than feeling good about doing good.

If praise for altruism makes altruism your default setting, we'll all take it over the alternative.

P.s. If you ever have a thought, critique, idea, or contribution, after reading my posts - hit reply! Hell, I might even share it with everyone else!

Charlottesville by Evan La Ruffa

What happened in Charlottesville over the weekend proves that the notion of existing in a post-racial America is a complete fantasy. The "I don't see skin color" version of public policy mixed with a talking point that helps back away from the cultural and social work we really need to do. I've been sick to my stomach watching footage of the riots and that car mowing down our fellow people.

It's made me so angry that I feel a rush of primal, testosterone-laced adrenaline that reverts to physicality, and wants to pummel those whose ideas I find disgusting and fucked up.

My mind quickly comes back to violence and it's true nature. It's never a solution. It never ends anything. It merely accelerates the eye for an eye approach. It's made me think just how radical nonviolence really is. It's sooooo hard to do. To remain truly nonviolent in communication and action is no easy feat, especially when directed at our perceived enemies.

The thing is, nonviolence destabilizes the entire back and forth that violence perpetuates. It knocks it off its axis. Calling for LOVE for those who desire the annihilation of anyone that doesn't look like them is the hardest test.

Can we truly love our racist brothers and sisters out of their fundamentalist lens? Do we have the stomach for it?

I don't know if we can and I don't know if we do.

I also don't know if violent retaliation does anything more than temporarily suppress those notions, as opposed to changing them.

I just don't know.

Is this thing on? by Evan La Ruffa

It's been a while since I've written here consistently... I hope your volumes aren't entirely turned down! I'm hoping to get back to it more regularly, and I'd love to discuss questions or ideas you have about communication, business, strategy, intentional living, or anything else, really.

Reply to this email with your angle, question, idea, or takeaway, and I'll make it a topic for this blog.

Maybe it's something you struggle with, need clarity on, or are looking to build strategically. Or maybe it's a story of learning that you think could be applied broadly.

Whatever it is, it'd be fun to try your hat on for size in a way that might help other people on this list.

Thanks for opening this email and for coming with me on this continued journey of thought experimentation, value creation, and mission alignment.

Letting our guard down by Evan La Ruffa

There's huge upside to letting our guard down. My friend John once told me that he's never had someone share as much of their inner, emotional experience as I have with him. That's either a compliment or a plea for me to shut up, lol.

But having relationships in which we can share that interiority is vital. I'm not suggesting we tattoo any insecurity on our forehead, but I am saying that we should treat these special relationships as the gold that they are.

Real connection comes from sharing more than merely the highlights. If we let our closest friends see our incomplete selves, we share hope for betterment while providing insight into another human being who's (also) just trying to figure things out.

Lets share the stuff that shows we're unsure.

It'll help us all realize that we're not the only ones wondering what the hell is going on.

Calibrating for change by Evan La Ruffa

Every 6 months, I tend to mentally hit the refresh button. Whether it's a turning point in business, a new project, an interesting prospect, or a personal evolution, I'm realizing that two things always float to the surface as I question what the hell I'm doing or what's next...

  1. Efficiency - no matter what the next move is, I better be trying to get more efficient all the time. Doing  so puts me in the best position to make a decision, whatever that happens to be.
  2. Learning - to better move toward a range of possibilities, I need to always be learning, gaining new skills, and thinking about how value is and will be generated.

Regardless of who we are or where we're going, getting better at what we do and staying open to growth areas seems like a solid way to put one foot in front of the other... especially when we don't know what's coming next.

Not afraid to be pop by Evan La Ruffa

It's interesting how at certain points in life, the worst thing we can be is "pop." As in, pop music. As in, mainstream.

Pop music also has perfect tone and pitch, reaches people from all walks of life, and provides a platform for the next thing we make. So you know, it's not all bad.

The connotation of pop includes a flattening of skill or talent, a simple something for the masses. But as long as we feel good making, enjoy the people we work with, and have an ethos that feels right for us, we might as well invite everyone to hear our song.


Personal evolution by Evan La Ruffa

Personal evolution happens whether or not we're intentional about it, but there appears to be massive upside to thinking at least one move ahead. Instead of reacting to external presets, this allows us to make proactive decisions instead of reactive ones. It helps in entrepreneurship.

It helps with finances.

It helps with soccer.

But it also helps right before we hit a fork in the road.

I'm trying to drink my own kool-aid in that respect. For as much as I talk about flexibility, strategy, and creativity, I should certainly always be thinking about moves I can make that will set up tomorrow's projects and goals.

So... that's where my head is at.

Smashed time by Evan La Ruffa

When we cram things in and rush around, we do ourselves and our loved ones a few disservices. Not only do we open ourselves up to additional costs, we also make the chances of stress, bad communication, and tension a lot more probable.

Time is our friend when we don't smash it.