Why Is Shit Always Such A Pain In The Arse?

Well, I guess where else would shit be a pain? Your nose? Don't answer that.

I talked about this in the Legion of Badass, but here's the basics of it out in public: on Wednesday, I wrote issue zero of the newsletter. I was going to upload it to the files area of the Legion. And somewhere between doing the podcast and going to upload it, I managed to corrupt the PDF and save another document over top of it, losing all of the layout and formatting and of course the content of the newsletter.

Now, as a general rule, I do not have problems generating content. I can just sit down and write and content flows out onto the page and everything is fine. But for some reason... I don't really know what it is... when I am replacing a previous piece of content that was done and ready and I was happy with it?

Nothing I do is good enough.

So I'm going to put out issue zero this week, instead of issue 1. I like this better anyway because that means issue 0 of the newsletter goes with episode 10 of the podcast.

This satisfies my need for things to match up. Which begs the question: what about the content for newsletter zero, which dovetailed with episode nine of the podcast?

Well, I'mma put it here in the blog post, instead.

The thrust of the newsletter is, at its heart, how to apply the kind of thing I cover in the podcast to your audience, as opposed to yourself. The podcast is about how to use these ideas with you. The newsletter is about how to use them with others.

So we've talked (well, I've talked) about how to use the carrot and stick mechanism to motivate yourself, especially in combination - where you have the carrot for when you do right, and the stick for when you do wrong, by removing a privilege until you do enough right.

For example, I am not allowed to watch anime until I've done ten issues of the newsletter. This is very distressing to me because I was in the middle of watching Death Note and now I can't finish until I write enough newsletters.

I decided to do this because I am notoriously bad at staying ahead of content and keeping it going out on schedule (e.g. delaying issue zero for a week). So I have to get ten issues out on time or no anime. I did this with the podcast too, but for five episodes - five consecutive podcasts on time or I couldn't watch Netflix.

And that's how you use this stuff with yourself, you just take something you like and say "no more of that until you do this thing." You get the stick until you do as you're told and then you get a carrot.

So let's say you're doing that with your audience. You have a list, or a fan page, or whatever. And you want your audience to do something. So you communicate to them that by doing what you want, they will get a carrot.

But if they don't they will get the stick. And here's the important part.

The stick can't come from you.

Never ever ever tell your audience to take the carrot or you'll beat them. (A related and more-common issue is bitching that not enough of them are taking the carrot, which is a type of stick: "I AM DISAPPOINT.") The stick has to come from someone else, or ideally from the world or the universe or the industry.

Most people are saying "I'm sitting here, I don't know what to do, and I'm afraid I'll get it wrong." What you want to tell them is "if you just sit here, you'll get the stick, so do this and you'll get a carrot."

Of course you have to tell them what the stick is, and that there's nothing you can do about it because that's just what happens. You're gonna get the stick!

Then you have to tell them what they need to do, and give them a reason why that will help them not get the stick. This in and of itself will often be enough reason for them to do it, but then you sweeten the pot.

You add the carrot.

(This really does sweeten the pot, actually, because adding a carrot absorbs acids and bitter oils from sauces. You know, if you're making such a thing.)

Avoiding the stick is nice, and of course what you tell them to do has its own reward, but now you add the carrot. The carrot should only be available from you - just doing as you tell them isn't enough, they have to come tell you they did it and the results. And then you give them a carrot of some sort - a bonus, a strategy call, whatever.

The idea here is that doing the thing is its own reward, as it should be, and not doing it has consequences which are not your fault... but doing the thing for you has added benefits that they only get because they're special.

This is getting a bit long for a blog post, so I'm going to close it off there. Newsletters will be somewhat longer. But it's noon, and I'm tired, because it's four hours past my bedtime.

See you for the podcast on Wednesday.