Ruggedness & Skin in the game


Getting things done

This is exactly what we will be covering in this article.

The Insider Secret

I’d like to first share a secret with you

Something i’ve learned and observed as an insider behind the scenes of many industries, working in government, and through close friends

People probably don’t want you to know this, but it’s truly how the world works

Almost NOTHING is acquired before it is needed

Here’s what I mean. I have friends doing high level work in the government, friends who are programmers with major companies. Practically nothing from their degree is actually used in their work. The job is always learned on the job. The first 4 weeks to 3 months at almost any company is where you learn how to do the job, on the job.

My friends working at major banks, in government, programming (without a programming degree). All told me the first few weeks on the job, they train you how to do the job

….so what was the point of the degree

Let it be clear, I am not making the typical ‘monkey see monkey do’ claim: “durhhh college is bad”

College can be great, it truly depends on the person, their goals, their financial situation, and their field of study. The point I am making is to shine light on something much bigger

Back when I was doing client work. I had someone reach out to ask me if I could write the emails for their ecommerce brand. (actually it was them replying to a cold email almost a year later)

I said yes

$2000/month retainer secured

But there was a problem

I’ve never done that type of work in my life. I had a general idea but no specifics on what to do

So I opened a bunch of my own email accounts. Looked at all the emails I had gotten over the years from similar brands. I noted a general format they followed and the best elements from them

Next, the email software. Never used it in my life. Like many software companies they had TONS of articles on their blog explaining what to do, how to warm the email, how to send emails, etc. Once I logged into the software for the first time. They already had templates similar to the elements I had noted in my research

Long story short, I learned everything I needed 2-4 days before sending out the first email. It was pretty smooth sailing from there. Each email sent out was returning $600-$4000 for them. They were paying me $2000/month, they were making back $7000-20,000/month

You don’t get surplus oxygen and bloodflow until you start running

We only store 11 seconds of ATP (energy), we don’t start producing more until it’s needed

Once the demand is seen you’ll be supplied what you need

Even in writing this article right now. There is no research, no planning, no preparation. I had a general idea of a concept I want to articulate to better understand my own experiences and observations. I am sat here right now to articulate it, my brain sees the immediate demand and each sentence begins to flow.

To avoid lengthy examples. The same process with those emails worked for me on YouTube, with building brands, with making content, with pretty much everything

Two points to note here:

We are raised, more like trained, from a very young age (where our mind is being molded) to learn everything BEFORE doing and before it’s needed. Studying tons of random concepts for a test that has no immediate benefit other than passing the test. Spend 4 years learning unnecessary concepts when in reality almost every job is learned on the job.

(To any captain obvious reading this, obviously certain things are learned before the job. However the majority of my audience I know are doing things or seek to do things were that is not the case)

This upbringing wires a habit of behavior in adult life. Spend weeks/months preparing before getting skin in the game. Skin in the game is the most effective way to learn, because it’s hands on, fear is leveraged in your favor, the brain sees the immediate need/demand therefore no willpower/motivation is needed

The second thing to note is this:

It’s not a lack of brains it’s a lack of balls.

Heck even if you don’t have the brains you have Google/YouTube, you can pay a fee to consult with someone, or you can even flat out pay someone else to get the job done.

There’s no need to dwell on why this happens. Darkness is the absence of light. Knowing more about the darkness (the problem) offers some support but the only true solution is to add more light.

The topic of lack of balls can be an entire book in itself. But if I could point out in one mini paragraph one of the roots it would be this:

Why we avoid failure, short & simple:

We are wired for acceptance in the tribe. We want to avoid failure to preserve our identity and to LOOK competent. The more competent we look the more ‘valued’ we are and ‘safer’ we are in the tribe. When doing something we are uncertain of, we risk doing it wrong and looking incompetent. Looking incompetent IN TRIBES (far less now), meant you were less necessary which meant you’d be more disposable, which meant you be more at risk.

This is one primary out of many elements why we avoid failure. By NOT doing something we hold onto the fantasy of “could do it if I tried”. A illusion of competence in imagination to preserve the identity of being useful. Failing to see the fault in this and that by doing nothing a person is literally useless, and as we mentioned already the way you learn things, make more money, and become more valuable is ON THE JOB, with skin in the game.

Embracing Ruggedness

The title of this article is ruggedness and skin in the game. Embracing ruggedness is a primary tool and solution.

Simply put, you don’t need a sidewalk to walk. So long as you know the direction you can move in that direction.

Ruggedness is being ok with messy. Ok with getting some mud on your boots

Ultimately it’s being ok with uncertainty and doing things not totally clean while still being effective

Efficient is not the orientation as a beginner, effective is.

Efficient is pretty, effective is progress. Efficient comes AFTER effective

For example. If you’ve been doing email marketing for 10 years. You’ll have a more clear, cleaner, efficient system to implement. It will ‘feel’ more clean/organized to you. In the absence of experience we lack that ‘clean’ and ‘certain’ feeling.

Confidence (or balls as we stated) is not belief in your ability as you are right now in this moment. It’s belief in your ability to adapt in the moment. Once the demand is seen it’s the belief you can acquire the skills and adapt in the moment (after the commitment) to effectively, NOT PERFECTY, but effectively get it done.

This is ultimately what ruggedness is. ALL of my greatest wins followed this model. Aiming for BETTER. Not ‘right’, not ‘perfect’

‘Right’ and ‘perfect’ make it seem like there is only one fixed way set in stone

There are endless ways to do things better. You immediately can always find something to do better. It’s focusing on 1-2 elements at a time. ‘Right’ and ‘perfect’ is the entirety of moving parts in the vehicle, hundreds of elements all at the same time. That is EFFICIENT, which comes after EFFECTIVE.

You don’t need the most aerodynamic frame, sport tires, performance steering, power windows, etc. If you have an engine, a frame, the basics. You can MOVE from point A to point B. Adding horsepower, better gas mileage, etc…

That all comes AFTER, that’s making things more efficient. EFFECTIVE comes before efficient

ALL of my greatest wins followed this model. When I started YouTube my first 20 videos were on my iPhone with a cracked screen. That was effective enough to earn 6 figures and 20,000 subscribers in the first 120 days.

When I started a brand I had the most basic free theme for Shopify and paid $20 for a shoutout on a instagram page and sent them product images I made that were pretty shit.

My first tweets were a fraction of the quality of my current tweets. It was still effective enough to get the ball rolling, it was BETTER than doing nothing, it was imperfect.

Each iteration of bettering and refining we become more efficient

To seek effective and efficient from the jump, from day one. Not only is it not possible

But it’s also not needed

The sooner you get skin in the game the sooner you actually learn

This is why school is ineffective, if you need any evidence of that statement recall how much you remember from school.

We learn when things are NEEDED, when it’s hands on, when it’s immediately relevant.

Courses are a prime example of following the flawed schooling model. Memorizing a bunch of ‘tips’ and strategies before starting. With trading in the markets for example. Until you actually have money on the line, even if it’s $100. Until there’s actually a immediate demand you will forget and not retain 70%+ of the information. This is with anything you do…in fact we can look at our biology for this

If you want to become fit, you exercise, you DO actions. It is in DOING we have reason to adapt our muscles, brain neurons, cells, DNA, etc. The brain is not some floating piece of invisible matter. It’s a organ, brain neurons move & adapt just like any other organ. Without DOING there is no adaptation. Even things that are remembered are not understood. Remembering is NOT the same as understanding.

Remembering is trivia. Someone can blurt out the date the French revolution started yet have no idea why the war started and who was involved.

“Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten”

Embrace ruggedness. Get skin in the game.

Doing is living, dwelling is ineffective

Seek effective before efficient

Be ok with getting mud on your boots

Aim for better, not ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ when taking your first steps

Thank you for reading,


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