Learn by Shipping

September 10, 2022

My favorite strategy for leveling up a skill quickly is the 30 day challenge.  

You do one thing, every day, for 30 days without fail.  No days off, no weekends and no skipping a day.  

You can achieve some pretty amazing results just by doing this.

However, if you're really committed to improving then 30 day challenges are a good start, but not enough.

A commitment to shipping takes things to the next level.

Shipping makes 30 day challenges more engaging, real, gives you a definite and specific end goal and generally just focuses the mind on the challenge.  

In short, shipping is a 30 day challenge results amplifier.  

What do I Mean by Shipping?

I believe that as an entrepreneur it's our job to ship.   It's such an important and exciting concept to me that I'm building my whole life around creating and shipping things. 

Shipping simply means doing/building something that matters.  You can consider it as something that you've created or done that you could add to your CV or list as an achievement.

It can be building a deliverable like a book, product, video, course.  But it can also be an event like a competition, hike, race, match or some kind of challenge.

Here are some examples:-

  • Run a mile a day for 30 days and then ship by competing in a 5k race
  • Write a blog post every day for 30 days and then ship by writing and promoting an e-book
  • Play piano every day for 30 days and then record and publish yourself playing your favorite song on YouTube and share with your social network
  • Do cardio every day for 30 days and then compete in a Spartan race
  • Crossfit every day for 30 days and then compete in the Crossfit open

Why 30 day Challenges Alone aren't Always Enough

30 day challenges by themselves focus the mind on the action or the process.  It's all about the "doing" and not really about the result of doing...

When you endeavor to write a blog post every day, the goal is to put the hours in, take feedback and write something new and better each day.   At the end of the 30 days you're definitely a better writer than you were before, but you don't have anything to show for it.

In other words:- you've spent a month sharpening your saw, but you don't have anything to add to your CV or list in your bio.  

I'm not knocking having a process oriented mindset.  I spend a lot of my life focusing on actions and trusting that results will come as a result.  

But, actions alone can leave enough wiggle room for letting yourself off the hook.  You can smash keys on a piano playing a song that you already know or you can struggle to learn something that's on the edge of your ability.  Both are logged down as an hour of practice but we know that only one of those sessions really mattered.

Let's face it: in life, results matter.

That's where shipping comes in.

Nothing hones the mind more when practicing the piano knowing that you're going to perform in front of everyone at your friend's wedding next month.

Merely knowing that you're going to have to do something that matters at the end of the 30 day challenge gives you the perfect balance between an action focused mindset and a results focused.  You'll have more pressure to improve, be more engaged, your goal is clear and specific and you'll be less inclined to complete the challenge half heartedly.

In my personal life, as an example, one of my challenges is to practice pool for 2 hours each and every day for the next 2 months.  I'm all riled up because at the end of it, I'm competing in a large tournament in South East Asia.  That tournament both worries me and excites me just enough to make sure that I take every shot seriously.

So the next time you take on a 30 day challenge, think of an appropriate shipping commitment to double down your focus and amplify your results.

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