Hi, I'm Dalton

I'm a video editor and designer who reads and writes about what I learn. Read more about me here.

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Someone asked on Twitter, “does anyone have any useful sentences that will change my life immediately upon being read?” I saw a few of the responses on my feed and thought they were great. Maybe a bit cheesy, but helpful.

Here are some of the ones I liked the most.

Do it scared.

“You know what you need to do to improve your life. You’re just waiting for someone else to tell you because our minds are trained to take instructions rather than create its own path.”


“If you don’t pick a day to rest, your body will pick it for you.”


The time will pass anyway. (One of my favorite ideas.)

“I don’t want to go back to school. It will take four years!”

“Yes. But the time will pass anyway.”

“Man I think it depends.”

Yes. Few things are black and white.


I used to like the phrase, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

Doing the little things right is important. But there’s not enough time in the world to do everything well. Some things just need to be done.

You don’t approach buying groceries the same way you approach creating and preparing for a big presentation at work. You shouldn’t approach those things the same way. No matter how “well” you get your groceries, at the end of the day, if the groceries are in your pantry, you did your job.

Paying bills is like this, too. Sure, there are ways to be efficient and strategic in paying your bills, but all that matters is if your bills got paid. How they got paid doesn’t matter.

I once read that a good measure of one’s maturity is how organized their sock drawer was. Because people don’t expect anyone to look at their sock drawer, having it organized shows they have integrity and care about doing the small things well. When I first learned that, I thought it was genius. But now I think it just means you spend too much time organizing your sock drawer.

Some things need to be done well, but a lot of things just need to be done. Don’t confuse the two.


It was the easiest shot of the day.

A short chip to a back pin sitting at the bottom of a ridge put me in a great spot for birdie. I just had to get the ball on top of the hill and let it trickle down toward the hole.

I took a few practice swings, got my stance, and swung.

The ball sailed over the back of the green and into the woods behind the hole. I bladed it…and I was not happy.

Having shots like that on the golf course is embarrassing, especially when you’ve practiced them and are trying to prove you know how to play. But the only way to have fewer shots like that on the golf course is to put yourself in a position where you have more.

Here’s why.

My philosophy with golf used to be that I had to work on my swing at the driving rage more often than I played. This strategy worked initially, but once I learned the mechanics of the swing, practicing at the range more than playing hurt my progress.

The usual situation went like this: practice for a few weeks at my local course and then go play a round with friends or my dad. Even though my swing felt great at the range, when I finally went out on the course, it was like I forgot what golf was. I don’t mean just a few shots pulled here and there, but swinging and missing off the tee or topping a 7-iron from the fairway; total beginner stuff. That performance made me think I had to just practice more before I played again, so that’s what I did.

Even though I got invites to play, I’d deny them because I didn’t feel prepared or like I had worked hard enough at the range since my last round. And I said no, not because I was afraid of playing poorly—if I was the only one out there, I wouldn’t care—but because I was afraid of embarrassing myself by playing poorly in front of other people. I didn’t want to look like a fool. I didn’t want to fail.

But that exact mindset kept me from getting better.

Playing on the course is radically different from hitting balls at the range. Even if you’re out playing for fun, there’s a certain amount of pressure added that’s impossible to replicate at the driving range. This doesn’t only mess with your head, it messes with your swing too. It’s not that I forgot how to swing; it’s that hitting balls on the range doesn’t have the same amount of pressure as hitting a 7-iron into a green after an impeccable tee shot. You want to make the tee shot pay off, so you put pressure on yourself. Maybe you’re a bit nervous because the person you got paired up with is staring you down, waiting so they can hit, too.

Those are obstacles you have to overcome in your mind and body to swing well that you don’t face on the range. So, the only way to get used to that pressure is to be out on the actual golf course facing that pressure more. By nature, that will mean more chunked chip shots, topped irons, and maybe a few swings and a miss off the tee box with the driver. But to be great eventually, you have to be okay with being bad for a while. To get better, I had to be willing to look like a fool. I had to be willing to fail.

As Seth Godin says, “Learning is serial incompetence on our way to getting better.” Anyone who is now great at something was once bad. Even if they were born with an innate gift, they had to practice and cultivate their skill. They had to fail before they became great; they had to look like fools until they weren’t. You and I are no different. Don’t let the embarrassment of messing up keep you from getting better. Be okay with looking like a fool…until you don’t.

To write clean code, you have to first be okay with writing sloppy code.

To run a fast marathon, you have to first be okay with running slow.

To learn Spanish, you have to first be okay not knowing words in a conversation.

To have creative ideas, you have to first be okay with having lots of bad ideas.

I can’t expect to perform better on the golf course if I never get out on the golf course. I have to fail, and fail, and fail some more; it’s the only way to improve.

If you want to be successful, you have to be okay with looking like a fool. Failure at first leads to mastery at last. Mastery follows foolishness.

Embarrassment is the cost of entry.

If you aren’t willing to look like a foolish beginner, you’ll never become a graceful master.

– ​Ed Latimore​


People look stupid in meetings when they’re asked questions they didn’t prepare for.

“I didn’t check that.”

“I’m not sure what those numbers mean.”

“I’ll talk to finance.”

Are all different ways of saying, “I did not prepare for that question.”

That isn’t a bad thing (most of the time). One reason for meetings is to open up your department to other smart people in your organization so they can help reveal your blind spots.

But if you want to be a killer employee, ask, ““What are the five questions someone might ask that could [mess me up]?” And then “Add slides answering those questions to the appendix. That’s your body armor.”

If you do this, and someone still asks a question you didn’t prepare for, make a mental note and prepare for that—and other things like it—next time.


Doing hard things for a long time isn’t difficult because they’re hard or because you have to do them for a long time.

It’s difficult because the payoff between effort and reward can be years or decades. When it feels like the reward will never come, we get discouraged and quit.

If you got six-pack abs and looked like Terry Crews after just one workout, you’d go to the gym every day. It wouldn’t matter how tired or busy you are; you’d get those bulging biceps because visible progress makes doing hard things easy. Conversely, if you gained twenty pounds after eating ice cream or drinking a few sodas, you’d never have ice cream or soda again.

But that’s not how life works. One workout won’t make you fit, but a hundred workouts in a row will. One bowl of ice cream won’t make you obese, but a hundred bowls in a row will. But what if there were a way to make it seem like one workout made you fit or that just one bowl of ice cream made you gain weight?

There is.

Aside from sheer grit and discipline—which are required—making the long-term results visible in the short term can help you stick to the long, hard path.

If you’re trying to stick to working out, don’t rely on your physical appearance to keep you motivated because, often, your body is the last thing to change. Instead, buy a digital scale that measures body weight, muscle mass, and fat—and a notebook. Every morning, weigh yourself and write down your stats. Since these numbers change more frequently than your physical appearance, even if they’re by small amounts, you’ll be encouraged to keep those numbers trending in the right direction.

The same goes for dieting. If you’re trying to lose weight and stick to a diet, buying a digital scale can help you track your body weight and fat more minutely. Maybe you don’t see any changes after dieting for three weeks, but your body weight is down three pounds. That’s a win!

Jerry Seinfeld famously created the “don’t break the chain” method. He taught younger comedians that the key to writing great jokes is to write jokes every day. So, he said to buy a yearly wall calendar and every day that they wrote a joke, to draw a big X on it. Their only goal once they started was not to break the chain. This is the same idea. Their goal wasn’t to draw Xs on their calendar; it was to be a better comedian, but that takes time. If, in three months, they didn’t feel like they were funnier or had more jokes, they could look back at their calendar and see a record of all the jokes they wrote. The Xs made the invisible, visible, and visible progress makes doing hard things easier.

Doing the hard thing isn’t hard; it’s doing the hard thing for what feels like forever without seeing any results. The more things you can do to decrease the amount of time between “effort” and “reward” by making the invisible progress visible, the easier it will be to do hard things for a long time and increase your odds of success.