I wrote about a dozen books over seven years, so it isn't unusual for others to talk to me about their ambitions to write. Overall I found that the biggest reason people haven't written a book yet is not a lack of literacy, nor the inability to understand publishing (indeed, you can Google self-publishing resources and have a book out by next week). The excuse was something intangible that hadn't come together yet.

"I haven't found the time.", "I need money to do it right.", "I am not living in the right place to really promote it."

Often, these are lies we tell ourselves. To quote a previous column, "You will always need more resources than you have, more time than you got and more energy than you can muster. If Jobs, Musk and other visionaries waited until everything was perfect, then we wouldn't be talking about Jobs, Musk and their contemporaries right now."

Those books as well as major consulting gigs and even my last acquired startup were all done under some kind of resource poverty: Time, money or location. Call me crazy, but those actually made the opportunities not only better, but increased the chances of those opportunities actually showing up. 

Personal scarcity: Isn't it amazing how we manage to get our projects done just in the nick of time, no matter how long the deadline? We always pace ourselves, expanding and contracting our productivity, based on the time available. Our biggest constraints are often personal: Relationship needs like our families, physical needs like our rest, or emotional needs like our hobbies. After having my first kid, my workweek was slashed from 60 hours to about 15 hours - and I launched two startups, did two TED talks and blossomed my career while being his primary caretaker. It's not about time, but efficiency.  

Financial scarcity: We may dream about being billionaires, but complete financial freedom can actually be a detriment to productivity. As once-popular rapper Kanye West shows with his increasingly disappointing albums, artists and entrepreneurs often thrive when they have less resources simply because they must be more creative and innovative. Waiting until your money is better is often a mistake.

Location scarcity: It's not about Silicon Valley. I have meet fascinating entrepreneurs in nontraditional areas like Cincinnati, Detroit and Miami aiming to put their city on the map or bring it back to past glory. I also know entrepreneurs who are sitting on their laurels until they can move to a major city, which is akin to an author waiting until they meet an agent to type any words. The question is, where can you make the most impact?

Published on: May 12, 2016