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Why Honing Skills is Vital for Online Success
Last Updated August 8th, 2011

When I was a kid, my dad crushed me on the Chess board, and then he’d rub it in.

And it gets worse.

You see, my dad didn’t believe in playing Chess for nothing. We always had to wager something.

If it were money, life would have been easy.

But his preferred method of payment was push-ups. A lot of push-ups.

And he wouldn’t take it easy on me either.

If I owed him 100 push-ups, he expected me to do each and every push-up with perfect form.

And when I’d get tired after 20, 30, 40, or even 70 push-ups, there he’d be… Smiling, and saying “now gimme my money.” He wanted the rest of the push-ups, and he’d wait until I finished them.

I vividly remember daydreaming for the day that I’d beat him… or the day that I could do an unending amount of exercise.

The latter was obviously impossible, so I hit the library. I started reading and learning all about Chess.

After months of studying and practicing, I went to play my father once more, and I demolished him.

I got good. Real good.

I kept beating him, and by the time I was done, he owed me hundreds of push-ups.

It felt AWESOME.

Fast forward like 17 years, and I now realize that this was one of the most important lessons of my life.

The real world will never take it easy on you. If you owe 100 push-ups, you gotta pay up.

And if you keep getting smacked down, it’s up to you to get out of it.

As you might have guessed, the internet world is no different.

Ever notice how I always quote research, books, tests, and other pieces of data?

Years ago, the internet made me pay up, so I did as I did as a kid. I studied up.

And as you can see, that worked too :-).

Question is are you “studying up?”

You’re here reading Social Triggers, and that’s a start.

But are you also honing your craft? Are you learning how to do what you do better?

If you’re writing blog posts, are you learning to become a better writer? If you’re a life coach, do you actively seek to improve your skills? If you’re running a business, do you seek to streamline anything that seems inefficient?

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108 comments Leave a comment

Have you regarded as adding some videos to the write-up? I believe it will truly improve viewers understanding.

Yayson Potter

Very nice story and I love how you took something from your childhood and put it all together to explain how people need to learn what they are doing to become better instead of just going along.


Is Darren Hardy your brother? In his book The Compound Effect he starts off by talking about his dad and he sounds a lot like yours. 🙂


What is the font that you use for the headlines?

Denise Duffield-Thomas

This is a fantastic article. I often get other coaches or writers just starting out ask me “how do you find your clients”.

It’s a long answer, because I’m constantly marketing, constantly learning new things and often automate a lot of them so they snowball and accumulate over time. I’ve been writing blog posts for 3 years and I’ve only just hit the sweet spot in terms of content.

There used to be an ad in Australia for Pantene shampoo.

“It won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen”.

Same thing with any success in life. Keep going and expecting great results. Eventually you’ll get there!

xx Denise DT


I’m glad to see you changed the headline. I was going to be polite and say nothing, but you would’ve gotten fewer unsubscribes and more retweets with this headline. 😀


Ana | how to build a list

This is a great post, Derek. Learning the lesson is one thing, but the fact that you are able to relay this to your readers is admirable. We often learn lessons, but when you are able to teach what you learned, you know that you really got the message.

I constantly work to hone my skills – it’s the only way to get ahead of the pack.


I am always learning new things on a continuous basis I have been an internet marketer since 2006 and I am always looking to get better at what I do as a blogger, entrepreneur, and affiliate marketer. Learn, learn, learn, and applying what you learn to your business is the key to a long term profitable online business.

    Derek Halpern

    Can’t say I disagree there


Oh yes – I read up on a lot of things. The question is getting focused on something that sells.
As of you, I’m very inspired by the way you write. Maybe an idea for a future post would be blog-writing-technique. Why to use short sentences? Why to use short paragraphs? When to use emotional outburst? Etc.

    Derek Halpern

    That’s an interesting idea. I’ve never thought about teaching people how I write… would be tough though. Most of what I learned, I learned through practice and lots of reading.

Richard Scott

I really like this post. It sounds like something I would do. Every time I tackle a project I like to dive in and learn everything there is to learn about it. I call it obsessiveness and it really drives me crazy at times, but it forces me to learn things inside out. It keeps me up all hours of the night. I use this with my niche sites as well so I can really give the best detailed information there is. I never want to stop learning. But I also can never find the time to read the stacks of books I have… 🙂

    Derek Halpern

    Yea, that happens. Sometimes you need to make time to read. I actually disconnected my TV for years while I ‘studied up’

Lee Silverstein

Well done Derek! I’m a new follower of your blog and want to thank you for providing me with wonderful advice on site design, email capture etc.
I immediately put your suggestions in to place and know that it will help me grow my business.
Thanks again,

    Derek Halpern

    Glad you’ve found me!

Gareth Sear

Yup – same as you. I turn to the library or the modern day equivalent. I listen to pod casts, I read books and blogs, I practice, tweak and learn. I make mistakes and pay the price. But this is an important part of the learning curve. Wihtout mistakes how do you know you are doing it right. And let’s remember you will never be perfect, you will never be the best, so you will always keep learning.

Same as Mitch -Scrabble was my learning ground as a kid.

Good reading.


    Derek Halpern

    Scrabble… I never played as a kid, but that’s a new addiction!

Linus Rylander

Hey Derek.

As a copywriter, I just wanted to say this:

This is a damn good post.


    Derek Halpern

    Thanks Linus

Mohan Arun

Well what can I say after reading this: “If you owe 100 push-ups, you gotta pay up. And if you keep getting smacked down, it’s up to you to get out of it.” :: People who owe me have never paid up, and dont seem to have any intention of paying up. And nothing bad seems to happen to them for cheating me out of what is owed.

    Derek Halpern

    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t

leon Noone

G’Day Derek,
Whenever someone says, “practice makes perfect,” I can’t help myself saying; “no: perfect practice makes perfect.”
Your post also reminded me of one of my favourite John Wooden quotes; “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Back in the 80s and 90s, I learnt heaps from reading Henry Mintzberg.
He wouldn’t let anyone into his MBA classes unless they had real, onjob management experience. He also had an interesting theory about how experienced managers handled really thorny problems.

Mintzberg believed that they, even unwittingly, “scrolled through” mentally when they’d run into similar isssues before. He believed that based on previous experience they’d work out what hadn’t worked in the past and reach a stage when the solution would be fairly obvious because it was the only thing left to do.

A lot of the positions I take about staff performance matters come about because I’ve discovered what doesn’t work. Doesn’t endear me to lots of HR practitioners………!

Make sure you have fun


    Derek Halpern

    That’s a really good quote.

Mitchell Allen

Derek, this is a great story. My dad is (still!) the same way, minus the wagers. He regularly destroys me in Scrabble, though I get in a lick or two every ten games.

I agree that we must continually learn. I practice programming every day, studying from the masters. Same with chess and fiction writing.

Carry on, brother!



    Derek Halpern

    Ahhh. I think the wagers are what made it so fun heh.

Karl Gephart

Awesome article, Derek! Chess has been a major part of my life, too! Chess teaches you some of life’s valuable lessons–how to critically think and decision make in a time crunch, how to sacrifice, and how to be on guard and aggressive, among other things. Sounds like your father’s parenting style made you a tougher person, better able to better tackle life’s problems by improving your skills. I’m reminded of a quote from Star Trek Nemesis of Picard to Shinzon, “…that’s what it’s like to be human–to make yourself better than you are.” Whether to impress a boss or stay ahead of a competitor, one must constantly strive to improve one’s skills in order to effectively evolve.

    Derek Halpern

    Yea, Chess was a big part of my life, and gotta say, it taught me a lot of things about being aggressive… even when its not the time to be aggressive.

    I learned a lot from Poker too.

Krista Stryker

Great story, sounds like you learned an invaluable lesson from your dad.

Studying up is an incredibly important thing to do. I’m a writer, and I’m constantly taking courses, reading about writing and working with coaches to improve my writing skills.

Everyone needs to do this, no matter what your craft. Stop learning and the world will pass you by.

    Derek Halpern

    That’s the right way to do it for sure. There’s too many people who stop learning when they’re “done” learning and that’s just plain dumb heh.

Tom Ewer

I can’t get enough of stories like the one in your post. Providing such an eye-catching title and following it up with an engaging yarn just serves to highlight that (a) you practice what you preach, and (b) it works!

As for me…well I’m always trying to improve myself. And I am a firm believer that you improve yourself most by doing. I’d rather spend weeks making mistakes, learning from them, and getting through it all with sheer determination, then sit down and be taught.

“Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.”
~Vilfredo Pareto

    Derek Halpern

    Awesome Tom. And awesome quote.

George Williams

Good story Derek. My Dad taught me how to play chess too. And I got pretty good at it. School chess clubs, libraries, $5 park games (you meet some real pros there – no kidding), tournaments etc. One of my favorite stories about why chess is such a great game took place when my Dad was on vacation in foreign country for two weeks. Everyday he would set up his chess board on the beach, play pawn to K4 and just leave it there until someone asked for a game. And they did, often. The players were from all over the world and many couldn’t speak English, but it didn’t matter. Chess is truly an international game and so much more… It teaches you to think logically and creatively in a number of different ways, and there is no luck involved. What could be better than that? And how can you not have respect for someone who out-thinks you in a chess game? I haven’t played for years, but memories of some great matches and the life lessons that went with them (like 5 hour games every night for a week with a relative I rarely spoke to) will always remain. Thanks for the reminder. It’s now 35 years later, and I probably still couldn’t defeat my Dad in a chess game. But that was never the point 🙂

    Chandler Turner

    I just accidentally posted this to Derek.

    No, George, it was never the point. What a great add-on at the end.

    My father taught me to play too. He was a Duke graduate, a member of the track and swimming teams, and a member of their “dinner orchestra”. That was in the 1930′s. Later, he became a physician. He used to beat my brains out, regardless of what we did. And that was part of the lesson – how to lose and recover, and he was a shining example. The Great Depression wiped his family out and he paid his way through college. He dropped out and sold insurance for 10 years and saved enough money to put himself through medical school – something all but impossible today.

    But for me – he was there – always there. When I finally could beat him at am few things, it was pretty hollow. But you know that, don’t you.

    Derek Halpern

    What I left out of this story was that I became obsessed with Chess. I played online, and yes, I’d go to the park too, and consistently win. Some hustlers there, but good players nonetheless


I feel your pain and triumph. I too was built tough and I so thankful for that today. With the internet, I’m constantly on a learning curve. The social media train is a fast moving machine and if you don’t jump on it you get crushed. Technology has created another group in society. The techo illerate.

Dawn Kotzer

Another solid article Derek.
I think you’ve uncovered the secret mindset…It’s all practice. The work itself is just practice…As I like to say- “Life is just a Working Title.”
I’m committed to a short reading list of blogs and yours is at the top of the list.
many thanks.

    Derek Halpern

    Have you ever read the book Talent is Overrated? You’d like it.


I am trying to get better at sales. I have a lot to work through but I think the working through part just got better and now I just need to learn how to do it better. I appreciate my employer so much! the way I see it we are in a business relationship where he gets work from me and I get a paycheck from him.

I read social triggers and it helps me in dealing with people and presenting stuff. I work in a tough industry to sell sometimes: insurance. But that’s why I am all the more encouraged to be the best! cause it’s hard 🙂

I need and accept all the help I can get Derek!!

ps. I am the girl who got you all confused thinking you were linked on Tim Ferriss’ post.

    Chandler Turner

    I used to be an agent with Northwestern Mutual. Good company. Tough industry.

    I heard a rookie agent introduce herself with the tyical marketing-speak that her company had taught her. Unfortunately, everyone in the room had heard it all before and stopped paying attention after about the first 10 seconds – and she went on for about 2 minutes listing every product and servcie that the company handled. B-O-R-I-N-G – and immediately forgetable.

    Your best bet would be to come up with a relatable story about why you are in the busienss. Did you see a relative die without life insurance and have it run the family left behind. Did you see a grandparent lose a home due to lack of disability insurance or bad mortgage advice? Make your story personal, impactful, and most of all, brief. You have about 10 to 15 seconds of introcduction time to gain interest or turn someone off. Yes, that is all you have. Do not sound like eveyone else.

    If you want to read EXCELLENT books on the subject of sales, find Jeff Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling and then read David Sandler’s The Sandler Rules – 49 Questions – at least twice. Then read it again. Then go back and Read Gitomer’s book again. Last,y pick up a copy of The Tiping Point by Malcom Gladwell to learn jsut how important small changes are. He proves it through a number of real world examples thave have been well studied. You are not likely to do all of the things in each book, but if you can commmit to learn most of them, you will do better than 95% of all sales people regardless of what you do.


      thank you! I’ve read about these authors before through seminars and other things! next on my list 🙂

        Chandler Turner

        There are hundreds of them out there, perhaps thousands. Most are poor. Some are just motivators with little substance to offer. These guys are quite different. As someone with a great deal of experience, I can tell you that they are at the top of the game. Also might try Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae. He talks about the speed of change and sales with the internet in consideration.

        Good luck.


What a Dad, the lesson was real and I am sure he paid his wager with joy, because he vwould have realised that you have learnt the lesson. Thanks Derek, very encouraging message

    Derek Halpern

    Thanks Robert. Glad you liked it.


Great lesson. Another spin on it is “I’ll show ’em”. Has worked for me on more than one occasion. Maybe that is why accountability is often suggested as a motivator.


Hi Derek,

Yesterday I signed up for your newsletters since I’m on a mission to decide exactly what I should be doing with my chess training website… Less than 24 hours later i got your update on your chess experience as a kid. What a co-incidence, I thought for a few moment you addressed that to me personally! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Derek Halpern

    Look at that. now you know you’er in the right place. Not only do I do marketing, I’m also a fell chess player 😀


Hi Derek
I’m still doing pushups and just beginning to see the light after about 18 months of major time on IM via SEO and paid search using mainly WordPress, and Thesis. A most rewarding game. How many hours a day do you sit in front of a screen? Richard PS Your posts are terrific!

    Derek Halpern

    You’d be scared if I told you how long I sit in front of a computer. Ha ha.


      Beware of computor addiction. How can you tell? If you get the flue (and you will) and a fever, and want to go to sleep and you desperately try to insert the cursor in the right place to delete wakedness, then you know. No prises for guessing how I know.

        Derek Halpern

        Heh. It’s not so much computer addiction here. It’s more like work addiction 🙂

Mark Hockenberry

Great story Derek! My dad taught my brothers and me chess at a young age, and I think just trying to beat him was incentive enough to come back and try again. It was a good lesson tool for setting our minds for any challenges in life. I’ve been a paraplegic at 17 (car accident), 49 now and I must say that learning wordpress and getting the Thesis theme has been the best challenge I’ve personally taken on at being the best I can be as a webmaster. You guys have an awesome team that I’m glad to feel a part of! Keep up the great content, can’t wait for the next story man!

    Derek Halpern

    Mark, glad you’re here, and I’m sorry about the accident. Also, thank you for the kind comments. I don’t tell stories often as I usually focus on actionable tips, but I figure this was a nice change 😀

Dewane Mutunga


This story really resonates with me as I’ve had similiar experience with my dad, (yes, I’ve been crushing him now for the 15 years or so lol)

My first love is learning, my very first memorable gift as a child was enyclopedia brittanica and I read each page of every one of them.

As I grew older my love for learning grew. So now I’m anal about info, if I hear something I don’t know or am not familiar with I HAVE to look it up and find answers. If something is going wrong or there’s missing links then I HAVE fix it or it’ll drive me nuts. So yes, I’m forever learning and honing my skills 🙂

P.S. I’d love to see where your chess game is too. Whenever your ready, no pressure! Lol

    Derek Halpern

    I have not played Chess competitively in years. I need to pick it up again, though, heh.

    I played all through junior high, high school, college, and after college, I quit. I’d like to start playing again soon though.

      Dewane Mutunga

      I can dig it lol

Pamela Dominguez

Hehehe what makes me laugh is that I always asked my mom when I was going to stop studying, and she said NEVER! I was so mad at that answer, and now, I understand why she said that, because now that I could stop, I don´t want to.

    Derek Halpern

    So true. You always need to study. The difference is, when you’re older, you get to study what you want 🙂

Janice Gentles-Jones

I am a lifelong learner. Everything you need to live a purposeful, fulfilled life can be found through learning. Whether it is a book of someone else before you who has lessons to share or maybe it’s your own experiences that you can later share but if we take the time to “study up” as you say we can almost be certain it will improve our lies. Thank you for sharing your story, Derek.

    Derek Halpern

    No problem Janice. I’m glad you liked it.

Chandler Turner

I have been in sales and marketing for 38 years and have been trained by some of the finest sales schools and systems in the country. In a small business network here in Hampton Roads, one of the members with a long corporate sales training background offered a 10 week sales school for members for free. I was one of the first to sign up for it. By the way, I also sell a sales training course of my own creation. The minute you think you kow it all in your chosen field is the minute you start to lose ground and begin to fail.

The one thing that most – and I mean most – small to medium sized businesses fail to do is to learn how to sell what they have created. It is not at all intuitive as most think. They assume that people are going to flock to their new widget and buy it because it is so great. Those people may as well go work for someone else because they are on the road to failure.

Keep ’em goign Derek.

    Derek Halpern

    Will do Chandler. This article is also a great example of a sales pitch without a sales pitch.

    IF I were selling an information product, this is the perfect story to tell right before I go into it heh.

      Chandler Turner

      You are smarter than you look. 🙂 LOL. Now, who in his right mind would try to sell information products?

      It is amazing how subtle, almost imperceptible changes make a huge difference in gaining attention. Starting with a story is one such metod. It gains an emotional buy-in by taking us into our formative years with a person who influenced us – good or bad.

      My father did not demand push-ups. But as in math, I always had to “prove” my work. If I made a statement, I had to show him where my idea came from and reason it out. I can remember cursing a blue streak more than one time when I had to look chit up. Used to burn my arse! but I learned where to go when I needed to find valuable information.

        Derek Halpern

        Chandler, I’m a sales guy at heart over here :-P. I Just happen to write good articles too, ha ha.


      We’re all speculating how many thousands of dollars you left on the table because you didn’t close the article with a sales pitch.




Hey Derek,

Good piece, to many stop learning as soon as they possible can. Most of the time it’s after they finish high school. I study my arse off with anything that interests and beyond until I’m six fee under. It’s the only way to continually find new places to expand and grow. Keep up the good work.
P.S. I like the double spacing on your blog posts makes for an easier read.

    Derek Halpern

    It’s not really double spacing. There’s just extra line height for paragraphs. That’s built in Thesis, and yea, it does make it easier to read.

    And you’re also right. Too many people stop learning after school, and that’s just silly. heh.

Roberto Lebron

Thanks for this post, Derek. Yes, I’m constantly investing in myself to develop my knowledge and skills. Learning is a life-long adventure, and the most important thing we can learn is how to learn. There’s an excellent book about keeping a fresh outlook — among a great many other things. It’s called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. I recommend it.

    Derek Halpern

    Zen Mind? Sounds like good stuff. I’ll check it out Roberto.

Tim Sherfy

One of my biggest fears is growing stale in my writing or coaching. We can always get better at our craft; there is always someone who can do it better, so there is always more to learn. If you approach learning as a treasure hunt instead of a necessary evil, the process becomes as rewarding as the knowledge you gain.

    Derek Halpern

    Too many people think it’s evil. I think it’s a treasure hunt too. Love learning new stuff.

Laura Upcott

Hi Derek,
Your timing with this story is perfect! You inspired me to keep pushing ahead with my work to improve our website. Last week our Google page rank dropped a couple notches. I was shocked because I’ve been working hard to improve our SEO. Your post reminds me to keep learning and working toward my goal improving our website.

    Derek Halpern

    Laura, that’s exactly what I like to hear. But let’s be honest for one second.

    You can focus on SEO, and that’s important and all, but in the end, you don’t really control your page rank. Google does. I’d focus on what you can control. 🙂

      Laura Upcott

      I’ll keep that in mind. I can’t control Google. My real goal is to create a better experience for people who visit our site and interact with our company. Thanks for the great advice!

        Derek Halpern

        No problem Laura!

Al Smith

Thanks for the lesson Derek. with the recent launch of my new site and services, I am and have been learning as much as possible.
Always remain teachable.

Appreciate the reminder. Good stuff.


    Derek Halpern

    I’ve been doing this stuff for years. And not to sing my praises, but I’m pretty damn great at what I do.

    And you know what? I still study. I still read. And I still make time to learn more about what I do.

Kelly E McClelland

Nice story and great dad! I learned from my dad in a different way. He was a man of super integrity and earned respect from all he met. He taught me to not be afraid to explore new options and to actually enjoy the experiments of life. That’s been a driving force in my life. Being honest, earning respect and being open to new options… hope my sons picked that up too!

    Derek Halpern

    Good stuff Kelly. Can’t say I learned that from my dad, but that’s for another day 🙂


Iteration is a huge part of success… do it, then do it better. On the web, this is even more important because of the pace at which things are moving. Was was great last month could be terribly out of date the next.

Great post, Derek. My condolences to your dad 🙂

    Derek Halpern

    Josh, I’m not sure about that. People like to say the web evolves fast, and yea, it does… if you’re focusing on every new shiny thing that comes to market.

    Me? I focus on the basics. I stick to blogging and email marketing. Blogs aren’t going anywhere, and neither are emails. I dabble with new stuff, but I keep it simple.


Great article … but I’m laughing at something here haha.

Look at your signup box. You’ve given it a border-radius of 3px. But look at the top left. It doesn’t have a rounded edge. Why? Because you wrote this in the CSS:

border-top-left-radius: 3px 3xp;


    Derek Halpern



      Actually, you probably already know this, but the most efficient way to write this is:

      border-radius: 3px;

      You don’t have to specify each corner if you’re doing it on all four corners. 😀

        Derek Halpern

        I told you I’m not a coder.


          I’m not a coder either.

          This is markup. 😛

Laura Ribas

You are so right Derek. One of my main objectives is to be excellent at my work. And for that goal I invest time and money to be outstanding.

Thanks for inspiring!


    Derek Halpern

    That’s what I’m talking about Laura! Too many people work… and then when they go home, they putz around.

    Me? I work, and when I’m not working, I learn how to work better and smarter.

    Funny thing is, it never feels like work when you love what you do.


      Derek, Do you have family? You’re always working! And I’m glad you are because i get to reap the benefits of your research! It’s so tough to find that balance. One of the reasons I really appreciate Cris Brogan’s stuff. He’s a family man, and is always working. He incorporates family into his work which is encouraging to know it can be done.

Jessica Suranyi-Hammond

Great story. I could have imagined here- if you were backed by a particular institution, some advertising for the CIPR or PRCA, or other training institute equivalent, or your offer for training. I didn’t see it, which I kinda like about you. It left it open-ended and up to me to decide to “study up”- Thanks!

    Derek Halpern

    You’re right Jessica. This is actually the perfect story to tell… right before announcing the release of an information product 😀

Dave Linabury

Great story, Derek!

I am constantly reading to improve my writing and researching my topics fully left I write a half-assed post and suffer ridicule forever. In fact, one of the best new books I got to help improve my writing is titled, “It was the Best of Sentences, It was the Worst of Sentences” by June Casagrande. Hilarious approach to grammar. I prefer to read humorous or irreverent approaches to difficult topics. It makes a dull subject so much more palatable.

    Roberto Lebron

    Thanks for the reference. I’ll look it up. You may also enjoy The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.

    Derek Halpern

    Good stuff Dave. I have never heard of that, but maybe I’ll check it out. I still read, and study Strunk and White. It’s short, to the point, and it’s great for learning to become a better writer.

Jimmy Wrex

As a blogger in the IM niche I find that my blog posts often consist of the research I’m doing for my own niche site campaigns. So I blog about the strategies I plan to follow, and how I plan to implement them. Writing about them in depth so that others can understand it helps me to commit it to memory and become an expert in that subject.

I guess that’s how I hone my craft.

    Derek Halpern

    You’re right Jimmy. Talking about your personal experience is always great. People like to read it, much like people love to read about Pat Flynn’s Monthly Income Updates. The psychology behind it is simple: when people see someone else doing something, they can imagine doing it themselves. It’s about triggering the Mirror Neurons 🙂

      Jimmy Wrex

      I just looked up Mirror Neurons . . . facinating! Good one Derek.

Annie Sisk (Pajama Productivity)

So well said. Sometimes we get so caught up in the ancillary stuff (marketing efforts particularly) that we forget WHY we’re doing it. Getting better takes time. Getting GREAT takes serious commitment and practice.

    Derek Halpern

    You’re right Annie. Getting better does take time, but it also requires people to practice AND research.

    Many people just jump right in and start practicing. And while that may work, you need to do the right things to get good… and you’ll never know the right things unless you first study up.


funny, coz i’m a life coach ^^
and yes I read your posts, and improve myself and my skills everyday
japanese call that kaizen
i call that just growing
anyway thanx for this refreshing story

    Derek Halpern

    You’re welcome Jean-Luc.

Lise Halskov

Hi Derek. Tough dad, but it does seem like you have gained insight from it. For me, working in my own company has given me more opportunity to improve on what I know and learn new stuff, whereas when I used to work for a company, we almost had to beg in order to get new knowledge from the outside. And it does make a lot of sense to keep up with new development, since the pace is so fast now. How we used to do it, doesn’t cut it anymore.
Thanks again, Lise


    I like that! 🙂 better than dads that let you win or soccer games that give you a ribbon and trophy for showing up! I think that some parents want to give their kids a boost of morale/self esteem but that’s a shortcut. So much better when it’s the real thing!

      Gregory C.

      I remember reading a few studies in developmental psychology that assert that when it comes to raising the youngins’, the best way to keep moral high in an effective way is to compliment the kids on their work ethic, and not for what may seem like innate traits.

      For example, a kid gets an ‘A’ on a math test, you might be inclined to say: “You did a great job, you are so smart!”

      Whereas the better thing to say would be: “Nice work, you must have worked really hard to get that grade.”

      It seems that complimenting work ethic keeps kids ready to work to achieve, whereas complimenting their “smarts” may make them frustrated the first time that they encounter something that they aren’t able to do well.

      Just thought I’d throw that out there given the context of this post.


        Gregory, for me you somehow hit the nail on the head with your comment.

        As a businessperson, the issue I sometimes have with studying is that it doesn’t produce a clear tangible result. You know, it isn’t ‘income producing action’ like writing an email or making a sales call. But of course I’d never write a good email if I didn’t study.

        So complementing myself for the effort I make to learn (instead of just for cash results) will now help me do more of the right things in the long term.

        It’ll keep me working in the best way (research plus practice) even when I can’t see an end result. Because I’ll now be adding my research effort to my ‘score’. Thanks for that comment. Not off topic for me.

        Derek Halpern

        This article really isn’t about parenting. It’s about the importance of learning.

          karelys davis

          haha! I know it’s not about parenting.

          But I think there is something really valuable when it comes to success and learning. If you know you can get good at something through all your effort then the world opens up.

          If you believe that you’re supposed to be born a certain way or in a set of circumstances then life sucks.

          I am glad your dad didn’t let you win. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t have gotten good at chest.

          And that spills over in other areas of life as well.

          Gregory C.

          Notice I was replying to another comment.

    Derek Halpern

    Hi Lise, you’re right. When you work for another company, it’s tough to pull knowledge in from the outside. Some companies act arrogant, and think they know better. It’s not always the case, obviously heh.

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