Regret. And other productivity tips (part 2)

Yesterday, I wrote about my one published book. Novel… the adjective, not the noun. Novel in that it’s the only book I’ve published… or written.

My book sold only three copies and I was the only customer. And my publisher, UMI Dissertation Services (a Bell & Howell company) didn’t offer very much support. Not even a book tour or anything like that!

My research topic was regret, and I actually learned so much more even after I defended my dissertation.

Here’s what I mean… after I defended and graduated, I hit a research wall. It was hard for me to collect data for future research.  I just wasn’t very good at getting people to share stories of things they blamed themselves for. I was not a productive researcher or writer.

In the meantime, a couple of important things happened:

  • I decided to flip the script, do a 180, and write not about consumer regret (you blame yourself for your bad consumer outcome) but about consumer grudgeholding (you blame someone else for your bad consumer outcome). Before long, the faucet started working. People don’t seem to mind talking about their grudges. Sweet, sweet flowing data at last!
  • And soon, other people who aren’t me started publishing about regret. At first, that made me feel bad, but soon I realized that this was actually a good thing. This meant that I’m not the only one interested in this topic.

And that’s what I mean about making the pie bigger, as I wrote yesterday. There’s no such thing as one single person or company having 100% market share. Find your audience, find out who appreciates your work, and serve them. Not everybody will. That’s okay.

This leads us to a couple more words of advice:

  1. Serve your audience. They are your biggest fans. It serves all parties involved if you succeed.
  2. The answer to your question, the solution to your problem, is out there. It just might be hiding where you least expect it. It might even be the opposite of what you are doing right now. Why not look there?

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!