In the early days of Facebook and Twitter, there was a great debate.

The subject was “walled gardens,” and the debate went like this: why should someone build a walled garden like a blog or a personal website, which can only be accessed by people who know where it is and how to find it, when you could instead build your digital presence in an “open garden” like a social media platform, where everyone could find you and your influence can grow?

The open garden concept won.

A decade later, we’re asking a different question: who’s responsible for weeding our…


Photo by Shane Drummond

You can’t hit your goals if your aim is all over the place.

As Benjamin P. Hardy says, your success depends on making incremental improvements in all the things you do. And Michael Simmons takes this a step further, noting that our biggest success stories come from people who became master-level specialists across multiple fields and then synthesized those interests into a one-of-a-kind advantage.

But you can’t make those improvements and master those niches if you’re trying to do everything all at once.

Move toward your goals as quickly or as methodically as you want, but no matter your speed…


Who is this guy?

You know you’ve seen him before.

In fact, you’ve probably seen him everywhere.

He’s the most popular man on Medium.

But he’s not a writer.

He’s a mustache in a suit.

And he’s here to teach you EVERYTHING.

He’ll show you how to be successful in the attention economy.

He’ll teach you who to follow on Medium.

He’ll teach you how to make more money on freelancing websites.

Heck, he’ll teach you how to improve your marketing and how to open sales conversations and how to answer “Why are you the best candidate for this job?”


What if you could rewire your brain to achieve game-changing creativity that sets you miles apart from everyone else?

You might think that kind of plan was genius.

Well, what exactly is a genius?

Simply put, a genius is someone who is capable of achieving things the average person can’t because they a genius sees the world in ways the average person can’t process.

We often associate genius with intelligence, but really… what’s intelligence?

Sure, a lot of intelligence is the practical matter of storing facts and figures in your brain, like a mental library. But it’s also knowing how…


On Tuesday, during a live Q&A about storytelling for nonprofits, someone asked me the following question:

“Our organization has been around for over 40 years, so we’re no longer new and interesting. Aside from our history, what stories do we have to tell?”

I think this is a big stumbling block for a lot of people.

A lifetime of novels and Hollywood movies have trained us to believe the only stories worth telling are those of sweeping change or bold new innovations. And sure, those are always worth telling.

But they’re not your only options.

To fix this, let’s answer…


Quick: what’s your next move after you discover a problem?

Well, that depends — on the size of the problem, your process, and you.

See, noticing a problem takes an eye for detail, while actually fixing that problem requires a whole different set of skills that extend well beyond critical thinking or engineering.

But there’s a twist when it comes to problem-solving:

The problem you notice may not be the problem that needs to be fixed.

For example, if you need more money, you may think the solution is “make more money”… but what if the real problem is that…


Sorry, champ. // Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

I was rewriting a client’s “About Us” page when I noticed something… amusing? Frustrating? Depressing? You decide.

Here’s the problem:

If you removed this company’s name from their About Us page, you would have literally NO IDEA who “us” was.

And you know you’ve seen these kinds of empty statements before, because your own About Us page probably includes some version of them, like:

“We’re an industry leader thanks to our long-term focus on quality, value, and convenience.”

“Our enterprise solutions offer best-in-class performance.”

“ What makes us different is our focus on our people.”

Holy hell, people.

Stop.

Why…


I’ve been hearing a lot about imposter syndrome lately.

Everyone I know seems to be grappling with it, even if they (in my opinion) have no reason to feel like this. But in many ways it’s unavoidable. Our online profiles are meticulously curated, our Instagram feeds are shimmering perfection, and our LinkedIn profiles are all bombast and grins.

As a result, we presume everyone else has their shit together except us, which is statistically impossible (and, as we all know deep down, a total lie). Yet we fall for it continuously.

Not me, but probably the kind of guy I’m supposed to want to be.

I’m no stranger to this syndrome. It held me…


I recently heard a PR vendor ask her client what their upcoming stories were.

“Well, we have a new feature.”

The client then explained what the feature is and what it does.

“Okay,” said the PR pro. “But what’s the story?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean what problem does this feature solve? Who has this helped? How has this changed the way things get done? Do you have any success stories? Do you have any testimonials? Do you have any data that explains what makes this feature so special?”

“No. It hasn’t even launched yet.”

“Then you don’t have…


I was recently playing a 20 year-old video game, and it taught me a critical lesson for living a better life.

Let me explain how this game works and you’ll see what I mean.

Heroes of Might & Magic III (or HMM3) is one of my favorite games of all-time. It’s a turn-based PC strategy game in which players control “heroes” (or generals) and “towns” (or revenue streams). The goal? Dominating the map by eliminating all of your competitors.

Defeating your enemies is accomplished by seizing all of their towns, which ends their ability to produce cash and hire new…

Justin Kownacki

I teach people how to tell better stories. http://justinkownacki.com @justinkownacki

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