My constant affliction is my Inbox, several constantly-conflicting Google Calendars, Skype, a cell phone that’s constantly beeping with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn activity… and a lot of this activity is negative. People whining about technology, society, government, people complaining about everything. The internet is a 2/47 snark carnival and Twitter is the main stage. (I’m not innocent of this by any means, my popular posts are me calling Ruby on Rails names.)
In this overwhelming storm of negativity I find myself asking, “Where’s my list? When do I get to keep track of the tasks I promised myself I’d complete?” For this, there is Lift. Go check it out: http://lift.do – if you don’t like web browsers you can search for the Lift application on your phone, it’s there.
Here’s my Lift at the moment. It’s simple, that’s what I like about it. There’s not a lot of bells and whistles being thrown around, the app isn’t constantly trying to give me trophies or convince me to attend a webinar. There’s no upsell, and I’m not getting overwhelmed by automated emails telling me to pay attention to it. It’s simple, and it’s focused on the positive. I’m trying to keep my list manageable at the moment: take some walks, learn Spanish, talk less, listen more, meditate, and write more. Clearly, I haven’t been using it enough, I pay for a gym membership, but I average two gym visits a year (that’s $550 per 20 minute recumbent bike session).
What’s great about Lift is that it is based on this idea that the best motivators are each other. Some people use the platform to quit smoking, others use it as a way to set some personal goals. It sounds a bit corny to the uninitiated, but you set some positive goals, you record that you’ve met them and random strangers fall out of nowhere to give you “props”.
Right, so in the last five minutes two people just decided to like the fact that I learned a bit more Spanish today. Doesn’t that sound incredibly silly? But, it isn’t. I’m motivated to keep on learning Spanish by these random acts of “drive-by” support. Who could dislike a site that has this Aristotle quote on it?
Happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities.
Lift was started by Tony Stubblebine some time ago. Tony Stubblebine was the one who helped build that ancient O’Reilly social network that never panned out, and he was also a very close witness to the founding of Twitter at Odeo (maybe even a participant, at this point he probably doesn’t want to be asked about Twitter very much – I’m just guessing.) Anyway, he went on to start a conference-focused social networking startup, and he’s the kind of guy who, if you’ve met him (even if only for a moment), you want him to succeed.
So, do it. Let’s all Tweet a little less; let’s all focus on pastimes and amusements a bit less and let’s focus on “virtuous activity”. If you were about to go think of the next super snarky Tweet that would gain you another follower: stop what you are doing, and go sign-up for Lift. I dare you, and I promise to give you mad props (I’m too old to say that in person BTW):