The Seinfeld Strategy

I recently read a story about Jerry Seinfeld and what the author titled “The Seinfeld Strategy,” essentially a personal formula for success.

The story was about a young comic who had a chance meeting with Seinfeld in a club. The young comic, acknowledging how Seinfeld had managed to remain relevant and successful for so many years, asked for any tips. Seinfeld replied “The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes. And the way to create better jokes is to write jokes every day.”

“Get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. Next, get a big red magic marker. Then for each day you complete your task of writing, put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. And then your only job is to not break the chain.”

Probably the most important thing in all that is what’s not said: nothing about results, just don’t break the chain. And by not breaking it, you’re creating good habits that should serve you well, even with something like searching for a job.

It’s but one of a hundred different personal success strategies, and not all work for all people. The point is that structure can be a positive thing. And everyone can benefit from some positive structure when searching for a job.

The Seinfeld Strategy is a three-legged structure-stool:

  • Stop procrastinating. Searching for a job is hard, but you can’t put it off just because you don’t want to do it. Part of searching for a job is simply being at the right place or on the right website at the right time. And creating a consistent task-pattern to follow day after day will help you not put things off, but also help you get back up the day after one that maybe didn’t go so well.
  • Mastery follows consistency. Task-patterns are practice sessions. The more you practice, the better you get. And as you get better but keep practicing, you being to develop a mastery of that skill. Again, telling jokes or looking for a job, it doesn’t matter. You simply want to be the best, most-prepared, most informed you can be and the rest will fall into place.
  • Pick tasks that are meaningful but also realistic. Making 5 solid contacts a day is probably doable. Getting 10 interviews a day probably isn’t. Whatever you’re doing, be honest with yourself about what you can and will do and then create your tasks (and set your expectations) accordingly.

Best of luck.

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