Why things take 100x longer than you think they should

I hate grocery stores.

I mean, how am I expected to ever find a can of beef broth in an endless sea of food products?

Is it with the canned foods on aisle 5 or is it with the more liquidy stuff like orange juice and cottage cheese on aisle 37?


My theory = there is a special mysterious hidden aisle of unfindable grocery store products where they keep stuff like my wife’s favorite lemon cracker cookies, beef broth and angel hair pasta. Because for the life of me, each time I have to go to the grocery store I spend 45 min. crisscrossing every aisle, looking for one freaking little item.

Then eventually I give up and start crisscrossing the store looking for the punk 21-year-old stocker to ask him where my hidden items are. But usually that’s a failure too.

Maybe he magically appears to ask if I need anything, but when he senses me coming to ask a question he disappears to the hidden aisle of hard-to-find items too?

At first…


It’s the only logical explanation.

You know that graph floating around the internet which every motivational blog post written after 2010 includes in their article?

The one that shows what people think success looks like on the left side (straight arrow of ascent) and then a scribbly mess of an arrow on the right?

This one…


It’s a total load of crap. It’s captioned all wrong.

This is what it should say…

But then the other day a crazy thing happened.

Stacy called me while I was at the store and I immediately violated Rule #1 of the Grocery Store Handbook™:

“Never ever ever under any circumstance answer the phone from your spouse while at the store. Nothing good comes from this. You’ll be asked to get stuff that is stored on the hidden aisle, you will become frustrated and some poor grocery store attendant will catch the brunt of your frustration. Don’t. Answer. The. Phone.”

But I answered it. More of a reflex than anything.

And she asked me to get something… something I didn’t know the location of: Baby Motrin.


I thought to myself, Self. We got this. We can do it! We can find Baby Motrin!”



I couldn’t.

I failed.

I ended up having to stand in line at the pharmacy for 15 minutes until the nice fella behind the counter could come out and show me the secret hidden aisle.

Turns out there was no secret hidden aisle. The Baby Motrin was sitting on an ordinary shelf in plain sight. I had walked by it at least 15 times in my mission to locate it, but I never saw it sitting on the shelf

Then something crazy happened that blew my mind.

A week later I was at the store again and Stacy texted (Sneaky! This isn’t in the handbook!) and said we needed more Baby Motrin.

My reaction = !!!!

I got this!

I knew exactly where to go! I had been there before!

And in less than 45 seconds I had completed my mission!

Point is…

  1. There is no hidden aisle.
  2. The first time you do something, it takes 100x longer.
  3. Know that. Understand it. Lean into it.


Building a website for the first time? It will take you FOREVER.

Second time? It’ll be child’s play.

Writing your first book? It will take FOREVER.

Second time? 10x quicker.

Pitching your first-ever guest post? It will be HARD…and take FOREVER.

Second time? Wayyy faster.

Getting your first 1,000 email subscribers? It will be hard.

Your next 9,000? Much easier.


We had that drawing wrong. This is what it looks like.

[image - first time = crazy, second time = direct path.]

What are you in the middle of doing for the first time right now that’s driving you mad? Share it in the comments below.

I’ll start by sharing mine…