A Shocking WWII Story, Book Publishing Profits, Self-Coaching Questions, and More.

Bring Ambition Newsletter - February 25, 2021

Hi folks and welcome aboard new subscribers!

In the Bring Ambition Newsletter, I share 5+ things that are fascinating me lately in the world of professional and personal development, peak performance psychology, meta-learning, side hustles, and more. You'll receive unconventional resources, cool gadgets, practical advice, and other inspiring content.

As always, if you enjoy the newsletter please share with a friend!

1.) The cost of inaction — a shocking WWII story:

A while back, I discussed the concept of a Bias for Action, and the often painful and regrettable cost of inaction. "Mistakes hurt," said the article, "but not as much as missed opportunities." Here's an example of a truly devastating missed opportunity:

We all know the story of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. But did you know the first shot was actually fired by U.S. forces?

An hour before the infamous surprise air raid, a Japanese submarine attempted to slip into the harbor but was spotted, fired on, and sunk by the destroyer U.S.S. Ward.

When the Ward's commanding officer reported this to Navy leadership at Pearl Harbor, it was dismissed.

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was in charge of Pearl Harbor and ignored the warning. He was demoted and relieved of his duties shortly after the attack.

Some say he was scapegoated. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, and the warnings (yes, there were multiple) could have been false alarms. Plus, there were many factors that contributed to the lack of preparation.

But even before the attack, Kimmel was often criticized for over-attention to detail, a prime contributor toward inaction and analysis paralysis. 30 minutes' warning might not have saved Pearl Harbor's battleships, nor would it have changed the outcome, but it would have certainly saved many American lives.

Instead Kimmel had ample information in-hand, but chose to do nothing. And inaction is often the most unforgivable mistake of all.

2.) Coaching question of the week:

Imagine you're sitting at a hotel bar in some faraway place. With your favorite drink in-hand, the murmur of the patrons and the faint music washes over you. You have nothing to do, nowhere to be, no distractions.

An older person sits down nearby. You fall effortlessly into deep conversation.

A few minutes pass and it hits you — this person is an older version of you. They've come in disguise from 20 years in the future to offer you guidance.

What do you ask them? What advice or perspective do you seek?

Importantly, what do they tell you in response?

This is great to leverage as a journal prompt or even fiction writing practice. Set a timer and don't stop writing for 10 minutes.

This exercise will produce surprising insights. Without getting into the weeds of the Jungian collective unconscious, at its most basic, the exercise forces you to detach from the emotions of the present moment and depersonalize issues that arise. It gives you distance from the situation, and allows your inner wisdom to shine through where you might otherwise have been foggy.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes.

3.) In case you missed it:

Last week we published "No Illusions" (you might recall an early version from a previous newsletter).

The article explores the relationship between wishful thinking and becoming formidable. It’s now revised and expanded to include detail about how to gracefully ask for and receive feedback, as well as some bizarre illustrations.

4.) Quote of the week:

"Stop starting and start finishing." This quote is a permanent footnote on my digital to-do list. It’s borrowed from Agile software development methodology.

Some people struggle to get started. Others have the problem of starting but never finishing. Which camp do you fall into? What actions or routines could you test to mitigate the issue?

5.) The financial side of publishing a book:

"Programming Book Profits." If you've ever daydreamed about writing a book, it's natural to wonder whether you'd actually make any money. This article provides an interesting exploration of the financial side of releasing a book, complete with tips for would-be authors.


I'd love feedback on this newsletter. What did you enjoy? What's the worst (or most boring) thing about it that needs to be fixed as soon as possible? Reply here, or you can reach me on Twitter or Instagram.

Have a great weekend!

Jon D'Alessandro

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