Once you know the fundamentals of a sport or craft, you’ll need competitive partners in 3 categories: those that are better than you, those that challenge you, and those you’re better than.
You’ll be forced to up your game and constantly strive by training with better people than you. You’ll reinforce your skill set by challenging yourself with those at your level. And you’ll be able to teach those you’re better than. And teaching reinforces your learning more than anything else.
Most English speakers use roughly 1,000 of the 250,000 English words in the dictionary. Knowing that a tiny fraction of words will immediately allow you to have functional fluency makes learning English less daunting.
Here are a couple of other examples:
Learning to play just four chords on the guitar or piano will allow you to play hundreds of songs
Of the thousands of exercises and fitness routines, pushing, pulling, and squatting your body weight a few days per week will allow you to strengthen your body and gain muscle/lose fat faster.
What are the few most critical things you can learn/develop to leverage 80% of the results you seek?
Sometimes needing a vacation means freedom from our daily habits and responsibilities. This happens more reliably when we change our location and environment. It’s also possible to recharge by taking short daily breaks to connect with friends, watch comedy, or dedicate “me time.” Essentially, do some things that are want-to’s and not have-to’s.
I love to travel and will always want to do that. But my ultimate goal is to architect a life from which I don’t feel a need to escape or go on vacation.
This year I will improve the quality of my life by:
- Starting to, or continuing to do more of…
- Stopping, or doing less of…
- Spending 5 minutes each month/quarter assessing how I’ve done
Gary Vaynerchuck has an insightful book called “Jab, jab, jab, right hook”, the premise of which is to engage your audience/fans/clients by giving three times before asking or requesting anything. Josh Spector has a creative idea challenging us to make one out of every three social media posts highlight and praise other people.
Imagine a world where the ratio was skewed more in favor of “how can I elevate and support you?” than “what can you do for me?”
Care more than most think is wise.
Risk more than most think is safe.
Dream more than most think is practical.
Expect more than most believe is possible.
The etymology of the word “priority” is interesting. It’s over 600 years old, but only about a hundred years ago (the industrial age) did a plural form of the word appear. “Priori” essentially meant “before all else”. Asking what someone’s priorities were would have been like asking: who is your one best friends?
Unless there’s an urgent threat to our lives, we can’t expect to hold one single priority in modern life. But it’s worth considering that some of the most important things are sacrificed at the cost of things that are simply urgent but to which we never assigned a high priority. If we’re “busy” but not feeling accomplished it may be useful to take a step back and review our priorities, narrowing them down as much as possible.
I’m a big fan of simple mental models or thought experiments in the form of a question that immediately put things in perspective. Here’s one with many alternates that can serve to put you on the right path:
“Is what I’m about to do going to move me closer or further away from what’s important?”
Modify any of the words to get to the same version of the question. For example, “Is what I’m about to decide going to move for closer or further away from the person I aspire to be?”
Optimism is hard for a reason – it’s unnatural. For our ancestors, being optimistic and “wrong” perhaps meant you missed out on an opportunity, whereas being pessimistic and wrong meant you became tiger food.
We should train ourselves to overcome this programming for a few reasons: First, many of us are lucky to live in a world where we can test theories, and create things that might be valuable. We can be wrong and “fail” many times, often with little to no personal or reputational damage, unlike our ancestors.
Second, being optimistic is a healthier mindset regardless of outcomes. And lastly, you’re more likely to improve the world (and yourself) by thinking “this might work” versus, “here are all the reasons this won’t work.”
“Product” can mean whatever you want it to. As a business, an influencer, an artist, or even (surprise!) as a human, your product is not for everyone. As Seth Godin brilliantly states, the least helpful mantra is “you can pick anyone, and we’re anyone!”
Of all the businesses and products…in all the ways they are expressed, packaged, and distributed…in any way we engage with the market, here is one simple question that can serve as a yardstick for how our product might be measured: Would they miss it if it were gone?