Daily Blog Drawings Habits Hacks Living Well Multiplers

On focus and keeping the main thing the main thing

Working as hard as you can is good, but not as important as one might think. It’s the quality of decisions, the thing we work on, that matters the most. Workin on a thing consistently, yet slowly, is worth 1000x working fast and hard on multiple things. It took me a long time to realize this, and I hope you learn it faster.

The point: Laser-like focus sets apart the average and the extraordinary. The seemingly average (you and me) can take small steps (with focus) in the same direction every day. Keep the main thing the main thing to make something extraordinary.

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On synthesis of knowledge into wisdom

We all love mental models, but the real magic comes from synthesis.

I train people on powerlifting: squat, bench press, and deadlift with a barbell. It’s usually very heavy weight, and it makes people uncomfortable in the beginning. There’s many queues: Squeeze lats, destroy earth, push the button … They are reminders for the lifter to focus on key leverage points. It’s hard to do for the lifter, especially under increasingly heavier weight week after week.

Each lifter has multiple lightbulb moments after the queues start to melt together. The coach can fix form with one queue after building a relationship with the lifter. Sounds cool, huh? That’s synthesis of knowledge into wisdom. The lifter can now coach anyone else on how to lift.

It takes lots of effort to get here

More importantly:

Knowledge becomes wisdom through experience and synthesis. Consistent effort speeds up the process. Whoever gets the reps in most consistently goes the farthest.

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On immovable truth

The truth is indifferent to what we believe about it

We can’t change it, or knock it off its course. It just is. We are simply observers of it for a short time. What we can do is share lessons from our perspective, as our perspective (our ‘observation post’) is not shared by anyone else.

That means that what you see and what you have to say is important, so long as you do not pollute it with self.

Anyone can point anybody forward regardless of knowledge or experience.

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On ‘type 2’ fun

Sometimes it’s hard to keep everything in check in our minds. We try to be a certain way: strong, attentive, smart. And we try to convey those things to the world, when in fact we are trying to convey it to ourselves.

The truth is, we don’t have to do that. We don’t have to do anything, really. The universe does not care if you climb the corporate ladder or choose to be a stay-at-home welfare sloth. Everything is the way it should be. There’s a quietness in this, and there’s a strength in this.

Once we realize that we are no longer obligated to live a certain way, we can choose any direction we want at any time, free of expectation. An argument against: “Well what about ambition?” Ambition is overrated. The reason to do anything is in the thing itself. I do not train my body to get big muscles, I train my body because to not train my body is misery. Lifting the barbell, in the moment, is not as fun as video games, but it’s fun as in depositing money into an investment that you know is going to help later. It feels good.

I call this type 2 fun.

The more we can genuinely enjoy type 2 fun, the better off we’ll be.

You and I have a code written within that naturally leads us in certain direction. The trick is to listen to that signal, and to tune out the noise of society. This signal naturally leads us to type 2 fun.

  • Follow your curiosity, because you’re not a cat.
  • Look for the type 2 fun activities. (They’re usually free or low cost and benefit you with compound interest.)
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Surviving the fog

It’s important to have habits and checklists when things get foggy. It’s also important to remember that things will not always be foggy, and you’ll eventually look back and wish you had performed better.

The problem is, there’s a negative connotation around performance. It’s reality meets the individual. It’s harsh. But then again, so is life. Anyone saying otherwise is selling something. Life requires you to be harsh sometimes, but we can reserve those ‘sometimes’ to expecting excellence from ourselves.

Don’t just survive the fog. That’s what most people do. Punch through it.