Be mindful in the morning and reflect on it before you go to bed. Be in the present and realize you are the one making the decision whenever the situation arises. Taking action or not, be present and mindful of your decision.
I've found simple google calendar reminders put me in the situation where I have to make the decision to take action or not. They don't require any interaction (apple reminders will stay until they're cleared) and they tap me on the wrist and present an option: Run? Write? Work on project?
That almost sounds like sarcasm to me. I currently live in South East Asia and you know who gets up early every morning grinding 12 hour shifts with little to no vacation? The million of poor people who don't earn much more than "survive" money.
Okay, probably it's about context so if you are in a first world country you just work hard and the wealth will come pouring in? Still sounds like sarcasm tbh.
Of the top of my head the five most well-off people I personally know didn't work harder than the average and I am sure wouldn't say so about themselves, either.
No. Later in the writeup, the author talks about 'Habit of Progression' which adds more context:
> "There is one thing to clarify: this habit of progression must come with the right inputs. Being consistent with something leading you in the wrong direction will unsurprisingly lead you in the wrong direction. So if this is the way you are constantly moving (excluding short periods of local minima), pivot until you determine what the right inputs are."
So it's not just about working hard. It's about working hard in the right direction by analyzing the outcome of efforts and using it to refine the approach to move forward.
Ed: And also, when you look back and see inevitable progression, it might just be hindsight bias.
Curious to know what people think about this. Can "greatness" really be achieved quickly?
Building products, writing, and painting are not mental excercises, they are physical ones.
Reading to improve is like watching someone else workout – it does almost nothing for you.
To run better, run.
To paint better, paint.
To write better, write.
To build better, build.
I certainly agree that practice is the core of all increase in skill. However, I've found that the differentiation factor of my skills comes from being someone who reads, who looks for better ways to run. From being someone who constantly reflects on the practice that occurs. This is something that's well supported by research (the notion of deliberate practice).
Deliberate Practice: http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracti...
However, I do agree that it is necessary to take a step back and learn from others along the way.
I'm often astonished, when I read old interviews with great writers in The Paris Review's Writers at Work series, just how well-read the masters are. They've read everything. Soaked it all in. And writers borrow, copy, steal, adapt, all the time.
Of course, I agree with the heart of the matter, that just doing the thing is most important, but I do wonder if it is sufficient.
> Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.
1. Put in an extreme amount of effort to maximize the goodness you create and minimize the amount of bad.
2. Have extreme events impact your life (by no fault of your own) in a short period of time.
3. Change how you measure greatness.
Ten years ago, I could not see myself in the life that I have now. Everyday I accomplish things which would have been impossible for my previous self to do. I quit smoking, drinking, and manage chronic illness. I exercise, garden, clean the house, and play with my dog. I earned the love of my wife and the respect of my friends. I now have a family who loves me and is proud of me and I feel like I actually have options. Every day I do great things, not in comparison to yesterday but certainly compared to my previous self.
Investing time in a marriage, or parenting, or working out seems less important than just about anything at the moment you have the opportunity to do it, but lots of people get divorced and it makes them very unhappy. Lots of people are estranged from their children and it makes them very unhappy. Lots of people suffer from health problems directly related to diet and exercise.
Obviously there are lots of things we can't control and I certainly don't mean to suggest that anyone who gets divorced, etc. brought it on themselves, but for how mundane most people consider these things, becoming a fit, healthy 60 year old who is happily married to a wife of multiple decades with fulfilled adult children is really quite exceptional. I think that would fit most people's idea of a "great" outcome, but in my experience, people don't really strive toward that on a daily basis, because the daily building blocks don't seem important.
From what I've seen as an attorney and tax accountant, greatness in a profession is also more closely related to getting the little things right day after day than any sort of heroic undertaking. There's always a place for heroics, but I think most people would be surprised at how often the little things get messed up, and how easy it is to look quite competent by just doing the seemingly mundane things consistently.
I feel the complete opposite. The only reason I do the other things is so I can be good at those 3 things (and a few others in a similar category).
The whole thing is great (har har) but one passage has always resonated with me ...
> When Mary T. Meagher was 13 years old and
had qualified for the National Championships,
she decided to try to break the world record in
the 200-Meter Butterfly race. She made two
immediate qualitative changes in her routine:
first, she began coming on time to all practices.
She recalls now, years later, being picked up at
school by her mother and driving (rather
quickly) through the streets of Louisville,
Kentucky, trying desperately to make it to the
pool on time. That habit, that discipline, she
now says, gave her the sense that every minute
of practice time counted. And second, she
began doing all of her turns, during those
practices, correctly, in strict accordance with the
competitive rules. Most swimmers don’t do this;
they turn rather casually, and tend to touch
with one hand instead of two (in the butterfly,
Meagher’s stroke). This, she says, accustomed
her to doing things one step better than those
around her—always. Those are the two major
changes she made in her training, as she
Dedicated, deliberate practice of qualitative improvements, frequent direct comparisons of oneself to one's peers and exemplars and a singular S.M.A.R.T. goal. That's all it takes to be excellent.
In The Tim Ferriss experiment the (in)famous (?) Tim Ferriss "learns a new language within 3 days" . I put that in quotes because it is really up for debate. However, he had a very very clear goal: come off across as passable during an interview.
While this is only 3 days, Warren Buffet says something similar with focusing on your 5 biggest goals and leaving anything else aside .
The point is:
- Be consistent (I saw that word as well while skimming your blog post)
- Only try to attack the goal direclty, since it is very likely that attacking your goal directly is possible. Tim Ferriss could've gone to classes to learn Tagalog or watch movies to learn it. However, there are better methods than that in service to his goal.
- Focus relentlessly on your most important goals (a tip from Warren Buffet).
By doing these 3 things, I believe that greatness can be achieved quickly, provided that you set a sharp definition of it. Achieving greatness in the eyes of others, however, is a very different feat and a bit of a fickle / unhealthy one, in my opinion (e.g. just see the reactions to what Elon Musk is doing, I think he's great, but I'm pretty sure he has naysayers).
 https://www.fluentin3months.com/tim-ferriss/ (an interview about his experience)
> Ask yourself whether you’d like to spend your days, weeks, months, and years in a constant uphill battle.
Opinions of what anyone may have of Elon personally aside, I think any rational person has to be in awe of all he's been able to achieve. Yet the hours he puts in 7 days a week, and what the constant stress-levels must be like... I'm not sure I'd want to swap places with him.
Yes, but rarely. Quick and great can't be expected. Only consistency can be expected to produce greatness, and even then, not always. But like you said, it always comes back to the definition of greatness and that can be defined in different ways, and it should be, depending on what we're talking about.
For example, it's not likely, but it is possible for a new film maker to make a film that wins a prestigious award their first try and in less than a few months. But, I don't think most filmmakers could or should expect the same result. It takes most filmmakers many years and many tries (that "being good repeatedly" that you talk about) to make an award winning film. Event then, there are people who think the most highly awarded films are not great.
On the other hand, something less subjective would be much more difficult to achieve "greatness" in quickly... such as physical fitness competitions. Somebody who takes up even the most normal activity, such as running, isn't going to quickly be able to beat athletes who have been training for years longer at a 100 meter sprint.
I have learnt that building habits is a big part of this. You need to build good habits to actually reap the benefits of the compounding. My thinking of habits came from Anki. While reading up on Anki, I noted the benefits of compounding and consistent effort.
What I am still trying to achieve is the iterating process. To figure out the right inputs to get the desired output. Once I saw there are a lot things that I need to do parallelly, I created a schedule to work on them everyday, but that was very difficult to follow. Something or the other was left out. So i had to drop a few things from the routine. I am still trying to find a good way to experiment and find the right path. This blog post gave words to what I am trying to achieve, and how I can approach it.
Thank you for writing and sharing it.
Whether he was happy or satisfied or suffering imposter syndrome feels like attaching modern sentiment to classical times. Dude murdered people by hand a lot and drank himself to death. I don’t think he was happy or satisfied, and I think he would laugh at the concept of imposter syndrome.
(But as far as we know he did think he was great. "Only sex and sleep make me remember I am mortal", "If I were not Alexander I would wish to be Diogenes", and so many other lines suggest he thought he was awesome, note those quotes are my paraphrasing.)
Still, to me, Alexander's father was the man who made Alexander, so he was greater. (I don't mean by birth, the army and previous conquests)
Yeah, billions of hard working people would disagree. Tons of factory workers woke before dawn (and worked 10 hours or more) and never got anywhere...
I would agree that the concepts are relevant to all. Certain parts may be more difficult for those in varying circumstances, but I think the core principles are still valid:
1) Iterating until you find a "good" path
2) Working towards that "good" consistently