“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.”
— Bill Gates
Here’s your gentle nudge to make your week more interesting, thoughtful and productive. You can always talk to me more about these ideas by replying to this email.
What Are You Looking At?
Have you ever gone hiking with friends or travelled or even spent an evening where someone pointed out to you how beautiful the sky looked? At that point, what did you focus on? Did you focus on the sky, or did you nitpick over trivial details of their hand or how they pointed to the view? Of course, you focused on the sky.
I’ve realised that’s how it is with everything around improving ourselves. In the age of information, we are flushed with methods. Sometimes these methods are helpful, but often they are highly specific for no reason. Reading becomes making exceptionally detailed and tedious notes using some state of the art software. Productivity becomes to-do list apps with streaks, social accountability, et al. Habits and systems are obsessed over more than the “why” of those things.
Most people today focus more on the hand and less on the sunset. It’s important to know why you’re doing something. It’s easy to lose focus when everyone obsesses over the methods more than what they’re trying to achieve with them. Recognising this helps realign our priorities and shifts our focus on what we’re trying to achieve.
Your reading is less about notes and more about what you gained from both the book and the notes. Productivity has nothing to do with your results if you only focus on the numbers. Habits and systems are great, but not if your attention at them turns you away from what’s important in life.
The hand is important; it tells you where to look. However, make sure you’re focusing on the view.
What’s On My Mind?
Most people have no reason to change or improve parts of themselves that aren’t ideal or good enough because their lives are never disrupted. Improvement, then, is not only in our control. Improvement is also a stroke of luck. If no event in your life shows you your weaknesses, you never grow into strengths. One takeaway from that is: if we never expose ourselves to situations that bring out our weaknesses, we’ll never improve. Exposure increases our probability to run headfirst into our weaknesses.
I hope this added some value to your week. Stay safe, stay inspired, and I’ll talk to you next week.
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