Notes




Descisions


"I can't tell you how much time is spent worrying about decisions that don't matter. To just be able to make a decision and see what happens is tremendously empowering, but that means you have to set up the situation such that when something does go wrong, you can fix it. When something does go wrong, it doesn't cost you or your customer an exorbitant amount. It isn't ridiculously expensive. When you get in situations where you cannot afford to make a mistake, it's very hard to do the right thing. So if you're trying to do the right thing, the right thing might be to eliminate the cost of making a mistake rather than try to guess what's right."
Source: Farnam Street Newsletter


Today-self & Tomorrow-self


There is a constant battle in all of us between our today-self and our tomorrow-self. Today-self is like our inner child. Today-self cares only about today. It wants to focus on things that offer an immediate payoff. Whether that’s kicking back with a few too many glasses of wine, spending money on status symbols, or avoiding doing things that can be done tomorrow. Tomorrow-self is like our inner adult. Tomorrow-self cares about things that take time to get results — like working on your relationship, saving money, or consistently moving the project forward one inch at a time. Imagine you are tasked with building a brick wall. Today-self looks at the empty space in disbelief, discouraged at the size of the project. Today-self decides to start tomorrow. Only tomorrow never comes because the empty space again seems insurmountable. Today-self decides to talk about the wall they’re going to build, as if it were the same as building the wall. It’s not. Tomorrow-self knows that no one builds a wall all at once. It’s going to take a month of consistent effort from the time you start before it’s done. Tomorrow-self wishes you’d stop thinking about the wall and focus on one brick. Everything is a matter of perspective. Where you focus determines what you see. It’s easy to get lost in the magnitude of what you’re doing and completely ignore how it gets done. Focusing on the wall makes the task impossible. You have to focus on the brick. The lesson applies to everything. If you’re writing a book, focus on writing the best paragraph and not the entire book. If you’re playing sports, focus on the next play and not winning the game. If you’re starting a company, focus on delighting one customer. Or, if you’re my kids, don’t focus on the pile of T-shirts to be folded, focus on one shirt. Don’t focus on the enormity of the task, rather focus on the smallest thing you can do that moves you forward. As the momentum builds, things get easier. The second paragraph is easier to write than the first. The second T-shirt is easier to fold than the first. The second brick is easier to lay than the first. Grasping this concept and applying it to what you’re doing is the key to accomplishing anything. Focus on a small but critical part of the task that moves you forward. Execute. Repeat. The logic is simple but not simplistic. The wisdom of tomorrow-self is this: Focus on one thing you can do today to make tomorrow easier. Repeat.
Source: Farnam Street Newsletter


Hierarchial mindset


"Humans are animals. The word “animal” is important because animals are biologically wired to be hierarchical. I believe that we often unconsciously rearrange the world into arbitrary hierarchies to make sense of the world, maintain our beliefs, and feel better. My first memory of doing this was working in a grocery store when I was 16. One particular regular customer would come into the store and treat everyone who worked there poorly. He’d drive up in his fancy car, park it illegally outside, and run in to get something. He'd rudely comment and raise his voice telling everyone to hurry up. One day when he was waiting in my line he told me to “hurry the F* up because this Rolex doesn’t pay for itself.” I’ll leave my reply out but let’s just say that was my last shift. He organized his unconscious hierarchy by money and status. Those were the ways he kept the score to come out on top. He wasn't the only one that did this. We all do this all the time. In fact, we do it several times a day. We constantly organize the world in a way that lets us come out on top. I remember walking home that night thinking that while I might not have a job, at least I wasn't like him. And at that moment I rearranged the world in such a way that I, the unemployed high school student without a job, car, or Rolex, came out on top. Changing the reference point made me feel better. Rearranging the world wasn’t conscious and neither was my reaction. What I said is less important than the fact that I said it without thinking. I reacted without reasoning, just like an animal. Once you see this idea, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere. You see it politically on the left and right, in food choices, and possessions. You see it in the books you buy, trips you take, and subtle words people use when gossiping. You see it in values, education, and houses. While we don’t always need to come out on top, we often organize the world in a way where we are always better than someone else. When someone infringes on our unconscious sense of hierarchy it triggers an instinctive, animal-like, response."
Source: Farnam Street Newsletter

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