Have you ever heard people giving advice like this?
” Yes. Just try it! TRY EVERYTHING!“
The decision of these kind of people to ‘try everything’ is the decision to succeed with nothing and just get a taste in the mouth. Are you satisfied with just a taste in your mouth?
The people whose advice is to ‘try everything’ obviously live in a world without time. Why? Because it is impossible to try everything as long as time exists. Time makes it impossible to succeed with everything.
Time changes the way we look at things. There are many things you can do in life but time makes the rules. You cannot cheat time. Time is limited and what you can do in your life is limited as well. Time makes it impossible for you to do everything, let alone complete everything. Constraints in time and resources introduce to us a new way of looking at things: Trade-offs.
In other words, time is the reason why you will have to sacrifice what you want less for what you want more.
Those same people whose advice is to do everything might say: “Be nice to everyone.” Can you really be nice to everyone? Rather than try to be nice to everyone and please everyone, choose who you want to be nice to for sure and concentrate on that! I certainly would not try hard to be nice to people who let me down or who are difficult to deal with. This does not mean that I would be rude to them either. Opposite to the way that I would not walk an extra mile to be nice to people who suck my energy I would definitely try my hardest to be extra nice to people who are nice to me, those who help me, those who flood me with energy, and those who support and inspire me.
No matter the case, as we are talking about trade-offs here, why even make a difficult complex plan if it is impossible for you to accomplish it? Trade-offs and opportunity cost say that if you spend your resources on one thing then you cannot spend the same resources on anything else and therefore you absolutely have to make sure that the end result is worth the resources allocated.
Making a plan for doing ‘everything’ is an ineffective approach from both the emotional and risk aversion standpoint. Why? Emotionally, you will see each of your processes progressing slower if you do many things at once. From the risk aversion standpoint you are not securing your success. Securing success means making it almost impossible to fail. How do you secure success? You increase the probability of you succeeding eventually by every small percentage possible.
Now we will dive into how our memory works and how the reality operates like an echo.
How Memories Get Erased
First of all, if we want to secure success we have to understand that you and me, as people, change every second. Let me ask you: What distinguishes you now from the past ‘you’ who existed 1 year ago?
The answer is everything that happened in the past year. It is not only the knowledge that you learned that is different but also all the processes that happened in the universe in the past year.
If you had lived in Russia a few years ago and that meteorite had done damage to your city, it would have changed you as a person. And that was a meteorite from outer space that we are talking about! Now, lets stop living the illusion that external things do not affect us. They do! Some things more, some things less. Some things affect you extremely little, like the fact that you read about the meteorite in the news and wasted 5 minutes of your life on reading it. Yes, that is very trivial impact but it still DID affect you, just on an extremely small scale.
You probably know what things changed your life in the past year but I am sure that you did not notice many tiny things and many other ways in which you changed. Your psychology towards many things must have changed, right? At least a bit. Your life trajectory might have changed too. Lots of things change. But you know what else changed dramatically in the past year? You lost some of your memories. Shocked? In fact, every minute that time passes actively erases some of your memories.
What it means to us, who have long-term plans and want to secure our long-term success, is that the more we postpone doing something the smaller the probability of us actually doing it gets, all because we will not only lose some of our memory but also the momentum and emotional attachment to our plans.
Let us say it in simple terms: If your plan is to peel potatoes at 6 o’clock, by a certain time you WILL have forgotten the potato part and WILL remember only this:
” Oh, I remember I had to do something at 6 o’clock. Yes, I had to do something but can’t remember what”.
The more time moves forward, the more your exact plan will deteriorate into an ambiguous plan of less depth and detail. As a bonus, you will also feel less motivated about doing it because your feeling of emotional significance about peeling the potatoes at 6 will also have downgraded. Scary! Time destroys your memories, your emotions, your progress, your probability of success and the result of all this time passing is that you as a person transform completely. Now how unlikely is it that you will succeed with your plan if you count this all in??
By itself, pretty slim. That is why you not only have to pay attention to this destructive effect of time but also develop a strategy/method to succeed despite of all of this destruction of your progress!
Reality Works In Echoes
Once you put a poster on your wall once, it will echo back a thousand times. What do I mean? You paste the poster on your wall once but you will see it perhaps a thousand times over the period of which it is on your wall. In other words, you output your energy once to get the poster on your wall but it will echo back and provide you with energy a thousand times more in the following future.
What I am getting at is that the echo effect is the way to hack the scary memory loss problem that destroys your memories, momentum and emotional attachment every single second! By putting a poster on your wall that says: ” I will peel potatoes,” you increase the probability of you actually peeling the potatoes in the future!
Sounds funny indeed.
You just write and paste the thing on your wall, and your environment echoes back and keeps you remembering your plan over a long period of time! It is as close as it gets to hacking your future and creating the future that you want the most. You build/integrate your desire of peeling the potatoes into the fabric of your environment and later it serves you a long time.
So, can you see that time changes things and we have to adapt our approaches to success and plans accordingly? If you had known that every second passed decreases your chances of success, perhaps you would have peeled that potato rightaway? Or perhaps you would have written a note in paper or google notes, pasted a poster on your wall or set an alarm notification to make sure that you do it? Google calendar is another option you could consider.
Now that you know the effect of time, you have to count time into your calculations and plans. We have to look beyond time, cut through the fabric of time and manage our life well, all despite the risks of time. We need to have an approach that conquers time.
A fail-proof plan that will work no matter what!
Here is a exerpt from an article I found. Warren buffet made the guy write 20 most important things and circle the 5 most important of those:
Once the Top 5 planning session was over, Warren then asked “but what about these other 20 things on your list that you didn’t circle? What is your plan for completing those?” Steve replied confidently “Well the top five are my primary focus but the other twenty come in at a close second. They are still important so I’ll work on those intermittently as I see fit as I’m getting through my top 5. They are not as urgent but I still plan to give them dedicated effort.”
To Steve’s surprise, Warren responded sternly,
“No. You’ve got it wrong Steve. Everything you didn’t circle just became your ‘avoid at all cost list’. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.”
Now there is an exception to this. This quote implies that everything that is not in your Top 5 should be avoided. But for you to keep moving forward you need energy as fuel. And anything that fuels your machine is welcome as long as it keeps you going. Energy is what will make a difference between a lazy day and a productive day. This is one thing to consider.
Other than that, make sure you pay close attention to how time changes the way we organize, plan and manage things!
Will your strategy for securing success & increasing the probability of you succeeding work in spite of you having transformed completely as a person in a few years? Does it count the ‘transformation of you’ in? If not, you have the risk of time overlooked. You will need to start building new habits and anchoring your goals into the environment around you asap.
By anchoring I mean fixing/incorporating/installing your goals into your reality by any means possible. Time will change your external environment and even yourself a thousand times but the anchor is something that anchors your goal to the ground so that it does not disappear from your daily environment.
Some of the ways of Anchoring can be:
- Changing the clothes you wear for clothes that resemble your goal.
- Pasting posters or stickies that resemble your goals or process on your wall.
- Changing all wallpapers on your mobile devices and pc for the ones that evoke the goal inside of you.
- Making friends with people who have the same goal or have accomplished it.
Keep in mind that because time exists, there are trade-offs, which is why we have to sacrifice many things and view things skeptically. This is why by saying ‘yes’ to what you do not like you automatically say ‘no’ to what you like. Be very careful of saying ‘yes’ to what you do not like.
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