Early Luck — 7 Takeaways No. 83

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1. “If you master focus, you will master life”

If you struggle with focus, read this thread – Legacy Builder – (Twitter)

A number of good takeaways and reminders in this thread. The item above is perhaps the most important: if you can understand the importance of your ability to focus, you’ll seek out the ways to improve and leverage it.

Truth is, most of us can’t focus

Sadly, also true. Even those that can have periods — sometimes lengthy periods — where focus fails.

Do this: Pay attention to your focus and what you focus on.

2. “Reduce the friction”

Friction: The Hidden Force Holding You Back – Farnam Street

More completely:

One of the easiest ways to increase your value to an organization is to reduce the friction required to get you to do your job.

The focus of the essay is on the workplace, but I’m looking at it from a different perspective: personal success and value.

I sometimes refer to it as “activation energy”, a slightly geekier term. The easier you make it for yourself to start something, the greater the likelihood you’ll complete that something. Struggling with something that feels overwhelming? Just plan on doing it for 60 seconds. Chances are momentum, inertia, whatever, will kick in, and you’ll do much more. It’s a habit worth developing.

Do this: Start.

3. “You can still keep a list of bad ideas”

How to have ideas (and other ideas) – Oliver Burkeman – (The Imperfectionist newsletter)

I struggle with note taking. Not the technology — I think I have a reasonable collection of tools for that. (Obsidian, for the curious, plus a loose combination of Evernote, Instapaper, Readwise, Google Recorder, and Otter.ai.)

No, this is about remembering to take notes. Or knowing what to take notes about. Or just making note-taking a habit.

So I learned to keep an ever-expanding list of random thoughts, adding to it indiscriminately, never holding back because an idea seemed mediocre, stupid, or derivative.

That. I need to learn to do that. (BTW: in case you didn’t notice, 7 Takeaways is also a collection of my notes. You’re soaking in it.)

Do this: Take notes, particularly if you’re creating anything. You’ll be surprised what those notes will uncover much later.

4. “Flipped the sample for one more time”

Friday Finds (Logos, Minimalism, Music, Computers) – David Perell – (Newsletter)

How one of the most icon riffs in electronica came together. This one always blows me away when I watch the progression. Seriously, it gives me chills.

It’s shared as an example of rearranging existing things to make something new. It succeeds. What I like is that the original sounds vaguely familiar, but then the result … wow.

Do this: Have a listen. It’s a short video on Twitter.

5. “Early luck has a massive impact.”

Compounded luck – Seth Godin – (Blog)

I found this insightful. Life’s not fair, and this is one specific manifestation. Like interest, luck compounds to give early recipients a greater edge.

Where you’re born, the caste society puts you in, whether or not you were appropriately precocious in various early ranking systems–these all get compounded.

I hadn’t thought of luck in that way, but in hindsight, it seems almost obvious.

Do this: Be aware of luck, in all its forms.

6. “The weak can overcome the strong”

Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler – (ebook)

The full quote:

The weak can overcome the strong if the weak persist. Persisting isn’t always safe, but it’s often necessary.

The portrays a very bleak future. Written just 10 years ago, it’s set in Los Angeles in the late 2020s (at least as far as I’ve read – about halfway). Things have not been going well.

I think the most disturbing aspect is how plausible it feels at times, given the last few years. “Yeah. That could happen.” has crossed my mind more than once.

Do this: Persist.

7. “The teacher can only show the way.”

Wisdom in Unusual places – Jim Martin – (Hustle & Meditate newsletter, from The Unusual Buddha)

Citing examples from literature, as well as The Buddha, the upshot of this piece is that others can’t dictate what works for you when it comes to your spiritual practice.

It is my sincere opinion that our practice is not for another to dictate. We ourselves have to take into account those who came before us and realize the tools they used may not be adequate for us in our time and circumstances.

My takeaway is that it applies to just about everything in life, not just our spiritual path.

Do this: Learn from the past, create your own future.

8. “Noticing the world within you”

On Meditation – Leo A. Notenboom – (Personal blog)

Another from my “65 thoughts” project.

People often refer to meditation as a “practice”. I take that literally. You are practicing paying attention, and you are practicing letting go. Both are skills, and both get stronger the more you practice.

Paying attention? Mindfulness? Nothing more than another form of “noticing” what’s going on — this time, in your head.

I’ll highlight one of my “65 thoughts” entries each week here while that project continues. Sign up for daily entries, if you like, on the website.

Do this: Pay attention.

What I’m Reading

In progress:


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