Aim to Improve Your System, Not Yourself

“Self-improvement” is, counterintuitively, not the ideal aim if you want to live better.

System improvement is superior.

The Fulcrum and the Lever

In the picture above, the man is using a fulcrum and lever. He’s pressing down on the lever, while the small piece of wood with a square base is the fulcrum. The lever rests on the fulcrum to create leverage, effectively multiplying the man’s power and making it significantly easier to move the object at the other end.

The fulcrum and lever combination makes it so that even a small amount of force on one end can have a powerful effect on the other end. This is a great metaphor for how we approach self improvement.Read More

How to Make Meaningful Decisions Each Day

Are you sure you should take decision-making advice from me? Maybe this picture will help you decide.

A human life consists of (many) decisions. Today, you will make roughly 35,000 decisions (about 227 of which will be food-related).1

Decisions determine our path now and later, covering a range of consequences from relatively meaningless to life-altering. Decisions are the difference between a tragedy and a success story. They are really the only thing we can control in our lives. We can’t control others. We can’t control mother nature. We can only decide how we will act upon the world and respond to it.

For Every Decision Removed, Another Decision Gains Focal Power

Steve Jobs wasn’t a saint, butRead More

How to Make Decisions

Decision-making is incredibly difficult, especially for us analytical types. 

Fact: We rarely have enough information to make a guaranteed-to-be-correct decision. 

In most cases, the decisions we make are educated guesses. That’s not comfortable. But it means that to get better at making decisions, you must embrace uncertainty. You must be okay with not knowing the right decision until after you’ve made it.

The mark of successful decision-making isn’t that you always make the right decision, it’s that you make more decisions with greater confidence.Read More

If You Feel Like Something Is Missing, It’s Probably This…

Imagine for a moment that you’re the main character in one of your favorite epic movies. For me, that would mean Frodo from Lord of the Rings or Maximus from Gladiator. Now snap back to your life and compare the two.

Why is it that these movie characters are so appealing to us? They’re in grave danger constantly and have a lot of terrible things happen to them. And yet, I can’t help but sit in my seat and think, “Man, that would be exciting.”

Their heroic feats and wild adventures stand out as the main appeal. But there is something beneath that surface-level analysis, something that’s core to a good and fulfilling life, something that’s easy to overlook.

Intention.Read More

This Easy Life Management System Will Make You Happier, Freer, and Twice As Productive

Here’s the conundrum: We want freedom, but we also want to do things that matter.

Doing what matters requires intention, but intention (i.e., having plans) can sometimes threaten one’s sense of freedom. Also, operating from a default state of freedom makes it difficult to generate intention to do meaningful things. What’s the impetus to decide you will work on that book idea? It doesn’t happen randomly. If you’re lucky, you’ll be inspired to work on important things sometimes, but not often enough to make a difference.

Giving yourself structure is the toughest part of being a self-employed “type B” person. Every part of me resists structuring my day, but I’ve realized that it’s mostly because of how it’s typically done. I can thrive under structure if I create it under my own terms.

So how can one maintain a feeling of complete freedom, yet consistently make progress towards their goals? Mini Habits is one strategy for consistent progress that I’ve talked plenty about, but it’s for habit development. What about areas outside of habit development that require daily intention? Is a to-do list really the best we can do?Read More