When beginning some new undertaking, I ask myself: what would I have to do for it to be nearly impossible to fail. Certainty of success is an illusion, but by for any given goal it's possible to come up with some process that would nearly guarantee success.
For example: when starting SETT, I asked myself this question. I thought that there were lots of ways that blogging could be improved, but decided that if we could build something that got people more comments and more subscribers, we would be successful. Further, I figured that although I'm not the best programmer in the world, if I just worked every single day as hard as I could, I could eventually build something that would get results like that.
Sure enough, two years of hard work later, we have built a blogging platform that demonstrably gets people more subcribers and more comments. Whether we'll be ultimately successful or not is still in the air, but things are looking good and we continue to work very hard.
What would it take to make weight loss nearly impossible to fail at? Remove all unhealthy foods from your house, commit to only eating at home, plan every meal in advance, and make sure that you have a caloric deficit made up of only high quality foods. If you follow that protocol, it is impossible not to lose weight.
How about getting good with girls? Go out seven days a week, read one book per week on pickup, dating, biology, or other related fields. Given enough time, you will become good with girls.
Those are generic plans which you can modify to your own needs. Can't eat at home every day for some reason? Pick one restaurant to eat every meal at, find one very healthy thing, and just eat it over and over again. Can't go out seven days a week? Go out four for more time and take a bootcamp every six months or something.
If we really think about it, each of us can drill down and come up with a plan that has a minimum chance of failure.
You can also use this idea to look at what you're doing on a daily basis. Are your current financial habits making it nearly certain that you'll have enough money to raise a family, and do the things you want to do in life? If not, you need to change immediately. Are you current lifestyle choices going to give you the longevity you want, and the health you'll need to enjoy that longevity? If not, change.
A couple months ago I realized that what I was puting into Japanese was not going to guarantee that I would become fluent eventually. In fact, it wasn't even guaranteeing that I would keep my existing level of skill, let alone increase it.
It is not worth doing something halfway. More often than not, a half-effort will bring you no tangible results other than making you feel like you tried. Weak efforts take up huge amounts of time that could have been used on efforts that you care enough about to design a nearly failproof plan.
In the case of Japanese, I decided that I did care enough to put in the effort, and since then I've learned 750 new words, including how to read the kanji for them.
So think about your big goals. They are probably attainable if you design a plan that makes it nearly impossible
Last night we released another 50 SETT invites! If you check out http://sett.com (must be logged in first), you'll see posts across the whole SETT network. More invites coming in the next couple weeks.
I wonder what you or other people do to keep up the motivation while following plans?
Tynan, love the photo for this post. I'm a big fan of Matcha green tea (I currently have a bag of Samovar Green Ecstasy), but it never turns out very good when I make it myself at home. I don't have any Matcha related teaware such as a bowl/whisk/etc, just standard loose-leaf teaware.
Just curious, how do you prepare your Matcha, and what equipment would you say is required?
Hey Jason, I'm not Tynan, but I did found Breakaway Matcha -- lots of good stuff on prep and much else at http://www.breakawaymatcha.com/master-class-in-matcha/
It's great how you make it all so obvious.
I particularly like the plan for getting better with girls, which is a bit of a problem for me. Given enough time and consistency, there is simply no way a plan like that could fail. People often tend to focus on really complicated solutions, even if what they need is so obvious.
The only prerequisite of this approach is actually knowing what you want the most. It's something you should think about daily. Otherwise if you focus on too much at once, you're almost guaranteed to fail.
breakaway matcha- thank you for your reply. my info comes from personal experiences with Japanese friends from the same profession whom we entertained in the US and who entertained us several times in Japan ten years ago.
Tynan- A question for you-Tea ceremony is a big thing in Japan; underlings do it to impress bosses; there it takes so much time and effort and ritual every little movement has a meaning and is stylized. It is an honor to guests to be invited to a home to have the most accomplished person prepare the ceremony. The bosses never do it and one wonders if they had done it on the way up. Perhaps you know the answer to this. Also is this becoming obsolete with the increased rate of pace of life?
How does this relate to your post? Your all or nothing philosophy may have a parallel to doing something as special as this.
Athatjz, I know you addressed this to Tynan, and you're right about lots of time and effort being required for into every choreographed step of the ceremonies, but I can't imagine where you're getting your other observations on ceremony in Japan. No one does ceremony to impress bosses, and it's exceedingly rare to do *anything* in Japanese homes (entertaining at home just doesn't happen; no dinner parties, let alone elaborate ceremonies). One typically studies tea in a particular school of tea (urasenke, omotesenke, etc.) and practices with the teacher and other students. Occasionally they have a "recital" and invite guests. But there really is no boss/underling type of relationship.
And yes, formal study of tea has gone way down over the decades and centuries. There are many, many barriers to entry to tea in Japan (it's designed that way), so it's not surprising that it's waned so much in popularity . . . .
It does sound obvious doesn't it? I was thinking about how this would work for marriages and kids too.
In each of our minds is a gradient of activities, ranging from things we definitely won't do (finance a Ferrari), things we'll definitely do (drink water today), and everything else in between. There's something special about those things at the extremes, the things we will and won't definitely do. It's nearly impossible that theey won't be as predicted. Can we use that to our advantage?
It's not that we won't lease Ferraris because we don't want to. It would be a lot of fun to get a Ferrari, at least until I ran out of money and it got repossessed. We don't do it because we've drawn a hard line somewhere shy of that sort of expense. I'll buy an apple without thinking about it, a new camera after a bunch of thought and research, but a Ferrari is so contrary to my goals that it never gets thought about.
When we consider something to be impossible, by our own standards at least, not doing it becomes easy. When we consider something impossible not to do, doing it becomes easy. We get to bypass the whole thought loop of should-I-or-shouldn't-I, which invites temptation to the bargaining table.
The trick is to take things that don't have an impossible component to them and build that in. There are two ways to do that.
On Tuesday, I explored the life of a vegan by, well, being vegan. It was only a one day pursuit, and I plan on returning (for a longer period of time) in the near future. This is part 1 of my explorations as a vegan.
When I went vegan for a day, I didn’t have any lofty expectations. One day without meat and dairy is not a difficult task, even to someone who regularly consumes animal products. That in mind, I was not particularly surprised with the results of my day as someone who doesn’t subjugate helpless animals.
The key to being a vegan is knowing what to eat instead. For over a decade meat and dairy have been staples of my everyday diet, and so not having a burger or sandwich for lunch or dinner seems strange and out of this world. It isn’t insurmountable, I can survive perfectly fine without missing them, but it begs the question: What do I eat?
Again, it’s not about a particular love of meat. Steak is great, but I can live without it. The issue I’ve faced is finding enough alternatives that consist of variety.