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 have two seemingly conflicting beliefs. The first is that whenever possible, it is best to know the truth. By default I think that we sometimes avoid the truth, and we sometimes avoid giving the truth. In almost every case, though, having a clear picture of the truth will allow you to operate more correctly. At the same time, I also believe that holding certain beliefs will benefit you whether they're true or not.
One such belief is that anything is possible. Even in the face of seemingly impossible tasks, I like to believe that maybe I can do it. It's a little bit insane for me to believe that a two-man team of Todd and me can compete against WordPress and Tumblr, but I really believe that we can. Now that we've built something that people really like it's not so crazy, but it was really crazy when we first started. When I got into pickup, I had to believe that I could go from being extremely introverted and awkward to extroverted and sociable. There was little evidence to support that possibility.
I say that these two ideas seem to conflict because I believe that they are actually quite compatible. When looking at the history of others, as well as my own history, I've noticed that we consistently underestimate what we are capable of. Our idea of an honest look at our capabilities is actually further from the real truth than is the assumption that we can do everything.
Rounding up to the nearest 'everything' is not only more accurate than our best critical assessment, it's also much more valuable. The cost of being wrong is usually illusory. If you think that you can become a master violinist, act like it, and turn out to be wrong, you'll still make more progress than if you believe that the ceiling on your ability is lower. At the same time, the cost of incorrectly capping expectations is to provide an artificial ceiling on your achievement. I'm not sure I've ever seen someone progress further than they believed they could.
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.