If there's one long-term state that I won't tolerate for myself, it's treading water, putting out effort just to stay where I am. I want to either expend effort to move something ahead, or triage it and let it sink. If it's important enough to me to do, I'll put everything into it and do it right, otherwise I'll make the hard decision and reserve that energy for something else.
All forward momentum requires your effort and attention. Want your business to grow? You'd better be dedicating a huge chunk of your time to making sure that happens. Want to get healthy and in shape? Then you've got to be in the gym moving metal. Want your relationship to be more satisfying for both of you? Then you have to actively think about how to make it better and put that into action.
Autopilot is awesome on airplanes, terrible on humans. We each have a limited well of time, attention, focus, money, and other resources. When we go on autopilot, we tend to expend resources just to keep the status quo. We put enough thought and effort into our relationships not to get dumped, we earn and save just enough money to pay our bills, and we watch our diet just enough that we only get a little bit fatter every year.
That's what autopilot gets you. Scared to lose anything we have, regardless of how important it may or may not be to us, we spread out resources so thinly that we never have time to really surge forward in any way. When something great comes our way, we don't have enough in reserve to take advantage of the opportunity.
I see so many people stuck in the same relationship year after year that's actually getting worse all the time. Why would you do that? Either decide you're going to make it the best relationship you've ever had, or break up! People stay in the same jobs they hate, earning just enough money to pay the bills. Ten years later their net worth hasn't moved and they've given up thousands of hours of their life. How many people's health efforts swing ebb and flow, leaving their increasing years of age as the only major input to their health?
I always use health, wealth, and relationships as examples, but there are thousands of areas of your life that require your attention. No one likes to admit it, but to get big gains in areas that matter to you, you have to cut something.
A couple years ago I stopped dating. About a year ago I started saying no to almost all social engagements outside a core group of good friends. A year ago I stopped choosing what I'd eat, and started eating the same thing every day. I've also cut out almost every form of entertainment. Several years ago I gave up the concept of weekends.
All of the energy that would have been directed to those, and other things, has been focused into areas I care about. I spend a ton of time working on Sett. I travel around to get new experiences and keep a fresh perspective. I write a lot and read 50-100 books per year. Even with all that, I have enough left over to build better relationships with people I'm close with.
The only reason I can do all of those things is because I committed to stop treading water. Things move forward or backwards, but never just stagnate and occupy my time and focus.
There's no one-size-fits-all prescription for what to cut and what to focus on, because we all have different priorities and goals. The key is to look at where you want your life to be in five, ten, and twenty years, and think about what could be dropped and what would need real progress. Looking through that lens makes it easy to make the hard decisions, both to drop things and to commit to others.
Photo is one of the first phrases I learned in Romanian: "You have to play to win." -- seems appropriate.
Speaking of learning languages, I'm on day 10 of German. The grammar and pronunciation are harder than I expected, but I'm loving it. Leo is experimenting with doing two tapes per day, so I might try that too if it works well.
SETT, the new blogging platform that Todd and I are building, which this blog is running on, is going really well. With every project comes this fantasy that as soon as the world catches the briefest glimpse of your work, it will respond by showering you with praise and instantly recognizing that what you have created is important and the best possible solution to an significant problem. That's not actually what happens, though. Ever. For anyone.
Being at the beginning of the success curve is more like being a puppy dog. People like you and are interested in what you're doing, but you're not necessarily taken seriously and you stumble from time to time. That's where we are.
According to the recent SETT survey I did, most readers prefer SETT to Wordpress. Not everyone will like it better, but I've been really thrilled with how people are embracing some of the new features we've built. It confirms my belief that blogging is currently broken fundamentally, and that we're building the next version of blogging, and not just sprinkling some glitter an an existing solution.
Since releasing, we've rebuilt a lot of stuff to make it easier to use, more consistent, and accessible on a number of devices. We've introduced bugs in the process, but we are also working hard to fix them. Readers have contributed a lot of great content in the community side of the site, and two of the posts were so good that I promoted them to the front page.
By Steven Chaffin, Jr.
This posted is dedicated to a great friend of mine named Valerie. She worked hard to convince me that I was making the wrong decision by deleting my Facebook account, and I appreciate the time she took to do that.
Less than twenty-four hours ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. I did this to the confusion of some close friends, surrounded by a world dependent and hopelessly addicted to it.
I was given reason after reason why I should keep the account, why I should stop “being irrational” and come back to my senses. Here are some popular reasons: