A question that often helps provide clarity – “Is this consistent with the person I want to be?”
I was momentarily wrestling with a small (at least in the big scheme of things) decision today. Asking this question/its parent variant – “Is this consistent with the father I want to be?” clarified the path forward immediately.
When you have the luxury to choose what you work on, work on problems you want to obsess about. Problems that you’ll want to stay up late or wake up early for. Problems that will make most of the trade-offs that come your way feel worth it.
Say no to things that don’t meet that bar.
This strategy won’t necessarily maximize money or fame. Instead, it’ll maximize excitement, engagement, and joy.
In the long run, these end up mattering more than the other stuff.
The most important step we’ll take as human beings to reverse the climate crisis is to get to net zero emissions by 2050. A few years ago, it was hard to even visualize a path to doing this.
For the first time, thanks to the International Energy Agency, we have an excellent illustration of the possible roadmap to achieve this. Here’s the link. Thanks to the interactive design, it will take all of 5 minutes to get a high level overview.
Thank you, IEA team, for all the research, analysis, and thought.
There’s a lot of important work ahead for all of us.
I’ve been intermittent fasting for ~18 months now. A few reflections:
(1) I follow a 16-8 routine. So, I fast for ~16 hours and eat in the remaining ~8. I use “~” because I’m not strict about the 16. Some days it is 17 and others it is 15. I don’t sweat it or put any pressure. That’s partly why it has worked well.
(2) After following this routine every day of the week, I had to bring it down to 5 days a week because I was losing weight I didn’t want to lose. It can be an effective weight loss strategy if you’re so inclined.
(3) When I started the practice in January last year, I was drawn to the potential health benefits. I went to the hospital for my annual round of blood tests recently and was amazed. Those numbers have never looked better. However, I can’t attribute it entirely to intermittent fasting because of the work-from-home routine. We’ll get a better sense in a year. That said, I suspect it had a significant role to play.
(4) I’ve experimented with 2 variants in the past 18 months – the skip-breakfast variant (eat between 12-8pm or 1-9pm) and the skip-dinner variant (eat between 9-5pm). I’m partial to the skip dinner variant as things stand.
(5) I appreciate not having to think about the extra meal. I love food and like the simplicity of planning for 2 meals vs. 3.
(6) I think the biggest reason I love intermittent fasting is that I am hungry when I break my fast. I don’t just eat because it is time for breakfast. Thanks to the ~16 hour wait, I’m looking forward to that meal.
I’m conscious of the fact that I’ve accumulated a lot of privilege over the years. That privilege brings a certain daily comfort that is all too easy to get used to. Feeling hungry before eating that meal every weekday is a daily reminder of the importance of hunger – in our diet and in life.
As organizations grow in size, collaborating with other teams can either be high leverage or a productivity killer. A simple way to understand which outcome is more likely is to take a moment to understand and clarify everyone’s incentives.
If incentives are all aligned – i.e., if everyone is aligned on the metrics that matter, it’ll come down to our ability to collaborate and build strong relationships.
But, if they’re not, it is best to stop the conversation right there. The worst possible move is to spend hours attempting to convince people of our point-of-view. Even if they are convinced, it won’t matter if that’s not what they’re paid to do.
The only way out at this point is to discuss/escalate so someone with decision making power over both teams can clarify incentives.
Investing in aligning on the incentives at the start saves a ton of wasted time later.
Derek Sivers once shared a powerful post on drama – his notes from a talk by the late Kurt Vonnegut.
Kurt Vonnegut explained why people have such a need for drama in their life. He said, “People have been hearing fantastic stories since time began. The problem is, they think life is supposed to be like the stories.”
For example, here’s the arc of Cinderella.
Or here’s a typical disaster story that might show up in the news.
There’s of course the hero journey – ascent, downfall, and the return to glory.
The trouble is that the arc of real life is something like this.
Vonnegut observed – “But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.”
I remembered these graphs in a conversation about drama recently. Over the years, we’ve gravitated toward people and environments that also embrace a “no drama” ethos. It follows along the lines of “you never know if a good day is a good day.”
But, it is one thing to appreciate “no drama” and another to understand why we have so much of it around us. I’m grateful to Kurt Vonnegut for explaining it so beautifully.