No longer hungry

There’s a lot of power in the idea that we should replace eating till we’re full with eating till we are no longer hungry.

There’s an analogous idea with speech too. Don’t speak till you have nothing left to say – instead, speak till you’ve said just enough.

Note to self. :)

On how hard it is to learn something

One of the bigger lessons I’ve taken away from attempting to write about learning and the process of learning over the past 11 years is just how hard it is to learn something.

Learning isn’t about about absorbing a new idea. It is about spending enough time with it to create mental models that change how we see. That, in turn, changes how we do things. To learn and not to do is not to learn after all.

Thus, a small change in how we approach our work and lives can take months and large changes can take years. And, as new years resolutions demonstrate, periodic re-commitment count for a lot more than one-time commitments.

So, for better chances of success at learning – i) pick one thing that you actually want to spend a lot of time on, ii) find a coach, community, or habit that helps you stay accountable to regular experimentation and reflection, and iii) be patient.

The top driver

There are many variables that contribute to our energy on any given day. The quality and type of food we eat, the kind of work/activity we have planned, the quality and quantity of our sleep, and so on.

However, instead of focusing on getting all of them in place, we get disproportionate benefit from focusing on the top driver.

Assuming quantity of sleep is the top driver, there are a lot of associated benefits. On most days, quantity of sleep is likely to translate to quality. And, since we’ll operate with higher energy when we’re awake, it is likely we’ll make better choices through the day.

A focus on the top driver creates forward momentum that makes it easier to focus on the subsequent drivers.

“One metric that matters” is as much about focus as it is about identifying and acting on the top driver. The more we can focus on identifying and acting on the top driver (or in rare cases, two top drivers), the more effective we’ll be.

The Impossible Whopper

I tasted my first Impossible burger last year. I am no burger expert – but, I thought it tasted really good. The Impossible Foods website has some powerful stats on the impact of replacing a beef burger with an Impossible burger.

At a time when the global trends on emissions and climate change aren’t looking good, we need every win we can notch. And, while there’s a lot of power in improving our food choices, the biggest wins come from changes in how massive traditional corporations behave.

Given that, I’m very excited about Burger King embracing “The Impossible Whopper.” Early tests in St. Louis claim to have boosted foot traffic by 18% in comparison to other stores. That’s fantastic news. Even if a portion of that boost is sustained when they launch across the US, it’ll likely inspire the likes of McDonalds to follow as well.

I’m excited to go to a Burger King for a meal myself. I can’t remember the last time I said that.

Teams and self interest

Controlling for level of skill/capability, the strength of a team is proportional to the percentage of folks within the team who’d put the team’s interest ahead of their own.

When that percentage is less than 50%, it is a disaster. Conversely, when it exceeds 80%, you’re generally looking at greatness.

I have to and I choose to

There’s a great exchange in the chapter on the first habit – “Be Proactive” – of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits between Covey and a student.


One time a student asked me, “Will you excuse me from class? I have to go on a tennis trip.”

‘You have to go, or you choose to go?” I asked.

“I really have to,” he exclaimed.

“What will happen if you don’t?”

“Why, they’ll kick me off the team.”

“How would you like that consequence?”

“I wouldn’t.”

“In other words, you choose to go because you want the consequence of staying on the team. What will happen if you miss my class?”

“I don’t know.”

‘Think hard. What do you think would be the natural consequence of not coming to class?”

‘You wouldn’t kick me out, would you?”

‘That would be a social consequence. That would be artificial. If you don’t participate on the tennis team, you don’t play. That’s natural. But if you don’t come to class, what would be the natural consequence?”

“I guess I ‘II miss the learning.”

‘That’s right. So you have to weigh that consequence against the other consequence and make a choice. I know if it were me, I’d choose to go on the tennis trip. But never say you have to do anything.”

“I choose to go on the tennis trip,” he meekly replied.

“And miss my class?” I replied in mock disbelief.


I think of this anecdote on days when I hear myself slipping into reactive language. Fortunately for many of us, we choose to more than we have to.

It is on us to make the most of it.