Focusing on what you can measure

We tend to focus on what business people call the “lag measures” – the things we can’t measure immediately. E.g., focusing on a number of sales by the end of the year vs. focusing on the work you put in a day.

If a writer is focusing on the end result – the book – she’s focusing on a lag measure. If she’s focusing on pages written per day, then she’s focusing on the lead measure. One you can measure, the other you can’t. Well, you can, but the time you can – it might be too late.

Lag and lead measures are everywhere. E.g., when you eat junk food, the results are lagging – that is, the time you see the results of the unhealthy eating become visible when the damage has already been done. The same applies to exercise, smoking, drugs, working on your craft, spending time on social media, etc. The result is not instantly visible.

So, when we want to get work done, it’s best to focus on how much did we get done in one day – not on the end product itself. Because we can easily measure the work, we put in at a given day and immediately know if we are in schedule or not.


Say “no”

I’ve come to realize that people who get things done and achieve great things – successful people – say “no” all the time. They rarely agree to anything.

Why? Because if you always say “yes” – and we all know these people who are happy to help and have a seat in 12 different organizations – you don’t have the time to do things that really matter. You simply don’t have the time to follow your dream. To work on your goals.

There’s only so much time in the world, and if you fill it up with little tasks and agree to every request, you’re at that time not working on your thing.

As the saying goes: “You can have almost everything you want, but you can’t have everything”. Make up your mind of what it is you want to achieve and then go for it – cut out everything you can cut out. Value your time. Consider very very carefully before you agree to something.

I recently finished reading the Alchemist. The main key takeaway is that we should follow our dreams – at least, this is how most people understand this book. The other super vital point – that many might not realize – is that this tale about a young shepherd is not only about following your dream – but also asking yourself: “What am I willing to give up to follow my dream?”

If you’ve read the book, you know how much Santiago went through and how much he was willing to give up. E.g. he was literally willing to give up the love of his life to follow his dream. This is how important his dream was to him. And rightfully so!


Deep identity change

Now, when I say “deep identity change,” I’m not talking about a complete and total change of your self regarding absolutely everything. I don’t know if that’s even possible, and it’s irrelevant to what I’m talking about.

What I mean is that we all have a vision of the person we want to be. Maybe it’s someone you admire and think, “I wish I could be like him/her.” Maybe it’s a mix of different people. Whoever your ideal” you” is, we all have it.

We all want to be that person, but most people are not behaving like that person. E.g., we want to be slim and rich, but if we’re not doing the things these people do, then how could we even expect to become that ideal self?

Part of what’s stopping us is our ego – our self or identity. We have this idea of who we are – which is deeply rooted in the subconscious.

Since it’s deeply rooted, it’s very hard to change it. You may have noticed that when you try to break free of the “old self”, you feel as if you get dragged right back. It’s as if some invisible forces pull you back.

Consciously you do want to change, but unconsciously you don’t. Maybe it’s because we think that we don’t deserve it or maybe it’s because the old self is just too strong.

Whatever the psychological reason, one thing is sure: identity change is possible.

I believe it is very well possible to become the person you want to be, and there are plenty of real-world examples to prove that.

The way to do it is to keep acting the way the person you want to be would act. It means having the mindset they have and doing the things they do over and over again until you start to see cracks in the barrier that separates your old and new self.

You might also call this “modelling”.

Another example: successful people don’t crash on the couch, drink wine/beer, and watch TV every night. They don’t mindlessly browse social media or watch videos. They read books; they develop themselves; they keep learning new things. They take courses, go to seminars, hire coaches, etc.

Michael Jordan apparently had 11 coaches. What does it say if the pretty much the best basketball player in the whole world had 11 different people teaching and counseling him?

This is the super-elite level we’re talking about, but the same principle applies to whatever level you’re at. Me and (probably) you don’t have the means to hire personal coaches, but we have e.g., books and online courses.

The point is: in order to get to the next level, it requires a lot of work. Like the famous quote goes: “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expecting a different result”.

Speaking of modeling – this is what the Chinese do really well. They take what is successful, and then they just do the same thing. You may argue about the creativity and quality and all that, but the principle of modeling in itself works.

This is the idea I want to leave you with for the upcoming 2020. Maye, you become the version of yourself you’re always dreaming of.