Where do you set the bar?
As high as possible
As low as possible
Better than last time
The best strategy for long term growth
is being better than last time for as long as you can.
For most of my life, I’ve taken the first approach, not the third.
Desperately, I would go through my life dying to be the best I possibly could be in every area of my life, all the time.
The results? I’m 23, and I feel as tired as a forty-year-old.
Jokes aside, taking the first approach all the time simply causes waste.
It’s an inefficient use of resources, and it’s unsustainable.
And most importantly, it’s unnecessary.
In Tim Ferriss’s the 4 hour body, he shares this concept that he coins the Minimum Effective Dose (MED).
In the context of the book, he uses this principle to demonstrate how working out just four hours a month can grow 30+ pounds of muscle.
What it taught me is that aiming for the top makes it easy to hide a lot of wasted effort.
For example, if you’re working out every day for a month, you can afford to have some good days and some bad days.
When you really cut the work down to only what’s needed, a couple beautiful things happen:
You actually work less, freeing up time and energy for other activities.
You’re more engaged when you are working, since it’s no longer than you need.
You often perform better than if you were aiming to be the best all the time.
My young self made all its money on denying the rules of reality; saying fuck you to my body when it would tell me to stop or slow down; packing three days of work into one day when I needed to, despite everyone telling me it was a bad idea; and just in general having the instinctual response of ‘no, we’re doing it my way’ when reality wouldn’t cooperate.
Now, I’m starting to find the money in listening. Being careful to observe the subtley communicated laws of reality, and pocketing them for future use when I’m actually able to see them between the lines.
If you want to know where all the money is in this article, look below:
YOU WILL PERFORM BETTER
AIMING TO BE BETTER THAN LAST TIME
THAN AIMING TO BE THE BEST ALL THE TIME.
The pressure is off. The bar is low. It’s only up from here.
You get up Tuesday morning and you get your most important task for the week out of the way. The rest is all gravy.
Upping the weight 5 pounds a week builds your confidence, sustainably, instead of the rollercoaster of 5 pounds a workout.
What causes poor performance when you set the bar as high as possible all the time?
Constant pressure of being behind; being inferior
A feeling of intimidation to begin working, when you know you’ll never be enough
Easily becoming distracted with others' goals because of the lack of clarity in your own
It’s a form self-hate to set yourself up to be behind all the time.
The money is in the journey, not at the end.
Design your life to be enjoyable in every moment, not in mere pockets.
DON’T AIM TO BE THE BEST ALL THE TIME.
AIM TO BE BETTER THAN LAST TIME.
A lesson I’ve learned, clarified for myself.
And, thanks to the beautiful power of the internet for you too.
It’s my belief that clarifying what I learn in my own life through the practice of writing will help me learn lessons in ways that are more lasting, and less temporary. I believe this helps me avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
I share them with you with the belief that our lives are similar, and that you might learn something to help you in your life from mine.
I love you and I hope you have a great day <3