Here is a collection of 10 of my favourite ideas that I've illustrated and written about.
1. Learn from your peers
"It's almost always better to learn from peers who are 2 years ahead of you than mentors who are 20 years ahead of you. Life evolves and most insights get outdated." - James Clear
Learn from those a few steps ahead of you and teach those a few steps behind you.
Learning from a peer who recently went through the same challenges we are facing now is more useful than learning from an idol who is way further in their journey. The peer can understand what we're going through, while the idol might only have a distant memory of our current problems.
2. Do the work, then make some noise
Doing great work is only half the job.
If you want to increase your chances of success (your luck), you need to tell people about your work as well. This is something I’ve learned the hard way.
“The amount of luck that you have in life is how much value you create, times how many people you tell about it.” — Patrick McKenzie
3. Set your priorities
In 2008, Matthew McConaughey shut down his film production company and his record label.
"I was making B’s in 5 things. I want to make A's in three things."
He realized we can do many things, but we can't do everything. Only some things really matter.
Saying no to the things that don't matter has a double benefit:
- You no longer have to do the unimportant things.
- You can do the important things better by going all in.
4. Create leverage
Set up systems for repeatable processes.
Spend time working ON the machine, not just IN the machine.
5. Don't create, document
You do not have to be super creative to be a writer.
Instead of searching for inspiration, look at the content you’re already consuming – the books you're reading and the podcasts you're listening to. Look at the things you're already doing – your work and your habits.
Instead of looking for inspiration to hit me like a lightning bolt, I wrote a number of essays simply by documenting my process.
6. Switch off to switch on
Since making the shift to being a creator, I've really valued building in moments of silence in my life. Not plugging in my headphones when I go for a walk. Not always looking at emails and notifications. Not always being connected.
In these quiet moments, my best ideas often bubble up.
"The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.” – Amos Tversky
7. The Power of Anti-goals
People often ask us what our goals are. What do you want to achieve? What is your 5-, 10-, 20-year plan?
For me, it is more important to ask what our anti-goals are. By defining what you are scared of becoming, you get closer to figuring out what you stand for. By pointing out what you want to avoid, you get closer to where you want to go.
"People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels - people you don't want to resemble when you grow up."
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
8. Happiness is wanting the things you already have
Discontent stems from the gap between reality and our expectations. In other words, the gap between 'what we have' and 'what we want'.
Closing this gap comes from exercising gratitude – appreciating the things we already have.
“The easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have.” ― William B. Irvine
9. Raising aspirations
People often underestimate what they're capable of. A genuine compliment or word of encouragement can often help someone dream bigger.
“At critical moments in time, you can raise the aspirations of other people significantly, especially when they are relatively young, simply by suggesting they do something better or more ambitious than what they might have in mind. It costs you relatively little to do this, but the benefit to them, and to the broader world, may be enormous." – Tyler Cowen
10. Commit, then reflect
Commit to something for a few weeks. Then re-assess and look at the options available to you.
Don't mix up the two processes. Commit until the work is done before reflecting. There can be no progress when you are constantly second-guessing your current move.