“I’m bored.” When’s the last time you said that? I bet not too long ago.
If you give me 4 minutes, I’ll tell you why that’s a bad sign.
In the past, I always looked at other people for answers. When you’re little, your school teachers tell you what to do every day. The system is valid for primary school, high school, college, university.
It’s always one person who tells a group what to do. What does that do to people?
School systems train us to be passive. And after we get out of school, nothing really changes. When I had my first job, I listened to my boss about what to do.
And when I started my first business with my dad, I looked at him for answers.
People who claim that setting goals are a bad thing are out of their minds. They probably set some goals in the past, failed, and never set a goal again.
I know there’s a lot of confusion about goals and systems these days. I’ve contributed to the confusion as well.
A lot of us share the idea that you either have a system or set goals.
But thinking “this or that” is not helpful because it limits our beliefs. I know this because I used to think that way too. But then, I learned that many things in life could be this and that.
So in this article, I’ll explain why goals and systems complement each other, and why I have both.
Are you currently in a good mood or a bad mood?
Now, let me ask you another question: How is your day? I bet that you’re having a bad day if you’re in a bad mood, and a good day if you’re in a good mood.
That’s obvious, right? But here’s the thing; since it has such a big impact on the quality of our lives, why aren’t we managing our mood better? Because let’s face it, we shouldn’t let a bad mood ruin our day.
And yet, I never hear people about managing their mood. We all assume that our mood is influenced by outside factors. Things that we do not control.
Example of how Price’s Law works in a field/company with 100 people
At my first sales job, I had about 25 colleagues who did the same work. After the first month, I noticed something peculiar.
Only 4 of my co-workers brought in more than half of the total sales. I was 17 years old at the time, and I had no idea why that was. These folks were the superstars on the floor — the untouchables.
Little did I know that this relation holds true for almost everything in business. It’s called Price’s square root law, and it originates from academia.
Value Creation Is Not Symmetric
Derek Price, who was a British physicist, historian of science, and information scientist, discovered something about his peers in academia. He noticed that there were always a handful of people who dominated the publications within a subject.
Price found out the following (now called Price’s law):
Do you ever look back on your decisions and think, “Why I on earth did I do that?”
We all make bad decisions.
- Buying an SUV that sucks up all your cash
- Starting a relationship without being in love
- Saying yes to a job that you’re not passionate about
- Creating products that no one needs
Shit happens (the above examples are all about me). But the funny thing is that bad decisions never seem like bad decisions in the moment.
I’ve been reading about the decision-making process of Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger, two of the most successful investors of all time.
In Alice Schroeder’s biography of Warren Buffett, I read that Buffet and Munger have a learning strategy that’s based on what you should avoid doing. They identify mistakes and do their best to avoid those mistakes.
Where you are in your life is a result of your habits. Will Durant (not Aristotle) said it best:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
I think that’s also true for the opposite of excellence. Mediocrity is a result of mediocre habits.
That means we can go from mediocrity to excellence by changing our habits.
But how do you do that? Before we get into that, I want to clarify my statement: Habits change your life, but they do not guarantee success.
Because that’s what “the habits of millionaires” type of articles and books tell us. We get it, Elon Musk sleeps 2 hours a day and eats Cheerios for dinner—or something like that.
Do you struggle to finish your tasks? Are you always distracted by notifications, gossiping, or anything that’s random?
In that case, you and I are alike. Because focusing on a single thing is one of the hardest things at work.
There’s always something that interrupts you, right?
- Another person
- A call
- A meeting
- A false emergency
- Your cat
- A stranger’s cat
- News about last night’s NBA game
Sure, you can blame those things — but that’s weak. You and I both know that those things can’t interrupt you without your permission.