Do you have plans, goals, ideals, or outcomes that you want to achieve? And do you get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan?
If so, I want to share a simple, yet powerful idea with you in this article.
I learned this from Jocko Willink’s book Discipline Equals Freedom. The idea is very simple. Jocko believes that complaining when things go wrong is useless.
Have you seen those articles with headlines that promise the impossible?
- “1000X your personal growth!”
- “Change your life in 10 seconds!”
- “Learn EVERYTHING in 1 hour!”
You and I both know that these types of claims are BS—it’s nothing more than cheap clickbait. But why are we still baited by these headlines?
We’re optimists! And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Look, we all know that there’s no such thing as 1,000% growth in a short period of time. We also know that we can’t finish a 300-page book in 30 minutes. Mastery doesn’t work that way. There are no shortcuts.
However, getting good at something is also not totally unattainable. Because like these above extreme claims, there is a counterculture that says it takes 10,000 hours (or more) to master a skill. As you might expect, I’m more on the side of that it takes longer to get good at something.
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.
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.
What do you do when you feel tired or overwhelmed? Do you power through? Or do you take some time off?
In the past, I thought that you should always power through — no matter what. Now, I still think that way when it comes to life in general. You can’t quit taking care of yourself and your family.
A sense of responsibility is one of the most powerful motivators in life. But I’m not talking about a lack of motivation here.
I’m talking about taking time off work. But there’s still a massive taboo on taking time off. Some people think it’s for losers. Others think it’s about escaping your work.
After all, “If you love your work and life, why do you even need a break?”
The reason I research productivity is simple. I think that a productive life equals a happy life.
Also, if you’re more productive than average people, you’ll advance faster in your career. You learn more. You do more. And eventually are rewarded more.
And when I talk about productivity, I talk about being effective.
Because productivity doesn’t suggest that you get the right things done. It just means you get a lot of stuff done. But that’s not what matters.
Effectiveness, however, refers to getting the right things done.
And if you want to do your job well, earn money, live a meaningful life, or learn skills, that is what matters the most. Otherwise, you just run around in circles. You might appear busy, but you won’t achieve anything meaningful.
In other words: It’s easy to do useless work. Work that doesn’t bring you closer to the outcomes you desire.