Try and remember a situation where you worked hard to achieve a goal only to see it slip away once you got there. Typical dieting scenario. Now think about a time where you put in a ton of work only to realize in hindsight a lot of it was unnecessary to get to the same outcome. I surely can remember multiple examples to both. This list of situations can be extended. It’s critical to be aware of as many of these situations as possible and having a road map to think about approaches that increase your productivity. Life is too short to waste on needles effort.
Below you’ll find a set of books that would help increase your awareness of these problems. They include a ton of practical advice. Lastly, if you are currently in the right mindset, might well end up changing how you live.
Good Luck! You’ll need it.
#1 Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
It’s hard to categorize this book. I came across it in a book shop in Thailand. A good friend who happened to be with me had read it and recommended I should read it too. I picked it up there and then. At the time I was also doing an MBA. No offense to my school but I might have learnt more from this book than my MBA degree (and it definitely costs less!).
In it, Tim Ferris talks about how to change our point of reference to a deferred life plan (retirement at 55, enjoying life after that, in the meantime working hard at something that doesn’t particularly interest you etc.). He provides a framework to challenge the deferred life plan, explains the key is re-framing our thinking around “relative income” (do you really need more money, can you move somewhere cheaper while maintaining your income levels etc.). One part I particularly found useful was always thinking to prioritise a to do list with “Which of these, once completed, would make everything else on the list redundant or easier?”.
#2 How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
This guy created Dilbert, and you can read this book just to understand how someone who created Dilbert thinks and functions. That’s enough value for the book. However this book delivers beyond that. The key things that stuck with me were:
- How systems thinking beats goals thinking. In the context of weight loss, aiming to be a certain weight is a goal, exercising everyday is a system. Systems are long lasting and deliver permanent results.
- Being good at 2 or more things is easier in the road to success vs. being the best in one field.
- Simple systems are the best way to success. Aim to reduce complexity of your life over time. Simplicity beats optimizing complexity.
#3 The One Thing by Garry Keller
Remember that “What’s the one thing I could do, such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” question (or something of that sort)? It might actually be coming from this book. Doesn’t really matter, does it? In its most simple form this books goes into a lot of detail about focusing on a single thing that’s going to make the biggest difference to your ambition. Time blocking to give your 100% focus to that one thing. Another book building on the same idea is Cal Newport’s Deep Work. Basically, in a society consumed by Instagram, Facebook etc. and driven to distraction constantly being able to focus on and deliver on your priorities makes a massive difference. Surprisingly simple but effective advice (just the way I like it).
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