When you get a dopamine hit from the false first step of simply buying a product or watching a video that you hope will help you, but you stop at that point without ever taking action or applying anything new to your life.


Iteration for the win

No: “Where is the one thing that will fix all my problems for me right now?”

Yes: “Will this thing give me one new, good idea I can use right now?”

Invest in things that will help you fix a small problem so you can get a little bit better at what you do. Find one good idea and actually implement it. Then repeat.

Iteration for the win

You’ve no-doubt heard of the Law of the Vital Few. It’s the 80/20 rule, which states that roughly 80-percent of the results come about from just 20-percent of the energy.

But, if you were to take your 80-percent results and apply the 80/20 rule to them a few more times, what you end up discovering is that your initial 1-percent of energy spent brings about the first 50-percent of results. (Illustrated here.)

Gary Keller writes that “success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.” You can’t just do anything and get disproportionate results. You have to do the right thing. That critical action that drives a disproportionate result.

What’s the Minimum Effective Dose?

Focus vs Unfocused

A few symptoms of an unfocused life include things like: reacting to daily fires; feeling unsure about the future; lacking any margin / breathing room; unclear goals; no plan forward; procrastination.

Compared to a focused life where you are in control; clear long-term vision and goals; easily able to make decisions with confidence; thriving (even when things are unusually busy); ensuring that important relationships and responsibilities always come first and get your priority; you have a bias toward action.

Focus vs Unfocused

There are 3 things you need to accomplish your goals: (1) a clear goal; (2) a winning action plan; and (3) consistency.

For things where you are just getting started, you may not yet know what your winning action plan is. When this is the case you need the right blend of iteration and feedback until you’ve got your winning action plan. Once you discover what works, double down on consistency.

When to iterate, when to stay consistent

The past 12 months I have gotten extraordinarily nerdy on backpacking gear. And one of the things I ended up splurging on was the best headlamp I’ve ever owned. Two things I love about this thing: (1) how very thin and lightweight it is; and (2) its dedicated buttons for the white and red lights. The dedicated buttons mean you don’t have to cycle through a whole sequence of options before you get to the light you want. It’s just press and go.

The best camping / backpacking headlamp

Two types of overwhelm…

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself why. (It’s usually one of two reasons.)

Are you: (1) on the verge of something new? Or (2) is life showing you that something needs to be cut out?

If you’re on the edge of breakthrough with a big project, then sometimes the answer is to keep working and persevere through the season.

Or, if somethings got to give, then take inventory of where you’re spending the bulk of your time and energy (not where you wish you were spending it, but where you’re actually spending it). Now ask yourself what can be subtracted to give your calendar, your mind, and your emotions some breathing room. (I guide folks through this process frequently as part of The Focus Course.)

Two types of overwhelm…

Things that will destroy your goals

In order to accomplish your goals you need: (1) a clear goal; (2) a winning action plan; and (3) consistency.

Take away or invert any of those things, and you’ve eliminated the possibility of succeeding at your desired outcome. Here’s what they look like when inverted: (1) unclear direction; (2) random acts of productivity / busywork; (3) distracted / trying something new but moving on quickly.

Things that will destroy your goals