This week has been an incredible opportunity for me to reflect on my mindset towards life and learning. I have been consumed by thoughts of commitment, dedication and the constant pursuit of growth. This bullet is a summary of my reflections.
When it comes to learning, there is a difference between material that ends up hanging from a branch and the material that makes up the base of the trunk of your tree.
Elon Musk's 2 fundamental rules of learning:
Rule #1 — Make sure you’re building a tree of knowledge.
It’s the periphery vs. the central.
Ensure that you have the best possible grasp on the “trunk” material before moving off into the minutiae of the branches and the leaves.
Most of us do exactly the opposite, we overcrowd our minds with unimportant peripheral data without ever understanding the fundamental core of the subject.
That’s not learning. It’s cramming.
To learn anything fast you must start with the “trunk” and then build yourself out to the branches, not the other way around.
Musk’s brilliance is found in his second rule of learning, his ability to build vast and towering trees of intellect across multiple sectors.
Rule #2 — You can’t remember what you can’t connect.
Learning the basis of any subject is critical, but alone this strategy won’t make you effective, you need to be able to connect the dots.
Musk does not study information randomly. His learning is structured, focused and intentional. To take the tree analogy further; Understand the trunk, then move to the branches and finally ensure that those branches are connected to other trees.
This methodology will build a foundation for exceptional growth.
Like any new system, this may seem to be a slower process of learning at first, but rest assured it is far more effective and beneficial in the long term.
As Henry Ford said - “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
In a world tainted by mediocrity acting like a professional will serve you more than any other trait.
Professionals are committed to the cause and create a structured schedule and process by which they lead their lives deliberately towards their desired goal.
In my pursuit to be a better version of myself in the future I often find myself questioning the demands I place on myself, only to be comforted by the fact that intermittent desire to perform will not allow me to accomplish great things.
We need to commit to a training/learning schedule that is consistent and achievable.
Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.
In Atomic Habits - James Clear says:
The ability to show up everyday, stick to the schedule, and do the work — especially when you don't feel like it — is so valuable that it is literally all you need to become better 99% of the time.
The simple fact of the matter is that most of the time we are inconsistent. We all have goals that we would like to achieve and dreams that we would like to fulfill, but it doesn't matter what you are trying to become better at, if you only do the work when it’s convenient or exciting, then you’ll never be consistent enough to achieve remarkable results.
Being a pro is about having the discipline to commit to what is important to you instead of merely saying something is important to you. It's about starting when you feel like stopping, not because you want to work more, but because your goal is important enough to you that you don't simply work on it when it's convenient. Becoming a pro is about making your priorities a reality.
Professionals are driven by the infinite game and don't give up when they achieve a finite goal.
In Infinite games, like business or politics or life itself, the players come and go, the rules are changeable, and there is no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers in an infinite game; there is only ahead and behind.
Read Simon Sinek’s incredible book on the topic The Infinite Game here
Wisdom/ What I'm Reading...
Jeff Bezos and Day 1 Thinking
This idea was conceptualised in the very early days of Amazon.
Focus on results and not process.
It’s a mindset, an internal willingness to treat every day, every morning as if it were the 1st day of business. To live an examined life of relevance, to constantly examine even the most strongly and closely held beliefs.
Jeff explained that as a company grows, it becomes easy to rely on process rather than the result. In that case, the process becomes “the thing”. When that happens, sometimes companies stop looking at outcomes and only consider whether they have followed the process correctly, not whether the desired outcome was achieved.
Make decisions quickly.
Jeff wrote that “Day 2” companies do actually make good decisions, but the problem is that they make them slowly.
High-Speed and tenacity matter in business as they do in life.
“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”
That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.
“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”
To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.
Every year, Bezos republishes his original 1997 letter to shareholders.
My thoughts and lessons from numerous Amazon shareholder letters over the years are captured here: