“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
— Albert Einstein
If you want more flow states and motivation, you need to simplify your future. You need to clarify one single outcome.
self-regulation is much more susceptible to rationality and planning than self-control is.
Aiming for self control forces us to remain in survival and anxious more all the time.
The psychological phenomenon of self-control versus self-regulation. Self-control is about our battle with our urges and impulses in the moment that they rear their ugly heads. Self-regulation is about the decisions we make ahead of time that reduce the frequency and intensity of those urges and impulses.
Self regulation is commonly known as “Flow State” and has become the preferred state of consciousness to be in when trying to be more aware and productive.
People often ask world famous comedian Steve Martin about the secret to making it in the entertainment industry. His answer often disappoints. It does not involve any tricks or hacks.
Instead, it’s all built on one simple idea:
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
I think the above simple statement is extremely profound.
Forget all the frustration, the tricks, and the worry. Just focus on becoming good. Really damn good. Outstanding. Unlike anyone who has come before you.
If you can figure out how to do this one thing, recognition will follow. It will, like it did for Martin, probably come so fast that it will overwhelm you.
The Steve Martin Method has 2 major tips:
Simply putting in the time is not enough. Martin had a constant urge to innovate. This restless urge to understand then innovate led him to be outstanding. Without it, he would have just become another good comedian. Like hundreds of others. Understand what the elite performers in your chosen skill do well. Mix, match and innovate to those things even better than anybody else.
2. Don't wander
Martin credits “diligence” for his success. This refers to the urge of always wanting to do many things. Stay diligent in your interest in one thing and master it. If you don’t saturate your life in a single quest, you’ll dilute your focus to a point where becoming outstanding becomes out of reach.
I am pondering this quote in the context of self improvement regardless of the skill we are thinking about. Getting good means trying and failing, studying and thinking, stopping and starting, honing your skills, admitting your faults, and getting up every day to face your fears and your doubts, over and over and over again.
Getting good, firstly requires a mindset shift and then a process of continuous and incremental improvement.
We all too often are frozen at the start of a process or over anxious about the ending and in so doing omit the “getting good” part. The continuous practise, the incremental progress and the step by step gains, that create the “getting good” part of any skill.
Ask yourself, candidly, whether you’re so good you can’t be ignored. If not, then get back to work.
Wisdom/What I'm Reading...
Deep work by Cal Newport
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. In the 21 Century, with the volume of distractions and interruptions we all have, Deep Work is becoming a Superpower.
Most of us spend our days in a flurry of mundane tasks, emails and social media. At the end of the day we struggle to justify a days work.
In almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. This valuable book provides the tools and training necessary for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.
In the book, Cal Newport demonstrates that Deep Work should not be at odds with your existence, it should be a part of it. By eliminating unnecessary distractions you will be more present and hence achieve more meaningful work.
Deep Work is divided into two sections: The Idea and The Rules.
The Idea claims that there are “two core abilities for thriving in the new economy:
1) the ability to quickly master hard things;
2) the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed”.
The answer to cultivating both abilities: deep work.
Busyness has become a proxy for productivity.
Work Deeply - In this section Cal Newport explains the importance of setting a rhythm and tempo to do deep work. That is scheduling the time, prioritizing the activity and setting the scene.
Embrace Boredom “By striving to busy our minds constantly, we distract ourselves from everything important”.
The author suggests that we should create distraction (internet) free zones in our day. During these periods we restrict the urge to go online, browse or check social media. Place yourself in a meditation state.
Drain the Shallows. This rule is quite intuitive. He explains that if we schedule almost everything we need to do in a day and compartmentalise the actions into shallow and Deep work, the simple act of identifying which tasks are “shallow” will aid in focusing on the meaningful activities.
One of the most transformational pieces in the book for me was when he talks about developing a scarcity mindset. The fact that “time” is finite. If we don’t develop ways in which to protect and cultivate a scarcity mindset on the ways in which we effectively utilise time.
Secondly, the concept of winding down or wrapping up the day consciously has served me well. The rationale for this practice is that we all have a number of unfinished tasks at the end of the day, having them lingering clutters our minds. Spending time at the end of the day wrapping these up helps to free the mind and liberates you to settle down to “Deep Work”
A great read to get you enroute to a more deep and productive way of living.
“Cal Newport is a clear voice in a sea of noise, bringing science and passion in equal measure. We don’t need more clicks, more cats, and more emojis. We need brave work, work that happens when we refuse to avert our eyes.”
—Seth Godin, author of What to Do When It’s Your Turn.
About the author
Cal Newport is computer science professor at Georgetown University. In addition to my academic research, he writes about the intersection of digital technology and culture. He is interested in our struggle to deploy these tools in ways that support instead of subvert the things we care about in both our personal and professional lives.
He has authored six books, including, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, Digital Minimalism.
Attention Capital Theory: “In modern knowledge work, the primary capital resource is human brains; or, more specifically, these brains’ ability to create new value through sustained attention. At the moment, most individuals and organizations are terrible at optimizing this resource, prioritizing instead the convenience and flexibility of persistent, unstructured messaging (e.g., email and IM). I predict that as this sector evolves, we’ll get better at optimizing attention capital, and accordingly leave behind our current culture of communication overload”
(I’m currently writing a book about this for Penguin Random House; its working title: “A World Without Email.” )
His blog is great : Click here
Widget Of The Week...
An American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He is known for playing a semi-fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, which he created and wrote with Larry David. The show aired on NBC from 1989 until 1998, becoming one of the most acclaimed and popular sitcoms of all time. As a stand-up comedian, Seinfeld specializes in observational comedy.
It’s been 30 years since the first episode of Seinfeld aired. This hilarious show about four friends living in New York City might have ended its run in 1998, but its influence still stands to this day.
Inspirational quotes through the ages from this incredibly, funny, witty and extremely talented individual:
“You need talent, you need brains, and you need confidence. Those are the three things you need to do virtually anything. Confidence is a fascinating commodity. There’s no upper limit on the usefulness of it, as long as it doesn’t bleed into arrogance”.
“It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”
"It's not the easiest thing to try and put a smile on a face. But it's always worth it."
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld on what it takes to make something great:
INTERVIEWER: You and Larry David wrote Seinfeld together, without a traditional writers’ room, and burnout was one reason you stopped. Was there a more sustainable way to do it? Could McKinsey or someone have helped you find a better model?
SEINFELD: Who’s McKinsey?
INTERVIEWER: It’s a consulting firm.
SEINFELD: Are they funny?
SEINFELD: Then I don’t need them. If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way. The right way is the hard way. The show was successful because I micromanaged it—every word, every line, every take, every edit, every casting. That’s my way of life.
His latest stand up comedy : Watch the trailer to 23 hours to kill here
Learn more about him : Click here