Recently I formed this skew towards not wanting to do any short-term work. I consider it extremely beneficial for myself.
Here is why.
Considering my imminent mortality (👉Contemplating Mortality), considering how fleeting my youth years are and how ambitious my goals in life are, I need to be moving very fast and very disruptively, bypassing years and decades of other people’s experience and findings. This means that time is valuable. Not all of my time, but the high-energy and focus time.
So at each moment, when I need to complete some tasks, I ask myself “How can my immediate solution right now continue to work for me later?”
What does this mean?
It means not only aversion to loss, but affinity to the potential gains of your actions.
So all work you do should go into forming “templates”. There is no work just done for the sake of it and then lost. Because mortal as we are, time goes by every single second. So what is the benefit of short-term actions that disappear into nothingness? Long-term actions integrated into the wider field of your work can continue to pay off later.
Kinda like an influencer, you are constantly reusing and repurposing your old content (like they post pictures posted before in the feed).
There is a concept of nodes in memory studies. There are clusters of memory nodes, like memories that go together and are interconnected. So that's why when we study, we were advised to connect new material to the stuff you knew before. That means you integrate it with an existing node and thus ensure it will not be lost. Now, cramming for a test is forming a single node that is lost immediately after you walk out of the exam room.
Not interested in those lost nodes with very short-term benefits here.
This can be a huge deal. If you just realize how much benefit you can be getting from the little systems you develop.
Friends and romance. Side flings and friends that you just hang out with for a while are very short-term actions. They are just attending to your current need. You never in your life talk to those people again. That's totally fine and sometimes needed. However, if you think about it in terms of investment, you can choose to invest that bit of energy you have into perhaps compounding on your relationship with a good friend or creating a new asset of a new valuable friendship.
Of course, this is a grey zone. What if you don't yet know how amazing someone is. We don't want to be hasty with judgment. We can start forming this understanding ingrained into your decision-making and thinking.
It is not for everyone. Some will condemn and criticize this approach. It will be amazing for some of us. Some of us have a tendency towards systematization, others don't. To a small extent, all of us can apply it. To a large extent, those who are prone and interested should apply it.
So the core of the principle is to see your time, your energy, your mental abilities and your youth as very finite resources that need to be curated in the most intelligent way. Again, no one coming for us poor fellas here. Gotta do it yourself.
I met a tennis athlete at the beach last weekend. He was telling me about how his coach sends him workouts every day, checks his diet, and organizes practices and tournaments. I was like “That’s darn nice to have someone watch you so closely”. His tennis talent is closely curated by his coach. Well, my XYZ talent is not going to be curated by anyone except for me. Same for most of us.
The way to curate your talent is to create conditions for maximum growth. How do that? By removing as many menial tasks as possible to free up mental space for higher-level thinking.
So that’s why recently every time I start a new endeavor, I write a “manual” on how to do it.(if its important……or how to eliminate actions that aren’t important!). A manual can be just a realization or a short note.
For example, summer is tough and I needed to find creative non-“go work a campus job” funding solutions. So knowing that I am going to invest a whole bunch of time into this process, I wrote a manual called “How to ask X for Y?”. Asking for money is an integral process of life I would say. If you are building a business, you need investments for scaling. You need money to make money. If you are a brilliant student from a poor country, you are persuading an institution to invest into you for four years. If you are a cool developer, you are marketing yourself in a way that would want to make the company pay you for the work you do. Now, those were more of the standard examples where the route is laid out. There are FinAid and job applications. For the grayer areas of promotions, investments and additional scholarships, we will need to hustle ourselves. This is when this manual will be very useful. Everywhere in life we are persuading X to give us Y.
So I curated myself by making future "ask for money" easier. Also, I curated myself to next time think at a deeper level about this deal because I already will have a good starting point.
Let's pay attention to this specific moment:
🗣Just when you are about to do something that you know you will be doing again, perhaps in a different format or form, stop and think about how you can systemize or make it easier for yourself in the future.
Yes, I invest a little more time into writing the manual, reading up on persuasion and putting together my thoughts. This system, however, will work for me for the rest of my life, my team and my friends. I see it as an asset: the hurdle of the investment is tough, but then it grows and compounds on itself. I can iterate, improve and enrich it.
Keep in mind, the initial investment hurdle will create a lot of inertia towards actualizing this principle.
If you care enough about the benefits and if you take the mental energy to internalize the importance of this principle for yourself, you will overcome it.
Now, as I said in the first sentence, it is a skew, meaning it is slanted towards one side. I chose to see it as being beneficial which means I am ready to put up with some downsides of it.
Downsides are that if it is a quick and easy task, I don't need to be thinking deep and long-term. I can just do it.
But because this principle is not innate to who I was, I need to make it into a skew to fully internalize it.
Eventually, I want to balance it out to applying the relevant approach at the right time.
Comment or respond to the email with your thoughts.
More on nodes concept and compounding later.
P.S. Just today I shared that manual with a friend in need. Not only does this little innocent manual compounds on my initial benefit, but it also helps me to compound on my relationship with that friend because hopefully I provided value to him.