You're Trying to Do Too Much - Scott H Young
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We live in a culture that prizes keeping one’s options open. It’s better to be maximally flexible, the popular reasoning goes so that we can respond to any opportunity at a moment’s notice. Committing to anything, even for just a few months, locks away other possibilities, and is thus undesirable.
But even if you want a more varied life, you still need to commit to projects for bursts of time to make progress. The person who commits to three-month projects may not achieve mastery. Still, they will get further than the person who merely thinks about doing those projects.
It’s more fun to think about being good at something than to actually do the work to get good. Thus we daydream, rather than take action.
The problem is that daydreaming alone doesn’t lead anywhere. None of the projects we imagine but never work on are ever realized. This can deflate even our daydreaming, as part of us knows, deep down, we’re never really going to do it. The solution is to pick a project and see it through.
A side-effect of committing to one project is that you end up putting off all the rest. By the time you finally start a project, you’ve been thinking about it for a while.
This extra incubation time has two virtues:
Short commitments tend to lead to greater accomplishment than long ones.
It’s not the intention to commit that matters, but whether you follow through with it.
A multi-year effort has a much higher chance at being abandoned than a three-month project does. Further, a three-month project can easily lead to another three-month effort in the same direction, provided the results from the first proved promising.
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