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Don't Forget Step Zero

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https://hackernoon.com/dont-forget-step-zero-48f0463821c5

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Don't Forget Step Zero
I'm a physicist who works at a YC startup. The biggest mistake I've ever made is that I spent too much time as a physicist. The second biggest mistake I've ever made is that I spent too much time working on the wrong startup idea.

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Step Zero

When you have a task, the first thing you normally do is to start working on Step One. But there’s a step before Step One, and it’s more important: the step where you decide which task you should work...

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Obvious but important

Step Zero is obvious the same way your blind spot is obvious: always front and center, but never quite in focus.

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Skipping Step Zero

When you skip Step Zero, you end up on whatever default path is for people in your situation. You become a doctor because that’s what people in your family, ethnicity, or in-group do. You go to ...

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The comfort zone of Default Options

  • The default option isn’t always the wrong one, but it’s always riskier than it looks.
  • The comfort zone of the default option is a dangerous situation and mindset to be in.

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Successful people remember Step Zero

Successful people are unusually good at Step Zero, even though not many of them start out that way. 

We usually understand that we’re supposed to work hard to be successful. That makes s...

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Before Step One there is Step Zero

Someone once said that a thousand-mile journey begins with a single step. But in reality, a thousand-mile journey begins when you decide on where you’re going.

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Taking off

Startups take off because the founders make them take off.

Generally, startups take a push to get them going. Once they are on the track, they will usually keep going, but there is a s...

Recruiting users

Nearly all startups have to recruit their users manually. You can't wait for users to come to you. You have to go out and get them.

  • At least one founder will have to spend a lot of time on sales and marketing. Don't succumb to shyness and laziness.
  • Even if numbers may seem small at first, don't underestimate the power of compound growth. 
  • At some point, growth has to slow down. If the market exists, you can gradually switch to less manual methods.

Initial vulnerability

Almost all startups are vulnerable initially, like a newborn baby. It's harmless if know-it-alls dismiss your startup. Thinking "there's no way this tiny creature could even accomplish anything" is faulty thinking.

The danger is when you dismiss your startup yourself and fail to see the full potential of what you're building.

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The "frog"

It is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.

It is also the one task that can have the greatest positiv...

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

"One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all".

The ABCDE prioritization approach

  • A items : Things you must do, which will have a serious positive or negative consequence.
  • B items : Things you should do, that have minor consequences.
  • C items : Things that are nice to do but don’t have any real consequences when they’re done.
  • D items : Things to delegate so you can free up more time to do A tasks.
  • E items : Things to eliminate. Generally stuff you do out of habit.

Procrastination is an emotion management problem

Happens when we feel uncomfortable (anxiety, overwhelm ) toward a task. We want to do it, but end up doing something else that feels better.  We run away from our negative thoughts and emoti...

The #1 skill to overcome procrastination

Facing a task, experiencing the uncomfortable emotions associated with it and doing the task despite those  emotions.

Our mind is a reason-giving machine

It rationalizes the shit out of anything that’s just a little bit uncomfortable and create excuses as to why we shouldn’t do something now. Those excuses are irrational, but sound superficially reasonable. 

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