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Success is Stamina: To Win Means to Keep Playing | Scott H Young

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https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/01/06/stamina/

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Success is Stamina: To Win Means to Keep Playing | Scott H Young
I like James Carse's distinction between finite and infinite games. A finite game, like chess, is one that you play for awhile and when somebody wins, you stop. An infinite game, like life, is one where the goal is to be able to keep playing. To win at life means to keep living.

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Rethinking Success

We liken success to sports, exams or battles that have winners and losers, and that have an end. However, success means having the stamina to keep going.

There might be many peop...

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Patience and Idleness

The kind of patience that leads to success is not the same as waiting. Waiting has no benefits. Investing time doesn't do anything on its own.

The kind of patience needed for succes...

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Build-Up and Breakthroughs

Success tends to accrue in two different modes:

  • Build up: It is the steady accumulation of improvements that you can see month after month, that will eventually help you reach ...

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Being patient 

Stamina may increase the odds of success. However, life rarely involves a single pursuit. We are continually trading one activity against another. Those with greater endurance in one pursuit...

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How to Increase Your Stamina

The key to long-distance running is pacing. If you're running faster than what your body can effectively sustain, you'll burn out. If you pick a speed just below that critical threshold, you can...

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Strategies for success

Dead-ends are everywhere, and many efforts go nowhere.

  • Periodically ask yourself whether you genuinely have better opportunities than the one in front of you. Avoid the thinking that lea...

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Reality Check

All efforts towards correctly pursuing your own personal development must take into account reality, not how you think the world should work. The truth is reality isn’t fair and just trying your...

Success Bias

Almost no popular self-help authors are going to have had the experience of pursuing a dream (like becoming an author) and not having it eventually work out. 

Understanding reality means that you have to accept that some of your dreams won’t come true just because you work hard enough, be creative enough or go to enough seminars. Don’t base your decisions on a false model of reality.

Outcome Based Thinking

When pursuing a dream you have the underlying assumption that when you reach it you will be happy. That is false. 

Achieving goals doesn’t make you happy because achievements on their own hold no lasting emotional value. Only growth, fulfilment and passion has value.

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Developing mastery

Fun is the experience of developing mastery. When we acquire new skills and recognize valuable patterns, our brains reward us with a shot of pleasurable sensations. 

Games and learning

Games are optimal learning environments:

  • Feedback loops are short, fast and adapted to your skill level.
  • Challenges grow as you develop new skills.
  • Failures are learning opportunities because every time you make a mistake, you get a hint about how you can do better next time.

Boredom and learning

Boredom is what we feel when our brain decides that there's nothing worth learning. It's the brain searching for new information.

And even games become boring at some point because they eventually run out of things to teach you. That's when you stop playing.

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Taking action = eventual success

Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 

Confidence

Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
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  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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Doing the real, useful thing

Much of success boils down to doing the real thing and not an imitation of the real thing. 

For example, if you want to learn a language: Start wi...

Lacking the time

Doing things well may seem daunting. You may feel that you don't have enough time.

But the point is not to deny your obstacles - it's to start with the best plan and make changes as needed, rather than simply starting with something that feels easy enough.

The Paradox of Difficulty

The hardest things end up becoming the easiest, once you've fully committed to a pursuit.

When you've chosen to commit, make it a priority. Put it first in your calendar. Expect frustration and obstacles. You will get stronger.

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Systematic approach

Most people jump straight from finding a problem to attempting to solve it.

Having a systematic approach to how you deal with problems, as opposed to just going by gut and feelings, ca...

Study the problem first

Detectives and investigators use the process. They ask both obvious and unthinkable questions.

Get close and collect information about how the problem is manifesting.  Understand where the problem does and doesn’t happen, when the problem started, and how often the problem occurs to generate critical insight for the problem-solving effort.

Question for great answers

  • Don’t look for solutions immediately; Keep redefining the problem until you arrive at the root cause.
  • Don’t try to guess the solution; try to understand how the obstacles, or challenges manifest first.
  • Gather data to analyze all potential root causes.
  • Consider all options, regardless of how irrelevant they currently appear.
  • Find a way to connect the dots. Make better analogies. One good analogy is worth three hours of discussion.

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Theories of motivation

Theories of motivation
  • Rational motivation, which reflects our preferences. We're motivated by the opportunities we can notice.
  • Biased motivation. We often ignore ob...

Why we miss opportunities

Some theories of motivation claim we're naturally biased. It may happen because we can't consider all the angles. At other times, as the world advance, the usual criteria no longer apply.

There may be only a few exceptional people like Elon Musk because we can't grasp the idea that one person can create wealth or drive progress. We don't notice opportunities and more easily dismiss them.

Motivation: listen or nudge

If you think motivation is mostly rational, pay attention to what motivates you. You might not feel motivated because your current opportunities aren't that good.

If you think motivation is biased and nudging is necessary, create rules, systems, and habits to move you ahead. If you can't motivate yourself for months or years, your project may be at fault.

Mark Twain

“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Mark Twain

The most useful learning

Most people think about learning as adding knowledge and skills. You now have a new fact in your mind that didn’t exist before.

The most useful learning isn’t usually a strict addition of new knowledge, but first unlearning something false or unhelpful.

Types of Unlearning

  • Straightforward refutation of the old idea. This complete refutation is atypical. More likely the new knowledge doesn’t contradict the old one, but it may modify it in some way.
  • The new knowledge revises a simpler picture by filling it with more complex details. This is similar to adding new knowledge, although because the older, simpler view of the issue has been overwritten with more detail, there is some unlearning going on.

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Types of excellence

Types of excellence

Excellence is worth pursuing more than money or status. However, the idea of excellence holds a subtle distinction.

  • Excellence can be considered as a universal standard.

The excellence you're trying to pursue

As a whole, our working lives are more like niches. There are numerous professions, but the path for success in many professions are extremely narrow.

The more defined a field, the narrower the relevant dimension of competition.

Excellence: Different overall winning strategies

  • For big spaces, the problem is exploration. Finding the right combination of elements is more important than becoming the best in a single skill.
  • As the space shrinks down, the problem is optimization. Excellence here is about winning and outperforming the competition.

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Being decisive

Being decisive is simply the most rational way to take on any problem.

Decisiveness means having the ability to decide with speed and clarity.

Indecisive people

They act this way  because they assume others will make better decisions for them.

They underestimate the power of this effective strategy and end up relying on the thinking power of others to survive.

Decisiveness in uncertainty

The best decision is the best one you can make with the information available at the time.

Simply need to make a decision with the faulty information at hand and move forward. Waiting longer is just delaying the inevitable, so you must decide even in the face of uncertainty.

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Not enough time

It feels like there’s never enough time to do all the things you have in mind.

You want to exercise, eat well and be healthy, You want to do great work, learn a language or guitar. But years ...

Time is rarely the problem

Time is limited, but, your attention, energy, and enthusiasm are more limited than your time.

Start creating habits. Inertia is a bigger enemy than a lack of time. Start doing the task for a few minutes a day. If you have only 10 minutes, use it. If your time is fragmented, cut your task up and spread it out. You'll be surprised how much materializes.

Your list is not a problem

A list of unfulfilled things isn’t a problem to eliminate. It is a challenge. 

  • Prioritize your goals.
  • Do one thing that matters out of all the possibilities.
  • Say no to all the things that don't meet your criteria.
  • Be content with the one thing you did instead of being unhappy with all the things you did not do.

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