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Ruling Out, Ruling In

Ruling Out, Ruling In

A fundamental distinction is between having too many ideas or too few.

  • Having too many ideas creates the problem of prioritization. Evaluate your current activities and cull those that don’t make the cut.
  • Too few ideas can leave you feeling stuck. You want things to be better, but nothing pops out as worth pursuing. As a result, you put half-hearted efforts into tasks you’re not sure will work.

The “right” quantity of ideas isn’t a given. Instead, it’s a mental threshold for what’s worth pursuing. Dialing it up forces you to focus, and dialing it down lets you explore more options.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Working hard all day doesn’t matter if it’s on the wrong tasks. The most critical factor in your productivity is what you decide to work on.

  • A threshold for action is a crude way for filtering your projects. Advice to “do less” or “do more” misses the crux of the issue. Which efforts should you drop? Which ones should you undertake?
  • Having adjusted your threshold, and hopefully immersed yourself in a rang...

Much of life boils down to figuring out a path for yourself and then getting yourself to actually walk it.

In practice, most ideas—even groundbreaking ones—tend to be derivative or incremental. Even ideas that look original usually start out as a permutation on something already extant. Given background and context, even the most radical suggestions look like incremental steps.

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