Is This What a “Real” Blog Post Looks Like…?

Raw cognitive goodness straight from the author. Is that what you want? Well then you’ve got it. All 7 of you. (We might actually be at 7.5, because my sister has been reading these posts aloud to my two year old nephew. It’s not that he’s half a person, it’s just that anything not related to Thomas the Tank Engine deserves only half of his attention.)

I have been struggling to get something posted. Not because I have nothing to write about, but because I’m still very much working through this next post in my mind. It has not yet come together. And since these posts are more like essays, well, it takes time.

Anyway, because the volume of email I’ve received from you, my readers, asking “when will you give us more??”, has been overwhelming, I’m writing a short post to appease you.

This is something I wanted to do for Christmas, but then I threw it aside (digitally speaking) in favor of what will be my next magnum opus.

It doesn’t really have much to do with our topic, the Conditions of Success, save for this: it’s related to my current professional venture, which is very much part of my personal Condition(s) of Success. But hopefully you’ll feel generally edified (if not Fred-ified…) from the reflection that follows.

Here goes…

“Jesus is My Co-Signer”

You know the Christmas song “O Holy Night,” don’t you? It’s kind of a churchy favorite, and I must say I’m annually surprised at the singers who perform it, because, well, it’s pretty much all about Jesus and stuff. I mean good for them, right?

Now, I can’t read music, and don’t really know musical vocabulary (shame on me, I know), so it’s hard for me to describe why I like this song so much. Something about the way the singer’s voice drops, and the intensity, and even severity, of sound that comes with the “fall on you knees/ o hear the Angel voices” line. It always gives me goosebumps to hear it performed well.

But this year I noticed (or focused on) another lyric: “”Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” Wow. But back up one line: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” It’s kinda funny, if you search for “error pining,” you get a message board with some pretty stupid answers as to what that means. I think there’s some implied punctuation in the lyrics that it wouldn’t make sense to emphasize in performance.

Just reading it, you would do so as “error, pining” – as in, “long lay the world in sin and error, pining [longing – for someone or something to save them]” I don’t need to tell you that the comma, as well as the commentary in brackets, is my own. It’s my opinion, but I happen to think it’s a good one.

Now why did that get my attention this year? Well, in my day job (I only play a blog writer on TV), I’m working to set up a new online lending service. The intersection of technology and finance is completely changing how you and I and people everywhere will access capital in the future – in other words, getting a loan does not and will not involve a bank, at least as we traditionally think of them. (In case you missed it, a company called Lending Club went public a few weeks ago…and their stock went up by 54% in the day following the IPO. Check them out. The future is here, my friends.) Make a long story short, I’ve been doing lots of reading about loan underwriting and credit scoring. Basically, how are you and I, as consumers, evaluated by lending institutions, to determine whether or not we get a loan?

Really, we’re all just a pile numbers. Some pulled from here, others from there, and fed into an algorithm (I don’t even know what that word really means) in order to get one final number, usually called your FICO score. Depending upon what that number is, you’ll either get a loan, at certain terms, or you won’t. If it makes you feel a little worthless, well, it should. It’s pretty heartless, really. The interesting that a number of new technology-based lenders are doing – and that our company is looking to emulate – is making more “personal” factors part of the credit-scoring process. It could never replace a face-to-face meeting, getting to know you, the borrower, and your character, but that’s never going to happen, and in any case that was part of the “old” system that added to the cost of doing business that made banks stop doing as many loans.

Back to “O Holy Night,” and to the line from the song: “’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” Wow. The soul’s worth. Its value. We may, as a loan applicant, be made to feel worthless. But we cannot, as human beings, ever think that we are not valued – unloved – by God. He sent His Son into the world, in helpless baby form, to remind us how much we are “worth” to Him. Apart from Him, we have no worth. We are just a score on paper, if even that much. But with Jesus as our co-signer, we have perfect credit in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.

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Fantasy Versus Reality

I’ve gone a bit heavy in the last few posts, so this week I want to share more lighthearted example of the Conditions of Success in action.

Preface

I’ve tried to convince you (and myself in the process) that the Conditions of Success can come together in our lives in large and small ways – call them Macro and Micro Conditions. I intend to use some upcoming posts to help us identify, understand, and then act within our Conditions of Success in repeatable and accurate ways. But first I want to take a breather. Actually, it’s more like a deep breath and a plunge down in the weeds. Check that: let’s go down into the turf and look at a particular micro example of where, by identifying and following the path formed our individual Conditions of Success, we can realize favorable outcomes – even victory in actual competition. If you caught that “turf” reference, you may be one step ahead of me…

Introduction

We’re coming up on the conclusion of a very important season. No, not Christmas Day. And not the NFL, though that’s getting warmer. I’m talking, of course, about Fantasy Football, which is more important than “real” football, and is the only football-related activity that my 5’9”, 165 pound frame has any business being involved with.

For the last three seasons (including this one) I’ve participated in a fantasy football league along with 9 of my closest friends. We don’t put any money on the line, but it still gets serious – rather, I probably take it too seriously sometimes. I’ve been from the dark valley of a nearly-winless 2012 season, which my friends will never let me live down, to the mountaintop of a runaway championship season just one year later, which I will hold over their heads for the rest of our lives.

Given all of that, I was able to “enjoy the ride” a little more this season, and that’s made this particular reflection possible.

Before diving into the relation between fantasy football and our topic here, the Conditions of Success, let’s go back and review.

First, in my last post I attempted a concise definition of Success, which I’ll repeat:

Success is an awareness of the intersections of Preparation and Providence in one’s life, and a decision to act in ways consistent with the figurative path they form.

Upon re-reading that, or reading it for the first time if you’re new here, you may be thinking, “Well that doesn’t tell me anything about how to be successful.” And on the surface, maybe you are right. I’ve also tried to establish/convince myself that Success is not solely about favorable outcomes (like having more money than the next guy) and it’s not a zero-sum game. Furthermore, and staying solely within my own definition here, Success is not guaranteed when you follow the path(s) that Preparation and Providence form in your life. You can do everything right, and things could still turn out “wrong.” Also, you can occasionally bumble and hack your way into good fortune, but I consider each of those scenarios to be exceptions rather than the rule. Identifying and acting in accord with your Conditions of Success will lead to the doorstep of favorable outcomes – consistently, and with clarity about just how you arrived there, in the hopes of repeating.

(Note: Tim Ferriss makes some of these points both here [http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-tim-ferriss-show/e/36335092?autoplay=true] and elsewhere, and since I’ve been listening to him a good bit lately, I’ve probably unconsciously absorbed copied some of his ideas and words. And, like last time I referenced him, beware some salty language and “out there” ideas with Ferriss. But take from him the good parts, which are definitely there.)

There are 3 parts to a fantasy football season: the Draft, the Regular Season, and the Playoffs.

(Another Note: I’m assuming that you, the reader, have at least some knowledge of the rules of fantasy football, henceforth referred to simply as “fantasy.” If you don’t, well, just smile and nod like you usually do when I talk at you.)

The Draft

A good fantasy draft makes Success – in the form of winning a league championship – possible and even likely. It’s almost surely not possible if you don’t draft well.

The Conditions of Success, the intersection of Preparation and Providence, are visible in the Draft as follows:

Even though I tend to list it second, for rhetorical reasons, Providence is really primary, especially here. Providence determines your draft order. And while I’m not suggesting that the hand of God reaches down and grants you the number one pick, it is an element outside of your control and therefore within the realm of Providence. Furthermore, Providence acts upon you through the decisions of your competitors. Each time they make a draft pick – a decision out of your control, save for bribes and blackmail – you have to deal with the consequences and act within the new circumstances.

That’s where Preparation comes in…

At the beginning, all you know for certain is one thing: the order of your pick in relation to others. You may guess, but you do not yet know, which players will be available when your turn comes around. You have to start evaluating your options as they are, or you anticipate them, not as you wish them to be.

Sound familiar? As in, uh, LIFE? We are constantly faced with situations large and small, important or (seemingly) trivial in which we have incomplete information and have to make quick, repeated decisions that will affect future outcomes. And guess what? Once you do that, you have more decisions coming at you, influenced not only by your last decision, but the subsequent decisions of others, those directly or maybe just indirectly involved in your world, fantasy or otherwise.

That’s why Preparation is so important. Once you recognize (and accept) your unique Conditions, you can make a plan to Succeed based upon them, one that includes decision making criteria that can be applied quickly and repeatedly throughout the process at these crucial early stages. What we’re trying to avoid is the “Paradox of Choice,” having too many seemingly good options, and getting “decision fatigue,” where you make poor decisions because you no longer want to make decisions at all.

Those are bad things. But they are avoidable, largely by recognizing your circumstances and then preparing to act within the unique conditions they create.

In future posts I intend to cover how we might develop decision-making criteria, but for the time being let’s move on and be content with agreeing on the importance of having such criteria.

The Regular Season

It has never occurred to me until now, but how underwhelming is that term, “regular season”? I had not intended to include this but it ties in as follows: this is the part of the fantasy season, or a “season of life,” or the bulk of any undertaking or project, that takes the longest and can seem monotonous at some level. Or just routine. Or even boring. But you’ve got to let the season work itself out, and have confidence that the system you put in placing starting with your draft, at the beginning, is a (potentially) winning one. If you don’t, you’ll get in your own head, and you’ll get distracted, scared, or even – a danger in disguise – obsessed with your early quasi-success and have fallen in love with your own ideas.

There are four pitfalls to be found in the course of a fantasy football regular season, as well as on any road formed by your Conditions of Success. In the interest of transparency, I admit that I have and likely will continue to fall into each of them.

1. Trust the Process

I kind of just said this, I know. What it solves for is the danger of overthinking, which is my specialty. In the world of fantasy, this is called over-managing your team. Every week you can look at the numbers and try to identify trends from, say, a single data point. That’s statistically impossible, I’m pretty sure, but I tend to try it anyway and you probably do too.

Trust the process, trust the system you’ve put in place starting with your draft, and gather some real experience and information before looking to make any changes. You’ve got let your players make plays, and have confidence that you made the decisions you did with good reason.

2. Don’t Panic

Assuming your draft was not a complete “butt fumble,” then it is possible for you to lose a matchup or two, especially in the early weeks, and still recover in time for the Playoffs. What you need to be careful of is a “panic sell” in the form of a trade. If your first round draft pick has a bad opening game, then you could start to think that all is lost and try to dump him off on another league member in return for a player you think has more promise for the rest of the season. Take a deep breath, and step away from the side of the fantasy cliff.

Lest you think I’m advising you not to make trades – either in fantasy or in real-life situations – I’m not. There is tremendous potential value in make a mutually beneficial exchange to acquire something you otherwise might not have access to on your own. But make sure that the trade is both of those things: mutually beneficial, and something you absolutely cannot get on your own. Those are the two rules for decision making in this area.

3. Put Down the Shiny Object

This is the “waiver wire” or “free agency,” and it’s a disease affecting millions of fantasy competitors every week. Symptoms tend to flare up on Tuesday mornings.

Why? Because on Sunday, there was some player – a backup, likely, who got his chance due to an injury to the starter. Or maybe it was just some previously unknown secret weapon the team had, and they deployed him this particular weekend, and now he’s supposed to be the next big thing. Everyone is trying to add him to their fantasy roster, and in the process decide which existing, and likely more suitable, bench player to jettison.

Don’t get me wrong – each year there are a few new players who originally went undrafted who turn out to be significant factors week in and week out. But the majority of them are actors out the well-known drama of “here yesterday, gone before next Sunday.” And you just dropped one of your later round, but still valuable draft picks, to get him. Just the movie Interstellar, it ends in regret and shame that you could be so easily duped into thinking that something that appeared so promising could actually deliver.

Think of a free agent as new, untested technology, or some “get rich quick” scheme, or that one unlikely but still longed-for possibility that will absolutely “make all the difference” for you. They usually do not work out as you might have hoped, and are generally not a strategy for long-term, repeatable success.

4. “Idea One-Itis”

I owe my use of this term, “Idea One-Itis,” to Ramit Sethi, author of the “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” blog. I take it to mean those times (more frequent for me than I care to admit), when we get fixated, even obsessed, with an idea and with making it work. Ramit talks about it in context of starting a business – we can think that our idea is so good, and if other people would just see what we see, we would be millionaires! It spills into other areas of life, too, where we think that if this one event would take place, then everything else would fall into place. That’s not likely, and it’s almost certainly not healthy.

In fantasy football it can start with team loyalty, or just some hunch, where we become convinced that a particular player is going to burst on to the scene and make our fantasies (easy, now…) come true. In some especially bad cases, this can even affect your draft, if your conviction about a player’s value causes you to draft him higher than you probably ought.

This is a tough thing to prevent, because it is so deeply personal. Often it requires experience, in the form of hard lessons, to pry your jaws loose from this particular player’s leg – figuratively speaking, of course. (Legal disclaimer: No reference to Michael Vick, express or implied, is intended by that last comment.) If you’re lucky, you may also have the benefit of a good friend who will tell you hard truth that you just might listen to.

The Playoffs

If you made it into the fantasy playoffs, then you’ve either done things right, from the beginning with your draft and then through the regular season, or you’ve gotten really lucky. As we’ve established, both of those things are possible. (As well as doing everything right and NOT making it to the playoffs, but I want us to assume the best here.)

Now you’re at one of those times where Success is more narrowly defined as a zero-sum game. It really is a competition, with one winner and a bunch of losers.

By writing this post, I’ve begun breaking mental ground on a new foundation. I’m actually a bit surprised at how it’s starting to look: more “deterministic” than I expected. Let me explain…

I’ve always been a big believer in the ability of individuals to shape not only their own destinies, but also to impact important events. History is shaped by people, not impersonal forces. I really do believe that. But I’m curbing that somewhat-extreme notion of agency in favor of a more realistic, even tempered, notion of how human beings shape their own futures and the moments that comprise it. I believe it is perfectly compatible with, if not a direct outgrowth of, this idea of the Conditions of Success.

Whenever we as individuals find ourselves in actual competition, the outcome is really more certain than we might think. What I mean is that everything leading up to “that point” has made our very fitness for competition possible. That’s why identifying our Conditions of Success is so important. If and when we do, then we can follow the path formed by the intersection of Preparation and Providence, and when we come to forks along the way, certain binary focal points, then depending on how far along we are in following our path of Success and how intensely we’ve been proceeding down it, favorable outcomes (i.e. winning) are more likely to result.

On one hand that may seem completely obvious, and you agree wholeheartedly. But what about an athletic competition? Say, real football, where a star player makes a never-before-seen game winning touchdown catch? “You can’t practice that,” you say, “You can’t reproduce that outcome no matter how hard you try.” Up to certain point I agree with that. All-star players make big-time plays when the game is on the line. But, if they’re legitimate talent, then they’re a genuine combination of incredible, God-given ability (Providence) combined with relentless Preparation for moments just like that. There are plenty of examples of post-game press conferences with NBA players talking about how they practice full-court “alley oop” passes to tip in a last second shot, and NFL players throwing and catching “Hail Mary” passes in practice. There’s an undeniable amount of talent, but it’s refined by relentless preparation. If only one of the two existed, the chances of making the play when it really matters are greatly diminished.

While I fear that I’ve strayed a bit from my fantasy analogy, I won’t go so far as to insult your intelligence by repeating everything I’ve just written in order to squeeze it into a little fantasy football box. You get the relation, and in any case I’m happy with how this part turned out, lengthy as it may have been.

Conclusion  

(“Finally!”, my mom is thinking. She’s the only one thinking that, not because everyone else wants me to go on, but because she’s the only one who made it this far.)

So you’re probably wanting to know how my 2014 fantasy season turned out. Well, as I told you, I enjoyed this season more than the first two because, after winning the league last season, I felt the stain of my nearly winless first season was mostly erased. I made a number of the mistakes described above, including and especially not really having a plan going into the Draft. I guess it’s only because of failure that I’ve been able to think, and learn, and put this very article together. But failure in this case is kind of relative, because I did manage to get into the Playoffs, and, very nearly to the Championship game. That’s where the final pieces of this puzzle fit in: Gratitude, and a healthy, non-hipster sense of Irony.

I’ll start with Irony, by which I mean “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” You see, in the first round of the playoffs I lost my matchup by a mere 6 points, and I would have won had I played Tom Brady as my quarterback in the first week of the matchup. But I didn’t. And I could not have. You see, that week was Thanksgiving, and you may recall that Brady’s Patriots were playing the Green Bay Packers. If you know me personally, then you know that I’m a loyal Packers fan, which I proudly inherited that from my Dad. I was visiting my folks for the holiday, and there was no way I was going to sit by my Dad on the couch to watch the game and – even quietly – cheer for Brady against the Pack. I’m often more pragmatic than I care to admit, but I couldn’t go there. Instead, I played Tony Romo, who scored a whopping 3 points that week. The irony comes in when you consider that Brady scored 18 (more than enough to give me the win in my matchup) and the Packers won the real game anyway! I could have had everything I wanted, and that’s why it’s ironic. I made the right decision for me, no matter that outcome, because spending that time with my Dad was more important than any fantasy football win. Which segues to my final point about Gratitude.

You may recall Gratitude (or, rather, being “integrateful”) as the topic of my Thanksgiving Day post. Whether it’s that time with my Dad, or the fun of competing in a fantasy football league with my best friends, that is Success for me. I did not win the league this year. I’m one of 9 losers. But I had the chance to compete, and now I’m taking the opportunity to learn from it. There’s a positive, virtuous cycle that Gratitude creates from each situation, big or small, regardless of whether we win or lose. That’s something we must integrate and practice through any type season. It will make us more forbearing in loss, humble in victory, and a Success throughout and beyond.

A Stake in the Ground

I am a legend. In my own mind, that is. It’s really more infamy than legend, I suppose. What I’m talking about is my ability to overthink just about anything, decisions large and small. If you need “character” references, just ask my family, closest friends, or ex-girlfriends.

You see, I’ve been overthinking this whole “success” thing from way back before I ever started this little project. It has manifest itself most recently in my repeated failure, to this point, to define precisely what I mean in using that word. I’ve felt a little weird about it, actually. Could you tell?

But no more. I don’t know that I’ve figured it out as much as the odor of it’s obviousness has finally has finally overpowered the rhetorical air fresheners I’ve been spraying in this digital room.

Success is an awareness of the intersections of preparation and Providence in one’s life, and a decision to act in ways consistent with the figurative path they form.

How-to-Spot-A-Reverse-Merger

So…I have to ask. How underwhelmed are you right now? You may have had greater expectations for this moment, which is something I’m going to address later on in this post.

In order to redeem the word with some majesty – which is in no way lost in that definition, at least to me – let me try to relate Success to its metaphysical counterpoint: Grace.

There are 3 things about Grace that inform our (“my,” if you’re not ready to throw in your lot with me just yet) understanding of Success.

First, Success, like Grace, is available to each of us. It is not, as I’ve noted in a previous post, a zero-sum game. Your success does not preclude mine. Similarly, there is no theological universe in which God says “Sorry, someone already beat you to all of My Grace. No more to give out today.” Success requires an attitude of Gratitude, and of abundance, rather than of scarcity and selfishness. (1)

Second, we each arrive at Success, or Grace, by different paths. Sometimes very different ones. (Actually, I believe that Grace finds us.)  Going back to our working subtitle, “the intersection of preparation and Providence,” this means that your intersections – your conditions of success – are different from mine.

Third, Success and Grace are arrived at only by deliberation and choice. In other words, Free Will. (And that is as far as I will go into the topic of Free Will.) When we’re trying to make sense of how to order our lives or how to solve a problem, all of that thinking (or overthinking) leads to one or often multiple possible conclusions, from which we must choose. It is the same with choosing to accept God’s grace as it is with applying yourself where your conditions of success exist. You either accept, and do, or you do not. It’s a choice, and one that can only properly said to have been made after appropriate deliberation.

Fourth, and finally, a recognition of Success and its conditions in your life should, just like Grace, completely change you. The temporal implications are every bit as demanding and serious as the spiritual ones, the whole eternal life thing notwithstanding.

How does all of that work itself each day and over the course of a lifetime?

Sticking with the Rule of Three, here are the three possible outcomes from acting within your own conditions of success.

Beginning with one I’m intimately familiar with, and a motivating factor behind this whole effort: it is possible for one to reach desirable outcomes without being aware of their particular intersections and acting knowingly and decisively within them. But that’s not success. That’s just being fortunate, or lucky, which are just two ways of watering down Providence. “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut,” right?

Next, and within the context of thinking and choosing to act within your conditions of success, when you’re doing something – anything, really – at which you’re both naturally talented (Providence) as well as experienced (preparation), the results tends to be favorable. This is not a revelation, I understand. The assertion is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify, but I will go as far as to say that it has a higher rate of success than this.

I’m joking. But seriously. From sports, to business, to relationships, to investing, to everything in between – we all know someone who just “has it,” and you could never beat them at their thing, assuming you were in an actual win/lose competition. The point here is not to get discouraged. We all have our conditions of success, but it takes work and some courage to find these intersections and then proceed down this merged path toward Success.

The final possible outcome is the less-than-desirable one. It’s where, despite your conscious efforts – actions in coordination with your own conditions of success – things don’t turn out the way you want them to. And if you thought my last point was underdeveloped, then this one should make it appear airtight. Right now all I have to say is that Success is not a formula. If it were, then there would be no need to waste my time on this blog. You’d just need to figure out the equation for a particular scenario: add “A” parts Providence to “B” amount of Preparation, and you’ll “C” anything turn out exactly like you want it to. Doesn’t work like that.

But, I maintain a high degree of confidence in my original assertion that, acting knowingly within the conditions of your success, you stand a greater chance of favorable outcomes, whatever they may be.

Let’s tie a bow on this by examining two mindsets that I am fighting against myself to really absorb.

My friend and former boss, Chris, recently told me that “The keys to happiness are low expectations and a high fiber diet.” Or some version of that, anyways. And so as not besmirch his otherwise mostly spotless character and motives, I assure you that this was an offhand remark in the context of a flippant conversation. But clearly the quote stuck with me, and for good reason. It actually kind of fits here, with some tailoring.

Rather than having “low expectations,” think about it in terms of “raising your standards.” Standards you hold for yourself, I mean. This is everything from your character and behavior, to those you associate with, to your business practices. It puts the burden where it should be: on you. And me. And each of us. You see, our expectations are 100% within our control, unlike pretty much everything else involving human interaction. But in order to guard against any excess pride resulting from an “it’s all up to me” mentality, or to silence any cynics in the e-peanut gallery, let me play the spiritual trump card and refer you to Jesus.

In chapter 2, verses 24 and 25 of his gospel, John writes, “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”

Ok, out of context that actually could sound a bit jaded.

Fortunately, Oswald Chambers, author of the inimitable daily devotional My Utmost For His Highest, has some helpful commentary on the passage:

Many of the things in life that inflict the greatest injury, grief, or pain, stem from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as facts, seeing each other as we really are; we are only true to our misconceived ideas of one another….Our Lord is so obviously uncompromising with regard to every human relationship because He knows that every relationship that is not based on faithfulness to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord’s confidence in God, and in what God’s grace could do for anyone, was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person.

(Read the full devotional here: http://utmost.org/the-teaching-of-disillusionment/)

Much better. And it’s the ultimate example of unyielding, uncompromising effort in the face of what should otherwise be “hellishly” low expectations.

A final piece of advice about high standards, which you should imagine me saying as though I’m standing in front of a mirror: your standards should be in proportion to the thing you’re evaluating. Ask yourself: “Is this a big deal?” And not everything can or should be. If you have a high (possibly unattainable) standard for everything you do, then you really have high standards for nothing at all.

Which brings me to the “high fiber diet,” or, put a little more palpably, eliminating waste. (On second thought, was that a better way to say it?)

Understanding your conditions of success can be a double-edged sword. It will – or should – present you with an array of possible pursuits. And, like having high standards, you have to choose among and between them. It requires deliberation and choice (remember that Free Will thing from earlier?) to eliminate some and put time and effort behind others. When you do that, you cannot look back and wonder “what if?” Or, seeing someone you know who chose a path similar to one you once had available – and did not take – and who is now enjoying success and earned favorable results, think that they have “won” and you have “lost.” Again, this is not a zero-sum game.

A second and equally important part of eliminating wasted effort requires brutal honesty with yourself and maybe with the help of those who know you best. Admit where conditions of success are not present in your life, despite how you might want them to be. It could be related to legitimate and worthwhile ventures, not just the startup business you’re still hoping will take off and make you rich someday.

In fact, dedicating appropriate time and other resources to the important areas of your life (family, work, etc.) where conditions of success do exist is one of the best decisions you can make, for this reason: despite my previously noted preference for not always talking about things in purely economic terms, you do indeed stand the best chance of getting maximum return, with minimum investment, and the lowest risk, by always working within your conditions of success. It will actually free up more time for your “labors of love,” and eliminate the encumbrances of fear or the guilt that your efforts are wasted or even counterproductive.

And with that, I’ll get back to worrying about and overthinking every word in this post and how much time I’m spending on each of these.

More soon…

-Fred

Footnote:

  1. I’ve been reading/listening to lots of material from Tony Robbins, Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferriss, and their ilk, so both this reference and my last post on Gratitude owes a lot to them. There’s a significant amount of osmosis and regurgitation going on here.