Hard work produces near magical results, but we all have an absolute ceiling on how hard we work.
People usually start thinking about working smarter once they're near that limit and getting burned out. Once the realization sets in that you can't work any harder, you've got to get smarter.
To work smart, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you're already doing.
Being high up in the air isn't a problem until the wind starts blowing.
Then the dance begins -- your mind rebels, and you have to do everything you can to not get sucked down into it.
The veteran climbers at The Gunks in Upstate New York have adjusted, but it's my first climb outdoors.
We wanted a 5.3 difficulty climb, but birds were nesting. So we're on a 5.6 called "High Exposure" -- a fitting description.
Adrenalin and bravado are a potent mix, and the first two-thirds of the climb were uneventful. Pleasant, a walk in the park. I'm a natural for this stuff. If I dropped 10 kilos, I could be a a pretty great climber. This is easy.
Matt Ramos kindly reached out to bring a guest post to us - he's all about exploring and breaking behavior limits, and he talks about that on his blog -http://30vanquish.com
Here's Matt -
Letting Go of Your Ego Enables You to Live Without Limits
“As soon as you try to step outside of the behavioral limits, it gets scary and nasty and ugly real fast.” – Sebastian Marshall
So why should it be so scary, nasty, and ugly?
Paulo Ribeiro is one of the team at GiveGetWin, and a blogger on strategy in Portugese at his site Estrategistas. He recruited Timothy Kenny recently and worked with Zach Obront to launch an excellent deal on Accelerated Learning For Entrepreneurs.
This is the first GiveGetWin deal that I didn’t personally touch before launch -- meaning we’re growing into a real organization and our processes are starting to work. They kicked a lot of ass with this, and I asked Paulo if he’d like to write up his experience. Here’s what he wrote up for you --
"Doing Big Things Across Borders" by Paulo Ribeiro
If someone asked me a couple of years ago whether I thought it was possible to do work that you like, be connected to great people and still make impact on the world, I’d probably say no. But hey, that is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months. And enjoying the heck out of it.
I had an insight a few of weeks ago and asked myself: “if I had an income 1000x bigger, what would I be working on right now?” And GiveGetWin stayed on top of my priorities. I guess that’s the beauty of it: if you like to do the stuff no matter how much money you’re making, that’s probably making you happier (without needing the money).
We all have limits. They're far higher and further than most people think. They can be pushed and developed with time. But we have limits. The person who truly pushes themselves in fitness, business, career, or anything else will eventually run into the wall, and see they need more training.
Most people do not need to worry much about their limits in the short-term; they're nowhere near them. Learn the basic safety and protocol for what you're doing, and then just go do it. Most people get nowhere near their limits.
But, if you're a Type-A type who wants to push yourself, recognizing and working with your limits is incredibly important. If you're really exhausted, dialing back your activity to something reasonable can be better than going to breaking point.
There's no shame at all in cycling off a weight training program in favor of a low-key week of stretching and recovery. Taking a few days off to sleep enough, plan, and meditate is good. No matter how hardcore you are, eventually you might need to cancel a few scheduled appointments in order to recover and keep your edge over the long haul.
These are all smart and necessary. In the long term, it means building rejuvenation in and getting an intuitive grasp of when you're about to run face-first into the wall. Sometimes you want to do that -- it's good to learn where the limits are -- but stopping yourself from getting burnt-out, injured, or stuck on the hamster wheel is key.
Hard rules make life easier.
"I don't drink soda."
"I don't go online until I write 1,000 words."
"I turn the computer off at 11PM."
"I don't watch television."
"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system." -John Gall
I built a pretty good daily tracking template, and I evolved it over time. It's serving me pretty well now. I'd like to show you the evolution.
Version 0 - I realized that tracking my time would be a good thing. I started writing down just one or two things per day.
Here's what my first day of tracking looked like:
26 May - Success
"Life is suffering," said Buddha. His plan? Release your attachments to this world and end your suffering.
I'm not with Buddha on this one. Give me strife and suffering. And once I have grown stronger, tempered, hardened by the strife, give me MORE.
Life is strife, suffering, struggle. Your body and mind are kept alive by a series of violent chemical reactions, your heartbeat, the acid in your stomach, the cells constantly breaking apart and dying as new ones are created, the battle towards homeostatis with different bacteria and cells combating each other, all inside your body.
Your mind - your thoughts - may come into conflict, especially when you're trying to do meaningful things. It's easy to feel the pull of distraction and ease, and to choke up and pause in fear when you look at the mountain you're set to climb. The mind is not in harmony, especially at the beginning. Struggle, strife, conflict, suffering.
I say - give it to me! But not so fast that it will break me. I must be pragmatic. We must be pragmatic. We have our limits. We can expand them over time. It's not brave to go into the gym for the first time and try to lift 400 pounds. It's foolhardy, unrealistic, stupid. Being pragmatic, aware of our limits takes its own sort of courage.
Really enjoyed your most recent blog post on quitting things that will kill you. I am curious about this section:
But with training (and not all that much training), I think it’s possible to get all of that without drinking. I do all kinds of idiot absurd shit, and then, as an added bonus, I’m sober in case I’ve got to fix the idiot shit I did. While dead sober, I say the things that most people need to get 5-6 drinks in them to say. And you know what? It’s alright, nothing irreparably bad happens.
What steps/training did you use to remove your inhibitions?
One of the more important challenges for running a successful modern nation-state is figuring out an answer to the question of tax coverage.
The vast majority of people believe in at least some taxes, and practical statesmanship sees that outside of a few rare cases (a state controlling natural resources), you need to have decent tax coverage to fund your treasury and run your administrative programs.
Again, this question is totally orthogonal to what should be taxed and what tax rates should be. Regardless of where you stand in political opinion and practical evaluation on those questions, if a country has poor coverage, they stand to get in lots of trouble. My personal opinion from the history books is that a main contributing reason to the German Empire losing World War I is having poorer tax coverage than the Allies.
Taiwan, and indeed, much of Asia had and has poor tax coverage. Again, it's not about the rates -- it's about getting people to pay the rates. In a country where there's many more small vendors and independent shops, it's easy for people to artificially decrease their revenues.