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Highlights 2020: Week 26
Failure, resurrection and making habits stick
The past few weeks have gone by FAST. I did a lousy job with highlights in June, but had some wonderful events. Top of the list was a fun visit to meet my girlfriend’s in Maryland, and time with my family.
That said, doing poorly with a few habits made me think a lot about failure and restarting.
“[…] any habit – needs to be able to survive your worst week. Design defensively, not aggressively. Your Lights should be simple, straightforward, and enjoyable enough that you can use them to stay on-track in a “week from hell.” Don’t design for the best times when everything is going right – during those times, you’ll naturally exceed your formal goals in Lights anyways. Instead, design your Lights so that they’ll stick during bad weeks.”
Sebastian Marshall, “Pitfalls to Avoid” (For their Lights spreadsheet)
These past few weeks have brought me back to the question, how can I perform better when I’m at my worst?
Paradoxically, the worst days are when I build the most confidence.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
St. Paul the Apostle, The Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans Ch 8, Verses 26-27
It’s crazy how fragile my commitments or ideas can be. I’m always shocked when I see big predictions for the future made with confidence.
For physical or deterministic systems, that makes total sense. Predicting the position of planets a hundred years out seems tractable.
For chaotic systems, like getting a startup to grow or figuring out where my career is going to be in five years, prediction seems a little nuts. Goals are great. Prediction is tough.
But the encouraging thing is, even in my weakness God has got my back.
“Of course, just failing is not the key; the key is to be systematically learning from failures.”
Peter Sims, Little Bets
Failure is almost a point of pride in the growth hacking world. But it isn’t good in and of itself. Its only value comes from the learning I can get out of it.
Here are a few of my learnings coupled with ideas:
Staying up late is hard for me. Sometimes it’s necessary, other times I simply make the wrong choice, but know that there’s going to be a price to pay the next day or two.
When I’m feeling burnt out, I generally give myself a free pass. I’m not saying a free pass is bad, but it’s an important thing to recognize in myself. Maybe it’d be a good idea to build a panic button into my life. A planned routine or accountability partner that helps me process when I go into that mode.
The times I feel like hiding in mediocrity are the times to share the most with a close friend.
I am blessed with great friends. They care about me enough to be almost like guardrails in my life, and encourage me to come back.
Here’s to getting back on the horse!