I set Nap as a required daily activity a bit back.
It's been marvelously amazing.
The first few hours after waking, in general, are just so much better for willpower and creativity.
A decent nap -- sometimes even just 20 minutes will do, sometimes longer -- seems to give 90% of the benefits of "just woke up for the first time.
It's really marvelous. Try it. I'm mandating it for myself under normal circumstances, rearranging my schedule to nap, etc. It's that good.
Just got "The Score Takes Care Of Itself" after hearing it highly recommended by a smart friend for a third time.
I'm only one-third into it, and it's brilliant. The writing is clear, simple, useful. Basic concepts like uniformly applying a Standard of Performance and making sure that team members don't take undue credit for team efforts -- this is marvelous stuff. Highly recommended.
It can be interesting and mentally profitable to analyze failure. We already know this; you, of course, already know this.
But many times, upstanding and smart and thorough people avoid analyzing what environmental factors contributed to failure.
This is wise -- it's too easy to veer into excuses. And if you never credit the environment for contributing to failure, you of course never excuse yourself and your responsibility to get results.
Yet -- !
If you do start doing this analysis, you'll realize things. You'll realize you'll often make more mistakes when tired, when in a bad mood, when fatigued, when things are moving faster than you can grasp, and so on, and so forth.
There's times to sprint -- indeed -- but many times not to sprint. It's important to be self-aware of when there isn't any real pressure, and if you're running at like 60% effectiveness, it can be very worthwhile to rest, recharge, and invest in your health at the expense of some short-term mid-effectiveness production.
As the last Great Unifier of Japan in the Sengoku Era, Tokugawa Ieyasu, put it --
"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the lot of natural mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou hast passed through. Forbearance is the root of all quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of thy enemy. If thou only knowest what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is to be defeated; woe unto thee, it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."
I just triaged the list of stuff I'm going to look to do every day, and came out with 18 things... each one either leads to good production by itself or gives a multiplier effect on everything else.
I've written about many of these before. Some of them are self-explanatory. I'll cover a few of the remaining points over the next month or so.
Here's the list --
1. Morning routine.2. Eat healthy (and plan to eat healthy; analyze risks, make meal plans).3. Spend significant time offline4. Track time thoroughly5. Nobility of character6. Write every day.7. Declare/Complete8. Progress on biggest thing9. Exercise10. Walk11. Nap/recharge12. Touch it once / true inbox zero13. Do a FinalVersion cycle14. Do something I enjoy.15. Plan each day the night before (including food and naps? and offline time?).16. Track spending daily; cashflows weekly17. Sleep well (melatonin, earplugs, eye-mask, being careful at end of day with stimulation)
I was skimming B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity and came across this quote by La Rochefoucauld --
"No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked. All other goodness is generally nothing but indolence or impotence of will."
If you're not familiar with the term Indolence -- (I had to look it up myself) -- it's laziness, a lack of animation, an inability to compel yourself to act.
Impotence of will is the inability to follow through and persist with plans.
So what La Rochefoucauld is getting at is, if someone wishes they were able to lie, cheat, steal, and otherwise do awful things to get ahead and yet doesn't simply out of a lack of drive, that's not praiseworthy.
Had a lot of calls over the last few days.
I've written it many times before, but, again --
Agendas are incredibly powerful. You'll get 300%+ more done. You shouldn't go into a call or meeting without at least a prospective agenda.
The two minutes it takes to create an agenda will double or triple the productivity of a 30-minute call. Always make agendas.
I study a lot of history, and a moderate amount of finance.
An observation I made some time back -- it seems like most military conflicts post-gunpowder are won or lost far more by logistics and supply than individual combat ability. Gunpowder is what put an end to Parthian/Hunnish/Mongol-type mobile mounted archery warfare. There hasn't been any "we don't need logistics" type of wars since then, assuming both sides has at least some semblance of military discipline, cohesion, and leadership.
Even blitzkreig -- the archetypical fast strike -- doesn't work without lots of gasoline, jeeps, ammunition, and railroads. And if you run out of gas -- literally -- you lose. See: 1941, Operation Barbarossa, Stalingrad and Moscow.
But what if you've got an overwhelming economical and logistical advantage, like the Union had over the Confederacy? Or what Imperial Britain had after Napoleon's defeat over, well, the whole world?
This is where a model looking at liquidity is somewhat interesting.
The abstract of this paper is worth reading --
Here's the first few sentences --
"Most drugs of abuse increase dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), and do so every time as a pharmacological response. Palatable food also releases accumbens-shell DA, but in naïve rats the effect can wane during a long meal and disappears with repetition. Under select dietary circumstances, sugar can have effects similar to a drug of abuse."
Dopamine is slightly complicated stuff. The more I learn about it, the more I realize I don't know much. I hesitate to summarize what dopamine does, because it does a lot of things, and interacts in lots of ways with other hormones and biochemistry.
...would you still do it?
It seems like a fine test to me of the worth of things.
There's many activities we'd do if we couldn't show them off. People would do mathematics, for both the pure beauty of it and for the insight it lends to the world. People would do engineering for, again, the pleasure of invention as well as the practical benefit, even if no-one could see the finished works but the creator.
I think -- I know -- people would still study history. Again, it has its own rhythms and pleasures to it, and it helps the world make sense.
People would still look to learn, true learning that is, of almost any stripe or form.