Be skeptical, please. This realization was somewhat shocking to me if it's true, or even partly true.
So. A large amount of my reading of the last month has focused on organization, execution, time management, planning, maxing out effectiveness, and so on. But I started to find something -- the threshold of gains from "theoretical planning" and "theoretical organizing" starts to fall off entirely after a few weeks of it. You 80/20 things and make plans to the best of your knowledge, giving it an hour or so per day, and a long session here and there.
And then after that, there's not much gain to be had from it, and execution takes over...
...or does it?
Well, it does. But just like "theoretical planning," you could also say there's "theoretical execution."
Here you go -- if you want top-notch advisors, make a list of 100 people you'd like as an advisor, and email them sometime between weekly and monthly for the next year. At the end of the year, you'll have at least 10 outstanding advisors or mentors.
Could we agree that this would be a valuable course of action?
If you decided to do it, would you followthrough with it?
I'm guessing... no? Right?
The execution to it is (theoretically) trivial. You write some emails, make some calls. Maybe you have a calendar, checklist, or some sort of organizer. The metrics or statistics would be extremely basic.
And, do you?
No, of course not.
Why? Because the "theoretical execution" -- how to do it -- doesn't matter, so much as the personal bearing down of your own... whatever-it-is that allows individuals to do what they wish they could do.
So my reading started turning to psychology, will, and impulse control...
...and I think I've got a piece of the puzzle here.
It's poorly defined, I understand it poorly, it will be written hazily and not-quite-understood...
...but I think that the actively-doing-things part of the mind does not have a conception of time, and thus impulses feel permanent and total.
It's a little bit weird, but bear with me.
Take food. If you're in carbohydrate withdrawal and desperately want a candy bar or a Coca-Cola or whatever... I think the mind doesn't realize that the anxious craving feeling will pass.
Hence, you eat the candy bar.
Of course, your logical/analytical/planning part of the mind -- we usually refer to this as "you" -- understands that satisfying carb withdrawal does very little for you, whereas having more energy, more clarity of mind, and a leaner and stronger physique would provide more net gain.
But the actually-doing-things part of the mind, I think it doesn't get it.
Likewise, I think when you ponder making a serious outreach effort to someone you really admire -- like, making an actual full-on campaign to get some top-notch advisors -- if you're like most people, and you start seriously considering it, you'll start to get some anxiety and neurosis, fear of embarrassment and rejection, etc.
And, crazy as it sounds, I think the mind believes the feeling is permanent... hence, the idea of making 5-10 cold calls can bring on a sense of full-blown panic.
The last paragraph is not hyperbole -- if you've never made cold calls where you were actually seriously invested in getting the result or outcome, you don't know quite how crippling and paralyzing it can be.
It's irrational and stupid to feel that way. You do a simple Expected Value (EV) calculation, and cold calling is a straightup huge gain.
Here it goes:
Positive result: A big boost to practical utility. Call it +1000
% chance of a positive result: Something above 0. Hence, a big gain.
Negative result: No real change in utility. Call it 0.
% chance of a negative result: A majority of the time, but so what?
You multiply the chance of a bad result by the consequence -- zero bad things happening -- and you get... zero downside.
Yet. The mind doesn't operate like that. The analytical / thinking / planning mind is so much weaker moment-by-moment than the doing-things part of the mind. And the fact that it's an outcome you're invested in, and the anxiety that causes... it permeates the entire universe. When in a panic, the panic is eternal, perpetual, never-ending, and total.
That's nonsense. Logically, that's nonsense. You make the call, you get the result, whatever, no problem. You either win, or you don't, but if you keep doing it you'll win some.
And yet, and yet...
I have no easy answer for this. There's probably a variety of ways to manage this, from environmental changes, to specific individual tactics, to diverting or tricking yourself, to mentally framing it as a game... practice helps, of course, both specialist practice in the habit or skill, and universal practice into willpower and overcoming.
But it's a hell of a thing to overcome. I'm mostly convinced that the key acting part of the mind does not and can not take time into account, which makes it a hell of a battle to stay on track. Anxiety to cold call is permanent and total anxiety to that part of the mind, hunger is permanent and total deprivation and craving, boredom is eternal anxiousness and emptiness...
...and we wonder why people avoid doing useful work, indulge in bad food, and run to distraction! It's a hell of a battle to fight, for the weaker planning/analytical mind, against the doing-things part of the mind which is under the misconception that this moment is permanent and total.