What Works For You?

Trent Madden  —  November 20, 2015 — Leave a comment

“it isn’t so much knowing a whole lot, as knowing a little and how to use it that counts.” – John Graham, Letters From A Self-Made Merchant To His Son

It’s not what you know, it’s not what you do, it’s what you do effectively that counts [paraphrase] – Michael Oliff, Hacker To Hero

“80% of reference files are never referenced again.”

Almost nothing matters. I mean that.

There are tons of articles being posted on my news feed, emailed to my inbox, and “suggested” for me to read. Most of them don’t matter at all. 99%. Even the 1% aren’t worth anything sometimes. Sure, they may be interesting reads and thought provoking, but is it going to make a measurable difference in my life? The odds say no.

That seems like a pretty miserable way to go through life–deeming everything as meaningless. But that’s not what I mean. To make room for what matters, you have to be ruthless about it. I’ve found that it’s very difficult to get clear and focus on anything for a consistent period of time. Especially, with the flood of click-bait and sweeping life declarations from my social media follows. (No, I don’t want to read your blog. Only write on mine.)

I reiterate–99% of it should be ignored. Because in 23 years of living, I’ve discovered a few gems of insights that have helped me to live a better life. Just a few, and they have been hard won. And I didn’t find them in some Buzzfeed piece.

I found them through life experiences, experiments, failure, meeting, talking to, and observing people and great books. It’s very difficult to make significant changes in your life.There’s limited time and energy each day to focus on improvement, so I want to focus on the things I know have a great chance to work.

The most important insights come from your own life. What has worked for you in the past? What has not worked for you in the past? And can you conclude that it’s having a significant affect on your happiness, productivity, and life.

What has worked for me?
-Exercise (especially in the morning)
-Being around and talking to people, not isolating myself.
-Coffee
-Weekly Planning
-Daily Planning
-Breaking projects down into small steps.
-Focusing on the process, not the big goal.
-Having accountability
-Building tiny habits
-Focusing on habits, not motivation.
-Collaborating with people on projects
-Being honest
-Be very realistic about problems and working with reality, not against it.
-Reading
-Not hanging out with people who care too much about status or being “cool”

Everyone is different, so it’s important to find things that work for you, make note of it, and then deliberately do those things on a consistent basis. It’s the most simple formula I’ve found for living a happy, productive life: find what works and then do more of it.

When things get more complicated, it deters focus, which deters action, and you forget what worked for you in the first place. Pretty silly if you ask me.

So focus on what you do effectively, not what you think you know.

Trent Madden

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Trent is big on personal development, learning, and unconventional methods.

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