Lately I've started cutting most things out of my life. 

I've found my 'no' tool, and have been wielding it at every opportunity. 

Or at least been trying to. 

Saying no takes a lot of energy. 

A LOT.

Using any tool that's new takes time to get used to. 

But boy, am I ever glad I've started working on getting used to it now

After all, learning to focus is really just...

 

LEARNING TO SAY NO

 

 

I am glad I've started my 'no' journey, because I see many people have not. 

You might be in a relationship that you know isn't great, but it isn't bad enough for you to leave. 

Or it's a job you don't like. 

A degree you're getting.

A team you're a part of. 

A habit you're trying to drop. 

An addiction you have (porn, drugs, alcohol, sex, candy, phone).

 

To get to where you want to be...

it's much less about figuring out where you're trying to go...

And much more about cutting out where you don't.

 

The most important skill that I cultivated through my 20’s was the ability to say ‘No’ when I wanted to say no. It gets easier with age. You can say it easier, faster, and with more love. Everyone wins when your boundaries are solid.
— Jordan Gray

(I love everything Jordan. Find more of his stuff here.)

WHAT IS THE ONE THING?

It’s the first thing you do. Sometimes it’s the only thing you do.
— Gary Keller in The One Thing

iT'S AS SIMPLE AS TAKING TIME TO FIGURE WHAT ONE THING MATTERS THE MOST. 

WHAT ONE THING, IF DONE, WOULD MAKE THE REST UNIMPORTANT OR MUCH EASIER TO KNOCK OFF?

A couple tips: 

  • (basically always) most important = most uncomfortable

  • No two or three-part items. only one is allowed.

  • when applied daily, do not move onto other tasks until your one thing is complete

  • start working on your one thing for the day/week first

    • This is when your energy, power, motivation is highest - take advantage of this!
  • While working on your one thing, say no to everything else

If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?
— Tim Ferriss

In action, using the one thing looks like:

  • Not using your phone while you're working
  • Not eating and working
  • Using airplane mode
  • Asking for extensions on unimportant things
  • Asking to reschedule
  • Deferring unimportant tasks

Using the one thing might cause you to incur minor expenses:

  • Paying a late fee on a library book
  • Replying to someone late, missing 'urgent' information
  • Missing an event (perceived irreversible social cost)
  • Cancelling on someone (perceived irreversible social cost)
  • Missing attending something you paid for

 

If you could absorb one thing from this article...

 

It would be this: 

 

OPPORTUNITY COST

 

 

opportunity cost of x = the opportunities you must give up for choosing x

  • Everything has an opportunity cost

  • you rarely consider opportunity cost in your decision-making

  • to have really awesome stuff, you have to give up awesome stuff

  • the sunk cost fallacy causes errors in opportunity cost calculation

  • opportunity costs exist because you have unlimited choices but limited time

 

WHAT YOU DO IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW MUCH YOU DO

 

Let me repeat that again, just in case you missed it...

 

WHAT YOU DO

IS EONS MORE IMPORTANT

THAN HOW MUCH YOU DO

 

 

 

You could think of all of these concepts under the heading of prioritization. The one thing, opportunity cost, saying no - these all have to do with this fact:

Prioritizing what you do is infinitely more important than how you do something, or how much of something you do. 

 

Doing something well does not make it important.
— Tim Ferriss

Investing time up front before you do anything to really think about what one thing is more important than anything else, and then actually exercising discipline to do nothing else other than that thing is extremely difficult, but so necessary. 

Just like becoming nonreactive through consistent meditation...

 

Proper prioritization is like a superpower.

 

And here's why:

 

YOU HATE SAYING NO

 

Ever heard of FOMO?

Being a 'nice guy'

Someone who 'pleases everyone'?

People who 'can't do confrontation'?

The reason you will win by actually learning to use your 'no' is this: 

 

SAYING NO IS DIFFICULT

 

 

And you already know how to get good at the hard stuff...

practice.


To do two things at once is to do neither.
— Publilius Syrus

THE 'HOW'

1. COMMIT TO A CONSISTENT ONE THING PRACTICE

  • Every period (day, week, and month) set aside time (at the beginning of the period) to determine the most important thing to get done for the coming period.

  • And then work on that one thing, exclusive of everything else, until it's completed, or until the end of the period.

  • REPEAT.

2. CLEAN UP MESSES AS YOU MAKE THEM (AND AS YOU FIND THEM)

  • When you're not working on your one thing, you're cleaning up your energy streams to make the next time you go to work on your one thing even more efficient

  • In the high-traffic energy streams in your life, clear out debris to give yourself more energy to focus on the one thing
    • Your physical world

      • clean your room
      • clean your bathroom
      • clean your closet
    • Your phone world

      • calls
      • texts
      • e-mails
      • social media (if you're still using it)
    • Your task world

      • say no to the things you don't want to do

    • Your friend world

      • say no to being around people who take energy away from you

3. ENGAGE IN 'EMPTYING ACTIVITIES' CONSISTENTLY

  • emptying your life properly (And consistently) builds a strong base of energy that you can draw from to do your one thing better.

  • You can think of emptying as cleaning you closet out.

  • Emptying ensures all the messes you missed don't compound and accumulate.

    • this is why it's so important to empty regularly (to prevent build-up)

 

THE ONE EMPTYING ACTIVITY:

MEDITATION

 

Meditation is by far the most powerful emptying activity. when done daily, you will prevent build-up of shit in the most important energy stream; THE ONE THAT AFFECTS EVERYTHING ELSE: YOUR MIND.

 

OTHER TYPES OF EMPTYING (AKA MEDITATION):

(all must be done by mono-tasking - on their own)

  • sports

  • sex

  • Drinking Tea

  • Listening to music

  • walking

  • reading

  • cold exposure

  • Adventures to new places

  • Yelling 'fuck you' as loud as you possibly can 5-10 times into a pillow

  • LONG, DEEP 1-ON-1 CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU

 

Anything that immerse you in your body increases your attention in the present moment (presence). Improving my  day-to-day presence is the hardest, most valuable challenge I have identified for myself for the next five years. 

 


 

IN SUMMARY...

 

MOST OF YOUR ENERGY IS WASTED.

BEAT THIS BY:

1. IDENTIFY THE ONE THING.

2. TAKE  YOUR ENERGY FROM EVERYWHERE ELSE.

3. PUT IT INTO THE ONE THING.

REPEAT.

 

Busyness is a lack of priorities.
— Derek Sivers



 

This post uses ideas from The ONE Thing by Gary Keller & jay Papasan,

And from Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

The latter was recommended to me by Steve Parr on Ben Goresky's podcast.

If you want to take your learning deeper...

I recommend listening to the audiobook version of these books. Multiple times.

They contain concepts so contrary than current societal ideologies that it takes a couple times to really digest them.

And, if you're wanting to take your learning deeper in the audio realm of your life, check out my podcast.

Comment