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Lessons from 2020

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I’ve just completed my (slightly late) 2020 annual review. 

Here are some lessons which I’m sure you’ll value too.

<Video version>

Business 📈: What I learned

Cutting the fluff and focusing on a single metric is the way to progress. For us, it was opt-ins. We have had our most profitable year by FAR by focusing on ONE product, ONE funnel. 

“But what about Goodharts law?” 

“When the measure becomes the target, it ceases to become an accurate measure.”

Goodhart’s Law

Goodhart’s law holds up. But it doesn’t kick in straight away. Everything works until it doesn’t. Optimising for ONE thing is better than not optimising for anything

Recurring reviews are the safety catch to ensure you’re still heading towards your vision ⛵️.

As Chris Sparks says, nothing is grandfathered in. 

Separate planning from execution.


Working as a Doctor 👨🏻‍⚕️: What I learned

  • Being a good doctor is about consistent application of the inputs. No magic.
  • Honestly, I had taken my eye off the ball a little this year with medicine, and I thought I would struggle with being a ‘senior’ house officer. But the role came naturally.
  • Most ‘on the job’ learning is osmotic, unconscious. Add in a touch of focused learning and you cannot fail. 
  • Free time is the truest form of wealth. 

The risk barbell: Being a doctor is the most bombproof job there is. When everyone was being furloughed around me this year, there wasn’t even a SNIFF of my job being under threat. 👃


Relationships 💘: What I learned

  • Deeper connections through simple pleasures: Walking or eating with loved ones.
  • I planned my gift-buying with TickTick and avoided the last minute panic.
  • Asynchronous communication is underrated. Voice messages allow you to collect your thoughts and truly LISTEN (in 2x speed if you want to 👀 – don’t tell anyone).
  • A hack for getting over your fear that ‘socialising isn’t productive’: Walking or eating together ticks many boxes.
  • Working on projects together with your partner: grow together while working on a common goal.
  • This year has shown us how poorly people tolerate being in their own company. Solitary confinement is considered the highest punishment. We must learn to enjoy our own company, not try to plug the existential void with TikTok videos:
  • Cultivate fewer, deeper relationships. 
  • Our friend and mentor Paul died last week. Jonny and I were planning to visit him this year, and we missed our chance. You could lose someone at any time. Nothing is for granted. Don’t delay seeing people you love, and show them you care.
Paul was always a refreshingly authentic presence and unexpected mentor to us. We would often ask his advice on sales, and he’d call back within 24 hours with a set of prepared notes with no agenda, just a passion for helping others.
He never half-assed anything, and threw himself into life with both feet and a sense of humour. RIP brother, we’ll miss you, and we’ve learned a lifetime of lessons from you.

Training: What I learned 🤸

  • Big win: I finally got some flares on the floor:
https://twitter.com/PropaneFitness/status/1339645133462056962
  • The Lesson: focus single-heartedly on a goal, rather than spreading myself too thin.
  • Blast and cruise. It’s hard to gain a skill/strength/flexibility etc, but much easier to maintain or regain it.
  • Gyms can close for months at the drop of a hat. Always have a backup bodyweight-training goal.

Personal Growth This Year: ⚛️ What I learned

  • I truly got my personal growth systems nailed this year by doing LESS.
  • The lesson: You need less, not more self improvement masturbation. The personal development world is a rabbit hole.  Get it nailed and MOVE ON. Don’t let it be a form of procrastination. Treat it like brushing your teeth 🪥. You do it once daily. Don’t spend all day doing it
  • Do not dabble. We have problems of abundance in 2020. Every book or programme you choose to follow should be a decision taken with utmost gravity. A decent ‘system’ has a decade of mileage in it. You do not need more tools.
  • Always burn a clean flame:

The Habit That Accounted for the Most Success 🚀

Single-tasking.

This requires a conscious effort in a world where technology UIs are constantly reducing friction to multi-tasking [picture-in-picture, split screen, notification hell etc].

Here are some strategies to get focused:

https://twitter.com/PropaneFitness/status/1300725766334885888

Some quick wins:

  • Full-screening everything
  • One-tab browsing 
  • Using dual monitors for a big throbbing pomodoro timer ⌛️

The Most Valuable Ways I Spent My Time 🕰️

  • Creating content, both free and paid. Comprised of: generating ideas, clarifying, planning and presenting content. The ROI this carries is huge. You spend 1 hour recording a video, and it’s viewed by 5000 people. The possibilities are endless.
The creativity pipeline – Source unknown
  • With content creation, or anything else, pick a system and follow it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel 🎡. You don’t find perfection from sitting and planning. You endlessly approach it by DOING. 

What Brought Me the Most Happiness? 🧘

  • Doing things single heartedly. Doesn’t even matter what. The joy is in the union with the task.
  • Gaining clarity through writing.
  • Spending time with my partner and family.
  • Being alone.
  • Walking and meals with friends.

Lesson: Find what makes you happy. Aggressively schedule it in.


Failures of This Year 🤦‍♂️

My ridiculous addiction:

My abysmal step count 🤮:

🤢
  • Pseudowork and TASK SWITCHING. The greatest productivity killers.
  • Finally, losing £14,000 on the New Zealand Dollar:

Favourite Song of the year:

Favourite Quote:

“The dispersed, drifting, or semiawake condition of mind is not the inwardly focused state of a true mystic or awakened seer. The stillness of this state “is the stillness of the soaring eagle which cleaves its way through the blue with motionless wings. It is the rest that springs from an unusually large amount of actualized energy, the rest that is produced by action, unperceived because so fleet, so near, so all-fulfilling.” 

– D.A Baker
“What does everyone around me know about me, that I don’t know about me?”

One of the questions in Chris Sparks’ review template. So you’ll have to tell me.

I hope this has given you a few prompts for your own reflection. 

Thank you Chris Sparks for this one. Give his annual review process a spin here and let us know how you get on.