Does this sound familiar to you?
Let’s say you want to start jogging. What’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
Mine would probably be: “What are the best running shoes I can get?”. After making my wallet cry and buying it, what do I end up doing? The shoes get covered with cobweb, and I never go for my run.
If we want to do something, isn’t it easier to just show up and do it with what we have instead of optimising from the start? Most things are achievable if we do the boring stuff consistently.
If you want to become a writer, start writing.
If you want to play better tennis, play more matches.
If you want to become a better doctor, meet more patients.
None of these activities requires you to optimise by getting the best things or reading the best tips. They do, however, require that you put in the reps, even though it is boring.
When asked about the most straightforward advice that’s most important to follow, James Clear talked about focusing on the fundamentals.
People love to talk about the things that make the last 2% of difference in something. So if you want to get in shape, people talk about what protein powder should I take, what bar should I eat for lunch, what knee sleeves should I get for the gym, what weightlifting or running shoes should I buy.
But all that stuff makes the last 2% of difference. The real answer if you want to get in shape is don’t miss a workout for two years and then get back to me.
And the same thing is true for so many areas of life
The world is full of snake-oil selling entrepreneurs who take advantage of our need to optimise for everything. We buy books, courses, and equipment we don’t need when we pursue a new endeavour.
Let’s do something different this time around.
When starting something new, start with what we have instead of optimising it. Practice the boring stuff for a few months, and once we’ve mastered the habit of showing up, we can splurge as a reward for our hard work.
Doing boring things is free
- You don’t need the best shoes to run! Just run in whatever shoes you have
- You don’t need the best laptop to become a great writer; anything you can type with will do, even if that means using your phone. Pen and paper will do as well!
- You don’t need the best racquet to become a good tennis player, just practice with what you have
After all, a weapon is only as good as it’s wielder.
Instead of optimising for things, master the boring stuff first. Fall in love with the boring stuff.
Anything worth pursuing in life is simple. But they are not easy. It’s difficult. It’s hard to do boring things consistently. Running every day is difficult. Writing every day is difficult. Studying every day is difficult. But stick to the boring stuff, and you’ll be surprised with how much progress you’ll make.