The Most Important Thing

Isn't always the most actionable.

Hey friends,

Another shorter issue since I'm still focused on work more than usual (this is becoming the norm) while also being jetlagged more than usual (not fun!) after having returned back home from the US on Saturday.

I'm on a business-ish audiobook binge again after having taken many months off books earlier this year and then having spent a few weeks learning about the Warhammer 40,000 universe through the Eisenhorn trilogy.

My recent listens have been:

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  • High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove
  • On Grand Strategy by John Lewis Gaddis
  • Clear Thinking by Shane Parrish
  • The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey (WIP)
  • The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker (WIP)

Unfortunately, I don't have time to listen to them the way I prefer to do it – with meticulous notes – but I figured I'd learn at least something from these books even without notes compared to not listening to them at all.

These are all great books and I've gained lots of insights over the past month plus, but one theme they all have in common is the importance of being good at knowing and managing yourself as a prerequisite for success (I'm simplifying).

This year I've gotten a lot better at knowing myself thanks to some of the work I've done earlier this year, but I've yet to get that much better at managing myself. Having hundreds of things I could be doing at any given time between my personal and professional lives is a recipe for spending a lot of time and not getting a lot done. Weekly focus areas and accountability chats help, but only to an extent.

So this week, I'm trying to narrow down my focus even further and answer one question every morning: what's the most important thing I can do today? Then get as much of that one thing done as possible.

The most important thing isn't always the most actionable one (in fact it often feels the opposite of actionable) and it's not always the most urgent one (a lot of urgent stuff is not as important as it feels), which is why it can be hard to focus on it. But that's in part what managing yourself means: being good at doing what needs to be done instead of doing what you want to do.

Have a productive week,


A few thoughts

West is best, East is a beast. This describes my jet lag pretty accurately. Being fully awake and ready to get going at 5 am in the US was way more fun than feeling drowsy and fatigued throughout the day back at home.

The illusion of grocery choice. Last week I had to buy groceries at a smaller Target and bigger Whole Foods and the difference in variety was incredible: the former felt like it was 99% processed foods with a tiny half-empty produce section and a single fresh meat fridge, the latter was the opposite. If I had no choice but to shop at that Target I might not have survived my two weeks in the US.

Enjoyed this

The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works "Another thing of course is life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, unfair blows, doesn’t matter. And some people recover and others don’t. And there I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well, every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something, and your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea."

MAPS PBC Announces Submission of New Drug Application to the FDA for MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD It's heartbreaking we've lost many decades of progress in treating mental disorders due to the war on drugs and the stigma towards psychedelics, but love that we're getting back on the right track now.

The fun part

When in the US, take pictures of US flags.