Ancestral Mathematics, Fail to Grow, & More
Today at a Glance
- Question: How to get out of a rut.
- Quote: Success is a lousy teacher.
- Framework: Ancestral Mathematics.
- Video: Answering "So what do you do?"
- Tweet: The worst UI.
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Question to ponder when you're in a rut:
What are the core elements of my flow?
When I'm stuck in a rut, with low energy or motivation that constrains my output, I have a simple exercise I like to do to get out of it.
I think back to the last time when I was in the flow—when I was gliding forward with seemingly effortless efficiency.
With that state in mind, I try to deconstruct it:
- What were the core elements of that flow?
- What was I doing each day that might have contributed to my state?
- What habits or behaviors were mainstays in my routine?
I've typically found that there were 1-2 actions I was taking that were clearly contributing to my flow without me realizing it, and I had unknowingly let those slip in my current rut.
My first course of action is always recreating those actions to see if they can give me the momentum to bounce back.
As an example, I felt like I was in a rut last week. I wasn't making progress on my big projects and didn't feel particularly motivated to do so. After going through this question prompt, I recognized that I had let my evening prep work slip (setting up my first task for the morning) and it was contributing to low momentum mornings that bled out into my day.
I fixed that and hit this week with new energy and enthusiasm.
The broader point: Sometimes all it takes to get out of a rut is to visualize a better time and then force replicate the environment. A touch of momentum goes a long way.
"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." - Bill Gates
Success can be misleading, but failure never lies.
Fail. Learn. Grow.
I recently came across a staggering diagram on the simple math of your existence.
In order to be born, you needed:
- 2 parents
- 4 grandparents
- 8 great-grandparents
- 16 second great-grandparents
- 32 third great-grandparents
- 64 fourth great-grandparents
- 128 fifth great-grandparents
- 256 sixth great-grandparents
- 512 seventh great-grandparents
- 1,024 eighth great-grandparents
- 2,048 ninth great-grandparents
That's 4,094 ancestors across the last 12 generations and 400 years. Just for you to be here today.
While we may have "known" this in principle, the staggering math puts a lot in perspective.
- How many individual hopes, dreams, and fears contributed to you reading this right now?
- How many moments of pure, unadulterated joy did these people feel?
- How many moments of dark, deep, never-ending sadness?
- How many chance encounters or low probability events had to "click" for this moment to ever occur?
Forced perspective is powerful. When in doubt, zoom out.
Here's a beautiful (and shocking) visualization of the math. You are at the top, and your army of ancestors stands beneath you.
Your energy for the weekend, from one of my favorite Ancient African proverbs: "Walk like you have 3,000 ancestors behind you."
Video to help at your next networking event:
One of my biggest struggles since stepping off "the track" to do my own thing has been my lack of a good cocktail party one liner when people ask what I do.
It's a common struggle. Very few people have this nailed, and it shows.
This was a great video with short, actionable advice for coming up with your introduction for your next networking event. I'm going to put it to the test!
I think I'm going to go with: "I help people live healthier, wealthier lives."
Tweet for a good laugh this weekend:
I spent an embarrassingly long time laughing at these on a walk with my son.
My favorite is definitely the "Good luck deleting your account" red cups. Harsh truth, there are actually some companies out there that do make it that difficult to delete your account...