Before writing the first chapter of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling planned for seven years at Hogwarts. As a result, Harry Potter is one of the most read books of all-time.
Before creating the first Stars Wars movie in the 1970’s, George Lucas planned for at least six films and started at episode four, rather than episode one. As a result, almost 40 years later the entire world still freaks out when a new Star Wars come out. This would not be possible if Lucas hadn’t thoughtfully and largely planned.
Don’t just plant a tree, plant an orchard. What you plant in life is also what you harvest.
Successful people don’t work harder
There’s a huge misconception about success. Becoming successful is less about how much someone works and more about how they set things up. Indeed, DHH has said that a 40 hour workweek is a “king’s keep,” — more than enough time to create an abundant living. It’s how you spend those 40 hours that determines where you end up.
I was recently talking with a friend who has successfully started and ran multiple companies. He told me he doesn’t work harder than someone working for an hourly rate. More often than not, he’s actually working less hard.
The difference is, the work my friend does is not an exchange of time for money. He’s not actually working directly for money. Rather, he’s spending his 8 hour workday creating value that yields dividends long into the future.
I asked him, “How many good hours of work do you have a day? Like, to do deep and creative work?” He said, “Probably 3–4 hours. Then I’m fried. After that, I can do meetings, logistical stuff, and email. However, during those 3–4 hours, my time is worth thousands of dollars per hour.”
All things are mentally created first.
Look around at your physical surroundings. Whether you’re currently reading this content on a phone or a computer, before those things were physical products, they were ideas in someone’s head.
What about the clothes you’re wearing? Before they were physical products, they were ideas in someone’s head.
The building you’re in, same thing. The books you read, all ideas formulated in someone’s head that were then transformed into the physical equivalent.
Mental creation always precedes physical creation. Consequently, the planning process — the set up — is actually far more important than the work itself. Without the proper set up, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. As Stephen Covey has said, “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Urgent vs. important time management
Most people’s time is spent on things which are urgent, like deadlines, answering emails, etc. In other words, they are being governed by time, and by someone or something outside of them.
Conversely, few people spend time of things which are important, but not urgent. These are things like learning, exercising, planning, and investing in important relationships. There is generally no deadline on these things. So they often get skipped over during the busyness of the day.
But being busy doesn’t necessarily translate to being successful. According to Tim Ferriss, “Being busy is a sign your life is out of control.” Although most people wear their busyness as a badge of honor, more often than not it reflects backwards priorities. Getting caught in the thick of thin things.
Spending your time on urgent activities is the equivalent of consuming your time. Spending your time on non-urgent but important things is the equivalent of investing your time.
Are you investing or consuming?
That is the fundamental difference between the high, middle, and lower class. In the book Sapiens, Yuval Harari explains that the world economy is based on capitalism. The wealthy people invest their money in companies that make products. The poor people spend their money consuming the products the rich people are selling.
Are you planting a tree or an orchard?
Either way, the amount of work you’ll spend each day won’t really differ. However, over a long enough period of time, what you plant you will harvest.
Do you consume your time or invest it? Is the work you’re doing a transaction or a long-term relationship?
If you’re willing to think and plan big, the work you’ll do on a daily basis will translate in like manner.
What will shock you most when you set things up to succeed big, is that things seemingly out of your control seem to fall into place. Indeed, it seems the very universe is conspiring to make things happen.
Although I’m far from where I plan to be, I’m continuously startled and in awe as I watch things unfold — even despite my lackluster and often distracted performance — how I envisioned them to be.