This is a time of both great opportunities as well as great obstacles.
On the one hand, we have a great abundance of capital, intelligence, access, and ability. However, on the other hand, many of the tools and activities around us are engineered to distract and engage.
Attention and focus have become scarce, leading to an inability by many to attain simple goals such as reading a book to the end or finishing a paper on some heartfelt topic. And if these simple activities remain unfinished, how much harder is it to accomplish greater and higher ends such as poverty, economic empowerment, racial issues, geopolitical agreements, or the development and sharing of generationally new ideas.
The answer to much of the wasted potential in our generation, and specifically in our country goes beyond energy and time management. It goes deeper to knowing and adjusting for who we are.
You can try to be perfect in diet, perfect in schedule, and perfect in response. You can practice your habits, and stick to the plan as best you can. However, you will always fall, fail, skip, or forget. Emergencies will come, and surprises will take you off course, sometimes as a blessing and sometimes as a curse.
Rather than setting rules, understand who you are and what your weaknesses are. Where do you waste the most time each week? What triggers that activity?
Understanding is only the start. Set up “guardrails” where you know you are weak. You end up binging shows on TV, get rid of the Netflix subscription. We can get rid of distractions, limit our access, or set up people who we are accountable to for negative or adverse actions. All of this is within our power, it just isn’t easy.
A successful person knows, that nothing is free. Each time you set a goal, go after it and achieve it, you also said no to a number of other things. You eliminated alternative uses of time, money, attention, and energy. So for each end, you are attempting to reach, ask yourself, “What am I willing to give up? What do I need to give up? What guardrail am I going to put in place to ensure that?”.