My cliff notes for “Moving towards the goal“:
This is simple advice, but sometimes that can be helpful.
When working towards an ambitious goal — say, ending aging — don’t ask what needs to be done right now, or what can you do right away. Rather, identify a goal. And if you can’t complete it literally tomorrow, identify what obstacles are in your way, and then simply move towards your goal by attacking those obstacles. If the obstacles are still large, break them down into small chunks, and so on.
This doesn’t mean working directly on the goal at all times. For example, perhaps getting out of debt first (focusing on this for years, even) will get you there in a shorter time span overall. There’s always some action you can take.
The challenge of staying motivated and focused when facing large problems makes moving towards the goal difficult.
But we humans can make a difference — when we try, we either succeed eventually, or die trying, having moved efforts closer for others to continue the work. So, to be effective, always be solving the problem, by always be addressing an obstacle between you and your goal.
My cliff notes for “How we will be measured“:
What matters in the end, and how we will be judged, is what actually happens. Intention, intelligence, effort, and goodness don’t matter. It isn’t a social game. Others expectations for us aren’t what’s important. Others aren’t our enemies. Being rich or having status may be useful, but they aren’t ends in themselves. Pursuing retaliation, power, or other goals that are relative to others are tempting as grand objectives, but they are distractions from what really matters.
What matters is affecting the future. We define define desirable outcomes differently, and since all of our circumstances are different, this isn’t a fair game we all get to play equally. But one way or another, changes we can make in the future are what we live for.
Listless guilt comes from recoiling from thinking that nothing matters. Pointed guilt comes thinking everything matters, and falling short of fixing all the broken things. Acting to work towards our desired outcomes is the goldilocks approach. “At all times, act to ensure that our future is bright.”
Guilt has no place when this is the goal. It is backward-looking and unproductive; it does nothing to help ensure a bright future.
Thus, be liberated from guilt! — and play the game of making the future better. Whatever that means for you.
Rocket Lift’s purpose is to help our team live the lives we want while making a difference for clients and projects that improve the world. (We happen to make great websites.) Sounds nice, right? But it only has meaning if we take it seriously, which means assessing how we’re doing.
I was excited to see Tim Smith write up [Edit: now a broken link] his goals for the year ahead, making plain exactly what it means for us to help him live the life he wants. (It’s also great because successful people set goals.) I’ve asked everyone on our team to write up their own personal goals for 2013.
Here are mine.
Doing Cools Things
- By end of June, spend at least half time on local food
- Write something worth reading at least once a month
- Learn improvizational jazz piano
- Make mattheweppelsheimer.com a showcase of WordPress as a garden for personal data-ownership and controlled social connections
- Visit my brother in Denver at least once for a couple of weeks while working
- Travel overseas while working
- Visit Kirsten and Eric in Minnesota while working
- Live for a month in Eastern Washington while working
- Resume regular contact with good friends
- Remain every bit as in love as I am right now
- Track data on SAD in a quantified-self style.
- Maintain 150lbs
- Learn to cook food I love without dairy and gluten
- Make Rocket Lift kick ass and thrive without my full time attention
- Sell $10k/month of [that exciting thing that’s a secret]
- Pay off debt, leaving only student loans