Moving the goalpost
Insight on self-critique and the lateral thinking plans for 2023
The zombie newsletter is back for your brains, y’all. And yes, we just started the year off with a pun.
First of all, welcome to new subscribers! We’re 3,268 people strong and given how I’ve been swamped with Blindspot over the past months, I’m humbled we’re still growing as a community.
Let’s get back in shape with a lateral thinking exercise:
A man is lying dead, face down in the desert. There's a match near his outstretched hand. What happened?
An answer, as usual, at the end.
If you’re reading this and haven’t subscribed, we can’t be friends.
OKRs and KPIs for ever-lasting misery
If you know what those two acronyms stand for, I’m sorry. They’ve most likely taken over a significant part of your life.
I’ve used them for over a decade. They have their utility when it comes to measuring a business process, but I’ve seen more and more people try to standardize their life by using similar tracking methodology.
Go to the gym 5 days a week.
Drink 2 liters of water per day.
Take a cold shower each morning.
Look at natural sunlight as soon as you wake up.
Journal before you go to bed.
I feel most people have forgotten you’re supposed to find your own way of enjoying your life. There’s no main quest in this RPG apart from the one you decide.
In moderation, tracking improvements in your life is great. The problem, as always, is that the human brain loves repeating mechanisms. If something worked for X, it will definitely work for Y. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.
Listen, I love Andrew Huberman as much as the next guy and I’ve incorporated quite a few recommendations of his into my lifestyle as well. They’re absolutely great.
The catch, however, is to incorporate the things that you feel fit your way of living and that you can enjoy (and sustain) in the long run.
In order words, it’s time to spoil the title - the only way to be happy while always improving your lifestyle is to allow yourself to keep moving the goalpost. Why? Because you can’t keep up with every single process you decide to incorporate in order to become better.
David Goggins might be able to, but you’re not. And I’ll argue that a lot of us here are living happier lives than Mr. Goggins.
It’s fine to move the goalpost as long as you’re still playing the game.
I initially wanted to write 1 newsletter a day for a full year. After 3 months, I realized I could keep going, but I would hate myself for the next 9 months. So I stopped treating it as a chore and only sent it when I felt comfortable with what I was writing. Suddenly, I was enjoying the process again.
When I co-founded Blindspot (for newcomers, we make it easy and affordable to run campaigns on almost any digital billboard worldwide - here’s the TL;DR), we set ourselves up to do $1M in revenue in the first year of business (2018 feels like a decade ago). We didn’t hit that in our first year, but eventually did and comfortably surpassed that goal. If we weren’t flexible with our goals, we would have just called it quits.
Obviously, it’s important to make sure you’re still moving in the right direction - but you can do that through simpler and more humane methods than implementing a stiff tracking system into your own life.
I try to have an honest conversation with myself a few times per year and see if past me would feel he could learn something from current me. If I feel the answer is positive, I’m on the right track and if it’s not, I take a deep dive and try to figure out what isn’t working.
Maybe you can find something kinder that works for you.
Answer: the man was part of a crew traveling the desert in a hot air balloon. The balloon was losing altitude and after getting rid of all non-essential equipment, the people on board drew matches to see who would jump overboard in order to save the others. The man lost.