One of the recurring themes of this newsletter is that reality has a surprising amount of detail. We have a tendency to oversimplify a complex reality to be able to deal with it. That’s fine, as long as you realize what you’re doing.
One of the corollaries to reality has a surprising amount of detail is this: Do the Thing You Want To Do.
This seems so obvious, but people often don’t do it.
In the case of sports, lifting weights and being in good shape can help you be good at basketball, but the person who is less in shape but plays a lot of basketball will be better.
I went to high school with a few people that went on to play D1 sports (one went pro) and none of them really spent a lot of time in the weight room, but they practiced their sport a ton.
Doing both is obviously ideal but time is limited and you’re almost certainly better off spending 80%+ of your time doing the specific thing you want to be good at.
Then spend 20% of the time doing peripheral things. Skill transference across contexts is much more limited than most people believe.
If I had to place a bet on a 1-on-1 match between a former D1 basketball player that hadn’t played in ten years and gained a bunch of weight versus some super jacked Crossfit brah with 12% body fat that played some in high school, I’d take the pudgy former D-1 player all day long.
They had a lot more reps from playing in college than the Crossfit bro. Because skillsets are so specific and less transferable than people think, I believe that’s a lot more valuable than just good general fitness.
In a professional context, people often spend most of their time working on all the ancillary things they think will be helpful, but would almost certainly be better off just doing the thing they ultimately want to be doing.
Of course, it would be helpful to know advanced math if you want to work as a software engineer. But, you’ll probably get better faster if you just write a bunch of code.
It would be helpful to have ten years of experience in a lot of ancillary businesses before you start your own. But you’ll figure it out faster if you just start doing it. The best way to succeed in business is to be in business.
The most common thing people asking me about writing online is “What if I don’t have anything to say”, but it’s actually a chicken/egg problem: You don’t have anything to say because you haven’t started writing. Once you start, you’ll probably be frustrated because you have too much you want to say.
If you want to get good at something, just start doing it.
Last Updated on April 18, 2021 by Taylor Pearson