a few things at most

In an investor panel that I recently attended, every panelist emphasized two pieces of advice on succeeding in an endeavor:

  1. Don’t try to do all everything at once: when you have 20 things to do, figure out how to pick 10; from 10 figure out how to pick 1 or 2.
  2. Picking what to do can be painful: in an ideal world, 1 thing will stick out as the obvious thing to do first. But in most cases, you’re saying ‘yes’ to 1 opportunity and reluctantly saying ‘no’ to other exciting opportunities. Saying ‘no’ to the things you want to do sucks, but without infinite resources (which no one has), this is the only practical thing to do.

Effort is the wrong paradigm for progress. It matters, but not nearly as much as being able to consistently focus on a few important things.

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